Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Last of the Pups

Today we passed Brooks off to his new guardian as Dennis took him away to Tampa. He will be getting the attention of the whole family there, including two little girls, four and six, who have no idea that he's coming. I expect Brooks to have a spectacular life in a setting where he will get a lot of great care and tons of attention. We didn't have much of a chance to bond with the other pups as they were part of a large group soiling their pen. With Brooks by himself, he mostly did his business outside and we found that to be a most endearing quality. That he is so very friendly and loving wasn't a bad thing either. So it was with some mixed emotions that we watched him go. I could say how life is easier now that all the puppies are gone, but one puppy is not a lot of work and the joy he brings FAR outweighs any work involved. Last night he slept in the kitchen area by himself. He had access to water and could attend to business as needed, without calling on us. However, a little after 8:00 AM, he was HUNGRY and he let us know. He set up such a howling to be fed, but once his dish was put before him he was all business. A few minutes later all the dogs went out, with Brooks chasing Jodie and Coco as fast as his little legs would carry him and with his ears flopping as he ran. He took care of business very quickly and hustled back to the house. It was very cold this morning and he knew the house was warm.

From Puppy Pics

From Pups for Peeps

Brooks has come a long way in such a short time. We wish him a long and healthy life and hope to get a picture or two in time.

Now, we are free, so it's off to dinner with friends, if Helen's eyes are not too red.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas, the day after... a family day.

The day after Christmas all the Tempestas gathered at Scott and Heather's for the family part of the holiday. Though I can't vouch for everyone, Helen and I had a grand time. The grandchildren are getting so big. Kolbie is seven and Kyle will be seven shortly. Kourtnie is getting to be quite the young woman and Branden........well, we didn't see too much of Branden.
From Christmas 2009

He pulled an all-nighter playing video games and was unconscious except for the one trip to the bathroom.

The Clermont Tempestas were there as well as the Clermont Evans and Hall. Kimberly has grown so much and has become so mobile. She's going to be a handful as she learns to walk and get into everything.

From Christmas 2009

Gramma Jean was there and I'm sorry that this is the only picture I got. She spent a lot of time walking with Kimberly and we thought that she might not give he back to Kristin.

From Christmas 2009
This is Kristin with Kimberly and Kolbie looking on.

From Christmas 2009
A pair of Duds that showed up at the party.

From Christmas 2009
Keaton and Robin

From Christmas 2009
Kourtnie and Kimberly, while Kourtnie didn't have her Mac in her hands.

From Christmas 2009
Candy canes filled with Hersey Kisses. This is as close as I came.

From Christmas 2009
Kyle and Helen minding Brooks, the wonder pup.

Christmas 2009

Helen and I spent Christmas with Barbara and Rita in Homosassa. Just the four of us.......oh...and Brooks, the last of the puppies. As usual, the Barita Girls did a bang up job with everything.

From Christmas 2009

The food was great. The conversation was lively and we just had a good time. No pressure. No madness. No stress.

From Christmas 2009

As usual, I went home feeling like a stuffed turkey.

Brooks was exceptional. I took him outside several times and he did all his business out there. There is an empty lot next door and he was having a heck of a time frolicking in the tall grass. He seems to like that because he enjoys running through the ground cover at home.

As I said a very nice day with dear friends.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


This afternoon we lost two more puppies as they went off to a new chapter in their lives. The black female I call Princess is on her way to Fort Pierce and the chocolate female, Bella, is on her way to Port Richey. We are very pleased with both families and feel that these two pups, like all the others are going to very fine home and will have great lives.

At the beginning, Helen and I could only see that we were helping a poor mother and her litter. Yes, we have done that, and we. through Lab Rescue of Florida, have found great homes for all of them. After seeing the faces of the people adopting the pups and the mom, I find that we have also given nine families a nice Christmas. We see the delighted faces on the children and we see the adults cooing like children as they hold their puppies.

In recent years, Helen and I have become somewhat jaded in our view of Christmas, with the gross commercialization and the mantra of more, more, more. Even our own families don't seem to take the season seriously and certainly don't, or haven't appreciated the work that has gone into a family Christmas at our house. Helen and I will celebrate a very non-commercial Christmas with virtually no decorations and no fanfare. We have taken in a desperate mother Lab and her pups, restored them to health and will see them all off to great new homes. It will be our most rewarding Christmas since.........well....since my sons were little boys.

