Did Jake come with a warranty?

In my absence (or perhaps before I even left) Jake managed to split a nail and crack a tooth.  The nail got partially pulled and we are watching it and doing some meds and the tooth has to be pulled (the root is exposed).  Poor guy! He’ll have to be put under anesthesia for the tooth and that always makes me cry nervous.   I do sort of feel like this was the defining moment that he was meant to be mine though.

For now, here are some recent pics.  Pretty sure they are hoping for the dog sitter to come back in all these photos!

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Is that awesome dog sitter coming back? i hope so.

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Oh where, oh where did my dog sitter go?

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Hey you, my toe and tooth hurt. Fix it.

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I’m hungry.

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Wait, why do I only have one sock on, is this a joke? Stop calling me LL Cool Jake.

Yellow Brick Home = Happiness (times infinity)

I had seen others post photos of their Yellow Brick Home pet portraits and I’d be filled with such happiness for them and EXTREME jealousy for myself.  You know the type of envy I’m talking about, the angel side of you thinks ‘good for them!’ and the devil side thinks ‘I want the goose that lays the golden egg!’.

So I commissioned one.  Even hitting the ‘buy’ button was exciting!  The exchanges that occurred via email about colors (hot pink!), mood (the odd couple) and ideas (I wanted it to celebrate how their differences make them so much alike) were extremely delightful.  It was an awesome experience from purchase to delivery!   You know how you can just sense a person is delightful, even through email.  Yeah, that’s how it went.  I sigh just thinking about it.

I was in the Bahamas when YBH posted the photo of my boys on Instagram and Facebook.  The noise that came from me when I saw it was probably a healthy mix of teenage-girl-meets-Bieber and a hyena-in-heat.  I. Was. In. Love!

Upon return from vacation, even the delivery box made me squeal! The detail on the painting is friggen amazing, I mean seriously people, this is talent – from the freckles on Melvin’s face to Jake’s wrinkles.  It’s my boys, on hot pink deliciousness!

So to all of you who want one (and I’m a tad embarrassed about my immaturity) but HA, HA!!!!  Me gots one!

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Bon voyage!

I am headed to a little place called Paradise Island!  The boys will be spending five glorious days with the wonderful Vasha (who will hopefully still love us after she sees the 98 pages of instruction that I left for her!)! I miss them already but they LOVE Vasha and she sends lots of photos to let me know they are having a great time in my absence!

Boys, check!  Luggage, check!  International data roaming plan so I can read all your blogs while I’m lounging at the beach, sipping on adult beverages. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK!

I won’t be posting but I hope you will be!

xoxo, me.

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Old habits.

Jake is new but he’s obviously not a puppy, he’s five-and-a-half.  He has spent three months with me which means he spent 63 months someplace else.  Rescue groups can only tell you so much about a dog, some of it you learn as you go.

In his previous life, Jake had access to a doggy-door.  This I knew but I was not sure what that meant for us.  When dogs can use a doggy-door they don’t have to learn to hold it.  So when Jake became part of our family, although one could argue he was housebroken, I treated him as if he was not.  I had hoped he would at least go to the door, any door and look for a doggy door which would then indicate that he had to go out and I could praise him and start associating a word or action with that need.  Nope.  He would just walk and then pee.  The key was catching him mid act (which finally happened)  and escorting him outside (check, check) and praise the be-Jesus out of him (and then some!).  We are one month without an accident.  Ah, baby steps!

Another fun fact (not really) is that I’m pretty sure Jake got fed human food.  I’m not talking about approved human food that can also be bought for the dog, but more like pizza, and sandwiches and whatnot.  This is a no, no in our house mostly because Melvin cannot have anything so it wouldn’t be right to feed Jake when I can’t verbally explain to Melvin why he’s being denied the joys of plate food.  But also, Jake and Melvin eat well. Really well.  Sometimes they eat better than the humans. They get veggies and fruit and much wholesome goodness. I spent a long time training Melvin to not beg.  He might stare you down from the required distance he must be when someone is eating, but what perpetually hungry creature wouldn’t do that?  Jake on the other hand will climb onto you when you are eating and try to take food off your fork.  Not aggressively, it’s more much more adorable than that.  If only it was acceptable.  Or permitted.  He’s slowly learning boundaries with food, having Melvin helps a ton with this one, but I still get up about twenty times during each meal to push him back into the acceptable ‘perimeter of gawking’.

One last thing that I didn’t know before I got him, that NO ONE who knew him well bothered to mention, is that dude can snore.  I mean all 31 pounds of him could out-snore Godzilla.  I’m 100% sure of this. The negative issue you can’t change, you just gotta learn to love!

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I love, I love, I love my calendar dog!

