Guest Blogger

Guest Blog Post: A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On

Recently I’ve had several guest bloggers on my tierneycreates blog – Wendy Hill (a human) with her series on her Quarantine Quilt collaboration (see link Quarantine Quilts for all the posts); and the tierneycreates Beastie (non human, monster) announcing her new Beastie partner (see link Beastie Adventures for all her posts).

Well Mike the Miniature Schnauzer (non-human, canine) was feeling a little irritated that he had not been invited to guest blog. So I guess it is his turn…


A Whole Lot of Remodeling Going On

Hello Bloglandia.

This is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer. I am dictating this post as although I might secretly have opposable thumbs that would allow me to type for myself, I like to keep certain things secret from my humans.

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I am Mike and I am a Miniature Schnauzer the smartest dog breed imaginable (maybe)

It’s my turn to do a guest blog post! My adopted sister Sassy (who passed in December 2017) used to have her own blog, Schnauzer Snips: Musings from a Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer. I am not asking for my own blog, just to be invited to guest blog once in a while so you can read about life from a Miniature Schnauzer’s perspective.

I am a rescue (I rescued my humans from life without me) and if you’d like to read my story it is on this post – Taking Chances: The Mike Hogan Chronicles (re-post). I lost one of my humans (male human, Terry) suddenly in December 2018 but my female human (Tierney) and I have been making the best of our new life in the metropolitan Denver Colorado area since April 2019 (see series of posts Colorado Bound).

I now have the new male human in my life (John) nearly fully managed as you will see later in this post.

I’ve been spending a lot of time at home improvement stores during the pandemic. My humans have been working on a lot of remodeling projects and I am trying to supervise them as best I can.

2020-08-06_19-33-02_390Back in late March/start of April 2020 my humans made the decision not to move to a new house they were going to buy and instead to stay in their current abode (see post Perspective) due to the initial financial crisis in the early days of the pandemic.

Staying in their current residence meant fixing it up so that both humans were happy with it and it met their needs.

For my female human, that meant redoing her studio (see post Guest Blogger: tierneycreates’ “New” Studio Tour); and for my male human it meant building a workshop for his woodworking in the daylight basement:

2020-07-08_16-05-22_7772020-08-07_08-07-02_0832020-08-07_08-07-06_936His workshop is still a work in progress but he is very happy to now have his own “playroom” like my female human!

So you might ask – what did it mean for me? Well it meant lots of trips to home improvement stores for supplies.

Sometimes on my male human’s back:

2020-06-15_11-05-29_5162020-06-15_11-07-03_5522020-06-15_11-07-06_9512020-06-15_11-10-59_046And sometimes in the shopping cart:

2020-07-19_16-22-13_3132020-07-19_16-22-15_4622020-07-19_16-24-29_4482020-08-06_19-33-05_305I know, I know, you just can’t get enough of the cute photos of me in a shopping cart. Unfortunately my female human said we have to limit the photos to only four (4) because she has to protect her digital storage allotment on her blog (sigh).

The humans also did a lot of “fixing things” in the house to include dangerous high altitude ceiling fan installation:

2020-03-01_13-29-53_037Yes that is a ladder, on top of scaffolding. Looks pretty safe to me (NOT!)

My male human even figured out during the early days of the pandemic how to fix their dryer himself by watching YouTube videos and ordering parts:

2020-03-28_09-24-51_903He also completely redid the garage, drywalling it in, painting it and installing shelves:

2020-05-09_15-33-57_714He also built bookcases in the front room to create our “home library” as my female human mentioned in this post – The Library Book and the Home Library. In this post she promised to share updated photos (and forgot), so I guess it is up to me to make sure you see how the room turned out:

2020-06-25_09-17-13_9932020-08-06_20-35-44_710Most recently he added in a shelf behind our living room TV to distract your eye from the fact the flat screen TV is in front on an alcove (circa early 2000s) for a large deep TV. This was my female human’s idea from looking at too much Instagram home decorating feeds!

2020-08-08_17-36-32_5002020-08-11_07-55-48_819I am sure there were a lot more home remodeling projects that occurred over the past four (4) months but this is all I can remember since I was sleeping through many of them.

