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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

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?! 2018-01-09T05:31:19+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 Highlights 2018-04-29T10:36:54+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!! 2018-04-29T10:36:54+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 Love 2018-04-29T10:36:54+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Two Are Better Than One!

While Don went to the ATM to get more cash for the second pup, I began to shop for all the puppy paraphernalia we’d need: collars, harnesses, leashes, toys, tags, treats, food, a crate and the list goes on and on! Adopting a dog in the past had meant simply passing along the stuff from the dog before him. But it seemed puppies required a distinct set of equipment, none of which I already had. Thankfully, Petsmart gifted us adoptive parents with a coupon book for some of the essentials but I could still hear the cha-ching of the cash register with each item that I dropped into the basket. The pups happily bounced around me and each other, even tumbling over the other or squeezing their whole body underneath their sibling to jack up their back legs in a pretty cool paw stand. Inside of a minute, their leashes were hopelessly tangled with each other. Maybe two puppies weren’t such a good idea after all! But then I remembered that I had walked two dogs for eight years, with only a few minor mishaps (ok, that time Alfie got excited by another dog and pulled me squarely down on my hip wasn’t all that minor but it was only once and I lived to tell about it!). In any event, I convinced myself that I was just out of practice and enlisted the help of some of the MomsVA folks to hold onto the puppies as I continued my shopping. With Christmas only days away, I tried not to go overboard, knowing full well that our families were probably buying puppy toys for them at that very moment (well, at least for Daisy as no [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Two Are Better Than One! 2018-04-29T10:36:54+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Will We Make the Cut?

Once we submitted our application to MomsVA, I hesitantly told people we were thinking about a puppy. However, I managed expectations (mine and theirs) by mentioning that there were lots of other people interested and probably not enough puppies to go around. To my great surprise, just a few days after completing the application, I received a call from the rescue organization. They wanted to do a home visit. And they asked if they could come by in 30 minutes! (I guess they don’t want to give you too much time to change your mind.) Even after receiving the call, I thought it was still a bit of a crap shoot. We live in a townhouse. That could be a strike against us. We’re weren’t what you’d call “spring chickens” anymore; they might wonder if we could handle an energetic pup. But despite all of my ruminating, the MomsVA lady told us after the home visit that she didn’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be approved. In fact, we had our Congratulations email by dinnertime and were scheduled to pick up our pup in just two days. I was going to be a dog Mommy again before Christmas! I could hardly contain myself! They asked us to pick a first and second choice of puppies. We chose the fluffy one we had held as number one (Larissa) and the short-haired one (Rhea) as number two. Then we went to work getting ready to bring our baby home, reading up on housetraining and collecting advice from everyone we knew who had raised puppies. We were heading into unfamiliar territory here! Before the big day, we were told that we would get our first choice, Larissa, AKA “the [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Will We Make the Cut? 2018-04-29T10:36:54+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog: Puppy Love?

For the next several weeks, we were hot on the trail of a new rescue dog. Almost every morning, before we even got out of bed, Don would pull up Petfinder on his iPad, and we’d browse the new rescue pups who’d been added since the day before. Even while enjoying happy hour at a neighborhood bar one Friday night, Don and I ogled dog pix while sipping our drinks. We considered a variety of pups—from a tiny guy named Little Bobby to a larger flat-coated retriever named Koda to an 8-year-old poodle mix in Northern Virginia (sorry, pup, I can't remember your name!). I was soon addicted to Petfinder, certain that the next time I opened the site the perfect pup would be staring back at me. But alas, it didn’t happen. As we approached the holidays, I decided to stop looking because adopting a new dog at that point would likely mean canceling our out-of-town plans for New Year’s. But my sweet husband, knowing how much I wanted a dog for Christmas, kept bringing new furry faces to my attention anyway. One Saturday, after learning that one of the dogs who caught our eye on Petfinder was possibly going to make an appearance at a Petco pet stand, we stopped by on the way home from the gym. That particular dog wasn’t there, and unfortunately, no one else called out to me (all hounds!). Don asked if I wanted to check out the stand at Petsmart. At first, I said “no.” If we hadn’t seen the perfect dog on the Petfinder site, chances were good that he or she wouldn’t magically appear at a pet stand since rescue organizations typically put all available animals [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog: Puppy Love? 2018-04-29T10:36:54+00:00

ISO Shaggy Dog

We lost our sweet, 14-year-old girl, Ava Marie, in October. Three years before that, we had lost her brother, Alfie (AKA Alfalfa Sprout). While our cat, Sammy, was doing his best to fill the hole in my heart, the house was feeling pretty lonely by November, without a dog shadowing me. I made it my mission to have a new pup in the house by Christmas. This would give my husband, Don, who had had a complicated orthopedic surgery, time to get back on his feet. Plus, who doesn’t want a dog in the house for Christmas? (I, for one, had filled a doggie stocking for the past 30+ years, and I was bound and determined to do it again this year!) We started shopping for potential canine companions on Petfinder in early December. Putting in all of our criteria and searching the rows of cute faces felt a bit like using Match.com in my single days. But also, just like my single days, none of these pooches seemed like the perfect fit. Either they were too young or too old, didn’t like cats or had issues like separation anxiety or aggression. Not to mention, they all seemed to be hounds and labs. I have absolutely nothing against hounds and labs, mind you, but I do have a serious predilection for fluffy, scruffy terrier types (see Ava above). Finally, we found a guy who filled the bill, a shaggy, multi-colored two-year-old named Sparky. We jumped in the car and headed to the Amelia animal shelter, almost an hour away, to meet him. I was beyond excited and nervous, or as the kids call it, “nervited”! When we arrived, we found out that a family had recently [...]

ISO Shaggy Dog 2018-04-29T10:36:54+00:00