Friday, April 18, 2014


Hi readers.  The girls have given me, their "mom", permission to post to the Army of Four Digest today.  I'm afraid I have some very sad news to convey. Yesterday, my husband and I had to let Zim go. It came out of the blue.

He has been losing power in his back legs, which is not unusual for a dog his age (over 14). After breakfast, he went to back up in the living room and fell on his back leg. He screamed in pain and could not bear weight on it. I got him to lay down for a bit, wanting to see if a rest and a little time would make a difference. When it didn’t, I gave a call to our vets (The Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University) and took him in.

Our vet, Dr. N. and our student gave him a thorough exam, then Dr. N. asked one of the Orthopedic Surgeons, Dr. R. to take a look. He agreed that it was most likely a fracture - so we had x-rays taken. The x-rays revealed not only a fracture, but even worse news - something has been eating away at the bone, most likely osteosarcoma - bone cancer. It could have been some sort of aggressive fungus, but either way, it would not be repairable. Our only option other than euthanizing would have been amputation and chemotherapy - at his advanced age, it would have been very tough on him — and would not have given him the quality of life any of us want for him.

Knowing that it would not get better and that he was in a great deal of pain, we made the decision to let him go.

1 JAN 2000 - 17 APR 2014

He was our lover of adventure, a friend to all (cats, bunnies, geese, ducks, deer, etc.), and was one of the best friends his dad and I could ask for. He survived being chained to a tree and half starved for a year and a half before he entered our lives, three cystotomies, and two cancer surgeries. He was so very brave, never complained, and had such a zest for life.

Please do not share this to your blogs. Especially during this most holy of weekends for those of us who are Christians, please don't spread the sadness. Please do NOT take photos off our blog or our Flickr account and post them to your blog. Let Zim's story be told here.

If you'd like to do something to honor him, grab your pups or a friend and go on an adventure. Dream big dreams. Make friends with another species.

Seriously.  You know you want to go!

Go explore!

God willing, he has been reunited with Stormy, Ammy, and Dave, and the Army of Four are together again.

Left to right:  Zim, Ammy, Dave, and Stormy.
The Army of Four.

Thank you for celebrating Zim's life with us.  We will be taking a short blog break, while we regroup and celebrate Easter.

Celebrate life!  Have a blessed Easter.

with Cammie and Mags

PS:  I would be remiss if I didn't say a few words about the wonderful people at the Veterinary Health Center at KSU.  Everyone - our vets, vet techs, students, and the staff/administrators - were and are so supportive, so kind to us and to Zim, and exemplify kind, caring professionals.  Many, many thanks to all of them for helping us give ALL of our pups the best quality of life possible.  You ALL are the best.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No Need To Buy A Vowel

Greetings to all, it's me, Maggie.  As you may recall, I just love to watch television.  Usually, I only pay attention to the TV in the living room; that's where we watch most of our shows.

I like to watch The Vikings!

"Oooh!  It's Ragnar!"

It's an exciting show!

"Seriously!   I could go raiding with Ragnar!"

I also like some British detective shows.

"Inspector Lewis will have this solved in no time!"

In the kitchen, we have other, lighter shows.  The other night we were watching Wheel of Fortune when ... take a look!



I can't believe it took them that long!

"I had that one figured out after the first consonant!  C'mon, people!"

I wouldn't have needed to buy a vowel or anything!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


Patiently yours, Cammie!
Play bows, Zim
and Yours sincerely, Margaret Thatcher

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Promises

Hello, everyone!  It's me, Cammie!  As I mentioned yesterday, Mom and I had a quick, little getaway to Tuttle Creek State Park on Saturday.  I saw all kinds of interesting things to show you.  Let's jump in the car and go!

When we got there, we went down to this one little area and I had a look around.


Umm... wait!  What's that?!!?

"Great Dane in the morning!!!"

Can you see that?  In the canoe!  Here's a close up!

Great Dane (mix) in the boat!

I sincerely hope this doesn't give my mom any crazy ideas!

Anyway... we drove around a bit, then walked around and did some birding.  We saw some Blue Winged Teal Ducks:

Blue Winged Teals 

No word on if they know the ones at the Kansas Ocean.

We also saw some Green Winged Teals swimming with the Blues:

Green Winged Teals and one Blue Winged Teal Duck

The photo is a little blurred, as we were hiding behind some reeds.

We also saw some Cormorants:

Double-Crested Cormorants

We haven't seen Cormorants in a while, so Mom was pretty happy about that!  I was, too:


Sorry.  Moving right along ...

Over in another area, we saw some American Coots!

You've heard of the group The Three Tenors?  This is The Three Coots!

Here's another Coot, surfing:


Are you ready for the most exciting thing we saw?!!?  Check this out!!!

Groundhog!  Or Woodchuck!  Or Marmot!

Whatever name you want to give it, you know what it really is, right?


What can I say?  I did NOT make any promises to Zim or anyone else before we went to the park.

"Right, Mom.  'Back in the car.'  Got it."

What a great adventure!  If you'd like to see more photos, please click here.

Thanks for coming with us!

~ Cammie

Monday, April 14, 2014

Just Ducky

Hello, everyone.  It's me, Cammie.  As promised, I'm getting back to you about what I saw on my special outing the other day.  I also promised Zim I'd keep this serene.  It was a challenge, but I rose to it.  So let's go.

As you could tell, I went to the Kansas Ocean.

Me.  Cammie!

Here's what I was looking at:

Blue Winged Teal Ducks

Yes, Blue Winged Teals.  Probably the same ones Zimmie saw earlier in the week.  I promised him that if I saw them I wouldn't scare them off by thinking prey-like thoughts (who, me?).  I stayed nice and zen-like so Mom could take some photos.

