Dunder Mifflin.

I get a lot of request to share some decorating info and pictures of the house.  I thought from time to time I would post decorating stuff and pics.  So I’m starting at the front of the house, with The Office (do you get the title of this post now?).  When you walk through the front door, my office is the first room to the right. Not many people use the front door of my house (I have doors all over this joint) but when they did I wanted this room to make people immediately get a sense of what the rest of the house is like.  Modern, but soft.  Bold, but not wham blam in your face. Fun, quirky and still sophisticated.  Just like me.

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I knew I wanted a white desk, mostly just because sitting at a white desk makes me happy.  Even though the main pieces are white, they still make a glossy, girly statement.  The other two colors I wanted to use without them being too overwhelming were black and pink.

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Melvin lays at my feet when I’m in the office and he saunters in and out of this room while I’m gone so of course there is a soft carpet and a water bowl.  Watching out the front window for the brown truck man can really make him work up a thirst (if you look closely, you’ll see him in the photo below, standing guard).

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This room did not come together overnight.  The very first thing I bought was that black and white chair (Home Goods) and I went from there.  Desk and credenza (Crate & Barrel), then rug (thefoundary.com), the curtains were originally bought for a different room but they looked better in the office (Ballard Design), then book shelf (Home Goods), then art and accessories (Home Goods, Home Goods, Home Goods -seriously people, join me in my addiction!).  I think most people get overwhelmed at the accessories part so I always suggest saving that to the end.  Those things should enhance the mood of the room, not set it.

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Lastly, there is a photo of Max in each room of my house.  Every home needs some soul.

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Two months.

Jake has been part of the family for two months now! I don’t think I could have hoped for things to go better and still have been realistic.  Here is where we are…

Melvin is a star. I don’t say this because I love him so much, I say it because he has been an absolute rock star!  While Melvin is the boss of Jake (Jake waits for Melvin to go through doorways, waits in the background for Melvin to be fed first, goes into the mudroom when Melvin signals to do so, backs away if Melvin gives him a look), Mel does it with a gentleness. Melvin does not abuse his power, probably because I don’t abuse my power. Melvin is quite gentle with Jake (reason 1,456,367,422 to love him even more) EXCEPT WHEN Melvin jumps off the couch and Jake is unfortunately underneath him. There is nothing gentle about that.

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If one dog does something (shake, itch, drink water, roll around, pee) the other dog starts doing the same action immediately. Is there an Olympic sport for synchronized dogs?

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They are starting to play – it lasts all of several seconds but those few moments make me so happy! 

They don’t snuggle, and that’s OK.  But they are pretty comfy in close proximity and have had a few face-to-face moments (Jake had pumpkin on his face) and they did great.

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Jake, gets us.  He is learning the lingo and he really seems very happy and relaxed.

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Jake does not like being away from me.  He does great if I leave the house (he has to see me leave) as I worked on that with him when he first came and I still videotape him from time to time. But if I’m home, and he can’t see me or is closed off to me, well lets just say noises come from him that you may not have thought possible and he usually pees (interested if anyone else has this issue?).

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Melvin’s life is almost fully back to (new) normal — for instance, when I get ready in the morning Melvin has always lounged on my bed.  Jake must sit in the bathroom with me as I get ready, so the first few weeks Melvin needed to be there also to see why Jake was there but now he is back to doing his own thing and letting Jake shadow me.  For those of you worried about how adding another dog will disrupt your resident dog, these moments mean EVERYTHING. Seeing Melvin comfortable in any situation is pure happiness for me.

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Jake is as willing as Melvin is to let me put anything on him.  Poor, poor boys. Also, Jake does not date the dining room carpet exclusively, he spreads his love to all rugs in the house.

Walks go better if I allow enough time for them to go badly.  The worst walk seemed to always be the morning walk so now I get up extra early so that I don’t get stressed by time limitation on that walk and it’s going much, much better.

Lastly, I’m always amazed at how the capacity for love can grow at a moments notice.  I love them both so much.

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The week in pictures: as told by Jake.

Hey guys, it’s me Jake!  If this new life of mine is a dream, DO NOT WAKE ME UP, I lovey-dove it here!  Even fatty the-big-guy is turning out to be pretty cool. Here is what we’ve been up to…

It’s cold here in Werginya and big-guy and me have the flakey skin from all the dry air so the Lady bundles us on walks and bought some machine that takes the ichies away!

