Happy Birthday, Melvin!

I knew the moment I saw you that you were mine.  Your mug shot appeared on the rescue site and even though I’d never met you, at that moment, I knew.  I drove to Delaware to meet you.  You seemed so happy in your foster house, I wasn’t immediately sure you even liked me. We went on a walk and you were the worst dog on leash that I had ever walked.  It didn’t matter, I made the call on the way home that I wanted to adopt you.  Five days later, you walked into my front door.  That was almost five years ago.

Our first months together felt, impossible.  You were, for lack of better words, a handful.  We spent day after day at the vet and you were also a behavioral nightmare challenge. Let’s face it, Max was nearing the end and I don’t think I was fully able to bond with you while I was preparing to say good-bye to him.  The day we let Max go,  you spent the day at the vet so that we could do it at the house.  I remember saying out loud to someone that I wasn’t sure about you.  I worried I’d never love you the way you deserved. That was the grief speaking.  The grief was wrong. When we went to pick you up that night, as everyone at the practice was hugging and crying and sharing their love of Max, someone brought you out.  You broke free from their grip, zigged and zagged through the crowd and leapt into me, literally.  All at once I felt horrible sadness over Max and unimaginable happiness that you ‘found’ me.

Very early on in our life together I was asked if I wanted you to have ‘quantity of days or quality of life’.  My response was that I wanted your life to measured only in joy.  Through every health issue, you remain happy and resilient.  Max was a dog who made me stop and take the moment in; you are the dog that teaches me to move forward, no matter what.  How many times have we sat with the vet while I cried, and true to form, you lick the tears away.  You don’t dwell, you move on. And you drag me kicking and screaming as you go!

Your presence in my day is a mish-mash of lovely, crazy, joyful, aggravating and hysterical moments. I wake up smiling every morning because of you.  It’s usually the moment when I realize I’m on the edge of a king size bed, clinging on for dear life to the sheets so I don’t fall to the floor because you are consuming the entire space behind me.  That’s OK buddy, space is overrated if you’re not in it.

You are the best dog, even on your worse day.  You are pure loveliness, a shockingly awesome big-brother and a wonderful keeper of my heart.  You’re eight this week.  You were three when we became family.  I love you, forever.

Three:

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Four:

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Five:

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Six:

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Seven:

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Eight!

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Copycat.

No matter what Melvin does, Jake copies him.  If Melvin gets up, Jake gets up.  Melvin shakes, Jake shakes.  Melvin runs to window, Jake gets trampled by Melvin then he follows his big brother.  They have even started yawning at the same time.  Jake also seeks to occupy a space as soon as Melvin vacates it.

Melvin will opt for one side and even when he feels Jake staring at him, waiting for him to move, he’ll linger.

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And then, boom, Jake takes the spot one nano second after Melvin leaves.

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Sometimes Jake is not so subtle, he’ll literally stalk the spot…

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And success…(yes, he’s sniffing where Melvin’s head just was, any professional stalker would do the same).

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The week in review: Melvin’s version.

What. Up. Yo? Been a pretty fun week around here, the geese are out and pooping everywhere and me likely the goose-poo!  She doesn’t seem to appreciate the same goose delicacies that I do, She’s so weird.

She got new closets for me.  She says the closets were done for her but I know that ultimately, every thing is for me.  She is trying out new rugs in my her new closets and well let’s just say, that Lady knows what I like!  Furry rugs all up in my… Anywho…

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Brother googly-eyes and me are doing good.  That dude is hister-a-cow!  He honks and grunts and those eyes, just staring at him makes me dizzy. Here we are doing some stuff that brothers do…

Us being artsy.  Doesn’t it seem like we are about to rattle off some bitchen poetry or haiku?

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Here we are just hanging out after Jake got home from work. Apparently She thought the carpet deserved more space in the photo than I did.  .

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In this photo we are trying to form a ‘T’ cause that is the first letter in Her name.

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And lastly, a photo of us trying to will the refrigerator door to open and all the food to jump out, into our mouths.  This never happened.

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Happy weekend.  Melvin (and Jake), over and out.

Muzzle.