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Trying to block out all the remodeling noise and get some sleep!

Postscript

When I am not overseeing the humans while they complete their home remodeling projects, I am going on bike rides. I appear to have convinced my human John to ride me around on his back in addition to carrying or shopping-cart-driving me around stores!

Here we are headed out for a bike ride and then on a bike ride (in the second photo my female human Tierney is behind us dangerously taking photos while bike riding…)

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A Crafter's Life

“Human Storage” and Airport Lore

A little humor and lore to close out 2019…

Human Storage

For four years (2013 – 2017) until her passing in December 2017, I helped manage the blog for my miniature schnauzer Sassy, the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer – SCHNAUZER SNIPS: MUSINGS FROM A HIGHLY OPINIONATED MINIATURE SCHNAUZER.

In February 2017 Sassy posted about Human Storage– how humans are always getting dropped off at this place called “the airport” where they appear to be stored for a period of time and then get picked up.

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Photo by T.H. Chia on Unsplash

Keep in mind she viewed life from a dog’s perspective!

I’ve traveled a lot in 2019, likely the most I’ve ever traveled in my life.

For my trips to the airport in 2019 while I lived in Central Oregon (January to April) and then after I moved to the greater Denver metro area (April), I’ve tried to have Mike my miniature schnauzer be in the car taking me to the airport and picking me up.

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Mike wonders why humans do not just stay at home and relax instead of going into storage

Mike seems to understand when I am going into “human storage” and when I am being retrieved! It appears to lessen his anxiety when I am missing from his home for a couple days to a week – he knows I am just in storage!

Airport Lore

Speaking of airports, I did not know about this until I moved to Denver, but the Denver International Airport (DIA) has quite a bit of lore about it.

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Photo credit: flydenver.com

This lore includes conspiracy theories such as that it contains secret underground bunkers.

You can read a summary of some of the common theories on this page – “5 Conspiracy Theories Surrounding the Denver Airport” on mental floss.com.

Some of the biggest DIA lore surrounds the airport “mascot” and the strange murals around the airport. Here is an excerpt from mental floss.com:

Conspiracy theories aside, it’s hard to deny the weirdness of DIA’s unofficial mascot—a massive horse statue called “Blue Mustang” that has already killed at least one man. At 32 feet tall and 9000 pounds (it’s made out of fiberglass), “Blue Mustang” is huge and imposing, and its glowing red eyes don’t help matters. This thing is giant and really scary—and it killed the man who made it. Really. Artist Luis Jimenez died in 2006 when a piece of the sculpture’s head broke off and severed an artery in his leg. 

Leo Tanguma’s two murals, which take up wide swathes of wallspace in DIA’s baggage claim, might have some nice names—they are called “Children of the World Dream of Peace” and “In Peace and Harmony with Nature,” respectively—but their actual content is terrifying. Death-masked soldiers stalk children with guns, animals are dead and kept under glass, and the entire world looks to have been destroyed. As if being at the airport isn’t bad enough. 

I’ve spent a lot of time at DIA since moving to the Denver area in April 2019 and so far it just seems like a large airport, nothing creepy. I’ve seen a couple of the controversial murals in person and they just seem odd and like they were created by someone on a LSD trip!

DIA has been under going a remodel and the airport leadership appears to have a sense of humor about the conspiracy theories familiar to locals.

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You can’t say people in Denver do not have a sense of humor!


Postscript

For some of my readers it is already 2020! For me in Colorado, 2020 is about to shortly begin.

I’ve already begun formulating my 2020 resolutions and look forward to reading some of yours. I have a lot of sewing (and more traveling/human storage at the airport) planned and looking forward to sharing my adventures with you.

Happy New Year!

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Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Feature image: Photo by Ruchindra Gunasekara on Unsplash

A Crafter's Life

Salt of the Earth

I began drafting this post prior to the recent series of deadly mass shootings across the United States. I am eager to return to blogging, however I thought this was too an upbeat a post to make in light of the recent somber events.

