Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Doggie Christmas

Holly on Christmas morning poses for a picture with her favorite present.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Holly's First Snow

Last night brought our first semi-New England winter snow. I say semi because it wasn't nearly as much snow as it was suppose to be. Either way, I headed out the door with Holly this morning for our early day walk. She was enthralled with this white stuff that was falling all around us. She ran like crazy and kept sticking her snout into the snow drifts. She raced after the neighboring kids on their sleds and even rode down the hill with them. Snow was never a really happy thing in our house as it use to translate to J having to go into work. His promotion this summer has changed all that, so not only was it Holly's first snow but it was kind of our first snow as a family.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Holly has a boyfriend named Ewain. He is a month older than her and loves to play with her. (No worries both of them are fixed - so he's not that kind of boyfriend.) Ewain is an Irish Border Collie and is totally infatuated with Holly. He whines whenever we leave, gives up any toy or bone he has to her, and tries to snuggle with her. Ewain is probably the most easy-going dog I've ever met. He just wants to play and love.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Drying Out.

9 Days. It rained for 9 days here in the Northeast. We were all so soaked that I thought none of us would ever dry out. To top it all off, our furnace went and died. So we are wet AND cold. Holly seems depressed, K is depressed, I'm depressed, and J is working so much none of us see him much. This week is suppose to be dry. We all hope so.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Empty Bladder. . .Full Heart

Just so everyone knows, Holly is doing well and healing up just fine. She wants to get into everything and meet everyone. Which leads me to my newest question.

Okay, so I don't understand the need to pee whenever I meet someone new. Then again, I am not a puppy with an insatiable need to get to know everyone. This has been a slight problem with Holly from the beginning. Whenever someone walks into the room, Holly jumps up on them and gets herself very excited. Then she pees. Now we've been working on the jumping because I don't like it. I really think most people are just polite when they say a jumping puppy is cute. Even so, cute as puppy does not mean cute as dog! So any how, we have been working on the jumping. However she still pees. I'm not sure if it's excitement piddling or submissive peeing. She doesn't do it with me - and she's stopped with J and K. However all others are fair waterfall material. I've tried kenneling her until she calms down or taking her out before company comes over. Still she piddels away, happily wagging her tail as she jumps up. I'm not sure how to deal with this issue. She's not being bad, she's being friendly. She wants to love everyone. She wants affection from every hand that rings our doorbell. My carpets are not happy. They are talking about a revolt. How do I curb this behavior

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Home Coming.

Holly came home this afternoon from her stay at the hospital for her spaying and she's doing well. I spoke with the vet and she said that Holly was a pleasure to have overnight. She thinks we have a wonderful dog that is loving, bright, and sweet natured. Funny, we think so to.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Holly's Big Night!

Tonight J, Holly, and I went visiting to the neighbors! Mr. & Mrs. O live around the corner from us and are the proud pet parents of Ewain, a 5 1/2 month old Irish border collie. We've lived in our home for 2 years but it took Holly coming into our lives to meet our neighbors. . .Ironic isn't it? I really like Mr. & Mrs. O. And Holly really likes Ewain. They've had play dates and Ewain's even run away to be with her. They seem to have so much fun together that J and I have dubbed Ewain, The Boyfriend. Even more ironic, Holly's spaying was scheduled for the 20th as was Ewain's neutering. Who knew?

So anyhow, the family all went over to Mr. & Mrs. O's house where we ended up hanging out until midnight just drinking wine and talking. Holly and Ewain ran around, playing and jumping - just having a great old time. It was a nice night and when we came home, Holly was filthy. LOL. She LOVED it!

What amazes me is how much a dog can help people open up! Like I stated earlier, 2 years living here and the only people we knew were our immediate neighbors. In the 2 months that Holly has been living with us, we have met so many people and their dogs. Dog owners are so willing to stop and talk with strangers who also have dogs. We live across the street from a beautiful park and we've even met neighbors without dogs. Everyone, with pets or not, will stop to see Holly. They stop to pet her and ask questions about her. It amazes me!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

To Eat. . .Or Not to Eat.

