Furbabies After Real Babies

A few months ago our dogs were our babies. I genuinely worried if I would love the baby as much as I loved the precious animals.

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Newsflash! I love the human baby exponentially more than the pups. I still love the dogs. I just don’t like them all the time.

They have the worst timing, ever. They always seem to need to go out as soon as I sit down to feed the baby. Or they’ll spot the neighbor’s cat outside and go apeshit right after I get him to take a nap. Or a rabbit! Or some deer! Have I mentioned our house backs up to the forrest? Yeah, it happens all day, every day. Sometimes halfway through the next feeding, one if them will trot on over a vomit at my feet.

Thanks, guys.

I will say, they’re good around the baby (we play a lot on the floor right now, so that’s important) so I can’t complain too much. Everyone is safely coexisting, and that’s all that matters, right?

This morning. Oh this morning. A comedy of errors you guys.

I sit down to feed the baby, who is extremely fussy lately. Like, if some teeth don’t pop out of him soon, I will be shocked and might be in need of an exorcist.

So I sit down to feed him, and the little dog is behind me in the front bay window and starts barking at some one walking by, or a bird, or nothing because he’s out to get me at this point. So Gus is distracted. Then I hear the sounds of scratching and tearing coming from the back room, where the big dog is.

Great. Is she destroying something? Did some wee animal get in, and now I’ll have to deal with it’s murdered little body? So I pick up the still eating baby and walk back to check it out.

She’d somehow found a piece of her bag of food (which Mike opened this morning) and ripped it to shreds.

Now the little dog is howling at something out front, and the big one is running away from me so I can’t tell her how bad she is.

I need to clean up the mess, and I decide I want to corral the dogs into the back room and kitchen so the baby can eat, sleep and play in peace and I don’t have to look at their sweet stupid faces.

So Gus goes into the Pack n’ Play which he tolerates only because he’s recently eaten.

I spend the next five minutes trying to trap the dogs in the back room. I’d get one in and the other would escape. I finally trap the big one, and the little one is afraid to walk into the foyer and past the baby gate, because he’s afraid of ev.ery.thing. You can’t grab him, or move too fast or yell, because he’ll just respond by peeing everywhere. So I coax him into the room with the promise of a treat.

I do all of this with my boob hanging out, and a nipple shield stuck to my skin.

I clean up the mess, I get the dogs some treats. Gus starts crying.

I realize the (clear!) nipple shield has fallen off somewhere on the first floor of the house.

I need to find it so I can wash it so I can feed the now screaming baby.

So, of course, the doorbell rings.

I figure it’s just UPS or something and ignore it. But it keeps ringing.

Howling dogs. Screaming baby. Someone waiting impatiently at the door. Boob still out.

It’s BGE here to upgrade my gas meter. Great. Go to town.

I found the shield and we’re back in business. Gus has (temporarily at least) stopped crying and fallen asleep. So have the dogs.

I love it when everyone is sleeping.

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Parenting Preparedness with Puppies

I’ve thought this for a while, but the last few weeks have really convinced me that I was right all along.

Dogs are excellent practice for babies.

Or at the very least, my dogs are.

There are the obvious reasons — some little thing is totally dependent on us for food and shelter. You can’t stay out all night, because you have to get home to feed the dogs and let them out. You can’t sleep in either, because the dogs probably need to pee.

But these two dogs? Oh man, they’re killing me lately. They’re so cute, and I love them — but lately I just want to make them live in the backyard. (Mothers I know and trust assure me this is very similar to the first year at home with a new baby, so I know I’m onto something.)

The little dog made our lives hell when we brought him home (he was skittish, and afraid of everything that moved, and had a lot of separation anxiety) but things got better after the first six months. Now he’s the most obedient member of the household, which I appreciate. But still:

He throws up everywhere, when you least expect it. It’s not really his fault. When you gotta vom, you gotta vom (which has become painfully obvious to me now that I’m pregnant). But he has the uncanny ability to spring it on you when you least expect it. About to walk out the door, and you’re almost running late? Blaaagh! Thinking about going to sleep in the next 20 minutes? Vooooommmm all over your bedsheets! Tired and worked all day? Surprise, look what I left you in the shag carpet!

He stinks, all the time. Jake’s favorite thing in the world, is smelling like shit. Or, I guess more specifically, urine. Or sometimes if he’s lucky, decomposing leaves. He will find the smelliest thing in the yard, and roll in it until he can’t see straight. Then he likes to run upstairs and roll on our bed, because he loves me so much.

He is happiest laying on top of you. Unlike a human baby, Jake does not like to be picked up. There’s a lot of scratching and flailing. But he does want to lay or sit on top of you, no matter what you’re doing. He is happiest right on top of your chest, with his stink-covered neck just inches away from your unsuspecting face. Then he falls asleep, and is so cute, you don’t want to wake him up even though you really need to use the bathroom.

