Jake’s confession.

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Hey guys, it’s me Jake.  I’ve been instructed to confess my sin.  At first I was surprised at the singular ‘sin’ part but then I became super thankful that She does not know about my other indiscretions.  Apparently this time I’m to admit to the following:

I pee’d on Melvin’s bed. Again.

To be honest, I did not know this was a sin.  I mean I…oh, who am I kidding?  I knew She’d be upset and inside I was laughing when he laid in it!  I’m somewhere between the age of thirty to thirty-six but I’m like that thirty-year-old human dude who thinks he’s still in a fraternity and still lives with his parents and still plays video games in the basement.  Only the dog version of that is peeing in your brother’s bed.  Calm down, I mean there is a ton of crime and strife going on in this world, a little pee never killed anyone.

Why did I do it?  Well, no one knows for sure.  Not even me.  I love my brother, I live to smell his butt.  I stare at him and when he moves, I follow.  At the same time, I hate my brother.  He gets more food than I do, he gets to go through doorways before me and his bed is bigger and more comfortable than mine (even though She claims they are exactly the same bed, I can just tell, his is better).  Also, the other day he jumped off the bed and I could tell he jumped TOWARDS me when he clearly could have jumped away from my precious body. And I know it confuses her that I sleep in that bed every chance I get and still I pee in it and well you what…I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU.  I’M JAKE.  I HAVE A DARK SIDE.  DEAL WITH IT.

Are we done here?  How does confession work, am I just instantly forgiven and released of all guilt?  Great!  Take care, peace out.

 It's OK little brother, when you pee in my bed, I get to sleep in the big bed.

It’s OK little brother, when you pee in my bed, I get to sleep in the big bed.

Insomniacs would hate Melvin.

Melvin can sleep.  I mean that dog can curl up and snooze like no ones business.  I actually get jealous of how deep a sleep and how completely comfortable he can get.

They had a news story today about how many people suffer from insomnia and have to resort to sleeping aids/pills.  Melvin did not understand the words that reporter was speaking.

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Dogs eat stuff.

I know that Melvin will eat anything.  Cupcake covered in ants, chicken bone that has been cooking in the hot summer sun, goose poop.  You enter it HERE and I assure you he will eat it.  In a neighborhood where houses are being built (i.e. workers all over who discard food by throwing it on the ground), walking can be like maneuvering through a minefield.

Jake is proving himself to be similar, yet different.  Jake eats weird stuff.  Plumbers putty from the side of the house, rocks, leaves, a baby frog.  This weekend, it was chewed gum.  Since we didn’t know if it was sugar-free gum or not (turns out it was) we called poison control to get advice on what to do.  (For those of you who don’t know, sugar-free gum that contains xylitol is toxic to dogs). I gave poison control my phone number and immediately they asked “is this for Jake?”.  He’s a frequent flyer at poison control.

Apparently, the xylitol in sugar-free gum tricks a dog’s body into thinking it has consumed A LOT of sugar and the dog’s reaction to so much sugar can, in some instances, cause liver failure.  I’m sure a vet could critique the explanation I just gave but that’s the basic gist of it.  Jake had some minor stomach upset, he threw up and that was pretty much that.  Poison control said to be on the lookout for him acting ‘odd’ or ‘out of sorts’.  I questioned my ability to know what odd Jake would be like.  For example, I give you the video below.  He was staring into space long enough for me to go get my camera and start filming him.  Still, to be honest, this is not totally out of character for my little man:

Just an FYI…while on the phone with poison control they informed me that if a dog is microchiped through Home Again (or registered through Home Again), the cost of calls to poison control is covered!

Dogs and decor.

I love my dogs.  I also love decorating. Of course,  I love my dogs more than decorating.  Luckily, there is no need to sacrifice one for the other.  You read the blog, you know the dogs are spoiled.  They each have three beds to my one, they have a trunk full of sweaters and jackets and they have almost every collar made by Sirius Republic.  But the thing is, I don’t LOVE dog stuff.  I don’t like to see dog stuff that looks like dog stuff.  Oddly, if I go to someone else’s house and they have dog stuff strewn all around, I don’t even notice.  But in my house, it haunts me. So the compromise is, the dog stuff has to either blend in or make a bold statement.

