Tuesday, August 30, 2011

hurricane irene break

hi all. we've been in the midst of hurricane-related issues. all people and dogs are fine, so no worries. not sure when i'll have a chance to get back to the blog, but i'm hoping for a speedy return. all the forges hope that you and your families have come out OK and your properties have sustained minimal damage. best of luck to anyone still in process of cleanup.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

doggie birthday gifts

many people dislike getting gifts that don't reflect the occasion being celebrated. not me.

when i was going away to college, leaving home right around my birthday, people gave me dorm-related gifts, and i was ecstatic.

when my husband and i were engaged and christmas rolled around, we got wedding-related presents and were pleased.

when we got housewarming-type offerings for our first apartment and, later, our first house, no matter what the actual holiday/event was at the moment, we were thrilled.

and now that i have a dog, i 100% don't mind getting desmond-related packages adorned with bows. in fact, i encourage it.

he does, too; it's just really hard to tell.

i've always been the type of person who has a one-track mind based on whatever major life event is taking place at the time. i become absorbed and slightly obsessive. i enjoy being engrossed in things.

trying to conquer two such situations at the same time is a challenge. i was finishing grad school when we moved out of our parents' houses and into our first apartment together: i thought my brain was going to explode. we were in the final months before our wedding when we up and moved to a new apartment, somewhat at the last minute: i thought my brain was going to climb out from my cranium and slap me in the face. right after we closed on our house last year, i wanted to run to the nearest shelter and adopt 21 dogs. luckily, everyone i knew made sure i realized that renovations plus unpacking plus a brand-new neighborhood did not make for an ideal new-doggie environment. my brain was thankful.

right now, my focus is All Things Desmond, and i don't have any distractions. this is why shiny new doggie bowls in a grand-looking stand as an anniversary gift would not upset me in the least. this is also why i absolutely love that i've received so many doggie b-day cards and gifts (and why i was so sad during my big party that desmond took one look at all the people in the yard and bolted back inside). that's right--today is my birthday!

and because it is my birthday, i get to throw in another picture of desmond looking unamused on the couch.

so, then... wanna see the goods? i thought so.

i love doggie cards so much. i finally feel that i am "allowed" to buy them for others, and i do--even if they do not actually have a dog. i'm so, so sorry for what i've become, but there's no turning back now.

this very special creation is part of a larger piece that highlights all the things i would want for my birthday. "happiness" includes the loves of my life.

there was also a gift certificate to the fabulous site A Dog's Life. i say "was" because i've already used it! i picked up a customized bottle of rescue wine (for me) and the treats sampler (for des).

in addition, i am now the proud owner of the book A Dog's Purpose (plus another dog book that i can't think of the name of right now. i suck.), as well as a cute little doggie notepad (sadly, i do not have a photo of that. i may have mentioned that i suck.).

here's something else that's somewhat doggie-related in the sense that we got to include desmond. my husband hired a cartoonist to come to the party and draw everyone in the style of the beatles' sgt. pepper album cover. (we're both big beatles fans, so this is entirely beyond awesome in every way.)

desmond's in the front (i highlighted the area) looking very cute

and for anyone who's not familiar with the album cover...
dear god, i hope i don't get sued for posting this

all of the other things i was gifted by family and friends were absolutely lovely, and an incredible party was thrown for me as well. you may be thinking, "well, what in the heck did desmond get you??" don't worry. he knew he screwed up by not getting me anything for mother's day, so he made it up to me by being very well behaved all week long and by being a perfect angel on our walk this morning. i'll take it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

doggie blog love

i love reading about dogs. i assume you do, too, or you probably wouldn't be here.

my doggie reading comes from various places, including fiction and nonfiction books, but i thought i'd take a moment to share some blogger love.

check out these noteworthy posts from other doggie bloggers:

