Monday, September 13, 2010

An Update On The Wobbler

So the Kong Wobbler is gone from our house.  You know, the one Theo found to be both fascinating and terrible?  But don't be sad.  It's in a far, far better place now - a house with a dog that isn't a total chicken, of course!  It was fate.  I had just finished posting my review when one of my Facebook friends, an old college professor of mine, actually mentioned in her status update that she wanted a Kong Wobbler for her dog, Owen. I had planned on giving the Wobbler to one of my Corgi friends, but this was just meant to be!  Here I was, in possession of a Wobbler, and here she was, in want of a Wobbler.  So I left her a comment saying I happened to have one to give her, and a few days later, I stopped by her house to drop it off.

She has two dogs, small rescues of an unidentifiable breed.  Chihuahua-Terrior mixes maybe of about 15 pounds.  She was also playing host to a gigantic black lab (she was energetic, clumsy, and completely adorable), who she said was quite the regular in her house.  All three dogs took their turn with the Wobbler with no fights and no issues.  And all three dogs managed to knock it around to get their delicious treat reward.  Remember how big the Wobbler was?  At one point the lab tried to get the whole thing in her mouth - she almost did it to!  it was kind of fascinating.  Even when the treats were gone, they just kept playing with it, batting it around and watching it wobble.

I left happy, knowing that the toy had found a good home.  My friend emailed me the next day saying that Owen had happily played with the Wobbler the entire rest of the day, and even curled up next to it to take a nap when he got tired.  How cute!

You might think that such a selfless deed might drum up my own good karma, eh?  Well as soon as we got back in the car to drive home, the check engine light came on.  Something had broken that ended up being very expensive to fix.  Naturally. :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Product Review: Kong Wobbler

The folks at Kong contacted me several weeks ago about doing a review for their new product, the Kong Wobbler. I'm a big fan of Kong and their products - I've got everything from Theo's original baby Kong (he still gets his bedtime treats in it every night) to the zoom groom - so I was pretty excited to take part. When it arrived in the mail, however, I knew we were going to have problems. And by that, I mean that Theo was not going to be the best dog to show off how fun and engaging this new toy can be. It's rather large, you see. If you've read this blog with any regularity, you can probably guess how Theo would react to something large. Not well. But they were also nice enough to include their new Kong Stuff'n treats as well, and there was no question of Theo liking those. Oho, no. So I hunkered down and did my best to introduce the Wobbler to the chicken Theo.

The way the Wobbler works is it has a heavy, round-bottomed base and a hollow top with a small hole where the treats come out. As the dog nudges and paws the Wobbler around, its heavy base brings the toy back upright, keeping the furry one guessing. As they roll the toy around, the treats dispense from the small hole in the top, rewarding their brave curiosity and playfulness. Sounds awesome, right?

So I put some of these IQ treats inside, knowing Theo would go nuts over them. They are 100% salmon. What's not to like?  If nothing else, I would buy these treats again.  And as you can see, the base unscrews from the top for easy filling, though you can also just drop them through the hole in the top.  After I snapped this pic I broke each piece in half, which was recommended on the packaging.  I wanted to make things as easy as possible for Theo.

After I sealed it back up, I told Theo to come and check it out.  He approached with much caution.  And then immediately put about 5 feet between himself and the toy.

I tried to make it easy for him. He just had to snatch the treat out of the opening.  No nudging or pawing necessary...

Nope.  But you knew it wouldn't be that easy...

Unwilling to go near the Wobbler, Theo pretty much just hung his head like this and whimpered all pathetically.  He does that when he's stressed.  He was trying to get me to unscrew the top and just let him have the treats.  But I wouldn't give in.  I tried everything I could to help him work up the courage to at least try out the Wobbler, but he wasn't having it.  

The best I got was this very hesitant sniff, but he bolted again right after.  I left the Wobbler sitting there outside my office, hoping with the pressure off (I did have my evil camera out, after all) and the smell enticing him, he would give it a nudge or two.  But he just parked his booty his usual, cautious 2 feet away and whimpered for a good 10 minutes before leaving it to take a nap in his crate.  

The next day I tried again.  This time I tipped it around a bit, showing him how it was supposed to move, and how it wasn't going to pop out a machete and hack him to bits if he nudged it.  Nothing.  So then I tipped it over so a treat popped out.  He came over, ate the treat, sniffed the hole, then backed up and cried, expecting me to tip it over again so more treats would come out.

This is my dog people!  Why play with toys that dispense treats when you can just complain until your human does it for you?  Arg!

But I don't consider that any reflection on the product.  I actually like the Wobbler and think it would be a great toy for a dog that isn't scared of its own shadow.  I own no such dog. *sigh*  I'm hoping to get together with some of my Corgi friends next week.  I'm going to bring the Wobbler along and see if I can't find a non-defective Corgi to tell me what s/he thinks of it.  I'll post a secondary review of that outing as well.  And speaking of non-defective Corgis, you can also check out Kelly's review of the Wobbler at Corgi Butts.

PS: Sorry for the blurry shots.  When I win the lottery, I will invest in a camera that can handle the "action" of a Corgi constantly moving.  Consequently, all the pictures I have of my sister are similarly blurry because she never stop talking long enough to get a clear shot.  Sorry, sis, it's true.

PPS: You know I'm joking about Theo being defective, right?  I love Theo, chicken tendencies and all.  In fact, sometimes it's awesome having a dog that runs for his mommy rather than getting in the middle of a bad situation.  All dogs have their issues, and if being a 'fraidy-dog is one of Theo's, I'll take it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vote For Theo!

Fellow Corgi rear-end obsessed blogger, Kelly, at Corgi Butts has been awesome enough to put together another Corgi Blogs calendar!  Just like last year, all proceeds will be going to support Corgi charity.  This year, however, she's leaving it up to us to vote between the finalists for who makes the calendar, and Theo is a finalist!

Want another month of admiring this guy?

Vote here!  Just make sure to include number 6 in your vote!  You know...if he makes your list.  I won't be surprised when he doesn't win this year.  There are some truly awesome pictures to choose from.  I guess I'm really going to have to step up my photography game if I ever want to see Theo's pretty mug featured anywhere again!  It's hard when you have a dog that is scared of your camera...

A huge thanks to Kelly for taking the time not only to organize another great calendar, but for raising money to support a great cause!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fun On The Farm

We're back!  You might think since it's been forever and a half since I posted anything, Theo and I have been sitting around watching paint dry.  Not true!  We only paint the walls just to watch them dry Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I mentioned many moons ago that Theo experienced a big change in routine when I got laid off from my job.  Unfortunately, my job hunt has been wildly unsuccessful, so Theo is still hanging at home with me.  I feel terrible about this, and even though I walk him twice a day, I still do my best to get him out and around dogs.  I figure he was neurotic enough before he stopped hanging with other dogs regularly.  I don't want him to become totally incapable of interaction.

I figured out pretty early on that the dog park just wasn't going to work.  Or at least, regular trips to the dog park.  Sure, he goes bananas when we pull into the parking lot.  He can't wait to get inside the park and bark his brains out.  But after about 5 minutes he's done.  He's said hello to the other people, presented his bum to the dogs for sniffage, and he's peed in all the spot he's interested in.  Not exactly the mental or physical stimulating exercise I'm going for.  You know what does keep his interest?  Corgis!  Of course!

I've become much more active with our local Corgi community!  I used to attend a few of the meetups every once in a while.  When I was working I would get so busy on the weekends that I missed them a lot of times.  Not anymore!  I make it a point to get some Corgi time in for Theo at least once a week.  Sometimes more!  There's a group that meets Friday mornings for hikes and walks in different spots around the area.  I could never go before because I was working, but now I'm there every week, Theo in tow!

Theo's grown to love our weekly Corgi walks so much, in fact, that he knows when it's Friday!  He waits on baited breath all morning for me to get ready, and when I finally emerge and begin gathering our things, he goes wild!  He yelps, he yips, he whines, he paces!  He makes noises I've never heard him make before.  And if I ask him if he's ready to go, the barking begins and doesn't stop until we're in the car, pulling out of the driveway!  Seriously!  It's kind of hilarious, if not a little deafening.  Husband didn't believe it until he finally witnessed it.  It took a couple extra minutes to get to the car that day because we were too busy rolling on the floor laughing.  I've been meaning to get a video of the scene, but I always forget!  It's comedy once you know that he's not, in fact, dying a slow, painful death.

