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ISO Shaggy Dog, Part 18: Almost “Dogs”!

It's been a little over a month since I last chronicled the puppies' adventures, primarily because I ran out of steam. (Puppies are tiring!) However, Archie and Daisy will soon turn from puppies into dogs and I'd like a record--a Puppy Book, if you will--of how they got there. So, here's the latest in that journey ... This morning, while I was in my office checking email and  they were play-fighting in the hallway, I heard a crash, followed by the two of them scampering into the office. I looked up and saw the iron coat tree, which held no less than 10 coats, four hats and three purses, on its side in the hallway. Coats and whatnot everywhere! (That's what happens when you leave treats in your jacket pockets, Mom!) No one was hurt, although Daisy seemed contrite and maybe a little embarrassed, immediately retreating to a distant corner of the couch and awaiting her fate. Archie simply curled up on the pile of coats on the floor! Since my last writing, we've also started letting the puppies come upstairs with us. It's like a field trip--they run around like mad, sniff everything, jump on the couch and Don's recliner, counter-surf. But they are always happy to go back downstairs (sometimes they even go on their own) to the security of their real "home," where there are toys, treats and wall-to-wall carpeting! The puppies are also almost finished with Obedience School at 2SpeakDog (two more weeks!). They're not exactly what I'd call obedient yet, but they do know "sit," "down," and "wait" and aren't as wild when they encounter another dog or person on a walk (and we know how to handle it now), sit at [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog, Part 18: Almost “Dogs”! 2018-04-29T10:36:53+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog, Part 17: The Best Valentine’s Gift Ever

I'm lucky in that both of my parents and my stepmom are huge animal lovers, so they've always treated my furry kids just like their human grandkids (well practically ... they don't get money at Christmastime!). This weekend, my dad and stepmom paid us a long-awaited visit from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and met their newest grandchildren, Archie and Daisy, for the very first time. They immediately stepped in to help me walk them. On the first walk, my dad said he felt like he was in Alaska being pulled by sled dogs. (He was only walking Archie!) Then Daddy and Linda wanted to sleep with the pups. As you can probably tell from my posts, these pups are not ready to be left unattended anywhere yet. Don and I laughed thinking about the pups emptying their suitcases all over the floor, shredding everything in the trashcan and have a good ole time with magazines, glasses, and anything left on the nightstand. My office is puppy-proofed. Our spare bedroom, not so much! On one of our many walks throughout the weekend, I let Linda harness Daisy. When we got back, I realized that she had never actually clicked the harness buckle and it was being held on by the leash alone. Thankfully, that was enough! I took over harness duty the rest of the time but gladly turned over a leash to one of them whenever they wanted to join me. Don walks Daisy with me and Archie every morning, but I'm otherwise mainly on my own. It was such a nice treat to have a built-in helper! We also had to make the requisite shopping trip while they were here to get the grandkids [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog, Part 17: The Best Valentine’s Gift Ever 2018-02-14T07:01:03+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog, Part 16: Driving Miss Daisy to the Groomer

The pups were separated today for the first time since we got them. Daisy went to the groomer to tame her snarled and matted hair, while Archie stayed home alone with me. While I was most worried about Daisy, I think it's safe to say that Archie might have taken it the hardest. Poor guy! When we adopted the litter mates, the rescue organization recommended that we separate them as much as possible to keep them from bonding with each other over bonding with us. Don and I walk them together first thing in the morning, but I also walk them separately two more times each day. And when I take Archie out for his lone walks, Daisy literally wails, but he sleeps when it's her turn. Naturally, I thought Daisy would be pretty inconsolable when I took her away from her brother today. And she did cry--a sad, plaintive whine--the entire drive (20 minutes) to the groomer. However, once we were there, my brave little fluff ball was fine to go inside and wasn't at all reluctant about being handed off to a stranger. Alrighty then! Archie, on the other hand, changed from his usual Jack Russell-ish jumping bean self without his sidekick to a very low-key (he even let the cat sniff his butt!), sleepy pup. When I crated him, he cried and refused to relax. As a result, he had virtually no crate time this morning, but it was ok. He was so calm and well-behaved outside the crate that I could actually focus on my work without worrying about what was chewing or pulling out of the trash while I wasn't watching. I almost didn't recognize Daisy when I retrieved her a few [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog, Part 16: Driving Miss Daisy to the Groomer 2018-04-29T10:36:53+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part 15, Milestones in Puppy Life!

