Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Christmas Flashback

Poor Halloween and Thanksgiving. Try as they might, these holidays just can’t stand up to their big brother Christmas. Although Halloween had a decent run (we even got to dress up Forest!) the Marketing Gods have skipped right over Thanksgiving and fast-forwarded to Christmas. TV commercials, marketing displays, and radio ads have already invaded our lives. So, to get in the spirit of the impending holiday frenzy, I submit the following photos and video taken during last year’s Christmas break.

While I visited my folks in Colorado, Nick took Forest on a road trip to Iowa to see his family. They stayed with Nick’s mom, Dee, who had a house full of dogs that Christmas. Besides the reigning doggy king of the household, Vico, Dee’s stepdaughter also brought her dogs Charlie and Brecken to stay with them. Charlie and Vico spent most of their time watching Forest and Brecken fight it out in a never-ending play match.

Sorry the video is a little dark, hopefully you can still see the action.

When it was all over, Brecken was one tired puppy.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween doesn’t get much love in our household. I usually procrastinate until the very last minute and end up with a store-bought costume or a friend’s discard outfit from the year before. Nick hates costumes, so the few times we’ve actually left the house for Halloween, he’s always just glued a fake gash on his forehead, trickled some fake blood over it and declared himself as “Bloody Head Wound Guy”.

This year we were invited to a Halloween/Birthday party and were encouraged to bring the puppy. After promising that I wouldn’t dress Forest in a lame or girly outfit, I finally convinced Nick that the puppy had to show up to the party wearing a costume. The weekend before Halloween, our small family visited PetSmart and picked out a doggy costume. Downside to our late shopping trip: apparently people shop early for doggy costumes so we only had one or two items to pick from. Upside: the outfit we did end up buying was 95% off; score for the procrastinators!

So last Friday, Forest showed up ready to party as “Vampire Puppy”...

...complete with cape.

"I'm coming to get you!"

Surprisingly, Forest didn’t try to destroy the costume. We caught him chewing on his cape a few times, but overall, he didn't seem to mind it that much.

Forest played his part quite well…

"If you value your life, you’ll keep patting my head."

 …although I don’t think that a real vampire would have been so easily subdued by a tummy rub.

Side note: My original plan had been for us to dress up as Forest’s victims. I was going to buy fake blood and wounds so we could make it look like Forest had attacked us. But last week was really stressful at work, so by the time I got home, I just didn’t have the energy to fight crowds at the Halloween stores. So Nick and I dressed in black and pretended to be Forest’s henchmen. No one got that and/or thought it was funny, so by the end of the night Nick had re-classified himself as “Party Pooper” and I was just a girl sans costume. Thank goodness Forest was adorable or we would have probably been kicked out of the party.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fuzzy Photo of the Day

Well holy shit…

Remember that puppy who hated his crate so much that he cried and barked when we shoved him inside, and threw himself against the door so hard that we had strap it shut with a bungee cord? Yep, this is the same puppy, just chilling in his crate. After a year of intense hatred, Forest has suddenly decided that he likes his crate and will randomly crawl inside for a few minutes at a time. I swear, sometimes I think that dog is just messing with us.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Scruffy Puppy -> Tidy Puppy!

Why is there an unkempt, homeless-looking dog in our bedroom? Oh never mind, that’s Forest hiding under all that hair.

Pirate Puppy “Argh, I can only see out of me one eye.”

We never remember to cut Forest’s hair until after he’s transformed into uber-scruffy puppy. After every hair cut we’ll gush about how adorable he looks and how soft his fur feels. But then a few weeks will go by, and then a few months, and we’ll start mentioning how we should really get Forest groomed, and then a few more weeks will go by and ta-da, we’re living with Ewok.

After taking these pictures last week, I finally remembered to schedule a hair cut for the puppy. He came home looking fab-u-lous.

"Wonders of wonders, I can see!"

"How about a nice profile shot?"

"Damn I look good."


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Forest’s First Car Wash

Last night, Nick, Forest and I went over to a friend’s house to watch the UFC fights.  As grown men pummeled each other for our entertainment, some kids in the neighborhood decided to celebrate Halloween a little early this year and egg our cars. My car was the only one on the street, so it took the brunt of the attack and nicely shielded the other cars parked in the driveway. Whatever, I was young once (though I don’t recall ever egging anything) and the incident failed to put a damper on our fight night, although at one point I did have to pull broken eggshells out of Forest’s mouth. Apparently puppies like eggs.

It wasn’t until the brawls were over and we wanted to head home that we faced a dilemma. We didn’t think eggs could hurt my car’s paint, but I didn’t want gooey egg guts sitting on my car all night. It wasn’t completely covered in eggs, but there were enough to discourage us from cleaning it by hand. We thought about dropping Forest off at home, but that was in the opposite direction of town. So that’s how at we ended up driving around at midnight in search of a car wash that was still open.

