Friday, August 31, 2012

Refreshment Stand on Highway 99, Oregon


Dorothea Lange | Refreshment Stand on Highway 99, Oregon | 1939


These Fleas Are Bugging!

Anyone else having a tough time keeping fleas at bay this summer? We've always used Advantage but it seemed to lose its effectiveness as of late so we decided to switch things up. Given that we live in tick country we bought Frontline Plus, which is a flea and tick preventative. I applied it to Andy about a week ago and I can't say it's done much for him. Not only is he constantly chewing and scratching at himself I've actually caught fleas on him.  Arg. This stuff wasn't cheap. Plus with the whole kitty tapeworm issue I'm worried Pablo and Diego might get worms again from eating an infected flea. I'm not sure what we're going to do next. Would love to hear how other people deal with fleas.

Dog Shaming


Don't know about you but it's been a long week and I think we all deserve a mindless Friday diversion as a reward. This "Dog Shaming"
website has been trending on the web lately. Folks submit photos of their dogs with signs describing their naughty and mischievous deeds. Given our issues with Andy I wonder how many of these dogs actually have serious behavioral issues and how many of them simply have owners that like to ham it up. Either way the website makes for some good laughs on a Friday afternoon. Enjoy!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leaves us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!


   -- From "To A Mouse," Robert Burns

About That New Routine...

The other day I mentioned Andy would be home alone for about 4 hours on Mondays and Wednesdays. The plan was that I would drop my husband off in the morning, come home, leave for class at 2 pm, pick my husband up from work after class, then we would get home by 6. At the time I wasn't sure how it would work out...well...in the photo to the right you can see that it didn't. Prior to leaving the house on Monday I took Andy on a long walk and also left him with a treat to keep him occupied. This is what we found we we got home. Andy completely rip through one of the legs of the cat scratcher. In order to do this he had to undo the thick sisal rope wrapped around the leg, then he had to tear through a pretty thick cardboard tube. He is one misbehaving, willful pup! Arg. This really needs to stop.

So even before we got home and saw the destroyed scratcher we decided to abandon our ride share plan because it was so impractical (too much time on the road and gas). The alternative plan we came up with is that I'll wait for my husband to get home from work then hightail to class. I guess for the time being this is for the best because obviously Andy just can't handle being home by himself for that long. Sigh. We never had this problem with our previous dogs so I'm kind of at a loss as to what to do. Andy needs to get used to being alone now and then and I shudder to think what he'll destroy next. I'd love to hear how other people have dealt with this sort of situation.

Review | Fruitables Pumpkin & Blueberry Dog Treats


I first came across fruitables dog treats at Wegmans - a regional grocery chain that happens to have a fantastic selection of dog and cat supplies. I had never heard of the Fruitables Pet Food brand prior to this purchase and did a little research online. It appears they only manufacture dog treats and food supplements at this time. According to their website their products are all natural (no artificial ingredients or preservatives), are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, and are calorie smart. Their crunchy treats (which is what I purchased) are free of wheat, corn, and soy, while their chewy treats are additionally gluten free. 

I ended up picking up a bag of Pumpkin & Blueberry Dog Treats (crunchy)
because I liked that the ingredient list was short and consisted of all natural and recognizable ingredients. The treats are bite-size, just right for rewarding good behavior, and shaped like flowers. The first thing I noticed when I opened the bag of treats was the smell - it was like fresh baked blueberry muffins! According to the brand website they aim to create products that are "a sensory experience for all...Combining taste, aroma, texture, and design to create an experience that is as pleasing for you as for your pet family member." 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A New Routine

Andy and I made our first solo venture to the "big" park today. It was mostly a success! We did have a near encounter with a pile of poop but thankfully I was able to pull Andy away before he got to rolling. At some point he saw a duck in the water, got really excited, and lunged at it. The duck looked up at us in disdain and taunted the boy. My husband and I share a car. Not the most convenient of arrangements but we seem to make do. Turns out on Mondays and Wednesdays Andy will be home alone for approximately 4 hours. So far he doesn't have a really good track record when it comes to "alone time." I'm hoping walking him before I leave the house will minimize his destructive tendencies. I'm also planning on leaving him with a peanut butter Kong. Today's our first day on this schedule. I leave in about 15 minutes and hope to come home to a clean house and a content pup. I have my doubts...

