Saturday, July 29, 2006

Water Dog

It could be the heat, it could be newfound love, but we couldn't drag Pappy out of the kiddie pool at the dog park this morning-- except to chase a tennis ball.

Last weekend we spent the afternoon by a pool with the Papster, and he was pretty nervous around the water. His ball would fall in, and he'd paw at it trying to get it out. Finally he started wading in on the steps to retreive his beloved toy. If you held the ball underwater, he'd even go dunking for it. Sadly, Pappy's unconventional good looks don't really hold up when he's sodden.

Uncle Fred

In many ways, the inspiration for adopting Pappy came from his Uncle Fred, a poodly mutt belonging to my mother-in-law. When visiting Texas, old Fred becomes our devoted sidekick. He may look like a lamby poufta, but he's got the heart to go after muscle-bound dogs thrice his size. Ah, good times!

Though the physical resemblance to Pappy might not be obvious, they are both lanky, medium-sized dogs with long snouts. Shave them, dye them the same color, and they could be twins.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ga-ga for Other Dogs

For a good dog, Pappy does drive me crazy with one thing. It could be that he is young, it could be that he's a terrier, it could be that I am too nervous, but Pappy has a lunatic drive to engage every dog that he sees on a walk. From fifty feet the ears go up and he starts pulling towards the dog. At twenty feet I can no longer get his attention. At five feet, if he gets a chance to sniff with a calm dog, all is well. Otherwise, he's jumping, he's lunging, and-- no longer content to whine in frustration -- he's recently taken to barking and growling at strange dogs. I see so many dogs who can pass calmly, and I want me some of that.

He's good with other dogs at the off-leash dog park, so he's pretty well-socialized. The difference on-leash is that he's being restrained, and I am probably stressing him out. There are some interesting articles on about desensitizing dogs to other dogs, but I am still trying to do too many things at the same time. This morning Pappy had some success at staying calm while Taz, a sweet-but-barky mini schnauzer, passed by. But then Taz's owner stopped to chat and eventually the whole thing disintegrated into the typical conflagaration.

But it is always important to remember, as weird as your dog gets things could be so much worse.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

What? A Pappy-less movie?

This is movie of our trip to the Scottish West Highland Way, which dragged us away from our beloved Papster in late June. Eight minutes of pure delight for people who want to go the 95 miles without all the walking and blood-sucking midges. (There are a couple of shots of a working Border Collie to justify me placing it in a dog blog.)

More Quotes

Following our quote from the Washington Post journalist, I have a new quote from the professional ranks on our dog's-eye view. On viewing Pappy's Blog, a Ph.D. psychologist and published expert on schizophrenia had this to say-- "We're upgrading you to 'code red' on our watch list."

You better have us on your watch list, because we are the ones to watch. All the way to the moon, baby.

Running Again

I stopped taking Pappy for runs a while back because of a nerve-wracking incident, but this weekend we went out and he seemed to enjoy it.

The incident took place the morning of the day we were flying to the UK on vacation. I decided to take Pappy on a run to keep him from getting too out of shape during our absence. Pappy always starts a run tugging at the lead, dawdles a bit up to the halfway point, and then he gets into the "zone" and races through the home stretch. At the halfway point that morning, he was really dragging. I then saw he had a pronounced limp. Suddenly I had visions of Pappy having a burst tendon with five hours until I had to leave for an international plane flight... and a newbie dog-sitter who we couldn't reach before we left... and a million things to do. I picked Pappy up and started carrying him with my mind racing to think how I was going to fit in a vet visit, and who I could talk to about follow up.

Pappy isn't big at 37 pounds, but he gets to be a load after a quarter mile-- but I forged along. He seemed to be having a good time licking the sweat off my face, and looked suspiciously comfortable. Finally I needed to take a breather, so I put him down and he was walking without much trouble. Within two hours, he was chasing balls around the back yard. The little stinker!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Our Hero

Turns out that while we were away on vacation, Pappy showed the heroic fortitude of Rin Tin Tin (minus the training and obedience).

While the housesitter had him out in the back yard, Pappy was barking incessantly at something. He's not a barker under normal circumstances, so a neighbor took a look outside... finding a suspicious stranger in my next-door neighbor's yard. When confronted, the stranger made some excuse about mistaking this house as having a basement apartment for rent, and then skulked off. My next-door neighbor later found his basement window had been broken, but no one seemed to have entered. A short time later a burglar was apprehended after being identified breaking into another house in the neighborhood.

My next-door neighbor is no dog-lover (and of course Pappy heads straight in for a crotch-sniff every time he comes by for a chat), but I think he is warming to the Papster following his extraordinary heroism. I was considering a parade in Pappy's honor, but that kind of thing is so overdone in July.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

We're baaack...

After a three-week vacation hiatus, we're back and ready to begin posting. Sadly Pappy was not with us during the break, because he would have certainly enjoyed chasing the sheep on the West Highland Way. Instead he stayed home with his housesitter, eating peeled grapes (metaphorically) and pining for our return.