Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Good Idea: Book Club

Manda Girl is having a kind-of giveaway over on her pugs blog. She's been given the opportunity to read some dog-centric fiction books for review and wants to pass it on. She'll send out the extra copies of the books she has with the stipulation that you read and review them so she can post it on her blog. It sounds like a fun thing to me so I've already emailed her asking to participate. The books don't sound like anything I would voluntarily pick up at a bookstore, but who knows? They might be a fun read.

Leaving My Baby Boy

We're off to Seattle for the weekend minus a big member of our family: Theo! He's being boarded at the facility we take him for doggy daycare. They're all very nice and Theo loves it there, so hopefully he won't miss us too much. I know I'll miss him! We're going to a memorial service, so this is not a vacation (I'm not even bringing the camera!). Hopefully it'll go by quickly so I can get back home and try and have a little fun with Theo for the holiday.

Everyone have a good weekend! What fun activities do you have planned with you pup over the long weekend?

Allergies Attack!

This morning I woke up to find Theo looking like this:

The whole right side of his face was swollen! He looked like that one kid at summer camp that had so many mosquito bites, their face swelled up and their eyes swelled shut. I checked in his mouth and all along the gums and under his lips to make sure that it wasn't an infection from a cut in his mouth. All clear. He wasn't in any pain, he just was obviously uncomfortable and itchy. He was licking his feet and scratching his sides. I figured it was allergies and gave him some children's Benedryl. Awhile later the swelling around his eye went down, but his whole muzzle was still puffy. Poor guy!

He's in doggy daycare right now. We gave them instructions to call us if the swelling didn't go down so we could take him to the vet. I have no idea what he reacted to. We didn't feed him anything new yesterday. I'm guessing the construction dust from the remodel got in his sinuses or something.

Once again we have an example of Theo getting sick and possibly needing vet attention right before we leave to go out of town! Ack! Husband and I will be gone for the weekend for a funeral so Theo will be staying overnight at the facility he goes for daycare. Hopefully we won't have any problems!

Update: The daycare just called and said that the swelling wasn't going down and the other side of his face was starting to puff up. Great! Husband is on his way to take him to the vet. I'm guessing they'll just give him a shot of a stronger antihistamine, charge us an arm and leg, and send us on our way.

Update again: Husband just got done at the vet. They said they thought it was a bite, even though they couldn't find one. Husband thinks they're full of sh*t and it was construction dust. Whatever it is, they're keeping him for the afternoon, shooting a bunch of stuff in him, and charging us $300 for it. Goodness this day just gets better and better.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Theo At The Beach

If you haven't yet checked out my newest flickr pictures, there's a ton of Theo (and some other Corgis from my meet-up group) at the dog beach this last weekend. We had such a blast! Even Husband had fun, and he avoids having fun at all cost. He hates the beach (it's the sand of course), but he still had undeniable fun! When were leaving and walking back to our car I turned to him and said "that was fun!" waiting for the usual apathetic/grumpy response. But he surprised me by enthusiastically responding that it was fun. No one sounded more surprised than him.

Let me start off by saying that my comments on the pictures below will be below the pictures themselves. When I read other people's blogs I notice some people right above, some below, and some do both in one post! I always find it confusing, and I'm a big enough dork to actually tell you upfront. So there. Now we'll get on with it...

I was pretty nervous about how Theo would do at the beach. The meet-ups lately have stressed him out a little because there are just so many Corgis! Plus, Theo isn't a big fan of water, so I made sure not to get my hopes up. I figured at the worst we would watch a bunch of Corgis play in the water while we sat and watched.

It was pretty tentative starting off. As you can see, Theo was afraid of the waves at first. He would run out when the waves were out, and then run back to us when the wave came in. It was so adorable!

Thankfully Theo gave us a pleasant surprise: he was playful! He chased Corgis, he barked, he frolicked. And after he was comfortable with all of that, he played in the water! I've never seen him so happy. He was also very excited to discover that he could eat water, salt, and dirt all in one gulp! I was not so excited about that, but I figured it wouldn't kill him (I had fresh water standing by for when he was thirsty from drinking salt water).