Luckily, we found one at a gas station a few minutes away from our friend’s neighborhood.  It was a small, automatic car wash where you just park and a big cleaning machine paces back and forth beside your car. I expected Forest to freak out a little, maybe make some noise or at least tremble, but the car wash didn’t faze him a bit. The puppy just sat in the backseat and watched the machine whirl around us. 

Unfortunately, the ghetto car wash didn’t remove a single eggshell crumb off my car. In fact, the heat from dryers at the end of the wash made the situation worse by fusing the yolky mess to my car. So at 12:30 am, Nick and I attempted to clean the rest off using the gas station’s windshield cleaner sticks. Forest, the same dog who ignored loud machinery that shook the car, whined and barked because we left him alone for 10 minutes while we stood a foot away. That puppy is just weird sometimes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

He hasn’t fallen over...yet

They say dogs easily pick up behaviors and mannerisms from other dogs. For example, supposedly it’s easier potty train a puppy when he’s living with an older dog because the puppy will watch the other dog potty outside and try to imitate him (so if the older dog isn’t well potty trained either, then I guess you’re shit out of luck…or possibly shit in the house, whatever). 

As much as I love doggy day care, Forest is coming home with some annoying habits. During play time, they let the dogs chew on rags and old blankets. This certainly isn't helping Forest’s sock obsession, and now he goes wild every time I pull out a scarf or towel. If we board Forest for more than a few days, the puppy always comes back with potty issues. I think he sees other dogs relieving themselves inside, so he starts to think that’s ok again. We’ve gone out of our way to avoid boarding Forest now because of this issue, sometimes even driving to Iowa to drop him off with friends or family who doggy-sit Forest while we’re on vacation (which we truly appreciate, thanks guys!). But a few months ago, we noticed Forest exhibiting a new, amusing habit…

Ever since Forest was puppy, he’s always squatted when going potty. In fact, he was so small when he first came home with us, sometimes we couldn’t even tell when he went to the bathroom; tiny Forest standing up looked about the same as tiny Forest squatting (especially when we didn’t mow the grass).

Many times we had to pick Forest up to check if he had done his business.

We assumed Forest would always go the bathroom this way, especially after he got neutered (most male dogs squat after being neutered, like they’re ashamed to lift a leg and expose their once-manly nether regions).

But now, randomly, Forest will lift his leg to pee. The first time I saw Forest do this, I actually laughed out loud. The puppy had no clue what he was doing. He was just randomly lifting he leg during walks and out in the yard. He didn't even pee! Just stood there for a moment with that leg hefted high, sometimes glancing at us as if to ask “This is how you do it, right?” Occasionally he would raise his leg so high, he’d lose his balance and stumble around.

After a few more weeks at doggy day care, Forest finalized realized that lifting a leg was part of a process, the end goal being to squirt something out. Now Forest will raise his leg to mark a bush or fire hydrant, but sometimes he still lifts his leg for no dang reason.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fuzzy Photo of the Day

The puppy is scared of air vents.

He adamantly refuses to retrieve any toys that happen to roll onto the vent. Forest may give it a few sniffs, then retreat and whimper. Again, where are these types of situations in that doggy manual we bought? Worthless.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Recovering Addicts

I swear, Nick and I never thought we’d get addicted. We were just looking for something to relieve the stress of raising a puppy, help us relax after a long day at work. So we thought we’d try it for a few weeks, no big deal right?  Twelve months and a couple thousand bucks later, we've finally realized the truth… we’re addicted to doggy day care.

It started out innocently enough. Baby Forest had a tiny bladder and had to go potty like a zillion times a day. After one week of scampering home every two hours to let him out, we gave up and took him to doggy day care (which is conveniently run by his vet). Suddenly we had our lives back. While we were at work, the doggy day care folks let him play with other dogs, took him out to potty every few hours, and lavished him with love and attention. Sure, it was more money spent on the dog instead of a bar tab, and one of us had to drop him off in the morning while the other had to pick him up after work, but we assured each other that doggy day care was only a temporary solution.

A few weeks turned into a few months and we continued to take Forest to doggy day care. Addicts can always come up with excuses for not quitting.  In the beginning, we reasoned that it would be healthy for Forest to interact with different people and animals while he was still young so he wouldn’t turn into a weird canine who couldn’t play well with others and tried to eat cats. When the weather got cold and nasty, we argued that doggy day care was a perfect way for Forest to get exercise, negating the need for an evening walk. When Spring came around, we were convinced that we just couldn’t find time in our hectic work and travel schedules for a mid-day puppy break. 

