Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless-ish Wednesday: My Dog is More Popular Than I Am

On a lighter note from yesterday's post (I'll follow up on that soon), let's take a look at this sweet infographic from that sheds light on the crazy dog and cat ladies living in the U.S. 

I am of the extra-special crazy dog lady brand--the one who takes their craziness public and plasters her dog all over the internet. 

Maybe you don't realize we're not just here on the blog; so here's a full list of other places you can connect with us online:

Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  Google +  |  Tumblr  |  Triberr

Frankly, there may be more I don't even remember, and I'd love to finally get a Picasa page set up for him... Yikes. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

Also, and maybe I'm being partial here, but WHY are cat videos more popular than dog videos, hmm?? Us crazy dog ladies need to step up our game.

  Fido Infographic
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hurricane Update Part 4: Desmond's Losing It

Here we are on day 120 of Hurricane Sandy displacement (also known as 3 months and 28 days since or 17 weeks and 1 day since--but really, no one is counting. nope. not one of us. and definitely not me.), and Desmond's regression to full separation anxiety and his increase to bonkers on the reactivity scale has resulted in two things I never would have predicted at the onset of this blog:

Xanax and a crate. 

Before I continue, I'll tell you right now that this is a "to be continued" post. It simply would be way too long otherwise.

Now, I haven't posted an update with any real information in a while, so let me get you up to speed in case you haven't been following us on Facebook and Instagram (which, by the way, you can now use on the web--no need for a fancy-shmancy phone app).

In addition to the first problems mentioned above, Desmond has been depressed. And, yes, that's a real thing that can happen to a dog. It's similar to how depression works in humans--only it's almost worse, because a human can rationalize. (I implore you to click on those two links for some quick info on it.)

A human knows that one day he or she will get back home and life will return to normal. Humans, such as ourselves, are aware that they will probably have to move again before getting back home and can mentally prepare for that. The dog--who requires structure and consistency to have a happy, healthy life in which he feels safe--is just along for the bumpy ride.

Sad doggie
Desmond often swings between two extremes: he is either awake and wants to play or otherwise is demanding attention with barking and whining, or he is passed out, usually with the need to be on top of someone. 

He also has been favoring sleeping over other activities. It used to be that we could entice him into a game of fetch. You say, "ball" and he gets excited. Now he plays only when he wants to--which is usually after a very very long nap and only for a couple minutes, after which he goes right back into a deep sleep. 

In addition to that, he's even sleeping through meals and snacks and offerings of treats. Desmond loves bacon (who doesn't?) and generally is very interested in what's going on when I'm cooking any kind of food. But he's been ignoring cooking activities and ignoring the presence of cooked bacon a mere few feet away from him. Normally, he'd be right next to you with his head on your leg, quietly leaving a puddle of drool on your pants and staring at your bacon.

And all of this is in combination with the fact that he is generally not eating. The dog who wolfed his meals down so fast that he needed special bowls and to be sat upright afterwards now looks at his bowl of food forlornly. He'll go a couple of days before finally deciding to eat what we're offering, even though we're jazzing it up with various things--crumbled treats, cheese, broth, liver sprinkles, you name it. 

En route to the vet, Desmond made friends with a box in our backseat
Yes, he is older now than he was when we brought him home and these could be natural changes, but he's still not even 3 (as far as we know). And, yes, he is the type of dog who gets bored with his food every few months, but all of this is something different. I know my dog, and I know he is not OK. 

There are things we can do to help him--and I'm sure many people reading this are thinking "well, just blah blah blah, and he'll be fine"--but those things are much easier said than done. 

Joey and I are getting by on a daily basis and managing to hold together as much normalcy as possible, but we're both under far more stress than either of us let on or talk about. There's no doubt Desmond is picking up on this.

I acknowledge that we happen to be in a situation that is better than the situation many others are stuck in at the moment, but that does not make it feel any different. It is no easy task being displaced and continuing to handle the normal stresses  and obligations of life and work when that's all compounded by a rather frustrating and slow process to get back into your home, an absurd amount of unknowns regarding what the government will require of you at any given point in this process, and a dog who already had problems going into this whole mess.

It's hard to motivate yourself to do things you want to do. Every day is simply emotionally and mentally exhausting. Trying to get back home is all-consuming. And Desmond, unfortunately, is not benefitting from any of that.

Relaxed enough to nap only if his head is wedged between the front seats (and he is strapped in back there--just really determined to get in the front)
He is at a point where he is not able to be left alone (he started being destructive again). This means we require a dog sitter anytime we need to or want to go out, or we have to do things separately so someone can stay with the dog. Maybe that doesn't sound so bad to you, but it causes us quite a few complications. I'm working from home three days a week. Not because I want to, but because I have to (and I'm very luck to have a supportive employer). How many times can you put a dog in daycare when it costs $50 a day?

So we made two executive decisions: finally get Desmond some much-needed medication, even if we have to beg, and make an attempt at crate training him. We now have a prescription for xanax and a crate we borrowed from one of Desmond's DBFFs, Kona. Remember her?

