Monday, February 27, 2006

Dogs and babies….Babies and dogs….It really isn’t a bad combination; you just have to know when to mix.

I had my dogs first, which helps to explain the working title of my book, ‘My Big Sisters are Labradors’.

And getting a puppy or dogs for your kids is a great idea.

What you don’t want to do is have babies and puppies in the same house at the same time.

Puppies and babies are in the exact same phase of life, the phase of constant attention. You can’t give all your attention to more than one thing at a time. This the basic premise of all sibling rivalry: I had all the attention and now I don’t.

Babies eat, sleep, and poop. The in between time is usually filled with being adorable. Being that cute is truly a fulltime job. Same for puppies: eat, sleep, poop and be adorable. What the adults fail to realize is that the eat, sleep, poop, and play cycle is a 24 hour cycle: day after day after day.

Now I will admit the 24 hour part of parenthood fades at about the 3 or 4th month with a puppy and can run into the 3rd YEAR with a baby. (that would be my second child who only had the eat, sleep, scream cycle – he decided against being adorable)

So please, don’t burn your candle at both ends. Leave that for the parents of twins, who have no other choice. Have the babies and buy them a dog only after they grow into kids. Or get yourself a puppy; get some mom and dad practice in before you jump into the deep end of parenting.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

It is okay to start the spring cleaning...but don't shave the dog, YET.

Here in Utah, we are having our usual false spring. It is just beautiful and warm in the afternoons and you can fool yourself that spring has arrived. Not me, I have to get up very early to let the dogs out. At 7am, there is no doubt in my mind that it is still winter. But every year we fall for this fake spring. Yesterday, I saw someone shaking out the cushions for the front porch swing. I know they are going to be shaking snow off it at least once before Easter.

Jumping the gun on spring is a common mistake. We are all sick of winter and think if we act like it is spring it will be spring. Anyone who has had to plant their vegetable garden more than once will tell you that 'real' spring takes real patience. The gardeners around here taught me the most important rule for veggies in the high desert.

Don't plant anything until Memorial Day

If the rule goes for tomatoes, it goes for your dog.

Don't shave your dog until Memorial Day

Last year, the fake spring hit in March, and the cold came back with a vengeance in April. I had many naked and frozen shitzus that month. A cold and naked dog is not a pretty sight. So please, clean up the yard, air out the house, but leave the dogs alone.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I am happy to report the dog beds are working.

Inertia has slept on her bed everynight since we got it. Even last night when my husband was gone and she had her whole side of the bed to herself. This is nothing short of a miracle.

Vector has laid claim to the one in the living room, whenever the kids don't have it tipped up to make the wall of a castle. There is no way that Vector is going to get out of our bed. She staked out the center, bottom spot between our feet from day one and she is not about to move now. She held out through the 'baby in the bed' years; which is when Inertia got de-throned (de-bedded?). If she can withstand an infant and toddler invasion, she is not about to go willingly.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

dog art

I was checking out a place called Cafe Press for making t-shirts. I found the most amazing collection of dog art. The originals are ceramic tiles, but you can get the designs on mugs, magnets, or t-shirts. I can't make up my mind, but 'Canine Crime' is one of my favorite.

And not to be biased, they even have nice cat designs. Rabbits, too.

Check for yourself.

And while I was getting permission to post that image, I found out the artist has her own blog.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

How long before we just give up and we sleep on the new dog beds?

I just bought a couple of dog beds. They are HUGE. I almost ran over a couple of shoppers in Costco because I couldn't see over the top of them to drive the cart.

But are they big enough for me and my husband?

I have serious doubts about my dogs trading in the down blanket on the king size bed in favor of a 'Dog Bed'. This might just be beneath them. After all, they are used to a certain level of luxury.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Matchmaker Matchmaker, make me a match..

(I always loved that song)

I just pulled off my first canine blind date. I have people call looking for particular breeds of puppies about once a month - more at Christmas. And I have had 3 dogs in 3 years that needed new owners. One ended up at our animal shelter, and got adopted. One got a home on a farm south of here and is doing great. And the last one just got a new set of parents and two little brothers to play with.

I am so happy for everyone involved:
The original owner gets to move cross country and into a little apartment without having to worry about her 'kid'.

My friend get a fabulous dog and new buddy for her sons.

The dog is going to love his new family, especially his new littermates.

And I get to keep a great dog as a client.
(even better I get to trade dog-sitting for handmade purses - you can't beat that with a stick)

Dog matching, best phone call I ever made.

