Friday, November 30, 2012

Dog

Frances Bacon | Dog | 1952

More Weird/Wonderful Nature


I'm generally not a big fan of spiders but I have to admit
the Maratus volans, or peacock spider, from Australia is downright adorable. 
The males sure go the distance in exchange for a little lovin'!

Drop It!

I'll be the first to admit we haven't done a good job training Andy. He can be willful and stubborn at times and this is most apparent when sticks are involved. The pup absolutely loves twigs and sticks, not for fetch mind you, but for consumption. Once he gets his jaws on a stick he generally refuses to let go. The "drop it" command means nothing to him when sticks are involved. Come to think of it, the "drop it" command also means nothing to Andy when it comes to balls and the carcasses of animals. Huh. We're going to have to work on that this winter.

New | Simon's Cat in "Nut Again"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yarn Bomb Revisted

The yarn-bombed tree we first encountered at the park back in August is still around. I never really thought about the clean-up aspect of yarn bombing. Do yarn bombers eventually go back and dismantle their projects? When does this thing go from being "gorilla art" to just being trash on a tree? It's in pretty good shape, all things considered, but I imagine it's only going to continue getting shabbier and grosser. I don't even want to know what it smells like or if there's any mold involved. Ew. I'm all for conceptual and/or sustainable art but I hope the creator(s) also take responsibility for the eventual clean-up of this thing.

Let's Go For a Ride

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review | Blue Buffalo Mini Blue Bars Dog Biscuits


I'm always on the lookout for healthy, all-natural treats for Andy and Blue Buffalo's Mini Blue Bars Dog Biscuits fit the bill. These biscuits contain no animal by-product meals, no corn/wheat/soy (great for pups with allergies), and no artificial preservatives or flavors. They come in a variety of flavors: Blueberry/Yogurt, Banana/Yogurt, Apples/Yogurt, and Chicken/Cheddar - the first three are completely animal-product free and great for pups with sensitivities to proteins. The biscuits are bite-sized and crunchy and Andy always "sits pretty" with anticipation when he knows he's going to get one. 

The biscuits come in 8oz and 20oz bags and cost around $7.99 and $12.99 respectively. I found these on sale a couple of weeks back at Petco and picked up a 20oz bag of the Apples and Yogurt flavor for $10.39. I know that sounds like a lot to drop on a bag of dog biscuits, but really, when you do the math it's not that bad a deal when they're on sale. Because these treats are on the pricier side I tend to dole them out sparingly, 1-2 a day, and so far after 2 weeks we still have about half the bag left. I tend to rotate through different brands and types of treats, picking up whatever is on sale as long as it's manufactured in the USA and all-natural, and would definitely purchase these Mini Blue Bars again in the future.    

Window Sill

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Winterize Your Pup

This is going to be Andy's first full winter. Here are some practical measures we'll be taking in order to keep him warm and safe this season:
  • As the temperature drops and we get more snow on the ground we'll start to limit how much time we spend outdoors.
  • When it's actively raining or snowing we'll try to put a coat on Andy to keep him as dry as possible. We'll also have a towel available by the door to dry him off as soon as we get back inside.
  • We'll try to avoid salt, chemical ice melters, and anti-freeze when we're outdoors and make sure his paws are deiced and clean when we get back inside.
  • We'll make sure Andy has lots of dry, warm, and comfortable spots to pass the time.
  • We'll also do more to keep his mind and body stimulated since he'll be spending so much more time indoors. We have plenty of toys ready to go and I plan on doing more obedience training with him once the semester ends and I have more time.
For information on how to keep your pets safe this winter check out the ASPCA's Cold Weather Tips.

Andy's First Snow


Remembering Maxwell | Baby It's Cold Outside

Maxwell was never a big fan of cold weather, which I think is kind of funny considering he was a Midwestern pup born and bred. He hated lingering in the rain and barely tolerated snow. I did what I could to minimize his discomfort in the winters: cranked up the heat, always had towels and comfy beds for him to warm up on, carved out out paths and poop zones in the snow so he could get around easier, and I always tried to be attuned to when he was ready to go inside. 

