Who We Are

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My 'Selfie'

Hello, everyone.  It's me, Cammie.  I grabbed our iPhone and thought I'd take one of those "selfie" things while I have a little peace and quiet.  What do you think?

My "selfie"

Is it too serious? I was thinking that I'd try again, maybe this ti---

"Hey, Aunt Cammie!  Whatcha doing?!!?  Something fun?  Wanna play zoomies in the other room?  Play with toys?  Engage in a little Crazed River Otter action?  Whatcha doing?"
"Well... I did have a little peace and quiet..."

"I'll have to get back to you about taking another 'selfie'.  I need to go take care of something."
"C'mon, Aunt CamCam!  Let's go play!  Let's go play!  Let's go play!"

To those who were wondering if all the long walks are wearing us out, I think you just got your answer!  


Monday, April 28, 2014

Exciting Walk!

Greetings to all!  It's me, Maggie.  Oh, did Cammie and I take Mom and Dad on an exciting walk yesterday!  We waited until our big storms passed, then headed out.  Want to see what we saw?  Let's get walking!

First, we went up the big hill by the big road:

Me and Cam

Once we turned down the street and got past the Giant's Castle, we hit the open meadow and saw this:


A bunny and a turkey!  Can you see the bunny?  He's hiding in the grass on the left!

Look at the turkey's reflection in the puddle!


I thought he looked really cool! Aunt Cammie thought he looked delicious.


Don't worry, bunny!  We were more interested in the turkey!

"Hey, Aunt Cam ..."

"... why did the turkey cross the road?"
"Because it's DINNER time!"

Oh.  Moving right along ...

Because of all the rain, lots of birdies were out getting drinks and stuff; we saw lots of things: a Chipping Sparrow, a female Meadowlark, and a flotilla of four Blue Winged Teal Ducks on the Kansas Ocean!  And that's not all!

"Come on over this way!"

Look over on this bank:

Red-Winged Blackbird

Isn't he pretty?!?  AND we saw a Great Blue Heron!


Or at least a pretty good Blue Heron.


Ha roo roo roo!

Mom got a bunch of pictures of him in flight (you can see the whole album from our walk at this link), and here he is coming in for a landing:


We were still laughing at my joke by the time we got back up in the housing area.

"A 'pretty good Blue Heron' -- get it, Cammie?!?"

"Ha roowooroo!  Good one, Maggie!"

Thanks for coming on our walk with us!  I hope you had a good time.  Time to head to the water bowl - drinks are on me!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Serene Scenery Sunday

Hello, everyone.  It's me, Cammie.  Maggie and I thought we'd show you a handful of photos from right here at Ao4 Headquarters for Serene Scenery Sunday.  Would you like to take a look at what's blooming in our gardens?

The cooler weather has delayed the growing season a bit this year, but the Texas Quince are going strong:

Texas Quince

One of our most fragrant plants is the Juddi Viburnum! Here is a look at that:

Juddi Viburnum

I wish you could smell these!

Speaking of smelling things - remember the lilac bush I was sitting under in yesterday's post? Here is a look at those:

"Skidmore" Lilacs
So named for Mom's friend who gave her cuttings from her lilac bush to plant

Oh, if you could stick your snooter in there, you'd feel so very serene!

Our Redbud Trees are at their peak right now! Mom went out to take pix of them the other day and saw this birdie enjoying them:

American Robin

He sure found a nice, colorful place to hang out!

Here's another look at a bloom-filled branch:

Eastern Redbud Tree branch

In another part of the yard, we have another lilac bush - and Old Fashioned Lilac. The blooms on this bush are darker than on the Skidmore Lilac and they come into bloom a little later. Take a look:

Old Fashioned Lilacs

This Robin was following Mom around while she was taking pix of the lilacs; I'm not sure if he's the same one who was out front in the Redbud Tree.

American Robin

Mom likes the way the light was hitting him.

How about one more look at some Old Fashioned Lilacs?


Mmmm... can you almost smell them?

I hope our garden pictures have helped make your Sunday a little bit more serene!!!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Backyard Fun

Greetings to all, it's me, Maggie.  In addition to our long walks lately, Cam and I have also been doing a lot of other things to keep busy.  One of our favorite things is to have one-on-one playtime in the backyard with Mom.  I thought I'd show you some backyard photos today - are you ready?  Let's take a look at some shots of Cammie first!  These pix are from a couple days ago.

Some of our lilacs are in bloom, so Cam sat and took in their sweet fragrance:

"I love the smell of lilacs!"

After that, she sat under the Amur Maples to think deep thoughts:

"That Schnauzer better not come any closer to our fence line..."

She likes to walk around with Mom, maybe trot a bit, but mostly she wants to be right by Mom.

"❤ Hi, Mom!  "
Cammie! ❤"

That makes both of them happy. Wow. I just noticed Aunt Cammie wasn't on a leash back there. Hmm.  And the way she's looking at Mom?  I know that look!  Mom had treats in her pocket; I just KNOW it!

