Happy First (Seventh ????) Birthday!*

I originally wrote this post four years ago (2010) to be published on the first anniversary of the births of The Hounds from Hell and then for some reason (a busy life, work, study…  laziness) didn’t finish it.  So I thought that perhaps four years later I’d go back and revise it to reflect things that have changed since that first year.  Changes – if any – are in blue.  I’ve added a few pictures – some of which may well have appeared here before – from over the past few years.

*This was the original title but of course it should really read Happy Fifth (35?) Birthday! 

The first day we saw them – March 13, 2009 – they almost fit in my hand.
At the end of their first day with us – April 24, 2009.  It was an exhausting day for everyone.

The Hounds from Hell turned one year old this week – Nora actually last week (February 19), she’s the older of the two. (Nicky was born on February 23 – they are from two different litters) There was no party and nobody got any presents but I was reminded of a friend who worked her way through collage as an events planner. At the time there was a television personality called LouLou or something like that, who was very popular in Quebec and she asked my friend to plan a birthday party for her poodle and the other dogs from the off-leash park in Outremont. The party mostly consisted of Loulou and her friends enjoy cocktails upstairs as the dogs scrapped, peed, craped, humped, slept and created mayhem amongst streamers and balloons downstairs. Every twenty minutes a progressively more festive Loulou would call down to ask how things were going – though since she purported to be a psychic you’d think she would have known? Apparently she  missed the guests destroying the rather elaborate doggie biscuit cake while a great Dane tried to hump her beloved Bijoux.  My friend said it was a total disaster but at least it paid for her books for that year’s courses at University.

A year later in April, 2010 they fit their lovely big kid collars from Auntie Cecilia and pretty much
owned the house and had the humans trained the way they wanted them to be.

But I digress – back to the kids! In honour of their first fifth year I thought I’d post this adaptation I made of a great e-mail I got from my friend Charlie and added some pictures of the HFH from the past two months five years.

If I Didn’t Have Two Dogs ….

  • All the carpets would be in place to cover those cold tiled and marble hardwood floors.
  • All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of hair.

These photos were part of the original post so I thought I’d leave them as is.

Nick really is intrigued and I might add distressed by suitcases – signs of an adventure to come or being left alone! And he does love to pose!
  • When the doorbell rings, it wouldn’t sound like a kennel.
  • When the doorbell rings, I could get to the door without wading through barking, fuzzy bodies who beat me there.
Honestly Nicky hasn’t been drinking – its just one of his favourite ways of laying – even when he was a puppy.

And another favoured position is this sort of pile-on – which was fine when they were puppies
– a bit more cumbersome when they got a bit bigger.

    • I could sit on the couch, at the computer or on my bed the way I wanted, without taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable.
    • I would be able to get up to answer the phone or the call of nature without having 10 kilos of fur glower at me for disturbing their rest.
    Our Nora has always had a Zen side to her – her mantra is the Daschie equivalent of “Kill the Squirrel”.
    And Nicky is always more interested in things of – or more to the point on – the table.

    • I would have money, and no guilt when I go on a vacation.
    • I would not be on a first-name basis with 3 veterinarians, as I put their yet unborn grandkids through college.
    Semper iacebat in sole – the Daschie motto!
    And sometimes a girl has to forgo elegance to get that all important tan just right.

    • The most used words in my vocabulary would not be: NORA, NICKY, out, sit, down, come, NO, stay, and leave him/her/it ALONE.
    • I would not have to pretend to eat from the dog dish to establish who is the alpha or at least in my case beta in the household.
    • I would not talk ‘ baby talk’ in French and English:  ‘Mange, mange!’ ‘DoeDoe’. “Who’s the most beautiful girl/handsomest boy on Mcleod St
    • I would no longer have to spell the words W-A-L-K, T-R-E-A-T, G-O, R-I-D-E, B-I-S-C-U-I-T.
    Yeah well you can say: get off! as much as you want – if you turn the heat off outside
    in October we’re planning on being warm and comfortable inside until it comes back on. 

    • I’d look forward to a gentle fall of rain without thinking “O God! Mud! Puddles!”.
    • My pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and an extra leash.
    • Walks November through April would not entail unending struggles with boots and coats
    • It would not be necessary to go back into a snow bank to retrieve boots that have been kicked off by over-exuberant little back feet.


    You say Patriotic – I say just plain embarrassing!  And you want me to go out dressed like this?

      Our Nora – every vigilant!  Just in case some other dog walks by four floors down
      – she’ll sound the warning!  And god help the dog that dares come up here!