Then I thought – perhaps during these dark times it is good to post a reminder about the good people in the world we meet in our daily lives…


Dictionary.com defines the term “salt of the earth” as follows:

“An individual or group considered as representative of the best or noblest elements of society.”

This term wonderfully describes the kind of people I’ve met and keep meeting since moving to Colorado.

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Colorado State Flag, zumper.com

If you are new to my blog, I moved to the greater Denver metropolitan area in April 2019 to start a new life after the sudden death of my husband (Terry the Quilting Husband)      and over the past several months I’ve been settling into my new life and exploring the region (see post Greetings from Colorado and the series of posts Colorado Bound).

I knew Colorado was an awesome state with lots to do, little did I know just how warm, friendly and helpful many of its residents are!

Let me share an example (actually multiple examples).

Schnauzerfest!

Moving to Colorado meant leaving my beloved veterinary office and finding a new vet for my Miniature Schnauzer, Mike. I selected a vet based on Google reviews and comments and I was not disappointed.

During Mike’s first visit to his new vet. she connected me with a group of local Miniature Schnauzer aficionados which included one of her best friends. Mike and I got invited to the annual Miniature Schnauzer Club picnic which was like attending “Miniature Schnauzer Fest”! 

The photos below will illustrate this better than I could describe and Mike enjoyed hanging out with his new friends, after he recovered from the shock of so many furry people that looked like him in one place!

2019-07-13_13-00-46_8612019-07-13_12-46-42_7922019-07-13_13-39-01_7302019-07-13_14-12-59_6092019-07-13_11-20-22_795We met so many wonderful, warm and friendly people at the Miniature Schnauzer Club picnic including a new dog groomer for Mike.

A Proper Grooming

I’ve struggled with finding a good dog groomer for my dog Mike. If you want a Miniature Schnauzer to look like a traditional Miniature Schnauzer, you need groom your dog regularly.

A couple months ago, I tried out a mobile groomer and unfortunately Mike was groomed more like a Bichon Frise instead of a Miniature Schnauzer:

Bichon Frise:

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Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash

Miniature Schnauzer:

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Wikipedia

I tried to fix the disappointing grooming myself but Mike ended up looking like a blindfolded, highly sedated dog groomer did the grooming!

Luckily at the Miniature Schnauzer Picnic, I met Carol, a highly seasoned dog groomer with extensive experience in grooming Miniature Schnauzers including competitive show dogs. She even showed a couple dogs herself at the Westminster Dog Show years ago.

We tried to schedule an appointment but had one challenge – she only  had spots open in the middle of the week and she lives 32 miles away from me. I telecommute for my work in the health care industry and my middle of the week is peppered with conference calls.

She has a dog grooming station inside her home and she suggested that I come telecommute at her house for the morning/day while she groomed Mike!

And so I did! Not only did she let me telecommute from her house while she lovingly and meticulously groomed Mike, but she even gave me beverages and snacks – homemade lemon poppyseed cake!

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I had so much fun telecommuting from her kitchen table while we discussed life and miniature schnauzers! Here are some photos of Mike transforming into a properly groomed Miniature Schnauzer!

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In addition to great conversation, exceptional dog grooming, and wonderful snacks – she also gave me a tour of her lovely garden and gave me a bag of fresh garlic from her garden to take home!

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She hand washed Mike’s collar before she began grooming him and had me hang it on the clothesline in the garden to dry!

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Finally, as an added bonus, she has 4 or so of her own Miniature Schnauzers, so there was lots of Miniature Schnauzer cuteness going on at her home!

I got three of them to stand still for a photo:

2019-07-17_13-02-54_764.jpegOf course every proper Miniature Schnauzer Aficionado has lots of Schnauzer related decorations in their home and she was no exception:

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I know this post was likely “Schnauzer Overload” and hopefully you will quickly recover (smile).

My telecommuting visit with my new dog groomer and the opportunity to hang out with other Miniature Schnauzer Aficionados (or perhaps “Obsessives” in a more accurate term) has only increased my feeling of being so “welcomed” to Colorado.

Every day I continue to meet warm, friendly, kind, generous, and welcoming, “salt of the earth” people in this state.