Anyway ... here is Cam, posing on some chunks of limestone under the Purple Ash tree:


She looks happy, doesn't she?  Once she and Mom got out of the fenced-in part of the yard to come back up top, she struck this pose:

Cammie - Head of Security at Ao4 Headquarters

Yeah. Don't mess with Cam!

OK. When I go back there, I like to run, run, run a lot! There's also this magical place called "under the deck" where I like to go. There are wonderful things to snarf under there and I can't hear my mom calling me and calling me when I'm under there. Well, check that -- I can, it's just really easy to ignore her! So ... since Mom is on to me, I have to wear a 25-foot lead in the yard. That's OK with me - it still gives me LOTS of freedom -- like this:


Oh. Well, Mom doesn't actually hold on to the leash -- but she could -- so I have been behaving very nicely lately. (You know -- the old "build up a misplaced sense of trust" thing. That leash will come off; when it does, it's back to the magic of the under-the-deck world for me! Shh! Don't tell my mom!)

And now - it's confession time. I've been playing FETCH! Not Siberian Fetch -- the real kind! Mom throws a toy and I bring it back. It's so fun, I just can't help myself! I even drop it at her feet! I don't know what's come over me - but I love it! Here are some action shots:

Fetching on the upper tier

Fetching on the middle tier

Bringing it on home

Can you tell I was getting a bit tired in that last shot? After two 2-miles walks, zoomies in the house with Cam, and a hearty round of Fetch, I do get a little bit weary. Not a lot, but a little. I decided to stop and pose under the lilac bush like Cammie did:

My serious look

Mom and Dad call that my "Prime Minister Look".  I'm just being me!

Thanks for playing in the backyard with us!

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Thatcher

PS:  For more pix of Cam in the yard that day, click here.  For more pix of me in the yard, please click here!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Photo Finish Friday

Hello, everyone.  It's me, Cammie.  Before Mags and I get started on today's post, we wanted to thank each and every one of you for the kind comments about Zim you left here on the blog, emailed to us, or sent via our mom's FaceBook page.  He is very sorely missed here at Ao4 Headquarters by all of us, but we are doing our best to pick ourselves (and Mom and Dad) up and carry on.  Staying busy helps all of us; Maggie and I thought for Photo Finish Friday, we'd show you a little bit of what we've been doing.

We've mostly been taking nice, long walks.  On the 17th we went with both Mom and Dad.  You can see an album at this link, but there aren't any shots of us.  That strikes me as odd. The next day, we took just Mom on a long one. We didn't see any cool birds, but Mags and I took a break to pose on the transoceanic bridge:


We couldn't help but think about Zim, as that was one of his most favorite places to go.

The next morning, Maggie took Dad on a long walk to CiCo Park where she broke some rules:

Look on the wall behind Maggie!

... and made some new friends:

"Greetings, Mr. Horse!  Have we met?"

I think Zim would have appreciated both of those pix!

Later that day, we took Mom and Dad on another walk. I saw a huge crow ...


I've never actually eaten crow ... so to speak ...

Anyway, Maggie stopped along the way to strike a pose:


My little one sure is growing up fast, isn't she?

Here's the path we were on:

Maggie is walking the point with Dad
Mom and I are bringing up the rear

We often see turkeys in that area - or deer - so I was ready! We didn't see any that day, but check out what we did see:

"Look, a squirrel friend!"

Or as Dad called it, a kamikaze squirrel!  And we all know what I called it.  

"That little guy can really move, huh, Cammie??!??"
"Not if I get a hold of it ..."

Sorry.  Moving right along ... if you'd like to see more pix from that walk, please click here.

The next day, we sniffed out a new-to-us part of the Hudson Trail:

"I've never been here before, Aunt Cam!"
"Nor have I, Maggie!"

It was beautiful ...


On the way home, Maggie rediscovered sprinklers:

"Oooh!  What is -- oh, I remember these!"

She was just a tad bit smaller last time she checked one out!

For more pix from that walk, please click here.

On another day, we took Mom on a really fun, eventful walk! Just beyond this bend is where things got interesting:

"Something's up there, Mags.  I can feel it!"
"I'm on full alert, Cam!"

Want to know what we saw?


There were actually two of them up there - that Tom and a girl he was trying to impress.

Mom posted this collage to her FB page; it pretty much sums things up:

Turkey Sighting

I think Maggie is trying very hard to remember Zim's lessons about making friends with other species. For more photos from that walk, please click here, and for photos from yet another that contain no photos of us but of some wildlife, please click here.

That's a quick run-down of our walks.  As you can tell, we've been staying busy and are helping Mom and Dad get plenty of exercise.  It helps all of us cope with our loss.

Thanks again for your kind words about Zimmie.  We all miss him very much.


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.