Friday, October 26, 2007

The Night of Haunted Hounds

Wednesday night brought about the feeling of uneasiness, as the full moon hung itself high amid a pitch-black backdrop devoid of stars. A shadowy mist hovered low above the moist ground littered with the leafy yield of trees having sacrificed their once green patches in their annual fall ritual. The sound of a slight breeze filled the air, yet strangely, nothing more! Had even the crickets run for home on this eerie night? As I slowly approached the building in the distance with its massive structure silhouetted vaguely against the dark by the few shards of light piercing the clouds above, my eyes were drawn to what appeared to be rectangular shape. Approaching with care, I could soon see it was a door. It’s metal handle, gleaming slightly in the moonlight, beckoned for my grasp. Peering around, as if ensure no being man nor beast were watching from afar, I tugged mightily at the handle. With the groaning, strained sound of metal on metal, it slowly creaked open, the sound reverberating into the hallway beyond it. Without much thought, I quickly stepped inside. To my left, a staircase led to a second story and yet another mysterious set of doors. I knew why I had come;I was there to see what lay beyond these gates. What I found was chilling! Stepping through the last set of doors was like traversing a gate to another world; I was greeted with the sight of creatures large and small of all shapes and sizes and colors. There were golden goblins, scarry shepherds and labs as dark as midnight itself. I could see this was no ordinary gathering; this night brought special purpose. The banner on the chamber wall was imprinted with an emblem that read "4-H." I could only assume, on this night, that meant "Haunted Hounds Howling Hall." These creatures bore a myriad of disguises, each spookier than the next. As they moved about the room, tails wagging with delight at this gathering in honor of hallows eve, there was eating and drinking, barking and sniffing. But soon, almost as quickly as it had begun, the creatures disappeared one by one thorough the outworldly gates and into the mist until soon it was only me and the chilly night air. Was it all merely a dream?

Please enjoy these pictures from the Ocean County 4-H puppy club Halloween meeting and costume contest of 10/24/07.

PS. LW took second place!

First Place

Second Place

The "dymamic duo"

Somethin' fishy going on here!

Tutu on 4 (legs!)

The Party's Over

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Through the wonders of the internet we have found LW's brother! Although, he is large, he resembles his sisters here in our club.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Crush:

At a recent meeting, it was apparent LW appreciates the social aspects of the puppy program. While she enjoys running and playing with other members of our club interestingly, she has also developed a long distance internet “crush” on a handsome blonde lab in California "Mr.October." Realistically, she understands there is a great distance between them, in fact a whole country; but it seems as though they are worlds apart. She lives on the East coast and enjoys the cold weather; he is a yellow boy basking in the golden California sun. Alas, they are from different schools and different ways of life; she knows there is not much chance of them living “happily ever after” and growing up to live on a farm in the Midwest with 3.2 pups frolicking around them. However, that does not stop her from dreaming. Each day she looks longingly at his picture and knows somehow theirs is a greater destiny (sorry, you’ll have to wait for the book to come out for more on that).

Monday, October 8, 2007


For nearly as many years as most us reading this have been alive (yes that would include you Mom and Dad) we’ve been hearing that famous jingle “…clap on, clap off….THE CLAPPER!" Today, when you see the commercial, its kind of like watching an old movie; the video is grainy, the clothing long outdated; and the old lady cheerfully clapping the light off before she goes to sleep has probably been using her clapper in the “great bedroom in the sky” for at least three decades now. (see the classic commercial again here: The Clapper)

To this day you can still find these curious devices with the “As Seen On TV” marking on the box in virtually any lower end discount store (uh, a place that media people frequent by necessity, but that’s another story).

Oddly, these silly things do seem to come in handy for situations such as mine. Now, I’m not exactly sure who planned this (probably someone who read by oil lamp at night); but the outlets in my room don’t really seem to be in a cooperative location, no matter where you place the furniture. While this inspires creative decorating, it probably won’t help me make the cover of "House Beautiful" anytime soon. In fact, a quick glance and you’re more likely to get the impression I drink when I arrange furniture. But I assure you with this arrangement of outlets, it’s a distinct possibility someone instead drank when wiring them. Go ahead…find a nearby place to plug in a table lamp, I dare you!

At any rate, after much complaining to anyone who would listen about not having a way to control the lights from the bed (which makes for much stumbling in the dark), as a joke I received a “Clapper” as a gift. Ha! Perfect, I thought! Problem solved! However, what they don’t tell you in the commercial about these “handy” little devices is that they will turn the light on and off at the sound of ANY sharp, loud noise. Oh sure, there’s a sensitivity setting on the thing that’s supposed to avoid this; but that’s as helpful as a call to the IRS tax tip line. I must admit though, with this predicament, what the clapper lacks in control it makes up for in entertainment value.

Get one and let the fun begin! Nothing like the lights coming on at three in the morning at the sound of a sneeze or cough; laughing puts on a wonderful light show….on, off, on, off. And it starts a strange cycle: the more it flashes, the funnier it becomes; the more you laugh, the more frequently it flashes (laugh) on … (laugh laugh, laugh) onoffonoffonoff.

When LW first arrived, she was spending her nights sleeping in a crate next to the bed. Several weeks ago; however, when retrieving her from this crate, I realized her little legs were becoming giraffe-like as she grew. This meant it was time to move her to a “bed chain.” This is a chain leash commonly used by puppy raisers with the goal in mind being to train the pups to sleep next to the bed. This is important so that later, when working as a Seeing Eye dog, she will be used to staying there if needed during the night by her blind partner. The first evening on the chain was quite a challenge; LW has always enjoyed sleeping on the comfort of her blanket, in her crate and was not happy at the thought of “the bed chain.” Therefore, she started off with a slight whimper, after telling her “quiet” she want back to sleep. Fifteen minutes later the whimper turned to a short woof....uh oh, light on! “Quiet”, light off. “Woof” light on, laugh- light off. “Woof,” “Quiet” “Laugh” “Woof” on-off on-off on-off...onoffonoffoff” I guess that explains the strange looks I’ve been getting from the neighbors. How would you begin to explain the lights in your room flashing on and off like a disco at three in the morning? Next time I think I'll just drop hints for the "Stick Up Bulb ."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Full Circle

... and back in the dirt!