Who We Are

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Hi everypuppy and everycat! It's me - Ammy! As some of you know, my brother Zim is an honorary kitty cat. Sigh. Anyway, as such he enlisted in the very handsome pirate Captain Maverick's Sneaky Kitty Squadron. Captain Mav had some orders for members of the SKS just the other day, saying in part, "...Yer Cap'n want ye SKS members to sneak around during Halloween collecting all kinds of booty and loot that ye can get yer Paws on Harrrrr..."

I'm not a pirate because ... um ... well, just click on this link and you'll understand why. I just reallllllllllly don't do the whole "dress up" thing. Zimmie really likes being a pirate, though, and so when I read Cap'n Mav's orders, I thought maybe I could help Zim with his mission. Or at least have a little fun.

I did what I could do...

DSCN2499 Ammy

...then called Zim into the living room.

DSCN2498 Ammy

You all see where this is going, don't you?

"Oh, Zimmie! I left some booty for you on our Army quilt in the living room!!! Check it out!" I called. The trap was set and I excused myself to go use the yard.

DSCN2504 Zim
"Hey! Hey, this isn't booty! It's ..."

DSCN2496 Zim
"Where is she?!?! That little trickster!!!"

DSCN2494 Ammy
"Uh oh..."

For those of you who are doing any trick or treating or will have trick or treaters come to your door this evening, please stay safe! And good luck getting some... booty. :)


PS: Speaking of Captain Maverick... if you have a moment, please click the button in the top right of our sidebar and vote for him in the costume contest! Thank you!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Photo Finish Friday

Ha roo, pups and cool cats! It's Zimmie here with Photo Finish Friday! My photos today come in response to a question left on the blog yesterday. You all saw how hard Dave works as Mom's Guide Dog for the Color Blind! He's amazing, isn't he? Our friend Max of South Africa wanted to know, "...which of you doggies does the cleaning up?" How serendipitous, Max! I had just posed for some photos after I completed one of my tasks here at Ao4 Headquarters. Are you ready?

DSCN2475 Zim
Me and my Oreck

That's right. I have my own vacuum. Sure, Mom has the Oreck Upright and the Oreck Canister and the Dyson Animal... but this Super Handheld baby's all mine! (Some of you may remember - I showed it to you a while ago, when I told you about some of my other duties.)

I my Oreck!

Since I was named after a Drill Sergeant, it's my duty to keep everything policed up. That means the floor, too!

Thanks for joining us for Photo Finish Friday. Now get out there and do some cleaning!

Play bows,

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Some of My Duties

Woo, everypuppy and everycat. Dave here, Guide Dog for the Color Blind. As some of you know, since our mom is color blind, she counts on me and my color-sense to guide her in her work. I thought I'd show you a little bit of what I do.

Here I am, checking out some new fabric we got in.

DSCN2294 Dave with new fabric

Purple batik with butterflies and posies. Mighty nice! I gave Mom my approval, then she popped it in the washing machine. That's one of my duties - to make sure Mom buys nice quality fabs in cool colors!

When Mom gets a new order in for a bag, sometimes then client has seen some of the fabs we have on hand (or "on paw") and asks Mom to build a bag using that as the focal fabric. A current customer saw a cool "aviator blue" fab with what looks like a black lace over-lay on Mom's blog and really liked it! Mom took it outside to photograph it for a clear look at the color before getting the final "OK!" then showed me what we were going to be working with.

DSCN2299 Dave
"Blue? I love blue!"

It's important for me to see the colors in the right light - so I can do my coordinating.

As soon as Mom opens to door to the downstairs, I know it's time to race down to the Studio and get to work! Here I am, at the ready!

DSCN2393 Dave at the ready
"Let's get to work, Mom!"

You can tell we're in the middle of a bunch of projects because there's stuff all over the cutting table!

After some hard matching and coordinating decisions, it's good to take a break.

DSCN2397 Dave on Break

Mom's good about letting me pace myself.

Mom was recently asked to make a special bag for an up-coming fund-raiser. She decided to make a Deeve Bag -- the bag named after me. Woo! Her friend Bonz designed some really cool fabrics and sent us a couple of them (you should be able to see her fabs by clicking here) and we'll feature them in the bag! We'll tell you more about the fund-raiser as the time gets closer. In the meantime, Mom asked me to check them out, so we could choose coordinating fabrics.

DSCN2454 New Fabric
"These are the coolest fabrics I've ever seen!"

Needless to say, I really like these! I chose some cool stuff to go with them; just wait 'til you see the bag we're making!