On the second floor of our house is a little room with no real function. This room is small and oddly shaped but has become a sort of haven to K and myself. It has become out Art/Crafting room. We painted the walls and put together the furniture. It is our space to enjoy ourselves, to escape the stresses of the world through our art! Holly loves joining us and she normally just sits at my feet and plays with her chew toys. However, we have a problem. The corner of the room has a spot where the linoleum is coming up and the hardwood is visible underneath. We have plans to rip up the floor later but cost related decisions have put refinishing the floor on hold. I looked down last night to find Holly ripping up the linoleum and trying to eat it! What is with all the strange things she tries to eat? It seems all of a sudden everything is welcome in my puppy's mouth! Bugs, plastic, grass, yarn, lace, paper, refuse, dirt, and anything else you can come up with. . .Including, but not limited to, old linoleum flooring! I know it's a stage, with kids and cats. I assume it's a stage of life with puppies as well but there must be a way to discourage the behavior. I mean, I can only watch her so many hours in a day and she's eating all sorts of things. Someone suggested 'sour apple' spray and someone else suggested a mix of vinegar, tabasco, and garlic. I'm not sure. We tried another spray that was suppose to discourage chewing and Holly just seems to love it!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Puppy in the Middle.

I love Holly. I never thought I'd feel this way for a pet, but it has happened. I love her cold nose and persistent love. She ALWAYS wants to be around me and is just happy that I come home to her. Sometimes, though, I just don't want to be bothered with her.

Now that school is back in session, I'm finding it very hard to extract myself from the stress of the day. Sometimes I come home and she is SO needy that I just want to scream. I know it's not her that I am upset with but I'm not sure how to release it. Then there seem to be all the continuing problems between J and myself.

I'm not sure what the real problem is between J and I, but it seems obvious that puppy is being used as an excuse. I feel as if I'm having to do everything for Holly and that J isn't living up to his part of the bargain. We had a deal that we would raise the puppy together. I don't feel this is happening. J, on the other hand works seriously long hours. He leaves just after me in the morning and comes home late into the night. I know he feels overworked and exhausted. I know it is very difficult for him to juggle his own business and his day job - both of which require long hours. I know he does a lot of this to make sure we have the money to pay for our house, food, and bills. Money is tight and Connecticut is an expensive state to live in. I appreciate all that he does but I tend to think there are more important things in life than money. I could live with out my video games, books, and nights out. I could live without the extras if I could just have him home more. J wants to provide for his family. He wants us to have everything we need.

J and I both grew up without. J was from a large family and his dad worked hard to make ends meet. While his dad made a fairly good living, it really didn't stretch that far with 2 parents, 5 kids, and 3 grandchildren. J lived in a house supplied to his family by his father's boss. This was in an extremely rich town in Connecticut. Many of the kids he grew up with had large homes, new cars, and large trust funds. J worked hard and got scholarships to private schools. Then he got scholarships to college. He grew up surrounded by excess while his family wanted for necessities. He never wants his kids to face that. He wants me, as his wife, to be able to get my hair done or buy myself a book if I want. He wants this all without having to worry about whether or not we can eat that night. I can't blame him for wanting more out of life.

I grew up on Long Island in an Italian middle-class neighborhood. My family had lived in the same house for 5 generations. We were comfortable. My dad split when I was 6, leaving my mom, baby brother, my grandmother, and I on our own. My mom worked at McDonald's and cleaned houses. We had little but we were really happy. Food was scarce but my mom always made it seem like we had plenty. I know now we were drowning but I never knew it then. My brother jokes that he grew up in the house the estrogen built and technology forgot. We played board games and read books. We went on picnics to the beach after 4pm, because it was free after that time. I worked hard and went to college. I met J. I never want my kids to go hungry but I also want them to know their father. I want him in their life.

Now, J and I don't have kids yet. Up until now, we had a cat and he was pretty self sufficient. If I was lonely, well I kept myself busy most of the time. Problems have arisen now that Holly has entered our lives. Holly needs more hands on care. Many of the things I did to keep myself busy have to be put on hold for her needs. J still works all the time, because nothing has really changed for him. He didn't take care of the cat and I could look after myself. Holly has fallen under my care because I am first home. This has brought up all sorts of feeling that all lead to the same idea - future children. Until we figure out how to deal with each other and the situation, there will be fights and upset feelings. Until we learn to communicate, there will be misunderstandings. Until we try to reach a compromise and a common ground, there will be resentment. Until we commit to a change, there will be no future children. Sadly, until then, Holly is stuck in the middle.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Raining Cats and. . .Dogs?

Little miss Holly was fine during her first week. Now with the start of the second week, nature has added an additional concern - heavy rainfall. This morning our backyard was flooded and I made the decision to keep Holly in the kitchen for the day. I knew she would have bathroom related accidents and she did. Now I am wondering if I should have left her outside in her pen. She has her dog house, so leaving her in the pen would not have left her without shelter but I felt she might be more comfortable inside and dry. So what's the concern? Can keeping her inside interfere with her house training? Should dogs who are kenneled outside ever be penned inside? What reasons are valid to do so? Just questions to the void. . . and maybe some helpful answers.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Last Night of Summer Vacation.