  • this funny little post from pawcurious about a vet doll made me chuckle. i'm really not much of a feminist, but barbie can be pretty ridiculous with her outfits. that being said, i still really, really want the geeky/nerdy barbie. 
  • over at the go pet friendly blog, amy is making me jealous, once again, of her rockin' multi-state RV-ing trip (especially because unless we get an RV and a month off from work, i see no other way of us ever making it to oregon with desmond--and i really want to see oregon).
  • on a more serious note, here are two posts about rescue/puppy mills/breeders. one is from will my dog hate me? and the other is yet another piece from pawcurious (hmm...maybe i like that blog too much). this is a topic that i have strong feelings about--in the sense that i am 110% pro-rescue, 100% against puppy stores, and somewhat on the fence about breeders--but i'm not the most knowledgeable about it; so, i think i should mostly keep my trap shut until i can speak with more certainty and less wild emotion. the pawcurious post, however, captures pretty well the way i actually feel. in particular, this part makes me want to run and hug Dr. V.:
 "We don’t need to beat up breeders trying to help keep a breed intact and healthy in order to solve the shelter problem. We need to educate our children to value pets of all kinds through humane education. We need to eliminate ridiculous breed specific legislation that forces people to put their animals into shelters when they are in a housing crunch. We need to improve shelter hours so it’s more convenient for people to go there to see the pets, and make it a positive experience so people aren’t so scared of the place they don’t even want to set foot in it. Better websites, better photos, trainers to help these animals become more adoptable and remain in their new homes."
in fact, i'll be getting involved in some of that myself, but i'll talk more about that in another post.

p.s. here's hoping any of you along the east coast are doing OK today and your pets aren't freaking out. we won't know how desmond fared for another few hours, but i'm hearing a lot of people's pets in the NYC/LI area wound up just fine.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

a greyhound mix and a pomeranian walk into a bar

well, it's a yard, and the pomeranian lives there, so only desmond did the walking in, but you can humor me.

a couple weeks ago, we went out to my aunt's house for some extended-family time, and desmond got to play with his cousin mozart again. he also got to make some really cute faces at me while i hounded him with the camera. oh, and he got to be a table. some of you folks who follow us on FB may know what i'm talking about already. the rest of you will just have to wait a hot minute.

desmond getting mentally prepared to maul that tennis ball

desmond greets mozart. he kept chasing him around and taking these deep sniffs into mozart's long, luxurious locks.

he certainly does not always cooperate when i'm trying to have a photo shoot

desmond apparently really, really likes mulch. he spent a lot of time in it at my aunt's house and did the same thing the next day at our house. a gardener he is not. (though we already learned that with the plant. i really miss that damn plant.)

another bad photo session: smiling, but eyes closed

eyes open, but no smile. at least i eventually got a good one and was able to use it for Wordless Wednesday.
here's the Desmond as Table shot. my cousin gabi followed him around almost the entire day. i hope mozart didn't mind too much! (photo credit: j. pannizzo)

desmond's getting ready to lie down in the shade and watch gabi mow the lawn. some helper he is!

nighttime was apparently the right time for desmond to harass mozart again...

"ha ha! you can't get me! i am safe behind this fence, you wonky-legged buffoon!"--mozart

little did mozart know that desmond wasn't working alone. his momma let him into the other side of the yard. sorry mozey!
"ha ha, yourself! take that, you little delicious-smelling fur ball!"

"you can pretend not to notice me all you want, fluffy."

*sniff sniff sniff* "dang, what is that heavenly scent?! i have got to get some of this for my next bath."--desmond "HEY! DO YOU NOT SEE ME DOWN HERE? GET THIS MUTT OFF OF ME! MY FINE COAT CANNOT BE SULLIED BY HIS RANK SLOBBER. HELP!"--mozart

"beat it, mom. you're distracting the furry one. i'm trying to figure out if that's a hint of vanilla i detect in his shampoo."--desmond "SERIOUSLY, LADY. YOUR DOG'S LONG, FUNKY TOES ARE CREEPING ME OUT!"--mozart

eventually, desmond got tired of annoying mozart and decided to rest.
on the ground. behind a chair. against the house. while using a broom as a pillow.

oh, desmond

Friday, August 12, 2011

my house has been hit by a dog tornado

in this final very exciting installment of How Dirty is My House? (part one is here; part two is here), i'm going to tell you a secret: my house is a bigger disaster than i previously let on, and i really can't take it anymore. if desmond doesn't get to a point where he can be trusted around normal household objects, i don't know what i'm going to do. what i do know is that i very much do not enjoy living in a house that looks like someone is moving in or out of it--particularly because it was only last june that we actually did move into it. i can look past the damaged door frames and moldings and scratched wall paint, i swear! i really do believe we'll be able to fix all of that soon and he won't touch it. our stuff, on the other hand, i do not have high hopes for at this point.

by april of 2012, once we've had him for a year and he is over 2 years old, we need to have our lives back to normal or we're going to figure out other options. i cannot continue to live like this:

no curtains & a raised cord. you have no idea how much trouble i have getting this cord down when i want to open the window. it always gets stuck on the piece of curtain hanger that's still in the wall. both front windows are like this.

