Friday, December 28, 2012

A Time For Everything

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

A Boy With Dog

Edward Manet | A Boy With Dog | 1861

Happy New Year!

We said goodbye to our sweet beagle boy Maxwell this past year but also welcomed a rambunctious mutt named Andy into our home. 2012 has been filled with ups and downs and we're glad you came along for the ride. We look forward to what 2013 has in store and hope your New Year is filled with lots of love and laughter. Here are some of my favorite photos of Andy & Company from 2012. I'm taking a break from blogging and will only be posting intermittently for the next 2 weeks. Catch you on the flip side!


Every kid should have a dog | Every dog should have a kid

2012 in Animals

Hannah Stonehouse Hudson
Check out Today's 12 Most-Liked Animal Stories of the Year. I saw most of these tales in the news this past year and every story was sweet and special in its own way. My favorite story was about John Unger and his 19 year old pup, Schoep. In a world filled with uncertainty it's nice to have little stories (and animals) that have the power to fill our hearts in big ways.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Review | Nylabone Dinosaur Dental Chew

Soon after adopting Andy we quickly discovered he had the power to chew, tear, and mangle his way through just about anything we threw at him. Andy is an especially aggressive chewer and it took a bit of trial before we found a "toy" that could reasonably withstand the onslaught of the pup's relentless chompers.  Our go-to "toy" of 2012 has been by far the Nylabone Dinosaur Dental Chew. Really, any of the Nylabone products for "powerful chewers" are good, we just happen to find the playful shapes of the Dinosaur Dental Chew line especially appealing (nerds that we are). There are three dinos available: a Brontosaurus, a Stegosaurus, and a T-Rex. There's really no difference between the three as far as flavor or staying power are concerned and Andy has equally enjoyed them all.

The Dino Chews cost around $7.99 a piece at local big-box pet supply stores and generally last anywhere from 1.5 to 2 months. While this may not sound all that long when you consider the fact that Andy has ripped through stuffed toys in a matter of minutes, and most recently, a $17.00 antler chew in a matter of days, spending $7.99 every couple of months really isn't all that bad. I've read complaints online from folks that were disappointed the chew didn't last longer, to which I would say, how hard do you want this thing to be? If it didn't have any give at all your dog's teeth would get cracked! Also, generally speaking, if you give your dog a variety of toys to cycle through they'll all last a little longer.

Snow in the Motherland

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day

One Smart Kitty

My favorite moment comes at :20...Kitty fake out!

Christmas Day Walk

We took Andy on his first walk in over a week yesterday afternoon. The pup was just way too antsy after having spent the previous 7 days virtually cooped up in the house and it was starting to drive me crazy. It was brisk, in the mid-40s, but an otherwise gorgeous day. It snowed on Christmas Eve, less than half an inch I'd say, and this had mostly melted off by the time we got to the park. We started Andy off in his Easy Walk harness but it started digging into his wound (whoops and ouch!) so we had to switch the leash to his collar. Unfortunately this meant a lot of tugging, pulling, and fighting the entire walk. Andy met an adorable dog named Atticus (fantastic name!). When I asked Atticus' owner what type of dog he was the owner proudly responded, "Atticus is a Brittany, smallest of the pointers, and a fine companion as I'm sure your dog is." I love dog people.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men

Holiday Greetings from the White House

I was excited to receive an official White House Christmas card in the mail this year. It features a lovely illustration of the First Dog, Bo, wearing a scarf, standing in snow in front of the White House (by artist Larassa Kabel). It contains the following greeting inside: "This season, may your home be filled with family, friends, and the joy of the holidays." It's "signed" by the entire First Family + Bo. Andy instinctively grabbed the card in his mouth when I shared it with him. Naughty boy.

On the Mend

Andy's bite wound is on the mend. It's still an open gash, and only leaks occasionally now (ew), but it looks a lot better than it did a week ago. He hasn't worn the cone since Friday night and has actually been pretty good about leaving the wound alone. We continue to clean it a couple of times a day with rubbing alcohol. I made my husband do all the cleaning in the beginning because I was weirded out by the thought of open sores, blood, and pain - and to think I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid! I've since forced myself to suck it up and help out. Sometimes Andy runs the other way when he sees one of us coming at him with a cotton ball. It must sting! He takes it better than I know I would. I would be kicking and screaming bloody murder every time. The pup hasn't gone on a long walk in almost a week - which means he's wound up pretty tight. It's gonna be a long week. 