He made me proud by always sticking close to us. Even when he wandered off to play, he always gave me his attention when I called his name. If you can't pick my Theo out of the gaggle of Corgis in the picture, he's the one looking right at me like a good doggy.

Theo would only go up to a few inches of water. Eventually I wanted to see how he liked swimming, so I tricked him a little. I waded out into the water and called him to me. He was doubtful, but he really wanted to be where I was, so he waded out too. As you can see from the picture, he got a bit google-eyed just going chest deep.

Then a wave came in and he was swept away! Hehe, ok, not really. He was just forced to swim a bit to get back to shore (it was only like 6 feet away). The picture above is literally his very first moment swimming. He sank a bit at first, but he figured out how to doggy paddle in mere seconds. I guess I'm a sink or swim kind of a mom.

Theo made a beeline right back to shore. As adorable as he looked swimming, he was in a panic the whole time. I felt so guilty! I'm a terrible person, I know, but I think it was a good experience for him. I think next time I'll just carry him to deep water and support his belly a bit while he gets used to it. I didn't think of it at the time.

When he got to shore Theo shot me the dirtiest look he's ever given me and ran straight to Husband for safety. He ignored me and wouldn't go near the water for a couple minutes afterwards. But like most kids when they're pouting, he got over it quickly and before long he was back to normal. Though Husband told me later than when he walked out there with him, Theo kept growling at the waves. Hehe. You tell 'em Theo!

Pulling out the tennis ball for some fetch definitely helped. Usually Theo is too distracted to play fetch when we're out with other dogs, but this time he was able to focus. And boy was he focused! We purposefully threw it out into the water to see how he would react with the waves. He was too obsessed with the game to pay any attention to the waves (he gets like that with fetch when we play at home). It was so funny watching him try to soccer kick the ball back across the sand. Hehe. It didn't work out very well for him.

We were all thoroughly pooped afterwards, and proceeded to do nothing the rest of the day except rest (and give Theo a bath, which was anything but restful...). We'll definitely have to make more trips to the beach this summer! Since the temperature is sweltering during the day, the beach is pretty much the only place we can take him that qualifies as "out and about". Is it Fall yet?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Product: Antler Chew

I've heard about antler chews for awhile now, but I only just now finally got one for Theo. I wasn't able to find any sold locally, so I ordered one from this website. As you can see from the picture at the left, Theo loves it. He chewed it for hours and hours, quietly gnawing away.

Antlers chews are just what they sound like: they're pieces of antler from deer or elk. They don't splinter like rawhide or bones and they don't stink like bully sticks. As your dog chews they wear down smoothly. Right now Theo's has little gnaw marks in if from where he's chewed it.

I'm curious to see if Theo will stay interested in it long term. After chewing on it from a couple days now his interest is waning a bit. Has anyone else given their dog antler chews? What was your experience with them?

Video Of The Week 21: Sparkly Kibble Dancing

I saw this video posted over on Mag's blog and thought it was hilarious!

What a ridiculously cute thing to do.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One Of Those

OMG, I am totally those moms who forgot to pick up her kid from daycare! The place we take Theo for daycare closes at 7pm. I was talking with a co-worker, talking about Disneyland and his apartment flooding and what not, and next thing I know he's looking at his watch and saying "Sheesh, how late do you guys stay?" I looked at the clock, expecting it to be about 6pm, expecting to reply "Oh about another 30 minutes". But when I looked at the clock it read 6:58pm. "SHIT!!!" was all that came out of my mouth. I had totally lost track of time, and the daycare was like 20 minutes away. Shit. I called the place, no one picked up. Shit, I'll bet their gone for the day. I decided to chance it. I left a message saying I was on my way and booked it there. About halfway the woman who works there called and asked how close I was. I said about 10 minutes and she said she would go ahead and stick around until I got there. Phew! If I didn't like the place I take him before, I definitely do now! I would have been seriously bummed if I'd had to leave Theo there overnight.