Melvin has severe allergies. Anything he gets to that he shouldn’t will cause him distress, be it itching or stomach issues. Sometimes, worse. In the house, I have control. He has zero access to anything and if people are over and there is food, he is in the office with an approved treat so that he can’t get to anything that might fall or be left by a novice on the edge of the table. I wash his bedding daily. Yes, daily. In the house, we are golden.

When we leave the house, it’s like walking through a minefield. Unfortunately we live in a new neighborhood (that part is not entirely negative!) where there are those who challenge my control over what Melvin eats. Workmen, who eat chicken wings and then throw them into the open field. The field where we walk. Or pasta salad, that they may not love, so they dump it on the road. Half eaten donuts, yeah, they’ll toss that. BBQ ribs, bread crust, you name it, they throw it. They do not believe in dumpsters or garbage cans. Melvin finds each and every morsel. You know who else finds those things? The geese. And geese poop. And Melvin says ‘yes, please’ too that too!

I don’t have special glasses that highlight goose poop, Melvin always finds it first. I can’t see the chicken bone through the grass so that I can use ‘leave it’ before he sees it. This morning, in our safe place to walk, I realized the geese had recently tainted it. The entire walk was me pulling Melvin (and subsequently poor Jake). I’m sure it looked abusive to anyone who saw it! “Why won’t that crazy lady let that poor dog put sniff the grass?!”. Oh also, I regularly have to reach into his mouth and pull bones and food out. This is not pleasant for either of us but once that food goes down, I have lost control of protecting him.

For five years now, after countless stomach upset issues, vets have been suggesting that I muzzle Melvin on walks. They say this because it is in his best interest. I, being human and all, feel bad muzzling him. I don’t care if we come across someone and they worry he is muzzled due to aggression, that can be explained with a conversation I. Just. Generally. Feel. Bad. Muzzling. Him. That said, he is currently at home itching himself to pure redness due to all the goose grossness he ate this morning.

Home Alone.

I made it very clear, my hopes and dreams for Melvin and Jake (the Tank) included them becoming snugglers. But in all honestly, when I took on a second dog my goals were simple.  I wanted them to be happy, healthy and tolerant of one another. They didn’t have to love the other, but they had to respect that I loved them both.  Dogs getting along, takes a lot of work, especially in the beginning.  I took a great many steps to give them as much opportunity for success as possible. They were separate at first, getting used to the other just being there.  Jake was on tie-down for several weeks after that, it gave Melvin time to acclimate to Jake being in the same room and it gave Jake a chance to learn the dance of the household. Toys played no role until they were both roaming free and we could take that next, cautious step in the training.  Jake, although now free to roam, still has accidents in the house so he is almost always within my visual path.  He doesn’t know I’m watching him, but it’s just another way to set him up for more success.

One thing has not changed (and I don’t know if it ever will),  the boys are separated when I’m not home.  This was never even a question in my mind.  So I find it surprising that I get A LOT of questions as of late about “are you leaving the boys together alone yet?”.

Yet? YET? YET!  Wait, what?

I have no plans to leave them alone, together.  It’s only been two months so this is not even on the radar. Am I crazy? (can you tell I’m hyperventilating ) In my opinion,  they are fine apart during the day, I have way more confidence in that then I do to leave them together.

So now I’m curious, are your dogs together when you leave the house?  Why or why not?  And if they are together, when did you know it would work for you?

"Please keep him jailed when you are not here."


“Please keep him jailed when you are not here.”

Migraine.

I am coming off of a three-day migraine.  It was as terrible as it sounds, maybe worse.  I can barely piece words together today so I’m just going to say that Jake made it through his first migraine with me (I wish he didn’t snore so much but unconditional love is not always easy!).  Jake was brought up on the big bed for a while.  While he loved it, my sweet Melvin was not so happy about it.  Melvin was made to be with a person who suffers migraines, he lays quietly by my side, and never needs a thing.  We’ll work on you Jake…

They started off separate, and Melvin was clearly not happy about the decision to bring him up…

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Then this happened and it was almost so powerful that it could have cured my migraine with happiness, ALMOST!

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Then Melvin said screw this and moved down..

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Migraine is long gone, everyone is back to their own bed, happy weekend to all!!!!

