Jekyll and Hyde Doggie

Lucy hypnotizes us with her “people eyes.”

Don’y let Lucy’s cutie cuteness fool you.

I am an accessory to aggravated assault and I blame Lucy!

My former sweet, little angel has never shown an interest in birds. Chipmunks? Yes. Squirrels? Definitely. Groundhogs? Think fatality. In the animal kingdom-also-known-as-my-backyard, she saves growling and running around the yard 30 mph for small, skittish mammals. Birds are barely worth a low huff, wet nose, or tail twitch.

Our vet thinks Lucy is a part Border Collie, part Black-Lab (aka. Labracollie), which explains why she loves to retrieve tennis balls and herd young children. When Lucy herds, she uses a “soft mouth” and wet nose, bonking and nipping as if to say, “Hey, you sheep, you cows, cluster!”

When Lucy’s outside, she surveys the meadow (umm, yard) from the porch, alerting us to cars and passersby. I’ve read that Border Collies hypnotize herds with their intense, brown eyes, and I believe it. Lucy stares at us intensely with her “people eyes,” hypnotizing us with her inner thoughts. (“Give me meat.” or “Play ball with me.”)

A few days ago, we spotted a Blue Jay fledgling on our driveway. It was all fuzzy down and short feathers. I was fascinated. (Hon, do you know me at all?) I squatted down. It stared at me. I inched closer. It squeaked. I came a little closer. It hop hop hopped down the driveway. Adorable! Lucy was indifferent. Since birds were never a cause for maniacal barking or hypnotism, how was I to know she was secretly Jekyll and Hyde?

The next day, Lucy and I spotted the fledgling on the sidewalk. “There you are,” I said. “Aren’t you cute?” I said. “We won’t hurt you,” I said. Lucy lowered her head as if to sniff the bird, so I let her get a bit closer. All of a sudden, she lunged and grabbed the bird!

After yanking Lucy’s collar while screaming, “Bad dog!”, I picked up the baby bird* who wasn’t bitten or bleeding but limp-ish. Oh no! Did Lucy break its neck or pick it up with a “soft mouth?” Was the bird was just shaken up, stunned and going to come-to later? I searched the internet to find out if birds play dead, and found that some people witnessed this phenomenon, but without confirmation by an expert, it seemed like a wish.

When I returned to the scene of the crime later that day, the baby bird was gone. Did a cat find it? Or a fox? Or–maybe, just maybe–as soon as we left, it perked its little head up and hopped away?

One can only hope.

Adorable Baby Jay.

* It’s a myth that if you touch a baby bird, the mommy won’t take care of it anymore. Click here to read more.

Source: Live Science

I’d love to hear if your “sweet little angels” are harboring killer instincts.

Peacock, Puppy and Boy

Peacock stutting his stuff.

Peacock strutting his stuff.

To top off my Series of Blue, I’m leaving  you with a Shel Silverstein poem,  perfect for kidlit lovers…and kids.

Put Something In

Draw a crazy picture,

Write a nutty poem.

Sing a mumble-gumble song,

Whistle through your comb.

Do a loony-goony dance

‘Cross the kitchen floor,

Put something silly in the world

That ain’t been there before.

Hot dog in a cool pool. Lucy loves the baby pool.

Hot dog in a cool pool. Isn’t Lucy adorable?

Boy with Kite, Acadia National Park, Maine.

Boy with Kite, Acadia National Park, Maine.

Lucy versus Groundhogs

'I'll go wherever you go, Mommy."

“I’ll go wherever you go, Mommy.”

"You never know what scents you'll pick up in the wind."

“I love to stick my nose out of the window.”

"I'm on the lookout for intruders and wild animals!"

“I’m on the lookout for intruders and wild animals!”

What is it about groundhogs?