But these few are the salt of the earth; without them, human life would become a stagnant pool. Not only is it they who introduce good things which did not before exist, it is they who keep the life in those which already existed. – John Stuart Mill


Postscript

I promise my next post will be crafting/quilting related!

The tagline of my blog for tierneycreates is “a fusion of textiles and smiles“. I hope this post induced a little smile across your face. The “textiles” part will return next post!


Feature Photo by Jason Tuinstra on Unsplash

Special Events

Announcing the Winners of the tierneycreates Blog’s 4th Anniversary Giveaway

This morning Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) did the drawing of the names of the winners of the handmade Little Wallets to celebrate the tierneycreates Blog’s 4th anniversary. Names were selected from those who left comments on the post: Blog Anniversary Celebration & Giveaway.

In this post I promised we would select four (4) winners, well we decided at the last moment to up it to five (5) winners so more people could win (in my heart I wanted to just send a Little Wallet to everyone that commented!)

But before we get to the winners (be good, don’t scroll down yet, ha!) let me share the technical details of the drawing.

The Drawing

First the validity of the drawing was overseen and verified by Sassy & Mike of the prestigious firm Schnauzer Affiliates, Incorporated. Here is their corporate photo which hangs in their offices:

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A highly complex method was used to select the winner while the principles of Schnauzer Associates, Inc. observed and verified the results.

First the names of those who posted comments on the blog anniversary post were written down on a piece of paper, numbers were assigned and then numbers were written on a piece of paper:

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(I hope these technical details do not overwhelm anyone)

Then the numbers were placed in my recently knitted hat:

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Sassy of Schnauzer Affiliates, Inc., closely officiated the drawing which was made by TTQH:

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Here is Sassy providing TTQH with instructions prior to the beginning of the drawing:

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Sassy closely monitored the drawing of the five (5) numbers/winners:

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Sassy validated and verified the results of each number drawn:

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The Random Drawing Winners

I am happy to announce the five (5) winners below, please send me your mailing address using the Contact Form in the Questions page of this blog – thanks and CONGRATULATIONS!

  • Crawcraftbeasties
  • Susan Maasch
  • SandraNY
  • Handmade Habit
  • Chela’s Colchas Y Mas

Feature Image Credit: Krzysztof (Kriss) Szkurlatowski, freeimages.com

Studio, Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)

Update: Terry the Quilting Husband

So unless you live in Barrow, Alaska (1300 miles south of the North Pole/320 miles north of the Arctic Circle), you are probably not thinking about flannel, much less daydreaming of wrapping yourself in a flannel quilt right now.

We are currently sweltering in Central Oregon right but I am still going to share an update on Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)’s latest quilt top: A flannel fishing themed quilt:

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He actually finished it a couple weeks ago but I am just now getting around to posting about it.

If you check out my 04/30/17 post  Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop 2017 you will see the fabric TTQH purchased during shop hop.

He finished the quilt top in late May when we happened to have some cool days, and I found him and our miniature schnauzers taking a nap under his new quilt top (the “cuteness factor” was very high when I walked into the room and I had to tip toe out and grab my camera!):

2017-06-14_18-43-31_0962017-06-14_18-45-27_831Here is Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer just waking up from her nap under the quilt:

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He has not worked on the back for the quilt as it is kind of warm right now to even think about looking at flannel in our fabric stash much less touching it. We might just put the top away for now until the weather gets out of the 90s and we can start to think about flannel quilts again.


Postscript

With the warmer weather TTQH is working on other things in his spare time besides flannel quilts – like taking Mike, one of our rescued miniature schnauzers on a bike ride. We have two doggy backpacks and Sassy rides with me (the girls together) and Mike rides with Terry. The photo below is from a week ago when we had a break from the heat as Terry and Mike head out on their bike ride:

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If you would like to see more photos of Mike (and Sassy) bike riding, see these posts on Sassy’s Schnauzer Snips blog:

A Crafter's Life

The New Schnauzer Snips Blog is Live

Sassy, the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer, and I are happy to announce that her new Schnauzer Snips blog is up and running.

