So: paint my pup


On Sunday afternoon, Bruce and I set off to do something different and explore a new (to us) part of Dallas. It was pouring so it put a little damper (ha!) on our attempts to explore the areas surrounding White Rock Lake. But that wasn’t the main event. You see, I signed us up for a “Paint Your Pet” class at Pinot’s Palette, a franchised drink wine/eat snacks while you paint place.

Even though it’s completely wrong to pick a favorite when you have four dogs to choose from, you may have gathered from my previous posts that George has grabbed a bigger place in my heart than the others. His goofiness, his need to  carry toys in his mouth at all times, and his love of snuggling may have started this love fest, but the fact that he follows me around (the others all follow Bruce), didn’t hurt. So I decided that I’d paint my favorite photo of George. Yes, he has two tennis balls in his mouth. He had three but he dropped one before the photo was snapped.

The whole process was easy. When we showed up, the photos we provided were already printed on the canvas (see above) and they had put brushes, a cup of water and a paper plate with black and white paint on it. The instructor told us to bring our photo and the paper plate and line up to get the rest of the paint we needed. While we were getting paint, the helpers told us how to mix the colors we needed.


One coat of background green underway

We then went back to our easels to paint the background. I chose a bright green to make George stand out more.

Background done. Time to start painting.

Background done.


Since we are not framing our “masterpieces” we painted the sides the background color too. Photo by Bruce

After we were happy with our backgrounds, it was time to start creating the shading and definition. The instructor helped us to understand why it was important, but he also made it look too easy. It was actually hard! And mixing the colors was also a little tricky. So I kind of forgot that we were also supposed to be drinking wine while painting. Probably better for the painting though.


some shading and white underway

Lots of things were really hard to paint: the tennis balls and George’s nose. All three are a little lopsided. But his eyes turned out much better than I thought they would. The pink area is George’s scar tissue where his fur doesn’t grow.


It kinda looks likes George. Photo by Bruce


The painting kinda resembles the photo. Not bad for a first timer.


The finished George painting.

Bruce picked Gidget. As the last to arrive, Gidget doesn’t appear in as many photos around the house, so I think he wanted her to have a nice picture too. He also liked the blue color of her pool as a background color.


Bruce painting the background.


Bruce did a great job on Gidget! Photo by Bruce

No gratuitous G photo today—you got to see plenty of gratuitous George and Gidget. But if you’ve ever thought about doing one of those paint and drink wine classes, do it! It’s fun and you get a souvenir to take home.


So: vaccination station

Yes, another long absence and I’m now in Boston Don’t worry, being busy keeps me out of trouble, the garden is growing like a weed patch, the Gs are all doing great, and Bruce has everything under control.  This time after a long pause, I’ve got several great stories to share and you’re going to get a couple of posts in a row.


Our Gidget is a former street dog that was rescued by an organization called Duck Team 6. If you remember her story, she was found under a church in a part of Dallas where the residents often have to scrape by.

Duck Team 6 is a group of friends who have experience rescuing dogs from the streets. They are not a rescue group per se but really work with other groups to find homes for these dogs who have been dumped or who have been born to street dog parents. They also do community outreach and help people who have dogs keep them fed and safe. The folks who run the organization and the army of volunteers behind them work very hard to help both people and dogs.

In our spare time (mostly on weekends), Bruce and I have been helping them out. We’ve been to community events with “Duck” dogs who need to find homes and we answer people’s questions about the animals.

Last week (during the week!) we also bagged donated dog food:

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The Gs were pretty excited about what we brought home in the truck, but none of us were prepared for how much dog food we would be bagging:

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We thought we had 250 pounds but we had a bunch more. We ended up bagging almost 150 gallon sized zipped bags with the donated food. These would be given out at last weekend’s outreach event.

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Gidget was very pleased with our hard work (her tail is a blur because it’s wagging). She and George were the clean up crew for any pieces that missed the table or a bag and fell on the floor. They certainly did a lot of sampling. Godiva couldn’t have cared less; Guinness only sampled if the pieces landed near his front paws (he was sleeping next to the dining room table).

