things i “barked at”* this weekend, by zozo

*they say “barked at”; i say “defended them from.”  we apparently have to agree to disagree.  (i’m right).

SATURDAY:

-momma leaving for class
-the mailman
-dad leaving for work
-momma unlocking the door
-the mailman
-mums’ arrival
-momma and mums leaving for the store
-momma and mums returning from the store
-the neighbors
-the neighbor boy’s friends
-nothing
-the gate swinging in the wind
-dad coming home from work

 

SUNDAY:

-birds in the yard
-momma going out for coffee
-momma coming home with coffee
-mo’s car
-mo
-mo’s shoes
-momma and daddy leaving
-nothing
-nothing again
-dad walking up the stairs
-dinner
-dad leaving for a meeting
-bubbles in the tub
-the neighbor dog out for a walk
-dad coming home from his meeting

 

I SAVED THEM!

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In the neighborhood, in the neigh-bor-hood!

March 2017

About a year ago, I started running.  Voluntarily, with nothing chasing me.  I bought good sneakers that fit my orthotics (my knees have history) and a Wind Breaker and a little belt in which to keep my phone for music.  I used the Couch To 5K app to help me get started. If you were around my neighborhood, you’d see me jogging and walking and jogging and walking and huffing and puffing three days a week.  I did it for exercise and to help prepare for a musical I was in last summer.

(To be clear, I tried to take Zozo with me.  He wasn’t having it.  It could be I was too slow or he was too interested in pooping when there were no cans around.  Either way, opportunity lost.)

I hate running.  I struggle with it, but I keep at it.  I like the fresh air.  I like reporting back on homes for sale or new lawn decorations.  But mostly, I like that I get a chance to see neighborhood dogs.

Bradley is a handsome Sheltie who trots his dad along.  When he sees you, no matter how far off, he sits and waits.  His dad waits, too.  You may not pass Bradley without petting him, for he will follow you until you pet him.  Sometimes coming and going, I get some Bradley love.  Bradley’s dad gets a lot of interrupted walks.

Ariel is a German Shepherd with the largest ears I’ve ever seen.  She moved into a house as a puppy, and it’s been amazing to watch her grow into her feet.  Her eyes are amber. When her dad walks her to the local middle school to collect her human siblings, she’s off-leash, focused and disinterested in sharing the sidewalk.  Disciplined. So disciplined.

There’s a dog– sometimes two– that live in a house one street over.  I refer to this dog as Evil Dog.  I think his name is Storm.  I’m not sure.  He’s a fence charger and a jail-breaker.  From out of no where, he’ll come charging the fence, barking at passers-by, not at all phased by the beeping of the electric fence collar his owners have on him for extra restraint.  Maybe I’m being unkind– I suspect he’s lonely, bored, or poorly socialized– but he scares me to death every. damn. run.  (One time he hopped the fence and walked to Home Depot.  He was found in the plumbing section.)

A Burmese Mountain Dog broke away from his tweenage companion and knocked me over, stood on my legs and licked my hair.  The crackle of a changing voice screaming “MOM”, “HELP” and “HE’S JUST A PUPPY” was heartbreaking.  When I realized I wasn’t being mauled to death, we all calmed down and had a giggle.  And then I cried the rest of the way home.  Run cut short.  (They have a fence now.)

The long-haired Chihuahua.  This little thing, wearing a bedazzled orange harness, came running yap-yap-yap out of an open garage and chased me down the street.  When I turned back to him, he put his tush down and hushed.  I walked towards him and he backed up, turned around and started towards home.  I resumed my run and he resumed his.  I picked up my pace and flipped a corner.  I have no idea where he went, but I hope it was home, along the sidewalk.

There’s a beagle who guards a neighbor’s chicken coop and generally hangs out in the middle of the street.  He’s a weirdo.  People just drive around him, or get out of their cars to shoo him home.

There’s an older Korean gentleman who walks his cat.  I want to make friends with him.

 

Report Card

January 16, 2017

I suppose I shouldn’t laugh?

Street Animals of Cuba

October 26-30, 2016

We went to Cuba.  It’s a magnificent and startling and complicated place.

Doodle went to camp for his own adventure.  We missed him, but we were lucky to have a house-dog.  Our casa, the large house in which we rented a room, has a wiggly boxer named Pike who is curious, sweet and extremely well-behaved.

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He’d greet us in the morning and when we returned from the day’s excursions.  We brought in smells from America as well as places in the city he’d never visited.  We hadn’t expected to have a trip mascot, but he was a wonderful surprise.

Something else we didn’t expect– that we didn’t know to ask about in advance to emotionally prepare for– were amount of stray animals.  Because why would we?  How would we know that we’d see dogs and cats, puppies and kittens roaming around appearing generally well-fed but still showing the wear-and-tear of street living?