The big dog looks sweet and innocent. And for the most part, this is the case. But she’s developed some new habits lately, that, well:

She refuses to go to bed. I’m not sure what happened, but after almost four years of the exact same bedtime routine, Daisy has decided that she’s just not doing it anymore. At first I thought it was some sort of summertime senioritis, or maybe she’s just an insolent teenager like I was. All I know is, she refuses to come inside at night, resulting in us chasing her around the pool and trying to herd her towards the backdoor. Then she avoids her crate like the plague. She tries to sleep on the sofa, or sneak upstairs to sleep in our bed (which she’s never done) or in the guestroom, like we won’t notice.

She ignores everything we say. Daisy, come here! Nope. Daisy, here’s a treat! Not interested. Daisy, if you don’t go to bed, we’re going to strangle you! I know you’re full of it, Mom. Daisy, I love you and I’m begging you to come inside. Screw you guys, I’m hiding in the bushes! Daisy, that’s not your bed. I DO WHAT I WANT!

She cries incessantly. This unfortunately, is not a new development. She is the squeekiest, whiniest dog I’ve ever met. She cries to go out, and cries to come in (unless, of course, it’s bedtime). She cries for attention, and cries when you’re petting her and she’s happy. She cries if someone walks by the house, or if she thinks she saw a cat. She never. stops. crying.

Luckily for both of them, they’re really cute.*

*I feel like this will also apply to Mr. Baby, come October.

Homemade Dog Biscuits (Just in Time for Christmas!)

I know — you’ve been dying to make some dog treats, right?

ME TOO!

Well, no, not really.

But I bought all the ingredients like two months ago, and I had some spare time on my hands last weekend, we were out of dog bones, and so here we are…

Apparently pumpkin is good for dogs? And gluten is bad. I guess — I’m not a vet, I’m making these assumptions based entirely on things I’ve seen on Pinterest. But if those two things are legit, then these treats are perfect for your pups, since they’re full of pumpkiny goodness, and are also wheat-free.

I adapted this recipe slightly, mainly because I thought I had what I needed, and naturally, I didn’t. The dogs don’t seem to know the difference.  I also doubled the recipe, because the cookie cutters I had were waaaay bigger than an inch, and we go through bones like nobody’s business over here.

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Here’s what I used:

4 eggs
1 cup of pureed pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups of brown rice flour
approx. 3″ cookie cutter — yields 70 bones

Preheat your oven to 350.

Mix everything together — maybe go to the gym and lift weights for like a week in advance, because this took me a while. Granted, I doubled the recipe, but it’s a lot of mixing. Then roll it out like you would if you were making cookies — just use some spare rice flour on your counter and your rolling pin in case it sticks (I rolled mine on top of some parchment paper so I didn’t get flour everywhere).

Cut out your bones, and line them up on a cookie sheet — no need to use cooking spray or parchment paper, mine came right off. The original directions called for rolling them 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick, so that’s what I did. (I think next time I might make them a little thicker, and try to find a smaller cookie cutter.) Dock with a fork if you want, but I don’t think it’s really necessary.

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Bake for 20 minutes and then flip over, and bake for another 20 minutes.

Once everything is cooled, just store in an airtight container, and reward your patient pets.

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Admission:  Yes, I tasted a tiny piece. They taste like very, very, very dry brown rice. But Daisy & Jake gobble them up, so I’m assuming to a dog that is the recipe for deliciousness.

Four Years

Four years ago (OK, four years and a day) I went on my first date with a super cute man with a beard and a stinky car.

I broke rule #1 of internet dating, and let him pick me up at my house — I’d give you some spiel about how we lived nearby, and were saving the environment, but I’d be lying. I was just lazy, and a rule breaker. He took me to dinner, where we randomly ran into his best friend’s parents (who I imagine called his parents as soon as they got home to tell them about the beautiful and polite girl Mike just introduced them to).

Like three weeks later, I basically lived with him — mostly because I really liked him, but also because he had central air, and I didn’t.

Then he took me on vacation with his entire family, I moved in for real, we got a puppy and he proposed (first with paper, then the real deal). All in about five months.

Between me and the dog, we’ve broken two pairs of his glasses. We were part of a giant caterpillar for Halloween, and people regularly confuse my husband and my BFF.

We shaved all his hair off once, and only once, because it turns out his head is lumpy (in a cute way).

I’ve made him several meat-themed birthday cakes, including a t-bone and a hamburger. There was an attempt at a taco, but that didn’t really work…

Since then, we planned the best wedding ever, I got stitches for the first time (thanks, wedding invitations!), we got married in the middle of a blizzard, we bought a new house, and expanded our furry family to two puppies.

He has survived living with me while I’m taking fertility drugs, and is more than willing to inject things into my butt (wait… what? you know what I mean), because we both know it’s worth it, and our babies will be freaking adorable.

