Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Little Pumpkin


So...I ended up buying a Halloween costume for Andy after all. I know, I know - I was just bemoaning the fact that people spend $20-30 on pet costumes last week. I had every intention of putting together a costume this past weekend. I had even come up with an idea: I was going to transform Andy into an ineffective scarecrow. I was going to put him in a straw hat and red bandana, fashion cuffs out of brown raffia ribbon to mimic hay, and then stick black paper crows all over him. I would have had to have purchased some supplies to achieve this look and after I did the math I decided it was actually cheaper to just buy a costume. I found this skeleton suit from Martha Stewart Pets on clearance at PetSmart. It cost five dollars and change. The confused look on Andy's face as I put the costume on him: priceless. This thing actually regularly cost $21.99. What the what!?! The design of the suit itself is completely flawed. The fit around the back legs is awkward as heck and the hood doesn't stay on at all.

In the end Andy didn't even get to go to Camp Bow Wow today, which was the whole reason for the costume. I tried calling them yesterday and this morning to confirm if they were open today but I kept getting a "We're sorry. All circuits are busy..." message, which tells me they probably lost power as a result of Hurricane Sandy. It all worked out though because my class was canceled today and I got to spend the morning/afternoon with the pup and keep him out of trouble. Maybe I'll take a shot at that scarecrow costume next year.

Happy Halloween!

Pablo is dressed as a low-budget Internet Meme for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Uprooted Tree

After the Storm

My thoughts go out to folks in the Caribbean, New York, New Jersey, and everywhere else affected by the storm. Thankfully Pennsylvania wasn't hit as hard as predicted and we made it through completely unscathed. We actually still have power, while 1.2 million people in the state do not. Last night was windy and wet but the worst we got was some flickering lights.

The rain didn't fall nearly as fast and as hard as it did with hurricane Irene, so the creek didn't flood this time around. I ran into our property manager when I took Andy out around 11:30 pm last night. He was actually kind of annoyed that the creek wasn't flooding because he had actually planned for the storm this time around and had everyone move their cars out of the back lot.

Now that the storm has passed it's time for some serious cleanup. Starting up a brand new day.

New | Simon's Cat in "Fetch"

Monday, October 29, 2012

Peein' in the Rain

It's  been raining on  and off all   day and the wind is starting to pickup just now.  My husband and I got to stay home today, and will be staying home tomorrow. Most schools in the area have closed for the safety of students, staff, and faculty. Are we using this time off to be productive? To catch up on grading, research, writing, and such? Um...not really. Does watching season 1 of Louie count as "research"?

Our apartment complex is surrounded by trees so venturing outside is becoming increasingly hazardous. I took Andy outside for about 15 minutes earlier in the day. Both of us got completely soaked even though I put him in Maxwell's old coat to try to keep him dry. On the plus side I can put off giving him a bath for another week cause the rain did it for me! We usually take Andy on long walks on Sundays and/or it remains to be seen how the boy will take being cooped up for so long. Maybe I'll just take him out and run him up and down the halls like a crazy person. I'm sure my neighbors would love that.

Come at me Mother Nature!

I took this photo at the end of last August during Hurricane Irene. Our apartment complex is located at the bottom of a hill, which you can kind of see off in the distance to the right. To the left, which you don't see, is a creek. The street directly in front of our complex ended up flooding fairly quickly. I felt pretty bad for the owner of the car in the photo. After the water receded I happened to see the owner checking out the damage to his car. I walked across the street and said, "Hey, I have photos of your car at the height of the flood if you need them for insurance purposes." His response was, "Uh, I parked it there on purpose." After an awkward moment I just smiled/grimaced and walked away, muttering under my breath about what a bastard he was for committing insurance fraud. Haha. Seriously though, what a jerk.