So our temporary solution has eventually transformed into the main problem. Doggy day care is not on the way to either of our offices, so we spend more time stuck in traffic. When Nick’s out of town, I’m responsible for both drop-off and pick-up duty. And although it’s reasonable priced, a year of care adds up (raising a dog has turned out to be freaking expensive).

Luckily, it was Forest himself who started us on the road to recovery. The growing puppy finally mastered his bladder, so we stopped locking Forest in his crate at night. When it was time for bed, we just shut the bedroom door and Forest slept on the floor (usually curled up on my discarded clothing).  Except for that unpleasant incident when I tried to sleep in on a Saturday, Forest behaved quite well. Next, we experimented with leaving him home alone for a few hours in the bedroom, sans crate, and we always came home to dry carpets. Then slowly, starting with just one or two days a week, we locked Forest in his crate while we were at work (finally discarding the trusty bungee cord). We felt horrible about putting him in a box all day, and soon progressed to our current practice of just shutting him in the bedroom (although we suspect that he probably spends half his day on the bed).

Someday, we’d love to give Forest free-rein of the whole house while we’re gone, but we’re not quite to that comfort level yet.  Doggy day care isn’t completely out of our system, and may always be a small part of our routine, but I have hope. Every addict does.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why Forest can’t have nice things…

A few weeks ago, I was picking Forest up from doggy day-care when one of the vet’s assistants pulled me aside. “Forest had a little incident today,” she said, and immediately I’m thinking ok, either he got humped by another dog or ate poop again. She must have saw the growing panic in my eyes and quickly explained that it was nothing serious, just that Forest had somehow slipped off his collar and turned it into a chew toy. The Hawkeye collar was officially destroyed.

Luckily, the vet/doggy day-care place also sells pet’s supplies so I bought a new, non-Hawkeye collar (thus preventing Forest from riding home naked). I thought about getting a snazzy purple one, but thought Nick might consider it too feminine for his manly-male puppy. I finally decided on a respectable blue/yellow plaid collar (with a lifetime warranty).

As I was paying for Forest’s new bling, the vet’s assistant got a closer look at our puppy’s rabies tag and casually mentioned that she would just go ahead and get a new one of those as well. Remember that post awhile back about Forest’s bad habit of chewing on his tags? Well, let’s just say that the problem has yet to be resolved...

So now the puppy has a new collar and a new rabies tag…which he is quickly destroying like the others.

As a side rant, how many tags does one dog really need?  The first tag Nick and I bought was a name tag with an emergency phone number engraved on the back. Then the vet gave Forest a rabies tag. Then we had to get Forest licensed with the city and they gave us another tag (supposedly they’ll ticket us if they ever catch Forest without it). And finally, when Forest got chipped, the micro-chip company sent as yet another tag so if the puppy ever got lost, people would know Forest had a chip and should be scanned. Are we really expected to clip four freaking tags to our puppy? Makes me wonder how many tags other dogs are wearing…

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fuzzy Photo of the Day

And once again, Squeaky Hippo has been temporarily retired. Forest was just a tad too rambunctious with his favorite toy while Nick was working from home last week, so it was banished to the top of the front door.



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fuzzy Photo of the Day

Somebody is awful comfy.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Shrooming Puppy

Besides two enormous bean bags (one of which endured a messy puppy accident last year), we have a bright green footstool in our basement. In addition to being extremely comfy, it also looks like a mushroom, which I find amusing. Nick’s family tried to get rid of it at a garage sale, but I was adamant that we had to save it.

A few weekends ago, Nick and I decided to watch the movie Clash of the Titans (there are so many things wrong with this movie, the worst being the title. There’s only one freaking Titan in the film, so really it’s Clash of the Titan, singular, which doesn’t make sense, much like the movie). Luckily Forest decided to hang with us so I had another source of entertainment.

Just ignore Nick’s feet in these pictures, he was too lazy to move them.

“Ah, the perfect place to chew on my bone.”

“Yum, mushroom-bone”

“Mommy’s right, this is pretty comfy”

“Oh, this spot is even better.”

“Disregard my previous statements. This is the best position EVER.”


Monday, September 13, 2010

Forest’s First Pighide

Our friend Lisa has mentioned how much her dog Bailey likes Bully Sticks. She even sent me an adorable photo of the puppy chewing on her “cigar”. Oh la la, very classy.

I thought about buying Forest some Bully Sticks, but then I researched what they actually are:
Bully Sticks consist entirely of pure bull penises. This is the only ingredient in the product.

Followed by the gross manufacturing details:
Bully Sticks are manufactured by first removing the bull penis, cleaning it and hanging it upside down to allow fluids to run out. The bull penis is then stretched and sometimes twisted, and then dried or smoked.

Sooooo, although I’m sure dogs love the taste of dried-up bull willy, my puppy ain’t going anywhere near them. I compromised and bought Forest his first pighide (which, as a vegetarian, was a really weird shopping cart item).

