Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gourd-o, or how I learned a lesson in humility…

Whippet Wednesdays - Bad

Oh yes, most of you know that last week was definitely a (Bad) Whippet Wednesday week, but I chose to write something good about Max because I was absolutely furious with him and I feared a post about his bad deeds last week would not be told in a humorous light. In fact, his prisoner outfit in the picture above is not far off from what he really deserved! Here’s how it all started…

I went to visit my family in New Mexico the second week of September. My brother’s girls who are oh so cute are growing up much too fast for me and I rarely get to see them. I was also really missing home—REALLY missing it. I miss the dry heat, the desert summer nights, the awesome food, and the mountains. It hit me like a brick this year. So, off I went. It also happened to be Fiestas de Santa Fe the weekend that I went home so I was really excited. I spent the night at my dad’s in Santa Fe and we went down to the Plaza in the morning for breakfast. There were mariachis playing, food booths, and artisans’ booths all around the Plaza and so we walked around quickly (I had to be in Albuquerque that afternoon to watch my nieces) and we found these awesome Christmas ornament gourds. I had to have one because I’m so homesick that anything that reminds me of New Mexico while in Texas is now a welcome sight. My dad offered to pay for it and said to me, “I want to buy it for you. I never get to buy you anything.” OK…queue tears. I’m a little teary writing about it because my dad is a really nice and generous person even though sometimes he is um…argumentative! hehehe! You know what? I let him buy it for me without much of a fight because I honestly really wanted it and it seemed to mean a lot to him to let him buy it for me. I was so excited. I brought it home the following week and showed Kevin and then put it on a ledge right next to our fireplace mantle.

The beautiful Christmas gourd with a hand carved pueblo in it.

Well that was dumb. Despite it being wrapped in bubble wrap and a ziploc bag, I should have known that Max (a.k.a. Gourd-o) would get into it. The dog is really a vacuum cleaner of destruction. We’ve been trying to leave the dogs on their own more and dog proofing the house as much as possible (and with LOTS of puzzle toys with treats in them) before we leave. We wanted to go see Machete in the movie theaters with some friends so after putting all electrical cords out of reach, putting up the fish food box, taking (what I thought was) all the food off the counters, and putting our computers up, off we went. We knew there would be destruction when we got home. They are after all DOGSTROSITIES, but what I came home to I wasn’t quite prepared for.

It was mass destruction. There was little paper bits or something strewn all over the floor in both our dining room and living room! A tornado had hit the house—no, no…it was Max and Turbo! Honestly, I never would have known that my gourd was even gone, but the little red rug from the pueblo that sat inside the gourd was on the floor. When I saw that I gasped audibly and a freak-out commenced. Oh, this was nearly the mother of all freak-outs…I cried. I cried very hard because it was one of the only things I have in the house from New Mexico. I called my dad and told him what monsters my dogs were and he said, “Don’t worry, I’ll find another one for you.” How was he supposed to do that? And, how could I even let him get me a new one when the evil twins would just find a way to jump up to wherever I put the new gourd and have another snack?!! I told my dad, “No dad. It was expensive and I should have taken better care of it and kept it out of their reach. They’ll just ruin it if you get me another one.” **Note that this conversation was more a blubbering mess of words that my dad could not even understand. Yes, I was that upset! I told my dad I had to go and hung up the phone.

All night I refused to acknowledge Max and Turbo’s presence because I was so mad. I finally forgave them the next morning when Turbo came and snuggled with me. I realized that my behavior was, well….BAD, and so I actually felt the need to apologize to my dogs with some hugs and kisses (I also felt the need to apologize to Kevin for completely falling apart because I was in fact inconsolable the night before) and I even posted on Facebook:
“OK...my meltdown over the Christmas ornament that my dogs ate last night is over. I realized just now that the Christmas ornament doesn't love me, but my dogs' love is unconditional. Perspective. The little lessons in life.”
Yes. I realize that I was wrong to be so upset. An inanimate object is nothing in comparison with the love these two monsters give me on a daily basis. Lesson learned…or so I thought. You might actually be asking yourself, “Carin, how did you know that Max was the one that ate the gourd?” Yes, folks. I know. I know because I take them out everyday and watch them do their dog business so I can pick it up and that’s how I know who the culprit was. To add to insult to my injury, Max tortured me with three days of gourd passing!