This Christmas I am truly grateful for whatever force brought us and the puppies together.

That's all for now.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Washer woes are gone.

Yesterday I wrote about the washing machine problem we had. This morning I had a new coupler by 9:00 AM and had the washer back in business before 10:00 AM. Are we glad that a new washer wasn't necessary. The part that broke was nylon and I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did. The replacement part is also nylon, but it is reinforced with metal and I doubt I'll ever have to replaces it again. By mid-afternoon we were all caught up with the puppy towels and Helen went to work on the laundry for the people in the house.

The puppies are getting used to having more freedom and do not like to stay in their pen any longer. Even the outside pen cages them in too much. It was too cold this morning, so they had the run of the kitchen and that worked for quite a while. The main thing is letting them run and run and get tired. Then they are content to nap for long periods of time.

In the warmth of this afternoon, we took them out back and let them really run. We left Jodie and Coco inside because they tend to play too rough with the pups. All the pups were very active, running a full speed around the yard. They have advanced to the point where they can run with some speed without tripping from time to time. They were chasing each other around and around and into the trees. They lasted much longer that I thought they would, and when they were brought inside they just collapsed. They must have been exhausted as they have never been that active for so long a time.

We now have four puppies with two going to new homes tomorrow and one on Wednesday. That will leave us with Brooks, the largest of them all, and the most active. We will have him until December 30th and it will be up to me and Helen to keep him occupied. OH BOY!!!! We have names for all the pups except for the black female. Bella the chocolate female will be going tomorrow as well as the black female. Cooper, the male runt will be leaving Wednesday afternoon. Hating to have the beautiful black female with no name I've been calling her Princess.
I could say what a beauty she is, and she is, but all of the puppies have been exceptional and that's my completely unbiased opinion.

That's all for now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Doggone and Washer Woes

Right now, Sunday afternoon, we are down to just four puppies, and we are very pleased with the caliber of the families adopting our beautiful pups. My earlier optimism about the easing of the poop situation was dashed this morning when it looked like the droppings of more pups than we had before. What can ya do? Of course, part of raising eight puppies is doing load after load after load of towels that we use for bedding as they soil them continuously. At least the washer and dryer have been keeping up with the job.

At least until this morning. We tend to do very large loads and run at maximum load, or more, run at maximum agitation, and run at maximum spin. This morning the washer said "I've had enough!!!" I started the laundry and probably overloaded the washer. When it was full, there were only two or three more towels in the basket, so I just added them. When I left the laundry room, the washer was washing normally. A short while later Helen brought more towels out there and noted that the washer was making a funny noise and was not agitating. I investigated and sure enough, the motor was running but all we got was a clicking sound. Damn!!! A tub full of poopy water and towels.

I turned the control to spin and I got the clicking sound, but also the sound of the pump and the water being pumped out. That was a blessing because working on the washer was bad enough, but having to bail out the tube would have been a real pain. After taking all the towels out and running the pump once more, I got nearly all the water out. Next, I disconnected the machine and rolled it out into the garage and flipped it over. I toyed with it for a little while and didn't make any progress and thought we'd have to buy a new one. I checked out Sears Outlets for a scratch and dent special and was considering a quick ride to Tampa in the afternoon.

Then, since we had a couple of hours before the people picking up their pup were due, I had another go at the washer. It only took a few moments to find that the problem is a broken nylon connector between the motor and the transmission. Now this is a part that probably cost ten cents to make, but will probably cost me $15.00 to buy. Tomorrow, first thing, I'll be up at Welch Appliance repair shop to get a replacement. We'll have to see how it works out tomorrow.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Puppies, puppies, puppies

Yesterday was the day for all the shots with the pups and it went amazingly well. Working with eight active puppies was new to me, but old hand to the girls at TLC Veterinary. They were very methodical and thorough. Three girls working as a team efficiently processed all eight puppies in record time. I was very careful in making sure that the correct microchip was given to the correct puppy. I double checked and rechecked again when I got home. The process was a success.

Today we are awaiting the first adopter, Mike, who will be taking one of the chocolate females. I could say something about his pup being beautiful, and she is, but we were blessed with a situation where all eight pups are very beautiful dogs. The girls at the vets office remarked at how beautiful they all were and appear to be pure Labrador Retrievers. We hope so, but it's not necessary. Our dog Sandy was a Lab mix and a finer dog would be hard to find.

