Friday, September 11, 2009

Redbone with Shawl

Lola, oh Lola. My beautiful, intelligent, stoic, photogenic Redbone Coonhound. I realized not long ago that for some reason I have never posted any stories about Lola, and that's something I want to fix right now.

It might be because she is just so complex. Lola is a fine wine. Deep, layered, nuanced. While Rudy is a beer. Straight forward, unambiguous, what you see is what you get. And with Lola we have many stories to tell, some of them are downright scary, some are hilarious. Where to begin?

Babushka Lola

She's nearly 10 years old now, and we are so lucky she's still around. You see, one of Lola's really bad habits is to GOBBLE. Not CHEW, but GULP foreign objects. This dog has an unnatural fetish for sticks, rubber dog toys, rawhide treats, bones, tennis balls, you name it. And when she gets her jaws on one of these things clamps down hard, refuses to let go and ultimately swallows the object nearly whole. Which has led us to the Emergency Room at Animal Medical Center (translate: VERY EXPENSIVE) four times.

Surgery #3 in 2006 was particularly harrowing. Seems she chomped on a beef rib bone, which splintered and got stuck somewhere along the lower intestine which then punctured it in several places. This dog was seriously ill by the time we transferred her from our local vet office (where she had been under observation for several days after we arrived home on a Wednesday night to a horrendous mess of blood, vomit and you don't want to know what else). When they called me that Friday night to say they did not like the direction she was headed, they were not in a position to care for her, as they are not a 24 hour enterprise, and something terrible could go wrong in the wee hours of the night, I knew we had trouble. I didn't know how big it was and really there was no time to ponder.

The entire ride through Brooklyn and up to AMC on the Upper East Side, she was so calm, so patient, watching out the window at the passing world, not a whimper or a sigh. When we arrived, told them in a rush of words -- our regular vet urged us to come here are her x-rays we think she is in bad shape please please save our dog. These doctors took one look and whisked her off to emergency surgery. Even before we gave permission they were prepping her.

Around 5AM the next morning we got a phone call that she was out of surgery, they'd removed over 12" of small intestine, and she was in a very precarious place. Though she was past the surgery, she had been arrhythmic the night before, causing great strain on her heart and other organs, and the intestinal punctures had made her septic. The surgery was the beginning, not the end and she was a very sick girl with quite a few obstacles to overcome on the road to recovery. The next four days were super tense, because if the sutures burst, there was no saving her. We were absolutely beside ourselves with fear. Every time the phone rang we jumped out of our skin.

But this dog is a survivor. She came home from that event with a tube coming out of her stomach and very weak. People stared at us when we took her down to the sidewalk to pee. All bandaged up, tube dangling, she was a complete mess! Slowly she recovered, but not before she ripped the tube out and chewed the little end thingy. And that meant another trip to the ER for removal via the esophagus. Can you believe the determination?! She is single-minded that's certain.

Lola and Shawl

Which is one of the things I truly adore about her. Though her determination is misguided, it is pure. It is a hallmark quality of Coonhounds to be this focused. Lola is also determidly focused on being warm and cozy. She loves nothing more than to curl up on the sofa with a blanket tucked around her. She hates being wet and when it rains she will refuse to go out, preferring to hold it as long as possible.

She may not have the correct conformation for a Redbone, all spindly in the legs and out of proportion to her body, still she's a beauty. It's the look in her eye, her gorgeous mahogany coloring, and her melodious (loud) howl that simply melt my heart.

Lola's communication skills are highly developed. She tells you exactly what she wants by pointing, darting her eyes back and forth and using her head and nose to literally guide your hand to the object of desire. On top of that, she also makes these yowly, gurgle sounds that I swear, she is as close to talking as any dog I've known. It is truly amazing.

Lola is on a first name basis with the doctors at AMC, and we are lucky to live in a place with access to such high quality medical resources. They took such good care of her during that event and since then, another surgery (I told you she was relentless... but that's for another time).