      • I would not have to explain to concerned joggers that I am NOT “doing anything” to that dog its just that she’s seen a squirrel and that’s her hunting howl.  
      • Okay let me say this more slowly – she is a hunting dog,  yes she is small but you wouldn’t want to see her take on that squirrel!
      Explain to me again why I left a warm patio in Roma for this?

      Yes red is “my colour” but honestly enough is really enough!
      • I would not look strangely at people who think having ONE dog/cat ties them down too much.
      • I would not have to answer the question “Don’t two dogs really interfere with your life?” from people who don’t understand that yes they do but the joy they bring into my life more than makes up for it.
      Your coffee table?  Where on earth did you get the idea it was your coffee table?

      Yep the Hounds from Hell are still pains in the butt but they are our pains in the butt and we love them almost as much as they love us – particularly if we have a two biscuits in hand.

      February 21 –  1739: Richard Palmer is identified at York Castle, by his former schoolteacher, as the outlaw Dick Turpin.

      HFH* – Long Overdue GPP**

      Its been so long that most people have probably forgotten the acronyms *HFH (Hounds from Hell) and **GPP (Gratuitous Puppy Pictures) but rest assured that Nicky and Nora are still running around the household.  Mind you they are no longer puppies however as far as I’m concerned they will always be my puppies.

      This is now their third winter here in Canada and much like the humans they own they are still not use to or happy with it.   And they are particularly not use to (or happy with) winter arriving at the end of November!  They have however learned the difference between the temperature and the temperature + wind chill.  As an example this past Monday it may well have been only -24°C but with a sharp blowing wind that -30°C was more like it. They’ve learned that when it gets that cold the stylish doggie coats come out.

      They’ve also learned that when there is snow and ice on the ground plus salt to melt the snow and ice  – and our super uses generous amounts of salt – then those detested red booties are also necessary.  The past week or two the boots have become de rigueur for even the quickest trip into the cold. 

      But of course this winter sartorial splendor requires that the human equation in all this do some fancy work to get puppies clad and booted.  Not having a great experience of it  I am only guessing but I would think it is less work to get a child ready for skating on the canal.

      Particularly with our Nicky.  First he runs and hides on the couch, then reluctantly creeps towards the entrance hall – trembling in (feigned) fear and trepidation.  A furtive look up and an attempt to placate the demanding human with a quick lick face-wards.  Then the real fun begins 

       Okay so the left paw – nay won’t fight you on that one:

       The back paws – hmmm well okay I’ll let you win that one.  In fact I may even lift my leg so you can get them on without too much trouble.

      Ah the right paw – not sure on that one…. how about I just put it over here out of reach and push real hard against your paw. 

      Gosh you weren’t able to get it on that way – how about I push the other way.  Oh sorry that doesn’t seem to be helping much, does it? 

      Well okay that one is finally on – hey it only took three minutes this time, if you want I can do a repeat of the morning I went for the record?????  Okay I’m ready!  Hurry up I have to go!

      Nora is a bit more of a stoic about it – no fuss, the odd furtive look and attempted lick; she won’t fight you but she’ll be damned if she’ll help you with this form of canine torture.  She is not really happy about this; in fact if she had a cell phone the Humane Society  would be on speed dial!

       Okay now I’m ready!  I don’t like this one bit but damn it red is my colour isn’t it?

      Okay torture – not to mention the indignity of being seen in those damned boots – over!  Biscuits given as a rewards for doing what we were aching to do anyway.  Time for a doe-doe.  Wake us when it’s summer!

      December 21 – 1913: Arthur Wynne‘s “word-cross”, the first crossword puzzle, is published in the New York World.

      HFH – Updated Gratuitous Puppy Pictures

      Settled into their new home the HFH seem quite happy in the one chair they are allowed to be up on in the living room.

      Its been a long while since I’ve posted photos, let alone any news, of the HFH. Actually its been a long time since I’ve posted anything regularly, this working for a living is interfering with my living but I keep meaning to remedy that – the posting thing I mean.

      Nick and Nora have adapted fairly quickly to their new home – perhaps more readily than the humans in the family. Fortunately we found a very pet friendly building – there are two other dogs on our floor alone – plus at least 10 others in the building including a snappy schnauzer and two pugnacious pugs that even I won’t ride in the elevator with.  So far no one has complained about the odd barking or even a occasional ruckus in the hallway.

      Nora has always had that thoughtful side to her
      – or perhaps she is just annoyed about that flashy thing going off again!
      Though here she does seem to be “at one” with herself,
      almost as if she is taking her inspiration from my little Buddha.

