Monday, August 31, 2009

Pirate Puppy

In a previous post, I promised to share more stories about Forest’s first weekend at the cabin. So here’s a story about the puppy digging for what he considered to be buried treasure.

To recap, Nick’s family owns a house in Iowa by Twin Lakes. We usually just refer to it as the “cabin.” The cabin has a sandlot that separates the driveway from the lake. Nick, his brother and cousins used to play in the sand when they were kids, but now it’s used mainly as a litter box for the neighborhood dogs (it’s also used twice a year as a ramp for putting in and taking out the dock, but that barely counts).

During Forest’s first cabin weekend, we tried to play in the yard a lot to minimize his chances of an accident inside the cabin. Forest ran across the sandlot a couple of times before he finally paused, examined the sand, and then looked up at me like “Huh, this isn’t grass.” Then Forest developed a brief case of OCD and became fixated on one little corner of the sandlot. I don’t know what was buried there, but it must have smelled like bacon wrapped around dog doodie because Forest was determined to dig his first hole.

Of course, I was a tad paranoid about what he might find in his hole. I had cleaned the yard the day before and bagged a decapitated bird and a decomposing fish whose skeletal remains had somehow fused with the lawn. And before you freak out, no, I’m not weekending at a pet cemetery. Neighborhood dogs sometimes find dead fish and animals and drag them into the yard to play with (or to leave as gifts, I don’t know, dogs probably think dead animals are a pretty nifty way to say I love you). So I had a valid reason to be concerned that Forest might find a fish head in the sand. And did I mention that the sandlot had a dozen ant hills and lots of bugs? If Forest had been infested with creepy, crawly things two weekends in a row, I probably would have made him a doggy suit out of plastic wrap to wear outdoors.

Luckily, Forest dug a big, empty hole with no surprises.

Forest’s first hole

Uh, remember to breath.

Sleep puppy takes a break.

Forest: What? I’m digging, leave me alone.

Later, as I was telling this story to a coworker, I commented on how lucky we are that Forest has yet to dig up our lawn at home, probably because there are no rotting animals buried anywhere to entice him. Then it occurred to me, oh gross, maybe there are. Do people still bury dead pets in their backyard? I remember digging a very small grave in our yard for Goldie the goldfish when I was in grade school, but I think all of our fury pets were cremated when they passed. Some older neighborhoods must have a few Fluffys and Fidos buried out back, but maybe we’ll luck out since we live in a semi-new neighborhood. Still, I’ll be keeping an eye on Forest’s digging habits, make sure he doesn’t find a new friend in our backyard.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Forest-Sized Tennis Ball

I found these tennis balls at Petco. One squeeze and they’ll make an annoyingly high squeaky noise that Forest loves.

Damn things are easy to lose though, they’re tiny! Here’s a regular-sized tennis ball, and a Forest-sized tennis ball. He can’t fit the first one in his mouth.

For a while Forest wasn’t strong enough to make them squeak on his own (yea!), but the puppy jaws must be growing because now he can chomp down on them with enough force to make a sound. Luckily, sometimes he’s content to just chew on the fuzzy skin .

I read in one of our dog books that some dogs have been injured or killed by tennis balls. I guess if the dog bites down too hard on the ball, it can rupture and fling ball parts into the dog’s face or throat. Very sad, makes me wary of giving Forest real tennis balls when he’s older. Man, it didn’t take long for me to become super paranoid doggy mom, I’m already worried about Forest getting hurt in a freak tennis ball accident.


Monday, August 24, 2009

How Forest Spent His Sunday

Yesterday, Nick and I spent most of the day staining and sealing the back porch (the deck looks so amazing now that it’s almost worth the sunburn, splinters, back pain and stain spots that still won’t wash off my skin). Anyway, we thought it would be cruel to lock Forest in his crate all day, so we decided to keep him outside with us. But we knew we were going to be busy and wouldn’t be able to watch him the whole time. I could just picture Forest playing around the ladder or trying to drink out of the cans of deck sealant.

Our solution was to pound a tent stake into the middle of the yard and tie Forest to it with a leash. I thought he might get bored since the leash wasn’t long enough to let him run around a lot, so I brought him some toys to play with. It was very sunny, and after while I noticed that his black fur felt warm, so I dragged the deck umbrella out of the garage and set it up next to him. Soon after that, I filled his water dish and put it outside as well (later in the day I dumped crushed ice into his water dish, Forest found it very entertaining to swat at the bowl until some ice sloshed out and then eat it off the lawn).

In the end, Forest spent most of his Sunday like this:

Nick said that everyone who glanced into our backyard probably thought Forest was the most spoiled dog in the whole neighborhood. I can’t say they're wrong.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fuzzy Photo of the Day

He's coming to get you...