Yup. Nothing weird about bringing this to the pharmacy.
More about the crate and what exactly went down at the vet soon!

And for all the previous posts where I talk about our experience with Hurricane Sandy, click here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Desmond & Nemo

Do you guys remember the ridiculous blizzard named after a cartoon fish that looked like a freakin hurricane from space and left tons of people stranded for days under 20+ inches of snow?

Well, snow totals in our current neck of the woods were not anywhere near as dramatic as those found elsewhere, but we still took Desmond out in it the next day for kicks. He hadn't really been out in that much snow in a while, so he was actually kind of excited. In his typical Desmond way.

Our temporary location is down the block from a school (much like our permanent residence), but it's not really close enough to any parks, so we took Desmond to the school yard. I don't think he's ever been to the school yard by our house.
A couple of Desmond-in-motion pix
He was hopping around a lot and seemed to be enjoying it, contrary to what you will see in the next pic
Not really that deep, but I'm still shocked Desmond went in it at all. He would never consider going into a body of water this deep. Weirdo.
We also took a long walk, and Desmond didn't have as much trouble on the icy spots as we did--which makes no sense to me based on whose legs are formed properly and whose aren't, but whatever. In the end, the whole outing was a big success. As you can see.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

St. Lovingtine's Day

I was reminded that my little cousin Gabi, one of Desmond's biggest fans, has declared yesterday's holiday Lovingtine's Day. Clearly, this is awesome, and V-Day shall forevermore be L-Day here at Life With Desmond. So, I hope everyone who gives a hoot about this overly-red holiday had a very lovely Lovingtine's Day.

This gal right here? Not a big fan, no matter what it's called. I'm a member of the "love people every day" camp. I don't like being told when I should show that I care. Much like my distaste for the on-demand kissing that occurs at weddings. I'll kiss when I want to, thankyouverymuch.

In any case, although we do not celebrate L-Day, having Desmond in our family provides great excuses to give ridiculous cards (and I do really enjoy a ridiculous card). Behold:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tiny Confessions Review & Print Giveaway

You may have seen them around online--cute and funny little drawings that tell the deepest, darkest secrets of dogs (or cats or even monsters). They're from a series of illustrations by artist Christopher Rozzi entitled Tiny Confessions, and they are freakin awesome.

I thoroughly explored the site and chose my five favorite dog illustrations, which was harder than you would think. In fact, I got all distracted looking through the rest of the site and found a drawing I absolutely loved that has nothing to do with dogs. I seriously may purchase that one to join our future gallery walls. It seems rather fitting.

My very favorite dog illustration, however, is this:
That's so Desmond (image provided by Tiny Confessions)

They sent over a print of this overly needy Weimaraner for us to review and keep. The print arrived safely in a clear plastic sleeve tucked inside a protective envelope. And the quality is outstanding.

The paper is thick and textured, which I just love. It's also signed by the artist, which makes it feel a little bit extra special.

In the plastic sleeve and looking much more blue than it does in real life (tried to fix it...failed)
A closeup so you can see the texture a bit

I'm quite pleased with print and can't wait to hang it up one day. I highly recommend grabbing a 5" x 7" or 8" x 10"print for yourself from the Tiny Confessions Etsy shop. Or--better yet--enter to win a FREE one right here!

We're giving away three 8" x 10" Tiny Confessions prints this week--your choice of illustration. Not sure which one to pick? Take a look at some of our other favorites:
(image provided by Tiny Confessions)
(image provided by Tiny Confessions)
(image provided by Tiny Confessions)
(image provided by Tiny Confessions)

Enter for multiple chances to be one of our THREE winners via the Rafflecopter widget. Open to U.S. residents 18 & older. Any trouble? Send us an email! Good luck!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

[disclaimer] The folks at Tiny Confessions sent us one 8" x 10" print, and will give away three prints to the winners of the giveaway, in exchange for my honest opinion of the product.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Guest Post: Keeping Fit With Your Canine

Today we have another guest post by Missi Harris, freelance writer and senior-dog mom. This one focuses on burning some calories with your canine--gotta keep everyone in tip-top shape. Bathing suit season will be here before you know it! By the way, this article totally made me excited for K9 Kamp

I'm also hoping this will inspire me to do some exercise with Desmond. I have more or less completely stopped walking him, because his reactivity has landed somewhere between Really Bad and Off The Charts. I physically cannot handle him at this point. It's extremely frustrating, particularly in combination with all the other stuff we have going on here in Hurricane Sandy Displacement Land, and I think we're going to have no choice but to call in the help of another trainer when we one day get settled back into our home. 

But, hey, the least I can do is find another way to play and bond and keep us both healthy, right?

Keeping Fit With Your Canine

Currently the world seems to be focused on facts and figures about obesity rates, causing many people to scrutinize their everyday lives and seek where they could fit in more exercise, especially going outdoors to maximize the feeling of doing something worthwhile. Many people, however, overlook an excellent exercise helper that they have within their own home – a dog! Both you and your dog need exercise, and what better way to get it than together? It doesn’t just need to be a daily walk; there are many exercises you can participate in with your dog.