In my opinion, every day should be March 15th! We should move Christmas! Today is the day that Melvin’s lovely face is on the Workman Publishing 2013 Dog calendar!  People all over the world are flipping to this page and saying ‘hot damn that dog is ADORABLE!’!  If there is life on Mars, they most definitely have this calendar as well!

It’s the Ides of March, the day Caesar (Julius not Milan) died, yada yada yada – you know you just want to see the photos!  First, our most heartfelt thanks to the AMAZING Bev Hollis for making this happen!  We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you!!!  Check out the link, Bev has my boy on her blog today!! Leave her a comment!

And now… the star:

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Disagreements.

I wrote this post last night, about half an hour after the boys got into their first (and hopefully last) fight…

I’m not going to filter this, it scared the crap out me (OK, fine, I filtered the words I really wanted to use there). They had a few verbal scuffles when Jake first joined the family but this was much different. Despite the fear and the weird panic mode my body normally goes into if there is any chance the dogs are experiencing anything but pure joy, I remained calm. Both dogs are OK, most of the blood seemed to be mine.

I had given both boys Kongs. (It was a slow introduction to treats when together but they have been doing great for two months now; they are even known to switch Kongs mid chewing of them). Melvin has been trained to bring empty Kongs to the sink and when he does, he gets a treat. Up to last night, Jake would follow/watch Melvin and I’d have them both sit then I’d treat them both. Tonight was the very first night that Jake brought me his own Kong (the one he gets during the day from the dog walker). I of course treated them both and then we did dinner. I gave them their after dinner Kong, which they both ate and then were both just hanging out. When I stood up to go to the kitchen, Melvin bent down to get his empty Kong (as he has done at least 100 times in front of Jake). Jake was about two feet away, near his own empty Kong. As Melvin mouthed his own Kong, Jake lunged at him. Actually, Jake may have taken flight.

Jake was fully committed to this fight. Melvin on the other hand was reserved, moving out of Jake’s bite way. It was only a matter of seconds but it was enough to see I had two different reactions going on, Jake was determined to fight and Melvin was determined not to. Melvin didn’t run away, he stood his ground, he barked and made noises that sounded a lot like ‘calm the bleep down’ but he never issued a bite move. I had to pull Jake off/away from Melvin, I’m sure I didn’t do this properly. Once apart I put Jake into a sit (Melvin instinctively followed suit). A long, silent sit. I willed my heart to start beating again and then, I let it go.

There are a few things I think worked in our favor:

  1. Jake’s mouth does not open all that wide.  He can barely fit the small end of a medium size Kong in his mouth, he usually has to roll it. Also, Jake’s teeth are small and flatish.  I know he could clamp down and I have no doubt his jaw could lock onto an item and cause damage but his open/shut biting is not like Melvin’s.  The damage that Jake inflicted was more surface scratches, some of it may have even been caused by his nails.
  2. Melvin didn’t engage.  I have seen Melvin react to dogs who are off leash while Melvin is on leash and I 100% know that his bite would have meant significant injury for Jake.
  3. I somehow went into ‘you’ve got this mode’.

Moments after the incident, the boys were laying down close to one another and both drifted off to sleep. I looked at them both and felt tremendous love.  Challenges are meant to be overcome, that is how unconditional love works. This was my first dog fight, EVER and I know it wasn’t even close to the worst dog fight. I have NEVER heard noises like that before.  I don’t want them to fight. I hope they won’t fight again. But this is dog ownership.  I will make changes to set them up for future/continued success.

Sh!t happens. Move forward. Check, check.  (Oh, and thank you wine.  I love you.)

Raw.

What I know for sure about raw diets for dogs can be summed up in two words:  Not much.  I feel like the more I read, the less I know!  I guess that is always the case when you leap into something new (learning a language, a new job — one day it just clicks).  I do know there is controversy (between traditional vet medicine and more holistic approaches).  But sometimes, with the dogs, I have to go with gut instincts.  Thus, we are trying Melvin on raw.

My motivation is simple, I love him.  I want to always be able to say, we did everything we could for each of his issues.  His liver values seem to want to stay high (bad) and I so desperately want to show those values who the boss is.  To do that, we need to at least try to get him off some of his medications.  Raw diets have shown great promise for dogs with colitis and allergies (Melvin has both) by getting many dogs off medications so after much deliberation (and much conversation with those who know much, much more than my amount of very little) we are wading into the shallow end (a comical metaphor to use since Melvin can’t swim…).

The first thing we did was add a little teeny tiny bit of a freeze-dried raw food to his normal meal just to see how he handled the introduction of a protein to his diet (his current prescription food is a pre-digested protein).  We tried beef via Stella & Chewys.  For one week I watched his every move, counted itches, looked way to closely at his poop.  And the verdict, he seemed fine.  Yay!