Forest drank some Brain and Nerve tonic and now has a case of Gigantism. (If you don't know what this is in reference to, go watch the 1992 Simpsons episode called "Homer at Bat" right now.)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Clean Puppy

I was thrilled when I picked up Forest for the first time and didn’t smell that stinky dog-funk that accompanies most canines. I hate that smell, I don’t even know what to compare it to (although “moldy sock” comes to mind). Dogs sometimes just smell like, well, dogs. But during the first week we had him, Forest smelled good, clean, like a brand new puppy right off the lot.
Every since he started going to Doggy Day Care (which I can’t praise enough) he’s been coming home a stinky dog. So last Sunday, Nick and I decided to bathe Forest for the first time. Now Forest has had two baths since we got him: once by the vet on the first day due to medical reasons (long story, kinda funny but still painful to think about) and once by a groomer who got to complete other fun tasks like trimming the hair around his butt. We were hoping that these experiences would make our first bathing attempt a little easier.
We gathered our supplies (Dove body wash, a towel, and a pitcher previously used in a flippy cup tournament) and shut the bathroom door in case Forest tried to escape. Turns out that was unnecessary because Forest isn’t big enough to jump out of the bathtub yet, but Nick and I still had to sit on the edge of the tub with our feet inside to keep him from trying to. Nick would fill the pitcher with water and pour it over the puppy (with me nagging the whole time about not getting it in Forest’s face) and I would try to scrub Forest down. The whole time he whimpered and shook a little. At one point, I was trying to clean his underside when I felt this little trickle of warm water, which I guessed was Forest doing his business (but of all places in the house, the tub was really the best possible scenario).
We didn’t get any pictures of the actual wash since our hands were full of puppy fur, soap, water pitcher and dog piss, but we did get some photos of finished product.

Forest: What the hell did you just do to me?

I'm not sure if Forest is trying to lick himself clean or eat his own face.

Tada! Introducing a clean puppy.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1st Cabin Weekend Photos

Forest the Lake Dog

Chilling with his chew toy inside.

Sorry buddy, you’re underage.

Forest quickly adapted to his new surroundings.

Forest spent a lot of time hanging out on the front steps of the cabin. I think he was trying to eat the dirt and bugs nestled in the small cracks of the cement.

The first time Forest saw a body of water.



We decided to adopt Forest a few weeks before he was old enough to come home with us. As soon as the breeder confirmed that Forest was ours, we told my family and all of our friends about him. We didn’t mention anything to Nick’s family. Shhh, we were being sneaky. Our plan was to get Forest on July 25th and then visit Nick’s family in Iowa the following weekend. We thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to just show up with an adorable puppy that no one knew about?”

Yeah, that idea sucked. As soon as I got Forest, I couldn’t shut up about him. But here was this huge group of people that had to be kept in the dark. So no messages or photos on Facebook because one of his family members might see it. No phone calls about that cute thing he does with his tail or emails describing his first car ride (which was very, very unpleasant). Nothing, nada, zip.

When we finally drove up to his family’s house in Iowa, I was almost as hyper and squirmy as Forest was to get out of the car (though I didn’t have to pee nearly as badly as he did). Besides being super excited, I was also a little nervous. My brain had cooked up a long list of things that could potentially go wrong that weekend. Maybe someone else would bring another dog and we’d spend the whole weekend breaking up fights (Forest hadn’t played with other dogs yet and I wasn’t sure how he would react). Or maybe Forest would bark all night and keep everyone up. Or maybe Forest would poop in the house and someone, naturally not expecting dog doodie on the kitchen floor, would step in it (sadly, being on constant poop alert has become habit for Nick and I). And so on.

But everything turned out wonderfully. His family adores Forest. I’ve never seen so many grown men get down on their hands and knees to play with a puppy no taller than a basketball. Yes, Forest did take a dump in the living room, but everyone was very understanding and no one stepped in it. And he did whimper a little at night but no one woke up (or they were very nice and lied about not waking up, thanks folks!).
I won’t try to describe the whole weekend in one posting, I’ll share those stories later. Overall, the weekend rocked and we weren’t allowed to leave until we promised we’d bring Forest the next time we visited. I get the impression that Calli + Nick - Forest = some sad Iowans.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fuzzy Photo of the Day

Hot doggy...

Last Saturday was a scorcher. The heat index rose above 100 degrees and yours truly was out mowing the lawn. Luckily I had a cute dog to keep me company.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Mystery Puppy

As I mentioned in my first post, I sometimes struggle to keep my mouth shut and not greet my co-workers with “Guess what my dog ate last night?” instead of the more casual “Good morning.” I should have clarified that this battle of willpower only occurs if I’m the one initiating the conversation. If you ask how Forest is doing, comment on the picture of him posted on my iPhone, or start talking about dogs, pets or anything furry that poops a lot, be prepared to hear all about my new little puppy.