PS: Pardon my French.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fetched Out

I've experienced some serious cabin fever these last few days. Our entire downstairs is right now unlivable (well we could live on a concrete floor if it wasn't dirty and if Theo wasn't always walking around trying to eat debris, but that's just not the way it is), and our upstairs isn't much better. All the stuff from our kitchen, living room, dining room, family room, laundry room, and downstairs closet (minus the big furniture) is now upstairs in our guest room and loft (today a co-worker exclaimed that he couldn't believe we had fit it all in those two was a delicate process). That leaves the master bedroom, which we don't hang out in because Theo isn't allowed in there. So really we've been banished to the office and the hallway. That's it! It's, what, 120 sq. feet? I was ready to murder just about anyone by the end of the weekend.

Poor Theo, as I mentioned in my last post, is stressing a bit about it too. Who can blame him? Not only do his living conditions keep shifting, but they also keep getting smaller! I'm sure he feels just as cramped as we do. He's been coping through constant games of fetch. And I mean constant. All weekend he followed me around with his giant tribble, wanting me to throw it for him. If I didn't throw it, he would cry and whine and protest until I gave in and did it. I felt bad for him because I'm sure he was just bored. I tried to take him out as much as possible to keep things interesting, but it's just too cramped.

So in the end the whole weekend was pretty much spent with me sitting on the hallway floor trying to read while every 10 seconds or so I had a tribble flying into my lap ready to be thrown. Let's just say, if this keeps up much longer, that tribble is going to be the first victim of my murderous rampage.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Adorable, Affectionate

Theo is a wonderful dog. He's fun, playful, friendly, and for the most part well behaved. Husband and I often thank our lucky stars that we ended up with a dog with lots to offer in the brains, looks, and personality department. One thing Theo is not (generally) is affectionate. Before our heinous remodel began I often mentioned my precious morning couch time with Theo. It was precious because it was usually the only time in the day when Theo would be affectionate with me.

By affectionate I mean letting me pet him as he lay next to me rather than moving 2 feet away where I couldn't reach him. Or sleeping with his head on my legs or feet, rather than sleeping where I am in view but not close enough for touch. Usually that is Theo's thing. He likes to be able to see me, to be close to me, but usually not actually being touched by me. He's the kind of dog that doesn't like being scratched behind the ears because it means he'd have to sit still. He doesn't like belly rubs because it means I'm focusing on petting him rather than playing fetch with him. That's just Theo. He loves people, loves being around them, but just not into being pet.

While that's mostly still true, I've noticed Theo has been a lot more affectionate lately. Last night Theo was sleeping in our office while Husband and I sat at our desks. My chair was turned out towards the room because I was reading. Theo was sleeping behind Husband's chair when all of a sudden he got up, walked over to me, laid down on my foot, and went back to sleep. He never sleeps that close to me! Better yet, after awhile my foot got tired of being in that position so I moved it. Theo woke up, lifted his head, and gave me the grumpiest, dirtiest look. Adorable! It wasn't until I put my foot back next to him that he laid back down and went back to sleep. Then this morning as Husband and I were driving him to doggy daycare before heading to work I casually rubbed the back of his ears because I was checking for any dry skin (Theo had fleas last week (that's another post), and his flea bath left some residue or something behind his head). Apparently Theo loved it. As soon as I did it his eyes closed, his tongue went out, and his head went up. I stopped for a minute and then did it again, and the "oh yeah" expression came back on his face. It was hilarious! I rubbed his ears the rest of the car ride, and I loved it.

I think the reason for all this sudden affection is probably related to stress from the remodel. We had to move everything upstairs (including Theo!) the weekend before last. He didn't like losing his play space anymore than I did. Whatever the reason I'm loving the new affectionate Theo, and I hope he stays this way!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Part 3 - Mendocino Trip, Botanical Gardens

The best part of our trip to Mendocino was the afternoon we spent at the Mendocino Botanical Gardens, which is located about 7 miles north of town up the 1. We actually almost didn't go. It was the last day of the trip and I was feeling lazy and tempted to hang around all day, but thanks to my mom and Husband (and my sister and her husband for buying the tickets!), we ended up going.

