Monday, December 29, 2008

Jetty & Me

Saw the movie Marley & Me yesterday. Liked it, but about halfway through I realized (Spoiler Alert) that the dog was going to die. That meant I spent the rest of the movie steeling myself for that moment. Didn't work - cried like a baby. Of course, once we got home, we were guilted/inspired to make the most of our precious moments with Jetty, and to be all lovey-dovey with him. That lasted all the way through last night and up to this morning’s walk; but now the fun’s over.
He found a delish puddle of sick outside a local pub and slurped some up before Graham noticed and pulled him away (my screeching may have had something to do with his sudden awareness). We rubbed a bit of snow on his nose and mouth to try and get the residue off. We continued on to Starbucks for our mid-walk cappuccino, and sat on a bench enjoying both it and the sunshine. The moment was too much for Jet, and he was overcome with the need to give Mummy a big, wet, slobbery kiss - right on the lips. Do they make Purell that can safely be ingested by humans??? Yucky, yuck, yucky !! Sorry, but the brief reprieve is over - you’re back to bad-dog status, Booger. And remember, Marley is dead, so the title of Worst Dog Ever is up for grabs. Let's work together to avoid that accolade.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Hero ?

This morning we woke up to snow (pause here to pat my back in an effort to quell the tears...). Yuck. However, as Jetty was born in January, he loves the snow. He went crazy when we opened the back door and he discovered that the white stuff of his (relative) youth was back again. What fun he had romping and sliding around the garden. And frozen sticks are even more fun to chew than regular ones - like Mother Nature’s very own popsicle.

I may have mentioned that we’ve been having some trouble with Jet and his unnatural attachment to me. No one is allowed to hug or kiss me without getting a stern talking to from Mr. Jealous Legs. Even just leaning over to help Gilly with homework results in a firm body shove to make sure there is sufficient distance between us. He is constantly following me around, and it does wear a bit thin.

But, I have discovered that apparently there is a limit, even to Jetty’s love. I was tidying up the basement to try and carve out enough space to work on my new book, and moved a chair and some pillows. Out popped the most enormous spider and another disgusting bug—I don’t know the technical name, I just call them gazillipedes. Being a brave soul, I let out a piercing scream (I assure you it was just surprise, not fear). As I quickly turned around to find a heavy reference book to drop on the intruders, I saw a flash of black fur streaking up the stairs to safety. It’s nice that Jetty the Wonder Dog has finally shown his true colours. I love you, I love you, I love you. Oops, is there a problem? Gotta run... Typical male.

Friday, September 19, 2008

How's Your Nozzle?

Last night Gilly and I were playing soccer with Jetty when she started shrieking in that awful pitch that only young girls can reach. “Mommmm, gross. He’s got something stuck in his nozzle.” Well, my first thought was—I hope it’s nothing fatal, because there’s no way I’m touching his nozzle.

Eventually I realized that the neighbours could probably hear us, so I had to pretend to be a grown up and overcome my intense desire to run away. I joined them to see what she was talking about. She kept pointing at him and groaning, but she was pointing at his head. I asked her to be more specific about what she meant (ok, really I just kept shouting WHAT? at her). “His nozzle, Mummy, his nozzle - there’s something in there.”

The penny finally dropped; I asked her if, perhaps, she meant nostril, not nozzle. Yes, she did. It turns out it was nothing to worry about, just a booger. And who knew dogs even had boogers? This dog ownership thing just gets better and better. Pass the wine.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Everybody Poops

When Jet was younger, he would get what we call “the zoomies” several times a day. This would involve him barking and racing around with complete abandon - over people, furniture, any obstacle in his way. These hilarious episodes were akin to a toddler screaming “I not tired, noooo need a nap”. They would end when we were able to lure him into his crate, where he would promptly collapse into sleep.

These seem to have abated as he enters into adolescence, with one notable exception. When he has to poop, he goes crazy with the zoomies. Our fence is actually teetering on the verge of falling over because he’s slammed into it so often. He only does this at home. If he has to do his business on a walk, he has no problem. We can only imagine that at home he feels his body is betraying him - how dare he have to poop in his very own playground. We have explained to him that it is perfectly natural, and there is nothing to be upset or embarrassed about. We have also assured him that our regular “poop patrols” in the backyard will keep his play area reasonably clean, but he doesn’t seem to believe us. Do they make a canine version of the book Everybody Poops?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sticks and Stones

When we first got Jetty, we allowed him to use the doggie door to access the backyard. My rationale was that more access = fewer messes. It worked well until he got attitudinal, and began thinking he was all that and a bag of chips. Then we had to seal up the door and actually get off our butts to let him out. We control access, we control the dog. Reasonable in theory...