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To be honest, I’m almost always chilly.  If I had control over the thermysat I would put it at 1,000 degrees.  I guess the big-guy is a polar bear opposite of me so we have to keep it at 70 so that I am not too cold and he is not too hot.  Lady-lady bought me a super tight sweatshirt that is warm but way uncomfortable (look how I can’t even force my arm down during sleep) and then she got me some jammies.  I’ll be honest, at first the pants part of the jammies made feel like a super-duper-fool (and big-man laughed so hard he pee’d a little) but turns out, these things are da bomb!  Look how cute my ass looks!  Who’s laughin now suckas!

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One of the reasons I look up to the big-M (aside from him being a giant) is because he really knows how to chill out.  Me, I like to run from the front of the house to the back of the house to the front of the house and wait, where is everyone?  Oh, laying on the couch. Huh, that looks fun too.  I have learned when he is laying down, I should take a load off also.  So when he hops on the Lady’s bed, I crawl into his! It’s like an upgrade to first class!

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Happy weekend peeps!  My Lady is working from home today so I have full day of following her around and sitting guard.

Eat your veggies.

Melvin has another liver blood test coming up.  After the last blood test I started feeding him (more) veggies.  I don’t have a lot of control over what he can eat based on all the things he can’t eat but most veggies and fruits that dogs can have, he seems to tolerate.  There are sometimes extra itchies but I’m trying to boost his overall health so that is a somewhat small price to pay if this works/helps.  Either way, he and Jake seem to LOVE the veggies and that makes me happy!  At first it was a lot of work but now I just plan their meals for the week so I don’t have to be cooking last minute.

They always get some pumpkin (gotta promote regularity) and I have been adding two other veggies to their meals.  Most of the veggies are cooked (except the carrots and peas).

Oh and PS, the dogs are doing great!  They now eat next to each other.  Boom!

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Stylist.

Jake is very sensitive to temperatures lower than 70 degrees.  He shivers on our walks and people pull over to tell me he’s cold (as if I didn’t notice he was shaking uncontrollably).  So I bought him a sweater.  And then another, Then a jacket, then four more jackets.  NOTHING FITS HIM.  It took eight jackets before I found one that worked with his odd body.

He is impossible to shop for.  I usually don’t use the ‘I’ word (especially in the same sentence as shopping) but trust me on this, nothing fits him.  He should be a medium. The length of his body is medium.  But his head is borderline XL, his neck is definitely a large and don’t get me started on how wide his chest is compared to his teeny tiny waist.  If I buy him large, it drapes behind him like a bridal train and hangs below him and he pee’s on it.

So I decided to try a sweatshirt for when he shivers inside the house, that way I could adjust it (read cut it up with scissors) without it unraveling (yes, sweaters unravel if you cut them, trust me).  I thought I found one that worked well (even though I am pretty sure it’s a girl-dog sweatshirt):

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But then I found him sleeping like a corpse,unable to put his arm down due to the sweatshirt being too tight!

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I’ll be measuring him for his Tiennot Sweater tonight!

Alert.

We live in an awesome community.  There are several Facebook pages set up to alert the hood on various issues – crime, items for sale/giveaway, things to be aware of (road closures) as well as missing/found pets.  When I see an alert for a missing pet my heart always skips a beat which then usually makes me realize if one of mine went missing the result would be full on cardiac implosion.  I panic if I drop the leash by mistake. When I see a post by someone who has found a dog and taken them in until the owner can be found, I think – wow, I love where I live!

The ‘found dog’ posts always include ‘I fed the dog so that he/she didn’t go hungry’.  I cannot stress enough that my joking that Melvin is allergic to earth is actually truth.  For years now I have thought about getting him a medical alert tag — I’m not sure what has taken me so long. In four-and-a-half years I have taken him to the vet well over 100 times, bought him over 20 beds; he has 9,000 Sirius Republic collars and almost as many Tiennot Sweaters and yet he does not have a $10 medical alert tag.  Bad mom award, me!

Please feed me, I mean don't feed me.


Please feed me, I mean don’t feed me.

On an equally alarming front, this past week several people have told me about stories they have heard about French Bulldogs being stolen from their owners.  One just this past week in Tampa, a man was approached at gunpoint and the only thing the thieves took was his Frenchie.  What????!!!!

Please don't steal me.


Please don’t steal me.

So when I ordered Melvin his medical tag that has “medical alert” on the front and “severe allergies – don’t feed” with my number on the back, I got two. I figured 1. If Melvin ever went missing, he would be safe until paramedics were able to paddle my heart back to life and, 2. thieves would think twice before selling a special needs, googly-eyed Frenchie on the black market.  Of course both boys already have IDs with my number on it, now they just have two!