Not only do I help coordinate the fabrics, but if Mom tries to put things together that don't go, I "woo" at her until she gets the message. I also make sure she takes breaks to rub my tummy or get a hug. And then there are times where Mom thinks we should be working in the Studio, but the rest of us have other ideas. This picture is from one of those times -- just this weekend:

IMG_4126 Mike and the Ao4
Stopping for a photo opp: Ammy, Storm, Zim and me (Dave); Dad in the back

I mean, really. It was the weekend! Besides, she needed some exercise.

So... those are just some of my duties as Guide Dog for the Color Blind. Thanks for coming to work with me!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Insights Into Our Walks

Ha roo, pups and kit-cats! It's me - Zim! Remember the great photo we showed you over the weekend of all of us walking together? Storm said I could share some more pix from that walk with you today. It was so nice and cold and windy... if only we'd had snow, it would have been perfect!

I thought I'd give you more of an inside look into our walks. It's not all "straight ahead and pull like a ... well... like a Siberian Husky" - though we certainly do a lot of that! Check out this picture of Stormy and me:

DSCN2414 Storm & Zim
Storm and me (Zim)

Stormy had just told me a really funny joke. Ammy's not the only comedian in the family; Storm can be a riot when you get her going!

Speaking of Ammy, let's look over and see what she's doing:

DSCN2415 Ammy herding Mike
Ammy. Herding.

That's right. She's herding Dad. She loves to herd him and Mom. She's really good at it, too. Did you know the Chukchi tribesmen used our ancestors to herd reindeer? Yep. Pulling sleds, keeping bipeds warm, and herding reindeer. Pretty cool, huh? So Ammy likes to honor our ancestors and do a little herding as we go.

On this walk, Dave was pretty much all about the pulling, so he's in the group shots in the end.

And me? I love to explore everything, stop and smell the roses (or whatever) along the way, meet new friends - you know! Anyway, that day was no different ... and look! A new fluffy friend!

DSCN2418 Zim & the Wooly Bear
Ha roo!?!

He was pretty cool. Loved his colors and his fluff. Here's a shot of just him:

Please understand that I did not hurt my new friend, Mr. Wooly Bully; I was very gentle. He even tried to follow us on our walk, but couldn't quite keep up.

Here's another one of Ammy's favorite tricks:

DSCN2424 Ammy
Oh, wait... I smell something really important over here...

Stormy is so proud of Amber's bamboozling skills! Or as Storm likes to say, "Who put the 'am' in 'bamboozle'?" Ha roo roo roo - I told you Storm is funny!

Lastly, here's a collage of all four of us, enjoying the day together:


You can click that to go to FlickR for a larger view, if you'd like! And remember our leash color-coding: Stormy is red, Ammy is green, Dave is purple, and I am blue!

Thanks for coming on our walk with us!

Play bows,

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Tail Thing

Woo everypup and everycat. It's me, Dave. Did you all see Zimmie's best friend Huffle Mawson's blog the other day? She did this really cool thing with her tail. Go check it out here; I'll wait.

Did you see that? Isn't that the coolest thing? Both me and Zimmie want to learn how to do it sooooo bad. I gave it a try the other day -

Not bad, huh?

Ammy wanted me to entitle this post "A Tale of a Tail" or ... are you ready for this? "Do The Huffle".

Groan.... oh, Ammy!

Now Mom's got that song stuck in her head... woo.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Serene Scenery Sunday

Ha roo, pups and cool cats. Zim here with Serene Scenery Sunday. Storm thought we should share some of our Fall color with you, so let's get to it!

Here's a look the the White Ash:

DSCN2323 Zim

Not white... but I guess I won't go there. Oh, yeah. Those are my feety-feet. I was having a serene moment on the deck. Want a closer look?

DSCN2324 Zim

How's this? Yeah, I was just chillin' and enjoying the scenery.

Here's a look at the Purple Ash tree.

IMG_4083 Zim

I'm no Guide Dog for the Color Blind, but not only does that White Ash not look white, that Purple Ash doesn't look purple to me. Excuse me a minute, readers. [Yes, Storm? It was earlier? Yeah, OK. Well, it's not now. Why not call it a Green Then Purple Then-- HEY! HEY! Leggo of my...]

Hi everypuppy and everycat! It's me, Ammy! Stormy said I could finish out Zimmie's post for him! Isn't that sweet?!?! And she strongly recommended I stick to the "
serene" part of Serene Scenery Sunday. Yes, Stormy!

How about a look around our backyard?!? Here's a collage of me touring the gardens. That tree in the middle is the Purple Ash Zimmie told you about.