So, this is how Max has picked up a new nickname. “Gordo” in Spanish means “fat” and so in a cruel, cruel, twist of words, I have give Max the nickname of “Gourd-o” because he is skinny as a rail, but he is a fatty with my gourd in his belly! When he does something bad, I just look at him and say, “What’s up Gourd-o? Why you gotta be so bad?!!” I now see the humor in his bad deed and learned a lesson in the process.

But wait! The story is not over. Where is the lesson in humility? Oh yes, there is one! So on Saturday I went to pick up the mail at our box and in mail was a package…from my dad. I knew as soon as I picked it up that he had gotten something to replace it because that’s just how my dad rolls. I didn’t think it would be a gourd ornament because he bought it for me at one of the temporary tents that was only up for Fiestas. Well, guess what? He went all over town looking for another gourd and that is exactly what he found. He even put in a really nice note for me that included,
“I do want you to know that as long as I am able, I will always be there for you if you ever have such a need.”
Queue more tears. I did not expect this, nor do I deserve it after I behaved the way I did. What kind of dad does something like this? A very, very kind and loving dad! So there is my lesson in humility, and here is the picture of the new gourd that means just as much, if not more than the first one did:

The new gourd. Still the cute ristra and rug, but it’s a mission this time, not a pueblo.

So thank you Dad for being so kind even when I’m being a drama queen, and thank you Max and Turbo for loving me even when I was so upset and unloving toward you both.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Greyhound Planet Day

Mondays with Max

I’m not gonna lie. Yesterday we finally decided to go out and leave the dogs for a few hours and expect some damage. What I came home to was VERY upsetting so I vented on Twitter about it. I am not really ready to go the negative route with my dogs until I can find some humor in it (I am already trying), but at this point, I’m not finding the situation very funny so I need to concentrate on something positive!

It’s already working. My Mondays with Max feature photo is so cute and I keep saying that his cuteness makes up for his badness. It really does. No face that cute can be denied for long so even when he does bad things, he makes up for it be looking at me with those cute Max eyes and my heart kind of melts.

So this week, I’m going to share something that I did with Max last Halloween (October 2009). Before we got Turbo and after we had my other dog put to sleep for some major issues that he had (a whole other story, but I promise I will tell it sometime), Max was all alone. Socialization is VERY important to me because it’s good for a dog to be well-socialized so I took Max to a local rescue organization event called Greyhound Planet Day. It’s run by Greyhound Pets of America-Central Texas and once a year they get together to celebrate everything greyhound. I had volunteered wrapping gifts at a fundraiser at Barnes & Noble during Christmas time so they told me that more than greyhounds were welcome at greyhound planet day. Sure enough, Max was the only whippet there, but no worries…there was also a lab or retriever of some kind there too so he was not alone in his un-greyhoundness!

In addition to the get together, they sold some food and greyhound paraphernalia (t-shirts that said, “Keep Austin Grey”, greyhound owner cookbooks—human food recipes, etc.). It was all for a good cause and the dogs and owners get time to share and socialize with each other. They also had a cool thing called “Speed Alley” where they set up a short running area with a lure and let the dogs chase it. There was someone at the end to catch their speed on a radar detector as well. For $5, you could let your dog run the short run and see how fast they are. Max had never seen a lure so he wasn’t quite sure what to do. He’s also quite clownish so pretty much nothing surprises me about him. Anyway, we paid our $5 and let him run! It was super cute and fun and it raised a little money for charity!

So, here are some pictures Kevin took of Max running his heart out (sort of). He was and is my pride and joy!

Max Lure Coursing

GPA-Central Texas is going to be at Dogtoberfest at the Domain here in Austin on October 23. It’s a huge “festival” that tons of people take their dogs to. There’s many booths and treats that people sell for dogs and many rescue groups are also there. If you are in town, it’s a great place to take your dog for some good socialization and fun! I took Max last year and I think we’ll be taking both Max and Turbo this year. If you are in the Austin area, let me know and maybe we can meet up!

By the way, if you are looking to adopt a dog and live in the Central Texas area, I highly recommend GPA-Central Texas. My hope is that one day we can be a foster family for a greyhound because they are amazingly cool and loving dogs! Even though they are big, they have big hearts and are the sweetest dogs. I really need to get my dogs trained well enough that they don’t teach a foster dog bad habits though. We’ll get there! Someday they will be good boys almost all the time!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hermine left them nothing to do but read…

Whippet Wednesdays-Good

It has been a wet day here in Central Texas. Tropical Storm Hermine has just been sitting over the state the entire day and has left us feeling waterlogged. So, what better to do on a day like today than read!