At the time Irene was bearing down on us my husband had just been discharged after a week's stay in the hospital. He developed a pretty serious case of gout soon after returning home and was rendered pretty much immobile (and here I thought gout only afflicted the elderly!). The timing of everything was a little unnerving. Hurricane Irene + invalid husband = ? I pictured the creek flooding, us having to evacuate, and me having to carry my husband on my back, all the while juggling a dog and two cats. Would have made for a great AP photo. Thankfully we're both in good health right now and we'll be facing "Frankenstorm" together. Bring it on Mother Nature! Not that I'm issuing a challenge or anything.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


The Weather Channel
Why am I always the last to hear about impending freak weather events? And then when I do hear about them why do I tend to not care? A coworker mentioned earlier in the week that we would be getting some bad weather this weekend. I shrugged. Another coworker mentioned yesterday that this bad weather is now being referred to as a "Frankenstorm." I rolled my eyes. But man, the more I hear about this thing it's sounding worse and worse. Apparently the remnants of hurricane Sandy are going to converge with a winter storm currently moving  West across the United States. Of course this convergence will take place right on top of us here, in the state of Pennsylvania. When the two collide they'll produce the ungodly lovechild now being referred to as "Frankenstorm." I'm talking hurricane force winds, rain, snow, flooding, power outages - the works!

Notice in the image above the ENTIRE state of Pennsylvania is likely to be without power. Arg. I don't think we have a working flashlight in the house but we do have a lantern and candles. I sent my husband to the store today to pick up provisions: cat food (priorities!), canned goods, bottled water, etc. I think we're good to go. I'm wondering how we'll handle Andy's potty breaks. He already hates rain as it is - I imagine he's not going to enjoy the addition of hurricane force winds. I wonder if I can train him to do his business in the bathtub? Never mind, that's just gross. Batten down the hatches and be safe everyone.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Woman with Greyhound (Edith Schiele)

Egon Schiele | Woman with Greyhound (Edith Schiele) |1916



Does anyone else think Halloween has gotten a little out of control? I only recently found out it's the second biggest holiday in the U.S. after Christmas. I'm surprised at the amount of money folks are willing to shell out for costumes and decorations. Don't even get me started on the $20-$30 costumes I've been seeing for dogs at pet supply stores lately. I recall Halloween being so much simpler when I was a kid. We had homemade costumes or spent like $10 tops for something from the store. People put out the same cheesy decorations, often homemade, year after year.

So herein lies my conundrum: Camp Bow Wow is having a costume contest this coming Wednesday. There will be prizes for the top 3 costumes and a day care discount for all dogs who participate that day. Andy is scheduled to go in for day care anyways. I kind of want to send him in a costume, don't want him to feel left out after all (sarcasm), but I want it to be something I can throw together at home. I'm not even going for top 3, just the discount.
I'm completely devoid of ideas. Any suggestions?

Despite all my party pooping and crochety old lady complaints I do still enjoy looking at pictures of pets in costume. In fact, since it's Friday, I suggest you check out these 50 Frightfully Cute Halloween Pet Costumes. I especially like the chubby pirate cat posing with his chubby boy owner, the Marilyn Monroe pug with ample bosoms, and the pup dressed as a bush. Enjoy!

An Awkward Exchange

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review | Premier Easy Walk Harness | Part 1: Fit

Andy's been wearing his new Premier Easy Walk Harness for a month now and I'm finally ready to share some of my thoughts about it (To read about why we chose this particular harness, click here). I'm going to split this review into 2 parts: "fit" and overall feelings about the product. Today I'm going to write primarily about the fit and fitting of the harness.

Before ordering the harness I had to decide what size to get. I started by consulting the sizing instructions on Premier's website. The instructions had me measure Andy's girth - the length around his rib cage, directly behind his front legs. I then compared that measurement to the sizing chart and decided to order a medium since his girth is approximately 23 inches. The harness came with some pretty detailed fitting instructions. After a lot of adjusting of straps, readjusting, and adjusting some more, I just couldn't get the medium size harness to fit properly, and I determined it was because it was actually a touch too small. Either Andy has a really odd shaped body or Premier's sizing chart is way off...I'm guessing it's the latter of the two. I did see some complaints about sizing when I read reviews on the harness, I just didn't think the sizing chart would be SO off.

"Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between cat and dog, my friend replied, "Yes. But I bet no dog would ever confess it to the other dogs."

     --C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Beautiful Dreamer

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Make Up Your Mind Andy!

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that we allow our pets on our bed. 1 Queen sized mattress + 2 humans + 1 dog + 2 cats = a tight fit! It's actually not that bad and the arrangement is great for cold winter nights. Seriously though...we need a bigger bed. 

