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Merry Christmas from Moseley World!

Things have been quite crazy, busy around here, to say the least, in the last few weeks. We hope to be able to catch our breath after the Christmas holiday with family. To add to the usual holiday stress, old Santa has been terrorizing Saxon any chance he gets.

We stumbled upon Santa Claus and his elves at the Magnolia Hotel during the downtown Dallas tree-lighting ceremony.Saxon seemed quite content to study St. Nicholas from afar, but as we began to leave, she voiced a request to see him up close & personal.

As the line got shorter, I could hear Santa asking the kids what they wanted for Christmas. I thought, “Holy Rudolph! We have not prepped this child for this moment!” So Carey quickly told Saxon that Santa will ask her what she wanted for Christmas and suggested that Saxon ask for a new dolly. When I suggested to Saxon that she might want to ask for something for Samantha as well, she interrupted me saying “a new blankie for Samantha!” (because what the heck else does a 4 month old really need? and it keeps Samantha away from Saxon’s favorite!)

We walked up the stairs to Santa’s throne (?) and I plopped Saxon down on St. Nick’s lap. She refused to look him in the eye - preferring to keep her eye on Mom & Dad. But I could tell she was watching Santa out of the corner of the eye to make sure the funny looking fella wasn’t going to make any fast moves.

I could tell Santa was ready to punt, so I picked Saxon up and started walking off when she immediately began yelling, “Santa, I want a dolly, I want a dolly, Santa!…and Samantha wants a new blankie, got it? a new blankie, Samantha!”

So, when we got to the car, Saxon looked all sad and said, “where’s my dolly?” Obviously, we get an F in the preparing the kid to meet Santa Claus department. Although Saxon has wanted nothing to do with Santa Claus the other times she’s seen him (the man does get around!), he’s pretty interesting to watch from at  least 10 or 12 feet away.

Here’s the official 2008 Moseley Christmas (yes, it says, Merry Christmas!) card. This year, we went with a “wide format” card that opened up from the right side (vs the standard foldover type card).  We had fun photographing our pretty little girls for the card.

Moseley World Custom Christmas Card Photograph
front of card


Inside Left
inside left of card

inside right of moseley custom christmas card
inside right of card


back of card

The 2008 edition features somewhat of a final farewell, a tribute, to Ranger, who died earlier this year.  Unboxing the Christmas decorations and finding Ranger’s personalized stocking (sorry about the treat we left in the stocking last year, buddy!) and seeing several canine-themed ornaments brought the kind of grief sorrow I realize many people experience every holiday season.We still miss him terribly, but pledge to remember the good times the little “devil in a clown’s suit” brought us. Merry Christmas little guy.

Holidays & Parenting & Ranger & Samantha & Saxon Chris 23 Dec 2008 3 Comments

Goodbye Ranger. 1995-2008

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about Ranger’s struggle with idiopathic vestibular disease and then his recovery [”recovery” relative to how awfully bad he was at the worst]. Ranger’s improvement plateaued after a few weeks and he never regained his sense of balance. To make matters worse, at the same time, Ranger lost almost all of his vision and hearing capabilities.

Just a pup.

Before, Ranger could hear the jingle of a set of keys being picked up three rooms away. After, only a very loud whistle was audible. Best we could tell, the vestibular event also robbed Ranger of all of his vision in one eye, left him with very limited eyesight in one eye and his peripheral vision was non-existent.

So, for nearly a year, Ranger, felt his way around the house and the back yard. I tried my best to help him, but Ranger, like someone else I know every well, loves his independence and loathes having to depend upon someone else to help him.

(photo at right and below-Ranger 1995, approx 3 months old)

Over the past year, Ranger’s balance and leg strength, especially in his back legs, continued to deteriorate. More and more, Ranger would spend almost the entire day sleeping and then pace anxiously for a few hours, after night fall, before going settling down to sleep.

After trying a variety of medications & treatment recommended by Ranger’s longtime vet (thanks Dr. Johnson for all your help over the years), I decided a second opinion couldn’t hurt. We discovered Ranger’s lethargy could be at least partly explained by pain from a compressed (herniated) disk . The other reason, of course, would that walking around when you cannot see or hear isn’t much fun. As I understand it, when disks are compressed, the padding in between two disks has deteriorated to the extent that the disks actually rub together - bone on bone. Very painful. Plus, the spinal cord becoming exposed could have been the cause of Ranger’s decreased ability to use his back legs.