This week’s moments: narration from Melvin.

Hey guys, it’s me Melvin.  I guess now that there are two dogs living in this house (yes, he’s still here) I have to announce myself on my own blog.

The week has been pretty non-eventful and for whatever reason that makes Her very happy.  She likes when nothing happens.

This is dumb dumb Jake in the corner jail.  You know where I was when this was going down?  On the chaise, with Her. Ha, ha!

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Sometimes we look up and the little dude is sitting someplace weird with his back to us.  It’s like he seeks a time-out!  Dork.

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We got baths in a van this week.  Yeah, some van pulls up, we hop in and then wham-bam we smelly sweet!  I guess while I was in the van-tub, brother-annoyance was a bit lost without me (who isn’t) and ran from window to window looking for me.  I guess he’s not totally stupid inside, I mean he clearly senses my awesomeness.

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This is not my spot.  I know this, but me squeezing myself into this nook means that little dude has to go eat his Kong in the foyer.  I know what I’m doing people.

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Then this happens.  Listen, that blanket is furry-deliciousness (sort of like me) and I’ll lay near stinky-butt to be on it but notice the look in my eye; I’m pretty much always on guard for what he might do next.

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My take.

I have had dogs my whole life.  I obviously love dogs.  You don’t have a blog about your dogs if you only moderately like the species. While I consider myself somewhat of an expert on dog health issues, I am not as knowledgeable about behavior or what ‘they think’.  I sort of make the latter part up, so my take on how it’s going may or may not be shared by the boys.  For the record, we have been a two-dog household for 46 days.  That’s six-and-half weeks; 1,104 hours.  It’s just a few days short of, one-dog-year.

Melvin is taking it all in a rather remarkable stride.  He is for the most part, relaxed. Most of the time he is doing his ‘usual’ – enjoying his couch time, laying at my feet while I cook, and jumping in the big bed at 5am for a few hours of sleep with me.  Yes, there are moments I can see that he is a tad stressed (these are the exact moment my catholic guilt meter surges to the right).  These come in the form of him trying to ‘win’ against Jake — be it down the steps, to the door, into my lap.  All in all, he continues to be my happy-go-lucky-nugget whose biggest source of joy in life, is me. I love that dog.  The good news is that 95% of the time Jake yields to Melvin through those doors and down those steps (yes, I admit it, I was hoping Melvin would be 2nd, and Jake would be 3rd and it seems to be netting out that way).  If Melvin is lying around and Jake tries to goad him, Melvin let’s him know with bark or two to go away. It usually works.  When Jake stands firm on not wanting to go into the mudroom when I’m leaving the house, Melvin loops around him, nudges and herds him in (Jake going into the mudroom while I’m gone is a highlight of Melvin’s day so him making this happen makes perfect sense).  I think the biggest source of stress for Melvin is our walks. Prior to Jake, Melvin and I had a flow about us, it was carefree and easy and love ruled.  Back then, he and I had a language and if I gave a command, it was clear that it was directed at him. Now as I’m trying to teach Jake the lingo, it can tend to (understandably) confuse Melvin.  For example, on walks, if I say ‘stop’ to Jake for eating goose poop, Melvin stops what he is doing (which is usually just sniffing. “No, no it’s okay buddy, you can sniff” — moment lost).  Or when Jake is trying to go backwards and I want to move forward I use the phrase “this way”.  Jake ignores me but Melvin listens and ends turning towards me (the direction of Jake) which is backwards to what I wanted.  Say it with me everyone: FLASK TIME. Maybe I’m suppose to have a different lingo for Jake?  I can just tell that Melvin does not enjoy walks as much as he used to.  Join the club buddy, we’ll get there!  Still, they continue to get along great while walking together.

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Jake is starting to realize he is staying.  He is learning our dance… he goes right  into his crate at night, heads to the correct door for a walk in the morning, knows where his bowl will be put down for meals and can sense if he needs to get up or stay snuggled. He waits until Melvin has had his time with me before he sneaks up onto the couch. He is a bundle of snuggly love.  He has had two poop accidents in the house since coming off tie-down. Both were pretty soon after a walk and both were also within close proximity to where I was.  My thinking is that maybe he lived a life on carpet and hardwood feels more outdoorsy.  I make these things up to convince myself he’s not doing it to be punk. If it’s time for him to go, and he doesn’t go, he waits it out in the mudroom until he does the duty outside.  Pooping outside = access to the room with the couch, check – check. He hates the gentle leader harness with the intensity of a million hot suns, my apologies to him but, walks are starting to move in the right direction.  At the end of every day, he is a funny guy and when he looks up at me, I melt.  I love him. Where Melvin is my nugget, Jake is my pea-nugget.