Um, I'm sure it has nothing to do with that fact that there are often treats involved.  Naw....

There have also been two extra special Corgi outings in the last 2 months.  A farm!  There's a small farm about 25 miles away that hosts a very limited Corgi meetup once a month.  The owner has two Corgis, and she invites the first 12 people who RSVP to come and romp around the farm with them.  Since I have nothing better to do than check the meetup website everyday, I've been one of the lucky few twice!

One of them was just last weekend, and Theo had the time of his life!  Unfortunately, these pictures are from the time before that, which was merely an awesome time.  So you'll just have to use your imagination.

Or I could tell you about it.

He ran!  With the other dogs!  Up a hill!  I've never seen him go so ballistic over new sights and smells.  Since everything was fully fenced, we were allowed to let our pups romp around off leash.  When Theo is off leash he always sticks pretty close by me, or at least he's always obviously aware of my presence.  If he wanders away from me at the dog park, he always peeks back to make sure I haven't moved from where he left me.  Not at the farm!  If a dog could say "See ya, Mom!", he would have!  That dog would have made Toucan Sam proud with all the following of his nose he was doing.  And he peed on everything he could find!  Theo's not generally much of a marker, but that place was screaming (wafting?) "Theo" when we left.  Maybe that was his way of saying he never wanted to leave?

And since it was a farm, there were animals! Chickens, a horse, and ducks!  All safely tucked away and out of a herding dog's reach.  Except one unfortunate, lone duck.  During last weekend's meetup Theo happened across a duck they weren't able to catch and put away before the dogs arrived, and Theo made sure to teach it a lesson for it's obstinacy.  But this is Theo!  My chicken!  The dog that wouldn't herd sheep because he was afraid of getting stepped on.  Well apparently he put on his big boy diapers that day because when he saw that duck, he launched after it!  I totally lost sight of the chase, but Husband said Theo caught up to the duck and pounced on the poor thing!  Not sure what he was trying to accomplish by squashing it.  Maybe he was just trying to jump on its head?  But thankfully no harm was done.  Husband said one of the farm workers gave him a very dirty look.  What did he expect?!  Put your dang duck away next time!  But it's a good thing to note.  Theo is not scared of ducks.  Perhaps we'll give duck herding a go sometime!  Then again, perhaps it's just a singular duck he feels tough around.  A whole herd might bring him back to his senses.

It was really a special experience to wander around such a beautiful place with a dozen happy Corgis running under your feet.  And after we were done walking, we just sat on a grassy and let the dogs play.  Sufficed to say, Theo was completely pooped after both outings.  And I say a pooped Corgi is a happy Corgi!

Last weekend we lucked out on the weather, a cool 68!  But I think any future farm visits will have to wait until things cool down again.  I've had to switch Theo's after lunch walks to after breakfast or it gets too hot.  I almost got a sunburn at 8:30 this morning!  The house is sweltering and I can't afford to run the AC.  Poor guy.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg!  Ok, it's more like the entire underwater portion and there's that little tip that sticks out above the water line.  I'm talking about blog material, of course.  Theo and I have been getting up to some other shenanigans, but that'll have to wait for another post.  Which I am fully committed to posting soon!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Initiating Play

I've often mentioned how Theo got a bit mixed up in the play department.  He rarely plays with other dogs, but he will always play with me.  As if I'm a dog!  I say I don't know how it happened, but that's a lie.  I totally know how it happened.  I initiated play with him!  I gave him the doggy signals that I wanted to play.  It's all about speaking the doggy language! 

If you are interested in a hearty giggle, check out how I inadvertently taught Theo to consider me his favorite playmate.

First, you gotta get down on your dog's level.  That's right, get down on the floor.  On all fours.   Oh, you thought this was a PG post?  It's not too late to close the browser.  I'm baring my soul here in this post.  I can pretty much guarantee you're going to think I'm a total freak by the end of this post.  If you didn't know I was a freak already.

Anyway, first off, you dog's gotta be in a playful mood.  Obviously.  So, you're on the floor, on all fours, facing your dog.  Keep your head lowered a bit.  Look your dog straight in the eye.  If your dog will look you straight in the eye, that is.  Theo always is so comfortable with eye contact.  So you're on level with your dog, facing your dog, and you have your dog's attention.  If your dog is anything like Theo, he's just waiting for the signal. 

What's the signal?  Well for me and Theo, it's a simple bob of the head.  I look him square in the face, eyes bright with challenge, and bob my head forward a bit.  Kind of like imitating a pigeon.  Seriously.  It helps if no one else is in the room to laugh at you.  Heh.  But when Theo wants to play, this simple signal is all he needs to rush forward and start to play.

He growls a bit and usually starts by putting his chin over my shoulder, but if he's really into it, he'll jump on my shoulder and bite my hair if its tied back, or mouth my ears a bit.  And he'll generally prod and poke his nose in my face in a challenge.

Ever had a corgi jump on your head?  It brings a huge smile to my face every time, no matter what mood I'm in.

Sometimes this spawns into him wanting me to chase him, so he'll back off and challenge me back, or sometimes he'll lose interest with my face and go after my hands.  That means he wants to play rougher.  He knows my head is delicate, so he is always very gentle and just play bites, but my hands can take more teething.  Or, in other words, I have trained him that he is allowed to play with my hands a little more rough.  Though thankfully I never had to train him to be gentle with my face, besides his puppy bite inhibition.  Man, I don't miss him biting my nose with those sharp puppy teeth!

When he gets too rough with my hands, I stop playing, say ouch, just like with bite inhibition, and then tell him gentle, and let him have my hand back, as long as he continues to play nice.  Theo usually looks at me abashed, and then saunters over to my hand, and does this really light teething thing as if he's trying to say "Look mom, I can do it gentle, like you said."

If I keep my posture tall and my head up, Theo feels extra challenged, and being a chicken, will usually back off (and want to do that chasing thing I mentioned).  If I lay low to the ground, it's more submissive and Theo will usually respond by pouncing on me. It's fun to read his body language and speak dog for a bit.  Also, shaking my head and looking away seems to be a submissive move too.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine was over.  She kind of inadvertently initiated play with him, and he got all excited and ready to pounce on her head.  Then she turned back to her seat and resumed talking with us, and Theo was all let down!  She had just wanted his attention.  It was funny.

Word of warning!

I trust Theo implicitly with his teeth near my face.  Even though he growls and sounds tough, I know he would never really bite me.  When I tell him he's playing too rough, he listens.  Do not attempt this with your dog if your dog might bite your face off.  Obviously, that would be a bit of a bad idea. Some dogs just play more like this:

Friday, April 30, 2010


When I talk with people about Theo and being unemployed, they usually comment that Theo must be so happy, having me all to himself all day.  The truth is, when I was working Theo wasn't home alone all day.  At least, not every day.  2 or 3 days a week he was in doggy daycare, and with the weekends, he was only ever home alone 2 days a week.  He loves the people that work there, and I'm told he might have even developed a friendship or two with some of the dogs.

I know.  Theo?  Develop relationships with those of the canine persuasion?  Never!  But it's true!

Anyway, the point is that he wasn't some pathetic dog, moping around the house all day, awaiting my return.  And it's not like I'm hanging around the house all day playing fetch with him now.  Job hunting is time consuming!  And with my laptop dying, I'm now stuck in the dreary office, a place neither Theo nor I like spending a lot of time.  Oh, did I mention my laptop inexplicably died?  Yeah, it happened the same week as the death of my car battery, garage door, and Xbox.  No joke. That was a hard week for me.

But that's not the point.  The point is that Theo and I are both adjusting to my new schedule, and I think we're finally getting used to each other, and understanding our needs and wants.  I understand that when I get back from working out in the mornings, Theo needs my full, undivided attention for a good long play session.  Done.  Theo needs to walk just down the street a bit for his first pee of the day, so I don't try and make him come back inside after the first leg lift I see.  Any lunch or bathroom breaks Theo will interpret as "Theo breaks", meaning that he gets attention, either in the form of fetch or a walk.  And, of course, our evening routine hasn't changed.  He still gets a nice, long walk after dinner

Theo understands after breakfast, I need some me time to get ready.  He knows that after I get ready and play with him for a bit longer, I need to get to work, and when I go into the office, that playtime is over.

