Linda Douglas (RatWife)
I was born and raised in central Kentucky (the Bluegrass). My grandparents were from farming, teaching and store-keeping families. I remember fondly the times I visited them in the summer months.
I met someone at college in 1968 who was supposedly “safe to date” since neither of us was planning to get married soon. We were both interested in careers in life sciences. Surprisingly, we eloped 6 months later and moved to Cincinnati for his career before the year was out. I tried to continue my education by attending several different colleges but it never worked out. That marriage didn’t work either but it did produce a beautiful, intelligent daughter in 1971. I married again and had a son in 1979. Later, I married (unwisely) for the third time. Chad and I were both computer bulletin board sysops and we met in 1990 and became friends online. We married in 2002 after living together for several years.
Why Lose the Race?
I’ve lived in and around Cincinnati for over 40 years but I’ve always wanted to move away from the “concrete jungle” and live independently and naturally. It seemed as though we were always working to buy “stuff” and to continue to work. I really never cared for a big house and a fancy car. I preferred dressing to please myself rather than to keep in style and I’ve never enjoyed shopping.
I dreamed of having a rustic cabin with gardens and small livestock above an underground dwelling that would be powered by solar cells. That dream kept receding further and further but I never gave up on it. When Chad told me what he was thinking of doing, it was difficult to keep my lower jaw from hitting the floor!
My Hobbies and Interests
I love to read science fiction and fantasy. A good book never grows old! I think I own every book Marion Zimmer Bradley ever wrote.
I enjoy many fiber arts immensely. I learned to crochet at about 10 years of age and to knit at about 12. Ten years ago, I began learning spinning and weaving. I find them both fascinating and soothing.
I enjoy gardening, particularly food plants and herbs. I learned how to amend the poor clay soil of southwest Ohio. Now I need to learn about gardening in the fertile but dry Chihuahuan desert.
Chad Douglas (The Rat)
While I was born in Central California, I grew up in southwest Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. My father was a minister and had joined a congregation in the area.
My mom and dad were always “outdoorsy” types. We went camping, hiking and wood-cutting a lot when I was a child. My parents were also into gardening. We had an absolutely huge garden behind our house. As a kid, one of my chores was to weed the garden, so I learned early to despise it.
Despite the fact that I hated gardening, I have always enjoyed the outdoors. However, I got into technology instead and have concentrated my adult life in my career as a desktop support technician for a variety of companies over the years.
I am entirely self-taught; I did not attend college after high school, mostly because I was not aware of the options I had available. I thought that I *had* to get a full scholarship to college in order to attend, and because I had screwed off in high school, that option was not presented to me.
Why Lose the Race?
Recently, it dawned on me that I go to work every day in order to have all the things that I need to go to work every day. I needed to have:
- A house close to my workplace
- Cable TV
- High-speed Internet access
- Servers (optional, but required for a geek like me)
- Cellular Phone
- Natural gas
- A vehicle to drive
- Car Payment
- “Professional” Attire
- Dress Shirts
- Dress Shoes
- Miscellaneous Stuff
This amounted to hundreds and hundreds of dollars per month! So, I started wondering what it would take if I just “deleted” all that. Suddenly, my expenses would get very, very small!
I’m good at what I do. I like the people I work with. However, the very nature of the work I do is repetitive. I occasionally get a “new” problem to solve, but it’s usually the same old, same old.
The notion of having a plot of land and having to make it on my own with improvised technology and good old-fashioned hard work presented a real challenge to me.
My Hobbies and Interests
My primary hobbies are computers and automotive mechanics. However, I’ve always had a policy of “never stop learning.” My TV is almost always stuck on Discovery Channel, Learning, History, National Geographic, or PBS. I was recently described as “an information sponge.” Over the years, I’ve collected tons and tons of tidbits of information that I believe has prepared me for the challenge ahead.
We live with three Pomeranians, a red heeler and two cats. The cats refuse to be photographed, and only after hours of negotiation and many bribes, they agreed to have only their names printed here:
Our dogs, however, are quite happy to be included in any activity that we do. They are our pack.
Several years ago, we had a couple dogs, but since we didn’t really know how to raise dogs, we wound up finding them new homes before they were even a year old. However, in the fall of 2005 and early 2006, we became followers of The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan. The way he explained dog psychology made a lot of sense to us, so we decided that we would get a Pomeranian puppy and have another go at it.
