December 20, 2017
or literally any day after 3pm
November 23, 2017
Year 1, we asked you to click.
Year 2, we asked you to share.
Year 3, we asked you to pay it forward.
This year… well, 2017 has been tumultuous in so many ways. Just getting up and going to work has been tough when it feels like the world is falling apart. At work, we’re having to “do more with less.” Sometimes you have to find something to brighten your day.
Eddie is a handsome, golden 8-year old. He snores and he sheds and he gives slobbery kisses. He goes on walkabout when his person is attending a “no dogs allowed” meeting and he gets bored. He’s sweet. He’s the most popular being at the office. You see his face and it just makes you feel happy.
Eddie has a very important job as a guide dog for Q (not his real initial). They are world travelers, happy hour partakers, and together they’re living their best bachelor lives. They’ve been together for 6 years. Q says it’s maybe taken that long for them to really get used to each other.
[Let me be clear: I understand what is or is not appropriate behavior between service animals and not-their-people. I have read enough stories online about people distracting service animals and tragedy striking. There are boundaries, and I respect them. Everyone at work respects them, and we asked Q how we should or should not acknowledge Eddie when they joined our office. I also asked Q’s permission before taking these pictures of Eddie.]
At 8, Eddie is starting to slow down. His walking pace isn’t what it used to be, and he’s stopping for rests at times that may not be convenient or safe for he and Q. Eddie is otherwise in good health, but he’s aging, like the rest of us. In late September, a rumor went around the office that Q would be retiring Eddie and getting another service animal.
All hell broke loose, and that’s not an exaggeration. There were shushed hallway conversations. People asked Q what his plans were, what Eddie’s plans were. Q wants Eddie to be able to be a dog in his twilight years. No fewer than five coworkers offered to adopt Eddie when the time came (I was one of them). Q is Eddie’s entire life. Would he understand?
Yesterday was Eddie’s last day at the office. He’s spending the holiday at a friend’s house and then heading off to his new home with X (also not his real initial). I stopped in to see Q today, because he leaves right after the holiday to meet his new guide. He’s nervous and excited. I asked how he’s feeling about letting Eddie go. The good news is that Eddie will be living with a family that are good friends with Q. They’ll see each other. He’ll get updates. Q’s looking forward to meeting his new guide dog, but there’s so much that needs to happen as they bond and adapt to each other; it’s going to be a busy December for them. I cried a little when I said bye to Eddie, getting one final sloppy kiss that left a slime trail on my sweater (worth it).
While Q adapts to life with a new guide dog, Eddie is beginning a transition to civilian life. He’s going to be living with a family with small children. He’s got a yard and extra room in a house. But he won’t be hopping a plane for a jiu-jitsu tournament or heading down to a local pub for a young professional’s meet up. Not often, anyway. Suburban life awaits him.
We wanted to do something for Eddie, because he deserves to be rewarded for doing his job so well for so long, and to celebrate this transition to retirement.
This year, we’re happy to give Eddie a 6-month subscription to BarkBox. Zozo loves his BarkBox and seems to know that the blue and tan box is for him when it appears on our porch each month. The treats are good quality and the toys are fantastic and durable. Our hope is that Eddie will enjoy these special deliveries, too, that are just for him.
*they say “barked at”; i say “defended them from.” we apparently have to agree to disagree. (i’m right).
-momma leaving for class
-dad leaving for work
-momma unlocking the door
-momma and mums leaving for the store
-momma and mums returning from the store
-the neighbor boy’s friends
-the gate swinging in the wind
-dad coming home from work
-birds in the yard
-momma going out for coffee
-momma coming home with coffee
-momma and daddy leaving
-dad walking up the stairs
-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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tell us! How do you stay cool when it’s hot outside? What are some things we should try?
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.