Yeah, that's pretty much all Theo understands.  He knows when I'm in the office to leave me alone, unless he needs to go out, in which case he lets me know as he usually would.  But anytime I leave for anything, he immediately wakes up and finds a toy for me to throw.  It can be annoying sometimes, but I try to remember that he's probably bored out of his mind.  Which is also why I try and get to the dog park as often as possible.  Theo still won't play with the other dogs, but I think just seeing other dogs interacting is good mental stimulation for him.

Also, a woman in the Corgi meetup group organizes small meet ups on Thursday mornings at different points in the area where we can go for walks, or let the dogs play.  I could never go before, obviously, because I was working, but now that I'm unemployed, we've both been really starting to look forward to our Thursday meetups!  If you ever find yourself in my situation, having a group where both you and your dog can socialize a little is amazingly invaluable.

But it's not all inconveniences and annoyances.  If I have to be unemployed, I'm glad I have Theo around.  He helps me not go completely insane being home alone all day.  I can handle the solitude well enough, but it's nice to be able to completely turn all my attention to something else and get my mind off things.  Whether that's sitting down for a long fetch session, going for a sunny afternoon walk, or hanging at the dog park.

And if anything, I'd say this new arrangement has increased Theo's love and appreciate of Husband.  Funny, right?  It's just the two of us all day, and the minute that Husband walks in the door after work, Theo is all over him.  Play fetch with me, Daddy!  Don't hug Mommy, Daddy!  Watch me catch this, Daddy!  It's adorable.  He loves when his pack is all together.

PS: As requested by my mother, a post without anal gland leakage or diarrhea.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Expressing Himself

Warning to the faint of heart, this post is going to be a doozy.  As in gross.  If you don't currently own a dog, this might scare you off.  If you are so lucky as to be a current dog owner, then, well, let's commiserate, shall we?

So the Husband and I drove up to Monterey last weekend to spend Easter with his family and family friends.  It's a thing.  We decided to bring the little rug rat along, since Rex was going to be there, and any place is an adventure when Theo is involved, right?

Theo is by now pretty experienced with long car rides.  We've driven him to Reno and back several times now, and that's a few hours longer in the car than Monterey, so I wasn't expecting any problems.  So what was wrong this time?  I have no idea!  I think it must have been me.  And I'm not being mopey.  See, I hurt my back last week, a few days before we left.  Jump squats in combination with too much lifting of my Fatty McButterpants of a nephew.  I don't want to talk about it.  Anyway, have you have sat in a car all day with a hurt back?  It was rather excruciating.  So my only guess is that Theo was picking up on my discomfort (read: pain), and added it to his own stress.

Ok, that was a little mopey.

So how do I know Theo was stressed out?  Well first off he kept laying on the floor on the front passenger side, rather than wedging his body on the seat between me and Husband like he usually does.  Second, and more importantly,well...we noticed a smell.  Husband caught a whiff of something he said smelled like fish.  Rotten fish.   He said he thought it was Theo, I said no way it was him, then I smelled my hand, which had been on his butt.  Oh my goodness my hand has never smelled so fowl.

Have you ever heard of dog's having this little thing called anal glands?  They are glands on the rear end of a dog that can secrete some kind of nasty compound.  It's called expressing.  Some breeds get a bit...backed up in the gland area and have to have them expressed by a person.  That's why some dogs drag their butts on the ground. They are trying to relieve the discomfort from needing their glands expressed.  Anyway, from my experience, Corgis are not one of those breeds, and Theo, at least, has never expressed, um, back there.  So we were a bit taken aback that he did it in the car.

And of course he did it in the car, when we were trapped!  For hours!  With that nasty fish smell!  Thank goodness for hand sanitizer and doggy wipes is all I'm going to say on that subject.  That, and I hope you never have to smell the smell.  Ew.  I'm scarred.  For life.  Possibly my next life too.  I'll be a Jungle Princess who at random times smells a mysterious fish smell she can never quite place or identify.  Because by the time I die and get reincarnated the world will have Jungle Princesses.  Mark my words.

In other savory Theo life events...I had another one last night.  Remember that fatty tumor the vet drained a few weeks ago?  He had described it as a waxy buildup, which I didn't understand, since what I was draining was definitely what I would describe as fatty (um, cottage cheese?), and not waxy.  Well, I noticed last night the bump had returned (it was very small), but it was at a head, so like a pimple, I figured I would go ahead and try to pop it and get out any buildup I could.  Well after a couple of squeezes that seemed pretty painful to Theo (poor pup!), and I say seemed because he never verbally complained.  What a trooper!  Anyway, after a few squeezes something popped out that was definitely not cottage cheese!  It looked like a tiny corn kernel.  I showed it to Husband (after I asked him to bring me a paper towel because no way I was going to touch it, ew!), and he reminded me that that was probably the waxy buildup the vet was talking about.  Interesting right?  If you can see past the gross factor.  Poor Theo had a little hole in his skin where the wax had come out.

Husband wanted me to title this post "Wax Balls Under My Dog's Skin".  He might have gotten the idea from me.  But I decided to lead with the expression.

And because I think all things should come in 3s, here's another picture of Theo:

Yup, he's pooping.  Nope, I don't pull any punches on this here weblog.  It's not the best poo shot.  Sometimes his front paws are all the way on top of his back paws, and his back is super hunched.  That's the cutest.  Next time.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bunny Hunter

I'll get to the bunnies in a minute.  First I have to share with you how absolutely hysterical Theo is being right now.  I threw my back out on Tuesday (yes, I'm having just the best week ever), and laying on my stomach is really the only comfortable position for me to be in for extended periods of time.  So right now I'm laying on the floor on my stomach, typing away on my laptop.  Theo, fresh off his after breakfast nap, just came up to me, pulled off my socks, nibbled my feet, jumped on my head a few times, then laid down in a similar position to me, play growling while I gave him my hands to chew on for awhile.  When I went back to the laptop (to blog this here post!), he laid his head down on my legs and now he's taking a nap.

This is owning a Corgi.  When I say Corgis are goofballs, this is what I'm talking about.

A commenter on my last post brought up an excellent point I didn't mention.  Not only does Theo miss the dogs at doggy daycare.  He also misses the humans working there!  He absolutely loves the woman who runs the place, and I miss our conversations when I would come in to pick him up.  I'm sure they miss him as well.  I can't wait to take him back.

Ok, back to your not so regularly scheduled post:

Bunnies.  I know why a bunny is the figurehead for the commercialized Easter.  They are everywhere!  Little jackrabbits with white cottontails.  And Theo has become my little bunny hunter.  I always know when one is close by when I see his ears fly up.  And here's the thing. They are brave!  They don't fly off at the first jingle of Theo's collar.  They hold still, they wait, and when we're almost upon them, that's when they bolt.  This, of course, drives Theo crazy!  If he sees a bunny run somewhere far ahead of him, he watches with interest, but nothing more.  If a bunny bolts right in front of his face, his reaction is to bolt right after it.  It's like he can't help himself.  So it's like these little buggers are baiting him!  I can see it in their bunny eyes!  "A dog is coming!  Wait for it....wait for it....wait for it... RUN!  You're never gonna caaaaaaatch me!"

And did I mention they're everywhere?  My little bunny hunter has been on the prowl all through our walks the last few weeks.  Nevermind an Easter egg hunt, Theo is all about the Easter bunny hunt!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

All Theo All The Time!

You know what's nice about being home in the middle of the day?  It's sunny out!  I took Theo for a walk yesterday and was actually able to take some pictures! *gasp!*

You know what's not nice?  The reason I was home in the middle of the day in the first place.  The reason I was home today, and will be home tomorrow.  I was laid off from my job last week.  Totally lame.  But this isn't a feel sorry for me blog.  This is a Corgi blog!  So what does this mean for Theo?  Well the first thing we cut was doggy daycare, so he's home with me all day every day.  So he gets tons more mommy time.  We've also been going to the dog part every couple of days.  And Thursday mornings we'll be joining Sidney (aka the only Corgi Theo will actually play with occasionally) and his mom on a hike, which she does every week, but I was never able to tag along before.  Seeing as how I used to work Thursday mornings.  So I'm trying to make sure Theo still gets out and gets stimulation and exercise, but I'm sad he won't get to see his doggy daycare fur-buddies.  Hopefully his exile will be of very short duration.

As much as I try to get Theo outside, he still spends a lot of time like this:

As much as I'd like to spend all day playing with Theo, I do actually have to spend the better part of the day looking for another job.  Poor guy.

Anyway, back to the walk.  Since I had my camera on hand, and since my camera totally stresses out, Theo spent most of the walk feeling a bit self conscious. He yawns when he's stressed...