***As I was typing up this blog entry Andy started pawing at me from under the dining table. When I bent down to kiss his face I got a whiff of the unmistakable scent of...poop. I turned to my husband, who was sitting next to me, and asked, "Why does the dog smell like poo?" To which he responded, "Oh yeah, he rolled in something when I took him out this morning. I didn't see anything on the ground so I thought it was ok." What the what!?! Sigh.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Freezing Rain

This winter has been pretty mild so far. There's been virtually no snow and the lowest the temperature has dipped was somewhere in the 30s. I didn't even need a coat this past Saturday because it was in the high 50s. Our one and and only snow happened at the end of November, the 27th to be precise, when I took this photo. I wonder what the rest of the winter has in store for us. I'll be a little sad if we don't get at least one good snow. It's raining outside at the moment - freezing rain in fact. Andy wanted to linger in the cold but I hustled him inside because my hands were starting to hurt. I just looked at and it looks like we might have some snow this Saturday. I hope its the fluffy lovely kind and not the nasty, sleety kind...though I have a feeling it's going to be the later of the two. Boo!

Doggy Day Care

I had a chance to have a nice long chat yesterday with the owner of the doggy care facility Andy frequents.  Unfortunately he was unable to shed anymore light on what happened because none of his staff actually witnessed the incident. From what he can surmise, Andy was bitten while rough housing with another dog. Normally the perpetrator in such incidences are permanently dismissed from the facility for the safety of both dogs and staff. The dog in question for this particular incident happened to be a foster (Camp Bow Wow is big into fostering and adopting out homeless dogs) and I was told he was "sent back." I have no idea what this means, I can only hope it means he was "sent back" to whatever foster situation he was in prior to arriving at Bow Wow. The owner told me this dog had a difficult time adjusting to the environment at the facility and was likely over-stimulated when the bite occurred. I hope the pup is given the proper training and environment he needs in order to find a forever home and that nothing drastic is done. The dog was obviously not well suited for this particular environment and will hopefully thrive in another. I believe, for the most part, that there are no such things as "bad" dogs, just dogs that need extra love and special attention and training.

Pill Popping Pup

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In the Evening

Up | Dug

I love Pixar's Up. It's sweet, sentimental, and hilariously funny.
Of course Dug the Golden Retriever is my favorite character.
Dug: "I was hiding under your porch because I love you."

Here he wears his "cone of shame" in solidarity with Andy

Me and My Shadow

Andy has a tendency to stick to me like glue when I'm at home. He follows me everywhere, and I mean everywhere...not that there are too many places to go in the loft. If he's not at my side he likes me to at least be within eyeshot. The Elizabethan cone has proven to be quite the obstacle. He's tried following me up the stairs while wearing the cone on several occasions and has gotten stuck each time. The lip of the cone always gets caught on the steps because the boy's not very tall. It's pretty sad (and hilarious), and a bit of a hazard, so I've taken to telling him to "stay" at the bottom of the stairs whenever I need to run up. The pup is stubborn though and still tries to at least clear the first couple of steps.

I'm surprisingly squeamish when it comes to blood and open wounds, at least more than I thought I'd be. I forced myself to take a good look at the bite last night, and while it's not too bad, the gash is rather deep and hasn't even started to scab over yet. It's also in a really awkward spot (slightly above his right armpit) so I think it can't help but keep opening up. I'm just glad it's not actively leaking anymore. On Monday it kept leaking this watery, kool-aid, looking blood. The vet said this was normal, would continue for a day or two, and that we should just let it drain. Ew. Andy's already getting restless from sitting around all day and night. I'm hoping to at least be able to take him on a short walk this weekend. I'm guessing the cats are going to hate life when Andy gets de-coned and all his bottled up energy is released.