Monday, February 20, 2006

"So, how do you know me?"

I had someone recongize me in the line for popcorn at the movies last night. They even called me by name. Usually I try to fake my way along, searching for the person's name or at least how I know them. (I start with parent of one of the other kids in my kids class, then dog clients - if I can even picture them, one of Dave's students, one of my old students, I try to sell them a house, from church, from one of the businesses I go to all the time...) It is a long list to run through and I have just given up on it alltogether.

Last night, I just blurted out, "So, how do you know me?"
"I'm Sissy's Mom."

Now, that is the kind of information I need.

It was sorted rude to admit I have no idea who they are, but for what it lacks in tact, it made up for in effectiviness and honesty. I think I will stick with this approach.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Have Rawhide - Won't Share!

Rawhides are the bane of my existence.

I get that dogs like them. Like them, they love them.
I get that without having them dog will chew on my kennel fencing, my kennel walls, my kennel doors, or even me.

But rawhides beget rawhide-envy and it is not a pretty sight.

Everything is fine when the owner of the rawhide keeps it in their own run. But no, they always decide that today is the day for gnawing 'el fresco', 'plein air', out in the yard basking in the sun. Not a bad plan, I like a picnic myself. But what the dog has over looked is that all that fresh air and sunshine is surrounded by at least 6 other dogs.

Take my word for it you do not want to be the one breaking up a rawhide fight.

(my son's preschool had a similar rule - If you want to KEEP it, KEEP it in your cubby.)

Friday, February 17, 2006

What kind of dog should I get?

I get this question a lot. And there is quite a bit of debate between different breeds for different people's life styles.

What I alway tell people...GET A DOG, not a puppy.

Everyone wants a puppy. They are so cute. They are so fun to watch.

They make huge messes.
They have to be fed multiple times a day.
They have to go out every 2 hours.
They have to trained.
You have to be trained.

I don't care what breed you select, just get it in the dog form and not the puppy. Most of the dogs that end up at the shelter are nice, house dogs that people can't keep. There are problem dogs from problem owners, but you will be able to see that right away when you meet the dog. Besides, any shelter that lets you adopt a problem and not a pet isn't doing their job.

But really the best way to adopt is the personal approach.

This is how to find a dog that needs you:
Let all your friends know that you are looking.
Call the local vets and shelters and put up an ad.
Call the local groomers and boarders, people talk to us about dogs all the time.
Call the Humane Society, this group is full of people who take in extra dogs just so they will always live with a family and never spend any time in a shelter.

I guarentee that your phone will ring.

You can meet the dog, the owners, and they can meet you. This will make the adoption better and easier for everyone. (old owner, new owner, & dog)

So go out there and get yourself a dog. And then, call me when you need it babysat.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Westminster Dog Show Winner - RUFUS!

Normally, dogs that win at the Westminster Dog Show have names longer than their bodies. Especially, in the Toy class.

But a rather funny looking Bull Terrier won Best in Show and his name was Rufus. It really fit him.

I only got to see the Toy class competition. I picked a miniture greyhound named, Horizon's Lil' Bandit Of Bo Bett, to win, but he got cut. That dog was having fun. He looked like he was loving being there. He was adorable and he knew it, you could just tell. A pug won. He was cute, too.

I am wrong, Rufus' full name is
Rocky Top's Sundance Kid. When I went to grab his photo I found out his real name; I like Rufus better.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

We are all getting old, aren't we?

Some of my ram-bunk-o dogs are starting to grow up on me.
But it seems that my favorite 'wild' animals, BB, Tessie, and Sassy, are starting to slow down.

It was hard to notice at first. It was that small things that changed.

They don't do the 'flying leap of love' and bounce me off the fence. They still launch out of their kennels like they have been shot out of a cannon, but I noticed that they just can keep up their speed anymore. BB now clocks in below light speed, and I even saw Tessie hold still for a minute. Tessie even stopped by my chair, put up her paws and let me pet her. In the couple of years that Tessie has been coming her, I have never petted her other than in a 'drive-by' (I hold my hand out as she runs by) petting.

It is kinda sad to see them stop being puppies and turn into dogs. But it should really cut down on my bruises.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

So, I watch way too much tv...

Did you catch 'Ghost Whisperer' last Friday. It was a rerun, but it does explain the 'ghost dog' she now has.

Episode Summary: Our heroine, Melinda, helps 3 little boys that were killed in a fire at the orphanage 50 years ago find their way into the light. Their dog, also a ghost, doesn't follow the boys and is left here on earth and has adopted Melinda as his owner.