So this week we are trying fresh raw (bought at the dog supply store, the type already mixed with veggies and fruit – I still don’t get the ratio of meat to bone to all the other things enough to make it at home). If only Melvin could make his own meals.  I feel extreme nausea at the site of the blood that looms at the bottom of the container and have to force myself to hold back gag reflexes as I mix it into his bowl. (“You love him, you can do this”).  You know who hasn’t gagged?  Melvin. He loves it.  I don’t know that we will make a transition to all raw just yet but so far so good, although it’s only day three of this phase.

Never a dull moment!  Here is Melvin in his new Sirius Republic collar (cannot tell you how much we LOVE it)!  Leather collar, raw diet, Melvin is proudly NOT vegan (although with each meal I prepare for him, I am one step closer to it).

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Size matters. Or does it?

I have always had big dogs (labs, newfies, you get it).  When I look on adoption sites or go head to adoption events, I for whatever reason, only have eyes for dogs over 40 lbs, usually over 60 lbs.  The funny thing is, walking two large dogs is not my strong suit (I can barely walk myself).  I would seek out a large, second dog and the whole time I’d worry wonder about the logistics of handling them both.  Never once, not ever, did I consider a smaller dog to accommodate those concerns. I’m not sure where my discrimination stems from. It might be that Melvin spends so much time underfoot and I’m always happy that he’s bigger so when I step on him he doesn’t break.

Enter Jake.  Jake is under my 40 lb threshold, weighing in at 31.  He is a little dog. But he’s not a little dog.  There are days he is bigger than Melvin.  He is the biggest, small dog ever.  He’s actually more like a statue of the biggest, small dog ever.  Almost immovable or incapable of bending.  I see people picking up their little dogs and holding them.  Uh good luck picking up Jake, you’d be better off picking a building.  Jake goes into freeze frame if you attempt to lift him, seriously, I have pulled muscles just trying.  He likes all four paws, firmly planted on the ground and while in your arms he is pure stone.

So now, I have one big dog and one fake small dog. And yes, Jake gets stepped on.  Melvin has landed on him (hopefully not on purpose) and he’s been clipped by human feet a few times. He’s still alive and kicking (I’m sure his rescue group just gasped.).  Walking them is a normal amount of difficult (no one has fallen down yet) so that is all good.

Some photos of the boys who finally got to have some quality time outside this weekend…

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Sweaters, beds and bow-ties! Oh my!

Melvin’s birthday weekend consisted of a lot of walks followed by a lot of snuggle time, just the way he likes it! Melvin got his usual birthday gift,a new bed, and both dogs got matching Tiennot’s sweaters!  Our dearest Emily from Our Waldo Bungie sent along a gift with this order, matching bow-ties!!!!  Yay us!!!  Let me be clear, we LOVE our Emily and our Tiennot Knit Sweaters.  The boys each have their own ‘closet’ due to all our adoration!

During the sweater modeling session you’ll notice that Melvin tolerates the camera (he’ll do ANYTHING for a treat).  Jake on the other hand finds the camera to be terrifying  horrifying scary (and treats don’t really make up for the fright of it all), as seen in the second photo (and many of the others)….

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New bed for the stud!

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Twins! (side-note: I was not pointing a gun at Jake. I don’t even own a gun.)

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Lesson learned: turtlenecks accentuate head size.

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Me: Jake, face the camera.  Jake: No.

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The Birthday boy!

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There is a very good chance that Jake is in a witness protection program that I am not aware of.

No photos of them in their bow-ties YET, but just you wait, they are a-comin!  We LOVE you Em &  Tiennot Knits!!!!  Thank you!!!

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Siriusly Addicted.

We won a Sirius Republic collar!  For those of you who know us, you might be thinking, ‘wait, don’t you already have them all?’. The answer is, almost!!!

Hi my name is Tracey and I’m addicted to buying Sirius Republic Collars for my dogs.  The proof is in the photos.  I won’t post the snoods we have from them but suffice it to say it’s more than the number of fingers you have on one hand (unless you have more than the average number of fingers, in that case it’s six).

I don’t know all the fabric names (fine, I know one of the fabric names because we have three versions of it but we have our own naming system for the others)…

The “Fall” collar…

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The “orange one”…

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“Sugar Skulls” — this one I know because Melvin owns BOTH colors and ‘another’ dog in the house has one…

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The “it’s a patriotic holiday” collar…

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The “try to make you look more manly” collar…

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The “Jolly” collar…

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And finally, Jake has been in with us for three months and he already has two Sirius Republic collars!!!  Sugar Skulls and Monkey-licious.

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Whatever you do, DO NOT SEND HELP!