Teenage Tyrant

December 23rd, to the day, Pongo turned his listening ears off and transformed into a I’m-going-to-do-the-opposite-of-everything-you-say 18 month old tyrant.  He has been testing, testing, testing.  I think he has spent more time in time-out the past couple of days than he has since he was a young pup.  We’ve been warned about the terror of raising a teenage Cattle Dog: it’s a battle of the wills.  Don’t worry though…we WILL win.

Along with dealing with our oppositional and rebellious Cattle Dog, we are also trying to stay one step ahead of him in deterring his rock eating and keeping him safe.  We’ve resorted to a basket muzzle now, during outdoor recess, at doggie daycare.  He’s only worn it one day but so far so good.

Bless the Dog Tired Doggie Daycare staff–they had to put up with Pongo’a teenage antics, plus manage the basket muzzle on Friday.

Christmas Coma

I crack up every time Steve’s Mom tells the story of when Steve was younger and how he had to have a bucket next to him, while opening Christmas presents because he would throw-up from the excitement of it all.  The anticipation of Christmas can be overwhelming to some.  Our troop on the other hand was pretty underwhelmed by the whole production this morning.

Reid and Pongo waiting to open presents.

That is until it was time to open presents!  Christmas is Reid’s favorite time of the year.  She LOVES to open presents. Enter little brother, who has to be in the middle of everything and you have one very annoyed Reid.

Here’s Steve showing off his new donut pillow made by his Mom.

The Baileys and coffee now sipped down to the last drop.  The gifts unwrapped.  Brunch made and enjoyed. Toys chewed and forgotten while sleepiness takes over.  We’re all sitting by the wood stove, comatose from an action-filled morning.

Wishing you all a Season filled with love, peace, and joy!

Dem Bones

I’ve never been one to feed our dogs raw bones.  They gross me out!  And as a vegetarian, I’m really not wanting to touch nasty, slimy bones (you should see me trying to cook Steve’s meaty dinner–LONG wooden spoons to mix up his hamburgers.  Yes, I’m a very good wife!).  I realize bones are what their ancestors eat out in the wild.  But, the horror stories of bones splintering, dogs needing surgery to remove bone shards deterred me from buying them bones.  We do allow the dogs to gnaw on deer or elk antlers but they lose interest in those rather quickly.

The bone issue came to a head, when the vet recommended we feed Reid raw bones to help clean her teeth.  Because of her age, we were all worried about putting her under to have her teeth cleaned.  So, off I went in search of raw bones.  I was not too thrilled about having to go to a meat market like Mr. Prime Beef to find raw bones.  Luckily, when we were shopping at my all time favorite store Alaska Mill and Feed, we ran across a refrigerator full of raw bones!

The dogs get to gnaw on a frozen, raw bone for 15-20 minutes every now and then as a special treat.  Reid is gung-ho for about 5 minutes and then gives up; I have a feeling her teeth hurt her.  Poor baby.  We do keep a good eye on our wild man, Pongo when he’s chewing on his bone.  We never know what kind of stunt he might pull: try to swallow the whole thing out of bone-induced ecstasy?!?

To view on YouTube click HERE.


Winter Solstice.

A day of celebration here in Alaska when our sacred light begins its return.  It seems a little backwards that we celebrate Winter solstice but each small increment of increasing light brings us closer and closer to Summer.  That is until we hit the dreaded June 21st-Summer Solstice.  But that’s another blog, for another day.

House Hunting

We’re on a search.  It’s been on-going (well, at least I have been looking not so much Steve) for the past couple of years.  Now that we have Pongo, the search has intensified.

It will be 10 years in May that we’ve been in this house.  We bought it because of it’s “charm” (real estate term) and it’s “quirkiness” (our term).  We’ve put copious amounts of sweat equity into the house–thank you, Mom and Dad for your tireless help!  We’ve endured the hell having a makeshift kitchen consisting of a coffee maker, a toaster, and a microwave set-up in our living room for 4 months, while our kitchen was being remodeled; a week of no heat in single digit temps while waiting for the new hot-water base boards to be put in, and the backaches of moving 7 tons of rock (bad choice for landscaping but hindsight is 20/20) to beautify the backyard.  If we put so much time and money into our house, why on earth would we want to move?  We need more space, specifically lot square footage.  Our little 6600 square foot lot makes it awfully difficult to do much of anything when it comes to playing with the dogs outside.  I wouldn’t mind 600-700 square foot added to the house size either.