Here is a shot of Mrs. and Mr. Blue Winged Teal:

The Teals

Here is another couple, hanging out on a log sticking out of the ocean:


That must be a friend of theirs in the lower right, stopping by for some algae.

Here are a couple boy ducks:

These boy ducks don't see eye-to-eye

I like their white masks, but I also like how the girl teals have sort of a subtle Zorro mask going on. Check out the girls in this shot:

Two couples out on a double-date

See what I mean? I like it. No need to be ostentatious about it. Very nice.

What else?


Oh, I know! Want to see some of them fly?


No, I had NOTHING to do with that. A car went over the Trans-Oceanic Bridge and it spooked them.

Besides, I promised Zim.


See? They're OK.


Sometimes it's so hard to keep a promise!

I hope you enjoyed coming to the Kansas Ocean with me. I got to go to Tuttle Creek State Park over the weekend for my special one-on-one time - I can't WAIT to show you what I saw there!


PS: For more photos of the Blue Winged Teal Ducks, please click here to see our Flickr set. There's even a very short video!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Serene Scenery Sunday

Ha roo, pups and cool cats!  It's me, Zim.  I thought I'd start Serene Scenery Sunday by showing you the friends I made the other day -- then we'd take a look around the neighborhood to really move into the Zen of Zim Zone!  Ready to take a look?

As you may recall, I spotted some deer in the woods, across a little meadow.  I sent them a mind-meld message that I was their friend (and I vouched for my mom, too) - and they came a little closer. Here are a couple photos of them:

My deer friends.  Or is that "my dear friends"?  Ha roo roo roo!

The little one wasn't quite sure what to make of Mom, so he kept facing away from us, in case he needed to dash off into the woods.

What a beautiful family!

It was really cool seeing them!

Ready to check out our neighborhood?  Let's saunter down the street a bit and see what we can see.

Me.  Sauntering.

This Brown Thrasher was up in a neighbor's tree:

"♫ La la la♩la la-la ♬ la!!♩"

He was singing loud and proud. If I was a girl Brown Thrasher, I would have been thoroughly impressed.

This little schputzie landed right by our mailbox and struck a pose:

House Sparrow

Yesterday evening, we saw this off our deck:

Looking toward the west

First big storm of the season! Needless to say, our weather-geek mom was thrilled. Here's the scene out front:

Looking toward the north

It was more impressive in person. Or "in Siberian".

Can you see the light-colored dots under that tree on the left?   That's our next door neighbors' tree - and those are tulips.  Let's take a closer look!


Isn't that gorgeous? When they moved in back in the Fall, the gentleman planted the tulip bulbs. He's really proud and happy with how they look -  I bet they make him and his wife feel all kinds of in the Zen of Zim Zone!

"Just beautiful, neighbors!"

In our gardens, our Texas Quince is blooming (Mom hasn't taken any photos yet) and our Grecian Windflowers are up and looking mighty colorful!  Here's a look at one of the little flowers:

Grecian Windflower

Purple is mighty big in this town.  Mom has added a lot of it to our gardens throughout the time we've lived here!

That's a wrap for this week's Serene Scenery Sunday.  Tomorrow, Cammie will fill you in on what she saw the other day at the Kansas Ocean - and she promises to keep that serene, too.  Maybe I'm rubbing off on her, too, not just little Maggie!

Have a wonderful day - and remember to stay in the Zen of Zim Zone!

Play bows,

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Maggie's Morning

Greetings to all, it's me, Maggie!  I was all set to tell you about yesterday morning's walk!  Cammie showed you that one photo ... it was really exciting seeing turkeys!  Anyway, I was just going to show you more pictures from that walk, but now I have even more to tell you!  But first - the turkeys!

My dad took me for a special daddy-daughter walk first thing in the morning.  Each one of us gets to spend one-on-one time with Mom and Dad during the day -- it's really nice.  Anyway ... Dad and I were walking along, enjoying the quiet of the early morning, when ...

"Oooh!  Look up there, Dad!  Birdies!"

Dad said they are big birdies called "turkeys"!  They sure were interesting!

"Hello, big birdies!"

I asked them if they wanted to play.

"I'll take that as a 'no'.  Maybe some other time?!?"

Zim said I just need to stay calm, quiet, and friendly, and they'll warm up to me.  Cammie mentioned something about warming up the turkeys ... but I'm not sure she was thinking the same thing Zim and I were.

It was really exciting seeing them!  And now, on to what we saw today!

Dad and I decided to hike the Hudson Trail and, well, check this out:


It was the Squirrel Family! They were apparently having breakfast - and the little puppy squirrel was still eating!

"Nom nom nom."
"Run!  Everysquirrel run!"
"To the trees!  To the trees!"
"I don't think your puppy is done eating yet, Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel!"

Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel made for the high ground, while the little one finished breakfast.  As Dad and I stood there watching, they talked to me from the trees.

"Please don't hurt my baby!"
"Leave the little one alone!  Come chase us instead!"

Hurt?  Chase?  I assured them I wouldn't do either!

"Don't worry!  I'm just a puppy, too!  I won't hurt your puppy squirrel!"

Dad and I just watched him while he finished breakfast, then he scampered off to join his parents.  It was really fun watching him - I liked that he wasn't afraid of me!

When we got home, I told everyone all about it.  Zim is really proud of me.  For some reason, Cammie keeps shaking her head.  Maybe she has something tickling one of her ears or something.

That was my big excitement!  Tune in tomorrow to see what Zimmie saw!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher