Not just a vacuum, a Kirby

a Kirby vacuum

a Kirby vacuum

Tonight I did something that I wouldn’t have thought I would ever do. I bought a Kirby vacuum (they call it a Home Maintenance System)! I got a “free” room shampoo (which really means a HARD CORE sales call) from the family who adopted our foster mama, Annie. It was a nice gesture and I had been wanting to get my area rungs cleaned. I figured, “I’m good at saying ‘no’, no problem.”

Well…the guy was funny and charming so I was really enjoying myself, not feeling at all like I was going to be buying a vacuum that costs almost as much as our recent camper purchase. Boy was I wrong. First he vacuumed our area rug with our Dyson.

Brandon demonstrates the Kirby

Brandon demonstrates the Kirby

Now, I believed that Dyson was a top of the line vacuum. We bought it because of how much hair and dirt the dogs just naturally bring into the house. I figured that we were set. When I saw how much DIRT and HAIR the Kirby vacuumed picked up, after our Dyson had already done the job, I was shocked. I hate carpets because they hold dirt. But area rugs are nice and cozy so I have two nice ones I use. I have often wished we had a carpet cleaner for them but I figured they were getting good and clean with our Dyson. Nope. Lately, I’d been saying to Mike that the carpets felt “slimy” and looked dirty. In fact, I was increasingly unhappy with the vacuum job he was doing (yes, my loving husband has taken on that task as his contribution to our house hold maintanence). I guess I thought it was him, being lazy. But long ago I decided to stay out of his contributions to the household. Also, have I mentioned that I really never liked my Dyson? It was so HEAVY and clunky and difficult to manage and just wrong. Anyway, the guy sold that Kirby SO HARD. Like his life depended on it! It was like watching a sporting event: he was sweating and jumping around so much I was afraid he was going to trip and fall out of our large picture window! But what really sold me was how dirty everything really was, and how clean the vacuum got it. With our son’s allergies, it seemed to me to be a good investment. So, anyway, now I own a vacuum that Mike equates to owning a Mercedes…which is sort of nice actually.

Dirt caught by the Kirby after the Dyson

Dirt caught by the Kirby after the Dyson

So, for all you dog lovers out there I have a proposition – if you’d like to see the Kirby in action AND get a room carpet cleaned (or up to 6 items if you’re like us and have all hard wood floors) call Brandon on his cell at (252)548-9319. Tell him you got his number from us (from Kristin and Mike) and we’ll get a free bottle of carpet cleaner. He is a funny, entertaining guy and you’ll get a nice clean room Just make sure you’ve got about 90 minutes to give it. You won’t be sorry. Just practice saying “no thank you, just clean my carpet please.” Over and over and over…and then write in and tell us your experiences!

Annie still loves to fetch

Here we have an update on our foster mama from last Christmas, Annie!

Annie with Greta

Annie with Gertie

Annie is still and will always be obsessed with retrieving, but that is part of her charm. She continues to bring us joy everyday. The girls and I had the best time with her up north at the lake and she stayed right with us. We had to be very patient with Annie. It is so much for the mother dogs to adjust to. First the foster home, puppies being weaned, and yet another adoptive home. Feel free to share our story with Annie.

These pics are of Annie and Gertie in the summer at our lake house in WI. Annie loves retrieving objects from the water and is quite the swimmer.


Annie & Greta

Annie& Greta at play


November 28, 2009 • Tags:  • Posted in: Annie, story update • No Comments

Mama dog gets a bath

curled up pupsWell, today was SO hot that I figured if I bathed Sandy? Daisy? Angie? (still haven’t found a name right for her) outside she wouldn’t mind the cold water and she’d dry off in a snap. Plus I figured she’d like the time outside. Boy was she freaked out by the water! It could be that it was spraying at her from the hose (I tried to be gentle but there isn’t that gentle a way for one to spray another with a hose) or that it was cold, or that she’s never had a bath or a hose bath before – I’m not sure which it is. But once she realized that all I was doing was hosing her down and that she couldn’t get away from me, she submitted. It sort of was humbling to me, how dogs let us submit our will on them rather easily. Now I know what I was doing was for her own good and she ultimately seemed to really enjoy being clean (you know how dogs do that rubbing thing on the carpet once they’re clean? She was rubbing herself along the garage door!!) but it sort of hit me how I could have been doing anything to her and she would eventually give in. How trusting, and how sad that so many people betray that trust. It just really hit me today for some reason.