One year we found a green corduroy Woolrich dog coat on sale at Target and decided to pick it up for the pup. I had no illusions about it actually doing anything to keep him warm but thought it might help keep him dry in the rain and snow. The fact that it was adorable also meant I couldn't pass it up! This was Maxwell's first article of clothing and he took to it right away. It was funny, whenever he wore the coat it was like it gave him an extra confidence boost - he would perk up and there would be a little more swagger in his step, as if the coat allowed him to face whatever mother nature could throw his way. 

Maxwell wore that little green coat for about 5 years and it kept him dry through many a rain and snow storm. The coat is still in great shape and hopefully it'll see Andy through many winters to come. Hope he doesn't mind hand-me-downs!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Patience

I always make Andy "sit pretty" before I give him a treat. He knows the drill. Sometimes he'll even go "sit pretty" on his own, next to the bowl of treats, and wait for me to notice him and give him a reward. Clever pup has me trained!

Look at him eyeballing that Get Naked Super Antioxidant Dog Treat...he sure is focused when there are treats involved! Get Naked Super Antioxidant Dog Treats are a great all-natural dental chew for pups. Check out my review of the product from July.

Tethered

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful

This year I'm thankful for my husband, our families, our health, the fact that we have jobs and health insurance, and that I'm able to go to school. I'm thankful for these things everyday

I think it goes without saying that I'm thankful for our boys, they are after all family. I'm thankful for the time we had with Maxwell, that we were able to say goodbye to him on our own terms, and let him leave this life with dignity. I'm thankful that Andy came into our lives and helped me know that life does indeed go on after loss. He fills our lives just as Maxwell did. I'm thankful that Pablo and Diego tolerate, and maybe even like, their rambunctious younger brother. We are blessed beyond measure.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Dog Owners

Check out some valuable Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Dog Owners over at dogster.com. Learn how to keep your pup safe and happy during the holiday season.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Post Script

Dear John Donne: Fleas are neither sexy nor erotic.

The Flea | John Donne

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,   
How little that which thou deniest me is;   
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;   
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
    Yet this enjoys before it woo,
    And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
    And this, alas, is more than we would do.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, nay more than married are.   
This flea is you and I, and this
Our mariage bed, and marriage temple is;   
Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met,   
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
    Though use make you apt to kill me,
    Let not to that, self-murder added be,
    And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?   
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?   
Yet thou triumph’st, and say'st that thou   
Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;
    ’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:
    Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,
    Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.

Still Dealing With Fleas...#%@!


Why the heck won't these fleas just die already!?! I'm pretty sure we have some sort of radioactive super fleas living in our loft that are completely resistant to anything we throw their way. We don't have a major infestation or anything but enough of them are around that the pets (and my husband!) are being bothered by them. All of the pets have been treated with a topical flea medication, I'm constantly washing their bedding and ours, I vacuum frequently, and I even purchased a natural flea killing spray product...and yet they still persist. I refuse to use a bug bomb because I can't stand the idea of all those chemicals just lingering in the loft. Arg. Arg. Arg. Pablo's vet said the problem should go away with the first frost. It hasn't. Why did God see fit to put parasites in this world?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Carrion is for the Birds!

I took Andy on a brief walk around the apartment this afternoon. Everything was going fine and dandy until he started chewing on something he had picked up off the ground. I actually let him do this for about 15 seconds, cause I figured it was nothing more than a leaf, before I decided to intervene. I asked him to "drop it" - he refused. So then I had to pry open his jaws, put my hand inside his mouth, and grab whatever it was he had. He had a dead mouse. To make matters worse I'm pretty sure it was the same dead mouse we've been trying to avoid for the last 2 weeks. G.R.O.S.S. Granted, it has been pretty cold outside as of late...but still...G.R.O.S.S. Andy kisses his mother with that mouth?!?

One of These Things

Thundershirt Ho!

