Friday, February 27, 2009

Schwang Manor: Security

A and I stopped by our local Chicago Police Department (CPD) station the other day, because our neighbors and us have noticed some unusual activity going on in our neighborhood. CPD informed us that burglaries have gone up significantly in many areas of Chicago. Apparently burglars are bumping into doors to see if an alarm would go off and break in if they don't hear one. On the front door to our building, we saw all this damage from someone trying to jimmy the lock using a screwdriver or a pry bar. To prevent this from happening again, we installed a latch guard for an in-opening door. In addition, we have installed security strike kits for both our front and back doors. They include these really long, heavy duty screws that makes breaking in through the door a lot harder. One thing to say is that CPD has been really helpful. They informed us about our beat meetings and how they are on trial at these meetings. One police officer even told us to demand a lieutenant to give us his direct number at these meetings and not allow him to give us a different number. Two officers even stopped by the house to follow up with the attempted burglary and gave us some tips on how to deter potential burglars, such as installing a latch guard. They even recommended buying an ADT or some other security company's security sign online and post those up around the building, because burglars will usually head down to the next building. Finally, they said that the sound of a big dog's bark is a great deterrent, too bad Ms. M doesn't bark and Mr. B stopped barking.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pooches: Cookie Jars and Canisters

One of the great joys of owning a dog is that you never know what you will come home to. On Valentine's Day, A and I decided to go out to dinner and Mr. B decided to have dinner as well. So we come home to find 15-lb of what used to be 30-lb of dog food knocked all over the floor and an empty bag of lamb stuffed with sweet potato treats. So Mr. B somehow found a way to open the lower cabinets where their food is stored and went to town on the dog food and the treats. Luckily he only ate one whole bag of dog treats, because he had some pretty messy bowel movements for 4 days. So we decided to buy a vault for the dog food and cookie containers for the treats. The nice thing about the vault is that it keeps the dog food fresh and keeps ants and other insects and vermin out. In addition, the cookie containers with the treats add a little flair to our kitchen. Instead of having cookies in jars for humans, we have treats in jars for our adorable mongrels.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pooches: Walking Safety

Miss M. is not always the most popular dog. Back when we lived in our old apartment, there was a Chocolate Lab living on the first floor that couldn't stand her. When we would walk outside the dog would bark crazily and throw itself against the screen window. When we were in the lobby the dog would ram itself against the door clawing to get out. One time when we were coming home it did get out and it began attacking Miss M. It wasn't until later that I learned about Directstop. Apparently dogs can't stand the smell of citronella, so you can spray this in the dog's faces and they'll back off. It doesn't hurt the dogs, but it separates them before the dogs can hurt each other. You have to be especially careful here in the city where there are tons of dogs, and even more irresponsible dog owners. While we have control of our dogs on our walks, there are all kinds of people who walk their dogs off-leash. This can cause problems as the dog on leash feels confined and threatened and could lash out in self-defense. We haven't had to use it yet, but it does make me feel safer to have it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Doggystyle: Robin Hood & Little Red Riding Hood

We had ordered these Ruffwear raincoats a bit ago, but it wasn't until this past week with the rain and warmer weather that we were able to try them out. We really like these because they have hoods which keep the pooches dryer and willing to stay out longer. The thing we didn't realize was the hoods actually make them look too much like Robin Hood, and Little Red Riding Hood. With our next outing, we might switch the coats to be more gender appropriate. So Miss M. will be going to visit Grandma's house and Mr. B will be the heroic villain.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pooches: The Story about How Miss M Learned to Wave

When I first adopted Miss M. she was very wild. Given that she was a "Bully Breed" I knew I needed to keep her disciplined. I was quick to enroll her into training, and since then our lives have changed. Miss M. earned her degree from Anti-Cruelty society where she took Dog Training 201, Trick Training, CGC Prep, and an Intro to Rally class her and E took together. Through these classes Miss M evolved from a crazy pooch into an enthusiastic dog who takes directions well. She learned simple skills like lying down with a single hand motion, keeping a "stay" position for over 3 minutes, and even staying with a bowl of food in front of her and not eating until I give the signal. She also learned fun things like falling down dead when "shot at", rolling over, waving, and even putting her own toys away. These programs are fairly inexpensive and they allow you to retake the 101, 102, and 201 classes for the dog's lifetime. Miss M. really enjoyed the classes. Her favorite part was when they would pick her to be the "model" and do the trick in front of the class. Although, I think she was just in it for the treat.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pooches: Spa Day

Every few weeks we usually bring the pooches over to Petsmart to get a bath. We call it their "Spa Day" imagining them frolicking in the back, hanging out in fluffy towels waiting to get their nails done; in reality we know it's probably just them standing in a cage getting hosed down. Unfortunately, we haven't had a chance to bring them to the "spa" and Miss M is beginning to smell like Fritos. In the meantime, we have been using these grooming wipes to neutralize their odor. These have a green tea leaf fragrance which, surprisingly, is quite appealing to dogs. It's like an aromatherapy and the pooches treat it like a massage rolling around at their backs. They like it so much that at the end of the rubdown Miss M even tries to sneak away with the wipe to chew in her lair. The wipes don't really leave the pooches smelling like herbs, nor do they mask any huge odors, but they do neutralize the pooches natural scent. And they enjoy the rubdown.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pooches: Hans Washington B

As we have written earlier, we make Mr. B wear the chewed pieces of the Ikea Sheepskin as a mini-toupee. We came home recently to find a whole lot of chewed pieces of the sheepskin. We decided to make this into a small head of hair for Mr. B. Here is Hans Washington B AKA Harpo Marx B.
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