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As for me, I am trying to take them each on their own walks here and there.  I want to shift the balance back to enjoyment.  Adding a new dog is disruptive.  Disruptive in exactly the way it should be, another living creature added to the mix is different and due diligence requires that we sometimes have to bend in strange ways and create a new normal. I wouldn’t turn back the pages of this chapter but with each day, I feel it inching toward more enjoyable and away from…so structured.  Thank the good Lord!

I adore my odd couple.  My frick and frack.  They are both big and small, bossy and gentle, slow and fast.  Similar, yet completely different.

Little victories!

I rescued Jake for the same reason I rescued Melvin, to save a life.  For Melvin it was more urgent, he probably would have been put down due to fewer being willing to deal with his allergies.  But saving one homeless animal, makes room for the next homeless animal and that next homeless animal’s situation could be dire.  Please rescue!!!!

Melvin does not love dogs as much as I do.  He tolerates them.   I  on the other hand feel love needs to be shared so that outweighed Melvin’s vote of ‘no more dogs’. Everyone in my life knows that for every vote you get, I get two.  It took four years to find Jake.  The deciding factor (after the requirement that it had to be a rescue) was for Melvin to not hate the other dog.  We like to aim high.

Did my hopes and dreams for them include them being as adorably cozy together as Chick and The Dude or  Miss M. and Mr. B?  HELL YES.  Did I really think that would happen, HELL NO.  The boys spend time every day showing each other their distaste for brotherhood.  It can range from verbal ‘exchanges’ to looks of disgust to ignoring that the other even exists.  But there are moments that make me realize that IT COULD HAPPEN

Melvin: Why is he up here?  What happened to tie-down training?

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Jake:  Did his stomach just rumble?  Please tell me it’s not feeding time.

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Melvin: Stop almost touching me.  That pillow is not a cloak of invisibility.

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Each time their legs would touch they would both flinch and hop up.  It was stressful.  And then, this happened…

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I silently squealed with so much delight I thought I might burst.  And then…a car drove by, they ran to the window and got into a verbal scuffle with one another.  Hot damn, I’ll take it!

Deep Cleansing Breaths.

I was going to post about a delightful moment shared between the boys.  But instead I’m going to write about how hard having two dogs is.  Don’t get me wrong, I love them through my core and back around again, but I won’t sugar coat it:  for all the joy two bring, there can on some days be insurmountable frustration.  It’s a lot of work. It’s a little tougher at this juncture as Jake is now off tie down which means I must be extra vigilant 24/7. I know it won’t always feel like more work than enjoyment.  Am I the only one in dog blog land that sometimes feels the need to carry a flask?!

I was going to be late last night so I paid to have the dog walker come twice (normal midday and then again in the evening for dinner).  The evening walk occurred at 6:40 and I got home at 7:20.  Forty minutes time difference between her being there and me arriving back home.  I came home to Melvin having poop’d in the house.  He went out with the dog walker, came back in and had dinner and then poop’d, all in forty minutes. Deep cleansing breaths.

On today’s morning walk, Jake encountered a million distractions and refused to walk. He wanted to pull in the opposite direction, with all his might. He literally walked backwards the entire walk looking for every distraction we had passed.   Every time I looped back around to Melvin he was eating something, what I don’t know, but for a dog allergic to everything it probably was not a hypoallergenic item. By 7am  I needed that flask.  My neighbors overheard me saying ‘you guys win for most terrible dogs this morning’.  Although to my credit, I said it calmly.

The best/worst part is, all of the above (except the pooping in the house as I still don’t understand that), is my fault.  Jake needs a gentle leader harness to learn how to walk and I was too rushed to put it on him this morning.  It’s my job to teach him how walks go.  He enjoys being dragged, I need to work on showing him how much fun moving legs in the right direction can be.  As for Melvin’s grazing, it has been suggested by several vets that I muzzle him on walks so that he can’t eat anything.  Despite his allergies being so severe, I cannot bring myself to do it.  100% my fault if he gets digestive upset.

So, the net-net is that I’m pretty sure that the boys were communicating via dog language this morning… ‘She wins for most terrible owner’!  I of course tried to make it up to them by snuggling and being late for my (other) full-time job.

Tomorrow is another day.

Special moment post will come later today or tomorrow!