Yasmina (Mina), Deceased May 2014
We purchased Mina from a breeder in South Central Ohio in August of 2006. She was born on July 9 of the same year. Right from the beginning, we taught her to be nice to everyone and to be a real lap baby. She has never been fed “people food.” She learned to be a cuddly lap baby early on. It wasn’t long before she became “daddy’s girl,” and has been Chad’s baby every since, much to Linda’s dismay. Mina was supposed to be “her dog.”
People often jokingly threatened to steal Mina, since she was so personable. She was always visiting everyone in the room soliciting petting and belly rubs. Chad often told people “She loves everybody.”
Mina slept with Chad every night. In fact, when it was bedtime, she made sure Chad knew it!
Yasmina passed away in May of 2014 due to complications from liver disease. She will be missed.
Don Vanillo (Neo), Deceased September 2013
In the spring of 2007, we had stopped into the local animal shelter and found Neo. At the time he was still on 72-hour hold, having just been brought in the previous day. We anxiously waited the required time, and then borrowed the money from Chad’s mother to adopt him, since payday was over a week away and we wanted to be sure we got him.
As it turns out, he was completely, 100%, stone-deaf. While we had him, he had started to develop cataracts. We don’t know exactly how old he was, but the vet estimated him to be about 6-8 years old at the time we adopted him.
We had thought that we’d use him as a mate for Mina and breed them. However, the animal shelter’s rules required that he be neutered before we could adopt him. To bad. He would have made beautiful puppies!
Neo passed away in September of 2013 due to complications from a collapsed trachea, a condition that is very common in Pomeranians.
Since the adoption of Neo, we had been looking for a mate for Mina, and were repulsed by the large stud fees. While we were looking, we came across a male Pom that was up for adoption, with AKC papers for less than an standard stud fee! So, on October 31, 2008, we drove 2 hours north and adopted Buddha.
Buddha was born on February 25, 2008. The lady we adopted him from had wanted to keep him, but since they already had a large number of dogs, they had to give him up. He was quite timid when we got him, and it took him weeks to trust Chad. We’re not sure what had caused this timidity, but we were relieved when it was over!
The lady that we adopted Buddha from is still in contact with us to this day. We periodically send pictures of him to her, and when we post them on Facebook, she usually comments or “likes” them.
When they got old enough to run around, they would always get into mischief together. When they’d run upstairs, we would yell out “ALL PUPPIES DOWNSTAIRS!” and they would all come running. Puppy A was always the first to arrive.
Puppy A also wound up being the omega of the pack, which meant that he was always the one to apologize for all the misbehavior of the rest of the pack. For a while, I had nicknamed him “Puppy Jesus,” since he was always prepared to atone for the sins of the rest.
Then, we got hit by Parvovirus. One of the puppies (C) who had been rehomed was put down by her new people because of parvo. Puppy A and Puppy E also became sick, and we had to hospitalize Puppy A for over a week. This cost us over $1500! Since Puppy E was the largest of the pups, we were able to nurse him back to health on our own.
Once we had found homes for the other five puppies, it was clear that Puppy A needed special attention. He was very timid. We felt that if he was not trained very carefully that he could easily become a fear-aggressive dog. Coupled with the fact that we had just spent $1500 on his hospital care, we decided to keep him.
Since he had always been the first of the puppies to arrive when we called them, we figured he must think that his name was “Puppy,” so it stuck.
While he is still timid and barks nearly non-stop at strangers, once he gets to know you, he’s as much a cuddle-butt as his mother!
A couple of our good friends knew that we liked Pomeranians. In August of 2013, they saw a post on their Facebook feed about a stray Pomeranian. They shared the post with us and we fell in love with this little guy immediately. We rescued him that day.
He very quickly bonded with Chad and has become “Chad’s Dog,” and is often featured on Facebook in either very cute or very silly pictures. He is very energetic and is very friendly.
We named him Padfoot because he reminded us of a tiny version of the dog that played the role in Harry Potter, the alter-ego of Harry’s guardian, Sirius Black.
We adopted Scout from a family in El Paso. He was part of a larger pack, and the alpha male was being very abusive toward him. I couldn’t bear to see such a lovable and sweet dog be abused like that, so I brought him home with me to the desert.
He really likes to go out in the desert and chase rabbits. I recently paced him running at 25MPH. Boy, can he move!