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ISO Shaggy Dog, Part 11: Must Love Dogs

Don is a “cat person,” and I am a “dog person.” When we moved in together, I had two dogs and a cat, who I loved wholeheartedly but who definitely played third fiddle to my dogs. And Don had one very cool charcoal gray cat named Darden. Don’t get me wrong; we both love the other species, but if we had our druthers, historically Don would’ve stuck with cats and I dogs. Three years ago, after we lost one of my dogs and both of our cats, Don and I adopted our first pet together, a cat we named Sammy. After falling in love with this handsome tabby, who is absolutely the sweetest feline fellah I ever met, I will forever more consider myself an equal opportunity pet lover. But despite the fact that we still had our girl Ava at the time and she absolutely worshipped Don (more than me, I think), I would say that Don was still a “cat person" through and through. Rewind to football season four years ago, soon after I moved in with Don. My dog, Alfie, watched football with his new Dad, his big blocky head resting comfortably in Don’s lap (see above). Don has been trying to recreate that male bonding experience with Sammy ever since. But Sammy just doesn’t like football. (That's my boy!) Now that we have the pups, Don has renewed hope for a furry, live-in football buddy. Archie already understands the rudiments of fetch and is the best snuggler you’ll ever meet. On the other hand, Daisy is channeling Ava in her love of her Daddy, staring adoringly up at him every time he takes his place on the couch in my office. (Seriously, [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog, Part 11: Must Love Dogs2018-10-26T11:53:47+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part 10, Free (Chewed) Advertising

In a previous post, I mentioned that Archie likes to jump on my desk when I’ve left them alone for a couple of minutes (about five seconds is really all it takes) and has succeeded in pulling off EVERYTHING that was made of paper. He then joins forces with Daisy to chew and shred the paper product by the time I return. Well, yesterday morning, as you’ve probably guessed, they chose my business cards as their prey. When I went to get coffee, there was not a single piece of paper left on my desk. I’ve even been moving my chair off to the side so Archie doesn’t have easy access. However, the rascals discovered that they could use my chair, which was next to my credenza, to get their mouths on my business cards, a whole bunch them. Luckily, by the time I got to them, they had only actually chewed up one of them. Enough already about all the problems! These pups are also super-smart and catching onto everything very quickly. All I have to do to get them in the crate is say “crate” and hit the wire crate with my hand. (OK, and maybe have some treats in my hand while doing it.) They come running into the crate; Archie always on the left and Daisy always on the right. Daisy will even leap over him within the confines of the crate to get to her place. They also sit on command and allow me to pick up their food and sit obediently and wait, with their little tongues darting quickly in and out, for me to put the bowl back down. We start Puppy Socialization class on Wednesday and I’m pretty [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part 10, Free (Chewed) Advertising2018-10-26T11:53:59+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part Nine, It’s a Dog’s Life

The other night when the pups woke me at about 3 a.m. to go out (only the second time in almost three weeks that nature has called in the middle of the night, thank goodness), I kind of felt like a fireman, pulling on my pants and socks in the pitch dark. All I needed was a pole to get me from the third floor to the first! On several occasions, because I’m getting up before Don is even ready to turn on the light, I’ve actually discovered later in the day that my yoga pants were on wrong side out ... or something else equally mortifying. Even when Archie and Daisy need to go potty during the day, getting my heels all the way in my shoes or getting my coat zipped (or on at all) sometimes just has to slide. Mind you, I’m not a high-maintenance gal by any stretch of the imagination, but raising puppies has meant all manner of vanity (and sometimes even grooming) is an indulgence I usually can’t afford. Who has time to put on makeup or blow dry their hair when they have to keep their eye on two crazy pups every second of the day? And I’m not just sacrificing mirror time. I’m also rescheduling meetings and appointments, squeezing in errands, and limiting time out with friends. Today I even had to say “no” to a gig as an extra in “Homeland,” because it was happening on the day we start Puppy Socialization class. But it's not about me right now; it’s all about them. And I’m ok with that. Except I really think Claire Danes and I would've been friends!

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part Nine, It’s a Dog’s Life2018-10-26T11:54:12+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part Eight, OMG, Really?!