Okay, enough. This is a knitting blog, after all. I asked the resident photographer to take the shots you see here because I thought the mini shawl looked nice on her. And much as she told me she really likes it, I think I will keep this one for myself! Last night I posted these shots to my Flickr and generated a mini whirlwind of response! Thanks, guys! The lesson here is I may need to shamelessly use my dogs to pimp model my knitting more often! Heh. Seriously, I do love the comments as they motivate me to continue with blogging and Flickr-ing. Such a great community, this knitting and spinning world, I love it!

Now about this project. The yarn started as hand dyed Wensleydale from Spunky Eclectic, purchased at the MASW in May. I had so much fun at that little festival, entirely because I got to meet Amy and Adrian in person and I might have been a bit in awe of them, my admiration is that huge!

Spunky Eclectic 100% Combed Top Wensleydale - Estuary

I spun it up over the summer and learned that I truly love working with the long wools. It's a 2 ply yarn, fingering weight, with 4 oz. yielding around 318 yards.

Estuary Wensleydale Top

The pattern is from the talented Kristin Kapur, called Lavalette, and another project tied to raising money for a really good cause, funding research in Alzheimer's Disease. I knit this little shawl intent on using up all the yarn. I used #4 needles because I wanted a denser stockinette section. I was amazed at how nicely the yarn striped up. And you all know how much I love stripes.


As I was working the final lace section I got a bit spooked about running short on the yarn so I omitted the last two repeats of the section. As it turns out, I have some yarn left over, and the shawl is not huge, but it makes a lovely neckwrap and will fold nicely under a coat collar. These colors are well suited to many things in my wardrobe so I predict lots of use in the coming months. It's why I traded a Milk Bone with Lola to keep it for myself!


Knitting with hand spun yarn is fun. My collection has grown to the point that I seriously need to work up some projects. Or sell some??


barefootrooster said...

Oh, Lola. She's gorgeous in these photos -- thanks for sharing a bit more about her character/personality! She's lucky to have folks who believe in her. (And Lavalette, is, of course, stunning.) Hooray for handspun!

Janet Ford - National said...

As a redbone coonhound breeder, I really enjoyed seeing Lola's photos here. Lovely shawl, too!

Janet Ford - National Coonhound Examiner said...

Sorry... I was trying to write my name as Janet Ford - National Coonhound Examiner but the computer gobbled up my comment first. LOL

laura/lollyno2 said...

Oh she is a stunner. You can just see so much in her eyes. I had a basset that knew my vets VERY well too but aren't they worth every penny? Glad she has sooo much love!

Knitting Belle said...

Lola's lovely and so is your shawl. She looks so serene in the photos. Thanks for a great story.

Katie M. said...

Beautiful shawl on a beautiful model. Thanks for sharing a bit of Lola's story ... she's a lucky girl. (Though with my dog, I feel like I'm the lucky one ...)

yahaira said...

oh lola, you gorgeous thing you, stop eating random stuff!! we just went through this with dobby. those were some scary days filled with lots of tears. do these little critters realize they have us wrapped around their little paws?!

Eliza said...

the spinning, knitting and dog are all gorgeous. I'm so impressed!

Matthew said...

And I bet she has a "dark brown voice" like the Lola of Kinks' fame, too.

Oiyi said...

It's a beautiful shawl! And gorgeous handspun yarn. I loved how it striped so nicely.

Oh Lola! That story had me in tears. One of my dogs is a swallower, too, but he is very small and has a small throat. We had a few accidents in the past and I was besides myself.

Rosi G. said...

Lola is beautiful. So sexy and sure of herself. :D

But your spinning and your knitting of that shawl, oh my. I'm in AWE!! it's GORGEOUS! so beautiful and I can almost feel how soft it is. Way to go!

Faith said...

I love that pattern, and your version of it is totally gorgeous!`