Galilee Pup

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Remembering Maxwell | The White in His Brow

I'm not sure how old Maxwell was when his brow started going white. It seems like I just woke up one day and there it was. Every once in while I would gaze at his snowy white face and would be reminded that our time together was ephemeral, transient, far too short. His white brow was a sign of age. A sign of decline. A sign that he was heading towards his inevitable passing. But it was also a badge of experience, maturity, of summers and winters past. It was a reminder to me to cherish what time I had with him. Our furry friends leave us far too soon. When that brow starts to turn white hold your friend close, hold your friend dear, and stay by his side to the very end.

I ♥ Andy


The red in Andy's coat has faded drastically the last couple of months. It looks like his adult coat is going to be more of a reddish-yellow, like a Golden Retriever. This change makes me a little sad...means my boy is growing up! Depending on how the light hits Andy when I take a photo his coat can look lighter or darker. Also, as I'm editing photos for attaboyandy I often have to adjust the brightness and contrast, and the saturation and hue, in order to get them more balanced. Sometimes this means his coat turns out redder than it actually is. So if Andy's coat still looks really red to you...know the color is about as natural as Lucille Ball's head of red hair.

Fade to Yellow

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cute or Creepy?

Saw this on the front page of Yahoo today. Is it a moth? Is it a poodle? Is it an invention from those purveyors of all things kawaii - the Japanese? Nah, it really is just a moth - the Venezuelan Poodle Moth in fact. Adorable and incredibly creepy at the same time, no? Kind of how I feel about actual poodles. The ones that have been groomed to the point they no longer look like dogs that is. I'm always amazed at what nature has to offer us. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Car Seat Cover | A Life Saver!

I bought this tan car seat cover 6 years ago and it's still going strong; granted it didn't get much use with Maxwell, who most frequently rode in the back of the suv. Andy on the other hand likes riding in the middle (passenger) section of the car because of his earlier bout with amaxophobia. He's since overcome his fear of the car and now hops right in without any reservations. Lately though we've been dealing with his love of rolling in piles of smelly crap - literally, I'm talking poop here, and the seat cover has been invaluable.

I wish I knew more about the specifics of the car seat cover we have but because I bought it so long ago I no longer have the packaging. I do know I bought it at a discount store called Tuesday Morning (my love of discount goods and all). To my recollection it cost about $20 and has been worth every penny. I don't know how we would've managed getting Andy home post-poop roll without it. I've seen similar covers at pet supply stores and I highly recommend them in general. Our particular cover is made of waterproof canvas with a vinyl backing. We've washed it multiple times and it's held up well. The cover has adjustable straps up top that fit around the headrests and the bottom corners have elastic that fit around the corners of the seat. You want to make sure you get one that fits your type of car - ours is for a small suv. The one downside of our cover is that the surface is a little slippery. I do have to be mindful when making turns otherwise Andy will slide right off the seat. Have been trying to think of ways to fix that issue. Other than that the car seat cover has saved our backseat from water, dirt, drool, and other more unsavory things.

Another Fall Semester

The end of August is always busy in our household because it marks the start of the fall semester. My husband and I are both involved in academia in one capacity or another - he teaches at a local college while I'm a part-time student and also work full-time at a college library. This will be Andy's first academic year with us and he's going to have to adjust to our modified schedules right quick. I think he'll be ok for the most part because my husband and I have flip-flopped schedules, meaning someone will almost always be home with him. We're going to try to take Andy to the park 3 mornings a week in addition to mini walks in between.

I don't know what this means for attaboyandy. I started this blog in July when I had a lighter load but the start of the semester means late nights at work, research, and homework. I imagine this means I'll be slowing things down on the blog yet another notch. I still plan on posting daily but with less frequency. Keep in touch and as always thanks for stopping in!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ending the Weekend on a Low (Smelly) Note

Took Andy to the park this morning. It was a lovely walk until we got back to the car and I was like, "What's that smell?!?" I turned around and realized Andy had poo all over one side of him. Arg! Again! The photo above is the precise moment he covered himself in said poop - we just didn't realize what was happening at the time. After a gag inducing car ride home we marched Andy straight to the bath tub and shampooed him multiple times. On the plus side his coat is soft and he smells nice and fresh. Dirty, disgusting boy!