He licks his nose when he's stressed...

He even smiles when he's stressed...

He sneezes too, but never mind that.  He's also been super snuggly.  Every evening I curl up on the couch with a glass of wine after a hard day of job hunting and Theo jumps up with me and sleeps with his head propped up on my legs.  It's my favorite time of day, and it really helps me not go insane.  Corgis are cool like that.

This is hardly worth mentioning, but since I got a pretty good picture of it, I'll share.

Theo had developed one of those fatty tumors on his side, and a few weeks ago the vet shaved him down and drained the tumor.  For a few days after I had to continue to drain it, which basically consisted of popping a pimple.  It was quite disgusting.  Did you know the stuff that comes out of those is like cottage cheese?  Blecgh!  It was a bit painful for Theo, and unappetizing for me, so generally not a good time all around.  Heh. Hopefully I drained it enough that it won't grow back. If it does, the vet will have to be a bit more invasive in removing it.  2 years old is a little young to be developing fatty tumors.  Hopefully it's an isolated incident!  But really, is there anything more pathetic than a shaved dog?  I'm glad it's starting to grow back.

So on the upside I should have plenty more opportunities for posting, and many more photo ops for Theo.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Baby Tested

I've mentioned that Theo loves kids before, but oh my, I wish I had a video of Theo meeting my nephew last weekend.  My sister came into town for work and was generous enough to put up with lugging her 19lb sack of potatoes (with cheeks!) all the way across the country just so I could see him.  Really.  Ok, not really.  But let's just say I'm the awesome reason...k?  Anyway, I had a 5 month old adorable baby in the house for 6 days, and Theo was hysterical.

First off, my sister knows Theo and I was glad to see, she trusted him implicitly around the wee babe.  I wouldn't have blamed her if she had been hesitant to have an excitable dog too near her precious cargo, but she walked right in, sat down, and even encouraged Theo to jump up on the couch with her so he could get a better sniff at my nephew.  How awesome is she?

Anyway, Theo's reaction to my nephew was priceless.  I knew he would love him.  I knew he would be excited.  But he was jumping out of his skin with excitement.  I've never seen his nubbin move like that!  It was like a hummingbird's wings!  Of course, I could tell he was excited because I know him, but outwardly he stayed very calm and gentle because he was around a baby, and he understands they're breakable.  It was so cute!  He sniffed his face, he smelled his breath, he licked the palm of his hand.  He just took him in.  My nephew did something similar.  My sister was laughing over them smelling each other.  And my nephew attempted to pet Theo, but ended up just kind of dropping his hand on his nose a few times.  Theo loved it.

Theo was this kid's protector the entire time they were here.  When nephew fussed or cried, Theo whimpered, very softly, but enough to alert us to the issue (like we couldn't hear it ourselves, but that's ok).  At one point my sister came out of our guest room and said "I feel like your dog is judging me!"  And I know exactly what she meant because I got the same looks when I was babysitting a couple days of their trip.  He would lay outside the bedroom door with a look that said "What are you doing to that kid in there!?  Why can't you keep him happy!"

After the initial meeting, Theo observed his usual two foot rule.  He was my nephew's protector. If my nephew was laying on a blanket on the floor, Theo would sniff him to make sure all was sound, then he would lay down with his body facing outwards, ready for whatever might come.  How cute is that??  When I put my nephew down for a nap Theo would sniff at the play pen we used for naps, then park himself outside the room.  One time, before giving my nephew a bath, I had him laid out on a towel on the bathroom floor.  I ran to the guest room to grab a diaper, and when I came back Theo had sprawled his body across the door frame with a look that said "None shall pass!"

I was impressed that Theo immediately sensed that he had fallen a wrung on the totem pole.  He knew his needs would come after my nephew's.  I was prepared for a needy dog who was jealous of the attention I gave the baby, but I actually got the opposite!  He was less whiny than he normally is because he knew I had a reason for ignoring him.  It was pretty awesome, but I also felt bad for him on the days that he didn't get much attention.  Heh.

So overall, I was really happy that Theo was so awesome with the baby.  I'm definitely not planning on having my own anytime soon, but it's nice to know that when the time comes when Husband and I are ready to grow the family, we'll have a dog that's been baby tested!  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Pointer

Sorry to be a bit vulgar, but I have to share this story with you. It involves poop. Faint of heart be warned. Heh, no it's not bad, it's actually pretty awesome.

The other night I was out on a walk with Theo and Husband. Theo stopped to poop (aside: How cute are Corgis when they poop? The way they scrunch of their long bodies is kind of adorable, even though they're doing something rather unsavory. I should get a picture some time and post it. Would that be weird? I mean weird for me.), and Husband and I were chatting and not really paying attention. I stooped down to pick up his little present, and saw only a tiny turd, a third of its normal size. I jokingly scolded Theo for his tiny poop and asked him where the rest of it was. And as if he understood me (because of course he did, he's an uber smart Corgi for goodness sakes), he pointed his nose at another turd I had completely missed about a foot away as if to say "The rest is right over here, Mommy! Don't forget to pick it up too!"

I was flabbergasted. I howled in amusement, and then I praised him profusely. "What a good boy for showing Mommy where the rest of your poop was!"

Husband claimed Theo was merely smelling his poop, but I refuse to believe it. First, that's not nearly as cool as a dog who can point, not nearly as awesome as a dog who can understand me when most people can't make out my bumbling mumblies, and not nearly as hilarious as a dog that can't take a joke. And also, he never smells his poop. That's gross. Eating sheep poop, however? Totally acceptable.

It's hard to put to words exactly why owning a Corgi is just about the best thing ever. It's more than just their smart, they're tenacious, they're goofy. Those words don't quite convey just how smart, tenacious, and goofy they are! You have to see it for yourself in the daily goings on, when they do something so adorable, so surprising, so hilarious that you think to yourself Corgis are just the best! I regret that half of the great Corgi things Theo does never make it into this blog. They are so random and surprising, I often thoroughly enjoy those moments and then proceed for forget all about them. Just know that for every moment like Theo's point, there are probably two or three other moments that I just never shared. I'll try and be better about that!

Have you ever seen your Corgi point? What about other fun behaviors that sent you into spasms?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Samples - Vital from Freshpet

You might remember a few months ago I switched Theo to a new food and was touting it's magical properties of awesomeness. Or last week, when I talked about how Theo could give the Energizer Bunny a run for his money (He was never that way before the food switch)? Sufficed to say, I have been very pleased with Deli Fresh, which is the "gently cooked" sausage-like slice and serve food we have been giving Theo. And I'm going to tell you more about it, and a new product I just tried.

So here's the thing. I really like this company, Freshpet, that makes Theo's food. I'm not saying they're perfect, because I'd need to be clairvoyant to know that for sure, but I like what I can see. Their website is one of the most, what I would describe as open dog food websites I've seen. It takes some hunting around all the different areas of the website, but a lot of good information is there (and well presented!). And I don't mean a bunch of buzz words spewed on a mostly empty page with a bunch of pictures of cute dogs. I mean real, quantified information on a page with a bunch of pictures of cute dogs (why would you skip a chance at pictures of cute dogs?). For instance, they say their slice and serve food is "minimally processed" and "gently cooked". Well what the heck does that mean, exactly? It means this. Not only do they tell you the thermal units used to cook the food, but they give a handy dandy comparison to typical dry and wet foods as well. It's nice to feel like I'm not just taking their word for it. They're making a claim, backing it up with their information, and letting me decide for myself. As it should be!

You know what else is great? The ingredients in these gently cooked logs. No meals, no byproducts, nothing that suggests the unsavory bits of the animal. Does this mean their "fresh chicken" doesn't come from the 4Ds? Goodness I hope so! But at least I'm getting meat and not bones and beaks and what not. Also, every ingredient that's in there has a purpose (which they explain in their philosophy pages). The grain isn't filler, it's whole grain, it's nutritious. There are ingredients to provide fiber, prebiotics, omega fatty acids, antioxidants, etc. along with the usual vitamins and minerals. Nothing too scary. As I've said in the past, when you slice into the log, you can actually smell chicken. It has the consistency of real meat, and you can see the bits of the grains and fruits and vegetables sprinkled throughout.

I'm not trying to preach that what you should feed your dog. That's up to you, and what you think is best. I'm just trying to pay it forward. A friend of mine told me about Deli Fresh, and before that, I didn't even know products like this existed. And I am just a really big fan.

