Tag Archives: dogs

Stranger Danger at the Mall

Suspicious Dog

Last night I went to dinner with a friend from out of town. (It was Clinton Fitch, aka my TechMom Tuesday editor. This is not entirely relevant to the story, but an excellent opportunity for a plug that I shan’t hesitate to take.)

We discussed mobile trends and the directions of varying operating systems well past sunset. (Surprise! I am actually TechMom in real life too.) At about a quarter to nine, we bid one another adieu – Clinton headed off to retrieve his rental from somewhere in the nearby parking garage, while I headed clear across the mall’s acreage to where I’d found an open spot to park my car, Zippy, hours before when the mall was still open and abuzz with retail patrons. Continue reading

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Attack of the Great Black Beast


It was the picture perfect sunny Saturday morning. GrammaJ was in town; Search had already demonstrated his propensity for scootering and it was time to show off the big boy bikes.

I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to steal a shower.

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Sorry, Had to Go See About a Ball



I died on a Tuesday.

I was old. My once golden fur had long since faded to white. My joints ached. My body hurt. The seizures were robbing my mind of more of me every day.

I’d wandered the backyard. I tossed my tire rope to myself for a while. I chased my ball. I remembered being a younger pup; I could play fetch for hours, rest for a few moments and hit the grounds for more. Continue reading


How to Train Your Dog


Let him grow old.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.

Cooper is crazy. From his very first escape attempt through the streets of his puppy neighborhood, to is grand adventure on his third day as a member of our family, our lives became a precision orchestration of keeping the door closed and making sure keys were at the ready to chase after Indy Speed Racer. Continue reading

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Must Love Dogs


Dogs make me happy.

The unconditional love. The uncontained excitement so intense they can’t help but piddle on the kitchen rug because you’ve been gone for forever (or 20 minutes). The cuddles. The pathetic puppy dog eyes because oh my god they’re starving and will absolutely die if you don’t share that loaf of French bread. The exasperated sighs echoing your own frustrations when you share your concerns. And the overwhelming affection – each in their own way. Continue reading


Book Review: Trident K9 Warriors

Trident K9 Warriors

When we finally brought Destroy home from the hospital, we sat him in his tiny baby bouncer and gently introduced him to the family dogs. We did the same when Search came home three days later.

Each time, our yellow lab Cooper eyed them suspiciously. “Can they throw a ball? No? Worthless puppies!”

See, Cooper was once trained as a working dog. He’s considered a “career changer.” Mostly because epilepsy is an automatic fail-out. But nevertheless, he has the drive and obsession to focus, inspect his surroundings, and most importantly FETCH THE BALL! Continue reading

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Why Our Dogs Flunked Obedience School

Jon: Our dog ate an entire box of packing peanuts. Do I need to bring him in?

Vet: Packing peanuts?

Jon: Yes – those Styrofoamy twisty things they put in boxes to protect stuff. Continue reading


Doggies Say Woof

I am a dog person. I have a firm belief that dogs make people happy. In fact, during my hospital confinement I was even prescribed canine therapy. (This may or may not have had anything to do with my emotional meltdown during my first in-patient stint, in which I demanded canine companionship and threatened to escape so I could see my puppies at home.)

Throughout my childhood, my brother and I campaigned for a dog. After 12 years of wearing her down, my mother acquiesced with what she likely thought was a fool proof plan. If both of her children could turn in a year’s worth of straight A report cards, we’d complete our perfect American dream family – Father, Mother, 2.5 kids and Rover. Academic bribery was a swimming success; we became Lab people. Our first dog was Stryder, a yellow lab.

A year after I graduated college I was lucky enough to purchase my first home – a condo with a view. My first act of responsible home ownership was to sign up for a Labrador Retriever rescue group so I could be matched with the perfect puppy. Bailey was a neurotic seven-year-old chocolate lab. He was our first child and absolutely terrified of packing materials.