Despite living in a New Jersey suburb of Manhattan, frequent visitors to our backyard include wild turkeys, deer, raccoons, rabbits, opossums, foxes, chipmunks, squirrels and mice.  I call our neighborhood, which backs up to a nature reserve, the South Mountain Reservation “Animal Kingdom.” Lucy, our 4 year-old Labra-Collie rescue, is fascinated by all the animals, but morphs from Interested Observer to Psycho Doggie when groundhogs appear.

A few weeks ago Lucy was languishing in the heat, when she jumped up and made a bee-line down our hill.  She chomped down on something furry. I don’t know if she intended to shake the small animal–dare I say?–to death, or if she meant to scare the wits out of it.  Either way, it didn’t look good for the baby groundhog.

I raced down the hill, screeching, “Drop it!  Drop it!  Lucy, STOP IT!”  (Yes, I know that rhymes. I write picture books, hon. But, I digress.)

Did Lucy listen?  Noooo!

Instead, she proceeded to whip the baby groundhog back and forth like a stuffed toy while the groundhog struggled to free itself and while I chased her around the yard.  As I tried to catch Lucy, my youngest daughter watched from the sidelines.

“GET THE LEASH!”  I hollered.

In the meantime, I managed to grab Lucy and press on the outsides of her jaw until she dropped the groundhog.  My daughter arrived with the leash and dragged her inside.

I approached the poor little rodent, apologizing profusely. Guess what?  There were no bite marks or blood!  Lucy’s Labrador Retriever “soft mouth” clutch didn’t break any skin.  The groundhog, surely in shock, looked at me as if to say, “Thank you for saving my life.”

Despite its probable concussion, I figured it would get the word out to stay away from our yard.  Apparently, it didn’t.

Earlier this week, I heard Lucy barking with a high-pitched voice I hadn’t heard before.  I ran outside to find her nose-to-nose with an adult groundhog.  Again, I did the “Catch-a-Psycho-Doggie” dance.  Again, amused bystanders watched from the sidelines. This time, it was my son and hubby laughing as I screamed, “GET THE LEASH!”

After quite a bit of chasing (us chasing Lucy, Lucy chasing the adult groundhog), we caught Lucy and dragged her inside.

Would you believe me if I told you Lucy really is the sweetest little angel, a sponge for affection?  Don’t answer that question if you’re a groundhog or a… mailman…truck driver…repairman…motocycle driver…

 Related Post:  Top Ten Reasons Why Lucy Is My Inspiration Puppy

Toasty Tushy Melts the I.C.E.

Monotone.

Monotone.

Crystal Evergreen.

Crystal Evergreen.

Hubby showed me how to bake my buns, cook my caboose or, in other words, toast my tushy!

Lest you think this is an X-rated post, I assure you it’s G-rated. (sorry to disappoint) Hon, forget increased horse power or better mileage. I’ve figured out the most exciting innovation in the automobile industry.  I’m—umm–glowing about a modern way to bear the Arctic Zone.

If you think New Jersey isn’t an Arctic-Zone-kind-of-state, think again.  Just witness temps hovering below freezing and hunched shoulders requiring frequent trips to the chiropracter.  Crampons attached to boots would aid climbing my neighborhood’s steep, ice-covered driveways, fingers turn yellow due to loss of circulation–and that’s inside–and even my dog Lucy has decided that hibernation is preferable to doing her job (ie. barking like a maniac at mail and delivery trucks).  In fact, she won’t even venture outside to do her business UNLESS I ESCORT HER!

What does I.C.E. stand for and am I going anywhere with this?

(Insight into the mind of a “high energy” person:  as anyone who’s had a conversation with me can attest, points may seem random, but then they all connect in a perfectly logical way. Oh, and I even use parenthesis when I speak.)

I.C.E. is my newest title.  I’m an ICE CHOPPER EXTRAORDINAIRE!  You can find me outside several times a day, chopping ice as if it was the incarnation of all my frustrations (Yikes!) There’s a method to my madness.  (“You will crack under the weight of my power!”  Mwahaha!)