The Daily Walk
He makes it look easy, no?
(image source)
Every pet owner knows it is essential for a dog, whether young or old, to get plenty of exercise every day to keep the animals weight under control, and to burn off some excess energy. Sadly however, many pet owners are beginning to see this walk as a chore, so it can be nice to break it up into multiple walks; especially good for very young or very old dogs as they do not cope as easily with the strain of walking for long periods of time. Try walking the dog for 5 to 10 minutes, two or three times a day to allow the exercise to be beneficial. For dogs in their prime a longer daily walk is much more effective, allowing the dog to raise its heart rate, therefore boosting its metabolism. A walk of this kind should be 20 to 30 minutes in length, allowing both the owner and dog to feel the benefits of their daily walks. If you’re feeling very energetic and your dog seems the same, try going for a jog together, this will increase both of your heart rates, making it a very effective method of exercise for all parties involved.

Workout With Your Dog
There are a few brilliant workout exercises that you can include in your daily regime to get your dog involved and keep you both fit and healthy. Try doing sit-ups with your dog with its favorite toy in your hand. Make sure you have the dog's attention then get into position, holding the toy in your hand, each time you reach the upright position lift the hand holding the toy and pretend to throw it; your dog will attempt to chase it only to realize it is still in your hand. Keep doing this until your dog no longer shows interest or you have completed the set number of reps.

Another effective way to get some toning exercise in with your dog is by playing a tease game with him or her whilst you do squats. Similar to the first exercise, get the attention of your dog with its favorite toy then hold it firmly in your hand; move into a squatting position then tap your dog with the toy, raising your hand up above your head as your rise up, causing your dog to jump for the toy. Continue this until you are done or until your dog gets bored of the game.

Jumping for joy? I'll say. (image source)
This next one doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, however it is a brilliant way to tone up your own body and keep your dog in shape too. Head to a long flight of stairs, these can be within your home or outside, and walk up and down them with your dog a number of times. Vary the way you walk up the stairs – try walking normally the first time then take two steps at once; this keeps both you and your dog on your toes and helps to burn off some calories.

A fun one to finish that is ideal for people who have a dog that loves playing fetch – why not race your dog to the stick, toy or ball? This is a great way to increase both of your heart rates, whilst giving you both bonding time together and having fun whilst doing so. If you have a fast dog who will generally always beat you to the thrown item, include wrestling it away from them and throwing it again as part of the exercise, or even try some fake throws in there too, tiring your dog out a little to give yourself more of a chance.

Exercising with your dog can be a brilliant way to drop a few pounds and tone up, or just to keep in shape. It is also allowing your dog to get the best exercise possible as well as bond with you whilst doing so, allowing your canine to appreciate your company more. Next time you feel too lethargic to workout, try getting your dog involved, it may work wonders for you both!

Monday, February 4, 2013

HooRag Pet Product Review: Well, That Was Easy!

As you may be aware, I love dressing Desmond up in doggie clothes and whatnot. I'm only a little bit ashamed of that.

Unfortunately, Desmond finally got fed up with my antics and has been far less cooperative in this regard as he used to be. It's quite a challenge to get anything on him that involves putting his front legs through something (I think this stems from a very-difficult-to-get-on car harness, but that's beside the point).

The fact that he thinks he is a human member of this family 99% of the time and then conveniently decides to be a dog when we'd like him to be presentable for a holiday outing or family BBQ, well, that's just rude!

This has been going on for a while, since the summer if not earlier, so when Hurricane Sandy came and destroyed all of Desmond's clothes and bandanas and accessories (yes, even his dress shirt collar and tie--therein lies the real tragedy in this whole mess), I know he did a little happy dance behind my back.

Along came the HooRag.

A HooRag is a seamless microfiber bandana that you just slip on over your dog's head. Or your own. They're rather versatile in that way. No, I am not making that up. You can totally share them. Well, if you both fit in the same one, you can. But this is not the point.

The point is that the HooRag is pretty cool. It's soft, it's washable, and it comes in a bunch of colors and designs. My personal favorites are the paisleys. HooRag sent over two designs for us: one in blue & white with their logo on it and one "Bonedana" in brown.

Let's take a closer look at the HooRag and then we'll have someone from this family model one for you. I'll give you three guesses whom that will be.

HooRag all wrapped up
HooRag all spread out. To give you an idea of how big it is, it's spread out over my 13" MacBook. You can see where it flops over the sides.
Very easy to fold and roll and otherwise manipulate
Nothing tricky to figure out or tie. Just a big 'ol tube of material that you slide onto the dog's head/neck.
A closeup of the fabric. It's very soft and slinky and kind of shiny/shimmery. I feel like I have worn dresses in a similar material.
A couple ways to wear it, if you're not a dog. Click to enlarge.

And then there was a photoshoot...

So the HooRag is pretty cool and Desmond didn't give me any trouble putting it on him--not even when it went on his head (though that did not last long). I know he looks the opposite of enthusiastic, but, well, he always looks like that, now, doesn't he? We'll definitely continue to use these (I may steal the blue one for myself--great for walking to the gym in the cold).
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