Three Kids and a Dog

Monday, May 29, 2006

Pets Die Too Soon

Almost since the day we brought Adler home, I've been wondering how long she'll live. The lifespan for a Bernese Mountain Dog says 7- 9 years - much shorter than a lot of other breeds. In my opinion, this is much too short, but long enough for them to become part of your family and for you to love them so much that you spend the entire day that they died with red puffy eyes thinking about those last moments of their life. I dread that day when it comes, like I dreaded it when I was a kid and had to say goodbye to my Cocker Spaniel, Bozo, and my cat, Ashley.

This topic really hit home twice this year. Once when I was reading John Grogan's best seller "Marley and Me" - a great story of how a dog and its owners grow up together before Marley must leave them for doggie heaven. The second instance was just last week when I sent my friend, Jill, the link to this blog. She emailed me back and I asked how her own dog was doing as it had been sick. Jill got Colby when we were seniors at IU. She bought him for her boyfriend's birthday (he's now her husband of almost 10 years). I remember the first day she brought him home and put him down in the foyer of our sorority house. He was an adorable little Yellow Lab that could hardly keep himself upright on our slippery floor. Now my friend tells me that she had to put him to sleep that morning after twelve years. He had cancer. The night before, she wanted to make his last meal a memorable one so she made him a steak for dinner and gave him ice cream for dessert. She writes, "twelve years is a long time and I'm so glad we have had him as long as we have." Yes, Jill, I agree, but even twelve years seems much too short for something we love so much.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Adler Likes Squirrels

This morning while I was walking Adler around the block for her morning walk, she spotted a squirrel also known to the AGDs as skiouros. Other furry creatures have scurried in her path before and she's never given chase to those furry friends. But she saw this squirrel from at least 20 feet away and pulled me to the tree that the squirrel had shimmied up. Standing on her hind legs, she looked up at the tree trying to see where the squirrel had gone. The squirrel, sensing that Adler was still around, peered down from one the branches mockingly at the 75 lb. dog who surely couldn't reach him now. But try as she might, Adler put her arms around the thick trunk of the tree and thinking she was a cat, she tried to shimmy up the tree. She would've stayed there all day waiting for that squirrel to come down if I didn't have to go to work. At least I know now that she likes squirrels which makes her a true sorority dog.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Adler's Injury at the Dog Park

Adler was a little tired today but not too tired where I didn't think she needed more exercise. She spent all day yesterday playing in my mom's backyard in the suburbs with my four-year-old neice and rolling in the green grass.

So to round out her weekend, I thought I would take her to the Wicker Park dog park today. Since there are no dog parks close to our condo, we have to drive. So I loaded Adler into my two-door car (because my husband had our SUV) and off we went. Not too many people there today which is good. I hate when it gets super crowded and there are too many dogs. Today, Adler went right in and was having fun playing with all the other dogs. We had been there for about 20 minutes when I see Adler sprinting after some dog - and then out of the corner of my eye I see another dog sprinting toward this dog too. In an instant, I knew this was going to be trouble. The other dog plowed right into the side of Adler's hind leg, taking her out and causing her to do a somersault in the gravel. I held my breath as the dust cleared and prayed that Adler was okay. I didn't want to be the overreactive pet owner but already images were flashing in my mind of Adler hurt and how I would break it to my husband that our dog broke its leg because I took her to the dog park.

Adler got up. She was dazed, a little disoriented and limping. Screw being overreactive I got up from where I was sitting on a bench and called her to me. She came. Good, I thought, she still knows her name, but bad, because she doesn't usually come to me when I call her in the dog park. I checked out her back leg while stroking her fur and telling her she'd be okay. While I was checking Adler out, some little girl was trying to get me to meet her aunt's dog and I wanted her to disappear. I think it's dumb to bring kids into a dog park. It's like asking for trouble and I was focused on Adler, not being nice to this kid. Anyway, Adler seemed okay. She wasn't whimpering. She could still walk and I wanted her to shake off the pain not favor it. She did. After about another 40 minutes in the dog park, she was running around again. Some lady mentioned to me that dogs colliding is bound to happen in the dog park. That's fine but not to my dog. She's okay though. Snoring at my feet as I type and probably just as happy that she went to the dog park today, even if it means she'll be a little sore tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

You're Invited to a Doggie Party

Last Saturday Adler attended her first doggie bday party. One of our friends who owns another Bernese Mountain Dog invited Adler to help Tucker celebrate his first birthday. Always looking for ways that we can tire Adler out, especially on weekends, we dropped by thinking that we'd stay for a half an hour or so. When we arrived at the dog park, the entrance was marked with several multi-colored helium balloons. You know the kind you might buy for a friend or a special occasion party. Well, I guess this was a special occasion. For once, Adler raced into the dog park and met up with the three other Bernese Mountain Dogs and the several other dogs that were already there for the party. Usually Adler is a little shy when she gets to the park and likes to sniff other dogs, not have them sniff her. She reminds me of my neice who is shy when she meets other kids but once she warms up she doesn't want to leave. Anyway, Adler gets to play with all the dogs but I'm especially interested in the ones that are her same breed. I wonder if Adler knows that these dogs look like her. Probably not. Their paws are huge though in comparison to Adler's. Only problem is that Adler probably outweighs them by about 20 pounds. Seeing these other dogs just confirms that Adler needs to lose some weight.