no lamp on the side table; decorative items & valuable books removed from the bottom shelves and tucked into other spots; no decor on the occasional table behind the couch. in fact, that table is now shoved back against those windows with the couch in front of it, so desmond can't get into what is stored under the table. this is successful in keeping me away as well. (side note: we don't leave the doggie blankets out on the furniture when we have company. it's the least we can do.)

no plant (R.I.P.) or anything decorative in the corner (though i really want to put a bench or another chair here. funny, right?); virtually empty entertainment center. wanna watch a DVD? nope. wanna play rock band? sorry. wanna listen to music? not unless it's on the fios music channels. the only reason the bottom shelf has anything still on it is to hide the wires a little bit. i'm pushing for a new, enclosed TV stand & a wall-mounted TV. i'm getting nowhere with my pleas.

i also do not want to continue to live like this:

no centerpiece on the table & no decorative items on that little corner shelf behind the benches.

here's our empty bar (all our liquor is upstairs in an off-limits bedroom closet); missing shelf (he kept knocking it down); behind those bottom doors, we have a box full of our stuff that had to be moved from elsewhere and desmond's sprays; pile of clean laundry that was easier to toss on top of the bar than put away; partially raised blinds that have to stay that way at all times because he chewed on them; and some random, small items shoved into and behind the bottom wine bottle holders.

no runner or decorative items on our dresser or wine fridge
and here's the other set of blinds we also have to keep open, because he chewed them up. he actually did more damage to this set, which is why it's opened more. (please note my pile of crap on the dresser. it's a package, my new purse, and a scarf. that package and maybe the scarf are the kinds of things that we would leave sitting around for a day or two, pre-desmond, if we were busy doing other stuff. now, everything has to get put away every night/morning. more on that later...)

i absolutely hate having to keep the blinds up. obviously, one of these windows looks right into the neighbor's window (all that separates our houses is her driveway), and i highly doubt she or her daughter want to see me traipsing around in my mismatched PJs. i'm fairly certain all the people in the park aren't too keen on that either. that's what's outside our other window, a big park. well, our yard comes first, and we do have a fence, but the window sits higher than the fence, so you can see right into the park--and the park can see right into my fashion show.

as you can imagine, i am pushing to get new window treatments (in addition to the TV stand). ideally, i'd like to finally get the wood blinds i've been coveting for years or maybe roman shades or something a bit more decorative than the crappy plastic ones currently in place. husband thinks this is a terrible idea, because desmond will just eat them, but i say if we raise them before we leave we'll be fine. and then i don't have to feel uncomfortable every time darkness falls and we have a light on. who's with me??

the dining & living rooms are not the only spaces that look less lived-in. there's also the kitchen--from which we have removed the trash bins, spice rack, coffee k-cups, knife block, dish towel, and apron--where our drawers and cabinets are set up with child locks.

our very small hallway area has also gotten this nothing-in-it treatment. we used to leave coats, hats, shoes here when needed or when laziness struck. not an option anymore. this should become quite interesting in the winter... plus, normal people can leave out their dog's leash and walk accessories so it's an easy exit every time. we are not that fortunate.

"i'm sorry mom & dad! i'll try to be good from now on, honest!!"

where have all of these removed items gone to? some have been shoved in boxes, drawers, cabinets, and closets--and remain there most days. others are objects that we need to use fairly often, if not on a daily basis; therefore, they need to be somewhat accessible and semi-easily moved before we head out the door.


the spare room: where everything goes to die sit in a pile
this is just a snippet of what we are actually dealing with at Casa Forge, but i assume you understand why this is a problem. our spare room has become the catchall room. it holds our trash bins & recycling; desmond's food & treats & toys; tools and cleaning products; BJ's-sized packages of paper goods; random decorative items; the things from the kitchen; piles of mail or paperwork we need to deal with; piles of dry cleaning & things that need to be tailored; sneakers we wear on our doggie walks; plus all the things that are supposed to go in this room (like boxes of sweatshirts, swimsuits, and winter outerwear).

things and people (you have to walk through here to get to the master bedroom) are going in & out of this very small room/glorified closet every single day, and it's constantly a mess. even the task of feeding desmond is difficult, because you have to move the trash bins/boxes/vacuum (yes, we have a regular vacuum in addition to the roomba) to get to his food bin, and there's nowhere for stuff to go, even for five minutes.

so, this is my life. it looks and smells and feels like a dog has taken complete control. it's very frustrating sometimes, and i cannot wait for the day that we don't have to live like this, but it's very easy to forget all about it when desmond crawls into my lap and nuzzles his face between my knees. or when he's looking all cute and sweet and innocent, like this:

Friday, August 5, 2011

my house looks like dog

and what i mean by that is it's covered in hair. the hair. oh lordy lord, the hair. yes, it's soft and luxurious, but that doesn't keep it attached to his body. 

