Saturday, February 28, 2009

Birthday Surprises...

Does that title sound familiar? It might if you're a "Harry Potter" fan. It is the title of chapter 18 in "The Half-Blood Prince". If you haven't read the book, beware! Spoilers ahead! The chapter is about how Ron, Harry's best friend, gets poisoned by accident on his birthday. Thankfully, he makes it. You're probably wondering why on Earth I'm bringing this chapter up, as it sounds pretty horrifying. Don't worry, no one gets poisoned...

Yesterday was Shelby's birthday. She turned the big 0-6 yesterday! I cant believe that my "little one" is 6! It seems like she will always be "the baby" to me...

We started the day with our requisite snuggle in bed before getting up. I told her Happy Birthday over and over, but I did not sing. I did not want to hurt her ears on her special day! I usually don't make a huge deal out of the girls birthdays; I don't throw parties for them and their doggy friends (partly because they're so snobby!) and I usually don't go overboard with buying them lots of things. Now if there is something that they need (OK, let be honest...something that I want and have had my eye on for a while...) I will buy it under the guise of it being "for their Birthday". There is one tradition, however, that we honor every year for each of their birthdays: we always go to the doggie bakery for some special goodies.

You're probably shocked that I, the anal retentive Sheltie-Mom who feeds a specialized raw diet on a very strict schedule, would feed my dogs something from a doggie bakery. But come on. To quote Jell-o, "every one needs a little wiggle room". It's their birthday! They deserve something special.

For Shelby's birthday, which again was yesterday (February 27th), we go to the doggie bakery that is close to home. "The Barkery" opened up in Tewksbury (my home town) a few years ago and we've been going ever since. They make everything on premises and use only human grade ingredients. (In fact, some of their stuff is REALLY good...I only nibble on a cookie or two!) They make doggie birthday cakes and a full bakery counter with canine canoli's, baked apple pies and decorated cookies. If you'd like to check it out, here is the link: We ended up getting two canine cupcakes (in place of a real cake) and two "Lucky Dog" frosted shamrock cookies. Oh, and a party hat for the birthday girl. (I snuck that in when both girls were fogging up the glass while they stared fixedly at the goodies inside...) Now, I admit that my girls aren't very picky when it comes to food. They'll eat anything that stays still long enough. I always tell people that if they mashed up cardboard and made it look like their thawed-raw then my girls would eat it. But they do seem to have more enthusiasm for some things; their raw for example. But the doggie bakery tends to bring out a whole new side of them. They become wide-eyed crazed demons, with the salivatory capabilities of a Newf on a hot August day. They go nuttier than squirrel poo. I mean, I know some people who have this same reaction when they walk into human bakeries. Trust me. My mom has worked in one for over 21 years; and I was suckered into working there for a little while too. Ive seen that wild look in peoples eye when they smell the fresh hot bread or baking cookies. It's SCARY.

Anyways, for Heidi's birthday it's a little different. Well, the routine isn't different, just the location. It seems like every year for Heidi's birthday, which is July 1st, we're away camping. But we always find our way to the dog store and bakery in North Conway, "Four Your Paws Only" ( Now this bakery doesn't make all of their stuff on premises, but it too is all hand made with human grade ingredients. And we can get "Yoghund" frozen yogurt there, which is a little more welcome by hot Shelties in July. We usually end up leaving with both ice cream AND cookies. (And then we go across the street to the 5 and Dime store to get me some fudge!)

So even though we don't usually hold a party, their birthdays are still pretty special. Their bellies feel pretty special anyways! And that brings me to the title of the blog, and it's relation to Chapter 18. I got Shelby ready to celebrate her big day: I put on her very special "It's my paw-ty Birthday Hat! Needless to say, she wasn't happy. In fact, she was pretty miserable. And of course it was made worse by her evil mother taking pictures of her to put here:

Once the "OHMYGODIAMSOPATHETICLOOKING" faces were over (I TOLD you she was a master at looking pitiful...) she decided that she would turn to her sister for help. Maybe Heidi would assist in ridding her of this feather trimmed cardboard piece of shame. But no such luck. However, with the promise of birthday cupcakes, her mood lifted significantly. No surprises there. So I had them sit while I carefully
(and tantalizingly) placed each of their frosted treats in front of them. I had enough time to snap this picture before I released them; I was erring on the side of caution: both dogs were vibrating with hungry excitement, and I wanted to make sure that they didn't explode!