Soon after we adopted Andy he discovered that being under the blanket at night can be quite cozy. He figured out fairly early on that he can paw at the top of the blanket and one of us will lift it up so he can go under. What a smart boy, right? Well...last night Andy couldn't decide if he wanted to be under or on top of the blanket. He started off under but soon squirmed his way out at the bottom, then eventually made his way back up top and pawed to be let back under. This went ON and ON all last night. I must of woke up every 30 minutes or so to the pup pawing at the top of the blanket. Of course Andy tends to direct all of the pawing in my direction and lets my husband sleep in peace. Arg. Does anyone else have this problem? I know the easy solution is to not let the dog on the bed...but we're actually happy to have him there for the most part. I've read articles both for and against this sleeping arrangement. I guess I made my bed and now I have to lie uncomfortably in it.   

Down Yonder Path

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review | Zoe Dental Chews

This has been a week of firsts! Not only did Andy pee like a big boy for the first time the other day, he finally encountered an edible item he does not like! I came across these dental chews from a brand called Zoe, which I had never heard of prior to this purchase, while browsing at T.J. Maxx last week. The brand is manufactured by a Canadian company called Hagen - though the product packaging says the chews themselves are made in the USA (?). I'm not gonna lie...I was drawn to the pretty packaging...but ultimately I decided to buy the dental chews for the following reasons: they're made in the USA, they're wheat/corn/soy-free, and they contain all natural ingredients and no artificial preservatives or dyes. At $4.99 for 8.1 oz of chews (approx. 10 small chews) the Zoe treats seemed like a good deal. There were 2 different kinds available; I picked up the "Antioxidant" ones, which are supposed to "support a healthy immune system."   

Averted Gaze

Monday, October 22, 2012


Marking Territory

While on a walk the other day Andy stopped, gingerly lifted his leg, and urinated on a random clump of grass growing out of a crack in the gutter, claiming it as his own. Haha. Seriously though, this is the first time I've actually seen him lift his leg to pee. As you may already know, this behavior is commonly exhibited by mature male dogs who "mark" their territory with their urine. My boy's growing up!  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Some Thoughts on Doggy Day Care

Andy came home from day care last week with a gash under his right eye (you can kind of see the scab in the photo). A staff member pointed it out to us and told us they had put some Neosporin on it.  At the time, she referred to it as a "nick" - but once I got home and took a closer look at the injury I was surprised at how much worse than a "nick" it actually was - it was more like a small gash. It wasn't bad enough to take him to the vet but I definitely kept on eye on it all week and diligently applied Neosporin to it twice a day. My guess is that another dog's canine caught Andy's face while they were wrestling. It's more or less healed at this point. 

I wasn't actually upset by the incident. I wish it hadn't happened, but really, the occasional scratch or bruise is inevitable when you have a group environment with a bunch of dogs running around playing with one another all day. The dogs at Camp Bow Wow are supervised at all times so I trust this didn't happen due to their neglect. The environment is as controlled as it can be considering there are typically 10 or more dogs in a play area at any one given time. One of my neighbors stopped taking her dog to day care because she didn't like her pup coming home with scratches. The way I see it, the benefits of day care outwiegh the occasional scratch or minor injury. If you're considering taking your pup to day care you should expect that these things will happen and decide for yourself how much you're willing to tolerate.   

Andy Chillin' at Camp Bow Wow

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review | Long Lasting Durable 5 Senses Chew

The "Long Lasting Durable 5 Senses Chew" was one of the first Nylabone products I purchased for Andy. I picked it up at a T.J. Maxx back in July for around $4.00 but haven't seen one there, or anywhere else for that matter, since. It still shows up on the Nylabone website so I don't think it's been phased out completely. I want to write a quick review, well mainly a caveat, in case there are folks out there that still have access to this particular product. 

The packaging for the 5 Senses Chew touts the following: See it! Interactive Shapes, Smell it! Irresistible, Taste it! Bacon Infused, Touch it! Bumps and Ridges, Hear it! Clickety Clack. I wasn't really taken in by all the claims when I picked this chew up. I decided to buy it primarily because it was a Nylabone product (which I generally trust), it felt sturdy, and it looked interesting. I think Andy might have been at the tail end of teething when I picked it up in July, so I know I was also on the lookout for durable chew toys. 