Here's a leaf collage:


The really brilliant reds (and the tree I'm sitting under) are from the Amur Maples. I love the color AND the fact that the Amur River runs through Siberia!

Here's something that really made all of us feel serene this week - an award from our dear friends Martha and Bailey!

WOWZERS!  Thanks, Basset Babes!

They made it for all of their friends and we just love them to pieces and are really honored to call them "friends" and accept the award! Thank you, Martha and Bailey!!!

We had some really gorgeous sunsets during the week, too! Here are two looks at Monday's sunset; first a panoramic look:


...and here's a close-up of the colors:

DSCN2386 19 OCT 09 sunset

Isn't it stunning? Here's the sunset from last night:

DSCN2440 24 OCT 09 sunset

It was a great way to finish off the week!

That's it from me (and Zim). I hope you have a tranquil, happy Sunday. Remember to smile - you'll feel it all the way deep inside!

DSCN2338 Ammy


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Senior Care Appointments & The Week in Review

Tail wags, dear readers, it's me, Stormy. One of our favorite readers, Max of South Africa, had a special request. Actually his mom did, but close enough. Dave and I had our 6-month Senior Care appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday and Max's mom thought it would be interesting for others to know what all happens during those appointments. Great idea! We are all in the program and that whole "diagnose early" and the "preventative care" have a whole lot going for them! Maybe some of you can get your vets to start a program like this!

We've posted about the Senior Care Program from our perspective before - rather than us re-posting, it's worth going back and reading, if you're interested. Dave's version is here; my version is here. And for a run-down by the bipeds at our vet's (Kansas State University Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital), please click here. We don't want to be too redundant , so today I'll give you a look into our appointments themselves.

My appointment was on Tuesday. Other than actually having to hold still while there, the toughest part of the appointment process is that you aren't allowed to have breakfast that morning. I know. It's horrible! Mom took a few shots of us with her iPhone, so we'll share those. Not the best quality, but let's go!

Here I am with Beth, one of our favorite Vet Techs.

We were having fun, mugging for the camera. If it looks dark in there, it was. They had already dilated my eyes, so the lights were off for my comfort.

They did a bunch of stuff to me (again, please see the link above for details) and said for a 14-year old, I'm mighty healthy. One change for me is that both Beth and Dr. Nelson said I could use a few extra calories. Mom asked them how much I paid them to say that. Beth said, "$5oo." Shh! Beth, that's supposed to be our secret! Ha roo roo roo!

On to my favorite part of the exam...

That's right... cheese and crackers. (We never get cheese-in-a-can at home; Dr. Nelson insists on giving us some. We ♥ Dr. Nelson!)

What? No wine with the cheese and crackers?

Please don't mind my eyes. They put dye in them, and dilate them, and stick paper in them, and do all kinds of crazy stuff! But if you think mine look odd, wait 'til you see what they did to Dave.

Ha roo roo roo!

So, the refreshments always come at the end of the appointment - in case they need to draw blood or do a urinalysis or administer drugs that require fasting. You know, like if they need to sedate us to take radiographs or something. Anyway, once I had quite a few crackers with cheese, it was time to go home. I was exhausted when I got home - it was all I could do to engage Zim in a round of zoomies before taking a short walk then a nap.

Dave went to KSU on Wednesday. It had sprinkled a bit overnight, which made the surprise we both had that much more enticing: they are in the process of ripping out the grass and were at the "dig it up and mix cow manure in" stage. Here's Dave:

He looks miffed, doesn't he? See those brown-colored patches of earth by the building? Oh, how he wanted to go dig in that, roll in that, do whatever he could get away with in that. As did I. But would Mom let either one of us? No. Sheesh. What a party-pooper.

Anyway... I mentioned that they put dye into our eyes. One of the dyes turns things sort of neon yellow. If you just happen to grab a black-light because it's close to HOWLoween and you're playing around with a VERY patient patient, the dye becomes quite florescent. How do I know? Check out Dave:

Ha roo roo roo! Isn't that funny? (They have a portable black-light available in case they want to throw a 70s-themed party and to help with things like detecting ring worm.) Part of this staining process is also to help determine if the eyes are draining properly. And you know where your eyes drain other than through your tear ducts, right?

Ha roo roo roo! (I wasn't going to share Dave's glowing nose with you, but he thought it was pretty funny so he gave me the green light. Would that be a glowing neon green light? Ha roo roo roo!)

Oh, as a side note, the sort of red/orange thing about his eye is just a little staining from one of the other kinds of drops. Mom cleaned that up with some cotton balls and water. And all of the other stain comes right out - no muss, no fuss!

