The Benefits of Dogs

You’ve probably heard that owning a dog can make you healthier and happier, not to mention more patient, but no one told me the affect dog ownership would have on my vacuuming expertise.

Trey and I (ok so mostly Trey, but he’s so much better at telling when the hose is clogged!) probably vacuum around 6 times more frequently than the average fur-less household, and that’s when it’s not shedding season (Confession: I totally made that number up since I have no idea how often normal people have to vacuum…). Not only are we vacuuming more frequently, but I actually know about my vacuum cleaner, like how to use all of the attachments and everything! I can also tell you that my vacuum probably operates above the safe decibel level…

So my point is: if you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, ask your pet owning friends! They can probably list the pros and cons of their particular model with an impressive degree of knowledge and honesty (unlike the guy who comes to your door every other month ;-) ).

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Valentine’s Day Weekend

Trey and I decided that instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day (because really, who wants to celebrate on a Thursday?), we would take the weekend and celebrate at the lake! It was really nice to get away for awhile and just be with each other. The lake doesn’t have internet, which is my biggest distraction, or a beautiful reef tank, which is Trey’s, so it’s really the perfect place to reconnect.

And what’s more romantic than cuddling inside during a freak hail storm? We did brave the cold long enough to let Cole play around in it, though, since this will probably be the closest thing to snow he sees this winter.

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Then the next day dawned sunny and beautiful as if nothing had happened. Oh and if you’re tired of seeing pictures of Cole man, you can blame Dana and Britt for the sudden influx. They both do gorgeous pet photography and I didn’t want Cole to get jealous ;-)

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“Goose poop! Goose poop! Pleeeease let me have the goose poop! Nomm nomm nommm!”

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Rainy Day Pick-Me-Up

If last week was excessively busy, this week was excessively wet. And dark, and cold. It’s almost as if someone read my last post and said, “Hmm how can we give her exactly what she doesn’t want?” So for everyone out there who’s had to suffer right along with me, I apologize for writing about summer and getting your hopes up.

On the other hand, if there’s one creature who doesn’t mind a little cold & wet it’s Cole man. Since he’s pretty much the best cheer-er-uper anyone could ask for, I decided to do a little impromptu photo shoot/training session to boost everyone’s mood. :)  And as an added bonus, anyone who saw the first birthday post can now get a clear picture of just how much he’s grown!

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“You have the cheese and the dummy. I love you.” – “You threw the dummy!” – “I’ll go get it for you!”

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The following are not technically great photos, but they show his utter enthusiasm and the funny way he always starts shaking with his shoulders down to his wriggly butt! Oh and in case you were wondering, the blue rope is his 50ft check cord. Since he’s being trained for hunting, it’s important that he brings the dummy back every time. He’s still young and kind of distractible, so the check cord allows you to keep control at a distance.

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Best friends =)

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Happy Birthday Dear Fur-Butt!

Today is Cole’s birthday! In celebration of such a momentous occasion, I went through some old photos and picked out the ones that seemed to best sum up Cole’s first year of life (and to prove that he wasn’t always a humongous monster ;-) )

This is Cole’s first photo shoot, when he and Trey visited me in Columbia. Wasn’t he adorable?

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and already learning basic commands =)

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One of his first trips to Smoaks (aka paradise) when he learned how to swim.

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His first trip to Atlanta, when he met Ivan.

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Going to the lake. The other paradise =)

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The dog park makes for a well behaved pooch.

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His day at the doctor, poor thing ;-)

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His first Christmas and his daily spot in my office, keeping it safe from any invading songbirds.

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Cole, you’re a terror, but you always keep our dinner time stories fresh. Here’s to another year of slobbery kisses, piles of fur, and always remembering to enjoy the weekends!

 

Cole vs the Birthday Card

You know those times in life when you’re furious, or upset, or frustrated, but in the back of your head there’s a little voice that knows this is going to make a great story later? It was like that when I locked myself out of my apartment on Friday night in Germany (the Hausmeister was gone, possibly for the weekend, and even the police station was closed). It was also there the time I had to beg the janitors for twenty minutes to let me inside the cafeteria so I could put money on my student card to do laundry for the weekend. And it was there again last Friday when I heard Trey come out of our bedroom and start yelling at the dog. (Why do all catastrophes happen on Fridays? No clue; the universe must hate fun ;-) )

So there I am, in my office trying to get a bit of work done. Trey has time off, so he’s doing whatever, reading or tv or something, and the dog is mostly hanging out with him. I guess Trey decided to take a shower and thought that either Cole would come hang out in my office so I could watch him, or that he was old enough now, he could behave himself. Now any of you who have ever had a lab may think those are stupid assumptions. Labs eat everything when they’re left alone. True, especially of my lab growing up, but Cole hasn’t had the normal chewing issues. Yes he ate his Gentle Leader collar, but he hated that thing. For the most part he knows and loves his toys and restricts his chewing to them. All that to say, Trey’s assumptions (or maybe “hopes” is a better word?) were not far off base. But for us to have a story, of course, neither of them came true. Which is how I came to be sitting in my office overhearing Trey’s gasp of anger at something the dog had done.

Images of a carpet saturated with pee or poop immediately came into my head, but that didn’t seem to warrant the fury coming from the other end of the house. I mean that’s just something you clean up and move on about. So then I started wondering what precious item had been eaten, shoes? clothes (he does have a weird attraction to socks and underwear)? Nope. He ate money. $30 in cold hard cash. Now in case you’re thinking $30 isn’t a lot (maybe your pooch gnawed some ultra expense pair of shoes?) let me point out to you that $20 is his entire food budget for the month, and the fact that it was cash meant it could have been spent on anything. So, in effect, he ate an infinite possibility of items that total $30- a pair of shoes, a pair of jeans, a nice dinner out, or one and a half jumbo bags of dog food.

