Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Things that go SLURP in the night

I woke up with a startled shout in the middle of the night. Something wet had touched me on the mouth. As I squinted into the darkness, I could discern two furry shapes. One was retreating, and one was coming toward me.

I tried to block my face with my hands, but I was too late. A second wet slurp planted itself on my cheek. My fingers dug into a thick, fluffy coat. Badger. Several football seasons ago, we taught him to come toward us when we cheer. My shout must have sounded the same to him. I patted his back. Good dog.

A sleepy voice behind me mumbled, "Are you all right?" It was then that I grasped what had happened. Mushroom must have given me the initial kiss, which woke me up. After I yelled, she scurried off, and Badger took her place at the side of my bed. "Yeah," I responded. "Mushroom licked me in the mouth. I'm going back to sleep."


Monday, September 22, 2014

We survived!

Our family of four (that's twelve legs total) survived our first doggy 5k on Saturday. It was a great experience for the dogs, who got to practice staying calm around LOTS of other dogs (with the help of frozen hot dog chunks). And it was fun for me to see so many dogs - I kept pointing at dogs and telling L, "I want that one."

Before the race - Mushroom wanted to say "hi" to all the other dogs. Badger wanted to say "hi" to all the humans

Mushroom and I ran/walked in a little group that included a couple with their spotted black and white dog, a backpack-wearing guy and his adorable brown mini-pit, a mom running with a big dog while her daughter pushed a tiny dog in a stroller, and an old man with a beautiful prancing border collie. The old man ran the entire way and ended up finishing well ahead of the rest of us, which I found very inspiring.

L and Badger (neither of whom like to run), walked the course astonishingly fast, finishing just a few minutes behind me and Mushroom. (Or maybe we were just slow). We celebrated afterwards by going out for greasy, unhealthy fried chicken for the humans and some extra kibble for the dogs.

After the race - waiting in the car for L to get fried chicken

Chicken spotted! (Sorry Mushroom, not for you)

I spent yesterday feeling pretty sore, but now I'm ready to sign up for our next 5k! (There are a couple coming up - apparently fall is doggy 5k season.) This time around, I'd like to practice pacing Mushroom a little better - she tends to want to sprint at the beginning and runs out of steam after a couple of miles.

Does anyone have doggy 5k training advice? Also, seeing as it's starting to get dark pretty soon, advice for running with dogs at night time would be helpful too!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Meeting Hogan

We just got back from a vacation visiting L's family in Arizona. L's brother has a dog named Hogan that he got when an acquaintance could no longer keep him. Over the years, we've heard stories about Hogan - about how he is scared of people during walks, about how he destroys the house, about how he barks at visitors and is generally overwhelming. This visit, we finally met Hogan...

Look at that face!

He was exactly how he appears in this picture: adorable and well-behaved. We had expected him to jump on us or bark at us when we entered, and we had planned to come in one at a time or meet him outside if necessary. We ended up all entering at once, and none of those things happened. Hogan sniffed at us, we threw some treats, and then we had Hogan practice some sits and downs for more treats.

We made sure to tell L's brother and his wife that Hogan was a wonderful dog. Calm, treat-motivated, quick to warm up to complete strangers. He also got the run of their beautifully-decorated house when they weren't home, and as far as I could tell, nothing had been chewed. We had come prepared with some suggestions on how to deal with Hogan's behavior, based on their stories, but the only one that seemed relevant was to let their guests give Hogan treats when they enter.

We gave Hogan an antler chew. Notice the unchewed fall leaves and pumpkin.

I have been similarly surprised by people who say they enjoyed meeting Badger and Mushroom. I think sometimes we think about the few ways we wish our dogs were "better" so much that we overlook all the ways they are already great.