In addition to cheese and crackers at the finish, Dave's entire appointment was interspersed with one of his most favorite things in the world:


The pup is crazy for tummy rubs!

As per the rest of the week, Thursday, as you read, was a rainy day. Other than our morning walk, then a couple short jaunts, we pretty much worked around the house. Yesterday is when our weather took that lovely turn - the sun came out, the winds blew in, and the temps dipped! Ahhh... it was great! Ammy smelled snow to our north, but said we wouldn't get any. We had a great walk in the morning, then after lunch it was still cold and blustery. And you know what you should do on a day like that!

DSCN2412 The Ao4
I just love it when the whole pack's together!
Me, too, Zim! What a great day!

More pix from that walk soon! (Left to right above: Dave, me, Ammy, and Zim. Dad is off-camera behind the redheads; Mom is behind me and Dave muttering about not being able to feel her hands.)

Anyway, pups and kit-cats, for those of you who are seniors - and even for you youngsters out there - please do check out the links and read about this great Senior Care program. Not only am I a cancer survivor because of it, but the rest of the pack members have benefitted from early detection and treatment and preventative care! Check it out, ask your vet about a similar program - and stay healthy!

Tail wags,

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rainy Day Revisited

Ha roo, pups and cool cats. Zim here again today. I wanted to thank all of you for the excellent suggestions you gave us yesterday about what we could get into err... no, that's not right... amuse ourselves with no, that's not right either... do to help Mom out on a rainy, dreary day. Yeah, that's it. I think we covered most of your recommendations between the four of us. We don't have photos of all of our accomplishments, but we do of lots of them. Let's get started, there's lots of ground to cover!

The top three suggestions centered around zoomies and wrestling, napping, and helping make the beds.

Zoomies and wrestling. Did those repeatedly throughout the day. Especially enjoyable while still damp from going outside. Mom seemed excited about it, too. Oddly, there are no pictures.

Napping. Got that covered really well. Here's Ammy:

IMG_3234 Ammy

Since we normally do Photo Finish Friday, that's our entry for this week.

As an addendum here (Stormy held Vocabulary Class yesterday), the 'Splorin' Wolfies said, "hmmm---are you sure it is raining out--i think i would have to verify that with Amber...." Oh, yeah, we did run it by her. She confirmed rain and not snow, otherwise she would not have been napping. She did smell snow to our north later in the afternoon, but not for us.

Helping make the beds. Lots of great ideas about making beds, fluffing pillows, testing the comfiness of all the beds, pillows, couches and chairs in the house. Sadly, our skills are limited to our own beds and the one biped bed in the Master Bedroom; everything else is off-limits. According to Mom, we did enough work on the big bed to last a while. Happy to help, Mom! Here's Stormy, midway into Holly and Zac's suggestion of kicking all the pillows off the bed:

IMG_4115 Storm
Me? About to ransack the bed? Where do you GET these ideas?!?

I tried helping down in the Studio for a while. This covered the bum around idea, sniff all over then sniff some more suggestion, and rearrange the toys recommendation.

IMG_3350 Zim
Anything else I can do for you, Mom?

She thought I had done enough down there. Then I remembered what Max had said... and I offered to rearrange the stuff on the shelves. Mom thought it was fine as is.

IMG_3351 Zim
Are you sure, Mom? It's no trouble...

You can see the disappointment on my face, can't you? Just to cheer me up and to give Mom some good background music while she worked, Dave led us all in a howl-athon.


That was tons of fun - and before we knew it, it was time to go upstairs for lunch and Banana Formation. That covers snacking and eating in general. Here are me and Dave in formation:

IMG_4113 Zim, Dave, Storm

Pretty cool, huh? You can see part of Storm and Dad in there, too. Don't worry, Ammy was there, too!

After lunch, we did many of the same activities. I also worked in pose for the camera. OK, that wasn't one of your suggestions, but it was fun.

IMG_3318 Zim

Yeah... I know. You want a close-up now, don't you? Here ya go:

IMG_3319 Zim

It was a full afternoon, let me tell you! But that's not all we did! Back to Holly and Zac's suggestions, they had another idea: Make lots of noise so the bipeds can't hear the TV. Done and done, pals! It all started when Storm settled in to watch some TV...

IMG_4117 Storm
"House Hunters"? I thought you said you were going to watch "Mouse Hunters"!

She fired off an email to a couple kit-cat pals of hers (Tia and Huffs), then started yelling her protests about the show mix-up. I really think "Mouse Hunters" sounds more interesting, don't all of you?

Thanks to your suggestions, we stayed really busy all day! You guys are the best!

Play bows,