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?
April 22, 2016
I’m a planner. We’ve discussed this. I’m happiest when I get to organize, when there’s a to-do list, and when I can track my accomplishments. I get frustrated and disappointed when my hard work is undone by things that are outside of my control. But I’m also the person you want on your side in a crisis. Change is good. I’m flexible. Two opposite people living in my little virgo body. The struggle is real.
We like to take trips with the dogs. The Outer Banks, Asheville, Woodstock (which I neglected to blog about but I’ll get back to)… this year is no different. For our very first “just us three” trip, Zo, James and I set our sights on Charlottesville, VA. We heard it was a great place to hang out: funky, historic, walkable, pet-friendly. I rented a house. I made reservations for dinners. We made “excursion” plans. And then we changed them on the fly.
See, on our way to Charlottesville, we planned to take a slight detour along Skyline Drive and take Zo for a hike. Our travel plans coincided with the commencement of year-long activities celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service. We were excited to hike newly refurbished, blazed trails; to shake off the city and work and stress and enjoy the fresh, clean air.
In the days leading up to our trip, the news began reporting of a wildfire along Skyline. We tracked the fire and changed our route. Every day in the week leading up to the trip, we tracked and changed and tracked and changed. Thousands of acres of forest were destroyed. Skyline closed. Our big “WE’RE ON VACATION” moment came to a halt.
So I stressed and planned. The morning of our departure, I nooked into the corner of the couch, laptop perched on my knees, looking for solid hikes do-able with a dog. I hounded James with links and maps and “what abouts.” He told me to calm down. I scowled a lot. Zozo slept. And then I found it: Humpback Rocks in Crozet, VA. 45 minutes from Charlottesville along the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We packed the car, strapped the pup in, and hit the road. I felt better.
And then the rain started. It rained fairly steadily the entire drive. When it wasn’t raining, it was misting. But I was going to hike, dammit. And so, we did.
Because of the rain, the trail was ours. The site reads it’s a little over two miles and strenuous. You climb 1,240 feet. I don’t know what we expected. No, that’s a lie, I do. We expected strenuous to mean this:
And it was that. And more… much more.
The three of us are stubborn. James delightfully (for me) goes along with my terrible ideas. Zozo is part goat, scampering and hopping along like a fearless puppy (he’s 9). The rain wouldn’t stop us. And the final view… totally, absolutely worth the stress.
Covered in mud and more damp than dry, we made our way back down the mountain. Someone fell on their tush (hint, it wasn’t me). We piled back in and made the drive to Charlottesville. More on that later.
Idea courtesy of The Daily Prompt.
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.
It’s gorgeous outside. And our boy suffers from seasonal allergies. We run, we romp, we hunt bumble-bees, and when the itchy skin and watery eyes get to be too much, we head inside for the cool comfort of floor.
These days, it’s taking a lot for Doodle to settle and rest. He’ll circle a spot 10 times before deciding he didn’t want to flop there anyway. We hear him clicking around, huffing and sighing, and we stay out of the way and keep MJ from interrupting his quiet times.
But often, we’ll come back into a room, and he’s Feng-Zo’d it somehow. Some examples:
Anyone else experience weird “getting comfy” rearrangements?
Last week, we triumphantly presented our certificates of completion from our first aid class. This week, I sadly report we’ve had ample opportunity to deploy our newfound home-med skills.
We’re all bandaged, mildly sedated and resting quietly.
Meanwhile, April appears to have presented a theme, so next week we’ll take a little trip back in time to 2012 when– spoiler alert– MJ decided to Jackson Pollock our walls.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Helpers to the end!
Y’all, Doodle an’ I just wanted to let y’all know that we are available for adventures
or snuggles an’ naptimes
or even playin’ dress-up
durin’ the furrrlough. Or maybe you jes want kisses-n-hugs?
SO: if y’all’s bored with the shutdown, have your people contact my humans. We’ll help you pass the time. Especially if you gots hot dogs.
We usually don’t allow the dogs to sleep on the bed with us. James is very tall and he requires a lot of elbow room, and I tend to travel around in my sleep. Overnight, the bed is for humans, only.
Due to work schedules, I typically turn in before the husband. I grab my book and tuck myself in to unwind before I fall asleep, light on with the Kindle keys pressing into my cheek. But while I’m settling in, I have company.
Because you see, until all of the lights go out, the dogs are allowed snuggle time on the bed (GASP! I know. I know. I’m not proud). Comfort queen that she is, MJ bounds onto the bed and rearranges the blankets to her approval, burrowing until she’s a lump curled against my leg. Typically, Zozo flops down and low-crawls under the bed to his preferred sleeping space. I call this arrangement “The Dorothy Intervention”.
But some nights, when the wind is blustering or he’s not feeling altogether himself– or he’s feeling like a big goofball– Zo hops up on the bed. He stomps around. He circles to find the best nesting space.
“Mama, where’s the little girl? Is she here?”
Rudely interrupted with light and a cold snout invading her cave, MJ nips a warning. Completely freaked out, Zozo backs up and falls off the bed, thudding to the floor and scampering to the door in surprise.
“Is everyone OK up there?” James calls.
“Yep, Pupper just fell off the bed again.”
MJ always feigns innocence when I lift up the blankets to scold her:
“No nipping! That’s not nice!”
“I didn’t do nothin’! Doodle musta just fell.”
Within minutes, Zozo is back up on the bed, circling and sniffing and running for his life. This cycles through three or four times over the course of a half-hour. After the second time, I frustratingly shoo everyone to their respective, separate floor spaces and quietly resume my reading.
[I know what you’re thinking: send them out of the room! Close the door behind them! Funny story: MJ can take a running start and hit the door at such a speed and angle that she pops the pin and opens the door. If the head-butting method doesn’t work, they paw at the rug and whimper, like cats. It’s really just easier (sigh) to let them in.]
One after the other, they sneak back onto the bed. Shenanigans ensue.
When you see me at work the next day, and I look like I’ve gotten less than, oh, 6 hours sleep, you now know why.