I helped her (as it would have taken forever with her paws to do all that computer work) transfer the three years of her musing from the from the tierneycreates Schnauzer Snips page to her new blog at: schnauzersnips.wordpress.com

She would love to have you follow her if you want to keep up on the musings of a highly opinionated miniature schnauzer!

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A Crafter's Life

Happy Schnolidays!

Perhaps this post reveals the depth of our pathology related to our obsession with schnauzers (and dogs in general)…

For the past 25 years we have adopted rescued miniature schnauzers and for the past 25 years we have collected schnauzer and dog themed Christmas ornaments. Some were given as gifts (from friends supporting our obsession) and some we purchased (okay most of them) on our own.

Every year, right after Thanksgiving, we delight in pulling out our collection of schnauzer and dog themed decorations and trimming our tree.

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Eight or so years ago, instead of “Happy Holidays” we started saying as a joke to people who knew us (and our obsession) – “Happy Schnolidays!”. Occasionally I get inspired to make my own holiday cards and they are always “Schnolidays” themed – several times featuring our miniature schnauzers dressed up for the holidays (against their will).

Well I want to wish you all a very HAPPY SCHNOLIDAYS – even if you do not have schnauzers (or dogs) – to us “Schnolidays” means the the Holidays + Fun & Laughter!

One of our favorite new ornaments in our collection is a reindeer-schnauzer! It makes us laugh everything we look at it:

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Of course here are actual real live miniature schnauzers, in their festive attire (Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer and her adopted brother Mike):

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A Crafter's Life

Taking Chances: The Mike Hogan Chronicles (re-post)

In honor of Friday August 26 being “National Dog Day” and in celebration of Mike’s 2  year anniversary with us, here is a re-posting of a post from 11/27/15:


Making a decision whether to “take a chance” on something or someone, is part of life. We all face  decisions on whether to take chances related to work, family, relationships, finances, environment, career, artistic endeavors and so forth.  Most of the time there is no guarantee that the chance we are taking is the right one to take.

Even the most evaluated, considered and researched “chance” requires an element of risk and an element of faith that it will work out. Otherwise it would not be “a chance”, it would be “a certain”.

In September 2014 I took a chance that required a very large element of risk and faith, and that chance’s name is Mike Hogan. 

(Usually any posts about the miniature schnauzers are done on Sassy the Highly Opinionated Schnauzer’s page Schnauzer Snips, but she gave me permission to post on this topic.)

Meeting “Cujo”

For nearly 24 years we have adopted miniature schnauzers from rescue organizations. Our first miniature schnauzer, Kerie, was from a rescue organization in Houston Texas, where we volunteered as Caring Critters Animal Assisted Therapy Volunteers, visiting health care facilities, residential homes, and shelters with animals to foster the human-animal bond.

After our first rescued miniature schnauzer, we were addicted to the breed. Kerie passed away after we had moved to the Pacific NW, and we adopted our next rescued miniatures schnauzers (two brothers, Fritz and Snickers) through Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, Inc. and all future rescued miniature schnauzers.

In July 2014, after losing the second of the two miniature schnauzer brothers we had adopted from Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, and applying for another rescued dog from the organization, we were contacted about a miniature schnauzer “Michael” that needed a new home.

Michael was a troubled rescue – surrendered by his family due to excessive nuisance barking and aggression. We first met Michael at the end of July 2014 at his foster parents’ home. After meeting him, I nicknamed him “Cujo” (yes, after the terrifying rabid dog from the Stephen King book and movie), I  gave an apologetic but firm “NO” on adopting Michael.

To summarize his behavior when I first me him: He was insane.  My husband Terry however saw something in Michael and was willing to give him a chance but I quickly talked him out of it.

Alright, You Can Come Home with Us

In September 2014, we were contacted by the rescue organization asking us if we would reconsider adopting Michael (they were persistent!). He had been living between two foster homes (Michael needed to be shared!) and the rescue organization had brought in an animal behaviorist to work with him. I am not sure what convinced me to say yes to meeting with Michael (aka “Cujo”) again but I did.