I'm going to go now to get my paperwork ready. This afternoon the people adopting one of the black males will be here and this evening Skyler ( we knew her as Mittens) will be leaving.

Hectic, Hectic, Hectic!!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Keeping Busy with the Dogs.

It's going to be a hectic day today as we have to take the eight pups to the vet. The last time was six weeks ago when they all fit in one laundry basket and were not very active. Today we'll have eight squirming, wiggling, jumping demons and I'm really hoping that the vet and staff have some plan to make this work. I'll have more later.

Yesterday we got a message from Olive, Freckles new housemate. She related how well Freckles was behaving and that Freckles even wagged her tail when she was met in the morning. Olive can't know how much we wanted to hear that. We were so worried about the dog and how she would adapt to the new home. It really eased our minds.

So this morning it's off to the vets. Tomorrow will be departure day for three of the pups, which means that there will be 37% less poop to pick up on Sunday. I'll quit now before I go off the deep end.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A New Home for Freckles!

Today was the day when we had to pass Freckles on to Olive and Frank as they took her to her new home. Helen and I could not be more pleased with Olive and Frank as adopters of a girl we have come to love. We took Freckles in on November 4th, taking her home from a very gloomy animal control station upstate. She was so shy and afraid of everything when we first got her, pulling away when we went to pet her as she thought she would be hit.

In the first few days, Jodie would not allow her into the computer room where Jodie sleeps, so Freckles would stay out in the hall when the rest of us were at the computer. Eventually Freckles became a real member of the pack, running with Jodie and Coco around the yard and into the woods. Helen taught her to play fetch with a tennis ball and she soon became obsessed with playing, not with just the ball, but playing with Jodie and Coco as well. If there is one thing that I can say that is in any way negative, it's that she will take any advantage to grab a cookie if the door is open to the dog food and cookies. If Helen takes out the vacuum cleaner hose and leaves the door open, Freckles WILL snag a cookie or two. That's as negative as I can get and I think you'll agree that it's not really a problem.

We've had many labrador retreivers pass through here in the last few years and they have all been a joy. Freckles went well beyond that and became a real part of the family, as lovable a dog as you could ever find. Helen felt bad that we were passing Freckles on again, but this is not like anything in her past. I'm sure she's going to be doted on by Frank and especially by Olive as she becomes part of their family.

We knew when we first took her that she would be going to a "forever" home some day. In fact, we worried that finding such a home for her might be difficult. Puppies are easy to place, but older dogs are not always as popular. With Olive and Frank it appeared to be love at first sight and though we are delighted for Freckles, our hearts hurt already and Freckles will be missed. Missed, but never forgotten.

From Freckles Move

From Freckles Move

From Freckles Move

From Freckles Move

From Freckles Move

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Smile !!! or at least don't Growl!!!

We had our favorite photographer over today to take a few pictures of us with the eight puppies. It was not our intent to get a "studio quality" portrait of the ten of us, just a picture that we'd have to remember this chapter in our lives. Rita came over on Friday and took several pictures, but none met her approval, so we tried again this afternoon.

Can you imagine trying to pose with arms full of wriggling eels??? Well, eight puppies are not too much easier.

From Puppy Pics

This picture is more than we expected as a picture of the puppies and us. We have, quite literally, hundreds of pictures of the pups, so we'll never forget this short adventure in our lives.

All the adult dogs get along so well that we wonder how Jodie and Coco Will adjust to having Freckles gone in a couple of weeks. When Freckles came home after the spaying, she was greeted with wagging tails and sniffs and licks. She has truly become one of the pack.

More later.


Yesterday was an unusual day in the annals of Tempesta sports. Three generations participated in a round of golf at Whispering Pines Golf Course in eastern Citrus County. My son, Paul, Jr., grandson Keaton, and I headed out for a quick nine holes under an over cast sky. They were high clouds, though, with no chance of rain. The temperature was very comfortable. On the sixth hole I finally hit an iron shot that didn't bounce along the ground and on the seventh tee I hit a drive that was my best shot of the day. Paul, Jr. can easily outpower his dad and was able to get some awesome distance, often over shooting the green. His tee shot on the ninth was his best shot of the day and was an exactly perfect shot straight down the fairway, straight WAY DOWN the fairway. A couple of yards further and a slight fade to the right and he would have been on the green.

