Archives: Puppy Love: All about my boys
It sounds like such a cliche. Well, actually, it is a cliche. But here it is: Cancer changes you. Maybe it’s something about facing your own mortality (because, really, don’t we all feel invincible?) or maybe it’s just the perspective you gain from sorting important from trival. But something changes.
Now that I’m feeling like myself again, emerging from the fog of the last year, combined with a total reexamining and realigning of my priorities, I’m itching for change, for adventure. Perfect timing to move to a new part of the country, right?
I’m also taking a look around here, blowing the cobwebs off of some unused sections of this website, tweaking a few things here, deleting a few things there…
This site went live May 5, 2009! Four years of writing about all things dog. Can you believe it? My obsession with dogs hasn’t waned in that time… if anything, it’s grown!
So, putting those thoughts together led me to an overhaul to OhMyDog!
A few things:
First, I launched a whole new design! I’m still making a few behind-the-scenes tweaks, but I’m loving the direction. This is a precursor to someday getting a custom site, of course! What do you think?
Next, you have probably noticed that, on occasion, I post a Sponsored Post. These are posts that I charge for, and I’ve used that money to pay for the hosting and registration of this site. However, in trying to align more closely with my core values, I’ve decided to do two things to change the Sponsored Posts:
- raise my rates (!!) because
- those sponsored posts are going to pay for the sponsorship on an adoptable pit bull every month.
I haven’t picked specific dogs yet, or even specific shelters, so if you have suggestions please share! Most likely I’m going to start with the three different rescues where my boys all came from, but I’d love to hear other ideas. And, of course, I’ll be sharing the profile of the adoptable dog each month.
Also, what are you guys doing about the phase-out of Google Reader? I switched to Feedly, which transitioned super easily. However, if that’s not for you, I added in a few things that’ll make it easier to keep up with OMD! You can click on the RSS subscription button (upper right orange radio icon) or subscribe via email (the box right below the social icons on the right side). I wanted to make sure all that functionality was in place before Reader bites the dust… Incidentally, am I the only one who was horrified by that news?! I love Reader! Sigh…
And, finally, and this is the most important, I need to thank you. I can’t ever, ever, EVER express how much your comments, emails, FB messages, tweets, and good wishes have meant to me over this last year. Seriously. The community that we have is precious, thoughtful, vibrant, funny, and good. How lucky am I that I get to chat with you guys here, on social media, and – on those very lucky, very special occasions - in person?! You are fabulous, each and every one of you, and your dogs are so lucky to have you!
So, from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.
I clip on his backpack, load up my treat pouch, tuck the clicker in my pocket, and uncap the can of cheese. Cooper sits calmly by the back door, waiting for me to clip on his leash. It’s odd how calm he is before we start. As soon as we get outside, his head whips back and forth: Are there any intruders? He marches down the street, keeping step with my right ankle. Every time he looks at me, I squirt some cheese. We walk familiar paths. He does better if he knows the route. We pause in the park to train. Sits, downs, watch mes, and stays. He nails them all, of course, because no one else is around. We cut through a wooded path to a neighborhood shopping center. We emerge just as a construction worker walks out of the store on the corner. Cooper growls at the man until we’re past. We loop around the neighborhood one more time. By the time we’re in the home stretch, Cooper is panting. His tongue droops out of his mouth. He sprints up our porch, ready to reunite with his brothers. He’s happy and tired. At least for a little while.
A walk with Emmett is a thoughtful affair. He meanders along, pausing every few feet to bury his face in the grass to take long, deep sniffs. He doubles back: Did he miss something on that patch of dandelions? Or was it just too good to pass up a second smell? He looks up at me, his mouth open in a happy grin. His tail perks then wags furiously as we pass another pedestrian. Emmett treats his walks as friend-making adventures. And he draws people in with that smile, that wag. He stops, nose up in the air. He has to follow that enticing scent, so we change course. We saunter around the neighborhood, testing out new paths and rounding unfamiliar corners. By the time we get home, he’s sagging, dragging behind me with the leash trailing the ground. He’ll drink a bowlful of water, then he’ll find a comfy spot near a sunny window and curl up for a long, snorey snooze.