How do you melt the frozen heart of an I.C.E.?  You toast tushies, of course!  (Another way to melt an icicle heart?  A trip to a tropical island.  But, I digress.)

Three tried and true I.C.E. Melting Methods:

1.  Laying on a dog’s haunches. Lucy’s furry fanny is so warm, I used it as a pillow and fell asleep. For about 45 minutes. (She didn’t seem to mind.)

2.  Heating pad for the posterier. And for a sore back due to chopping ice.

3.  And now…drum roll, please… what’s the best way to toast a tushy? First, start the engine and second,  turn on the Seat Warmer! Ahhh! That’s what I’ll be doing until Spring arrives. You know what I found out? If you heat your seat, the warmth spreads upwards and even reaches extremeties such as fingers, ears and eyelashes. (I know, I know. Eyelashes aren’t extremeties, but when eyes tear up from the cold, they sure feel that way.)

Do you live in an Arctic Zone?  How do you stay warm?  I’m (ice) fishing for more ideas!

Moon Surface on Earth. (Frozen NJ River.)

Moon Surface on Earth. (Frozen NJ River.)

Fluffy tail, warm fur!

Fluffy tail, warm fur!

Ice Study--Dog Bowl.

Ice Study–Dog Bowl.

Ice Study--Garden Hose.

Ice Study–Garden Hose.

 

 

 

 

"I'd rather stay inside."

“I’d rather stay inside.”

And Just Because...Tush-shaped toast.

And Just Because…tush-shaped toast.

Motto Mom In the Moment! (Snow Day Shenanigans–a Short Video)

Liquid Copper, Curly Girl and Me.

Liquid Copper, Curly Girl and Me.

“I have this theory that people make an implicit decision as to whether they’re going to stay young and curious and interesting and interested, or whether they’re just going to let themselves age.”*

Call me “Motto Mom.”  Maybe mottos would roll off my tongue even if I didn’t have triplets, but mottos have allowed me to live in the moment.  One of them is, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” If it’s a snow day, and there is NO WAY I’m going to get any work done, I allow myself to enjoy the found time.  Guess where you’ll find my kids, their friends and me?  Outside playing because 1) living on a hill makes us the “Sledding House,” 2) you’re never to old to play, and 3) there’s always hot chocolate and marshmallows afterward!

You know what else I’m good for, besides serving snacks and hot drinks?  Videoing the shenanigans.  Except when I decide to video the “sled train” head on!  Ahhh!

Enjoy the 1 minute video of being in the moment!

Click link to watch video:  Snow Day/Blizzard 2015 

 Related Videos:  

December Defined 

Snow Puppy

* Quote by Mitch Rothschild, Chief Executive of Vitals, a website that connects patients and doctors, from a 1/25/15 article in The New York Times.

**music on video, Paul Hardcastle-The Jazzmasters “See You in July”

Rosie the Riveter (a Lost Dog)

Rosie, a Boston Terrier and lost dog.

Rosie the Lost Dog.

Rosie the Riveter.

Rosie the Riveter.

"Running around the neighborhood makes you hungry!"

“Running around the neighborhood makes you hungry!”

"Don't you want to hear my side of the story?"

“Don’t you want to hear my side of the story?”

My doorbell rang at 9 am on a Thursday morning.  There stood my neighbor with a lost dog, a Boston Terrier.  She’d put her big dog’s leash on the small dog, giving it an “on-the-lam” appearance.  It was yappy.  It had attitude.  It barged right in.

Lucy, my sweet dog, isn’t so sweet when delivery trucks pass the house, mailmen deliver the mail, workers come to the door, or when small dogs with large attitudes try to assert themselves.  Lucy barks, jumps, and runs around like a nut, saying, “I’m the alpha dog!”  She did all three while I chased her around with a leash, clipped it on her collar, and tried to restrain her from pouncing on the small pooch.  Morning mayhem!

