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.