I finally bit the bullet and ordered a thundershirt. We had to leave Andy alone last night for about 3 hours and came home to chewed up shoes and a ripped up box of kitty litter. Thankfully the pup was ok and everything was salvageable but let's just say this was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. I'm not happy about shelling out $39.99 for this thing but at least I got free shipping and embroidery. Arg. The makers of the thundershirt claim it can help with Andy's separation anxiety, travel stress, and leash issues. I'll be happy if it helps with even just one of these things. I know there's no substitute for good training but I'm willing to give this a try.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Camo Pup

Dealing With Anxiety

Andy's been pretty good as of late about being left home alone (knock on wood!). We haven't had any incidents involving shoes, books, dvds, etc. in about a month. A lot of it has to do with us being more diligent about putting things out of his reach but I also think he's finally getting used to the idea of being by himself now and then. For a while we felt like captives to the pup, afraid to leave him alone because we never knew what sort of trouble he would get into. I'm starting to feel more and more confident at this point that Andy can handle it.
 
Wednesday mornings are a whole different story. This is the one day a week Andy goes to doggy day care and he seems to know it. As soon as he sees us getting ready to head out he starts getting all wound up. What starts off as a soft whine quickly escalates to what sounds like high-pitched wailing. It's an intolerable sound and I feel incredibly bad for my neighbors, who must be wondering what manner of torture we're inflicting on our dog. Andy keeps up this hullabaloo all the way to the car and keeps it up the entire 15 minutes it takes us to get to Camp Bow Wow. He actually recognizes the last turn we make before getting to camp and ratchets up the frequency of his whining like 100% in response.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Red Roof Dog House

 Yoshitomo Nara | Red Roof Dog House  | 1992-2000

Up | Dug

 

Happy Friday! Enjoy.

Shameless

Gadzooks!


Folks are allowed to bring horses to one of the parks we like to visit. While we rarely see them around we do encounter the huge piles of poop they leave behind regularly. Thankfully Andy has never rolled in one of these piles...and let's hope he never does. We finally ran into a pair of horses this past weekend and Andy seemed to cycle through a range of emotions within a matter of seconds in response. At first the pup appeared to cower in fear. Then a look of incredulity passed over his face. For a moment he was utterly confused and couldn't seem to process what he was seeing. Soon after I think he decided he was looking at a pair of really, really large dogs, at which point he got super excited and started barking and charging at them. The horses paid the boy absolutely no heed and passed us without incident. Once they got 25 yards or so ahead of us it was as if Andy stopped seeing them even though we trailed them all the way back to our car. His nose did stay to the ground though and I think he was just lost in the intoxicating smell of farm animals...eau de cheval.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On The Edge

Pup Tip | Old Towels


Old towels sure come in handy when you have dogs, especially if you have one that likes to roll in poop and requires frequent baths. We got a lot of life out of the towels that were gifted to us when we got married, a good 8-9 years I'd say, before we decided to start replacing them. Throwing them out seemed like a waste so we decided to try to squeeze more life out of them by designating them as pet towels. They're great for post-bath dry offs, for lining kennels, and just practical to have around for household emergencies like faucet leaks. I also keep an old hand-towel by the front door to dry Andy off when it's raining outside. 


Towards the end of Maxwell's life he was on a pretty high dose of prednisone. One of the side effects of the medication was that he had to urinate frequently, like every 20-30 minutes. At some point it become impossible for us to take him out every time so we had to just let him pee on the floor in the loft (thankfully we have wood floors). After going through like 2 dozen rolls of paper towels and a couple of bottles of surface cleaner we knew we needed to devise a more practical system to deal with the issue. I ended up picking a spot on the floor near the front door, putting a sheet of heavy plastic down, then spreading an old towel on top of that. Maxwell learned pretty quickly to pee on the towel and we would throw it in the wash and put out a new one as needed. Sigh. The things we do for the dogs we love.