If I had a "puppy book," I would record this milestone in it. Archie lifted his leg while peeing for the first time yesterday. Granted, it was purely for convenience--he was so close to a bush that he couldn't put his back leg down and resumed the squatting position the very next time--but it made me proud nonetheless! (I even called Don from my cell phone to tell him his boy was growing up.) While we're on the subject of bathroom habits, Archie is also a walking pooper, which makes it extremely challenging to properly clean up after him, especially when it's dark (sorry, neighbors!). Another big event in the life of my puppies (or at least the girl puppy) will happen on Tuesday. She'll be groomed for the first time. I'm nervous because they may need to clip a lot off because of mats. I'm nervous because she and Archie will be separated for the first time. I'm just plain nervous. Tuesday will be a very long day! We also had our second Puppy Socialization class last night and the teacher used both Archie and Daisy as examples. Before you think it's because they are the smartest students in the class, it's really only because we sit up front ... and they were convenient! However, we did practice "sit" in class yesterday, and they've both already mastered that skill, even at corners before crossing the street. We showed the other dogs how to do it! Last update: We got a new crate mat, and with it, came a tug-of-war rope. They loved it! It was the toy of the hour until Daisy started hacking as if she had gotten a piece of rope stuck in [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part 15, Milestones in Puppy Life! 2018-02-07T11:51:49+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part 14, Rain and a Bad Mani

The past two days, I can not imagine how Noah managed two of every species on his ark. I have struggled with just a male and female dog on mine. This unrelenting rain has meant perpetually damp hair (mine and the pups), wet paws and feet, and just an overall soggy disposition for man and beast alike. I have banged my fingers on a keyboard during the day and drank wine at night to alleviate my frustrations with the weather. The pups have chewed on towels and taken it out on each other in frenzied wrestling matches. Right now, the two of them are so bored from being cooped up more than normal today that Archie is chewing on the wire of the crate while Daisy sniffs every single inch of my office ... for what I do not know. The bad weather has also resulted in two accidents after weeks of being accident-free, and I'm certain that my office smells like the wettest of wet dogs (I can't smell it anymore). Yesterday, after the first day of unceasing rain, I decided to use all this inside time to take a whack at clipping the pups' nails again. Both have been fairly amenable to the chore. However, because they have a mix of black and white nails, I've been hesitant to clip them too short. Before I started, I read online about a little trick that's supposed to cause the nail quick to recede and allow a shorter cut. I started with Daisy because she is literally putty in my hands and allows me (or anyone really) to mold her into just about any position I want. When I set the clippers on the first nail, she yelped [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part 14, Rain and a Bad Mani 2018-02-07T11:51:28+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part 13, First Day of School

Last night was our first Puppy Socialization class. I've been waiting for this day for an entire month, and when it finally arrived, I was pretty nervous. Would our puppies behave? Would they get along with the other puppies? Would they easily catch onto all the new skills? But the first challenge was just getting them into the car. Although I had promised myself that I would not raise a dog who hated the car, like my past two, I simply hadn't had time to practice car riding yet. In the Cesar Milan puppy book I'm reading, the Dog Whisperer recommends not forcing them in or even picking them up and putting them into the car. Instead he says to lure them in with treats ... and waiting them out. We had practiced this for the first time over the weekend and eventually both pups hopped in. Last night, Archie leapt in with little prompting or tempting. Daisy was much more hesitant. Because we only had a few minutes to spare (don't want to be late for the first day of school!), I ended up having to give the girl child a little boost. Then it was time to try out the new seat belts, which is yet another bit of dog paraphernalia that I've never even considered for my dogs but fell for hook, line and sinker this time. It was easy to get them buckled in but in two seconds flat, their belts were crisscrossed. I also realized I had no buckle to plug my own belt into. Oh well! At least the pups would be safe! When we arrived at 2SpeakDog, most of Archie and Daisy's classmates were already there. That meant that [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Part 13, First Day of School 2018-02-07T11:50:45+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog, Part 12: Snow Day! Let’s Play!

I wanted this next post to be about Puppy Socialization class, but Archie and Daisy’s school was closed just like all the others' kids' schools across the city. On their day off from school, our pups--also like all the other kids--played in the snow, which essentially means shoving their entire heads into the white stuff to find a scent and coming out with blonde faces completely covered in icy crystals. Fortunately, this snow didn’t cause as much trouble as the one two weeks ago. The pups weren’t as tentative about going out in it and did their business, pretty much without incident (or at least without accident). But I can’t tell you how many times I toweled snow balls off Daisy’s legs. Thankfully, they both don’t have that fine, fluffy hair in which everything gets hopelessly snarled! Another exciting thing that’s happened since my last writing is Daisy lost two teeth. She's definitely lost a lot more than that; in fact, she's still missing her too front teeth (so cute!). But these are the first teeth that I've actually found ... and kept. Who knows? Maybe there's a doggie tooth fairy. After losing the second one, I noticed a little blood on the corner of the dog bed she was chewing. I, of course, freaked! The vet assured me that it was perfectly normal. As I’ve mentioned before, Daisy is very much partial to Don and immediately cuddles up to him when he sits on the couch in my office (which has become simply a raised frame to hold their dog beds after I had to remove the actual cushion because they had begun shredding it. In their defense, Ava had started the ripping process.) With [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog, Part 12: Snow Day! Let’s Play! 2018-01-20T13:25:43+00:00

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 Dogs 2018-04-29T10:36:54+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) Advertising 2018-01-20T13:26:05+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 Life 2018-04-29T10:36:54+00:00