Keaton is at the very beginning of his golf life and it's obvious that he doesn't buy his own golf balls. He is a determined golfer and if he drives a ball into the water, he's happy to try again from the same spot. His Dad finally got him to accept the bad shot and drop a new ball and take a stroke penalty rather than keep hitting balls in the water.

I used to beat Paul, Jr. regularly, but those days are over as he has improved greatly since we last played. Now I can eke out a win over Keaton, but it's too obvious that as we continue to play, I'll be coming in third in this group. I feels good to be going out as three generations. I get the same feeling when I go fishing with Scott and Branden. I'm sorry that my sons and I never got the chance to share quality time with my father.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Truth about Cats and Dogs

Well, that's not really true as I know very little about cats and there will be no information about them. I'm gomg to dwell on the eleven dogs we have in the house.

We've had the mother Lab and her pups for 36 days, with about 10 days to go. It has been a great experience and a source of great joy. The mother was so shy, timid to the extreme. She didn't know about television and barked at all the noises that came from the TV set. I tried to watch "Marley and Me" which was about a yellow Lab, but Freckles would create such a uproar the I had to turn it off. When Helen first took the dogs out to play ball, Freckles didn't know what to do with the ball and she just watched it roll away. Then she reached the point where she would actually retrieve the ball and brind it back to Helen, as Coco does. Now she has graduated to the Jodie style of retrieving. Throw the ball and Freckles gets it, now chase her to get it back.

Where she once had to be led up the back yard for "business", she now races out there and she is much faster than Coco or Jodie. Beating Coco doesn't surprise me due to Coco's hips, but Jodie seemed so fast. Freckles long legs and sleek profile allow her to find a loping gait that easily puts her well ahead of the other dogs.

Once shy, she now barks when she wants something, and it's a very loud bark that you can't ignore. She barks when she wants a cookie and she barks when she wants to go out. She also barks when she wants water and the water dish is empty. Yup, sometimes me and Helen bad! Generally, when Helen tells her to stop barking and lay down, and she does.

Now, to the little dogs. OK, they are still really puppies, but the seem more like little dogs every day. We got a 10% coupon from PetSupermarket and I told Helen that we should stock up on food for our dogs and the foster dogs while we were buying. I suggested two big bags of puppy chow and Helen thought that it would be too much, but she acceded to my wishes and got the two bags. It was a good thing because we will probably need ANOTHER bag also.

The puppies are going through a lot of puppy chow as they are building mass and body strength. Now you can think of a puppie as a processing plant that takes in puppy chow and water and converts it to another product or two at the other end. So as the rate of using the chow increases, the end product also increases. This end product is not like puppy doo, but normal doggie doo, but a little smaller. OK, keep this in mind. I'm going to another topic, but will return to this subject.

Toys! Do the love to play with toys!!! Little stuffed animals and rubber balls are toys they like. A section of rope or a towel can be used in tug-o-war. Things that squeek get a lot of attention. These are bought toys, but really, anything that enters their pen becomes a plaything. Step into the pen and it seems that your shoes are being attacked by piranha or a swarm of bees. The bottom of your Jeans become a great item to chew and tug. Shoe laces are undone, over and over and over. Now we go back to the last topic.

When one of the dogs creates product, that is new and that becomes a plaything, if they see it. Helen and I try to pick up as soon as we possibly can so it's not tracked all over. They may not notice it, bit as we reach down with a paper towel, the swarm around your hand, walk in the poop, and try to grab the paper towel. I have a squeeky toy in my left hand to draw them away and that worked very well, but only twice. They're on to me and just attack the hand doing the work.

Their voices are getting louder. I mean LOUDER. This morning I wanted to sleep in a bit. Impossible. It sounded like a pack of pit bulls had cornered a dozen cats. Helen was taking care of things, but the noise persisted and eventually I gave up. Ten more days!

Today I remodled the pen, making it more difficult for them to escape. Thinking the pen was secure I was in the other room reading. When I returned the pen was empty as the gate had bee forced open from the bottom. I found the escapees spread out in the family room and back hall. Not a single "accident" or "mess", but only because I got them in time. Having a taste of a larger area, they want more freedom. One puppy is not bad. Two puppies are probably not bad. In fact, the eight puppies are not bad, but they are more than a handful and they keep us very busy.

That's all I'm saying for now.