However things started to go wrong when I said "OK" which told them that it was time to eat. Shelby, no doubt using her "Its MY birthday and I can have what ever I want!" card, proceeded to CUT ACROSS her sister (very rudely, might I add...) and STEAL HER CUPCAKE! I had to quickly intervene to make sure that Shelby (being the speed-eater that she is) didn't wolf down her (previously Heidi's) cupcake and go back in for the other one! I snatched that cupcake up and gave it to Heidi. Shelby in the mean time had peeled off her frosting and was chewing the dense little cake so furiously that tiny bits rained on the floor. I checked back with Heidi. Heidi's always had problems eating. She seems to be laboring under the delusion that she has no teeth. She LICKS everything. It's a good thing their raw food is very soft after its thawed; she licks every bit of it. When I give them raw bones, it takes her HOURS to eat them because she tries licking the meat from the bone. (Which, for obvious reasons isn't that successful.) The only things that she does seem to chew are bully-springs and MY CLOTHES. I have had many socks perforated by her "non-existent" teeth. So I watched her pretty close to make sure that she was in fact trying to eat it, and not just lick it to death.

She was, in fact, trying to figure out how the heck to eat this thing. Finally, after many minutes of softening it up with Heidi spit, she was able to eat it. This is when the second bout of trouble started. She kept breaking off little pieces, swallow them, and would then stop eating. I couldn't figure out what was going on; why would she stop eating this seemingly delicious snack half way through? I kept picking up the pieces and offering them to her, to encourage her to finish eating them. I told her that if she didn't finish them, then Shelby would. She ate a few more, and then could be persuaded no more. I decided to let Shelby have the rest. I got a few pictures of Shelby snatching up the crummies off the flood before I rechecked on Heidi. That's when I noticed something was wrong. She was standing stiff and still, but seemed both hunched and diminished at the same time. She was kind of gagging; not coughing or sputtering, but clearly trying to unstick something. I made sure she was breathing and then thumped her hard on the back. I thumped and thumped, and then tried the doggie Heimlich. That's when she started retching. Suddenly a thick, white foam started bubbling in her mouth. She spit some of it out onto the floor and I could see a hunk of cupcake in it. But she was still not right. Her eyes were liquidy and seemed to be sparkling with tears. I thumped harder and heaved her stomach again. More and more frothy white foam laced with cupcake. Finally after the third batch was hurled up, she started to look and act better. She was able to move and walk around.

I stopped panicking and calmed down; I was not going to have to rush her to work (the veterinarian) to get her checked. She was improving. I offered her some water and she turned away from it. I begged her to take a drink; "do it for mummy" I pleaded...and she took a few laps. She stopped again, and I knew that she still wasn't 100% Suddenly Shelby's attack dog instincts kicked in when she heard someone on our street. She started barking in her her big-dog scary voice, and ran to the window. That's when Heidi joined in: jumping and barking right alongside her sister. I knew she would be fine.

She took a few more sips of water, and let out a VERY un-ladylike belch, and has been OK ever since. It was a scary moment there, for a minute. What started out as happy birthday celebrations quickly turned into a tense, white knuckle situation. Luckily, just like with Ron, everything turned out OK. Shelby was even able to finish looking for crummies:

Just as an afterthought, (in case anyone is wondering) things with me have been pretty quiet. I was able to see some friends this week, thanks to their willingness to share their free time to hang out with me. It was nice to talk about other things and hear what was going on in other peoples lives, rather than sitting and always thinking about my own circumstance.

I've also spent quite a bit of time planning for a trip that I'm planning to take in October. My best friend since the age of four is getting married in Miami (on a cruise ship!) this year. I took two weeks off of work to drive down there with the girls. Its been fun finding neat things to do both down and back along the east coast during that time; I'm really looking forward to seeing so many great things with my kids. More on the trip to come!!

Well, that's it for now. I've got to go and check on the Shelties. I've got to make sure that they're still not high on birthday cupcake. You know what they say about too much of a good thing...


  1. Happy Birthday to Shelby! Those photos were great, and your story turned into a knuckle biter....glad it had a happy ending :)

    Wish we had a dog bakery around here. Maybe when I retire from teaching I'll open one of my own! I love to bake.

  2. Happy birthday to Shelby. A bit unpleasant that the cake eating ended up with first aid. Anyway the girls have had a really good day and this is the most important. And you had a nice day too with the dogs and your thoughts have been busy with something else :o)

    PS: I'm a bit in Denmark we don't have a doggie bakery :o(

    //Bente :o)

  3. Happy Birthday. Wow that was a scary cupcake. Im glad everything turned out ok. Diana