So then, we decided that we’d help at the actual event on Saturday. The event was a pop up free vaccination clinic where neighborhood residents could get free shots, free dog food, free leashes and collars, free flea prevention, free hay for dog houses, free nail trims (you may recognize the nail trimmer, Bruce cut the nails of nearly 60 dogs of all sizes):

photo 4

line up was long but everyone was patient (photo courtesy of Duck Team 6)

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If you look carefully, you’ll see me holding a clipboard. My job was greeting people and patients and checking them in. (photo courtesy of Duck Team 6)

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(photo courtesy of Duck Team 6)

photos by Teresa McClure

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Bruce doing pedicures (photo courtesy of Duck Team 6)

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Expert hands (photo courtesy of Duck Team 6)

Duck Team 6 expected a much smaller turn out than they ended up having. Over 150 dogs were vaccinated (and a few cats too). And more people kept showing up! So there will be another clinic in December and more happy people with their beloved pets protected against a host of medical issues.

Of course, none of this is without expense. Duck Team 6 is a very small not-for-profit, run by friends, supported by volunteers.

If you are interested in learning more about the great work that they’re doing in Dallas, like Duck Team 6 on Facebook ( or supporting the upcoming December pop-up clinic with a tax-deductible donation, visit their website (

So: foster fail


Gidget: splendor in the grass

If you happened to read last Sunday’s post, you might remember that we have a house guest at the Mortroski Mid-century. Or rather, that we had a house guest. You see, Gidget found a great home. A home with other dogs to play with, soft couches to sleep on, yummy food, lots of toys, walks twice a day, and a nice lady named Tracy who visits while the people are at work and enjoys administering belly rubs, throwing the ball, and giving out treats.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we have a new 40 pound family member.  Stella, aka Gidget, is staying.

Yes, Fransi, Simone, and Joy, you called it days ago. No, it didn’t happen at the same time as the name change on Sunday evening. Actually, Bruce and I talked about it on Tuesday night, after dinner.

Why so soon? Because she was so damn easy and had fit in so well, so fast.

The prize you get for calling it are all the free Gidget kisses and tail wags you could want. You’ll just have to come to the Mortroski Mid-century for their administration. And you don’t have to hurry, because most likely she’ll be here for a good long while (touch wood). Remember she’s probably somewhere around one, give or take a few months.

So Gidget is a foster fail. Or really, Bruce and I are failures.

How did this happen?

We succumbed to a little street dog’s swift adaptation to life in a house. To playing joyfully with toys. To running laps with George and Godiva. To learning how to sit in less than 2 days. To crying when we left. To barking in happiness when we returned. To ears that detected Bruce’s truck as it was driving down the alley to our driveway. To knowing that the garage door going up meant another human was coming home. To barking at bicycles and baby carriages, but not other dogs. To “getting” how to walk on a leash just by following Guinness’ lead. To charming us out of bits of food. To charming George out of most of his food. To snuggles and kisses. To coffee table clearing tail wags. To razor-sharp puppy teeth. To sheer cuteness. To making herself right at home.

In short, we were soft touches, something that I know our friends and family are completely shocked about. It is completely our faults. We were weak. And Gidget knew it. So did the Gs.

When we made the leap from two dogs to three, I worried that we were upsetting the balance of our little pack. Guinness and Godiva were happy together, Mr. Laid Back with Ms. Sensitivity. But George’s goofiness and puppy-like playfulness gave Godiva a friend to romp with so that Guinness could have more naps.


Making herself comfortable

This week, Gidget gave the Gs a purpose. Their mission: to turn a little street dog into a perfect member of the household so that they’d have another pack member. And they all gave it their all. From Guinness administering discipline to George showing her that sitting even when not asked usually ensures food when the humans are cooking. To Godiva reminding her that she is the alpha and must be shown respect. And all 3Gs played and played and played to wear the little street dog out so that she would be calm for walks and ready to turn in at bedtime.

Yes, we fully understand the folly of having four dogs. Four mouths to feed. Four times the vet bills. Four times the heartworm medication. Four City of Dallas licenses to buy each year. Four as many baths to give. Four leashes to hold. 16 feet to pedicure. More doo-doo to pick up. And lord knows how many toys that George, Gidget and Godiva will go through now.