I’ve always wanted to say, “the dog ate my homework,” but I’ve never had dogs who ate really anything but food (sometimes out of the trashcan or off the counter, but food just the same). Plus, these days I don’t have homework lying around anyway. But what I did (emphasis on "did") have lying around were a business license renewal form and estimated tax coupons. And yesterday morning, Archie and Daisy decided these forms looked pretty tasty—all those numbers and perforations and such—and they decided to chew the business license form into little, wet, unsalvageable pieces. They waited until later in the day to rip the 4th quarter tax coupons, including copies of my first three quarterly payments, right down the middle. (That’s kind of how I feel about them too!) Lest you think having two puppies involves little more than watching them do cute things and snuggling them, this post is about the frustrating, “OMG, really?!” side of raising puppies. Just when you think it can’t possibly get any worse, they pull a new stunt and make you realize it can … and will. Take this morning, for example. While taking off Daisy’s leash, Archie jumped on my desk and started lapping up my coffee (again). Later I found them both under my grandmother’s 70-year-old couch, chewing the fabric liner off, one ancient fuzz ball at a time. And when I was playing in the floor with them a little while ago, Archie chomped down on my nose, like he does to his sister about 100 times a day. Ouch! And then there are the housetraining agonies. By and large, they are both doing pretty well, but you absolutely want to rip your hair out [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part Eight, OMG, Really?!2018-10-26T11:54:24+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part Seven: The Highlights

Each day I’ve been trying to keep notes on all the amusing things these munchkins are doing and what I'm learning about them. As you can imagine, the list is endless! Here are a few highlights: Archie is lazy and doesn’t go to the water bowl as often as Daisy. Instead he just licks the water off his sister's wet face after she drinks! Daisy has very fine, fluffy hair that picks up everything. When we first got the two of them, the ground was covered with leaves and so were Daisy’s legs. All the time! The last two days have been a little better in that respect, but I’ll take leaves on the carpet (a whole pile of them!) over house training dogs in the snow any day of the week!! Archie doesn’t like snow on his paws. I swore no dog of mine would ever wear boots, or sweaters for that matter. I’ve eaten my words and bought both for these two. Archie hates the boots; he thinks they’re a toy and tries to chew them off. (I guess they'll be going back!) When we first figured out that we could watch the pups through our security camera, they were play fighting in the crate. Don used the talk feature to tell them to “Behave!” They both sat at attention like two little soldiers! I made Don go downstairs and give them a treat for being so good. When sleeping, Archie must always be lying on top of Daisy. Sometimes she gets annoyed with him and moves elsewhere, but she generally humors him. However, Daisy never initiates the snuggling. When they’re on a leash and get excited, the two of them both hop on [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part Seven: The Highlights2018-10-26T11:54:40+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part Six: Chewing, Cats and SNOW!!

I had written the post below for today. However, given the weather we woke up to, of course I have to begin with a little commentary on Archie and Daisy’s first experience in the snow. For dog owners, that white stuff is not only messy, but it’s also extremely challenging when it comes to a dog’s bathroom habits. Because the snow is blanketing the grass, dogs can’t smell those good scents that beckon them to potty. Compound that with puppies who haven’t quite developed good habits yet, and you have accidents (and owner frustration) waiting to happen. When we went outside for our first potty break at 6 am this morning, Daisy and Archie didn’t seem at all daunted by the fact that the ground was all white, cold and wet. (OK, maybe this won’t be so tough after all.) However, after sniffing madly and licking the snow off bushes for a while, they were eager to go inside, with only #1 to show for it! I threw their sweaters in the dryer for a couple minutes and then we set out again. This time, the two little fur balls would barely leave the porch. (Ugghhh! This was going to be a long day!) After they had begun sniffing around the foyer, their way of saying “time to go,” I took them out separately for try number three, and bingo, third time’s a charm! However, next time out wasn’t so successful. (Yeah, this is going to be a very long day!!) Now back to our regularly scheduled program. Since we've gotten them home, Archie and Daisy have played with each other endlessly. In fact, that’s pretty much all they’ve done outside of sleeping (lots and lots [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part Six: Chewing, Cats and SNOW!!2018-10-26T11:54:54+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part Five: Prisoners of Puppy Love

Back home, Don, Archie and Daisy went to my office—where the pups would live for a while—to put the crate together while I took care of some things upstairs. When I returned to see how crate construction was coming, I found Don lying on his back with two puppies on top of him, climbing on his head, licking his face and basically using him as a wrestling mat. I missed the photo, but the picture is indelibly etched in my brain (and my heart)! The rest of that evening was a whirlwind. My sister, who was chomping at the bit (or maybe leash is more appropriate) when I sent her a picture of two puppies instead of one, and her family came by to meet their new niece and nephew. We pulled out their new toys and romped in the floor with them for hours. Don and I had to shoo them out of here so we could heat up  some leftovers for dinner at around 8 pm! It was also time to start putting all the stuff we had read about house training into practice. Like clockwork, I took them out every 1 ½ to two hours and, just as my sister-in-law had taught her puppies, I began bumping their nose on a bell at the front door to encourage them to alert me that they had to go. Daisy picked up the bell very quickly, but she did have a few accidents (#2) in the first days. One time, she rang the bell and, before I could get my shoes on myself and a leash on her, she’d pooped by the front door. I consider that a Mommy fail, not a Daisy fail. Archie, [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part Five: Prisoners of Puppy Love2018-10-26T11:55:07+00:00