Anyway, in the course of events (aka, yada yada yada), last week I ended up with free samples from Freshpet in exchange for a review on this here blog. They had posted on the Freshpet Facebook page that anyone interested in free samples of their new product with a blog should contact them. I already touted them a number of times on this blog, so why not? By the end of the week I had four 2LB logs of their new Vital line of product. The main difference between the Vital line and the Deli Fresh line is that Vital is grain free. They focus more on high protein and antioxidants. 2 of the 4 varieties are 85% protein and 10% fruits and vegetables. It says so right on the package. I guess the other 10% is the vitamins and minerals? Another is 80%/10%, and they also have an all meat variety that is 90% protein! Yeah, that's a lot.

So far I've fed Theo 3 of the 4 varieties, and here's what I found:
  • The Vital and Deli Fresh products are very similar and quality. Just like the Deli Fresh, you can smell meat, and see bits of vegetable and fruit. It looks like real food that's been squished into a log.
  • 90% protein is kind of an insane amount! I ended up with a dog that was a 90% ball of energy. On Tuesday I took Theo for our usual morning run. Usually when we get back to our house, Theo collapses on the ground while he waits for me to take off his collar. This time he stayed standing, and when his collar was off, he ran for his tennis ball for me to throw for him. That was a first. And you can tell when you slice into it that it is really almost all meat. It looks like it.
  • You can tell a lot about a dog's health by their poop, and Theo's poop has been great this week. Regular intervals, nice and solid, etc. His system obviously processed the food nicely.
  • Theo didn't experience any discomfort in the switch between products. He ate it up like any other day, no visible tummy aches.
  • Need I even bother mentioning that Theo likes the food? Of course he did. It's food, ergo, he likes it. I don't know if he even noticed a difference, since he wolfs it down just the same.

Overall I am really pleased with the Vital food. I had never fed Theo a strictly grain-free diet before, and besides the little boost in energy, I didn't notice a big difference in him (which is a good thing, I think, since he's already on a high quality food). Each of the 4 varieties is aimed at a specific dietary need for some dogs (limited ingredients, alternative protein, etc.), but since Theo doesn't have any special dietary needs, I could feed him all 4. I know a lot of people do the grain-free approach, but as long as they're whole grains, I've never had a problem with them. I don't really subscribe to the ancestral diet idea, since by that same reasoning I shouldn't drink milk or eat cheese, which are both very good for me and delicious! But let's put it this way, if Deli Fresh didn't exist, I would but Vital. I really like both products for the same reasons, I just like Deli Fresh a hair more, I just like the focus of their ingredients a little better. And I hate to say it, but Vital isn't yet carried in the big 6lb logs at my pet store. When they are there side by side (which they may be next time I go, this is a new product after all!), I'll actually probably have a hard time deciding which to buy. I probably shouldn't switch between them, but I'll be tempted!

To find where you can buy Vital near you, here is their store locator. You might be surprised to find that it's carried close to you, I know I was! Be not afraid of the refrigerated section!

I'm fully aware that it sounds like Freshpet paid me in more than just meat for an endorsement, but really they didn't (I wish! I'm going to be needing the money very soon!). I would have written this up without a free sample (though free samples help me get over my laziness, let's be honest), just because I love it so much. I actually go out of my way to buy it, since the pet store I buy every other item for Theo doesn't carry it, which reminds me, I've been meaning to ask the manager about that because I sure would love to just make one trip. I actually just sent emailed them requesting they carry it!

Anyway, that's my two cents on the matter. Feel free to chime in if you've tried any Freshpet products yourself, your take on "gently cooked" food, or whether you subscribe to the grain-free approach or not and why.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Trudge On!

Theo went on his first hike 2 weekends ago! Like a real hike. Up a mountain.

It was kind of a random last minute thing. My friend called me the day before asking if I wanted to go hiking with him the next morning. It was a relatively short, and easy hike (6 miles round trip), and it was listed as dog-friendly, so I could bring Theo along. It just so happened that Theo had been completely stir-crazy that day, so I thought a hike would be just the thing for both of us.

The mountain we climbed was relatively short, but it took so much mileage to get up it because it was basically just a series of switch-backs. This worked out well because if you didn't know, Theo's legs are a little shorter than the average dog. So rather than trying to climb straight up a mountain, we got to climb a steep turn, then walk a relatively flat trail, and another steep turn, another flat trail, etc. So basically, for Theo it was a few high jumps, followed by mostly easy trail.

And he was a rock star! He loved every minute of it! Some of the climbing was really steep, involving climbing some pretty big rocks. I always expected him to stop and cry for me to lift him up them, but no, He worked it out on his own, figuring out the best hops and jumps to best get him around the bend. I was so proud of him! And, being the energizer bunny, he didn't slow down the entire climb. He was too happy to bother with something as pesky as being tired.

Here's a tip about those hiking guide books: when they say a hike is dog-friendly, I don't think they image someone bringing their toy poodle. I saw dog after dog on the trail, but they were all huge. Lots of Labs and Shepherds, and one lone Beagle who made a quick friend of Theo (Theo considers Beagles honorary Corgis, I think). Just about everyone we passed marveled at such a stumpy-legged dog making such a steep climb. A few people even expressed concern. All for not, of course. Theo needed to sympathy. He actually out-hiked my friend, who kept the pace a bit too slow for Theo's liking.

At the top of the mountain we took a short break for some water, then headed back down. This is the part I was most concerned about. Not for Theo. For myself! I am fine with climbing up anything, but climbing back down is always where I falter. See, I'm tall. Tall people have a high center of gravity. Also, I'm clumsy. Tall, clumsy people have a long way to fall. And I had Theo attached to me. Theo likes to climb down things. He has a very low center of gravity. He doesn't have to worry about falling down. And he doesn't understand that mommies really don't want to be dragged down steep rocks for fear of their lives. Thankfully Theo was pretty good about not yanking on the leash while I was in the middle of being precariously perched, and we all three made it down safe and sound.

It was a really great time. Overall, my favorite moment was when Theo leaped onto the smooth face of a steep rock, couldn't find traction, and slowly slipped back to the ground. What'd he do? He leaped up to the same spot again, and sliiiiiiid back to the ground. It was hilarious to watch! It looked as if he was thinking "This time I'll make it for sure!" So cute. I finally had to suggest an alternate route for him, when I could stop laughing long enough to speak. A close second was when we passed a small child who was crying and throwing a fit to his parents. He had fallen down and was hurt. Far too hurt to possibly consider continuing on the hike! Or so he was trying to convince them. Theo, distressed at the thought of an adorable child being so unhappy, ran up to the boy and started gently licking his fingers, to try to assure him that everything was ok. The boy immediately stopped cry, smiled at Theo, said "Hello doggie!" and bend down to pet him. As soon as we parted, I heard him start trying again, picking up where he left off. Sorry kid, I think your parents were on to you. Hehe!

Husband was bummed to miss the hike, he was out of town, so I'm sure we'll be doing it again soon with him in tow. Since I was handling Theo on my own, I didn't get a chance to take any pictures, which bums me out. Next time!

So after a 6 mile hike full of leaping and bounding over rocks, what does Theo do as soon as we walk in the door? Well if you read this blog with any kind of regularity, I'm sure you can guess that he immediately got a toy for me to throw for him. Yes, he actually still had energy to play fetch. I'll admit, it was a very half-hearted game of fetch, but the fact that he didn't immediately keel over and take a nap stunned me. I don't call him the energizer bunny for nothing, people!

Do you have any fun hiking stories with your dog to share? Is s/he like Theo in considering the steeper the climb the better?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sock, I Shall Smite You!

Theo has a new Theo-ism. When Theo is bored the usual game of fetch will not suffice. The antler chew does not entice.

(I was a poet and I didn't know it!)

Usually when Theo gets in this mood it means he wants to jump on my head and bite my ears, or he wants me to chase him around the house. When he's bored, he lives to be chased around the house. Seriously, he'd do it until his legs fell off if I didn't lose interest way before that point was reached.

But sometimes I'm just not in the mood to crawl around on the floor and have a dog jump all over me. Sometimes I'm tired and don't want to run around the house. Sometimes while he's bored, I'm sitting on the couch, doing my own thing. That's when, in recent weeks, he's begun starting in on my feet.

Yes, my feet.

Not Husband's feet. Only mine.