Puppy Ranger

Again, we tried a bunch of different approaches: muscle relaxers, canine pain killers, human pain killers, steroidal therapy, liver vitamins, thyroid meds. None of which helped Ranger to not fall over when simply walking across the room - much less give him the strength to get up once he had fallen.

Unfortunately, all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Ranger back together again. Ranger’s loss of nearly everything that seemed so important to him - his independence , his dignity and his ability to know what was going on around his domain at all times - led me to make a very tough decision.

Ranger had not been the same for a year and would probably never return to the frisky, playful Ranger I had always known. Last night, as I lay on the floor sobbing, praying and holding Ranger, he gave me more kisses than he had given me in the entire last year. The simple fact that Ranger let me hold him (Ranger was never the snuggly type) seemed to be a sign that it was time to say goodbye.

First thing this morning, I called Dr. Ben Morse and asked him if he had any more tricks up his sleeve - any magic potions. Basically, we had run out of options - we had tried everything to right the ship and none of it worked.

Because of some severe digestive problems, Ranger had been on a restrictive diet this week. But it didn’t matter any more. I grabbed the hamburger patties I had made the night before and loaded Ranger into my car. I carefully hand-fed some beef on the way to the vet and he quickly gobbled up each bite. Remember Ranger’s lack of vision? sometimes I guess a finger can look like hamburger!

To the folks at the vet’s office, I’m sure I looked worse than Ranger with my face red & splotchy. As I crawled into bed after being with Ranger the night before, Carey asked, alarmingly, “What in the world is on your face?” I told her I didn’t know and she asked if I had been crying (busted). She said I had broken tiny blood vessels in my face from crying too hard. To me, it looked like I had splashed muriatic acid on my face.

As we waited, I sat on the floor with Ranger, petting him and feeding him doggie canapes (dog biscuits with a piece of burger on top). Dutifully, I rubbed Ranger’s ears and scratched his back one last time. I ran my fingers through his long hair one more time in hopes I would never forget how he felt.

Just after 10:00 am, on July 9, 2008, Ranger drifted away, peacefully. I cannot even begin to tell you how incredibly compassionate Dr. Morse was during the entire process, even as I attempted to apologize for having him, a healer, do this. Although I realize Ranger is no longer in pain, I feel an incredible starkness in my heart, as if part of it has been ripped away.

Ranger was never the perfect dog. But it was Ranger’s imperfections that helped develop a kinder, gentler me. Certainly a more patient me. A more compassionate me. Thank you, Ranger for teaching me.

Ranger really loved those folks in his inner circle. Thank you Carey, Susan and Dad for being a part of Team Ranger. He could never get enough of you. I’ll remember Ranger playing the “slide the greenie” game Susan invented and remember how much Ranger loved having my dad scratching his back.

Ranger indeed was loved and loved greatly. Ranger grieved when his “brother,” Britt died four years ago. Ranger missed me so badly when I would go out of town that he would howl throughout the night. And today, Ranger, we are brokenhearted without you here.

Ranger also loved Saxon. I know this because he put up with things she did to him that he would not have tolerated from anyone else. Tail-pulling, attempted pony rides, “hair cuts,” you name it. Saxon will miss Ranger - or at the very least she will miss yelling, “No, Ranger, No, Go Away” like she did when he would get under her high chair (which was a no-no around here). We will help Saxon remember Ranger.

99% of the time, Ranger dined on dog food. But I’ll always remember how much he loved fish, peanut butter, steak and bread. I could never scatter bread in the yard for birds, because Ranger would eat it all.

I’ll remember coming home to see Ranger looking out the window and waving at us as we walked up.


I’ll remember how Ranger loved getting attention so much that he’d pose any way I wanted him too. He especially liked wearing the Harry Potter glasses. (click thumbnails to see larger picture)


I’ll remember Ranger kissing Carey, ever so delicately.


I’ll remember our great road trip to marfa, marathon & lajitas, where Ranger got so relaxed he would turn completely upside down and snore in the back seat while we’re cruising down west texas highways.


i’ll remember ranger getting on beds ONLY in hotels. never at home.


i’ll remember ranger’s big smiles, like this one when we were hiking at big bend state park.


i’ll remember our family of three portraits.


I will remember ranger’s watchful eyes.


…and our tongue-in-cheek portraits of ranger with the texas bluebonnets.


I’ll remember one of one of our happiest days together, on the banks of the rio grande.