What Not to Eat

Mushrooms | Mystery Plants | Tree Bark

Friday, August 24, 2012

Still Life with Three Puppies

Paul Gauguin | Still Life with Three Puppies | 1888

Hold It! | Follow-Up


Last month I wrote about the nasty habit Andy had developed of peeing before we hit the grass. This typically meant he would pee on the stairs that lead to the parking lot of our apartment building or on occasion even dribbled pee in the hallway. The pee in the hallway thing was especially obnoxious because it meant having to go back with paper towel and surface cleaner and mopping it up. I'm proud to report that it's been about a month since Andy's last incident. I'm hoping this means the verbal cues took hold and we've broken him out of the habit for good. Now he consistently pees on the grass like a good boy.

TGIF! | Stereo Skifcha Will Blow Your Mind!


stereo skifcha from Denis Borisovich on Vimeo.

The Doggy Diet

The other night I was craving something sweet so I decided to have some ice cream. I sat on the couch (ok, ok I was actually lying down on the couch) with a bowl of mint and chip (um...I lie...it was the entire tub) and a good book. As I was happily reading and spooning away at the ice cream I noticed Andy on the floor staring up at me. He eyeballed the tub of ice cream eagerly. I told him, "Sorry boy. Can't share. This ice cream has chocolate in it," before returning to my book.

A couple minutes later I heard Andy's claws clicking and clacking on the wood floor as he shuffled his paws impatiently, reminding me that he was still there and that he was still waiting for some ice cream. I looked down at him and he had long threads of drool hanging from his lips. At this point I felt horribly guilty for not sharing. I got up, put the ice cream back in the freezer, wiped Andy's drool, and got back on the couch with my book (all the while wishing I was still eating ice cream). The doggy diet - most effective diet I've ever been on.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

“I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.”

    -- John Steinbeck

Sleep Interrupted

I've been having trouble sleeping lately. This seems to happen on and off throughout the year. Sometimes it's triggered by the hot weather and other times I can't sleep because I'm feeling anxious about something. It's not so bad that I want to take anything for it but I was intrigued when I saw an ad the other day for a product called ZzzQuil, a "nighttime sleep-aid" manufactured by Vicks; the good folks that bring us NyQuil. If it's anything like Nyquil it'll knock me out in no time and I'll sleep through the night.

I think my recent sleep issues are actually tied directly to Andy. He's gotten into the habit of crawling in and out of the covers at night (Why yes, Andy, Pablo AND Diego sleep in our bed). This means he scratches at the covers any time he wants to go under and this always wakes me up. I've also woken up on many an occasion to his legs stretching into my back. I vaguely recall that one night he actually rolled me off the bed. Thankfully I somehow managed to land on my feet. Maybe I should be giving the ZzzzQuil to Andy. Don't people do that with babies and Benadryl? I'm just kidding. I would never do that... 

Stick Envy

Recent Reads | Winners and Losers

I started reading Dog Sense by John Bradshaw about a month ago. The tagline for the book is, "How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet." What dog owner doesn't want to be a better friend to their pup? I know I want Andy and I to be best buds. Unfortunately I had a really hard time getting into the book and after a month of picking it up and putting it down I decided it just wasn't engaging enough to keep at it. I might give it another chance sometime in the future.

I'm normally a voracious reader of fiction but this summer I've been dabbling with more non-fiction. I'm currently reading a book called Sex, Drugs and Sea Slime by Ellen Prager. I've always been a nature nut so this book about some of the more curious inhabitants of the sea is right up my alley. Prager writes casually about the life cycles and often bizarre reproductive processes of creatures like the hagfish, the Portuguese man of war, sea slugs, and parrotfish. Throughout the book she also talks about the vast commercial, medicinal, and biotechnological resources of the ocean and various conservation issues. Other entertaining reads along this line I reccomend are Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects by Amy Stewart and Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex by Olivia Judson.

Review | Natural Balance Healthy Bones Dog Treats


Natural Balance offers a wide range of high-quality products for both dogs and cats. Our experience with the brand has been primarily with their limited ingredient dog foods, their dog food rolls, and their dog biscuits. While I wasn't completely won over by their food I do purchase their rolls now and then and their biscuits quite regularly. This review is for their Healthy Bones with Lamb, Quinoa & Carrot Dog Treats.