I admit it. One of the photos I’m posting today I actually took this weekend and was completely spontaneous. Turbo sometimes is just the cutest dog ever. He plopped down on the couch next to my book and decided that he would snuggle up with it. I was initially a little worried because he is a taster. He has a propensity to eat things he probably shouldn’t—paper is one of these things. He’s chowed down on a bookmark of mine (which was actually in this book) and regularly licks the pages of my books. If you know me and my desire to keep books fairly new looking, you’ll know that this drives me crazy!

I’ll take a little Jim Butcher with my Tropical Storm!

Poor Max is the active one of the two of them and has just been looking forlorn today since I have to take him outside on a leash just to go to the bathroom. Our yard is flooded so they can only go in certain parts of the yard. Anyway, he’s looking so depressed on the couch leaning on the pillow that I couldn’t let Turbo outdo him. I put the book in his arms and shot away.

Max enjoys a good book too!

Just had to show their cuteness while they wait out the storm. They’ll be back to their bad ways next week I’m sure!

What do your pets do when it’s rainy outside?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Turbo v. The Sock

Thursdays with Turbo-1

Oh Turbo…how I love you. Turbo is our re-homed dog. He is Max’s brother from the same litter, but we just got him in March 2010. His cuteness has definitely saved him a few times since we got him. If you remember my last post that introduced the dogs, Turbo I have nicknamed, We Should Have Named You Darwin”. Why, you ask? Well, Turbo is special. He likes to eat things that he REALLY shouldn’t eat. It’s not a chewing problem—no, it’s not even the occasional gulping down of a bird. Let me tell you about the worst thing that he’s decided was a snack. If only it were that simple. Turbo likes to eat inedible treats. Up until a few weeks ago, his worst offense was about 1/4 of plastic ball. I actually had to monitor MULTIPLE dogs *ahem* elimination habits because at the time we were taking care of our neighbor’s dog at the time. It wasn’t a huge deal because I pick up their “donations” in the backyard several times a day. I was just hoping that whoever ate the ball passed it. Luckily, a few days later I found blue poo in the backyard! hehehe

This was not Turbo’s worst offense? Well, it was until a few weeks ago. I had taken my socks off and laid them on the couch because it was hot and I was wearing my flip flops. I thought, “Surely these will be safe since I’m sitting right here. The worst they could do is chew on them and put a hole in them.” All was well until my husband came home with dinner (It was yummerific Jimmy Johns—a local sandwich shop). I got up to pull our sandwiches out while my husband took the dogs to go potty and play. No sooner had he opened the door than Turbo grabbed my sock and ran outside with it!

Kevin ran back to the back door and said, “Oh no! Turbo just grabbed your sock and ran!” Well, we can’t catch these fast little suckers so I just looked at him and said, “Oh well, when he stops running just tell him to drop it and bring him in.” I continued getting our sandwiches ready. About 30 seconds later, Kevin opened the door and exclaimed (in a rather stressed manner), “Oh my God! Turbo ate the sock!” He ran around the yard at full speed, stopped and gulped. Yup…ONE BIG GULP and that sucker was gone down the hatch! Are you sighing, because I am sighing! I immediately called the emergency vet and they told me to bring him in, and off we went.

The vet immediately had us sign him in and they took him back fairly quickly (within 10 minutes of us getting there). They gave him a dose of whatever it is that makes a dog throw up, and there you go. The victim was expelled!

The victim’s twin

The vet came in after he had given up his cotton-based snack and said he would be just fine. Then she proceeded to ask me if I wanted the sock back. I looked at her (like she was crazy of course) and said, “Um….No thanks.” I think I will live just fine with one less pair of socks. So after keeping Turbo for another 10-15 minutes or so (to make sure he didn’t yak in the car on the way home), the vet sent us on our merry way $107 poorer. I can now boast that I once owned a VERY expensive pair of socks and I have a hilarious story to tell. Was I mad at Turbo? Um, more exasperated! I mean, who eats a sock?!!! I forgave him because honestly, he’s pretty darn cute AND crazy dog stories are always fun to tell.