The Boston Terrier had run up my neighbor’s driveway, and my neighbor figured a fellow dog-lover-like-her might know who it belonged to.  I had a hunch.  She started making calls, taking photos of the dog and sending them to its Likely Family.

My neighbor and I both had to be somewhere in 10 minutes.  What should we do?   I ran both crazed canines upstairs to my college daughter’s room to wake her up.

Lucy was riveted by Rosie (we found out her name when we called the Likely Family), but not in a good way.  While making calls, taking photos and sending them, Rosie had eaten Lucy’s entire bowl of kibble, drank from her water bowl, and snuffed and huffed at Lucy.  Lucy was having none of it!

Teen Daughter graciously got out of bed and gave up going to yoga. Instructions?  Separate the dogs and watch Rosie (she might need to relieve herself after eating more than her body weight in kibble) until her Mom, a teacher, arrived.

My neighbor left, apologizing for leaving us with a lost dog.  I left to go to work, apologizing to Teen Daughter that she’d miss yoga.

Later, I got the full report.  Teen Daughter kept the dogs on two sides of a glass door.  Lucy was riveted by Rosie.  Then Rosie barked and Lucy barked back.  A lot!

Rosie’s mom arrived around 10 am and Rosie was on her way home (where she was going to get a replacement battery for her electric fence collar).  The morning excitement was over.

Naptime!

Hon, do you have a lost dog story to share?

"All this excitement has worn me out!"

“All the excitement wore me out!”

Teen Daughter who was on "Doggie Duty."  Thanks, sweetheart!

Teen Daughter who was on “Doggie Duty.” Thanks, sweetheart!

Naughty Dog! (Before and After)

Before the snow.

Before the snow.

After the snow.

After the snow.

Before the snow.

Before the snow.

After the snow.

After the snow.

In between.

Before the snow.

After the snow.

After the snow.

Hon, you know how much I love Lucy!

She’s my first dog and I think she’s the–umm–cat’s meow.  She’s a sweetheart, angel, practically my fifth child.  I’ve become one of those people who shows dog photos to just about everyone she meets.  She makes me happy and I want to share the joy.

But, one day she was so naughty that I debated a return to my former cats-only status. 

Every Sunday that’s not warm enough to bike, I run in the South Mountain Reservation.  Lucy is my running partner and she always has the best day running, playing with her doggie friends and swimming in the Rahway river.  Click here to see a video of her splashing and swimming with her friends.

I let Lucy off leash so she can run (and, let’s be honest, tire herself out).  She can be cagey about returning to me, but when I say, “Bye bye Lucy, Mommy’s leaving the store now,” she usually comes.  It may take a few minutes, and bikers may stop to watch and laugh at my attempt to use reverse psychology on a dog, but it’s all in good fun.  That was BEFORE THE SNOW.

AFTER THE SNOW, my sweet, little, black dog wasn’t such an angel!  One Sunday, we went on our usual run.  I let her off leash where the water runs over a dam.  Guess what she did next?

She ran far out on the frozen river, jumped off the edge of the ice and plunged into the freezing cold water!

I couldn’t believe it!  Horrified, I thought What should I do?  Should I go out on the ice?  What if its too thin and I fall in?  Should I call the fire department?  Does anyone have a long rope I can tie around my waist so I can slither over the ice on my belly to rescue my crazy dog?

Then Lucy’s head bobbed up, she hoisted her front paws and torso over the ice, and found the strength to scramble up and out of the water.  Boy, was I was relieved!  And mad!  (Parents, you know how our kids wonder why we yell when they get hurt?  I tell my kids it’s because we’re scared, and that’s just how we react.)

Lucy, dripping wet and shivering, stood for a few seconds on the ice.  I thought she’d run into my arms but, instead, she seemed to forget the whole “I almost drowned in sub-zero water” incident and bounded down to the snowy rocks below the dam!  That naughty dog!  I yelled, “Lucy, bye-bye, Mommy’s leaving the store!”  No luck.  I yelled, “Lucy, yum-yum’s” while holding out dog treats.  No luck.  I screamed, “Lucy, get over here!”  Still no luck.  Even though the temperature hovered around 20 degrees, I was steaming!

