Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Running in Circles

Unfortunately, over the past few years I've lost my teenage metabolism and grown to a much larger size than I had ever expected. The weight really does just sneak up on you. I didn't realize how big my love handles had gotten until I started working out and they started going away.

Yes, I've started working out. Gary and I got a gym membership and I've actually put in the effort to use it unlike past gym memberships. But hanging out in the gym is not always ideal. It's really hot and often smelly and it always feels like someone is watching me workout. I also have this puppy at home with an endless amount of energy...

Now, I come from a family of runners so I've always felt like running should just come naturally to me. It doesn't. I'm incredibly slow and I get shin splints and I tend to get bored (I mean the treadmills at the gym have TVs. I can watch as many trashy vh1 reality shows as I want). But as I was watching JD viciously chase his tail and considering a trip to the gym, I decided to try running again. Running with the pup.

A few months ago we purchased a "gentle leader" in a last ditch attempt to find something that would help with JD's relentless pulling on the leash. We had already tried body harnesses and face harnesses with no luck because they either didn't fit or just weren't an effective design. So when PetCo came to town, the "gentle leader" was the first thing I looked for. A friend had recommended it to me last summer, saying it calmed her golden retriever way down and made her a lot easier to handle on walks.

I swear this thing is magic. Before, I couldn't walk JD without coming home with red fingers and scuffed shoes. Now, I can walk him with no problem. A skinny piece of material wraps around his nose, but is loose enough so he can open his mouth and pant or chase balls. Then there's a collar part to go around his neck. The leash attaches to a metal loop hanging down from the nose piece. So if he pulls, his head gets pulled back and he has to look at me and watch me say, "no."

Anyways, walking with him had turned into a joy and now I was considering running with him. I had visions of bloody knees, broken teeth, and being dragged down Riverside Drive. I also had visions of cars squishing him or me or both of us. But I hooked him up anyways and we took off. And he did so well! He stayed right by me at a nice trot (my running speed is like fast walking for him) and was great motivation to keep going because he definitely wasn't ready to stop. He has a bit of a zig-zagging problem, though, so we had to stop a few times to unravel, but the trip was well worth it and he was pooped by the time we got home.

So JD is my new running buddy and as my lung capacity slowly gets better and my blubber slowly starts melting away, we run for longer and longer. I don't want you to think I'm neglecting the other dogs, though. Max is a beagle. He doesn't run unless he wants to run. He would probably just sit down and look at me like, "you're going to have to drag me." Crimson would probably love to go on runs, but he has back problems and will get really stiff and rickety. So we're sticking with park/beach/around the block walks for those two.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Few of my Favorite Things...

When you have three dogs, it's nearly impossible for nice things not to get destroyed in some way or another. Some of this is due to carelessness on my part; leaving my underwear on the floor is a clear invitation to rip it apart. And it is no coincidence that restaurants put leftovers in a "doggie bag," so if it's left in the car with a doggie, a doggie's going to eat it.

The other night I was on the floor, working on a crochet project. I had many crocheted squares laid out in the pattern that I wanted them and I was beginning to attach all of them to make a precious little baby blanket for a friend who's having twins. Focused in on my stitches, I didn't realize there were two dogs on top of my project. Not just on top of it; Max was rolling around on it like he was rolling in a bowl full of dog treats. "Really, Max? Really?" I shooed him and JD away from the blanket. Later, Crimson strutted over and stood in the middle of it. "Crimson, no, move. No, Crimson. Move. Move. Mooooooove. Don't lay down. No. No. Nooooooo!" He looked right into my eyes and laid down on top of the blanket. I nudged him with my foot and he just looked at me like, "I'm old. You can't make me move."

But laying on projects or clothes or paperwork is only the tip of the iceberg. I can't even tell you how many times I've come home to something of mine having been completely ruined. Because it's never Gary's stuff, it's always my stuff. My underwear, my books, my flowers, my laptop. About 95% of the time, Mr. Puppy is the culprit, although Max will eat a whole plate of food in the 3 seconds it takes you to grab a fork out of the kitchen and come back. JD is now 1 1/2 years old so he's mostly out of his chewing-on-everything phase, but not quite all the way. I used to set things on top of his kennel because, well, it's convenient. But then he started pulling things through the holes in his kennel and eating them. Like an entire sleeve of a sweatshirt. An entire sleeve. All the way up to the armpit. Of a brand new sweatshirt. So I guess that was my bad for leaving a sweatshirt draped over his kennel, teasing him, just as it's my bad for leaving things on the floor/in the open that I know are too tempting to leave alone. But peeing on my laptop was surely uncalled for.

