Holiday Highlights

I was too comatose yesterday to even think about blogging.  The past two days have been filled with wrapping, cooking, opening, eating, drinking, and just trying to maintain a calm household.

I’ve really enjoyed these past couple of days.  When I have time and am not completely drained of energy, I love to cook.  The prepping is soothing.  The cooking and baking is fulfilling.  The eating is, sometimes, outstanding.  I wouldn’t call myself a good cook because I have messed up many a meal but overall, I think I do alright.

Christmas Eve Dinner: Hot Crab & Artichoke Dip, Bread, Salad, and Filet Mignon (for Steve)

Christmas Dinner: Bison Pot Roast (for Steve), Turk’y Roast (for me), Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potatoes and Salad

The highlight of our Christmas extravaganza was watching Pongo’s excitement rise as he realized…there were presents under the tree!  I don’t know what changed for him because last year it took all we had to get him interested in opening presents.

But this year…he was OUT OF CONTROL!

The only thing that seemed to calm him down was putting on his new survey vest–a present from Papa.

Poor Reid just didn’t seem to be enjoying herself like she usually does.

I’m guessing she was annoyed at Pongo’s overly exuberant enthusiasm.

And, the fact that he kept trying to steal all of her presents, which was absolutely not allowed.  As you probably can figure out, there was A LOT of redirection going on.

After the animals were satiated with opening gifts, Steve and I also enjoyed our Christmas morning.

And what was suppose to be mine…

is now his.  Oh well, that’s what happens when you have a baby head.

Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful holiday season!

It’s A Good Thing

My mother-in-law, Bev has a sign that hangs in her house.  It reads: “Martha Stewart Doesn’t Live Here…It’s A Good Thing.”  I chuckle every time I read that sign because both Bev and my Mom are very crafty but not in a Martha Stewart-ish type of way.  I envy the creativity that comes from the brilliant craft minds of these two women.  The quilting and knitting projects they create are beautiful!  And, I definitely could have used their expertise last night when I was cramming in some marathon sewing of Pongo’s Christmas stocking. Nothing like procrastinating until the very last minute to get something done (voting for the holiday stocking contest at Dog Tired Doggie Daycare started today).

I’m no Martha Stewart.  I know she would be appalled at the amount of time I took, all doing and re-doing I had to do, and the choice words that sometimes flew out of my mouth.  Eight hours of non-stop sewing later, I think the end product turned out to be something I can be proud of hanging on our stocking chest of drawers with care (unfortunately, no mantel in this house).

Trying to capture Pongo’s affinity for rocks.

The infamous Pongo ears.

The innocent porcupine Pongo decided to tangle with.

All ready for Santa!

And So It Begins…

Winter Break: A much needed break, just in time.

All I can say is THANK GOODNESS!  I’m looking forward to sleeping in, taking my time in the morning, drinking coffee with Baileys on a weekday, walking with the dogs during low-traffic times, reading for pleasure (and not just before lights out), spending quality time with my husband, getting back onto a pilates schedule, and just plain ol’ relaxing!


There isn’t a tug toy out there safe from Pongo.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to find a tug toy durable enough to match the intensity of his play.  He doesn’t chew on them.  We don’t play tug very often with him.  But, the manner in which he shakes and whips that toy around, they only last about a day…some only 5 minutes.  What I don’t understand is how he hasn’t knocked himself out yet!

Steve and I talk about inventing some titanium strength plastic to make the perfect Pongo-proof tug toy from but until then, we’ll be on the look-out for the ideal tug toy.


Ever feel like you are the only one in the whole wide world who is experiencing what you are experiencing, even though you logically know you aren’t/can’t be the only one experiencing this?  That’s what it often feels like dealing and working with a reactive dog: everybody else’s dog is well-behaved and can handle being around other dogs.

But maybe that’s because all of us with reactive dogs are doing the late night walks, the walks on the most deserted trails we can find, sticking to playing with the dog out in the backyard because you aren’t in the mood to deal with his/her reactivity, avoiding any situation where you might encounter a dog.  All of this is so very limiting, exhausting, emotionally draining.  It’s frustrating that 99.9% of the people we encounter don’t get to experience the sweetness, the goofiness, the fun-loving dog we get to experience when we are tucked away in his/her safe place: home.  Instead, they get the barking, lunging, Tasmanian Devil on the other end of the leash.

Dog Tired Doggie Daycare sent out an email on Friday about a movement that blossomed from a blog posted on Notes From A Dog Walker.  The writer, Jessica Dolce has hit the nail on the head when she describes in her post My Dog is Friendly! A Public Service Announcement the stress that is caused when people allow their dogs to approach, run up, try to meet a Dog In Need Of Space (DINOS).  She terms these sometimes well-meaning but oblivious dog owners My Dog Is Friendly (MDIF).

We have run into many a MDIF out on the trails or even walking in the neighborhood.  And, what astounds me is when people just don’t get that my dog, Pongo does not want to meet, need to meet, or even like (GASP!) your dog. We try to make it as clear as possible by turning and walking the other direction, and if that doesn’t work we resort to verbal attempts (“Please put your dog on a leash!”); that’s when the judgements come flying and now we’re the bad guys.  It’s not a good feeling.

Click HERE to go to a larger, more readable version.

Created by artist Lili Chan

We were at Denali Park Strip on Saturday to try out Pongo’s new Freedom No-Pull Harness.  As we were getting out of the car, a woman came running up the road with a dog.  Pongo reacted.  She turned around and went down another street.  My first thought was, “Does she know about DINOS?”  Then I wondered, if she was avoiding us because Pongo can look pretty scary when he reacts.  As we walked around the Park Strip, we could catch glimpses of her and her dog running down different streets to avoid us.  It makes me feel better if I make the assumption that she was thankfully giving us space because she knows about DINOS, and not that we were scary.

I am super excited to know that there are others out there.  We can support one another, empathize, and share our stories and tactics for working with a DINOS.  I think what is most important though is Pongo has helped us realized what it is like to own and to love a DINOS.  It’s not an easy job at times but he is so worth it!

A Letter To Miss Sue

Dear Miss Sue,

When I see my Papa’s big red bag packed and sitting by the door, I know what that means: he’s leaving.  I know he always comes back but I just get so sad and crabby knowing he’s going to be away from us, for I don’t know how long.

My Mama knew I might have a hard day at daycare, on Wednesday, when she dropped me off; that’s why she texted Miss Peg to let her know.  But, you had already guessed my Papa was out of town when I started picking fights with my doggie friends and was being an all-around grump.  I may act all tough and rough but if you haven’t already noticed, I am a sensitive soul who wears my heart on my sleeve.

I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me about choices because I knew my doggie daycare day was on the line.  My Mama wants me to behave and will not put up with me being a bully to others, even if my feelings are hurt.  I tried really, really, really hard to pull it together, put my happy face on, and have fun.  I think I did a pretty good job of bucking it up.

I should warn you, Miss Sue and all of my patient and loving daycare teachers…my Papa came home last night but I can hear him and Mama talk about him leaving again on Monday.  I don’t know when Monday is but I’m already worried about it.  I promise though I will try my best to be a very good boy for everyone.  It’s just so hard sometimes…