Good Morning

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Andy's Long Day

Andy spent the better part of the day wearing his Elizabethan collar; aka the cone of shame. For those of you not in the know, an Elizabethan collar is that plastic doohickey you typically see dogs and cats wearing after surgery (It's reminiscent of the ruffled collars folks wore back in the Elizabethan age, ala Shakespeare, thus the name). It's intended to prevent post-surgery pets from chewing or licking at their stitches, which could lead to injury or infection. While dog's mouths are in fact cleaner than human's (go figure!) they still have a lot of bacteria in them and our vet wants Andy in the cone for the next day or two to keep him from licking his wound and getting it infected.  The boy's been able to move around with it on but because it's so awkward he's pretty much just been sitting on his favorite perch. Thankfully we had the cone from when he got neutered, otherwise it would of cost us another $15 for a new one. We've been giving Andy breaks from the cone now and then - during meals, when he goes out to potty, and overnight - so all things considered it's not that bad. If it'll help him heal faster than he'll just have to endure it.

Winter Triptych

The Ups and Downs of Raising a Shelter Pup

The annual holiday party at my work happened last night. This is the first year I actually RSVPd and made plans to attend. In fact, my husband and I planned on doing some serious gorging. To heck with hobnobbing and rubbing elbows...we were planning on putting away at least, at least, 3 lbs of peel and eat shrimp each. 

The day started off fine. We dropped Andy off at Camp Bow Wow, because we needed to be out of the house for the better part of the day, and we planned on picking him up after the party. Things didn't go according to plan. I got a call from camp around 12:30. At first I thought Andy might of done something naughty and they were telling us to pick him up and never bring him back again, but no, it was actually the owner letting us know Andy got injured during some rough play. At the time he told us he had cleaned the wound and that it didn't look too bad - he just wanted to let us know so we wouldn't be surprised when we picked Andy up that evening. Well, around 2:30 I got a second call. This time the owner said Andy's "puncture wound" was still bleeding. He urged us to pick the pup up and take him to the vet asap. What the what!?!  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Diego After Midnight

Implements of Torture

We tried to trim Andy's nails last Wednesday night, and as I suspected would be the case, things didn't go well at all. I did a bit of research before we tackled the task and decided to try the advice of a vet I found on youtube. She suggests
counterconditioning and desensitization in our situation. Basically you use food to alter the emotional state of the dog from fearful to relaxed and you use repetitive stimuli, gradually increasing in intensity, in order to desensitize your dog to the sensation of the clippers. We tried following the advice on the video...but unfortunately it just didn't work for us.

I ended up swinging by Home Depot that evening and picking up an abrasive disc for my Dremel with the hopes that Andy would take me grinding down his nails better than clipping them. There are actually a number of pet nail trimming products on the market, including one from Dremel, that follow this principle. Since I already had a Dremel I just purchased the discs and an adapter. Was it a success? Heck no. Andy kicked, bucked, and screamed bloody murder. Arg.  Man, my neighbors must think we're torturing the boy.

I refuse to pay a vet or a groomer to trim his nails (at this point) and will continue to research different methods. His nails really are getting way, way too long so we need to come up with a solution fast. Long nails are a hazard not only to us and Andy's feline brothers, but to him. I've read that when they get too long they're more prone to break, which is painful and can lead to infection. According to the ASPCA really long nails can also change your dog's gait and lead to skeletal damage. I don't think we're anywhere near that point but we really do need to nip this problem in the bud. Any suggestions?

Hello Monday

Friday, December 14, 2012

Portrait of a Woman with a Dog

Jean Honore Fragonard | Portrait of a Woman with a Dog | c. 1769


Maymo the Lemon Beagle

Have you heard of Maymo? This absolutely adorable lemon beagle pup is the star of his own youtube channel. Hater of lemons, eater of cabbage, wearer of pink wigs - definitely worth checking out on a Friday afternoon. Have a great weekend everybody!

The Von Trapp Family Couch

Wonder if I can make Andy a coat out of this awesome couch upholstery?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review | Prairie Dog Antler Dog Chew

So that Prairie Dog Antler dog chew I bought over the weekend? Um, yeah, this is all that remains. I took these photos on Tuesday, so the antler is actually even smaller now and just about to become a choking hazard. I'm a little disappointed. After all the great things I read about  antlers, about them being durable and all, I expected this to last longer. I'm going to have to toss what remains at the end of the week lest Andy choke on the nub.