When we met Michael again in September 2014, he was a bit calmer and we could see the good work his foster parents, in two different homes, had done with him. He was still territorial and moderately insane. I had a lot of hesitancy but my husband Terry felt strongly that Michael needed to come home with us, and I agreed to give Michael a chance. (My primary fear was that Michael, with all his territorial issues, would not fit into our very social lifestyle).

When we loaded Michael into our car, he became very quiet and calm on the ride home to our house. He seemed like a different dog once he got into our car. He got along well with our other rescue dog Sassy on the ride home.

The first couple of months with Michael were challenging – he had anxiety issues, engaged in plenty of nuisance barking, had leash aggression and was very territorial to anyone trying to come into our house. He even chewed on one of my quilts (it was an old quilt and I was able to repair it but it was very upsetting and I was worried for the other quilts around the house).

My husband Terry was very patient with him. We spent a lot of time working with him and renamed him “Mike Hogan”. (He appears to love his new name “Mike Hogan” and his tail goes wild whenever we say it.)

One of the Great Loves of My Life

It is now 14 months later and Mike Hogan is now one of the great loves of my life (as are all my dogs). He is still territorial at times (though we are now able to have friends over without him being too insane as well as bring him over friends’ houses); he still has a bit of leash aggression and he still likes to bark.

These things do not matter as he is the most loving, cuddly, sweet dog I have had in my entire life. Every night I go to sleep snuggled to him and every morning I wake up to him nestled against me. He insists on sharing my pillow with me. He is obsessed with my husband Terry, and I refer to Mike as “Terry’s Fan Club President”. He is also very sweet to his adopted miniature schnauzer sister, Sassy, who we got a year before Mike.

Mike Hogan now knows quilts are for napping and snuggling in, not chewing. He appeared to sense how upset I was when he chewed on my quilt when we had first adopted him. He is attuned with our moods and seems to want to make us or keep us happy. He continues to struggle with wanting to protect his home and his people versus being open to meeting strangers and giving them a chance. He has learned to trust us: if we act like someone is okay, then they just might be okay!

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One of the things I did with Mike Hogan during the early days of adopting him is continually tell him “you are safe” and “we are your forever home”. You can debate whether or not you believe dogs understand human language but in my heart I feel he heard me.

He obviously suffered from anxiety, as confirmed by a veterinarian friend of mine, and by continually making him feel safe and loved, he settled down. I cannot imagine not having adopted Mike Hogan, he was a chance well taken! (I am forever grateful to the volunteers at Miniature Schnauzer Rescue who encouraged us to revisit giving him a chance).

Living with fear stops us from taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit. – Sarah Parish

By the way, I now lovingly call Mike Hogan my “sweet little Cujo”…

A Crafter's Life

Happy “Schnolidays”

Every year our Miniature Schnauzers begrudgingly endure an annual holiday photo in front of the Schnauzer (and Dog) Themed Christmas Tree.

This year I want to share this photo (usually taken in poor light while trying to keep the dogs still by bribing them with biscuits) with my readers and wish you all HAPPY SCHNOLIDAYS and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Best Wishes,

Tierney of tierneycreates, Terry (aka “Terry the Quilting Husband”), Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer (Schnauzer Snips) and Mike

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POSTSCRIPT:

Mike: “Seriously, do they do this to us every year?!?!”

Sassy: “Yes and just wait till I write my Schnauzer Snips blog entry about it! Call PETA!”

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A Crafter's Life

Taking Chances: The Mike Hogan Chronicles

Making a decision whether to “take a chance” on something or someone, is part of life. We all face  decisions on whether to take chances related to work, family, relationships, finances, environment, career, artistic endeavors and so forth.  Most of the time there is no guarantee that the chance we are taking is the right one to take.

Even the most evaluated, considered and researched “chance” requires an element of risk and an element of faith that it will work out. Otherwise it would not be “a chance”, it would be “a certain”.

In September 2014 I took a chance that required a very large element of risk and faith, and that chance’s name is Mike Hogan.

IMG_0483

Meeting “Cujo”

For nearly 24 years we have adopted miniature schnauzers from rescue organizations. Our first miniature schnauzer, Kerie, was from a rescue organization in Houston Texas, where we volunteered as Caring Critters Animal Assisted Therapy Volunteers, visiting health care facilities, residential homes, and shelters with animals to foster the human-animal bond.