When the garage door goes up, Lucas bursts out. His tail is in the middle, swishing back and forth. A little whine gurgles in the back of his throat. His walk is the highlight of his day. Every single day. We turn left and head down the alley. He zig-zags left then right. His happy trot is more like a prance, and his ears perk out to the side as if to say, “What a lovely day for a jaunt!” We head down the main thoroughfare toward the park. It’s a wide open expanse where I can see in all directions, except for one blind spot that takes 20 seconds to cross. Because as much as Lucas loves walks, he hates seeing other dogs. And yet, he trots with a loose leash by my side. Even when a bunny darts across our path. Even when we come – unexpectedly – on a herd of deer grazing in the park’s flowerbed. He stops, sniffs, pees. He keeps his head up, ears perked, tail in the middle; all the while I’m watching for oncoming dogs so I can change course or shove the can of Easy Cheese in his mouth. We return home exhausted but in a good way. Lucas watches me put away his leash and the can of cheese, and his face says he can’t wait until tomorrow when we can walk together again.
I’m dreaming of a giant antler
With every antler knob I chew
May your chew toys be gnawy and tough
And may all your antlers be giant
… or, er, I mean the dogs align… and you get that perfect picture!
Have a great weekend!
For weeks, I’ve felt like I have a giant rock of anxiety sitting in my stomach. Which is sorta funny because yesterday doggy daycare told me that Emmett pooped out rocks. Actual from-the-ground rocks. Which is not funny. At all. Sigh.
Anyway, a smidge of backstory: It’s all about health insurance. I’m a freelancer, so I’ve always been on hubby John’s health insurance. In December 2011, I was diagnosed with cancer. John was finishing his stint at Indiana University in April 2012, so he needed to get another job lined up STAT so that we wouldn’t lose our coverage since I was in the throes of treatment. He found a job. In southern Louisiana. So on April 1 of last year, he moved down there to work while I stayed here to finish my year of treatment. I had my last shot on February 27 – wahooo!!!
John decided to stay on in Louisiana. After a hellacious year apart, and since I only have to be here in IN for quarterly checkups, we decided that the most logical thing is for me and the boys to move to Louisiana!
So that’s the big news. We’re moving waayyyy down south! Emmett, Lucas, and Cooper are headed to the bayou! (John assures me we won’t get any alligators in our backyard…)
Since we made that decision, we were frantically trying to find a place to live in LA – it’s not so easy to find a rental that will take 3 dogs (or, more specifically, 2 pit mixes… SIGH) and a cat. But, incredibly, John found one. We move in June 1.
Then we put our IN house up for sale. So for the last two weeks I’ve been frenetic, trying to clean, de-fur, landscape, pack boxes, de-fur, rush the boys out for showings, de-fur, and squeeze work in there somehow, too!
After the chaos of the last year, and now this, I’m looking forward to getting to LA and settling in to a routine. The boys have been neglected for the last year, so I’m going to set all new training goals, which is exciting.
More to come… like lessons I’ve learned from doggy daycare, the start of Lucas’ “reactive dog” class, my new “face full of treats” training plan, and strategies for combating allergy season. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a picture of what poor Emmett looks like after a day of doggy daycare:
- Today is the first day of spring! Yay!
- But it’s snowing. Boo.
- Despite the cold, Emmett’s allergy season started with a vengeance. For the first time ever, he’s losing fur. Although, I’m relieved it’s just allergies – we feared something was wrong with his thyroid at first (blood and urine tests were perfect – phew). Have you gone through this? Does your dog struggle with allergies this time of year?
- Lucas’ Reactive Dog Class starts this Sunday. The first session is people only. I’m excited to get this underway. I’ll keep you posted!
- Finally… Oh, boy. BIG changes are a-coming. Just when I think life is starting to settle down. I stumbled upon this Nietzsche quote yesterday, and this is what I’m focusing on, “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” Once I wrap my head around everything, I’ll fill you in.
Hope your start to the new season is a great one!
Greetings from the bayou! A few months ago, Maggie did a post about a stray cat that I found. I had come back from happy hour and was sitting on balcony enjoying the night. I don’t live in the nicest part of Houma, LA (go ahead and look it up, chances are you’ve never heard of it). I don’t mean to say that I live in a dump; it’s just an older part of town without the fancy shopping centers and typical chain restaurants. More importantly, people don’t tend to value their pets the way I do. I see stray dogs and cats all over the place, and there are about four or five resident stray cats around the apartment complex.
That night sitting on my balcony, I hear a cat. I see a little black cat that definitely wasn’t one of the regular strays. When she saw me, she flopped onto her back. Figuring it was someone’s lost pet, I went outside and she came right over to me. This sort of freaked me out because I am NOT typically a fan of cats. Anyway, I brought her inside, went and got her some food and a litter box, and started putting up ads and posters around the neighborhood hoping someone would claim her. A few weeks went by with no one claiming her.