A Pitbull Sized Soapbox

Our dog Daisy is sweet, gentle, funny (yes, dogs can be funny), snuggly, and lovable. Just ask anyone who’s ever met her (and was then promptly licked excessively).

She also happens to be a pitbull.

Well, a pitbull-mix. Speculation about her other half includes whippets, greyhounds, or anything really fast and skinny.

Daisy’s biggest concerns during the day consist of:

“Is there a sunbeam available? I’ll lay in it.”
“Oh! You have a blanket! Move, please, I’d like to get under it with you.”
“Gah. Something wet touched me! Why did you buy a house with a pool?!”
“You made the bed?! Fools! I’ll just make a nest in all your pillows.”

So when I read about a new Maryland law designating “all dogs identified as ‘pit bulls and pit bull mixes’ inherently dangerous,” I was a little offended. According to this law, I’m liable for any damages my dog causes to any people, or other dogs…

Uhhh — yes? I’m pretty sure that should be the case for ANY dog owners though, regardless of their pet’s breed.

Pitbulls get a bad rap. Sure, a lot of them have been used as attack dogs, or bitten people (so has every other breed of dog). They’ve also been kept in cages, starved for extended periods of time, and forced to fight to the death. Try that with ANY dog, and you’ll get the same results.

As a matter of fact, do that to me, and see how friendly I am after a few weeks. Or, you know, read the Hunger Games — it’s the exact same thing.

Aggression is a learned behavior — I don’t care what breed of dog you have — if you neglect it, and beat it, and teach it to attack, you’ll end up with a vicious dog. The real problem are dog owners who turn innocent animals into violent ones.

Animal Shelters are already overrun with animals — pitbulls especially — and this law is certainly not going to make it any easier to find them homes, or keep other family-friendly pits with the people who love them.

So, if you care, do something about it, please.

Adventures in Dog Grooming

We have two dogs.

You’ve all met, yes?

So, there’s a big one, and a little one. Generally speaking, they are lovely animals. They’re sweet, they occasionally follow commands, and people seem to like them. At least — Dog People do.

But, from time-to-time, I want to … strangle them.

Today was one of those days.

See, they needed their nails cut. They were long overdue. I guess most people do it themselves at home? We’ve tried that, with mixed results. And by “mixed results,” I mean Daisy (the big one) was fine, and Jake (the little one) was a nightmare.

So, I pay professionals to do that now.

I recently discovered a dog groomer right around the corner from our neighborhood — so I thought I’d check them out today. Turns out “dog groomer” is code for “crazy lady who washes dogs in a filthy office, and only takes cash,” so I literally walked in, and walked right back out.

Which was how we ended up at Petco.

My plan was simple — drop off the dogs, walk around the corner and pick up some lunch to go, pick up the dogs and then head home.

That is not what happened. Also, we can never go back there again.

After signing them in, the (poor, poor) groomer took them behind the main desk. There were four areas — a sort of lobby, the desk area, the grooming area, and a storage/kennel area.

He decided to start with Jake — who promptly panicked and wriggled out of his harness and collar — and took off. This happened twice. So the guy finally gets him on the table, and hooked him into the little harness that holds them in a standing position. Only he never adjusted it from the last dog who was taller, so Jake’s whole front end was just sort of hanging in the air.

When the guy attempted to fix it, Jake tried to flee, which resulted in him falling off the table, and hanging from his neck. This also happened twice. Also, Jake was peeing everywhere.

Meanwhile, Daisy was left to her own devices in the desk area — where she found a box of toys, emptied them all onto the floor, and started stripping the fuzz off of all their tennis balls. That is, until a lady came in with an old english sheepdog — and Daisy tried to leap over the desk so she could play with him. When that proved impossible — she started screaming. (I don’t really know how else to describe it — but for the uninitiated, pitbulls scream.)

So they decided to put her back in the kennel area… only they didn’t kennel her. They just shut her in there, where she proceeded to taunt every dog waiting in a crate.

It was about then that Jake’s nail clipping commenced — and at this point, I think the dog was so traumatized he didn’t even realize what was happening. Until the groomer made his way to his front paws, when Jake must have decided that if wiggling, hanging, and peeing wasn’t enough of a deterrent, he’d just poop.

And so he did.

Yes, getting his nails clipped, literally scared the shit out of him.

Like I said, we can never go back there again.

New Prints

My little Etsy shop does fairly steady business.

And by that, I mean from time-to-time I can afford to pay for all my iTunes purchases, and that’s about it. But every bit helps, yes?

Sometimes I’m crazy busy trying to get proofs out to customers, and get everything to the post office, and sometimes I don’t get an order for weeks. It’s totally random.

This has been one of those crazy cray cray weeks — complete with a few custom designs that I decided to add to my shop to see if anyone else is interested…