Saturday, 29 October 2011


After a several month long baking hiatus, I am back in the kitchen! It is longer too hot (my excuse over the summer), nor am I too busy (my excuse for September and October). How long will my free time last? Likely only until tomorrow.

Earlier in the week I made my Grandma's chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, and yesterday I made pumpkin cookies made from a real pumpkin I had cooked last weekend. Currently in the over: Julie's brownies. I've had this recipe for a few years, but had never tried it. Hopefully it turns out, even though I had to make substitutions!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

the littlest thief

I don't discuss my cat very much, and if fact he goes through affectionate phases and independent phases. Some days he follows me around and crawls into my lap at every opportunity, other times I won't see him (except at meal time) for several days. He is my first cat, and I love him to death, but Archie has a problem. He is a food-hound.

He generally makes a fuss at meal times, meowing and running back and forth as if it might make me feed him faster. He opens my cupboards and drawers, licks my dishes, and tries to break into the dog food containers. Very annoying.

I have a metal (impenetrable) container for Ace's kibble, and a plastic one for Willow's kibble. When I moved to Guelph, I kept both containers side by side. However, one afternoon I found Archie half inside the plastic container - he had lifted the lid and had almost succeeded in climbing completely inside.
Archie making himself comfortable on a different plastic container.

New plan: stack the containers. With the metal kibble container on top of the plastic one, there was too much weight for Archie to pry open Willow's food container.

Problem: Ace's container was almost empty. I'd been meaning to refill it, but just had not gotten around to it yet. So yesterday morning as I was brushing my teeth, I hear a scratching noise and look around the corner. Low and behold, Archie was trying to break into the plastic kibble container. I watch him for a moment, thinking he'll never be able to lift the lid with the metal container on top, even if it is empty.

Obviously I was wrong, or this would be a really crappy story. Archie manages to squeeze a paw under the lid, and promptly gets stuck. He let out this horrible yowl, all quavery with fear. I lifted the lid so he could get out, and he promptly ran away. I thought: serves him right, at least I won't have to  worry about him breaking into the container again.

If only. After I finished brushing my teeth and came out of the bathroom, I found Archie half inside the plastic container. Little bugger! I couldn't believe he had the guts to try another attempt, just a few minutes after he'd been stuck! I shouted and he wiggled out, then ran out of the room.

I ended up stacking not only the metal container, but also an old 5 gallon fish tank on top of the plastic container. Apparently brute strength is the only way to keep my cat out of a food source.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

where is the line

...between rough play and dog aggression?

Tonight I took Ace and Willow over to a classmate's house to play with her one year old bluetick coonhound. First impression: absolutely adorable dog, just a little smaller than Willow. Next impression: guarder.

No no sooner arrive than the dog is snarling and chasing Willow away from her toy. The toy gets taken away, and the two girls play pretty well for the next 10 minutes, although it is clear that this dog is fairly dominant. At this point my classmate tells me that she is also possessive of the deck, and the space under the deck. Wonderful.

Shortly after, the snarling begins. Willow is soon pinned and yelping, fights back to get up, and is promptly pinned again. I start yelling and run down to break it up, trying to grab my classmate's dog by the back end (note to self - research how to break up a dog fight without getting bitten). My classmate comes down to get her dog, and I expected to hear something along the lines of "I'm so sorry, she's never done anything like that before!" Instead, she tells me that they just needed to work it out, and not to worry as there was no harm done.

I don't know this classmate super well and I'd never met her dog before, and I didn't want to be rude, although my instinct was telling me to leave right then. We stayed for another 10 minutes or so, but the two dogs didn't really play again until Ace started to play. Willow joined him (as per usual), and I had to step in a few times as they tend to gang up on other dogs. I made it clear through my actions that I did not tolerate humping, and once the other dog was down I called mine off. I believe that bullying between dogs is not to be tolerated.

This situation reminded me of an article I read, off a link on the ARPH website ( The article is about managing a multi-dog household (, and specifically I thought of this section copied below:

Every time pack management questions arise, several people will suggest
that you allow the dogs to work things out alone.  They'll assure you that
this is the only way to go.  Sometimes this can work, but this is dependent
on the breed, individual temperaments and respective sizes of the dogs
involved.  Use your better judgement.  Don't let a Rottweiller freely go at
a Yorkie or a 2 year old pick on a 15 year old.  Often these remarks are
followed by someone telling how they lost a dog (evenly matched in breed
and size to it's opponent) to a dogfight by following this philosophy.
As I left, my classmate suggested next time we meet somewhere else and let the dogs run. 
I agree, but in my head I think "not with Willow". Interestingly, this is the second dog I've 
introduced Ace to in the past month, and he has reacted with indifference. I wonder if this is 
part of the maturing process, or is he just feeling beaten by my constant corrections for 
humping and rough play? Will have to test these theories. 
To conclude, in my classmate's mind the dogs were just playing, however to me it seemed 
an awful lot like a dog fight.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

only sorta broke

Whew, my OSAP money came through today! I am not a fan of living paycheck to paycheck, and having to rely on money from my parents. I managed to get through my undergraduate degree with very little debt, but that is just not happening in my graduate studies.

Some people use this money to take trips or make other big purchases (like cars or horses). My plans? Pay off my computer, put some away for next term's tuition, and use the rest for rent.

Big spender, eh?

Well, ask me next year what I spend my money on... there's a possibility it might be a little more frivolous...

Thursday, 6 October 2011

the saga continues

So, you know how a few weeks ago I posted about being ready for Willow to leave?

I lied.

As health problems arise, I feel a desperate need to keep her with me. Although no decision has been made yet, disqualification has been brought up. And as much as I love her, I cannot afford to keep another dog.

My fingers are crossed that this is just another blip in her life, and that she will go on to become a successful service dog. I hope that making a difference in a child's life will make it easier for me to lose her. Otherwise, what is all this heartache for?