I actually have an aversion to my feet being touched. When Husband and I are snuggling in bed, I will smack him if his feet brush mine. (Ok, actually I resort to whining rather than phsyical abuse, but smacking just sounded better there.) They're extremely ticklish, you see. And they prefer just to be left alone. So naturally, Theo now wants everything to do with them. And being my adorable furkid, I can't but help to give him whatever he wants. So I let him play with my feet.


And here's the thing. You'd think dogs, teeth, sharp, sensitive feet...all bad things would result. But no! Theo, being Theo, wants only to play, not to harm. He knows that his teeth are sharp, so he bites my feet ever so gently. Eep! But he's so gentle that it tickles! I writhe around in agony because it is just about the worst feeling ever, having my feet tickled! But he just wants to play, so I don't discourage him. I grate my teeth and try to think about not being ticklish. But Theo being Theo, he knows I'm hating it, and he only wants to play, not to harm!

So recently he's started going after my sock, rather than the whole foot. Are Corgis smart or what?! It is hilarious! He knows that there is a very thin layer of sock covering the foot, so he attempts to bite the sock and separate it from my foot with his front teeth. Can you imagine? It's too funny! Once he has a first grip on the sock, It. Is. On. A game of tug like you have never imagined starts. He grunts, he growls, and he tugs tugs tugs! I tug back, and we continue this way until the sock comes off. Then he kind of sighs at the anti-climax of his victory. Then he starts on my other sock. lol! It's so cute that sometimes I put my socks back on so we can do it again.

But he won't do it with Husband's socks. Only mine are offensive. Does that mean my feet smell and he's trying to air them out for me? Hmmm...

There is a bit of a downside to this new game. While Theo has every intention of being good and gentle, sometimes when he's gingerly pulling the sock away from my foot, he gets skin. Imagine tiny doggy teeth latching onto the very top of your skin and pulling. Yeah...OUCH! But I don't get mad because he obviously doesn't mean to. When I say "ouch!" he stops, backs away, looks sorry, and then goes back to try again. Hehe. Who would have thought dogs could be sweet and thoughtful? This one is!

Does anyone else have a dog who finds socks particularly offensive? Not sure why my socks started to offend two years later, but that's a dog for you, right? Sometimes things just develop. But people are that way too, I suppose.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vacationing With The Pups

Check out my food blog for a detailed account of our trip to Napa last Christmas! We piled the pups in the car and had a gay old time together. We only went to one winery that let us take the dogs into their tasting room (Alpha Omega), but they had lots of fun wandering the quiet neighborhoods and doing their part to water the grapes between trips.

Rex, well accustomed to the back seat, was as calm and mellow as ever, but Theo is used to ruling the car. He somehow would manage to worm his way over the seat and into Chris' mom's lap, where he would get a very nice head rub while he napped, ever-triumphant over Rex.

What a trouble maker

Our next vacation is already planned and I can't wait. We'll be in Monterey over Easter, and we wouldn't dream of leaving our furkid at home. Hopefully more fun adventures will be had!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Theo can get very jealous. Sometimes he can be kind of a brat about it. But mostly he's just hopelessly adorable. Unfortunately for Husband, Theo's jealousy never fails to flare up whenever we give each other affection, or really any kind of hands-on attention. Get your mind out of the gutter people! He can be fast asleep upstairs, but if he gets an inkling that Husband is giving me a hug in the kitchen, he comes running downstairs, toy in tow. Because obviously if I have time to give Husband my full attention, I have time to throw a toy for Theo. That's how his adorably puppy mind works, and really, it makes sense to me!

The latest occurance of his jealousy was yesterday. Husband had a rather exhausting weekend that involved trying to lift an entire 32" CRT television by himself because his "buff" wife just isn't as buff as we hoped she would be. Anyway, I was trying to massage the huge knots out of his shoulders when Theo jumped up next to me on the couch and gave me the most hilarious indignant Corgi face you've ever seen. You know the one I mean. Ears up, eyes wide and expectant, practically shaking from the concentration of trying to communicate telepathically with you. I heard the message loud and clear. "Mommy, how dare you give physical attention to Daddy when you could be giving attention to me!" A few seconds later he jumped off the couch and a few seconds after that a toy was at my feet, sitting next to an expectant puppy. Oh, if only I had had my camera! It was classic!

What do you do when you're torn between giving attention to your husband and your puppy? It's not a fair place to put a woman in, that's for sure.

You know who else is a jealous pup? This guy:
(See what I did there? That's called a segue people.)

This would be Rex, or Reindeer Rex to be specific. And his tag is showing! How embarrassing! Just pretend you don't see it, will you? Anyway, I think I mentioned it, but when we were staying on Rex's turf over Christmas, it was pretty much on par of what we experienced their last visit. Namely, Theo strutting around like he owned the place, and Rex biding his time and being more methodical on the best things to do to really piss Theo off, while maintaining his exterior cool. I gotta say, that's one sneaky dog.

Mostly he just stole Theo's toys a lot. Only the ones Theo wanted to play fetch with, and only after I had thrown it for Theo. And he wouldn't want to play fetch too. He would just steal the toy and go sit on it for awhile. And Theo's ears would fall and he would go pout in the corner. It was so sad, but kind of deserved after Theo did things like growling every time Rex came near me. One morning I made the mistake of letting Theo out of his crate before Rex. Rex was so excited to be let out, he kept charging the door. Even though Theo totally does the same thing, he viewed Rex's actions as a hostile attack against me, so when I finally got the door open, Theo ran in and tried to take a swipe at Rex. Ok, no swiping was involved, but lots of ferocious growling and teeth baring was. Eep! No dogs were hurt in the making of this Christmas. Theo is all talk, and Rex is all mellowness, thank goodness! But man! Juggling those two was like juggling warring toddlers. Seriously!

Also, Theo's arrival prompted nothing but polite behavior from Rex...except the part where he marked his own house! Yup! We were all just hanging out, and Rex ever so calmly walked over to the couch, sniffed it, and peed! I was just glad it wasn't Theo, which sounds terrible, but really Theo knows better than to mark inside, and I would have been mortified. Thankfully it was just that one incident.
I think my favorite, ok not favorite, but most entertaining bout between the two troublemakers was when I was laying on the couch reading. Theo jumped up and fell asleep in the crook of my legs, with his head on my knees, as he tends to do once every blue moon. Rex slowly approached, looking for some love and attention from me (I love him so!), I looked at Theo, knowing he would never allow it. Sure enough, while Theo was totally silent, I could see his nose wrinkling where he was baring his teeth to poor Rex, who took the hint and walked away.

I think both of them deserved timeout time in the reindeer antlers, don't you?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No Rain Ain't Gettin' Ma Doggy Down

...there! I finally was able to post a picture on this dang thing! Let's hear it for the biggest accomplishment so far for 2010!

That yellow monster eating my puppy's head is his new raincoat! Err, at least it was new a month ago when we received it from my ever-thoughtful sister. But let's just pretend I just opened it and immediate ran to the computer to blog about how much I love it. How awesome is she to think of her "puppy nephew", as she calls him, and include him in her holiday well wishing? Not only that, she got major points for taking note of when I said Theo had outgrown his old winter jacket. What, with all the crazy rain we got a few weeks ago it was truly a life saver. Seriously, the rain was insane! People actually started building arks. Children living 20 miles inland were getting swept out to sea from the safe slumber of their beds. I may have seen a Kraken tentacle or two poke out of the not-as-dried-up-anymore dried up lake by my house.

Ok really, I was out of town nephew-sitting the cutest baby with the most pinchable cheeks and the sweetest smile that was ever born*. But Husband totally used the raincoat, I am told. So far I've only tortured Theo with it from the safety of our own home, but I can already tell that it's a keeper. Here's what I like about it.

First, it's bright yellow, as all fashionable raincoats should be if they can possibly help it.

Second, it's long enough to cover most of his bummy bum bum. This is a very important feature, and one that is often hard to come by. Corgis are, after all, not the body type norm for canine clothing. Unfortunately, neither am I the norm for homo sapien clothing, so I feel like we totally relate to each other on that one.

Third, it has a very large hood, all the better to cover his huge satellite dish ears with! The last jacket had a hood, but it was so small that I had to crush poor Theo's ears to get his head in it, making it kind of impractical to use. This one, while still bothersome to Theo, is also completely usable, which is important, since it's the raindrops on his head that he really can't stand.

Fourth, it has a good amount of fabric on the bottom, so his tummy stays relatively dry while he traipses through lawns and bushes to send pee mail to all his buddies. And it attaches to the top portion by a long easy strip of velcro, making it immensely easy to get on and off. When you have a dog that hates getting in it, and can't wait to get out of it, this is essential.