The criminal – Convicted of sockibalism

See, how could I not forgive him when he came home in a drunken stupor from the meds? Max sure didn’t understand that Turbo had gone through an exhausting procedure to give up the evidence as is evidenced by the multitude of toys that are sitting in front of Turbo. It was quite frankly, VERY FUNNY! Poor Turbo. This is how he got the name, We Should Have Named You Darwin because at this point, my main goal for his life is to keep him from that pesky thing called Natural Selection!

So this is my story of Turbo v. The Sock.

Who do you think won? Turbo or The Sock?
**Note: The Vet Tech did say that there was a chance he would not have been able to pass the sock on his own so it was a good thing we took him in.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Welcome to My Dog Blog

It All Began...

Let's start from the very beginning. 

I sometimes tweet about the things my dogs do. When I do, it often makes people laugh, scold me for not having well-behaved dogs (good-natured scolding of course), or shake their heads in feigned disgust and/or real puzzlement. Whatever they do, their deeds are sure to get comments out of people--so many comments, that I've decided to start a regular feature about their antics on my blog. I made both a "(Good)" and a "(Bad)" feature image because even though I often talk about their badness, they can also do really good things. **I changed my mind. I made a blog just for them!**

We decided to get a puppy almost two years ago. After researching breeds, we decided that a whippet was the dog for us. "Why," you ask? Well, here's a few facts:
  • They are more known for licking the mailman, not biting him
  • They are often called the 35 mph (56 kph) couch potato
  • They are short haired and considered to be odor free (Well, at least their hair is. Their rear ends tend to release noxious fumes that can clear a room!)
  • Not prone to hip dysplasia or other ailments
  • Are prone to periodontal disease
We decided that a non-aggressive dog was a very important thing for us because we had an aggressive dog for many years. 

So, after looking for a few months for one, we found our first whippet, Max in December 2008:

Oh, don't let the cuteness fool you...Max was a FEW handfuls as a puppy! He whined constantly for months on end because he was so full of energy and really wanted another dog as a playmate. When I say constantly, I mean ALL DAY...no hyperbole. It really was all day!

So, we started looking for a rescue dog this year after months and months of Max's non-couch potato behavior. We got an e-mail in March from the people we bought Max from about one of the puppies they kept that needed to be rehomed. We jumped at the chance! So, in late March of 2010, we got Turbo:


Max immediately took to Turbo (maybe it was brotherly love), and I finally got a break. The two play together, grizzly bear fight together (play fighting of course), sleep together, and make LOTS of mischief together. Here's a few little facts about my little monsters:

Max (a.k.a Maximus, Maxie, Max Pain, Maximiliano, We Should Have Named You Marley)
  • 32 lbs. (14.5 kg.)
  • Favorite Pastimes:
    • Eating things he shouldn't
    • Sneaking into the dog food bag when I am getting his food and chowing down
    • Perching on the back of the couch like a cat
    • Eating poop (Gross! I am pretty good about picking it up so he can't eat it, but the boy has a nose for it and can find any little piece I've missed!)
    • Stealing things off the counter
    • Playing ALL THE TIME (the boy can jump over 6 ft. in the air..he's insane)!
Turbo (a.k.a. Turbs, Turbie, Turbstrosity, We Should Have Named You Darwin)
  • 42 lbs. (19 kg)
  • Favorite Pastimes
    • REALLY eating things he shouldn't
    • Looking at Max like he's out of his mind
    • Power chewing
    • Standing on top of kitchen tables (oh yes...not just paws on the table--we've caught him ON TOP of the table standing on all fours)
    • Looking laid back, but being the "quiet baddie"
So there you have it...my two dogs. I sometimes call them "Dogstrosities" (named after the lobstrosities in Stephen King's, The Dark Tower series). They have done so many bad things over the months that this nickname is well-deserved. Despite their baddie behavior, they are two of the most loving dogs on the planet and I wouldn't have them any other way. They are oftentimes hilarious and give me comic relief when I am in need of it. They put their head in my lap or curl up under the covers with me all the time which melts me into a pile of gullible goo. I like that!

Animal Planet has a video on whippets that they filmed for Dogs 101. If you want to see what my dogs are like, watch THIS video on whippets (I couldn't embed it, but you can watch it by clicking the link). It was one of the deciding factors in us getting Max and Turbo. I may lament their bad deeds, but I truly love them and can't imagine life without them.