Despite the horrible suggestions given to me from others (I’ll save that for later), I got her checked out by the vet, I signed her up for the low-cost spay and vaccination program, and decided I would hang on to her until I could find a good home for her. A few more weeks went by and still no one called to claim a lost cat. I couldn’t find anyone who wanted her, and she settled right on in. So, now I have a cat. Her name is Newt. I’m not so scared of her anymore. She hasn’t tried to claw my eyeballs out. I haven’t seen her plotting my demise, and she’s pretty much content to lay around and be my buddy. It definitely took a while for me to get used to her and for the two of us to get into a good routine, but I guess I finally did find her a good home.
Note from Maggie: Neither one of us ever had a cat, so this experience has been all new! I’m glad she’s settled in to life with John… The trick will be introducing her to the boys when John’s done in LA! I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there!
I haven’t written much about cancer in this space because I didn’t think it was relevant, so as a result, I haven’t written much here at all since cancer has been my life for the past 10ish months. But now that I’m emerging from the worst of it (and only six weeks left!), I’m realizing what a critical role Emmett, Lucas, and Cooper played in all of it.
The first phase of my treatment involved a month of two-hour-a-day chemo drips that made me so sick, all I could do afterwards was crawl in bed and sleep until the next day. Every single day, when I returned home, Cooper stopped what he was doing and jumped in bed with me. He curled up on my feet, and there he stayed until someone came to fetch him for dinner and to go outside. After he ate, every single night, he came right back and curled up with me, where he stayed – unmoving – until the next morning.
My friends and family have done a lot for me this past year, but none of them could come close to matching that unwavering devotion, that loyalty.
Since John left to work in Louisiana, the boys have had very few walks. I’ve spent months being sick or, even on the good days, I just haven’t had the energy. Somehow, they understand. Historically, when they haven’t gotten enough exercise, their behavior reflected that. This year, though, they wait patiently for me. On the days we can walk, we walk. On the days we can’t, which is most days, they’re fine snuggling up with me on the couch or playing chase with their toys in the living room.
For years, they each had their own bed where they slept every night. As soon as John left, without me inviting them up, all three boys moved into bed with me. Maybe they are just taking advantage of that space opening up, but it’s reassuring and comforting to have them with me.
Lucas, never one for snuggles, started putting his head in my lap at night when I’m reading or watching TV.
Cooper, my high-energy two-year-old, spends every morning curled up on my lap while I check email, and he dozes on my legs every evening after dinner, reluctant to leave my side for even a minute.
This past year has been incredibly difficult. But through it all, they’ve demonstrated a loyalty and devotion that I can only hope to earn.
So when I was at a function recently talking to a couple whose daughter wanted her first dog, and they told me they couldn’t imagine their life with an animal, the only thing I could think to say was, “I can’t imagine my life without my animals!”
Pamela over at Something Wagging This Way Comes came up with a brilliant idea to spread a little holiday cheer: the pet blogger gift exchange! I was so excited to take part, and I was even more excited to get introduced to a blog I hadn’t yet encountered, Wag ‘N Woof Pets. If her blog is new to you, too, definitely go check it out!
Here are 10 reasons to love Wag ‘N Woof Pets
- Janet is new to blogging. She started Wag ‘N Woof Pets in the fall. She has a day job and blogs for fun, and it’s clear from the very beginning that this is a passion project for her!
- She has four dogs and two cats (!!!!) who are all incredibly adorable. Anyone who can take care of 24 additional legs deserves lots of kudos! Check out how cute they are here.
- There is a six-part series on ending puppy mills that is admirable in its breadth and scope. Take a few minutes to read through her thoughtful examination of the issues and solution.
- One of her first posts was about laboratory animal testing. From that, she decided to purchase products not tested on animals and wrote an update about her progress. I have to say: Reading through those posts inspired me to tackle the same issue. I checked the labels on the products I used and realized I have a long way to go. Like Janet, as I use up products, I’m going to replace them with those that aren’t tested on animals.
- Whether she’s writing about chicken jerky recalls or her dogs getting into fights, each post is honest and engaging.
- She loves seniors and wrote a heartwarming post about her 14-year-old cat, Conrad!
- It’s all pets, all the time! She covers cats as much as she covers dogs.
- Close to my heart, as an animal welfare advocate, she’s written about pit bull awareness.
- Her posts are accompanied by darling photos of her brood.
- And she’s accomplished all of this only since August! I can’t wait to see where this blog goes!
… on the couch
… in a cone (poor Lucas)
… under the covers
… snuggled up together