Some of them joined our tours for a stroll around a square and or exploring Hemingway’s Finca Vigia, vocally letting our guide know how much they liked her explanations.

In some places, dogs wear string collars with index-sized cards attached, like the pup perched on James’ lap.  The cards are handwritten and include the animal’s name.  They mean that someone feeds the dogs regularly.  These animals are still strays, but someone nearby looks out for them.

And yet, with so many animals in need of homes or stability, puppies are sold on the street, costing more than the annual salary of local doctors.

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In Cuba, there is veterinary care.  There is a spay and neuter program through animal welfare groups to try to control the stray population.  There is no such thing as dog food:  domesticated animals like Pike eat whatever their humans eat.  Pike’s breakfast was an enormous portion of freshly cooked rice and boiled beans, and sometimes chicken.  Cubans who own pets or who take care of them share their monthly food rations with them.

Together, James and I took close to 400 pictures.  So many are of the animals that hang around public spaces solo or in packs, calmly approaching humans for food or affection or sniffs.  Sleeping.  Prowling.  Co-existing with the bustle of the city.

And no, we didn’t come home with a new furbaby.  We’d never have gotten out and they’d never have gotten in.  But like so much of our trip, they’re going to be with us as we process our experiences.

Bud, an update

YOU GUYS YOU GUYS.

 

Last November we introduced you to some new friends, Diamond and Bud.  We sponsored their adoption fees with the hope that they would find good, loving homes after being long-term residents at Alley Cat Rescue.

In March,we we shared the good news that Diamond was adopted and on her way to her new, furever home.  We also mentioned that Bud was off on an adventure of his own to Anne Arundel county, for additional training and some new surroundings.

This morning we’ve learned the BUD WAS ADOPTED!  What a wonderful way to end the week.

#ADOPTDONTSHOP

Keeping Cool

July 2016

It’s.  So.  Hot.

Summertime in the suburbs of DC always swelters.  Humidity.  Tourists.  So much gross.

To keep cool this year, we’re relying on our old stand-bys:

Frozen Nibbles:  Zozo will do anything for frozen green beans and/or banana slices.  We put them on top of his dried food or use them as treats after short trips outside.  He’ll wait (im)patiently for them when we come inside.

why must you torture me with “wait”?

 When he was younger, we could sate him with ice cubes.  As he’s aged, he’s less interested in them.  But frozen treats seem to do the trick.

Basement dwelling:  it’s like we have an adolescent human boy.  He lurks in the dark corners of the basement, drawn out only by promises of food.  It’s cool.  It’s dark.  Quiet.  There’s video games and instruments.  He loves it.  And he’s reluctant to come up or share the couch.  Or he’s under it.

Dorothy Affect, basement version

Close crops: like it or not, we cut off all of his fur for the summer.  His shaggy, flat black coat is unbearable in the sunshine and heat.  He’s groomed closed to his skin– so close that you can see how white his belly is.  And it makes me laugh when he’s sleek and skin-y.

Water sports:  Zozo loves to swim.  Loves it.  He like to splash and paddle and chase balls.  We don’t have a pool at our disposal, so we often take him to Old Towne Pet Resort for a dip and a bath.

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Tell us!  How do you stay cool when it’s hot outside?  What are some things we should try?

Let’s talk about this guy

February 1, 2016

 

When we moved into our house so many years ago, we worried that Zozo was lonely.  That he needed company when we were out of the house.  We thought he could use a companion’s example to follow when his social anxiety acts up.  And so, we brought MJ home.

When we let MJ go in late December, we again worried that Zozo would be lonely.  That his behavioral challenges would become exacerbated in her absence.  We had no idea how we would manage his grief along with ours.

For the first few days, he would look around for her: at meal times, in the yard, when he hopped on the couch for some snuggles.  The house is quiet and still.  It’s cold without the constant pittie shadow-slash-lap-blanket.

Long story very short: Zozo is amazing.  Yes, he’s anxious on-leash without her example.  Yes, he still barks at noises outside tgat we cannot see. He’s also silly and chatty and affectionate.  He’s enjoying the one-on-one with the humans.  He hops on our bed for pre-lights out snoozing.  His goofy personality is on display.  We’re dressing him in his jaunty kerchiefs and bow ties (ok, I’m dressing him).  It’s as if he’s coming out of his shell again.

 

It’s helped our mourning to laugh at him… with him; to enjoy being just us three.  He asks about her.  He sleeps with her crate towel.  We’re finding a new routine, the three of us.

The bundle in the top left corner is her crate towel.