But back to how he came across $30 in cash. See I had gotten a birthday card in the mail earlier. It was a nice card with the aforementioned cash in it, and I had set it on the coffee table, the same  coffee table where Cole regularly ignores a bowl full of candy. Apparently paper is more enticing than chocolate however, because when Trey came out of the bedroom, all he saw was Cole lying next to a small scrap of twenty dollar bill.

As it turned out, we were able to find several more scraps and even reconstruct an entire ten dollar bill. The most we found of the card was four tiny pieces.

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Oh and the triangle that’s missing from the twenty? Apparently that’s the one section the bank teller needed to be able to deposit the bill. I just hope Cole realizes that he doesn’t get to eat next month… :-)

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Cole’s Day at the Doctor

Yesterday Cole man had his appointment, the appointment that all male dogs would dread if they had any idea what was going on. Thankfully, he had no idea what was going on so he was quite happy on the ride over. He was even more happy when we arrived at a place filled with interesting doggy smells, and he couldn’t contain his excitement when we walked inside to find a line of new friends, all eagerly bouncing about while their owners attempted to fill out paperwork. Ah the bliss of ignorance.

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Of course picking him up that afternoon was a much different scene. He had a giant cone on his head and was obviously a bit tipsy. He walked out quite sedately… into the wall. I suppose the difference between floor-to-ceiling windows and an open door is a bit subtle, but I think it’s one he normally would have figured out after the first collision.

Once we got home he was like a much older, calmer version of himself. He laid around quietly while we cooked dinner, washed dishes, and even built a table, strewing the floor with his favorite cardboard toys.

His pain meds must have worn off this morning though, because he’s back to being crazy and seems quite unaware of any difference =)

The Good Things

There are a lot of downsides to owning a 8 month old 75 lb monster. There would probably be fewer downsides if Trey and I were better, more consistent trainers, but such is life. Instead of a well-trained companion, we have a giant beast of energy and saliva that could easily have been the inspiration for Looney Tunes’ Tasmanian Devil. No matter how many drinks get knocked over with his rudder tail, no matter how many visitors he scares to death with his over enthusiastic greetings, and no matter how many times I have to rescue the dish towel from his monster paws, Cole has one routine every night that never fails to make me smile.

Every night at 9:30 Cole gets his dinner, and Trey and I move to the bedroom to read and wind down. Cole eats his dinner, drinks some water, and then comes to get us. He sits patiently outside the bedroom door until one of us notices him. Once he thinks we’ve seen him, he goes back to his crate and waits inside for one of us to come and close the door so he can go to sleep. The whole routine is so polite and distinguished, I often wonder if this is the same dog that has been wreaking havoc in my house all day. If he were a person, I would think that it was his way of making up for his misdeeds so we couldn’t possibly stay mad at him.

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… his collar. Yup ate it. Not chewed, not destroyed, ate.

But let me back up for a minute and explain.

About 5 months ago Trey got an adorable 10 pound Labrador puppy. Unfortunately, due to graduating college, wedding planning, honeymooning, and moving, his obedience training was a little spotty in those first couple months. He was also on the timid side when he was little, so leash training focused on getting him to move forward, not on keeping him from pulling. Now we’re nicely settled and able to focus on training, but instead of a 10 pound puppy lagging behind, we have a 60 pound puppy lunging ahead.

Ok so not the best situation, but we were determined to have a well-trained obedient-in-the-face-of-squirrels dog. I talked to my friend and former AKC trainer about our problem and she suggested the Gentle Leader head collar. The Gentle Leader is the same kind of idea as a choke chain except it doesn’t choke the dog (cause everyone wants to be that owner with their dog gasping at the end of the leash fully convinced that ducks are better than air) and it controls where their head is pointed (kinda like a bridle on a horse). This worked great for us because it addressed the immediate problem of a large dog testing out your arm strength every time he had to pee, and gave us time to train.

Understandably, Cole was not a fan. He liked attacking the neighbors’ dogs with kisses and eating goose poop, and he did not appreciate having his head turned around every time those opportunities arose. You could almost see him plotting against the head collar every time you put it on. He’d glare and try to bite the loose bit of strap before submitting to its power. Until this morning. When he finally got his revenge.

 

Lake Weekend

This weekend Trey and I took the dog and headed to Columbia. His grandparents have a little house on Lake Murray that they got back before Columbia expanded and made everything super expensive. Trey has stayed there countless times while we were dating/engaged, but this was the first time we got to go as a couple on vacation. We grilled out, taught Cole how to jump off the dock, and recovered from all of the swimming with back-to-back episodes of House Hunters. Basically it was perfect :-)

King Cole vs Ivan the Terrible

This past weekend Trey had Friday off for Independence Day, so we went to visit my parents in Georgia. Cole (our 5 month old lab monster) had already decided he loved Trey’s parents’ house (they live on a farm in the low country), but this weekend sealed it for him: he does not want to be an apartment dog.

At my parents’ house, Cole got to go canoeing for the first time, stay outside while we were at church, and visit the horse barn. It was at the horse barn where Cole met Ivan, a 6 month old German Shepherd. Go ahead and cue Queen’s Your My Best Friend.

They were perfectly matched and passed out at the same time. Now Trey wants another puppy to exercise Cole for us ;-)

Just before we left, Cole went over to say goodbye.

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