Friday with Melvin. He ain’t heavy.

Yo, yo, yo, yo baby-pop, yeah you come here give me a kiss!  Ha, I love that song, makes me wanna dance!  Sorry, me gets distracted easily.

So I’ve come to a realize-nation, having a brother is not ALL bad.  I mean it’s not ALL great but I might have sold the little dude short in a few areas.  Now that he’s been here a while, I sort of don’t recall what life was like before him.  I mean I try, but all I can see are our days with him here. I wonder if that’s how She feels about me. Maybe he’s a voodooer and took away my old memories away!  Either way, if you asked me if I wanted to keep him or give him away…I would give it a ton of thought and weigh all sides I’d vote ‘stay little man, stay!!!’.

Sometimes, living with him is like looking in a mirror.  A teeny-tiny fun house mirror.  I eat, he eats.  I poop, he poops.  I climb into her lap, he does the same (She does not always love this part, my 80lbs are perfectly delightful on her but his additional 30lbs is just too much), I sway to the left and there he is, bumping into me.  I mean, is he my brother or my shadow?

He still spends his days in the slammer but She has noticed that I go upstairs less and stay down on the couch more.  I don’t know, I guess I feel bad for the dude.  I mean, I’ve been lonely before, no need to make him feel like he’s all alone, when he’s not!  And when She’s home and he gets set free, I spend time teaching him how to roll like Melvin-man — like barking at the brown truck man, and dripping as much water on the floor for the longest distance possible.  A few things he has graduated from are liquid burps and loud random noises.  I’m so proud!

Here is me laying in MY bed, the right way.  And then there is a picture of little dude, doing it ALL wrong.  My work is never done.

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At the end of the day, I know She loves me.  I can see it the way she looks at me, I can hear it in her tone.  I can feel it when I’m near her or when she’s not even here.  And she loves little dude also, so, it’s all good.  It’s hard to complain about SO MUCH LOVE!

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Sosa’s Tree.

Last year when my dear friends’ dog Sosa died unexpectedly, someone sent them a seedling tree.  In memory.  My friend Shane planted the tree and it started to sprout leaves and grow.  Their kids, when out on walks or in the yard would find beautiful stones or loose flowers and would take them to Sosa’s tree.  They would lay the rocks or buds down, their way of saying they were thinking of their angel.

Unfortunately we had a very wet summer and fall last year and Sosa’s tree was in a pot that didn’t drain well.  I had a conversation with Shane about how upset he was to see the tree failing, how much it meant to him that it thrive.  If Sosa couldn’t be with them, that tree needed to be.  I understood and I (nervously) volunteered to try to nurse the tree back to life over the winter.  To be honest, I didn’t think it was possible but I was going to try and try and try again. And then, I would try some more.

I re-potted the tree, brought it inside and I even talked to it — as if the tree was Sosa.  For months now, there was little change.  From time to time I’d see tips of branches greening and growing a bit but for the most part, I remained cautious about its future.

Until one morning, a leaf unfurled.  And then another.

If you ask Sosa’s human siblings what they want to do on any given day, you will sometimes hear them say: “we want to go to heaven to see Sosa”.   How many of us who have lost a furry friend are nodding right now, wishing for the same.

Little things can mean so much…

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Family.

This was a whirlwind weekend.  We said good-bye to a family member, celebrated my mom’s birthday, had a baptism for three wonderful kiddos and then the Super Bowl (which was a non-event for me personally — Go Skins!).

I was looking at the very quick photos I snapped of my mom’s birthday dinner and it appears Jake was in the center of the action.  Seamlessly, he just fit.

One thing we found out is that Jake does not like tutu’s (mostly when they are connected to a two-year old in motion) and he did not offer gentle play to said two-year old either.  In all honestly, I didn’t expect Jake to do great with small children.   He’s a rough player, he did the same thing to Melvin at first until Melvin made him stop. Jake knew almost instantly that he was being watched, but he didn’t expect every adult in the room to stand-up for the human munchkin.  We had discussed that Jake might not be good with kids so he was under constant supervision.  It’s something to work on with him, harnessing his inner spaz.

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For those of you wondering, yes, Melvin was there also!  At my feet as usual.