Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person." ~Andrew A. Rooney

Since I've been down with the sick, instead of writing a long post I'm going to post a few more pix of my favorites furry ones. I'll make it quick, otherwise I'll fall asleep before I...zzzzz

Saturday, March 8, 2008

When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it...Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He's my dog."

Our family of three is learning by leaps and bounds. Our Chief came to us trained but with a stubborn will of his own. As our friend Ed warned us, Chief would take advantage of any situation where he could get one over on his new owners. And that he has. Ed paid a visit for follow-up training this week, and while puppy has overall been a joy, he has seen to it that J and I have had to work to make him obey. Ed's mini-training session has helped us see the error of our ways - and made me realize what a SUCKER I've been. I'm such a softy! Dang, I hate raising my voice or being dominating. Unfortunately, that's exactly what I'll need to do. It's just not in my nature to be that way around animals. I'm a nurturer, not an alpha-dog leader. And so, my work continues.

The winter weather here is wreaking havoc with any attempt to be outside, but that doesn't stop puppy play or walking. Belgian Malinois are high-energy, working dogs that have to be engaged in something when they are not sleeping. If they become bored they become destructive and make mischief. Since I was under the weather today, my sweet buddy handled Chief's play and exercise. We've been having difficulty getting him to heel when we walk him, which is something the dog KNOWS how to do, but Chief pulls ahead and wants to lead. So, at Ed's suggestion, we purchased a prong collar to help as a training ad, and only a training aid. The change in Chief's attitude while walking was amazing. J said it best: "It's like he's a different dog!" It's still a little soon to proclaim problem solved, so we'll just wait and see for now.

Isn't God good though? I've prayed for help with puppy's training and for me, and I feel He's heard me. I know I stress too easily about things. I get worked up over things that are not that important. Even Ed noticed it when he was coaching me during our training session. He didn't come right out and say it, but his calling me "a little Navy Seal" when I tried to crate the dog was a clue. I've gotta relax! That's where J balances me. He is another answer to my prayers. I take stock in my blessing every day. I know how fortunate God has allowed me to be. Perhaps if more people considered what they have instead of what they don't, the world would be a much happier place. And more people would have pets like Hobbes and Chief.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

"In dog years, I'm dead." - Unknown

I'd like to say I can judge the type of day I will have at work based on my puppy's mood, but Chief's mood is always the same...playful. The first week of looking after him, I lost three pounds. Granted that J was out of town on business so I had morning and evening exercise duty, but really - three pounds. I'm not complaining at all. But I have to give a shout out to parents around the world. Well...parents who do a good job anyway. This 70 lb. baby is keeping his parents worn out! A friend of mine told me "A tired dog is a good dog," and this is so true, but what happens when the dog has exhausted parents? J and I would just love to be able to sleep through the night past 3:00 a.m.

The fence for puppy is going in! It should be finished by tomorrow morning. The whole family is excited for this addition because we are all hoping Chief will get some of his exercise on his own rather than wearing his dear parents ragged. The question in my mind is: will he learn to play alone?

My sweet husband is feeling the burn too. He gets up with puppy for that 3 a.m. wee outside, and after that Chief doesn't want to settle back down. So, J shuts the bedroom door. It's hard to go back to sleep after bundling up and standing out in the freezing night while your horse of a dog takes his leisurely time to eventually wizz. It's a pathetic moment when you're overjoyed that your dog relieved itself before your hair is so frozen it breaks off in your hand.

At least I know Spring is coming; I can smell it in the air. The temperature was up to 50 today and it was so nice to be able to walk Chief without wearing three shirts, two pairs of sweats, scarf, gloves and a coat. I look like "a tick ready to pop" on our walks. Hey, maybe that's why I lost three pounds.

I'd love a cookie and a nap right now.

Monday, March 3, 2008

"The dog represents all that is best in man." ~ Etienne Charlet

The weekend was a furry, high energy blurr. My hard-working, sweet husband made it home safely Friday night from a trip out of town. The weather was a snowy mess so I and his dog were a little worried. But, God is good.
J is the best of husbands. When he saw I was a bit tired from caring for Chief on my own all week, he promised to take care of puppy so I could rest up. I even got a nap on Saturday. I'm sure my greater-than-great sis-in-law can appreciate a good nap...and a good husband. I was also able to get a hair appointment in Saturday evening. Very relaxing.
Chief is starting to break out of his shell at home. He is definitely a people person in that he wants to be with J or me, but preferably both. He'll search high and low if one of us is hiding or goes missing without him knowing where. A true watch dog. When he's sleepy or just waking up, he is at his sweet best. He's a cuddler. A big, 75-lb. cuddler. My in-laws are supposed to visit from TN in April and we can't wait to see how Chief acquaints himself with them. I know my father-in-law will be laid back and relaxed. He's a lot like my husband. My mom-in-law is a different story. She likes animals, but watch out Miss C! He's a licker! Nothing like Barney, but Chief is so affectionate, he'll just use you as his pillow.
Since Chief is so young, he's also a bit clumsy. So much so, we're worried he might hurt himself running around after his all-important BALL. The guy hates to be without a tennis ball in his mouth. If he's not chomping or chasing one, he's gagging on one while pouncing like a cat on another. Never seen a dog that is so cat-like before. It's soooooo disgusting because of the slobber. We all know what a fan of slobber I am. The poor puppy slips, slides and skids into every wall and table and chair in our house. I wonder if he's as bruised and battered as I am, but I can't see it for all the fur?
Nevertheless, this is one dog that can bring out the affection in anyone. God is good.