Here are some tricks that work for me.

Treats as decoration:8 22 13 8 22 13a

Dog lounging that blends in:8 22 13c

A functional yet aesthetically pleasing mudroom:8 22 13b 8 22 13g 8 22 13h

Carpets that hide hair!8 22 13f 8 22 13i

A teepee that takes people by surprise yet still work as a lounging area for Jake!8 22 13j

A sleeping area in the  master bedroom that doesn’t make the room feel cluttered:8 22 13d 8 22 13k

And storage for their stuff (I forgot to take the photo before I left this morning, but see that piece of furniture behind Jake):8 22 13z

It’s a darker version of this (below) and all their collars and sweaters are inside it:

chest 1 chest 2

Anyone have other tips for making dog and human decor blend??

The other one.

The dog’s one and only real squabble was over a Kong.  An empty Kong that Jake felt the need to protect from Melvin.  Most of the advice I got after this incident was to not give them treats together, be careful with food guarding and/or to avoid Kongs all together.  I love advice, and often I listen to it.  But before we quit group Kongs all together, I wanted to at least try to create a world where the boys could both have a Kong, UNDER SUPERVISION, without a civil war ensuing.  I had to try.

My plan was to try to teach Jake about ‘the other one’.  The other one being the other Kong.  If one Kong was being occupied, there was always ‘the other one’.  I guess in a way I was teaching him to trust me to know how to count to two.  That we don’t have to ration Kongs.  To have faith.  We’re lovers, not fighters.  So I bought A LOT of Kongs and I put them all over the floor (again, always under supervision) and I would sit on the floor and give Jake an empty Kong and give Melvin an empty Kong and pick up other Kongs and say ‘the other one’.  Get the other one.  Here’s the other one.  Where’s the other one.   I constantly repeated ‘the other one’ when Jake would move to a different Kong. Again, the Kongs were all empty so the boys energy level stayed pretty low.  I did this Kong desensitization daily. I’m not sure they could have been more bored, I know I couldn’t have been.  And that was exactly what I wanted, ho-hum attitudes towards Kongs.  I opted out of treating them for good behavior during these sessions, I didn’t want to introduce food until I was certain they could handle empty Kongs around each other.  Weeks and weeks and weeks of empty Kongs.

Then one day I gave them each a Kong, with a treat in it.  Jake ate his and Melvin ate his.  Jake finished first and went over to see Melvin’s.  I would say get ‘the other one’ and he’d go back to his Kong.  When Melvin was done and he’d go check out Jake’s Kong, I’d say it again and Jake would leave his Kong to Melvin and check out Melvin’s last one.  If one Kong is occupado, move on to THE OTHER ONE.

Now, they exchange Kongs mid snacking on them.  Melvin is better at getting the treats out and Jake is the master of licking the peanut butter out of the top.  Look at my duo go! The yin and yang of Kongamania!   I still watch them diligently, and always will.  You just never know when something could spark a fight. But for now,  we have peace! And a lot of Kongs.

photo photo[1] photo[2]


I have two dogs that for the most part, do not need groomed.  Nails clipped, baths and every once in a while we get Melvin’s #2 area shaved a bit to avoid the… you know,  dingles. Jake is the same, minus the #2 area issue.  Despite their minimal grooming needs, I don’t bathe either of them.  I tried once, to bathe Melvin.  It ended with me having a dislocated finger.  That was the end of that.

From a stink perspective, Melvin can pretty much go two months between baths.  During the summer and fall he goes in more often to help with his allergies.  Jake on the other hand, starts to stink after just two weeks.  I’m not sure why, or how.  I think he just has dog B.O.  It kicks in pretty much on day 15, a sour smell. There is nothing good about this smell.  I cannot for the life of me figure out why he smells so bad after such a short time.

Jake is 35 lbs.  He fits in my kitchen sink.  I should just bathe him myself.  Right? Fine, I’ll try this weekend.  Stay tuned for how that.