We’ve talked about and thought about all of those things. And we are fortunate that our budget allows us to bring her into our home permanently. Yes, I said budget because sometimes when people think about pets, they only think with their hearts. That may be the very thing that landed Gidget on the street—someone who loved the cute puppy with all of his or her heart, but couldn’t afford to feed her or take care of her properly (she was not spayed). If we could not afford to adopt her and care for her properly, we would still be fostering and hoping like crazy that she’d find a great home.

The rewards will be priceless. One more four-legged friend that will greet us with tail wags and sweet doggie kisses, not just on the most craptastic of days, but every day. One more four-legged friend who will hang out in the garden. One more four-legged friend to snuggle with on the couch. One more four-legged friend who will make us go for yet another walk on those days when the weather is rainy/cold/hot/buggy and we really don’t want to walk.

Still, our days of fostering are not over. Over brunch with some of the Duck Team 6 crew, as we celebrated our upgrade to 4G, we let them know we’d be available for emergency fostering. One Duck Team 6 member who found her said that after meeting us last Sunday and seeing how happy Gidget was with the Gs, she was wishing for a foster failure. Maybe we all need to wish a little harder for the things we want to happen.

For more information, to volunteer, to foster, or to donate to help get Dallas’ street dogs like Gidget off the street, visit Duck Team 6.


So: civic duty

As I mentioned earlier this week, Wednesday was my day to do my civic duty for my fellow citizens of Dallas county. Yes, that’s right: the ever-dreaded jury duty.

I only know one person who loves jury duty. She’s been a foreperson four times. She wants to get chosen. I’m sure she walks right up to the judge and says so. She also lives for correcting other people’s grammar. Visit her blog at

I definitely did not want to get picked. Let’s just say my views are often not shared by the citizenry of North Texas. And unfortunately like The Grammar Belle, I have a tendency to be given leadership roles in volunteer groups. And missing work means making up the time at night when I’d rather be gardening, hanging out with Bruce and the Gs, or even blogging.

That being said, I really didn’t have anything to compare the potential experience to. I was never chosen for jury duty in Ontario nor California, so Texas is my only point of comparison.

I have to say that Dallas seems very efficient and responsible compared to my Tarrant county (the area west of DFW airport, court is in Ft. Worth) experience. For that time, I was told to show up at noon for that jury duty and had to hang around until around 5 pm, only to be the last potential juror to be questioned and once the lawyers heard what I did and where I went to university, they said, “thank you but your services are not needed.” That case was a felony DUI case, a felony because the driver had his young son in the car. I don’t know how it ended up, but I still wonder what happened since so many of the potential jurors seemed to want to try the man before the actual case was heard.


Wednesday morning was a lot more civilized. We were ushered into a receiving area where our jury summons’ barcodes were scanned and we were told to be seated in the auditorium. We watched a short video with a local tv news anchor as the presenter that described our potential duties and showed what a trial looks like. We listened to the presiding judge (not the name in the picture)


explain why we must take this job very seriously and why, along with voting, it is what separates the U.S. system of government from many others. (Unfortunately far too simplistic of an explanation says the poli sci major). He was an engaging and powerful speaker and in my opinion would have been a good preacher or motivational speaker.

Then we waited.

And waited some more.

It was all fine with me. I did work email. I wrote my brother a birthday card. I read a magazine. I made some notes.

I did my usual airport people watching and was pleasantly surprised that most people were dressed in their Sunday best or for a job interview as requested in the jury summons. No pajamas or clubwear present.

And then they selected two big groups. About 150 people in the first, 50 in the second. It was by your jury number and mine was 753.

Guess what: after another 30 minute break that turned into almost an hour, I was dismissed. And that was it. Back to work I went and I was in my desk before 1 pm.


Bonuses of the day: seeing downtown Dallas on a weekday morning. Seeing the old city hall building from the front of the courthouse:


Being across the street from the JFK memorial:


And I had to drive next to the tourist covered grassy knoll to get back to my office.

So it was a day of US history and government reminders.