These biscuits come in a variety of flavors but I tend to buy either the lamb (
great if your pup is allergic to chicken or poultry in general) or the salmon (which is grain-free and great for pups with grain allergies). The biscuits are made with quality ingredients and include vitamin E and zinc - all great for Andy's skin and coat. They're also free of artificial flavors or colors.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Cliché


Review | Kyjen Fire Hose Squeak 'n Fetch


The Kyjen Fire Hose Squeak 'n Fetch is the last "fabric" toy I purchased for Andy. The tag on it said it was made from the same durable fire hose used by firemen and for some reason this got me really excited. I mean it says "Hard Core" right on the toy - surely that means it can withstand the assault of a powerful chewer like Andy.

The material of the Fire Hose Squeak 'n Fetch seemed durable enough and the ends were sewn shut nice and tight, but alas, Andy had one end frayed in a matter of minutes and the body itself was gutted by the end of the night. I bought a medium size hose (10 inches long) for $9.99 at my local Petco and it was in the trash by 10:00 that same night. grr! boo! hiss! The Kyjen Fire Hose Squeak 'n Fetch may work for less aggressive chewers but unfortunately it didn't work for Andy. 

Oh, Don't Mind Me

Whiskers


Who doesn't love dog whiskers? Come on, you know you love them! According to an article on Psychology Today, in their Canine Corner, dog whiskers are technically called vibrissae and,
of those areas of the brain that register touch information in the dog, nearly 40 percent of it is dedicated to the face, with a disproportionately large amount of that dedicated to the regions of the upper jaw where the vibrissae are located. You can actually map each individual vibrissa to a specific location in the dog's brain, suggesting that great importance is assigned to information from these structures.
Whiskers provide dogs with information about the world around them. They detect nearby objects, relaying details about shape and surface texture. As most folks know a dog's nose is its most powerful sensory tool. Dogs, for the most part, don't have the best eyesight and actually rely on their whiskers to assist with the identification of objects close at hand and in less than ideal lighting situations.

I've yet to find an article that addresses what I've always called "whisker bumps." These are the bumps on all dog's faces that have whiskers growing out of them. They're located away from the primary cluster of whiskers and seem to always come in pairs. Andy has two on each cheek/jowl, two on his chin, and one above each brow. Do these whiskers have a different name? Are they more specialized? I don't know what exactly they are but I will say this...they're adorable!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Andy Gets His Toes Wet

Andy loves getting his toes and belly wet at one of the local parks. We only let him have access to moving water, always keep him on leash, and make him stick to the shallows. Sometimes he sneaks in a couple of slurps of water and it kind of freaks me out. What if he gets a parasite? Giardia or leptospirosis? I worry too much. This is yet another reason why I'll never have a bipedal child.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Parkour Pup

This American Staffordshire Terrier living in western Ukraine has some mad parkour skills! He's fearless! Parkour is a sport in which people navigate through their environments by running, climbing, jumping, etc. They use nothing but their bodies and the walls, foot and hand holds, nooks, etc. already in the environment. Both Casino Royale and The Bourne Ultimatum incorporated elements of parkour into chase scenes.

 
  
I can't even imagine how this dog's owners managed to get him to do these things! I wonder if I can channel Andy's excess energy into something like this? Just kidding - no way! I'd be way too worried about him getting hurt. To learn more about this amazing dog, Tret, check out this article on Yahoo Sports.

Tapeworms


So...when we got back from vacation I noticed some odd sesame seed looking things on a blanket one of the cats had been sitting on. After doing a little internet detective work I discovered these "seeds" were not seeds at all but the dessicated remains of tapeworm segments. Um. Ew. Gross! 

According to WebMD,
Tapeworms are the most common internal parasite in adult cats. They live in the small intestines, and vary in length from less than 1 inch (25 mm) to several feet (1 foot is .3 meters). The scolex (head) of the parasite fastens itself to the wall of the gut using hooks and suckers. The body is composed of segments that contain egg packets. To eliminate tapeworm infection, the head must be destroyed. Otherwise, the worm will regenerate.
Body segments of the tapeworm are passed through the cat's feces or the segments will pass straight through the cat's anus. According to WebMD "praziquantel is one of the most effective medications for both common species of cat tapeworm." Praziquantel used to only be available via prescription but is now readily available over the counter. 