And finally (aka, fifth), it has purely decorative ducky buttons! And ducky lining! Big points for fashionability here. Also, I just decided fashionability is a word. Use it.

Husband and I discovered the entertainment value that comes with dressing Theo up in all sorts of getups and then playing fetch with him while he's wearing them. As you know, Theo is a serious fetch player. It's not just his job, it's his passion. So he doesn't let pesky things like booties on his feet or over-sized raincoats stand in his way. I say over-sized because originally the raincoat we received was a size too small. I was kind of an idiot at the store and rather than buying one size up, I bought too. Of course, I got home and discovered it was too big. But after the second trip, we got the raincoat that was just right. Anyway, Goldilocks was slipping and sliding all over the place in the raincoat he was swimming in, and it was hilarious!

I admit it. I'm a sadist. I get great enjoyment out of my dog's suffering. But really, it's only so laugh-so-hard-I-cry funny because he doesn't acknowledge that he's wearing anything hindering! He doesn't give me a pathetic look that says "Mommy, I could play fetch so much better without this thing on me!" Nope. He only has (very intense) eyes for his tribble, and when and where I throw it. If he was bothered by the slipping and sliding you would never know it because he would figure out a way to get the toy and get it back to me and was only concerned with when I would throw it again. Comedy!

In closing, my dog is awesome, hilarious, focused. He has "calmed down quite a bit", as people tell me, but really he just tends to pouting. But that's another post.

*God help the next kid born to my sister if s/he does not have enormously pinchable cheeks. I'll sigh and tell the kid "you know, I love you know, well enough. But man, your older brother is just so darn cute and lovable. I just adore him. I won't lie, it's the cheeks." What can I say? My family gatherings are not for the faint of spirit. Also, apparently "pinchable" isn't really a word and blogger thinks "punchable" is actually what I'm trying to say. Oh man it would be hilarious to see people's facing if I went around describing my nephew as having punchable cheeks.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Holiday Madness Slump

*taps mic*

Hello? Anyone still in the room?

I did the same thing last year. Apparently the holidays get me so aflutter that I just can't find the time to sit and capture the moments that are going on all around me! I've holidayed, festivated (I just decided that should be a word), detoxed, and retoxed a bit. And now I'm back in the game. I've missed telling you about so much, that it'll take awhile to catch up. But catch up we will!

First off, in my quiet absence, Theo turned 2 years old! My little guy is officially an adult! I can't believe it's been two years. It went by so quickly, but at the same time it feels like we've always had him. Being a dog owner has been everything I hoped it would be and more, so rewarding. I couldn't have wished for a better dog. Part of the reason for my delay was that I wanted to post a pick of Mr. 2 years old, since I know it's been awhile. But, well, it just hasn't worked out so far. I've got some pretty terrible pics of him sporting his new raincoat, a Christmas present from his fur-auntie! Theo has decided he will no longer tolerate having his picture taken, and promptly leaves the room whenever I pull out the camera, whether I aim it at him or not. Hmph! Resolution for 2010, take more pictures of the dog, whether he wants to or not!

Second, as I noted before, Theo is Mr. January. Hey, guess what!? It's January!!! So for all those with a Corgi Blogs 2010 calendar, you're getting to enjoy my boy's mug for the whole long month! Of course, if you're related to me, say, sororitorily (another word that should be a word), or parentally, umm, you don't have one yet...because they're sitting in my house waiting for me to mail to you (because Cafe Press was LAME and took FOREVER sending me my order, so they didn't make it into your Chanamus packages!)...which I haven't had time to do...because I'm lame....OMG, I am so lame. But you know what? In 2010, every month can be January for you. And you're well used to my flakey lameness by now, and love me anyway, because we're family and you have to. Ha!

Second and a half, as Mr. January, Theo is the star of Kelly's latest post on Corgi Butts! Hello cutie! I really like what Kelly has done for the Corgi blogging community. We were always a tight-knit group, but now the word is out. I look forward to seeing other blogs featured over the months, and seeing what she comes up with next year! (read: please do this again next year, Kelly!)

Third, Theo is doing great. We had a fun Christmas with Husband's parents and Rex. But that's another post. Because I have a lot to say on the matter. I'll just say Theo enjoyed the extended pack while we had it, and was a bit bummed when it was just the three of us again. I'm glad he's back in doggy daycare because he was pretty bored hanging out at home all day while Husband and I ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to get things done while we had the break from work. Another resolution for 2010, find a way to give Theo more outlets for his mind and body. Sure, he gets plenty of exercise right now, but I've definitely been neglecting him a bit. Sure, I play lots of fetch with him, but my attention is usually elsewhere when I do it.

The question is what to do. I'm not ready to go back to was just too crazy. He really enjoys the dog park...for all of 5 minutes, and then usually just lays down by my feet and waits to leave. He enjoys it more when other Corgis are there, but I haven't been making it to the meetups. So step 1 is to make it to more Corgi meetups. Step 2, I'm thinking maybe some doggy play dates? I could invite Bailey the Beagle and Casey the Corgi (and Sophie, Casey's sister, who thinks she's a Corgi, but really is a long legged Shepherd mix) over for some fun, oh ok, and their owners too, who I actually like a lot. I'm not a very social person, especially having people over, which compulsively stresses me out for reasons unknown to me, but I just need to suck it up. For Theo's sake. Also, more hikes! Preferably before the weather turns sweltering.

Anyone have ideas on how I can be a better Corgi owner in 2010? What fun things do you have planned for you furkid this year?

Monday, December 7, 2009

He Keeps Going...And Going...

Did you guys miss the list updates I used to do. I did, so I brought the list back.
  1. I took Theo on a 6.5 mile hike yesterday, hoping it would mean a few hours of peace and quiet (and a break from playing fetch!). Theo is a gosh darn work horse! He powered through the whole thing without even needing to take a break! I made him stop for a water break twice, but he was content to keep pushing forward. The minute we walked in the door when we got home he went and found a toy for me to throw. Oiy. A friend made reference to the Energizer Bunny. Very appropriate.
  2. Husband thinks the only time Theo ever gets tired is when he's hot. Yesterday it was cold and cloudy. Maybe that was my problem.
  3. Husband is out of town for work for the next 2 weeks. He left yesterday morning. Last night Theo was definitely missing him. Not only was he totally snuggly on the couch, but he was actually letting me hug him. Theo doesn't do hugging. Poor guy, it's going to be a long 2 weeks for him.
  4. I can add windshield wipers to the long list of things Theo is afraid of. He kept trying to worm his way into my lap while I was driving him to doggy daycare this morning. I compromised by letting him rest his chin on my knee. My heart may have melted...just a little bit.
  5. It was raining this morning, much to Theo's dismay. He refused to stay outside long enough to pee. Hopefully it's not pouring tomorrow morning, since I usually take him for a run on the non-doggy daycare days. I don't think the rain coat I bought last year fits him anymore. Darn.
  6. There's a couple of women we used to see on our nightly walks and they would love all over Theo when he was younger, but we went probably a 6 month stretch without seeing them. We saw them last night. Theo was in heaven. Dogs really do have longer memories than we give them credit for sometimes.
  7. With Husband out of town until basically right before Christmas, that means it's just me and the pup decorating the house for the holidays. Should be a cozy affair. I can't wait to hang Theo's poop ornament from last year.

And as the holiday season nears full swing, remember your canine holiday safety! much consists of not letting your dog near poinsettias (they're poison!), and not letting your dog drink the water from your Christmas tree stand if you mix any kind of tree preservative with the water (it's poison!). Remember Bryson's experience with that last year.

Update: If you're wondering about the dog poop ornament I mentioned, it looks just like this one.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Giving Thanks

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I went from holding a puppy to holding my one month old nephew. It was an excellent week. I'm not even going to lie, I full on hogged him. Other family members be damned! He was so adorable and wonderful, it just felt good holding him. Puppies, babies, kittens, chicks, whatever! If it's a baby, it belongs in my arms.

There are no current plans to expand the household. Just saying.

Unfortunately, Theo's second Thanksgiving was not so momentous. We had to board him while we were gone for 5 whole days. I felt a tug at my heart strings every time I saw another dog. I missed my troublemaker terribly.

On the plus side, he wasn't the least bit mad at us for leaving him for so long. He was overjoyed when Husband and I picked him up together. His pack was reunited, everything was right in the world.

And then we gave him a bath.