Even Jake hides from his own smell…8 16 13


There is a reason I’m a dog person.  A moment in life that changed everything.  Of course I have always loved dogs, but it wasn’t until I met a certain dynamic duo that I knew, with all that I am that I would never, ever be a dog-less person.

That power couple, was my dear sister-friend Virginia and her sidekick MollieAnne.  Virginia saved a two-year-old MollieAnne from death row.  Although I was not there for that moment, I have no doubt how it went.  Virginia saw MollieAnne, then Virginia saved MollieAnne.  No hesitation. That was fourteen years ago.  A lot happens in fourteen years, A LOT of love can grow.

MollieAnne took Virginia from who she was becoming to who’d she’d become.  In return, Virginia loved MollieAnne fiercely.  It’s a type of love you only wish you were a part of. Just to glimpse it, makes you a better person. It was their connection, the very first time I saw it, that would change my direction in life forever.  I looked at them and I wanted want they had. It was because of the two of them that I got Max.

During the past fourteen years of Virginia’s life, there were break-ups, heartaches, moves, marriage, deaths, joys, illnesses, a baby girl, a baby boy, one more baby girl.  MollieAnne was there for every-single-moment.  A living chronicle of Virginia’s life. When they lost their Sosa boy, they lost him together.  MollieAnne even allowed Virginia to rescue the elder-Booty last year.  While MollieAnne may not have loved the idea of another four-legged female coming into the house, she trusted Virginia. In the same way MollieAnne was saved, she knew others needed the same. She had evolved effortlessly, from fierce diva to soulful queen.

MollieAnne was given weeks to live, four years ago.  That’s just how she rolls.  She wasn’t leaving on anyone’s timeline but her own.  She had too much more to do.

Over the last decade (plus), MollieAnne has watched Virginia and her wonderful husband Shane take care of each other. She led them as they perfected their dance. They grew their beautiful family.  In a house full of kids, there is a lot of moving forward. The oldest is starting first grade, middle child is going into pre-kindergarten and the youngest has learned to walk.  MollieAnne stood by each of them as they blossomed and eventually she knew,  her beautiful work here was done.

She left this world with an infinite amount of love in her heart.  She loved her people in a way that healed, it was a joy to watch. She had a huge, everlasting impact.  I was honored to know her and to love her.

The always beautiful and ever soft, Goose…


…now happily reunited with her Sosa.


Weekend in pictures.

It was hot this past weekend, thus the boys did a great deal of laying around.

They sun-spotted…8 12 13

Jake watched House Hunters.  Melvin was unimpressed.8 12 13a

I put a pillow under Jake’s head to see if it helped with the snoring.8 12 13b

Melvin prayed that it worked.8 12 13c

Jake caught on that we were laughing with at him.8 12 13d

Then they slept some more.8 12 13e

Then they changed locations…and, you guessed it, slept.8 12 13g 8 12 13f

One funny dude.

It was the middle of the night and I got up and realized Jake was nowhere to be seen, despite the bedroom door being closed.  And then I found him.

(sorry for the darkness, but literally this was 2am! stick with it, it becomes clearer.)

And then he did it again, middle of day.  Do you think he is trying to tell me he wants a blanket, or a cave?

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When I was able to catch it on film during the day, he seemed embarrassed.  Maybe this is a private time activity?!

Time outs.

I can take one look at Melvin’s face and know if he has done something he shouldn’t have.   I say ‘show me’ he does just that and I follow-up with the usual, ‘it’s OK’.

Jake is a bit different in his approach. Ninety-five percent of the time, Jake is at my feet or Melvin’s butt. If he is not at one of those locations, something is going or has already gone terribly wrong.  I will eventually find him like this:

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Once I find him, I stop what I’m doing and locate what he’s done. This weekend it was peeing, twice.

I don’t know how it worked in his first home.  I’m not sure why he puts himself in these self-imposed time-outs.  I do know that during these moments, he seems like a tiny, tortured soul.  My guess is that he is surprised that his dark side has won out.  As if, just maybe, it was out of his control.  The most I can do in these situations is let him know that I love all of his sides.  And then I lure him out of his make-believe prison sentence (the one where he is both warden and inmate) and wait for the right moment for positive reinforcement, like when his alter ego is not peeing on the bedroom floor.