But mainly, I’ll remember Ranger’s devotion, his sweet face, his pretty eyes and his multi-colored tongue.

Goodbye and farewell my little Ranger.

Photos & Ranger Chris 09 Jul 2008 16 Comments

Rapidly Recovering Ranger

Ranger, Aug 2007Two weeks ago, Ranger wasn’t do so swell [post].

I’m happy to report his continuing recovery. Although he is able to walk on his own, Ranger still is not ready for the dog agility course. But walking without assistance is a big step for both Ranger and his parents!

Ranger, always a finicky eater, is eating all the food put in front of him. I guess he is still making up for missing nearly a week of meals.

Yesterday morning, he sneaked up behind Saxon to gave Saxon big wet kisses on the cheek. Saxon hasn’t figured out whether she really likes that or not.

As predicted by Ranger’s doc, he still has a bit of head tilt, but it’s very slight, “his master’s voice” curious kind of tilt.

Like his dad, Ranger loathes the 95 degree plus weather, so we’re going to start walking him again when it cools off. Thank you for your inquiries, thoughts and prayers. It’s such a relief to be getting our dog back.

Photos & Ranger Chris 07 Aug 2007 No Comments

Ranger Dog on the Disabled List

Unfortunately, last week Ranger’s health took a bit of a turn. Last Saturday morning, when we were in Kansas, I received an 8am call from Susan, dog sitter/trainer extraordinaire. Something was very seriously wrong with Ranger. Disoriented, he could not stand and had thrown up. Long story short, Ranger was suffering from Idiopathic Vestibular Disease (IVD), which is a disorder of the internal balancing system.

Right away, I learned two new words: Idiopathic = sudden onset for no known cause and vestibular = the system mammals have (including humans) to help them balance. Basically, Ranger was suffering from extreme vertigo. The vet made an immediate diagnosis right away because of the involuntary rapid eye movement going on - Ranger’s eyes were darting back and forth — which makes it a little hard to balance and focus. Apparently, IVD is fairly common in older dogs.

Typically, idiopathic vestibular disease lasts 2 to 3 days and the dog begins recovery. Sadly, many dogs are euthanized because their vet misses the diagnosis and the owner decides to put them out of their misery. Seeing Ranger in this condition was very, very painful to watch, so I can understand.


ranger at the hotel thunderbird, marfa, texas 2005

Susan then took Ranger to the emergency clinic where he stayed until Monday morning when i picked him up to take him back to his regular vet…

Continue Reading »

Photos & Ranger Chris 01 Aug 2007 No Comments

Ranger Hearts Saxon

A few months ago, we posted Ranger with Saxon - Part I which featured short video footage of Saxon & Ranger interacting (actually, it was video of Saxon giving Ranger a smackdown and Ranger getting the heck out of Dodge). Ranger Ranger Since that time, Ranger has developed a strategy for parrying Saxon’s friendliness, which is usually in the form of climbing on him or grabbing the hair on his face.


Ranger: Oh great. Here she comes again. Keeping one eye on Saxon.

the stare-down.

ready for action…


Saxon closes in…and Ranger utilizes his tongue. Lots of kisses for Saxon!
Tongue in action

OK, now move along little Saxon.


Works every time!

Ranger, a terrier mix adopted from the SPCA was adopted by me a dozen years ago. He is quirky and a bit of an oddball on the best of days. Ranger was abused the first 4 or 5 months of his life and still carries some baggage because of it. But lots of patience and training have paid off. Ranger tolerates just about anything Saxon dishes out. The other day, I looked down to see Ranger laying on his side and Saxon pulling the hair on the pads of his feet (ouch!). Rarely would he permit me to do so, but he just looked up, saw it was Saxon, sighed and put his head back down.

A week or two ago, I heard a big laugh from little Saxon. Under the dining table, Saxon had a large post card in her hands and was placing it on Ranger’s head, playing peekaboo, letting out a deep, belly laugh each time she covered his eyes. Ranger just sat there, staring at me with a “I cannot believe I’m allowing this to happen” look.

Now, he’s not a Lab that will allow you to saddle him up for 2 year old doggie rides, but with Saxon, Ranger is a Moseley World model citizen as far as both Carey and I am concerned. Ranger is sorry to disappoint the naysayers and will gladly accept apologies in the form of Greenies.

Photos & Ranger & Saxon Chris 31 Jul 2007 5 Comments

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