"who, me?"

the hair is something that joey doesn't think is really that bad (he feels this way about the stink, actually, too). he thinks i'm nuts and i worry too much. i may have mentioned this before.

we have a few ways to fight hair: the roomba, a broom, the pledge pet hair remover, a regular dog brush, and the zoom groom by kong. 

it was actually our groomer who recommended this brush to us. he told us we'll never need another brush. we'll see. i mean, desmond might eat it at some point.

it's all rubber, so if your dog is not crazy, it can double as a toy. it's also easy to wash. most importantly, it's super effective as a brush. hair just flies off. i definitely do not recommend attempts at brushing your dog indoors. no no no.

desmond didn't used to shed that much. at the spring/summer change, his shedding got bad and stayed that way. however, around the same time, we started feeding him blue buffalo's seafood flavor dry food--and stopped using the fish oil with his dinner, figuring it was a waste of fish oil to use it on fish food. midway through that 30-pound bag of food, desmond decided he either didn't like white fish or that dog food wasn't good enough on its own (and i know this is somewhat due to our giving him certain people foods more and more). so, now he was no longer getting his omega-3s on a regular basis, either via fish oil or fish food.

[note: i am about to go off on a tangent regarding his eating habits. if you would like to skip all this and get back to how dirty my house is, feel free.]

after much debate, we swapped him over to natural choice's chicken dry food, in hopes that a new flavor and a new type of kibble would spark his interest and he'd go back to eating with vigor at every mealtime. we chose it in the end because it was on sale and was a pretty good option out of all the non-premium food brands. we didn't want to spend another $50 on a bag of food he might not eat and didn't really think this one would be a problem. it's not economical to buy smaller bags of food, so we had that plan as a last resort.

he didn't like the new chicken food, either. is that because it's chicken? because it's a new brand? because of his snotty attitude? who knows. at this point, we started to bribe him, because we didn't know any better and were nervous.

we bribed him with supplements (cheese, fruit, PB), because he wouldn't eat otherwise, and he's skinny enough! sometimes we would feed him extra treats to make up what he didn't eat in food. then we got annoyed and started to think he might just be playing us. i did some research and found out desmond needs to kiss our hineys and eat his food.

[note: acting first and researching later goes against everything we normally do. our entire lives are mapped out and over analyzed, always. simple tasks and fun events are planned for and run like military operations. i have no idea what the heck was in the water when we proceeded with a plan sans research.]

"but mom, the skinnier i am, the flatter i can get."

so we started a new plan:

  • feed him regular dog food
  • leave it there a half hour
  • remove whatever he didn't eat in that half hour
  • do not give him any other edible items
  • repeat at every mealtime

after five days (FIVE DAYS!) he finally ate, but it was still with total attitude. "ugh. fine. i guess i'll eat your lame dog food." he still wasn't always finishing or eating every time we put it out, either. while all this was going on, we still weren't using the fish oil because it was too hard to do that and then save the food, since the oil would turn the food to mush. so...

[if you skipped past the food ordeal, this is where you can jump back in]

his shedding like whoa may be due to the lack of omega-3s and his crappy eating habits. since he didn't like the new food we got him either, we decided to buy smaller bags of whatever food we could find on sale that was decent quality for mixing with his chicken food until the chicken is almost gone. so far, we've tried the lamb flavor of purina one beyond and the beef flavor of rachael ray nutrish. he seemed to like having new food to try out. (by the way, the nutrish link takes you to a free sample form!)

i imagine that while he's flip-flopping around with his rope toy that uncle brian got him, hair is just flying all over our dining room.

now we are finally getting toward the end of the chicken food, so we'll be putting him back on the blue buffalo lamb that he liked, with the fish oil. hopefully that will bring us back to less shedding. there is dog hair on nearly every surface in my house. it's up on furniture that he's never been up on, so i have no clue how it got there. obviously, it's also on every single piece of fabric desmond walks past. even when i wash items that have hair on them, some of the hair stays on them--and winds up in my washer and dryer. i once made the stupid mistake of washing one of his towels with some of ours. hair. everywhere. after they were all clean. so not cool, desmond. so not cool.