Fortunately, I have plenty of opportunities to talk about Forest when he’s physically with me. One look at that furry face and most people comment on how cute he is (which I still love hearing), ask how old he is or if they can pet him. I’ve been so excited to talk about Forest that I usually don’t even let the interested party finish asking a question before I’m answering it. Recently, I took a moment to actually think about these conversations and realized that I’m responding to the same question over and over again, “What kind of dog is he?” So far, no one has even ventured a guess.

I’m going to admit this upfront; I’m ignorant when it comes to dog breeds. When I meet someone’s dog for the first time, I usually don’t even ask what type of dog it is because the answer will most likely mean nothing to me. When Nick and I decided we wanted to get a dog, I had to start at square one.

In case you didn’t know, Nick is severely allergic to cats and can be strongly allergic to dogs (depending on the breed). We had to do a lot of research to find a dog that wouldn’t affect his allergies. Poodles are the least likely to affect people with dog allergies, but neither of us are very fond of that breed. Luckily poodles are often used to create hybrid dogs, or designer dogs as some people call them, with cute sounding names like Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix), Pugapoo (Pug/Poodle mix), Newfypoo (Newfoundland/Poodle mix), Jack-A-Poo (Jack Russell Terrier/Poodle mix) and so on. Labradors and Golden Retrievers are great pets but are not allergy friendly, so they can be bred with Poodles to create Labradoodles and Goldendoodles.

There are also different types of hybrid dogs. An F1 Poodle hybrid has two purebred parents, one of them being a Poodle. Unfortunately, an F1 Poodle hybrid can still cause allergy problems since only half of the dog is a Poodle. An F1B Poodle hybrid has one purebred Poodle parent and one F1 Poodle hybrid parent.
Forest’s dad was a miniature Poodle and his mom was a F1 miniature Goldendoodle - half Poodle and half Golden Retriever. So, drum roll please.... the official answer is “Forest is a F1B Mini Goldendoodle”, which is a long name for such a little puppy. However, I also would have accepted “Forest is a Adorable/Fuzzy mix” or “Poopy/Rambunctious mix,” because really, they’re all correct.


Fuzzy Photo of the Day

Forest's first ice cube!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Nighttime Doodie

A wonderful, amazing thing has happened. After almost two weeks of waking up two, or even three times a night to let Forest out, the little poop machine only had to do his business once Wednesday night. Trust me, this is a big deal.

Little dogs come with teeny tiny bladders. Last week Nick was preparing for his half triathlon and needed to sleep, and this week he was out of town on business. So I became Queen of Nighttime Potty Duty. Royal responsibilities included: being in constant possession of a plastic bag, standing on the lawn in my jammys in the middle of the night, and not sleeping for more than 3 consecutive hours. I didn’t know how long Forest could control his bladder, so during the first week I set an alarm to go off a couple times a night. But I’m a really light sleeper and woke up every time the puppy whimpered or started gnawing on the crate, so I stopped setting alarms. Most of the time Nick slept thru it all (the alarm, the subsequent cussing, Forest clawing at the crate door in excitement, going outside, coming in, gently shoving Forest back into the crate and more cussing as I adjusted the time on the next alarm) and didn’t even know I had gotten up.

The second week, I was sleep deprived but knew what to expect. Sleep for a few hours, let the puppy out, repeat. So when I woke up Wednesday night, checked the clock and saw that I had slept for over 3 hours without so much as a yelp from the crate, I panicked. The dog had to be dead, or sick, or I had finally slept thru his whining and he was now using a freshly laid turd as a pillow. But he was ok, better than ok, he was sleeping.

I was sure Wednesday night was a fluke, but Thursday night was the same way. I woke up several times to make sure Forest was ok and still in his crate (that’s another story) but most of the time he was fine and I could go back to sleep.

Now that Nick’s home, we can share potty duty, but I don’t have high expectations of getting more sleep. I’ll still wake up when it’s Nick’s turn to let Forest out, and my paranoid nature will probably rouse me from slumber a few times a night to check on the puppy. *Yawn* long live the Queen.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

World, get ready to meet Forest

I’ve had this puppy for about a week and a half now and I’m finding it very difficult not to talk about him all the time, with anyone, anywhere. It’s actually quite tiring. Either I’m constantly trying to restrain myself from giving daily doggy updates (my coworkers probably don’t need to hear about his latest poop mishap in the house) or I’m telling the same story to a dozen different people (as amusing as the first emergency trip to the vet story may be, it’s a long one). So this blog is my solution, my salvation really. Here I can be the crazy puppy lady, a side of me that I’ve been trying to hide but is probably pretty obvious if you’ve talked to me for more than 5 minutes in the last 2 weeks :)