Portrait of a Hound

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Yarn Bomb!

Andy investigates a yarn bombed tree we came across at a local park. Yarn bombing is a type of graffiti or street art in which people use yarn to knit or crochet temporary installations in public spaces. These installations usually involve bright colored yarn covering everyday objects such as trees, statues, and bike racks. Check out this New York Times article to learn more about this whimsical guerrilla art movement.

Ups and Downs

The last time Andy went to camp he came home a mellower pup - there was markedly less biting, hair pulling, and cat throwing. This improved version of Andy lasted about 2 weeks and then I suspect the boy started getting restless and he eventually reverted back to his old ways. This second stint at camp gave us a mellower pup yet again. Being around other dogs, especially more dominant ones, seems to give Andy the opportunity to learn the types of social skills we've been unsuccessful in teaching him ourselves. He learns what types of behaviors are acceptable and I imagine he's put in his place now and then by dogs that have low tolerance for his antics.

So far his post-camp interaction with us and the cats has been good. There's less jumping and no biting. In fact, Andy and I had one of those "perfect evenings" for the first time last night: we curled up on the couch together and he let me read for a good hour. Unfortunately camp does nothing to improve his behavior when we're not around. That mess you see on the right is what we came home to on Friday afternoon after running some errands. Andy destroyed the cat's cardboard scratcher, a book, several magazines, and gnawed on the handle of my old field hockey stick. Arg! We really need to do something about his separation issues. I'm not sure if this is an anxiety thing so much as a I'm bored and don't know what to do with myself thing. We've been taking him on walks if we know we're both going to be out with the hopes that he'll be tired and just take a nap but this method has been pretty hit or miss. Yesterday we left Andy with a peanut butter filled Kong and strategically hidden biscuits while we went to the grocery store and this seemed to keep him happy. Sigh. Just some of the ups and downs of living with Andy.

A View From A Bridge

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Post-Bath Shakedown

A post-bath shakedown is inevitable after giving a dog a bath. It's the first thing Andy does when he gets out of the tub, which means I get wet, the wall gets drippy, and the floor gets soaked. Sigh. Turns out, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, different types of mammals shake at different speeds in an effort to expend the least amount of energy to get dry. "A large dog can shed 70% of the water in its fur in 4 seconds." I believe it!


Check out this article on nature.com for more information on this study. There are apparently "practical" implications for this research (so it's not just for our entertainment!) - "understanding how animals shake themselves dry could help scientists to develop ways to rapidly shed water from man-made equipment."

Bath Time Double Take

Camp Bow Wow offers what they call "Camp Showers" for a fee; a convenient service for those who opt to use it. I'm not gonna lie - I'm cheap and prefer bathing Andy myself. We've found that a bath is necessary after Camp whether Andy stays one night or five. Pups are allowed to run around in a pack indoors and out at Camp Bow Wow and Andy always comes home grungy. This means we march him straight to the bathtub as soon as we get home.

Andy got his second bath in two days yesterday. Why? Because he rolled in dog poop while we were at the park. Dog poop! Dirty, dirty boy! Arg. Thank God we have a car seat cover. Andy went from the car straight to the bathtub much to his chagrin. He didn't even get a frozen yogurt treat. His harness, leash, and the seat cover went into the washer. Curses on dog owners who don't clean up after their pets! Grrr.

Andy @ Camp Bow Wow

Camp Bow Wow posts pictures of pups at camp on their Facebook fan page. A great way to keep parents in touch with their pups while also promoting their business. Here are some shots we spied of Andy while we were away.

Hello Andy | Goodbye Summer

We're back! My husband and I had a wonderful time visiting family in Michigan and exploring Mackinac Island. As nice as it was to get away it's even nicer to be back with our boys and sleeping in our own bed. One week of summer left then it's back to the daily academic grind. Goodbye summer!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Your Dog

Yoshitomo Nara | Your Dog | 2002

Sub | Urban Andy 1

Vacation!

attaboyandy is on vacation this week! While we're visiting family in the Midwest Andy is frolicking at Camp Bow Wow. Pablo and Diego are at home in the loft wondering where the heck everyone went. At least they have each other (and the neighbor who's watching them) for company. Will mostly be sharing photos this week. Have a good one!