Time to get our hands dirty

June 2014

When you own a dog, you resign yourself to a certain level of mess in your life.  Muddy paw prints on carpet after rain.  Snout marks stamping upholstery.  Dog hair on everything and in everything.  Discovering a hole in the pick-up baggie the hard way.  Water bowl slosh-over.  Slobbery kisses after a particularly rough day, leaving your cheeks perfectly exfoliated. Tumbleweeds of fur rolling through your living room despite daily swifferings.

All of this I was ready to accept as a fur-mom.  I could handle it, to a degree.

But what I never really prepared for– what other furparents don’t disclose– is cheese squished under your fingernails.  Pants pockets dusty with biscuit crumbs.  Hot dog grease clinging to the grooves of my fingers.

Treats. Smell.  And the higher the value, the more potent.

I’m always looking for ways to reward our dogs for good behavior and well-executed cues. Something yummy and different, but not full of junk. Carrots, fresh green beans, apples and bananas are frequent fare during our “You Did It!” exaltations.  But for those really tough recalls, the getting attention away from woodland creatures and UPS delivery drivers, we need more. Hence the stinky treats.

Reading through various blogs, I came across Pitlandia, a blog about a rescue pittie living in Portland.  Athena and her mommy are very sporty and on-the-go, and we like reading about their adventures.  Occasionally they post product reviews, and I was particularly intrigued by Love It: LeanLix.

Based in Seattle, Washington, LeanLix was developed by Gracie the Yellow Lab and her mom (Sharon).  One snowy winter, Sharon was training puppy Grace in the snow, and grabbed a jar of fluff.  Grace did a trick, the lid came off and Grace got a lick.  Inspiration struck!

As their website says, LeanLix is “a reward that could be licked, low calorie and have health benefits (all while keeping all 5 fingers intact)”… exactly what we’re looking for!  With big plans for summer adventures, we thought we’d give LeanLix a whirl.

I actually ended up speaking with Sharon on the phone when I placed my order.  She was enthusiastic, friendly and so excited about her product and our dogs.  We chatted breeds, best LeanLix deployment techniques, and flavors our pups respond to.  Later that week, our treats arrived complete with a Gracie sticker!

IMG_1301LeanLix are packaged in tubes that resemble chapstick, and they work the same way: twist the bottom to dispense more treat!  They come in “littlelix,” like our Spring Training 6-pack, and “Big Dog.”  The flavors we’ve tried are bark bq, run-a-way frank, day at the beach, cupcake on the counter, grace d-luxe with cheese, and 1/2 eaten pb&j sandwich.  It looks like new flavors are being added every day. While our furbabies like them all, they’re most greedy about licking the grace d-luxe and run-a-way frank.

Here’s what we’ve found:  MJ and Zozo were a little leery of the treat delivery system at first, but once they tasted them, they were hooked.  The littlelix fit in pants pockets, while the Big Dog comes with a neck lanyard for easy carrying.  They get excited when the tubes come out of our treat jars, and they’d gladly run away with a littlelix if we’d let them.  Our hands are clean, our dogs are happy.  I’m happy.  Did I mention 3 licks equals zero calories and they don’t break the bank?

If you’re looking for something new, check out their site and give Sharon a call (you can also order them online, but I like talking to entrepreneurs).  She’s wonderful, they’re wonderful, and Gracie’s sticker is too darn cute.  Tell her MJ and Zozo sent you!

wfh

February 27, 2014

I’ve had the opportunity to work from home recently, due to illness and snow-tastrophies and general boss-omeness (that’s “boss+awesome” for those of you who don’t fluently speak Kari).

It’s a privilege to work in my pjs, with snacks and coffee and couches in easy reach.  And puppy snuggles.

Yes, during those days when the living room/kitchen counter/office/hammock becomes my command center, our furbabies are  (mostly) ideal coworkers.

Zo typically camps out, moving between napping (The Dorothy Intervention of daylight hours) IMG_1171

and participating in conference calls.  That is, he’s a snoring, adorable mound until I unmute the phone to participate in a meeting, at which time he growls, grumbles, and provides a rousing soundtrack to my conversation.  He’s also great at interrupting people who drone on and on…What can I say?  He’s got mad skillz.

MJ takes advantage of the human-at-home-which-means-no-crate time by lounging on her puppy-approved end of the couch.

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She also pops over to my workspace, to sit and stare.  And judge me.  After which she gives a big, huffy sigh and wiggles away.

She sat on the floor in that exact stop and started at me for 10 minutes straight.

She sat on the floor in that exact spot and stared at me for 10 minutes straight.

Inevitably, something adorable like this happens, which I only discover when I try to stand up and ruin the sibling-love moment by falling over them.

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Helpers to the end!