A few months ago Gary was in Seattle for an out of town bachelor party. And JD wasn't happy about it. I was sitting on the floor with my laptop laying, closed, beside me. Now, JD is very good about letting us know when he has to go potty and at this point in time, he hadn't had an accident in the house in a very long time. He should have been banging the doorknob with his nose, but instead he just peed right where he was. I heard this sound like water being poured on plastic and turned to see JD's leg lifted over my precious MacBook. "Nooooooooooooooo!!!!" I lunged at him, trying to redirect the stream. I pushed him outside and began mopping up my laptop. I called Gary in tears, "JD....peed...on my...computer," I said in between sobs. Gary heard nothing but, "JD...waaaaaaaahhhh...hiccup...computer!" I filled a bucket with all the rice we had in our house and submerged the laptop. Later, I attempted to turn it on, the fan started running, then stopped, and the screen stayed black. I called Gary again and wailed some more and he promised me I wouldn't lose everything on my computer. When he got back, he took it to the computer-fixer-store and they said the urine had fried some kind of something inside and they could replace it, but it wouldn't be worth the money. So in the end, I got a brand new MacBook Pro, but it was really expensive and there went my tax return.

JD has not since peed on anything of mine, but he has knocked over various potted plants, chewed up at least three books, destroyed a bajillion pairs of underwear, ripped a hole in a pair of pants, and broken a crochet needle in half. So if you have dogs and you want to have nice things, put them away. My new MacBook has yet to see the ground and I no longer put things on top of puppy's kennel. But who knows what I'll forget to pick up next...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back in the Groove

It's been a while...

I finally graduated in December with a BA in English (emphasis in creative writing) and have since joined the adult world workforce so that I can start paying my half of the rent. But I figured if I want to be a writer, I should probably write instead of complain about my boring, not challenging, stupid, boring job so that someday I can fulfill my dream. So here I am, bringing my blog back from the dead.

I am no longer a stay at home dog mom, I'm now a working dog mom. The boys (including Gary) and I have worked ourselves into a pretty functional routine for the day. While Gary and I are at work Crimson, Max, and JD get to hang out in our bedroom. JD gets to be in a very large, bird cage looking kennel with a big fluffy bed as he is still young and feisty and not trustworthy by himself. Max puts himself on our bed and snuggles with my pillow. Crimson's hips have grown weary and he only gets on the bed if one of us helps him, but he generally prefers the floor anyways, with his head on one of the many other dog beds. Gary and I come home for lunch and let them outside and give them snuggles and loves until we have to go back to work for the rest of the afternoon.

It sounds like an okay set up. Not ideal, of course, especially since the dogs had gotten used to me being home pretty much all day every day as I had mostly online classes my last semester. It was hard for them to adjust and it was hard for me to let go. I felt like a new mom dropping my baby off at day care for the first time, watching him press his nose against the window as I drove away. Heartbreaking.

Now I sit in an office 7.5 hours a day and wish I was home with the dogs while I simultaneously wonder what they are destroying now. Max enjoys shredding tissues, taking them right out of the box as if he needed to blow his nose, but instead viciously tearing them apart. JD has gone through at least 3 beds in his kennel. I find dog bed fluff everywhere as it spills out of his area and gets kicked into all corners of the room, bathroom, kitchen. I've threatened him numerous times that he'll have to be in the kennel with no bed, but I can never do it. And I even got bitter spray to make the dog bed not taste good, but I think he liked the taste even more.

It's not just that it's annoying to have fluff all over the place and to have to replace his bed every few months. Last time I took JD to the vet, he told me that labs like to eat things (everything), which I was quite aware of as I explained to him how JD stole napkins from laps and somehow, over a couple of months, ingested an entire plastic bowl. He also told me that we really should try to keep him from eating these things. Apparently they could get caught in his innards and make him very sick or cause him to die. We really don't want that, so we have been doing everything in our power to discourage the bed fluff eating. He's just a hungry, growing boy!

Max and JD have constantly been in this destroying mood, upset that they aren't getting attention from anyone for a few hours, while Crimson is very calm and wise. Until the Fourth of July...
We've always known that Crimson is a huge pansy when it comes to loud noises. He cries all night long when the Taku Winds start in the winter, cowers when the vacuum turns on, and barks at all sorts of bangs and bumps. So as we geared up to go watch the fireworks show on the third, Gary turned on the radio in our room to try and drown out the fire crackers being lit off in our neighborhood. Success. But a few days later, as people still thought the festivities should continue, we forgot to turn on the radio when we left for a few hours and came back to a big hole ripped out of the carpet behind the door. And in front of Gary's nightstand. All the way down to the floorboards. Oops.

The fireworks have finally subsided and we've learned our lesson that as Crimson gets old and senile, it is absolutely necessary to give him puppy Valium on the loud holidays. And that you just can't have nice things if you have three dogs. And how important their companionship is to me, especially now that I don't get to hang out with them all day and keep them safe from the terrible fluff in their beds, despicable tissues, and things that go bang.