But in practice, the dog was making me seriously nuts last night. In, out, in, out, all night long. Doesn’t he know that all I wanted to do was sprawl on the couch and watch some junky TV shows? Honestly. When I took the time to stop and watch what he was doing, I realized there was a pattern. Come in from outside, lie down and chew on a stick or stone until Mummy throws it away. Ask to go outside and then come immediately back in. Lie down and chew on a stick or stone until Mummy throws it away.

Fun as this game was, I eventually got bored and curious - where was he getting his supplies from? He wasn’t out for more than 10 seconds, so he couldn’t even have left the deck to source out these treats. So I went out with him. And there on the deck were two neat piles - one of sticks and one of stones. He had them all lined up within 5 paces of the door. A completely orderly, ready supply of nature’s chew toys.

I have no idea how she does it, but our breeder, Cheryl, has some sort of weird sixth sense when it comes to picking the right family for her puppies. Armed with information gleaned from only a few short emails and one face-to-face meeting, she managed to zero in on the perfect fit. Jetty and his obsessive-compulsive disorder is a perfect with both Gilly and me. Poor normal Graham (who sometimes even leaves cupboard doors open in the kitchen, gasp) gets left shaking his head at us. He just doesn’t get it. But we appreciate our neat, orderly dog. Now if I could only find a way to use Jetty’s compulsion to my advantage...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jetty Update

So, I haven’t posted in ages, but it’s been busy in Jettyville:

· He’s had sleepovers with Ollie, during which they destroyed the back garden beds with their fast moving games of chase. He drove Ollie to distraction by biting his ears the entire time he was here. Poor Ollie must have slept for a week once he arrived back at his nice, quiet, puppy-free home.

· He’s eaten the entire remainder of the garden. Jet is especially partial to basil and petunias. At least he’s thoughtful enough to bring the petunias inside the house to eat; Graham never brings me flowers.

· Gillian has taught him to give a High Five and to play soccer - his new favourite activity.

· He’s driven me to distraction with his sock obsession and his endless pulling on the leash. A brilliant purchase on Saturday has changed my life with Jetty forever. The Gentle Leader is an absolute godsend. It has transformed him from the devil dog into an angel. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but I can walk him with 1 finger on the leash now - better than last week when he pulled me right over. I don’t know how it works. I don’t care how it works. I just care that it does.

Today we all took him to the park to get some exercise before the big storm (which has yet to materialize, those weather people are such fear mongers). We couldn’t find the soccer ball, so we brought his newest toy - the flying squirrel. It doesn’t look anything like a squirrel; it’s more like a square Frisbee made out of fabric. Apparently it glows in the dark. That’ll be handy for any midnight games of fetch.

Anyway, we had him on the long line leash, since Gillian is terrified of letting Jetty off the leash. She seems to think that he will run away and not come back (like that would be such a bad thing...). She’s a worrier, our girl, so we indulge her when we can. This makes games more difficult as both dogs and people get tangled in the leash, but we persevere. The only problem is our dumb dog. He just doesn’t get fetch. He loves to run after whatever we throw and then run back to us. While carefully leaving the toy where it is. This is why soccer is better, at least with that Gillian and I can just pass the ball back and forth and he can run between us. So, it’s off to the heap of failed puppy toys and gadgets for the squirrel.

We discovered something else at the park today. Jetty is gay. We love him anyway, and are open to any lifestyle choice he wants to make, but really, it’s a little embarrassing. He seems to think it’s still the ‘70s and free love reigns supreme, but in our conservative neighbourhood, it does raise some eyebrows. I thought getting him fixed would solve the humping problem, but sadly, not so far...

Anyway, it’s just about kibble time, so I’ll sign off for now. Cheers.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Part 2

A couple of people have already been after me to update the blog, so I am feeling a bit of pressure to perform this week. Naturally, this time class didn’t provide much ink for my pen (shout out to Jenn for that great turn of phrase, which I have shamelessly lifted). However, I will do my best to bring you up to speed.

We begin class with a discussion of treats, and Captain Hilarious quickly becomes Jet’s new BFF when Jet realizes that he is the keeper of the freeze dried chicken, liver, and lung snacks. Captain H. admits that he has sampled some of the canine snacks himself. Induced by offers of cash from his friends, he has tried liver flavoured Kong stuffing, rollover snacks, and doggie biscuits. (Any of you who attended W.O.S.S. with me will be having flashbacks to Cam and chemistry class...) However, every man has his standards, and even Captain H. will not try the freeze dried lung. The smell alone is enough to turn the most ardent carnivore into a vegetarian. Of course Jet thinks it’s ambrosial.

So, tonight we actually start to do some work with the dogs. Since this appears to be the remedial class, we begin with “sit”. Fortunately, Jetty doesn’t disappoint and performs a very good sit. Not really a surprise since he has just discovered that freeze dried meats exist, and are nearby.