It started off pretty ho hum with some ordinary plants I had no interest in identifying. Then all of a sudden it got awesome. There were these cool scraggly trees. There's nothing I love more than scraggly trees on an overcast day. Sure, it's gloomy, but for some reason it makes me happy and pensive.

After the scraggly trees were some bluffs. Who doesn't like a nice ocean view in between garden viewing?

The real treat came when we got to the dahlia garden. There were Dahlia's everywhere, with a grassy lawn in the middle of them and a artistic wooden gazebo-like structure at the end of the row. Could you imagine getting married there? You wouldn't need a florist, that's for sure. Seriously, the Dahlia garden was so gorgeous I would have gone just to see it. There were all different kinds (who knew there were different kinds?) and the colors ranged everywhere from white to orange to purple. Plus, tt was a great opportunity to use the macro setting on my new camera!

And guess what else was cool about the was dog friendly! You can take your dog into the gardens as long as you stay on the path and keep them on a 6' leash. No extra charge. Theo had a blast. He was always looking back and giving us a "hurry up!" look when we dawdled. He wanted to see what the gardens had to offer!

The happy look on Theo's face here is because he's have a roaring good laugh over the fact that mommy and daddy had to wipe some stray poop off his booty. Yuck! Lots of walking seems to make Theo have to poop when he doesn't really need to. The rest of my family gave us a "and that's why I don't have a dog" look. Lovely.

Another cool thing at the gardens that most of my family ended up skipping over was the vegetable garden. It was a ways off the main path, but when I saw the sign my mom and I decided we'd check it out. I wouldn't recommend bringing your dog into this area. It's, well, a vegetable garden! Lettuce, zucchini, and lots of other veggies (as well as fruits) grow in planter boxes only a few inches off the ground. Very easy access to a food-obsessed pup. But they do allow people tastings, so my mom and I had fun picking a blueberry and currant here and there. Man did they taste great right off the bush! I just love the way this picture came out.

Well that's the end of my Mendocino vacation. It was lots of fun but way too short. This was my first real vacation with Theo and I think it went really well! He was really well behaved for the most part (minus the incessant pulling on his leash!), and he really helped keep me out and about (something I don't do enough!).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Part 2 - Mendocino Trip, Mendocino Proper

Theo had a blast in Mendocino. He was actually pretty psychotic from his bubbling over excitement. He was either full speed hyper or full speed sleeping most of the time, but in some rare instances of mellowness I managed to get a picture or two.

In the morning my mom and I would get breakfast together at the bakery. Here's Theo waiting patiently for me to drop a goody. This was a Mendocino first for my mom and I. I've never been awake early enough to go and get breakfast with her, but thanks to Theo, I'm now an early bird!

After breakfast I would take Theo for a walk on the bluffs, just the two of us. Theo just loved the bluffs. I think he would have been happy standing there all day just sniffing the ocean air. It was adorable seeing his nose in overdrive with the same look on his face that dogs get when they stick their head out of a moving car.

After breakfast he was usually pooped and nap while Husband and I got ready. He thought the shams and top comforter we threw off the bed was for his own personal use. It was pretty adorable.

He loved sleeping in the same room as Husband and I. In the morning he would try his darnedest to jump up on the bed, and at one point he actually did it...when the bed was empty. Husband said it was hysterical watching his facial expression go from triumph to disappointment.

After lunch Husband and I took Theo for another walk. We walked around town and did our town shopping, which included Mendocino jam and mustard, Mendocino fudge, and looking around Out of This World and the Gallery Bookshop). And then it was back out to the bluffs.

This is Theo's pirate face. Arggg!