In later shows, she is seen throwing a tennis ball for the ghost dog. I am not sure if the ball is real or not.

But I got me thinking, a ghost dog is not a bad pet. The barking will never bother the nieghbors, you don't have to let him in and out (he can walk through walls), no brushing because there is no shedding, and there is no 'ghost poop' to scoop.

Name suggestions: Casper, Marley, Boo...the puns are endless.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Have you seen the Westminster Kennel ads?

That is some beautiful photography of dogs. I have Tivo and I always stop for that ad. I love the image of what has to be a weimaraner shot from below. Very cool.

I also like the 'dogs rule' ads from pedigree.

And I want to thank,
I use their dog breed page to figure out how to spell all these dog breeds.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Will you please just stop.

I have seen this in my kids. They can pick a behavior that has no purpose other than to annoy me to tears and not let it go. I can ask nicely, I can ask not nicely, I can theaten their freedom, their posessions, and sometimes their lives and they will only find something new to do to annopy me.

My daughter's favorite is wiggle-butting and chair-tipping throughout dinner. I have considered glueing either the chair to the floor or her butt to the chair; maybe both. My son favors repeating gross noises in the car.

But I have now seen it all. I have a dog that is annoying the tar out of his sister dog. I have never seen a dog as annoyed as I am. But there it is. Brother Dog will not stop humping Sister Dog and she has had it with him. I know that look, I wear it all the time. Sister Dog is about at the end of her patience and Brother Dog is going to get it. BIG TIME.

I'm interested to see how she handles this. Maybe I can get some good ideas to use on the kids? I will have to let you know.


Someone must have done an analysis of mounting behavior in dogs; it just doesn’t make much sense to me. I see it everyday. I read somewhere that it is just part of how the alpha male establishes his dominance over the other males. Okay, fine, one thing though…why is it the females that are doing it most of the time?

And it seems that even the nerdiest of high schoolers gets the basic logistics of sex right. (even if they might never get a shot at using the information, at least until they go off to college with all the other nerds) but dogs are just ALL OVER THE PLACE! I try to be helpful…I tell the dogs:
‘Honey, that is the wrong end.’
‘You can’t really get anywhere with the side approach, but ‘A’ for effort.’
‘Eunice, you are a girl! Really!’
‘This is not a dating service!’
And back to the unaware of their own actual size: Scooter, the poodle of love, trying to woo a mastiff named Diamond. Such an optimist, he only can make it to her ankle bone.

And my all time favorite… the dog train. I’m sure you can picture that.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I have a dog's life...

These days, I nap as much as my dogs do.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a very sleepy person. Actaully, I have a sleep disorder that makes me sleepy all day long; I can nap anywhere - anytime.

Well for the past week, I have had to give up the medicine that helps me stay awake and all of my caffeine, as well. It is has been very hard except all the company I have when I nap. My dog, Inertia, is always up for curling up behind my knees on the couch. And this weekend we had a few extra dogs staying with us. Three to be exact. That make a total of 5 dogs in the house and 8 in the dog kennel.

I wish I had a picture of me on the couch with the 2 chihuahuas on my lap and shins (for being so small, they really are an execellent source of heat), Inertia on the floor next to me, and Lucky Dog curled up in his 'cave' under the arm of the sofa.

As my friend likes to say, "I'm narcoleptic - I can sleep with anyone."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Lucky Dog!

I had one of my favorite dogs come and stay with me this week. Lucky Dog! He doesn't even have to stay in the kennel anymore, he bunks with us in the house.

Lucky is a unique blend of canine breeds. The most recent DNA collision in his pedigree looks like Doberman and Blue Heeler. His parents might have been pure breds in their own rights, but I lean more toward a combo background.

Lucky is a pound puppy, adopted out of our local animal shelter and if I could clone a dog, he would be the one. I wish that the kennel clubs would stop breeding for specific looks in a dog and start mixing it up to get better pets.

Let's try for longevity, especially in service dogs.
10 to 15 years is not enough.
What about a good house pet personality?
Good with kids, nice to furniture and shoes,
not big on barking or running away.

Lucky has all these qualities and more. He is very attentive - maybe too attentive, he will track you around the house. He makes an excellent alarm clock if you want to get up at 6am - I prefer 7. And he is small enough to lay with or on you on the couch - the best dogs make great space heaters.

He is one Lucky Dog!