Friday, November 25, 2011

Another Holiday Bites The Dust

What a lovely Thanksgiving we had!  Ron & I loaded up Sparkle, food & wine, and drove over to pick up mom & pies.  Then we met Jess along with Letty, Meribel & more food at a Park & Ride in Wisconsin and drove to my sister's.  Jess's partner Don was having dinner with his daughter's family, nephew Davis is overseas for a couple if years, and nephew Eric had dinner with his friend Lisa's family, so we were a smaller group this year, just Gram, Ron & me, Jess, sister Kris & her husband Bob.  Eric and Lisa joined us later for pie, so Jess & Lisa had a chance to meet.  It was a typical doggy holiday with the three Dal puppy girls, Kris's Rat Terrier LD (that's Sparkle & LD in the picture, with Letty chewing a corn stalk in the background), and her huge new dog Maxx who is most likely a Lab/Great Dane cross.  Kris calls him a Great Dab.  Huge dog, but very sweet & amazingly sound & athletic for such a big fellow.

Because my sister cooks at a nursing home, she is super organized, and everything runs so smoothly.  She says it's easy to cook for 6 when you are used to cooking for 40!  I guess.  We joked that none of us needed to have our food pureed either - some of the nursing home residents get their food pureed - hard to envision turkey & dressing served that way!

Everything turned well - I don't remember a better Thanksgiving dinner.  Plenty of leftover cut up veggies (we always stand/sit at the bar in the family room and enjoy wine with veggies & dip while waiting for the turkey to cook) and some cranberry sauce too.  I'm baking a crustless pumpkin pie (made with egg substitute & condensed skim milk) and plan to enjoy more pie than I can manage on Thanksgiving.  Am going down to check for turkey or turkey breasts on sale - the only thing about not hosting a holiday dinner is no leftovers - and I love leftover turkey.  So much you can do with it.

Sparkle did very well other than a little bit of crate fussing when we first took off.  She settled in well, though her eyes were pretty bugged out when Letty & Meribel joined us.  She made friends quickly though and was soon part of the group.  We took the pups for a couple of off leash walks across the farm fields and around the out buildings, and they had a wonderful time racing & wrestling with one another & their cousin LD.  Letty even found a freshly killed rat, which she thought was a particularly exciting find!  The Great Dab is varminty and leaves the evidence laying around.

The girls were exhausted when we got home, but had to sit and get "sniff over" from Argus, Watson, Josie & Coral.  Coral was very pleased to see Letty again, which continues to amaze me as she normally has little time for pups.  She does like this one!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Sparkle has settled in nicely and learned some of the important rules. 
  • Do your business outside.
  • Be quiet when you are shut in the dog yard for a few minutes.
  • Wait without jumping while your food is prepared
  • Sleep quietly in your crate at night.
  • Do not bother Coral when she is sleeping.
Next we will work on riding quietly in the car, and she'll get lots of practice when we go to my sister's for Thanksgiving!   A long weekend will give us a chance to visit Petco, go for walks, cut nails, and do lots of short car trips.  Because Letty comes home tomorrow, there will be LOTS of time for wrestling too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Missing Letty

Missing my Letty Girl.  She's such a funny little elf and makes me laugh, plus I love looking at her cute face, beautiful spots, and wonderful gait.   She's just so asthetically pleasing to my eye and I catch mayself smiling when I watch her.  That's Letty and her neice Meribel sleeping on Jess's couch.

Sparkle seems to be well settled in here and acts quite at home.  Not sure Watson & Argus are very happy about it, as she is quite the pest, but they're putting up with it, especially Argus who is endlessly patient.   When Letty comes home it will be a madhouse around here, but they will have each other to harrass and the big dogs will get a break! 

Am a bit concerned about what will happen to the yard if I let them have the run of it.  The grass stood up well to Letty, but not sure that a muddy yard can survive two of them.  Last weekend's snow will soon be gone, and the yard will be wet and vulnerable, but colder weather can't be too far behind!

House-training is going well and Sparkle seems to have caught on to the idea of going in the yard rather than on the deck, and we are gradually getting her used to doing her business in the dog pen rather than in the yard.  She's adjusted well to our raw diet, as pups always do, and after my bad-things-happen-when-you-yell-in-your-crate demo last night, she slept through the night without a fuss.  We did a bit of stacking after she explored the basement, and this evening I hope to take her for a short car ride - and convince her that shouting is NOT acceptable their either.  Maybe a lead walk around the block too, if there is any daylight left when I get home from work.  She's got a lot to catch up on before she starts her Puppy Class in 10 days!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another New Puppy? What Was I Thinking?

What was I thinking?  Why did I think I wanted another puppy as we go into winter?  Ron has taken it all in stride and never even said "I told you so" as we took Sparkle outdoors 150 times yesterday.  But we're surviving, and Sparkle has been pretty good so far.  The adults have all been great with her, even long-suffering Coral.

Ann arrived with Sparkle & Baci (Baci just along for the ride) on Saturday in a snow storm (I am so not ready for winter!).  The pups were a bit overwhelmed by everything  as this was their first long trip.  Fortunately Ann has been working on housetraining, which is NOT easy with 5 pups, and the two girls were pretty cooperative.  They all went along when I took Argus out to the training center (not an easy trip as the roads were crummy) and got some extra socializing. 

We opted to walk down to Luci for dinner rather than braving the roads again, and saw a multi-car accident right in front of the restaurant.  We had a particularly good meal though - maybe Ann brings the same kind of luck that Laurie does as we always get great food and awesome service when she is here!  The pups slept with Ann in the guestroom, so we all got a good night's sleep.

Ann & Baci left for home on Sunday morning.  Fortunately, they drove out of the snow & ice pretty quickly and made it all the way home.  The first day/night with a new pup is always the toughest, and we all survived.  Ron was good natured about the addition and took over puppy duties when Argus & I ventured out for a run (for him) and new shoes (for me).  Because the puppy has excellent control, it's hard to know when she really needs to go out, so she gets taken out a lot and occasionally pees.  It's almost easier to housetrain a baby pup who pees each time you take it out!  But we got through the day with no peeing in the house - and a lot of fresh air!  Bet the heating bill for Saturday and Sunday will be as much as for the whole rest of the month!

Because Sparkle is used to being crated with another dog, we had some crate issues and several "discussions", but got past that too and she slept through the night, by herself in a crate in the kitchen with Josie and Coral.  We're on our way!  Ron is in charge today and I hope he keeps a close eye on Sparkle as she is just as likely to chew a rug as a dog toy.  We're spoiled by Letty who is not destructive and keeps herself amused with dog toys.  This one will need some supervision for awhile.  Each puppy is a new adventure!

Sparkle will likely be available in the future to the right home on a co-ownership.  I'd like to show her, but she does not have to live with me, so if you might be interested in co-owning a showdog, let's talk.