      Nora has discovered squirrels and they are the enemy! She’s also discovered and seems quite captivated by Toby the Portuguese water dog who lives across the hallway. Unfortunately her reaction to him is almost the same as her reaction to the squirrels – full hunting howl! Neither the squirrels nor Toby seem impressed by this display of interest. The former run like mad chattering excitedly and poor Toby just wants to get away from this mad little creature as fast as he can. This ear piercing howl which no doubt serves her mother well when hunting boar in Tuscany has led to several embarrassing incidents in the boarless environs of Ottawa.   One peaceful Sunday morning around 0700 just after we moved in she and I were walking along the Rideau Canal and a squirrel was sighted. The Sunday calm was shattered and the air rent with a series of high pitched bays which echoed across the water – a noisy concerned jogger stopped in his tracks, ran back and indignantly demanded to know what I was doing to that poor dog! And just last week we encountered Toby coming in from his walk early morning walk as we were leaving for ours. Its odd how an apartment hallway amplifies sound – almost every door on the floor opened and be-housecoated occupants poked their heads out to see who was being murdered! Well at least I know that I live amongst concerned neighbours.

      Nicky is proud of his Italian heritage but the idea of wearing an Italia jersey doesn’t seem to appeal all that much.  We’ll see how he feels when it drops to -30c, the display of patriotism may be welcomed at that point.

      Our Nicky is another story – as he always has been. He’s an extremely timid little fellow at heart and responds to people cautiously. Unfortunately that shyness turns to aggression on occasion so we have to be very careful with him in the elevator and on our walks. He looks so sweet as he trots along the Canal with that “I’m a sexy little Italian stud on the catwalk” strut of his that everyone wants to pet him. Fortunately the schools seem to be teaching kids that it is always best to ask first before petting a strange dog – it saved us some possibly sticky situations. In an attempt to avoid trouble we brought in Barkbusters and he has responded to their system remarkably well. As their Uncle Pervy said the other day – Nicky’s the perfect pack dog he actually wants to follow orders. Nora however is a little less willing to follow anything but her hunter instincts… or poor Toby. But we’re working on it and us – as the Barkbuster motto, rather snidely to my way of thinking, puts it: Dogs are great trainers of people!

      Nora – ever the instigator – to Nick:  Okay we’re not suppose to be up here but its sunny, its soft and its warm.  Don’t move and old what’s-his-name won’t even notice us – we’ll just blend in.

      Though I’m not looking forward to Ottawa’s famous snow days – normally from sometime in late November until sometime in late May as I recall – I’m anticipating the HFH’s reaction to their first encounter with snow. I have a feeling Nicky will look at it as an insult to his dignity and Nora will revel in it. What ever it will be I want to have the camera at hand to record the event!

      20 novembre/November – I Santi Avventore, Ottavio e Solutore

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      Gratuitous HFH iPhone Photo

      God lord, Debra may have been right in her comment on the previous post – I’m taking photos with my iPhone like some teenager called Ashley.   Here’s one of the kids first thing this morning.

      Nicky loves the sun and I’m sure he thinks its hiding the ceramic jar in the alcove. As with much that happens in our house Nora lets him do the work and she’ll bask in it once he’s found it.

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      Auguri Fantastico!

      As I explain almost two years ago when we decided that our darling Cecilia was right and the new pups should be called Nick and Nora we ran into a small problem. For the month of February the registration names with the Italian Kennel Club had to begin with E or F – not that anyone could tell us why just that they had to begin with E or F!!!  Nora was no big deal we simply registered her as Eleanora della Casa Degli Orsi; Nicky, however, was a problem (as he often seems to be) – which we solved by registering him as Fantastico Nicky della Casa Degli Orsi.

      Anyway, today is Fantastico Nicky’s birthday – though they are from the same kennel the Hounds from Hell are not from the same litter. And as poor Nicky has discovered its not always easy being the younger one. And though they fight like cats dogs and dogs Nicky seems lost when Nora isn’t around.  Nora on the other hand like, many older kids, seems blithely indifferent to his presence or absence unless he’s bothering her and then its all-in wrestling.  But I noticed that last night when he was in his kennel – there had been some territorial issues – she did sulk for a little bit. I guess like us, the little  bugger is growing on her.

      Himself really doesn’t like that thing with the red light and the flash that the one with the shiny eyes is always pointing at him.  So its best if you just ignore it or better yet do something to make sure he’ll say: Damn can’t use that one! 

      Regardless of his status as chief Hound from Hell – love you lots my little Nicky.  Happy Birthday Nickster!

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