After our first rescued miniature schnauzer, we were addicted to the breed. Kerie passed away after we had moved to the Pacific NW, and we adopted our next rescued miniatures schnauzers (two brothers, Fritz and Snickers) through Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, Inc. and all future rescued miniature schnauzers.

In July 2014, after losing the second of the two miniature schnauzer brothers we had adopted from Miniature Schnauzer Rescue, and applying for another rescued dog from the organization, we were contacted about a miniature schnauzer “Michael” that needed a new home.

Michael was a troubled rescue – surrendered by his family due to excessive nuisance barking and aggression. We first met Michael at the end of July 2014 at his foster parents’ home. After meeting him, I nicknamed him “Cujo” (yes, after the terrifying rabid dog from the Stephen King book and movie), I  gave an apologetic but firm “NO” on adopting Michael.

To summarize his behavior when I first me him: He was insane.  My husband Terry however saw something in Michael and was willing to give him a chance but I quickly talked him out of it.

Alright, You Can Come Home with Us

In September 2014, we were contacted by the rescue organization asking us if we would reconsider adopting Michael (they were persistent!). He had been living between two foster homes (Michael needed to be shared!) and the rescue organization had brought in an animal behaviorist to work with him. I am not sure what convinced me to say yes to meeting with Michael (aka “Cujo”) again but I did.

When we met Michael again in September 2014, he was a bit calmer and we could see the good work his foster parents, in two different homes, had done with him. He was still territorial and moderately insane. I had a lot of hesitancy but my husband Terry felt strongly that Michael needed to come home with us, and I agreed to give Michael a chance. (My primary fear was that Michael, with all his territorial issues, would not fit into our very social lifestyle).

When we loaded Michael into our car, he became very quiet and calm on the ride home to our house. He seemed like a different dog once he got into our car. He got along well with our other rescue dog Sassy on the ride home.

The first couple of months with Michael were challenging – he had anxiety issues, engaged in plenty of nuisance barking, had leash aggression and was very territorial to anyone trying to come into our house. He even chewed on one of my quilts (it was an old quilt and I was able to repair it but it was very upsetting and I was worried for the other quilts around the house).

My husband Terry was very patient with him. We spent a lot of time working with him and renamed him “Mike Hogan”. (He appears to love his new name “Mike Hogan” and his tail goes wild whenever we say it.)

One of the Great Loves of My Life

It is now 14 months later and Mike Hogan is now one of the great loves of my life (as are all my dogs). He is still territorial at times (though we are now able to have friends over without him being too insane as well as bring him over friends’ houses); he still has a bit of leash aggression and he still likes to bark.

These things do not matter as he is the most loving, cuddly, sweet dog I have had in my entire life. Every night I go to sleep snuggled to him and every morning I wake up to him nestled against me. He insists on sharing my pillow with me. He is obsessed with my husband Terry, and I refer to Mike as “Terry’s Fan Club President”. He is also very sweet to his adopted miniature schnauzer sister, Sassy, who we got a year before Mike.

Mike Hogan now knows quilts are for napping and snuggling in, not chewing. He appeared to sense how upset I was when he chewed on my quilt when we had first adopted him. He is attuned with our moods and seems to want to make us or keep us happy. He continues to struggle with wanting to protect his home and his people versus being open to meeting strangers and giving them a chance. He has learned to trust us: if we act like someone is okay, then they just might be okay!

One of the things I did with Mike Hogan during the early days of adopting him is continually tell him “you are safe” and “we are your forever home”. You can debate whether or not you believe dogs understand human language but in my heart I feel he heard me.

He obviously suffered from anxiety, as confirmed by a veterinarian friend of mine, and by continually making him feel safe and loved, he settled down. I cannot imagine not having adopted Mike Hogan, he was a chance well taken! (I am forever grateful to the volunteers at Miniature Schnauzer Rescue who encouraged us to revisit giving him a chance).

Living with fear stops us from taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit. – Sarah Parish

By the way, I now lovingly call Mike Hogan my “sweet little Cujo”…