Yup, I think we had a good strategy. We got him home and immediately threw him in the tub (because he was stinky before we left, when we picked him up...just ew.), after shedding him good because all the stresses of the day were causing his fur to fly, and of course, since his nails were nice and soft from the bath we went ahead and ground them down as well. And then we brushed his teeth. You get the idea. It was a doggy spa day. I think he was so unhappy with us for torturing him, he forgot all about being mad at us for boarding him. Worked like a charm.

Theo is almost 2 years old now. Can you believe it?! I can still remember when we first flew to Oklahoma to collect him. I remember the rambunctious puppy who introduced himself to me by tugging on my braids. I remember Theo and his siblings attempting to corner their mom to try and get at her milk (she was too smart for the 3 of them, it was pretty hilarious to watch). And I remember being so happy to take this tiny bundle of fur home with me!
I love him to pieces.

I know it's after the fact, but here's a list of things I'm thankful for when it comes to my furkid:

Dear Theo,
  1. I am thankful for the way you sit on people's feet when you first say hello to them.
  2. I am thankful that you give me space in the kitchen, yet are always close by when I clumsily spill something that needs to be cleaned up (I really missed this while I was cooking in my sister's kitchen...I spill a lot).
  3. I am thankful for the way you give one small lick to the inside corner of my eye when you want to tell me good morning.
  4. I am thankful for our evening snuggles, in which you fall asleep curled up in the blanket on the couch between me and Husband.
  5. I am thankful for the way you inform me it's high time I put you to bed (an exasperated whine, of course).
  6. I am thankful that you still haven't outgrown jumping on my head and biting my ears. I love it so.
  7. I am thankful that you wait patiently every morning for me to come back from working out before I let you out of your crate, and the way you enthusiastically run downstairs knowing you'll be getting a nice long fetch session outside.
  8. I am thankful that you've always been so well behaved and never destructive. I count my blessings every day. And I try to reward that good behavior with lots of off-leash time.
  9. I am thankful for every cry, whine, yip, bark, woof, groan, grunt, growl, and wail. Those Corgi noises are a source of endless entertainment.
  10. I am thankful for your big satellite dish ears and the look on your face whenever I give them a good rub.

I should probably say in there something about being thankful Theo is in my life, but I just can't type that without barfing all over the keyboard. And anyway, it's implied.

What are you thankful for when it comes to your furry ones?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Puppy Breath

I held a Corgi puppy on Sunday. Brian. A 13 week black headed tri. Named after the talking dog on Family Guy. One of my favorite shows. He was...*clears heart out of throat*...precious. That seems to be my go-to word for all things infantile, but he truly was.

We were at the dog park for a mini-meetup and there he was. Sitting on the bench with his mama because he didn't quite have all of his shots. She was good enough to bring Brian to the meetup just so we could fawn over him. Ok, actually it was for much better reasons, like socialization! Brian was all aflutter about the doggy commotion going on around him! He was so calm, so quite, so mellow! All in all, the complete antithesis of Theo when he was a puppy. Exhibit A: he sat in my lap quietly, content even, while I pet him for minutes upon minutes! Theo couldn't sit within 2 feet of me without trying to nip my face off when he was a puppy. Not to mention he didn't sit still unless it was to sleep.

But nevermind Theo as a puppy, we're talking about Brian here! I, of course, snagged the prime seat right next to little Brian on the bench as soon as I saw him. A few minutes later he wandered out of him mama's lap and into mine. My heart melted right then and there. He didn't seem frightened or anxious. He just chilled out, watching all the dogs play around him while I gently pet him and cooed how adorable he was. He didn't mind any of it. What a great pup!

My status as Brian's cushion made me quite popular with the other Corgis. Every few minutes one of them would run by, pop up on my legs or the bench, and give Brian a quick sniff hello. They all wanted to welcome him to our close-knit group. I ended up with a Corgi or two on my feet, and Theo, predictably, trying to compete for mommy's attention. At one point I was literally covered in sweet, adorable, goofy Corgis. I may have mentioned something about it being my vision of heaven. I came home from the dog park positively glowing. Tears might have welled up when I recounted the affair to Husband. They might be welling up as I type this. I'll never admit it, though. I am still thinking of Brian and how completely calm, adorable, and tiny he was. Puppies are dangerous, people.

But I learned something that day. Theo, from all experiences so far, which admittedly are very limited, likes Corgi puppies. Theo doesn't like puppies. They're whipper snappers! They jump all over you and nip and don't mind their doggy manners! They need to be told the ways of the world the same way Theo was told when he was a puppy. Like this:

That's how Theo usually acts around puppies. Except when it comes to Corgi puppies. Theo was so calm with Brian, and responded to him with an aloofness that bordered on friendliness! *gasp!* He let Brian sniff his ears! Crazier still, Theo pitched not a single fit to my giving all my love and attention to Brian. Whenever I love on another dog at the dog park, Theo always runs up, growls and barks at me, then gives me a look like he's been betrayed. He's not satisfied until the other dog is gone and I am patting Theo reassuringly that he is my one and only. When Brian was in my lap, Theo jumped up onto the bench, wedged himself between Brian's mama and myself, and calmly laid there. He just laid there! Every few minutes he would sniff Brian's ears, or his nose, or his you-know-what. Then he would stop and just chill out next to him, like there was no place he'd rather be than chilling with this puppy and me. My Theo. The non-chiller.

Crazier still, he seemed to get a bit protective of Brian. When other dogs would come up to say hello (ok, it was mostly Philip), Theo would chase them off! He would snap and bark at them, sometimes even jumping down to the ground to convey his point, until they ran off. He definitely seemed to be saying "look, don't touch you fur-truders!" If he hadn't started acting normal again once Brian was out of my lap, I would have suspected alien abduction and body snatching.

What else is there to conclude except that Theo was enamored of Brian. I was too. Not that I would consider anything but a Corgi for a second dog at this point, but this really drove home the point that Corgis just really love Corgis. There's definitely a camaraderie there that I've never seen him express with another breed. If we were to bring home a puppy, it would have to be a Corgi.

Not that I'm bringing home a puppy anytime soon.

But man do I want to bring home a puppy. Or just steal Brian. I think Theo would be ok with that too.

Oh, and Philip was definitely getting Theo back for his rude behavior last month. Theo might be louder and crabbier, but Philip is definitely faster! He kept giving Theo a challenging look bob of the head and then bolting with a "you're never gonna caaaaaaatch me!" look on his face. Mwhahaha! Payback is a female you, Theo! Also, Philip's owner's commentary during the whole thing was hilarious. All the Corgis were in quite a hilarious mood that day. By far the most fun I've had at a meetup!

So it's that time of year. Thanksgiving! While I wish I could say I'm getting ready to enjoy Theo's second Thanksgiving, I'm actually getting ready to drop him off at the boarding facility. I know. I'm a horrible person. But see, my only sister just had her first baby. She lives on the East Coast. I live on the West Coast. She can't travel with a newborn. I still haven't met my nephew. So guess how this ends? Yep, I'm going to Virginia for Thanksgiving to meet my nephew who is the cutest baby in the whole world! And yes, he's also extremely precious. There will definitely be more tear wellage this week. I hope she's stocked up on tissue. I am such a softy! Unfortunately, since Theo isn't small enough to fit under an airline seat. Or rather, since airline seats haven't been made to take Corgi cabin travel into account (can I write my local representative about this travesty?), that means Theo has to stay behind. He'll be boarded for five whole days. I am trying not to dwell. He'll be fine. We'll miss each other terribly. I just hope he's not too mad at me when I finally pick him up. I'm not completely depriving him of a festive good time. I think I'll try to host a holiday dinner of some kind in the next few weeks. Chanukah perhaps? Get my latke on?

The Theo random acts of cuddlage (I might just have to coin it TRACs if this keeps up!) have continued. Usually it involves snuggling on the couch on top of my favorite blanket (it's Husband's super old, threadbare, and thus super-soft comforter from college. I've promised him a divorce if ever he tries to throw it out behind my back (he's threatened!).), with a full belly, wedged between me and Husband. Now when I try to work out in the mornings, Theo is right there distracting me with wet nose sniffs and exposed soft bellies. How is a girl supposed to whip her butt into shape with that kind of a distraction? I've moved that portion of my morning routine to the gym.

Have a safe and happy holiday everyone! Moderation is our friend, for both human and canine alike! And remember to be thankful for your furkids: adorable, troublesome goofballs that they are!