Our next house has to have character, no cookie-cutter houses for us.  It has to have at least 10,000 square feet for the yard and some sense of privacy would be an added bonus.  If we could find all of this on the Westside of Anchorage, we would be in heaven!

We spent 3 hours today driving around Anchorage looking at houses.  Pongo accompanied us trying out his new seatbelt, the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness.  He was such a good boy and was thrilled he could sit and watch out the window, instead of peering through the slats of his kennel.

We didn’t find anything today but are in no rush.  We want to find something we love and not something we’re going to settle for.  And even though we didn’t find anything, we did drive through some beautiful parts of Anchorage while looking.

All the driving and house hunting wore all of us out–including Pongo.

Holiday Season Reflections

At the beginning of the school year in August, the thought of December feels so far off.  But Labor Day turns into Halloween, which turns into Thanksgiving, and then you’re on the slippery slope to Winter Break (can you tell school staff live for those glorious days we have off?).

I remember loving Christmas vacation as a kid.  Spending the days playing outside in the snow, sledding, waiting with bated breath for Santa’s arrival.  Most kids look forward to Winter Break but the kids I work with, home is often not a safe place.  The anticipation of spending 2 long weeks at home causes a lot of our kiddos to fly off the handle.  This time of year is a busy one for me, as the school counselor: helping students just make it through the day, attempting to sooth fears, making safety plans, and in-between putting out the fires, I might get to enjoy a classroom holiday party or two.

I worry about our students during this time but I also know I need these two weeks to relax and recharge; that means letting things go that I can’t control, like our students’ lives.  My plan is to spend quality time with my wonderful husband, hit a Pilates class everyday, and play outside with the dogs as much as possible: snowshoeing, walking, and skiing so that I can go back to school rejuvenated.

Wishing everyone a relaxing and wonderful holiday season!


We made it through a weekend without spending time in Pet Emergency.  That’s definitely something to celebrate because I can’t even imagine going through 3 weeks of surgery recovery again!

When Pongo was out of commission recovering from his rock extraction abdominal surgery, trying to figure out how to entertain him was a massive task.  He was not allowed to go for walks the first week and the other two recovery weeks were supposed to be “subdued.”  Fortunately, he wasn’t itching to be super active.  What he was needing more than anything was mental stimulation.  We had to keep him mentally tired or he would find his own ways to entertain himself, which most often was pummeling the kitties.

We found a couple games that did the job quite nicely.  Plus, I knew I had to get these games because there were Cattle Dogs used to advertise both of the games!   The Bob-A-Lot Interactive Toy for Dogs (thanks for the suggestion, Miss Kari) and Dog Casino were life savers while Pongo was recuperating.

To view on YouTube click HERE.


For those of you who are die-hard Pongo Experience fans, there is a new icon you can put on your iPhone (I’m assuming you can add a Pongo Experience icon on other Smartphones but apologize for not being completely sure???), iPod Touch, or iPad home screen that will immediately take you to the blog.  It’s kind of like an “app” but it’s really just a shortcut to a webpage.  If you already have a Pongo Experience icon (with a turquoise background) on your home screen, you will need to delete that one and set-up this new one as the web host has changed.

So, here’s how you do it:

1. Go to http://pongoexperience.com.  If you see a screen that looks like this, go to the bottom of the page and go to the Full Site.

2. Make sure you are on the full site, which will look similar to the picture below.

3. Hit the (+) button which is down at the bottom on an iPhone and an iPod Touch.  On the iPad, it’s at the top.

4. You will be asked if you want to Add Bookmark, Add to Home Screen, or Mail Link to this Page.  Hit Add to Home Screen.

5. A screen will appear where you can edit (shorten) the icon name (TPE, PE, or Pongo Blog for example).  Once you’ve shortened the icon name to your liking, hit Add.

6. The Pongo Experience icon will now show up on your home screen as a quick and easy way to access The Pongo Experience.