If you don't have a pet and are looking to unload some old towels consider contacting your local humane society, animal shelter, or rescue group. Most of these organizations are happy to take old towels, blankets, and sheets to use for bedding or post-bath drying.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Updated Review | WAHL Oatmeal Coconut Lime Verbena Pet Shampoo Concentrate

I first wrote about WAHL's Oatmeal Coconut Lime Verbena Pet Shampoo Concentrate back in August. At the time we had been using the shampoo for about 3 months and I gave the product a less than stellar review primarily because I thought the formula was too harsh and was causing irritation to Andy's skin (he was constantly gnawing and biting at himself). I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but being the cheapskate that I am, I couldn't bring myself to throw the bottle away and we've been continuing to use the shampoo since. My opinion of the product has changed and I now feel comfortable recommending it to anyone looking for a decent middle of the road dog shampoo.

Andy's been with us for about 9 months now and I've come to believe that the issues he had with skin irritation when we first adopted him had more to do with diet, fleas, and stress. When we brought him home from the humane society his coat was dull, it shed tremendously, and had a fair amount of dander. After almost 9 months of a high quality diet and regular bathing, not to mention plenty of stress-free loving, his coat is now healthy. Andy gets baths every 1-3 weeks. The time he spends at Camp Bow Wow, coupled with his insatiable desire to roll in poop, means he gets ripe pretty fast. After a bath using the Wahl's shampoo his coat is soft and has a pleasant scent that lingers for several days. Also, after 9 months of regular baths we still have about a third of the bottle left. Just goes to show the importance of a high quality diet and vigilant flea control. Once this bottle of shampoo runs out I'll likely try something different, for the sake of variety, but if you're looking for a decent, affordable product I say give this a shot.

WAHL Oatmeal Coconut Lime Verbena Pet Shampoo Concentrate
Available at Target 

Andy's Itchy Beard

Andy has prominent chin whiskers. For some reason they remind me of a beatnik goatee. All he needs is a beret, a black turtleneck, and a pair of bongos and he's ready to roll with the best of them! I digress. While I find Andy's beard adorable it's also very itchy. I've been startled awake on more than one occasion by his bristly chin rubbing against my face. Sometimes even his kisses are prickly. The boy could do with a nice close shave.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mother Nature


Well Hello There!

We missed you. Hope things went well and that you had lovely weekend. Last week was really busy and taking time off from the blog allowed me to get in some much needed studying time. It also gave Andy a chance to work on his novel. Despite my chaotic schedule I still managed to spend a lot of quality time with the pup. We passed many an hour snuggling on the couch as I studied for the GRE. We still managed to get in a couple of walks, where we encountered deer tracks, a dead mouse, a great blue heron, horses, mystery poop, and a strange vision in a tree. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I'm working on a paper at the moment and I foresee the next 2-3 weeks being pretty busy but I'll do my best to update the blog regularly. Come along!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Forthcoming Reviews


Blue Buffalo | Blue Bars
Kong | Wobbler
Natural Balance | Dog Food Rolls



Nylabone | Dinosaur Dental Chew
Updated Review | Wahl | Oatmeal Shampoo Concentrate

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eastern Standard Time

The boys started getting antsy about an hour ago wondering where the heck their food is. Gonna take a day or two for them to get used to falling back an hour. Poor Andy thinks we're starving him to death on purpose!

Taking the Week Off

This week's gonna be a doozy! I have a GRE subject test coming up on Saturday, an abstract I need to write for a final paper, and research that needs to get done. I've decided to take the week off from blogging but will be back in full force soon enough. I'll try to post some photos this week, but for the most part things are going to be quiet on the blog. Thank goodness I have a therapy pup named Andy to keep me calm and collected! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Las Meninas Velazquez

Pablo Picasso | Las Meninas Velazquez | 1957

Outhouse | Out of Order

This outhouse is located at the entrance to the park across the street from us. I thought it was a victim of Hurricane Sandy, only to be told by my husband that some punks actually tipped it over last week. Gross.

Frog Legs

Andy has a Nemesis

A neighbor has been letting her cat roam outdoors lately. You can see it in this photo, to the left of the car on the far right. Andy goes completely ballistic every time he sees it. It's not like he's never seen a cat before - his brothers are after all felines - but something about this cat in particular makes him go absolutely nuts. He lunges and screeches. The sound he makes is really ungodly; it's high-pitched and unrelenting. Embarrassing to say the least.