Monday, November 30, 2009

Pooches: Picking a pack member

Picking a second dog to join our pack has been a difficult task, but we are very happy that it led us to Mr. B. When we started our search for Ms. M's own pooch, we were looking for a male dog that was younger than Ms. M, because we were looking to add another bully and we wanted to reduce the possibility of a power struggle. Our search led us to Mr. A, a 2 year old male pit bull mix. Curtis Scott did the introduction at Unleashed and they seemed to get along really well. Thus started our new chapter with Ms. M and Mr. A. In their initial meeting, Mr. A would listen to Ms. M's corrections and he would back down every so often as they played. However, after that initial meeting, Mr. A would not back down and I had to intervene whenever their playing got out of hand. Eventually Ms. M and Mr. A would play all the time and we would be woken up by two dogs running around our bedroom, growling, jumping, spittling, and barking. There would be dog hair and spittle all over the place: on the floor, furniture, bed, and even our food. After three weeks of living in complete chaos, we had to make the difficult decision that this was not working out. We decided to return Mr. A to his foster parents and resign to being a one dog household. Ms. M quickly went back to her routine and didn't miss Mr. A at all. Couple months later, I decided to browse PetFinder, for older male bullies and saw Mr. B on the search. Though he was in Kalamazoo, Michigan, he came within the first two pages, because there aren't too many male bullies over the age of 4 for adoption. Apparently older male bullies are not very adoptable and are quickly destroyed. Luckily for us, Jo Anne at the Kalamazoo Animal Rescue rescued Mr. B from the pound. Since we had experience with Mr. A, I had a whole list of questions that I asked Jo Anne before we even decided to meet Mr. B. After the lengthy conversation, we decided to drive down to Kalamazoo, Michigan to meet Mr. B. During the initial meeting, Ms. M and Mr. B played and ran around together, but an interesting happened when we took Mr. B with us to our campground, Ms. M and Mr. B didn't interact at all. Though we were all in the same tent, Mr. B and Ms. M basically ignored each other. They each slept on their own pet beds and in the next morning, they didn't even acknowledge each other. This was how we knew that Mr. B was our family's newest addition. Though Mr. B is older than Ms. M, he is submissive to Ms. M and seems to understand his place in the Schwang household. Don't tell Ms. M or A, but in my mind Mr. B is number one and my best friend.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DoggyStyle: Fashionable Rain Gear

The best part about having dogs in the city is you're forced to get out and go on walks.
The worst part about having dogs in the city is you're forced to get out and go on really bad weather. Unfortunately for us, they're predicting rain this whole holiday weekend.
After many a bad-weather mishap, I realized the trick to handling the bad Chicago weather is just to dress appropriately.
To keep the pooches from getting muddy and wet, we bought them these coats. It's much easier to clean mud and Chicago grime from the coats than from the pooches' fur. Plus, we really like the Ruff Wear coats because they fit the pooches' chest and neck; we've found most coats can't accommodate muscular dogs. I also like the hood because Miss M. doesn't like her face getting wet.
After many an uncomfortable wet pantleg incident, I realized the importance of getting good waterproof shoes. I picked up these Tretorn Plask rainboots; they are comfortable and waterproof, and they can still pass as cute shoes. They are made from a rubber material, but they're not shiny so you can still wear them as regular boots.
I like them so much I bought them in both brown and black. While they don't sell them from the store anymore, you can still find them online.
I also like wearing these prima crocs. Yes, they're crocs, but I think they actually look cute. I have them in a couple of colors and they're super comfortable and keep my feet dry. I usually wear these to walk the pooches or walk to work, then change into my real shoes once inside.
They always sold out really quickly in the stores, and now they don't even make them anymore; I have to order mine from ebay. Along with my waterproof shoes, I throw on my trusty trench coat to keep me dry, and a brimmed hat to keep the rain out of my face.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pooches: Three Pitties in the City Part Trois

It has become an annual tradition where E's pitty, dainty Ms. M, comes to stay with us during the week of Thanksgiving. Dainty Ms. M, not to be confused with our fatty Ms. M, has adjusted really well and she fits in like one of the pooches. Even with dainty Ms. M it feels like we only have two pooches, because fatty Ms. M has taken a liking to dainty Ms. M's crate and bed and in two days, she has only come out voluntarily to eat and take a walk. We knew fatty Ms. M was lazy, but we never knew that she was this lazy. Dainty Ms. M on the other hand is walking confidently throughout the city streets. She is normally skittish on her walks, but with the pack she is walking with Mr. B and fatty Ms. M down busy Chicago streets such as Division st. Now they are turning even more heads and meeting quite a few people. We are wondering what's going to happen to fatty Ms. M when dainty Ms. M leaves with her comfortable bed and crate.

Friday, November 20, 2009

DoggyStyle: Floor Pillows

I don't think you have to give up style when having big dogs, but you do have to be a bit creative. We have hardwood floors, and the pooches are always on the lookout for a soft place to recline; it's hard to find dog beds that look attractive and are reasonably priced. Since I'm not a big fan of anything red, navy, or covered with paw prints, and I didn't want to spend an absurd amount of money for an attractive dog bed, I decided to find some other alternatives for dog beds.
I started using floor pillows which are big enough for the pooches to lay on, and actually look nice in the house. We found a couple on sale at West Elm, for about $25 that we have throughout the house. The pooches flock to them. Here is Mr. B. chillaxin in the guest room:
These have a sturdy enough fabric and if we need to deep clean them we just take off the case and bring them to the cleaners. I also spotted these inexpensive floor pillows at Ikea; only $10 for the pillow case. It would be easy enough just to remove the case and toss it in the washer:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pooches: A Dog Walk with Mini Me

Ever since Mr. B got his new best friend, they have been inseparable. Even when we go on walks, he tries to bring the mini me along. So I decided to let him bring the mini me along and see how far he can go carrying his new toy.
Mr. B and Ms. M are all suited up and ready to go with Mr. B holding mini me.We set off on our walk with Mr. B very excited to show off of his new toy.Even Ms. M wanted the attention and she tried very hard to take the toy from Mr. B, but he was not having any of that.He sat patiently at corners with his new toy watching out for cars.He would even pee while holding his new toy and then he would continue walking.
Throughout our 2 mile walk, Mr. B only dropped his toy to check out a dead squirrel.After a two mile walk, we are back home. It must be pretty exhausting holding your new toy the whole time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pooches: Mr. B's Mini Me

We exchanged the short lived Mighty Dog Toy Chipmunk for the Mighty Dog Toy Possum, but with a lot of hassle from our no longer favorite dog store (I'll explain some time later). Mr. B really loves his new toy and carries it everywhere he goes in the house.
It pretty much never leaves his mouth or side and now it is apparent to us that it is a mini version of Mr. B. Though its supposed to be a possum, it really looks like a Chicago city rat and we sometimes refer to Mr. B as a rat, because he is always scurrying around the house. Every so often when Mr. B is not looking, Ms. M takes the rat...possum for herself.
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