Well tomorrow starts my work year. Once again school will start and I will be there to man the library. This year, while the typical pre-school year jitters are starting, I am also extremely nervous about leaving Holly.

J finished her dog house yesterday, it is the most luxurious thing I have ever seen. This dog house is insulated, with a cedar shingle roof, and two rooms. Still it doesn't fill the need for contact that Holly seems to crave. Two of neighbors have offered to look in on her from time to time, and that is helping me to deal with some of the anxiety. Still. . .I don't want to go back to work and leave her.

We will only have to wait and see how it will work out.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Buster Cube!

K brought home this really cool toy, for Holly, called the Buster Cube. This toy has just become Holly's favorite thing. It's basically a puzzle. As she plays with it some treats spill out. It looks like a die, with the food spilling out of the 1 side. The cube comes in two sizes, mini cube and food cube, which accommodates different size dogs. K bought Holly the mini. We fill it with her kibble and adjust the setting to Holly's level - she's at minimum if anyone is curious. She loves playing with it but we do use it sparingly, we don't want her over-eating. Basically, we use it whenever we need some down time but don't want to kennel her. I use it in the afternoon when I want to go online or read a book. K uses it when she wants to play a video game or talk on the phone. We are normally in the room with Holly as she plays with it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Outside or Inside?

My work year start is quickly closing in. 5 days left and then? I'm really paranoid about Holly being home alone. J has decided she needs to stay outside while we are at work, so he built her a 7 ft by 9 ft pen within our back yard. (We do not have our yard fenced in and can't because of a shared driveway. Fencing would end up breaking town ordinances. So he fenced in part to make her a safe little play area.)

The pen is very nice but it does little to ease my concerns. She's a Nordic dog and it's hot outside, but the pen is in the shade at all times. What about bad weather? J is building her a temperature controlled dog house. Water? He created a water fountain for her, then taught her how to us it. What if she gets out? That he can't answer me, he repeats that she'll be fine. I'm sure some of this is new puppy owner paranoia but I can't help it. I've been trying it out with her everyday, this way it's not such a shock when we have to leave her in it. She seems okay, a little wound up when I let her out but she doesn't stand out there barking or crying. She plays, sleeps, and eats. That's about what she does all day with me, minus the training sessions. I guess it will be okay, but that nagging gut feeling won't leave me alone.

J works all over the Tri-state area. His job takes him between 15 different buildings everyday, the closet building to our house is 45 minutes away. He leaves every morning by 6:30 am and doesn't get off until 4 pm. He owns his own side business, which he conducts from 4 pm to 9 pm, sometimes later. He also works a lot of weekends. I out the door by 5:45 am every morning during the school year and I work an hour away. I'm never home before 3:30 pm and that's if there is no traffic, never happens. As for K, while she is totally into being a part of Holly's life, she leaves at 6 am and works an hour and a half away. So stems my concerns. Holly will be in her pen from around 6 am to 4 pm every weekday. That just seems very long to me and makes me worry. I think I would rather her be kenneled inside during the day but J won't budge on this issue. I'm sure he will make her the best and most comfortable pen and dog house ever seen but I'm more concerned she'll be lonely.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Ears Have It.

After Holly being with us for 5 weeks, I've decided there is nothing in the world like puppy ears! I love them! So soft and pointy, I love to rub them. She also seems to enjoy our little ear rubbing bonding moment. She falls asleep almost every time I do it, and all my stress seems to melt away.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Emergencies vs. Priorities

Well, another argument ensued today. This time because J came home late. I think much of it stems from J's career. He works as a maintenance troubleshooter for a series of senior apartments. When emergencies strike, he's on call. I understand they need him, at least I try to. It's very hard being "the other woman" to a husband's career.

The argument had to do with Puppy classes that I would like to sign Holly up for. They are being offered at our local Petco and I think it would do Holly a lot of good. She's bright and has already learned several commands but this would reinforce what she already knows. A positive plus would also be her socializing with other puppies in our area. I thought J should be the one to go with her. As of lately, Holly isn't listen to him as well as she use to. Most likely, it has to do with him always being at work.

