Friday, September 24, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dog Lessons

If your dog doesn't like someone, then maybe you shouldn't either.
-Unknown child

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Dogs Can Tell Time

That Nugget can hear so much as a crumb land in his steel bowl in the kitchen from probably as far as 32 miles away is no less a mystery to me than his expectation of my punctual delivery of each meal to that bowl.  Truth be told, having a dog will completely negate your need for an alarm clock.  This is extremely helpful on weekdays, given my tendency to hit "snooze" 17 times before actually opening my eyes.  However, dogs do not know the difference between a Tuesday and a Saturday, or a paid holiday and a typical Monday.  I've tried tirelessly to explain, "Tomorrow is SATURDAY.  Mom doesn't go to work on SATURDAY.  We can sleep in" but this is usually met with a look of indifference, thus gone are the days of sleeping until noon on Saturdays.  Nugget and Oscar apparently have very busy schedules to keep, so sleeping one minute past 7:00 is entirely out of the question.

Not only will you be (sometimes rudely) awaken from your peaceful slumber at precisely the same time (down to the nanosecond!) each morning, you might also be awoken at various intervals throughout the night for any number of reasons.  There's the "Thank-God-I-sleep-in-nothing-less-than-a-complete-outfit" alarm because inevitably, someone drank to much water before bed and won't make it to morning without a quick trip outside, lest there be a puddle on my bedroom floor.  The "Are-you-f*ckung-kidding-me?" alarm boasts the all too familiar sound of dry heaving followed by a presentation of an edited version of last night's dinner.  (I guess that moth you ferociously stalked for 3 hours last night and eventually swallowed didn't set well, huh?).  And then there's the silent, bruise-inducing kick to the ribs by a large, pointy retriever paw, sure to startle you awake whilst the canine offender continues his action movie-like dream, worthy of an Oscar (the award, not another labradoodle) for his performance as a mighty and fearless hunter of alien squirrels threatening to take over the city. 

Yes, a solid, uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep is most likely out of the question for years to come, but these moonlit courtesy calls usually allow me the opportunity to also empty my bladder... or complete any number of chores I had been putting off (like finishing the last 287 pages of Gone With the Windin one sitting... or gouging my eyes out with a spork), since falling immediately back to sleep is typically a challenge.

Thanks to the military drill sergeant promptness by which my canine companions alert me to breakfast time, I get much more accomplished on the weekends now.  But just once... just ONE time, can we do an Iams brunch instead of an Iams sunrise?

I love books about Goldens...

... and Dean Koontz's A Big Little Life was no exception.  I finished this quick read in 4 days, along with a box of Kleenex.  It's a heartwarming and charming memoir about his Golden, Trixie.  Each chapter reads like a short story, full of humor and emotion.  And you'll want to hug your dog after you finish it!

Trixie's Website

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Doggy on Vacay

As I planned my Labor Day weekend trip to Chicago, to say that I was feeling extremely uneasy about leaving the dogs is an understatement.  I typically use a pet sitter to come to the house while I'm away, but given their outrageous surcharges for holiday weekends and Oscar's need to still be crated, I just couldn't do it.  However, the last and only time I boarded Nugget (at a Charlotte kennel which I will not incriminate here), he came home extremely sick.  It took him a full seven days to recover and every second of it broke my heart.

Weeks prior to my trip, I came across an ad for Pet Paradise Resort in a popular Charlotte magazine.  Upon viewing their website and falling in love with their bone-shaped swimming pool, I decided to stop by for a visit.  The staff was incredibly welcoming, professional and knowledgeable.  The facility  was clean, the grounds well-kept and the canine guests appeared very content!  I booked their reservation immediately.

As my departure date neared, I was still feeling a little nervous.  Oscar was still fairly new to the family and I was fearful he might regress in his potty-training.  I know I rang the resort's phone off the hook with my endless line of questioning, but my calls were always welcome and my mind always put at ease.  On the morning of drop-off, I teared up as I walked back out to the parking lot.  Nugget and Oscar, however, paraded willingly through the reception area with a staff member, only looking back for a split second, as if to say, "See ya Monday, Mom!"

I absolutely took advantage of their webcam service, at the encouragement of B.  We had our own login by which we could jump online and see our furry kids at anytime, day or night.  It was $5/day very well spent!  I called numerous times to check on them, each time my call welcomed with a smiling voice on the other end.  I didn't have to ask how Nugget's rash was healing, they immediately offered the information and assured me they were both doing great!  As if I wasn't already extremely impressed with the exemplary quality of service, upon checking my email on Saturday afternoon, I was greeted with a darling video of Nugget, Oscar and all their new friends playing, swimming and very much enjoying their vacation!  Video seen here: Puppy Playtime!

I was ecstatic to pick the boys up on Monday!  They were at least equally as ecstatic to see me.  As I was paying their bill and getting my receipt, Dina, the manager, brought my handsome boys out to the reception area to greet me.  As she returned to the other side of the desk, Oscar threw is big clumsy paws up on the counter to say "bye" and Dina leaned over to give him a hug and kiss.  My heart melted!  What an amazing staff they have, full of people who genuinely love animals!  Oscar and Nugget will definitely return there anytime in the future I find myself traveling and unable to take them along.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dog Lessons

If ever you find yourself suffering through an episode of insomnia, perhaps you should take 3 laps around your bed, then turn around in a full circle 6 times.  Why not?  It works for the dogs...