Andy got his antler when I got home from work on Saturday night, which was after midnight. He took to it right away. In fact, he chomped on it for the next three and a half hours straight. I finally took it away at 3:30 a.m. because I kept waking up to the sounds of him gnawing on it. Ha! 

One of the positive things about the antler was that it kept the pup occupied for hours at a time. This was really helpful when I was finishing up a paper earlier this week and didn't have a whole lot of time to devote to him. Giving Andy the antler was like sticking a kid in front of the tv - it kept him occupied and I got to get my work done. Win/Win!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Someone Needs His Nails Trimmed...

Andy really needs his nails trimmed. They're so long right now they remind me of little black jelly beans. I'm not gonna lie...I've been avoiding it. He was actually pretty good about having them trimmed when we first got him but as of late he goes completely ballistic whenever we try to clip them. The boy goes crazy - he squirms, he snaps, he kicks, he screams. Arg. In fact the last time we tried a trim we had to stop half way because he just wasn't having it.

We need to trim them this week cause he's going to be kenneled from Friday to Saturday. Not looking forward to it. We're going to put him in his Thundershirt and see if that helps keep him calm. If that doesn't work I'm seriously considering getting an abrasive disc for my Dremel and trying to grind them down. Anything to not have to deal with the squirming and the kicking and the screaming. Arg.

Nose to Nose

Monday, December 10, 2012


Antler Dog Chews

Antler (deer, elk, and moose) dog chews seem to be all the rage at the moment. They're marketed as all-natural and durable dog chews - great for teething puppies, aggressive chewers, and large dogs. I first came across them this summer and was immediately taken by their color and shape but passed at the time because of the price. After doing a little research online and reading about all the benefits of antler dog chews I decided to take advantage of Petco's Friends and Family Sale this past weekend and finally pick one up. This particular antler is from a company called Prairie Dog Antlers. All of their antlers are sourced in the U.S. and shed or harvested naturally. From what I've read online not all antlers are equal - they're graded by a number of criteria including, freshness, hardness, and whether or not they're cracked or chalky. Prairie Dog Antlers are all grade A or B, supposedly meaning they're the highest food grade antlers available (and yes, humans also consume antlers, usually in ground/pill form, or sliced to brew in teas and such). 

Why antlers? They're supposed to be a great alternative to traditional chews such as bones, hooves, raw-hides, and bullysticks. They're all-natural, odor-free, and mess-free. They're long-lasting, don't chip or splinter as bones are apt to,  and are a source of many beneficial minerals and nutrients, such as calcium, glucosamine, phosphorous,  and chondroitin - all great for your dog's bones, teeth and gums, and coat. Wow - If I didn't know better I'd think I'm a lobbyist for the antler industry or something! In any case, I did finally purchase an antler for Andy because he is such an aggressive chewer and I'm always on the look out for ways to keep him occupied. The antler pieces are sawed off a larger rack and come in a variety of shapes and sizes and appear to be priced according to size. I picked a nice medium-large sized piece for Andy.  I'll let you know what I think about it in a week or two.

Related Post:
Review | Prairie Dog Antler Dog Chew


Friday, December 7, 2012

Dog Painting 17

David Hockney | Dog Painting 17 | 1995

Watcha Doing Ma?

Come Play With Us Andy

We live in an old converted silk mill. I believe the building was originally built in the 1910s and the current owners started converting the space into loft style apartments back in 2002. The building is really, really long. A hallway runs down the entire center of the building, with apartments on either side. This photo was taken at about the middle of the hallway. It's almost as long behind me. The hallway reminds me of the hotel in the movie The Shining.  I can almost hear the sounds of Danny riding his big wheel. Sometimes I imagine rivers of blood cascading towards me or sinister looking sisters beckoning us to come play with them. Creepy.      

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Andy's Thundershirt is Finally Here!

It took 2 long weeks but it's finally here! I ordered Andy's Thundershirt on 11/19 and it feels like it took forever to get here, granted, I did get free embroidery and shipping. 

We're going to put the Thundershirt to the test tomorrow morning since Andy goes to day care and that's one of the times he gets most worked up. We're planning on putting it on him about 15 minutes before we leave the house and having him wear it until we get to Camp Bow Wow. Hopefully it'll help with his anxiety and give our neighbors some peace and quiet. Will let you know how it goes!