So I told him when the classes will be, one night a week for six weeks. He doesn't feel he can commit to it because he never knows when an emergency will arise. In my opinion, he needs to make time for the important things in life. He wanted the puppy and I feel he needs to make the time to be involved in raising her. This is really a precursor problem because the real issues are future children. I don't want to raise a pup alone, let alone a child. It's one thing to say no to a puppy training class. It's completely different to put work before your family. This is an old argument of J and I, there have been many holidays and events I have missed or attended alone because of some emergency or another.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, and I'm sure it will come up again. We are taught all our lives that a good work ethic is a priority. Shouldn't we also be taught that family is just, if not more so, important? I don't want him to quit his job, J likes what he does. I just don't think work is all there is to life. You have to have more, you have to be more than your job. I'm not asking for anything more than a commitment to one hour a week. Is that too much? Is it not enough?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Tooth-Fairy Freak Out.

Holly lost her first tooth today. She came over to me and spit it out at my feet. I freaked out. She's been nipping and biting everything in the last few days and I thought maybe she broke her tooth. I looked closer and found that it really didn't seem broken. She's only four months old. I mean, should she be losing her baby teeth already? I ran to get my books and must confess they were extremely unhelpful. They had nothing about the losing of baby teeth. I was at a complete lose of what was going on and everyone with us was laughing at me. Of course none of those people could tell me if this was the right age for puppies to lose teeth either.

So to save others the embarrassment of being a freaked out new puppy parent, I found this great website that had lots of info on dogs and their teeth: The Dog Owner's Guide: Canine Teeth - In case you were wondering, 4 months is the age when puppies start losing their baby teeth. It was normal. Now, does the tooth-fairy leave things for puppies? I haven't found that website yet!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Be the Change.

Anger is rushing up from the pit of my stomach like a volcano about to explode. I can feel my face turn red and I can almost hear the steam rushing out from my ears. Four weeks ago I might have screamed at someone, anyone. It wouldn't have mattered if they were at fault or not. If they were in my way, they may have suffered my wrath. Just for the record, my wrath is not a pretty thing. I have always had a problem with anger and expressing my feelings. I am very temperamental but at least it passes quickly and doesn't happen that often. Sounds horrible though, I know. Yet, I have mellowed so much in the past several years that friends from then say I'm a different person. It normally makes me laugh, my so called mellowing out. I mean, isn't that called growing up? Well, I finally get it. For the first time in my life I completely understand everyone's reaction to my anger. I saw myself through Holly's eyes and stopped.

I've worked with kids for several years now and I've never yelled around a child, so I wasn't worried about yelling at Holly. I figured I just wouldn't. That became harder with each passing day. I have kept my cool and managed to let it go. After all, puppy doesn't know any better until I teach her better. Besides, I've noticed raised voices gets her to excited. So no, I have been good and released my anger through other more constructive outlets, instead of at Holly. What I forgot was anger in general. Anger at my husband, J, for making me worry because he didn't call to tell me he'd be late. Anger with the bank for screwing up a bill. Anger at friends who blow off your plans last minute. We deal with anger every day and some of it starts fights. Sometimes it starts yelling matches. Sometimes we even yell without anger being involved. Examples of yelling without anger: yelling into another room to alert another person to dinner, yelling because you burned yourself on the stove, etc.

The first time I yelled, around Holly, was at J. He had come home late and I'd waited to have dinner. I was exhausted from working with Holly all day. Our roommate, K, had called to say she wasn't coming home. Everyone I called on the telephone seemed to be out. I wanted to speak with another human being; Holly is fun but she isn't the best conversationalist. It was nearing midnight. I was lonely, hungry, tired, bored, and getting extremely worried. When J walked in he hardly said anything before falling asleep on the couch. I started to scream at him about everything he'd put me through and anything else I could think of. He was tired and had his own baggage from the day. He began to yell back. It was then that I noticed Holly and shut my mouth. She looked so small, her ears back and tail down. She was even shaking and huddled in a corner. It didn't matter that we weren't yelling at her. We were fighting and she was taking it all in. From then on we have tried not to fight at all, but to talk to each other. If we do feel the need to fight, we try to remove ourselves from the area.

It's been a little over three weeks since I've last yelled. I feel I'm making huge strides as a "rage-aholic" and feel better as well. I'm noticing that I don't get flustered as easily, remain calmer, and feel a lot happier in general. To show support and pride for what I am trying to do, K presented me with a gift. It's a small silver charm that reads, "Be the change you wish to see in the world". On the top of the quote is a small gold symbol for the world. When I start feeling upset or angry, I touch it and say it. I want to communicate with my world, not abuse it. I want to teach my puppy with love, not fear. I want to focus on the positive in my life, everything else will follow.

I am the change I wish to see. I have learned this of myself because I have final stopped to see myself through other eyes. If I yell at puppy after she has soiled the carpet, she doesn't know why I'm angry with her. If I yell at J, he only hears the yelling. The key to communication's start is by remaining as calm as you can. This is my latest lesson learned from Holly.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

What's a Librarian Without Her Books?