Several months after our wedding, Jon told me he was going to breakfast with his dad. That was a big fat lie. Two hours later, he returned home with Cooper the yellow lab. Cooper is an independent soul. He insists on inspecting everything before settling anywhere and his sole purpose in life is to get one of his people to throw a tennis ball for him. We had to adjust our lifestyle a bit once Cooper joined our family. He has an unfortunate tendency to rapidly dart through a doorway to go about exploring the great outdoors – resulting in me flying after him like a crazy person while he explores the great wide world.

Shortly after we bought our house, we decided to get a friend for Cooper. Our family expanded to four after we adopted Scout the black lab. Scout is a big boy – he loves everyone and every thing, which is good because he wasn’t entirely blessed in the brains department. (His relationship with his brother Cooper can often be likened to the cartoon Pinky and the Brain.)

When the muppets joined us, I was so blessed to have five amazing boys to share my life with. To make sure we would all live happily ever after together Jon and I brought blankets home from the hospital with the muppets scent. We took our four-legged sons on walks with an empty stroller. And once our twins came home, we introduced all the boys – inviting them all to sniff each other.

As it turns out, Search and Destroy are dog people too. Both boys are utterly fascinated by them. Search laughs hysterically at their every move and reaches out to pet them. A dog sauntering through the living room is guaranteed to elicit grins from both my guys. Our pups aren’t quite sure about them just yet. When we first brought the boys home, Cooper was pretty certain they were duds. “C’mon Mom, these new puppies can’t even throw balls…” Scout loves them; they’re his new best friend! But sometimes he worries the new puppies will take his place with his people.

But they’re slowly starting to become better friends. Cooper and Scout tolerate Search and Destroy a little bit more every day. When the muppets start toddling the fun will really begin! Like I said – dogs make people happy.



Doggie Dilemma

The muppets were having a grand time exploring and discovering this evening. Search was hanging out in the Bumbo chair and Destroy was enjoying some tummy time. He can practically push himself all the way up onto his elbows.

“Look at you, Destroy!” I cheered, “Good job!” He lifted his little head up an impressive 90 degrees, grinning. He was extremely pleased with himself. He looked directly at me, laughed, arfed and face-planted. Looking slightly less pleased, he looked back up – completely covered in baby vomit.

I scooped him up as he contemplated what had just happened. He clearly had not anticipated that; he wasn’t crying, merely a bit disconcerted. As I wiped off his face, ears, neck, head and collar, I heard paper ripping in the other room.


“Scout! Bad dog!”

I quickly put Destroy down and left him and his brother laughing hysterically to one another.

Scout had nosed his way into the office, pulled a packing slip out of a box, returned to the front of the house and ripped the paper in half. He shreds paper products. (Like my birthday present.)

One of the most popular questions Jon and I get asked is about how our furry four-legged sons are tolerating the muppets. I suspect they think the muppets are puppies; Cooper thinks they’re duds since they don’t throw tennis balls. Scout just loves his people and wants to spend as much time with them. Their dilemma these days is how to get away with their mischief when Mom and Dad are distracted.

We’ve always had dogs with unique personalities. Scout, of course, has the passion for paper. He also dines on cardboard and gift cards… The first day we left Scout home alone, we returned to find that our retriever had collected every shoe in the house and transported them to the front rug. “Look Mom! I retrieved!”

He’s since moved on from shoes. I think he may have gotten his fill of leather after consuming Jon’s work boots and two baseball gloves. Now he searches out paper products to destroy.


Cooper is a bit stealthier. Uncle Paul calls him “The Inspector” because he needs to completely examine his surroundings before turning his attention to anything else. Three years ago, right around this time of year, I decided to make gingerbread men. (They turned out quite tasty if I do say so myself.) I took a break from folding laundry to get a drink of water where I happened upon Cooper in the kitchen, perched on his back legs. He had jumped up on the counter, pulled the plate of cookies toward him and was eating them one at a time. There was no mess, no remaining cookie out of place.

Like a scene out of a sitcom, I stared at the dog and he stared back at me – paws still atop the counter. I could see the wheels turning in his canine cranium as he tried to hatch an escape plan. But then who would throw the tennis balls?

I know our four kids will get along famously. (That’s a terrifying thought.) And I’m sure the gang will provide some memorable stories to be shared here. As for tonight’s caper caught in progress, the muppets thought it was hilarious.