Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mouse nightmares

Ever wonder what keeps mice awake at night?

I do!

Hi, I'm Minnie (the mouser) - as my dad likes to call me. I alone am responsible for clearing the prairie dogs from our five acre home site. When my family first moved in, they didn't see a prairie dog that first summer because the previous owner had a cat. The next summer mom and dad saw a few of those rodents and thought they were cute. Right.

By the third summer, prairie dogs were hanging out at every tree, why there must have been a hundred of them. Then I showed up, and I can't remember ever having so much fun. Some of those dogs were as tall as me, but they never stood a chance. Yup, I put on a lot of weight that year.

Today I have to work harder to amuse myself since the prairie dog population has dwindled so. These days all I can find are mice. Don't let anyone fool you, a mouse is not as tasty as a prairie dog and they don't hang around chatting like those talking rodents.

If you were a mouse, I would imagine that this picture is the stuff that nightmares are made of. I brought this mouse up to the door so dad could see me having fun and he snapped a couple pictures to remind me of my summer vacation. I do know how to have fun!

PS: If you want to see more of me, come visit me at my "Cat House"!

PPS: Maybe later dad will tell the story of my big sister, Lilly Belle who tangled with a skunk. The skunk suffered the same fate as this mouse... but IMHO, Lilly was the big loser. Wow, did she ever stink!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Barking Dog?

News from the pack leader...

If you are a subscriber to this blog, you are aware that our "puppy" is a criminal having been cited by the Sheriff (3 times) for barking. Yes, in rural America where you can shoot guns, dig a gravel mine and use your back yard for anything you choose – we have a county-wide ordinance for "barking dogs". And not just any old run-of-the-mill barking dog ordinance…

No sir, our purposely vague law states that anyone can have the Sheriff cite a dog owner if the dog's barking bugs them. There are no definitions as to how many times the dog can bark, how long it can bark, at what it can bark or. . . . or nothing! Dog barks – you don’t like it - call the Sheriff. Got a neighbor you don't like who has a dog? Call the Sheriff. What a great way to drive a neighbor to the brink – but it is not working.

We chose to pursue our legal rights as we feel that our dog should be allowed to bark at the bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and drivers who are lost and think our paved drive is a road. Toss in the UPS guy, Fed-X, mail carriers and other neighborhood distractions and . . . these are the reasons we have a dog that barks and protects us on our tiny 5 acre plot.

Well Tuesday was the day for our "omnibus hearing", where we met with a judge and the county prosecutor to discuss our side of the case and decide if we wanted to pay a fine or go for a jury trial. It should be noted that each of the citations required a separate trip to the courthouse to plead not guilty. Today was our 4th. trip to the courthouse on this matter. The neighbor? All he has to do is dial the phone.

We were prepared. We believed that we could demonstrate that the County’s barking dog ordinance is extraordinarily vague, lacks any definition, provides County officials and dog owners no reasonable guidance, and is blatantly unfair to all dog owners in the County.

We believed that we could establish that this county-wide ordinance, when applied to rural areas, violates personal freedoms, the State Constitution and the Code of the West (seriously, that's real). We also do not believe that one unfriendly individual should have the power to dictate standards to an entire community. We were ready to do battle, armed with color photos, letters to the Sheriff, emails of support from neighbors and highlighted copies of the State Constitution and the Code of the West, and a stack of supporting documentation (my bride is like, well - a dog with a bone when it comes to research - no pun intended).

Tuesday during our hearing, we learned that if we go to court and win - nothing changes. The only thing we "win" is absolution of a small fine (in this case, three fines). Our neighbor can call the Sheriff that day and we begin the cycle all over again. We paid the fine. The thought of yet another future trip to the courthouse to gain absolutely nothing seemed like a waste of time. So there you have it, one disgruntled neighbor can dictate his will to the entire community.

But wait, we're not done yet. We have a plan and this plan is a humdinger! No, nothing illegal or even morally or ethically questionable (unless you agree that our legal system is morally or ethically flawed, but that's a debate for a different blog).

We KNOW our neighbor is not a dog lover, so it is improbable that he subscribes to this blog, but we will save our plan for a future post - AFTER - we've accomplished our mission of getting our neighbor and our Great Pyrenees to live in harmony and peace. In the meantime, I've got to go straighten-up the house for the next deputy Sheriff's visit.

PS: And BTW, the Sheriff and all the deputies we have met (5 now) are just outstanding, professional and courteous people.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Whitefish Winter Carnival Parade

Lilly: Puff, Pooh and Minnie... did you cats see me in the parade yesterday? I was the star, mom told me so!

Pooh: What parade? I must have been sleeping. There was a parade? Why didn't someone wake me?

Lilly: Yesterday, they held the annual Whitefish Winter Carnival and they had a huge parade, and I walked with about 12 other dogs from the Northwest Montana Humane Society. We were awesome - we were the hit of the parade! Mom told me that was true.

Puff: Yeah well, mom isn't one to always tell the truth when she's talking about you, Lilly. I mean after all, she does call you "Puppy Love". What could be further from the truth?

Lilly: Hey, this was a big deal, they've been holding this parade for 48 years. This year I was the star. One short human called out... "Hey look a Polar bear"!

Pooh: Well, too bad hunting season is over, you'd look good hanging on somebodies wall.

Lilly: Pooh, they stuff cats too, ya know! And besides, no one would shoot "Puppy Love".

Minnie: I would, will you show me how?
Lilly: You ladies are so "catty". Go back to sleep! That's what you do best anyhow.