"whatever. i'm cute, and you know it. winning!"

 seriously, folks, how do you get dog hair out of your washer and dryer? i am baffled. also, not that i would ever shave desmond, but this totally makes me think of shaved dogs and i'm sorry but how freakin funny would des look if he were shaved? oh man. that skinny butt would look ridonculous.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: take 2

earlier technical difficulties have made me decide to republish this post as new in hopes that this will end my difficulties. if it does not, i give up for today.

update: this post is now part of the Cat Week (as per BlogPaws) WW Blog Hop. i realize that desmond is not a cat. this photo is fitting for the week, because desmond had a little chase with the neighbor's cat this morning, and he stopped munching on his tennis ball to stalk the area when he thought he heard her return to our yard.

Wordless Wednesday

update: this post is now part of the Cat Week (as per BlogPaws) WW Blog Hop. i realize that desmond is not a cat. this photo is fitting for the week, because desmond had a little chase with the neighbor's cat this morning, and he stopped munching on his tennis ball to stalk the area when he thought he heard her return to our yard.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

blog maintenance

fyi, i have installed a new commenting system for the blog, because i've been seeing CommentLuv on other blogs and just love it. i have no way of testing it all out without posting something; so here i am, doing just that. hoping to find no problems. don't mind me...

i'll be back with more true tales of a messy house soon enough.

Monday, August 1, 2011

my house stinks like dog

or so i think it does. it's all i smell all the time. dog, wet dog, dog food, dog pee, dog saliva, dog breath. and i gotta tell ya, i'm over it. big time. i am so over it, in fact, that i am going to spend a few days venting about it here. but not just about the smell--also about the mess, in general, that desmond has brought into my sanctuary.

maybe i think it's worse than it actually is, or maybe it's actually way worse than i realize.

these people are obviously pretending they can't smell it (thanks, photostock, for this semi-creepy picture of a family who may not actually like their dog all that much. he's barely included in the photo.)

what i do realize is there is little i can do about the smell, the hair, or the general mess--without quitting my job to clean 24/7 or getting rid of desmond. so, live with it i must, while doing the best i can to not gross myself out. i always ask desmond why he has to be so messy & stinky, and he just gives me the silent treatment. i guess it hurts his fragile ego.

"ok, mom. i understand if you have to wash my bed, but do you have to make fun of me, too?"
what? i do.

we've removed the three area rugs that lived in our house, because they have all been peed on. we cleaned them to our best ability, dried them, and now have them stored in our shed. our intention is to give them a deep rug shampoo once the weather cools and we have time to focus our home-maintenance efforts on indoor projects (it kills me to waste even a moment during the warmer months working on something inside the house).  our hope is that by the time that happens, desmond will be almost never having an accident in the house and it will be safe to put the rugs back on the floor. if they have been cleaned to my liking.

i do not have a very good feeling about it, because...ya know...urine kind of sticks around. the little hall rug and the kitchen mat, i don't really care about at all (and welcome the chance to get new ones), but our living room rug took us forever to find and was expensive--and it's less than a year old. please cross your fingers for me that we can salvage the big rug. cross them now and hold that pose until further notice (rough estimate: sometime before thanksgiving).

while i'm putting it out there, wanna know a secret? i often smell poop and get panicky that he pooped under something somehow and it's just there festering. joey says i'm nuts. i don't see what that has to do with anything.

even if we eliminate elimination from this discussion, desmond still stinks like a dog. and it's not that we don't bathe him or otherwise attempt to keep him fresh and clean--without messing up skin and coat, of course. heck, i can prove it.

"yeah, that's right. i'm about to get all bathed up, and i look cute while i wait."

then there's desmond's breath. his breath is ridonculous (as a result, so are the pools of saliva he leaves whenever he's chewing on something--and i kid you not, he is in the next room going to town on a nylabone right this second. that will be fun to clean before bed). we brush his teeth and have tried various treats to fight doggie breath (dentastix, greenies, busy bone dental, nutrident, breathies). helps only a little. we also bought doggie chewing gum to give him when we go see his grandparents (yes, i know we are crazy). we even tried a supplement that looks like mouthwash for his water bowl, but we've had to stop using it because his new thing is drinking and drinking and drinking and drinking and then throwing up a few minutes later. awesome. that's another of his messiness issues. we try to keep it at bay by watching him when he drinks and taking the bowl away if we have to, but sometimes it takes very little water to make him throw up. he is a dog of many woes.

"what? just because the cover's in the wash i can't relax in my bed? who makes up these rules, anyway?"
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