And in between all the walking there was of course more eating of delicious food, drinking of Navarro wine, and hanging out. But Theo mostly just slept during those parts, or played fetch with my sister and her husband. Theo never gets tired of playing fetch with his tribbles.

In the evening my family played a new game called Time's Up. It is frakking awesome, and absolutely hilarious to play with your family.

It was a great vacation, with the only downside being how quickly it was over. For most pictures see my flickr album.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Part 1 - Mendocino Vacation, Navarro

I decided that there's so much awesomeness from my vacation I want to post about, I had better split it up into a few so it doesn't end up a novel (and I don't end up blogging all night, hehe). So I'll start off with our wine tasting at Navarro winery. Navarro is located on highway 128 (off 101) in Philo, which is a little ways past Boonville (seriously). The road has lots of ups and downs and all arounds, so if you get car sickness (I do!) roll down your window and take it slow. No one likes to drink wine on a queasy stomach.

The area surrounding the winery is very picturesque. They have picnic tables right outside their tasting room so you can sit and enjoy the view. Or there are other tables around the property in other pretty settings. There are flowers pretty much everywhere. We actually stopped in Healdsburg for lunch (a cute town I had never been to before...very Sonoma), and we were in a hurry to get to Mendocino, so we didn't sit and enjoy like I would have liked.

The tasting room is a friendly and relaxed setting, and unexpectedly booming considering it's surrounded by nothing but small towns. I guess they got some street cred. There is no tasting fee and they had I think about 15 wines to taste with no limit on the number of wines you could taste.

Even though Navarro is one of my favorite wineries I'm going to go ahead and say that their reds aren't that great. It makes me sad because I love red wine. A good red wine is just the best thing ever. Their reds are definitely drinkable, but I wouldn't say they're worth driving to Philo for. Their whites, however, definitely are! The winery is most known for its Gew├╝rztraminer, I would say. It is delicious. And if you want a real treat try the Gew├╝rztraminer Late Harvest. It's a sweet wine, but not too sweet. I don't really like most dessert wines, but this stuff is guud. It's a bit pricey though, so I just got a half bottle (sorry friends, that means we're not sharing!). Also, it may sound pricey, and it may sound silly, but try some of their grape juice. It is so frakking good. I hate juice you buy at the grocery store because they’re so sweet! I don’t taste fruit, I just taste artificial flavoring and sugar. Blech! Navarro’s grape juice tastes like it actually came from grapes, and it’s sweetened just the right amount.

And last thing I'll say about the winery is that it is surprisingly extremely dog friendly! Dog-friendly wineries is definitely not something I kept an eye out for before getting Theo. Who knew tasting rooms allow dogs? We found out by accident. We assumed Theo couldn't come in so Husband was sitting with him outside, but somehow Theo got inside and once the people working the tasting room spotted him they immediately told us that he was welcome and they'd love to have him roam around. How nice! They let him wander wherever he wanted (you can see his curious george booty in the picture to the left, they really let him go wherever he wanted!). They fawned over him. They fed him treats. At one point they even gave him some grape juice out of a wine glass!

Apparently the owner of the winery is a big dog lover. He has a daschund who goes out on the tractor with him and helps with the process or something (I'm a good listener). There's a picture of him and his dogs (one has since passed on) hanging on the wall. So it's like company policy to be dog friendly. :p Whatever the reason, any dog is welcome in the tasting room, which makes for a much more enjoyable experience, in my opinion.

I like stopping off at Navarro before heading to Mendocino because it just starts the vacation off right. That way we're all stocked up on wine!

PS: I uploaded all the pictures from my trip to flickr. There's a lot of 'em!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

We're Back And Relaxed

Ok, actually I'm not as relaxed as I would have hoped, but it was still a lovely vacation. I've pulled the pictures off my camera, but I haven't had a chance to upload them, so I'll have to wait until the weekend to upload you all on our fun time in Mendocino. I took a lot of pictures. I can tell you that we drank lots of good wine, ate lots of good food, went on lots of beautiful walks, and Theo was a spastic little spitfire the whole time. Check back soon!