pups and shoeBut anyway, hopefully she will be ok with her next bath and hopefully I didn’t teach her to be deathly afraid of them…I think not as, like I said, she clearly got into it after a bit. And it is nice to have her clean!! Birth is a yucky business and that first week continues to be a bit yucky. Add to that her bout of whipworm and the poop that goes a long with that, and her pups crawling all over her and THEIR loose stool and… well, you get the picture. The dog needed a bath. (more…)

Muddy puppies will grow into dogs

a pup 5/30/09Yesterday was a rainy, humid, day. But puppies don’t care about muddy feet, floors or food bowls – they just want to play! And so, against my wishes but in line with my instincts I let them out when the rain had let up a bit. They had a blast! They were rolling around with Chloe and chasing each other and basically getting into the best kind of puppy trouble – the dirty kind. And I noticed something, how much Chloe seems to really enjoy being a mama.

Now we’ve had a series of mamas and each has been different; Bella, our first, was a strict mama, her tag line would be “now cut it out all of you and behave!”. Sweetie, our mama from last year would have the tag line, “Here’s how to be in submission, and here, and here and here…now get me out of here!”. And Annie‘s would be, “Where’s my KONG? Where is it? Oh, you want to nurse – FINE, hurry up I have to find my KONG!!” But Chloe’s would be “Hi you guys! How are you? Wanna wrestle? OK! I love you all.” It is heartwarming and so sweet to watch. I can’t wait for a warm sunny day to get some video on it to share with all of you.

Chloe and her pups 5/30/09Puppy adoption interviews are going well. I’ve met some wonderful families full of love and eager to share it with a puppy. Watching them choose a puppy makes me wonder what is it exactly that we respond to in a puppy? Mostly I think it is looks and what those looks tell us about the kind of dog we hope it will be. But what most people don’t realize is that the description of the kind of dog the puppy will be is really just a story – an invention made up of what that puppy represents, how it reminds them of a past pet, or is the opposite of a past pet, that sort of thing. Most people don’t really chose based on temperament (though, with this group you can’t go wrong – with a mama like Chloe) or energy level match – though some do go into the process with those ideas in mind. But I tell you, I can tell a family that given their set of criteria one puppy would be better than another but most don’t listen once they have gotten their eyes on a pup – they just fall in love and the story line begins.


Chloe and pups settling in

Chloe and pups 5/19/09Getting the family at week 3 is so different! I realize that usually by now I have all the puppies identified by personality – who is more outgoing, who is more vocal, that sort of thing. But the best I can do now is count them, and there always seems to be the same one missing… she’s always off in some corner snoozing all by herself. It could be the same puppy each time, or another one who looks like her, there are three tricolor pups…who knows? I made sure that I held each one tonight and said “hello.” The one mostly white male with back dew claws does stand out for me but that’s about it. The rest I can identify in my mind but have no idea who is who. There are two pairs of pups who look similar, one male and one female each. And I think one of the golden ones that looks like the white one is a male too – he’s got the cutest face! It is crazy how cute he is. I know I say this each and every time but THESE are the cutest puppies ever…

Chloe is a dream. I walked her today with the “pack” – my four and my neighbor’s. She did well, better than Sweetie and way better than Annie. She is a calm dog, submissive and willing to listen but likes to run away from me when I want to “nab” her to bring her inside or to brush her. She has asked for snuggles a lot more than I thought she would so soon. She is a very loving dog. Someone is going to be WAY lucky to have her.

May 20, 2009 • Tags: , , , • Posted in: Chloe, observations, pups • No Comments

Puppies are coming! Puppies are coming!

The phone rang early this morning. H.E.L.P. has a mama dog and her seven 4-week old pups in need. As is often the case, we know very little about this group, but we will soon enough – they will be here in a few hours!

Here is what we do know. The mama is believed to be a 40lb Golden Retreiver mix. She had her litter of pups four weeks ago and is coing to us via the same shelter in Fulton County Illinois that brought Sweetie and Annie into our lives.  If you haven’t, you should read up on their stories here on

So put back on your daily reading list – we will be writing, posting photos & videos of this new fostering experience!