I have to give credit to our wonderful breeder, Cheryl, for introducing clicker training to Jet at birth. She set the stage for what is undoubtedly going to be his only moment of stardom during puppy classes. Everyone was sent home with clickers last week and told to begin to mark good behaviours with a click and a treat. Seems simple, but some of the other dogs just weren’t getting it; and one of the poor miniatures was terrified of the noise. Jet was held up as an example of how effective clickers can be. He was lying down, quietly gnawing at the cement floor, ignoring everything except the imaginary thing he was trying to dig up. The second Captain H. clicked, Jetty’s head spun around and he sat right up at attention, looking directly at his new BFF. Even though Cheryl did all the heavy lifting with that training, I was so proud.

Continuing along the beginner theme, we move on to walking. A discussion of leashes reveals that - you guessed it - we have the wrong one. Now we have to drop money on a 6 footer as well as a gross of meaty treats; these classes are a goldmine. I think we should start having Graham’s paycheque direct deposited here instead of the bank. Anyway, Captain H. gives us a rundown of all the available leashes, and does a very funny infomercial type introduction of the extend-a-leash, brought to you by the Devil. Clearly, not a fan. We spend the rest of the lesson learning how to walk the puppies up on our non-extend-a-leash leashes.

I have to give Captain H. credit. It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of people and offer advice to help them to train their dogs. Especially since it has come to light that his dog isn’t the best behaved doggie in the world. By law he must be muzzled whenever he is out of the house. This has led to oral issues - you know, chewing. Lots and lots of chewing. Furniture, clothes, shoes, cds, anything he can get his teeth on. Apparently this week has been particularly trying. So, a big muzzle-tov to Captain Hilarious for having the chutzpah to get up every day and tell us how to train our dogs, even though he has doggie issues of his own.

Next week we are going to learn “fetch”, “bring”, and “drop it”. Sure wish we had learned “drop it” this week. After class Jetty discovered an industrial-sized dust bunny. You know those nice friendly dust bunnies that live under your sofa? Well, this wasn’t one of them. It was a mean, nasty, super-sized dust bunny that could only grow in the presence of many, many dogs. And I had to pull it out of his mouth. With my bare hand. Shudder. Thank God for Purell.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Part 1

We have resumed our weekly puppy classes. We seem to have lost the super cute golden lab puppy that joined us for week 1. This is not a bad thing for us as he was stiff competition for the cutest puppy award. So now our class is composed of only 4 puppies; a good number for individualized attention, a not so good number for hiding bad behaviour or unlearned tricks.

Naturally, after my initial disgust at the other dogs’ poor behaviour last week, Jetty turned out to be the bad dog this week. Obviously we’re not going to delve into that. So, since the pickings are slim on the canine front, let’s focus for a few minutes on our intrepid instructor. I like to call him Captain Hilarious because he makes me laugh. He appears to be in his early twenties, but has that indeterminate, single-young-man look, so he could be 17 or 27. The way he continually asks Graham if he remembers back to when he was a teenager makes me think he is younger (or stupider) than older.

He’s tall and skinny in that freakish super-metabolism kind of a way that we can only hope will come back and bite him on the ass when he’s older. He’s got longish, centre-parted hair which he is constantly pushing out of his face. Reminds me so much of my errant twin brother, yet I like him despite that. Perhaps next week I will hum the theme song from Dr Who or make some sort of Tardis reference just to test him (ok, who’s kidding who - I couldn’t do that if my life depended on it).

Sadly, we didn’t actually do anything constructive with the dogs tonight; we just had another hour-long q and a session. His prior “do you want fries with that” job experience seems deeply ingrained because as we were leaving he encouraged us to sign up in advance for the intermediate class. I pointed out that we hadn’t determined if we would/could successfully complete puppy classes. It might be prudent to wait at least until the end of class 3, when we have actually worked with the doggies instead of just talking, before we decide to purchase additional lessons.

So, as I finish writing this, Jetty the wonder dog lies beside me enjoying his stuffed Kong. Gotta be careful how you say that one; people without dogs always do a double take and ask you to repeat yourself. Now, don’t be jealous and think he’s a good boy or anything. He’s only sitting nicely because of the treat and the fact that his leash is tied to my belt loop, so he actually doesn’t have a choice. I’m sure once these puppy classes are complete he’ll sit calmly of his own volition - Ha!

Jet doesn’t really have much to add to my commentary. He made his own editorial comments perfectly clear in the car while we were on our way home last night. They involved much vomit. You can read what you like into that. I look forward to next week’s class. I’m sure we won’t learn much puppy stuff, but this single white male stuff is amusing enough to make it worthwhile. So, until next time - have a great week, and may all your Kongs be stuffed.