“For me?”

“I’ll humor you and just chew on this here end.”

“Hmm, that’s actually pretty good.”

“Holy poop, this is fantastic!” Nom nom nom

“Maybe I’ll try this angle.”

“What? It's yummy.”

“Shhhh, we’re having a staring contest.”

Not quite as classy as Bailey, but I think Forest is pretty happy with his cigar as well.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Attempt to Secure the Dog-Free Zone

Forest doesn’t shed so he has free reign of most of house. He can play in every room and take a nap on any piece of furniture, but the bed Nick and I share is officially off limits. Although Forest hasn’t irritated Nick’s allergies, we thought it would be smart to have one place in the house that was dog-free, and what better place than the bed in which Nick spends 7+straight hours a day.

Our puppy has short, stubby legs and our bed has a thick mattress that raises it a tad, so we assumed Forest wouldn’t be able to jump on to it. A few months ago he attempted to get on the bed, but he didn’t estimate the distance correctly and awkwardly crashed into the side of it. Instead of yelling at him, I couldn’t help but just laugh. He’s a stubborn puppy though. A few weeks later he successfully made it onto the bed, but quickly jumped off after a barrage of shouts from his parents. Last week, I came out of the shower to find Forest curled up at the end of our bed. He just looked confused when I yelled at him, but quickly realized his mistake when Nick chimed in. We started to realize that no place in our home may be safe from the puppy.

Last night, Kansas City was struck by a vicious thunderstorm. Forest freaked out. He didn’t like the rolling thunder that shook our house or the bright flashes of lighting coming thru the windows. Nick is out of town on business this week, so unlike a previous storm encounter, the puppy didn’t have Daddy to run to. He followed me around most of the night, whimpering and jumping on my legs. At one point, I noticed that Forest had scampered off somewhere. I went looking for him, wondering where the puppy would seek comfort during a storm. I really should have known better.  I found Forest sprawled across our pillows on the bed. He definitely understood that he was being bad when I yelled at him and shamefully sulk off the bed.

A few hours later, I tried to go to sleep with what sounded like a hurricane raging outside my window.  Forest didn’t sleep. Instead he whimpered and stood on his hind legs at the side of the bed so his head was as close as possible to mine. Around 1 am, bad puppy breath woke me up. As soon as I lifted my head from my pillow, Forest sprung from the floor and landed at my side. I shouted, I cursed, I even tried shoving him away, but Forest refused to get off the bed. Part of me, the really tired part, tried to justify letting him sleep there. He would finally shut up, and I could always wash the sheets the following day before Nick got home. A loud clap of thunder woke me up a little more and l knew that it wouldn’t be fair to let him sleep on the bed for one night. He would assume sleeping on the bed was ok, and would probably get really confused when I yelled at him for getting on the bed the next night. I briefly considered locking Forest in his crate, but in the past even that hasn’t quieted him up when a thunderstorm was rolling through.

My sleep-depraved brain could only think of one other solution. I dragged my pillows into the guest room and slept on the futon with the puppy. I think it was a small victory in self-control, but also just feel like the damn dog has whipped me good.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Forest’s First Cabin Bath

The Iowa cabin doesn’t have any bathtubs, which is just fine and dandy with me. I don’t like tubs. I understand that hot water and soap will technically kill any germs, but I can’t help but feeling like in the end, you’re just lying in a pool of your own filth. It’s the same reason I don’t fill a sink with water to wash dishes.

Anyway, after an especially dirty play session in the Iowa sandbox last year, we needed to bathe Forest. First, we attempted to wash him outside using the hose, but the water was way too cold for the puppy. After some discussion, we decided to wash Forest in the bathroom sink (this was back when Forest was just a tiny puppy and could actually fit in a sink).

Unfortunately, I was too busy trying to hold Forest down and scrub off dirt to take photos. By the time we were done, Forest was shaking with cold and fear (the sink was a little too far off the ground for the height-fearing puppy), so we brought him out to warm deck to dry him off. Finally, we had an opportunity to take some adorable photos.

Forest was still a tad cold, so we wrapped him in a dry towel to keep him warm.

 Little puppy was exhausted after his ordeal and took a short puppy nap.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Fuzzy Photo of the Day

I am not a morning person. On the weekdays, I sadly assume the persona of a working drone and drag my ass out of bed at 6ish am, but on the weekends I happily relapse to my college sleeping schedule and rarely show my face before noon. Nick still wakes up at reasonable hour but tries to sneak out of bed and let me sleep in. However, Forest can’t wait for Mommy to wake up and apparently spends quite some time lurking by the bedroom door, as documented by this recent photo that Nick took.

“Dude, is she up yet?”