Fall Pup | Camouflage

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Duck Hunt

Pup Tip | Repurpose Old Dog Tags

What do you do with your pet's old rabies and dog tags? I'm guessing most people put them in a drawer and forget about them or throw them out altogether. I started putting old tags on my keyring a number of years ago after a beloved dog passed away very suddenly. It was just a small way of keeping a piece of him close. Over the years, as my pet's rabies tags have expired, I've added them to my keys. When Maxwell passed away my husband added his i.d. tag, which is engraved with his name and our numbers, to his key ring. The tags are lightweight and colorful and are a great conversation starter. Instead of adding another piece of metal to our landfills consider paying tribute to your pet by carrying their rabies or i.d. tag on your key ring.

Swimming Upstream

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oh Brother

I just happened to look over at the couch a minute ago and caught Andy with Diego's head in his mouth. What a jerk. Oddly enough the cat just sat there and took it. I suspect Diego is biding his time and will enact his revenge sooner or later.

Andy's Minding Your Business

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”  
Josh Billings

In Sickness and in Health

I've been dealing with a cold for the better part of a week now. Symptoms have included a nasty, phlegmy cough, copious amounts of nose juice, and fatigue. Andy's been a really good sport - he's been very understanding about my not wanting to linger outside and he even let us sleep in yesterday morning. The pup's been mellow and less demanding in general. 

Andy and I took a long nap together on the couch early Sunday evening. A comfy seat, a fuzzy blanket, a good book, and a warm pup - just what the doctor ordered. I only woke up because the boy was like an oven and it got way too hot. My hot boy. Can't complain.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Andy in the "Small Dog" Yard


It sprinkled on and off today so I kind of suspected Andy would be extra dirty when we picked him up from day care. He did not disappoint. His grimy state called for a double-wipe post camp wipe down. His brand new collar was also covered in mud. Arg. 

The dogs at Camp Bow Wow are separated by size and temperament. Generally this means small-medium dogs are in one section, large dogs are in another, and a third section is reserved for special needs dogs - seniors, dogs that need some quiet time, etc. Andy's a little energizer bunny when he's at camp. The pup keeps going and going and going! Why am I not surprised? The owner told me last week they did a little experiment and put Andy in the "big dog" yard to see if he could handle it (under supervision of course). Apparently he got overwhelmed by all the big pups so it didn't last very long. Haha. He's a "big dog" at heart but a "small dog" in practice.

About that DVD I Borrowed...

Borrowed an interesting DVD from work this past weekend - Moon - a British science fiction flick released in 2009, directed by Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie), starring Sam Rockwell. It's about a man doing a 3-year solo stint overseeing a mining operation on the moon. Don't want to say much more than that because it might ruin it for you. Check out IMDB if you really need to know. I highly recommend it if you're into movies about the isolation of space, the moon, or clones. Oh crap. I ruined it.

Remember how I had to take Pablo to the vet this past Monday? Andy was by himself for about 2 hours while I was gone. What did I find when I returned? The case to Moon ripped to shreds and the DVD scratched and covered in teeth marks - clearly canine in origin. The boy plucked the DVD from the tv stand. He also ripped up my last pair of flip flops. It's off season so I don't think I can even replace them till Spring. Son of a bitch. (Is that even an insult to a dog?) 

River Walk

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Gear

We needed to replace Andy's collar so we ended up picking up a collar/leash set at Target this past weekend. The set (in size medium), from the Boots & Barkley brand, is made of reinforced nylon and cloth and has a quick-release buckle. Andy gets walked on a harness so the matching collar/leash is sort of a vanity thing - of course the collar does serve the practical purpose of holding his i.d. and rabies tags (the pup is also microchipped) and is required for doggy day care.

The Good: Inexpensive ($5.99 for the collar, $6.99 for the leash). Adorable and unique pattern - the type of visual design I've come to expect from Target products.

The Bad: Not the heaviest of materials. The pattern is only on one side of the leash - the other side is simply brown nylon. The spring-hinge clasp on the leash feels a little on the light side. 

I'm hoping to get at least 2 years wear out of the set, perhaps more...though I'm not gonna lie, I think that's being optimistic. Maxwell's leash and collar were made of quality heavy black nylon and were still going after 6+ years. The leash is actually still in good shape - a little rough around the edges but still good enough to keep in the car for emergencies. I guess my like of pretty things won out in this case, much like my couch. Buyer's remorse? A little. Ah well. I'll let you know how they hold up.

Cat & Dog Game