Since Holly is my very first dog, I was at a complete lose of what to do with her. This may sound dumb but I was really concerned. How do I stop her from eating everything that isn't good for her? How do I get her to pay attention to me? How do I teach her simple commands that I assume will make all of our lives easier? Well, I'm not a librarian because I thought the glasses looked cool! I love books, not certain types or specific genres, I mean all book. I love the smell of them and the feel of the paper between my fingers. I love the crap books that should never have been published just as much as I love the classics. So as my family quickly darted out the door the morning after we got her - with not so much as a "Don't forget to feed her" - I began to panic. So I put the pup in her kennel and made my way over to our local bookstore.

I got 'Puppies for Dummies'. I loved it. I don't know if I agree with everything the author talked about, but then I have very
little knowledge to disagree with. Within hours Holly and I were trying out some of the games. The book has great sections on each life stage. If nothing else it made me feel more secure. Since I'm the one home with her the most, especially since school is out for summer, I really felt I needed guidance. This was a great book and a must read for first time puppy owners.

The biggest thing we took from the book was a game. 'Hide & Seek' puppy style. It helps reinforce commands like come and sit. Helps puppy learn his or her name. It even helps puppy identify the names of the people playing. Our roommate, K, and I have done this with Holly a few times and she's already got the game down.

Just goes to show you - where there's a will there is probably a book to show you the way.

Friday, July 22, 2005

After Lunar came Holly. . .

Lunar was our cat for seven years. He loved to play and run. He had a small cat bed near the fireplace that he liked to curl up in. He was graceful, agile, and the world's worst hunter. Oh, he tried to hunt this moth or that foot but it never quite worked out for him. The fact that he sounded like an elephant might have had something to do with his lack of predatory skills. Lunar was an Emperor within his home and ruler of all he could see. He was also a very sick cat, but he loved us.

Lunar had Megacolon almost all his life. This meant many things for our family: Many visits to the Vet, adapted schedules to care for Lunar, moments of anger, costly treatments that never seemed to help, medications that only seemed to do more damage, and all the medical bills. Then there was all the destruction done to our home because of fecal accidents. Resentment was mounting in all camps. When Lunar didn't feel well, he'd pull away from us. He HATED the vet's office. He'd cry when we left him for overnight treatments, then avoid us like the plague when he came home. I spent so much time cleaning carpets and scrubbing tile that I really didn't want to come home. J, my husband of 5 years, would come home only to find his business' paper work was now a litterbox. The other members of our household would choose not to come home. Bedroom doors had to remain closed at all times to prevent the soiling of the beds. We were all feeling guilty, angry, and resentful. We were all unhappy. This is no life for a family. Families, in which I include pets, should enjoy each other. However, families also do not give up on each other. So we mustered on. It went on for almost 5 years like this.

This June our vet told us we had to make a decision. The enemas were killing Lunar slowly, robbing him of all vitamins. There was a surgery that showed some success when dealing with Megacolon. We could let Lunar have the surgery which would consist of the removal of the extended part of his intestines or we could put him down.

Problems were as follows:

  • This surgery could kill him.
  • He would have little control of his bathroom habits, if the surgery was successful.
  • The surgery would not cure the Megacolon. The problem would come back. There was no way of knowing when. 1 month to 10 years. Time frames were unknown. The only definite is that it would come back.
  • It might not be successful.
  • The surgery costs between $3,000 - $5,000.

There was little choice we could make. We took him home for a week. We played with him, feed him his favorite foods, and just spent time with him. Then we all went back to the vet and let him go. I decided then and there I couldn't go through with this again. No more cats, no more pets. Funny how no one listens to me!

Just one week ago, our new puppy entered our home. A puppy?! A type of pet I have NEVER wanted. J is a dog kind of guy. I would rather have sea monkeys, maybe a nice fish. So enter our lives this adorable mound of white fluff known as an American Eskimo Dog. We named her Holly. She loves to play and run. She has a little bed by the fireplace that she likes to curl up in. She is a little clumsy on her quickly growing puppy feet but she is agile. She's not much in to hunting, besides her prey would hear her clomping paws a mile away. She is a princess in this house but she does not rule the kingdom. She loves us.

This is my first dog. I expected to teach her a lot. It seems I'll learn a lot. Lunar taught me caring and nurturing. He helped teach me loss. He helped teach me that sometimes doing what's best is not what feels best. Holly has helped me learn to grieve for my shared life with Lunar. So far she has taught me how to celebrate my shared life with her.