Monday, June 30, 2014

Perks of being a Dog Professional

There are so many things I love about being a dog groomer. 

The opportunity to interact with breeds, sizes, shapes, and temperaments of dog that I would otherwise have little opportunity to experience.
The opportunity to spend literally hours stroking them, inhaling their hot breath, thoroughly massaging their paws and brushing their teeth and cleaning out their precious little velvety ears, and having those activities be not only socially accepted but encouraged, as they are part of my profession.

And then there are the enormous orders I feel totally justified in placing with


Of course I need an entire gallon of Espree Hypo-Allergenic Coconut Shampoo. 

And of course I didn't just get another gallon of Top Performance GloCoat Conditioning Shampoo only because it meant I got a free 17 ounce Top Performance Green Tea & Mint Shampoo, but because I genuinely needed that product in order to be successful in my career.

And you probably know this already about me, 

but I didn't just get 16 ounces of The Stuff Detangler and Conditioner, 

8 ounces of Top Performance Oatmeal 
Conditioning Spray, 

and 16 ounces of Fresh n Clean No Tangle Spray 

just because I have a weakness for canine health and beauty products that smell good.

No, that would be because I'm a professional.

Do YOU have a positive outlet for your dog-related and purchase compulsions? 

Or do you simply embrace who you are, and the crazy dog lady (or gent) obsessions that go with it?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Getting to Know a New Family Member

This past weekend, the weather was great and my aunt reminded us of our standing invitation to spend an afternoon at her pool.

It was an opportunity to spend a bit more time with my aunt's new dog, Charlie. 

Charlie is a sweet, shy rescued pup who lived with my cousin in Montana. 

When my cousin had to move into a smaller place in a bigger city for work, she called my aunt in distress about what to do with her two dogs. I wasn't there for the conversation, but knowing my aunt I'm guessing that it wasn't too long before they hit upon a solution. 

Charlie is so shy that he spends most of the time next to my aunt, and seems a bit overwhelmed by those of us who are a little too exuberant in our emotions when we are around dogs. 

Fortunately, he was spared the unique intensity of Florian's affection because Florian was performing, 

first as an anonymous patriotic dude 

and then as none other than Inspector Clouseau.

Charlie still had plenty of challenges to contend with, as Lamar was there to relax in the shade and give out the occasional gratuitous growl. 

And Genghis was there to cool down in the fountain. 

Aunt Nancy's is such a great place for the dogs. 

Everyone is so relaxed and happy there, Genghis was even content during his bath. 

I think even Charlie is starting to realize that this place he ended up is not half bad. 

We'll hold off for a while before we introduce him to Florian, or to Fozzie. 

Fozzie stayed home this time, and I didn't feel too bad leaving him as he's had lots of enjoyment this week. My old friend Tony from college, who was my buddy when we lived in the commune at Synergy House on the Stanford campus, has been staying with us. 

Fozzie is never happier than when we have a house guest. 

Fozzie, keep channeling that calm behavior. Maybe you'll get to meet Charlie soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Merrick Mini Brush Bones for a Fresh Mouth

This month, offered a truly delightful array of products for bloggers in the Blogger Club to review. 

We chose Merrick Mini Brush Bones, because I love having tasty dental chews around to help Lamar maintain his aging but still healthy smile. 

Mini Brush Bones are a Greenie-like dog snack advertised as being highly digestible and grain-and gluten-free. They are based mainly on potato starch, with intriguing ingredients like dried beet pulp, parsley, and chicken fat (mmmm....)

I've heard bad things about Greenies getting lodged in dogs' intestines and requiring surgery to remove, so "highly digestible" is a selling point for these mini brush bones. 

The other selling point is that Lamar really seems to love this genre of plastic-like, hard things advertised as "dental chews," so I jumped at the opportunity to get some in exchange for a review. 

These chews did not disappoint. One look at their green goodness got Lamar all excited

and once ingested they were gone in a flash. 

I was going to time how long it took for him to fully chew and swallow a dental chew, 

but there was no time to even get out the stopwatch. 

A testament to the deliciousness of these mini brush bones, although it does call into question whether there was time for a whole lot of dental cleaning to take place. 

For that, it may be time to break out the good ol' toothbrush and scrub.

Poor Fozzie, the old guys get all the good stuff. 

OK buddy, eat your dinner and you can have a Mini Brush Bone too. 

Thanks for the proof that oral hygiene can be fun!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Here Today, Adopted Tomorrow

After just a week and a half with us, Dibee has found an adopter! 

I got two applications for her before I'd had her even a week. Both were good adopters, and one was ready to meet her right away. 

It was pretty much love at first sight. 

I tried to warn them that she's a bit of a wacko, 

that she often gets crazy nighttime zoomies for an interval before she plotzes out,

and that she is an exuberant little creature with a lot of love to express.

They were undaunted and are eager to take her for walks and for training classes at Your Dog's Friend

She's going to love that! 

Poor Dibee, I've noticed a bit of a limp since I brought her home and took her to the shelter vet the other day to check it out. The vet found some swelling in her right knee, on the back leg. 

In all my years with dogs I still didn't know what the "knee" was on the back legs, since dogs' back legs are kind of wacky and backwards--but it's that rounded part that joins the body. Also known as the "stifle."

Did you know that? Probably. Anyway, Dibee's new owners' task will be to help her lose a couple of pounds and to keep her relatively still. No vigorous exercise or long walks for a couple of weeks.