At the dog party there are a bunch of dog "parents" milling around, all trading stories about their pups. How old is your dog? What kind of food does she eat? Can she do any tricks? I swear it's the same questions that mothers and fathers ask when I take my neices to the playground. Anyway, my friend is well prepared to celebrate her dog's birthday in style. She has made lemonade vodka and cupcakes for the dog "parents" and had a fancy Chicago dog bakery bake a peanut butter cake for the dogs. All dogs got a piece. Adler just couldn't wait for her piece and jumped up and snagged it off the plate of some poor lady who thought if she held it high enough Adler wouldn't get it. It was funny to watch Adler stuff that much peanut butter into her mouth at one time. I swear I thought she might choke without something to wash it down given that she refused to drink from the special dog water fountains in the park. After the dogs down the peanut butter pie, my friend hands out the doggie bags. I'm not kidding. Every dog at the party got a goody bag just like a kid would for attending a party. In it were bones, rawhide and a brightly colored tennis ball. Adler was having so much fun but after an hour and a half we had to call it a day. Our brief stop had turned into an hour and a half of doggone fun and the groceries we picked up on the way there were melting in the car. What a party. I was so impressed that I had to share the experience with my sister in law and coworkers. They all had the same response - these people must not have kids?! You're right. They don't. But I guarantee they would love their dogs just as much. I know I will.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Adler in Michigan

Last Sunday we took Adler to Michigan with us. Our dog loves road trips which is a good thing because Tom and I are always on the go and Adler is happiest when she's hanging out with us. When we arrived in South Haven, Adler enjoyed running free all over our big empty piece of property. Quite different than being leashed 24/7 in the city. She had a great time eating sticks and trying to pull big branches out of the way. Tom joked he was going to tie a little cart to her and have her help clear our land. But for now, she gets to enjoy running around our property and the beach which she has grown to like. This spring, Adler discovered that water isn't all that bad and has ventured into the lake up to her shoulders. She isn't sure she can swim - and I'm not either - so she's very cautious around the water. After we passed some time showing my dad, who ventured up to Michigan with us, the land, beach and million dollar nearby homes we drove into downtown South Haven and made a stop at Decadent Dogs an upscale dog store with a dog bakery. Adler is always a hit in these type of stores and gets lots of attention from the staff and patrons. In fact, last year, some lady shopping in the store thought she was too cute and bought her a doggie hamburger. This time, however, it was my dad that couldn't resist and spent time checking out all the doggie bakery items like dog cannolis and pizza trying to decide what to buy her. He finally decided on a burger and fries. Adler loved it, especially since she's on a doggie diet. Thanks, Dad. Next time Adler is only allowed the doggie celery.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Adler's Tired

It's Monday and Adler's tired. But who can blame her as she had action-packed adventures both days. Saturday we had a "puppy play date" scheduled with my brother his girlfriend and their dog, Clarence. I packed a small duffle bag (yes, it's from Pottery Barn Kids and has Adler embroidered on it) for the dog park complete with plastic bags, water, bones, treats and a bowl. Tom refused to carry the puppy bag but you need a lot of stuff when you plan to be out for a few hours with the dog. I was happy to see that my brother's girlfriend also packed a bag even though her dog is 8 years old (so what if it was on the smaller side). Dog park was happening - although I spent most of the time fending the dogs away from Adler's bag and her personal supply of H20. Who knew that dogs could smell all those bones in there and that they preferred her water to the community bowl. Adler's picky about water. She doesn't drink community water and doesn't drink it if it's the least bit warm. Which means lugging Adler's own source of H20 especially when she's out for awhile. Luckily after the dog park, we went to Waterhouse and the staff filled up her bowl like she was a paying customer. Right next to Waterhouse was a boutique Pet Store - forget the name of it now but they sell Fat Boy dog beds. Turns out my brother and his girlfriend just bought Clarence a "Fat Boy." The thing is way cute and if it's as comfortable as Adler's, I too can sleep on it in the summer.

Thanks to all for the comments on the blog. A big shout out to Perry for providing me with some blogging tips as I try to make this more readable. And, a shout out to my sister-in-law's brother in Spain. We share our beautiful 2 and 4 year old neices who by the way call every dog Adler. Thanks for visiting!

Stay tuned - next post will be about Adler's Sunday in Michigan.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bark in the Park

Was thinking about attending the annual Anti-Cruely Society's Bark in the Park where dogs and their owners walk three miles to raise funds to support the animals. I'm a sucker for animals - doesn't matter what kind - well, aside from spiders and snakes! I whimper for five straight minutes after seeing anything dead on the side of the road. In fact, if Tom sees it coming before I do, he'll distract me so I will miss the roadkill entirely. Anyway, this brings me back to supporting the Anti-Cruelty Society - which I do. Send me an email about seals getting clubbed in Canada and I'm getting out my credit card to help.

Asked my brother and his girlfriend to bring their dog to Bark in the Park so we could all walk together. They didn't think their 8-year-old dog would make it that far. Which got me thinking - Adler doesn't even like to walk around the block - what makes me think she'll walk for 3 miles?! Decided to meet my brother, girlfriend and dog at a dog park this Saturday instead and then go out for lunch to a dog-friendly restaurant. I hope it's nice out so we can all sit outside!

Thinking I do a lot to make sure that my dog has a full and satisfying weekend too. I guess I feel bad that come Monday, it's back to sleeping 18 hours a day because no one is home to play with her during the day.