Twenty minutes later, I caught her and yelled, “That’s it!  You’re done!” and “You naughty doggie!”

The next day, my daughter ran into a mom she babysat for and told her about the “Lucy Incident.”  That mom said she saw the whole thing from the other side of the river.  She saw a dog run out on the ice, recognized my voice, and knew the naughty dog was Lucy.

Lesson Learned:  Lucy is not allowed off leash if the river’s turned to ice.

Also:  Carry fresh turkey in my pocket; she always comes for that.

Also:  My voice carries.

But, how can you stay mad at a sweet angel when she looks at you like this?  

IMG_3402

And this?

IMG_2993

Snow Ball

IMG_1042_2

Snow swirling, eyes to the sky.  

One with Winter, the snow and I.

As I ran outside to take pictures of the snow falling, a thought crossed my mind.  What if I lay down in the pure, white powder and became one with Winter?  But, Lucy wanted to play ball…

…so we did.

Lucy

“Where did the ball go?”

"I know the ball's in here somewhere."

“I know the ball’s in here somewhere.”

"Got it!"

“Got it!”

"I love my tennis ball."

“I love my tennis ball.”

And click here to see Lucy hopping in the snow like a bunny.  The video is from a post called “Snow Puppy.”  Lucky Lucy!  Lucky me!

Do you have a dog?  Does your pup like to play in the snow?

Lucky Lucy

Lucy loves water.

Lucy loves water.

One of my favorite things to do is to spend Sunday mornings in the South Mountain Reservation. Whether I’m biking, hiking, running or taking Lucy for a walk, I alway feel energized and happy.

I hope you enjoy this 1minute, 46 second video of my favorite furry, four-legged companion, Lucky Lucy.  Lucy had the best time playing with her friends Tucker the Black Lab, Max the German Shepherd, Ace, the Rottweiler mix and even Dexter, a Pointer mix.  Guess what?  Lucy’s tail stayed fluffy the whole time.  Watching Lucy play is sheer joy.

There’s just something about the air on Sunday mornings that clears my head.

What clears your head?

Cicada City Part II

Lucy wonders what I'm holding.

Lucy thinks, what is Mommy holding?

Lucy says, "How does it smell?"

Lucy thinks, how does it smell?

2013 might be the Chinese Year of the Snake, but at Bmore Energy it’s the Week of the Puppy.

Lucy “guest blogged” “Fluffy Father’s Day” and, in honor of her turning two, I’m featuring my furry sweetheart again.

In my recent post, Cicada City Part I, you met Little Miss Cicada.  What I didn’t say was how Lucy reacted to her first encounter with the large buzzing bug.  Before Lucy met Little Miss Cicada, several dog owners told me that their dogs were feasting on the cicadas. One told me she didn’t even need to give her dog kibble because he was eating so much.

Teenage Daughter #2 babysat for a family who warned her to keep their dog, Molly, inside because Molly was eating the cicadas then throwing them up.  But when Teenage Daughter #2 opened the door to let the kids in, Molly ran out and, you guessed it, ate a cicada.  Teenage Daughter #2 reported, “Molly started acting really weird.  She was twitching and gagging.  I think the cicada was still alive in her stomach!  I was just praying she wasn’t going to throw up!”

Teenage Daughter #1, who babysat for the same family, replied, “I’m afraid of throw up!  Literally, afraid.  And I couldn’t even walk on their grass because of the cicadas.  It was like step, cicada, step, cicada!  They’re disgusting!”

Cicada shells clustered in the grass.

Cicada shells clustered in the grass.

Back to Lucy.  Hon, the photos and 45 second video say it all!

Lucy's not sure she likes this big bug!

Lucy’s not sure she likes this big bug!