Gee, THAT'll be easy!

I'll bet some interactive feeding toys and some trick training will come in handy to entertain that little sprite and keep her mind busy. 

How else do YOU like to entertain a young, active dog who is required to rest for medical reasons? 

Hopefully with a bit more crate rest than she would like for the first few weeks, she'll heal up and be ready for some fun adventures with her new people. 

Congratulations, Dibee! You're a wacky kid but such a good one. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dibee Learns to Swim

Dibee has been settling in and seems really happy to be living in a home. 

At about a year and a half old, this little tyke has some wacky puppy energy that makes her channel her inner Tasmanian Devil in the evenings, and toss her stuffed toy up in the air, 

zoom around, run in and out of the dog door, chew on ankles, arms, and other body parts convenient to her mouth, and then pass out on a dog bed. 
Or part way on a dog bed. 

The other day, I even forgot who she was for a minute and called her Star!

It's safe to say that she's less wacky than Star, her moments of zaniness are of shorter duration and she knows Sit so well that she is easily distracted out of whatever idiotic thing she's doing.

Nonetheless, we thought it would be a good idea to take her for a long daytime walkie so we could rest in the evening. 

The Monocacy River offered a good place to walk, along banks that were unfortunately covered with poison ivy. So we waded in to the water, and although Dibee was reluctant to join us at first, 

eventually she decided to take the plunge.

From the panicked look on her face I'm pretty sure it was the first time she ever did that! 

She did a beautiful and perfectly competent little dog paddle, and then she was done swimming and wanted to keep all four paws on terra firma. 

Fair enough Dibee, you did good. Let's find another place to hike. We loaded back in the car, and drove for a while to find another place. 

What's a drive in the country without a stop at a nursery, so Mom can fantasize about having a really outstanding garden someday. 

And then we did find a trail, a pretty trail with less poison ivy, also along a stream and through a forest. 

Good place to walk a bit more, 

cool down in the stream, 

and share some lovin'. 

and then we came home and had an enjoyable evening, in which Dibee was as wacky as ever for a short zoomie spell until she plotzed out and went to sleep.

What's YOUR favorite way to deal with evening zoomies?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Born this Way: Meet Dibee!

During my weekend with Pager, I kind of remembered how great it was to have three dogs around. 

I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it for all of two days.

And then I went to the shelter and got a foster dog.

This is Dibee!
  Dibee started out as Dibo. 

Actually, s/he started out surrendered to the shelter with some boy parts that didn't work quite right. 

Upon examination, it turned out that this spunky little pup had some girl parts in addition to the boy parts! 

As I guess its a bit easier to go from boy to girl than the other way around, it was decided that Dibo would become Dibee.

All the surgeries to fix her up were no simple matter, but the good people at the Washington Humane Society saw her enormous smile and felt her intense wet kisses and saw her joyful spirit and knew she was worth it. 

I am so happy to be a part of such a progressive institution that sees the value in each dog's, cat's, or guinea pig's existence. 

Poor little thing, she had to be on pain meds for a long time from all the surgeries. But she never stopped being a wiggly, happy little thing and over the six months she was in the shelter, she began to heal. 

By the time I met her, you'd hardly know about everything she went through. Just a bit of a concave area on her belly, near her spay scar. 

And that spirit?


I just can't figure out why she hasn't been adopted yet. 

She's accepting of Lamar's growls, happy to be around Fozzie, and beside herself with adoration of every human ever. 

She's gorgeous and velvety and has luscious black eye makeup. 

Doesn't need time to get to know you, she knows she loves you whoever you are. Whether you're a boy, or a girl, 

or whether she's a boy or a girl. 

Doesn't matter, when all you know how to do is love. 

Her first night home, she climbed into bed with me and Florian, and proceeded to chew on a tasty dental chew while we watched a movie. 

Then she kissed me, then she kissed Florian. 

Then she went to sleep. 

As Florian says every time I bring a foster dog home...

quite possibly the best one yet!

Signs of Spring

I love seeing all the familiar signs of spring as they emerge this time of year. 

The roses in the front, that are one of the first things I planted at this house and have survived all these years. 

That rose bush was in some of Fozzie's Petfinder pictures, back when I somehow thought I could ever part with him. 

That bush was a lot smaller then! 

And Fozzie was skinnier too. 

And another rose bush in front, 

and a clematis, 

both long-term survivors.

And most exciting of all, the Wisteria that bloomed for the first time this year. 
I love wisteria, they are so romantic.

I love watching all the things that come up reliably every year, many of which I didn't even plant. 

Who knows how they got there?

And then there are the little surprises, like this chickadee who sounded a little squawk when I was picking some mint leaves for my budgies.

His nest was nearby, and an adult chickadee was nervously hovering around. It always makes me fear for them, but from what I hear it's normal for baby birds to spend some time on the ground when they are fully fledged but can't yet fly. Mom and Dad bring them food and pretty quickly they mature and flutter off to safety.

So I kept the dogs out of the front yard, and left him to find his way.

It's been an unusual spring here, in that it's actually been moderate and pleasant for weeks. Instead of snowing one day, and a week later being 90 degrees and like a moist, suppurating, mosquito-filled swamp.

Lots of time to sit outdoors on the back deck with a light Guatemalan blanket,

enjoy the backyard roses,

and go to my aunt's and let Fozzie go wild with a frisbee.

Which I think he enjoyed as much as we enjoyed watching him.

I hope you and your doggies are enjoying YOUR spring!