Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pooches: Another one of our favorites...Mr. B Gets Left Behind

Miss M loves to dress up; yesterday she was able to start the season early at DoggyStyle's Halloween Parade of Hounds party. The pooches gathered at DoggyStyle to prepare for their costume parade:
There was a banana:
A trio of chickens:
This former Katrina dog, a Bassethound, Corgi, Lab mix, came as a scarecrow:
And of course Miss M. mugging for the camera:
After the parade, the pooches came back to DoggyStyle for some snacks and games. Those cupcakes were actually for the dogs. They also had bobbing for tennis balls, but Miss M. couldn't understand the concept and kept trying to drink the water instead.
The party was so exciting, when we got home Miss M. passed out still wearing her costume:
Meanwhile, poor Mr. B. was "stood up". He was waiting patiently in his tepee, all dressed up in his new turtle costume, for E. to come get him. Unfortunately, E's school meeting ran overtime so, sadly, poor Mr. B. was left behind.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pooches: Mr. B's New Digs

Things have been a little crazy this week, so we are posting some of our older posts. Once we catch up with our school stuff, we will be back to writing new posts.
Dogs are natural den animals; they love having a solitary, intimate space. But, these "dens" can be an eyesore. When we got our 2 big pitties we also got 2 big pittie crates. As the dogs were getting used to us, and the house, they did need the crates to be kept out of trouble and they were useful. Unfortunately, we also found that Mr. B. had an anxiety problem. We put him in the crate when we left, but left the door open knowing he would run around the house when we were gone. And we were still left with this eyesore of a crate.
We tried to think of other more attractive options for Mr. B's denning needs. That's when a teepee made perfect sense.
I had seen this photo in an old issue of Domino; it is the actual living room of Domino editor Dara Caponigro. Yes, it's a teepee. But if it's good enough to be in the actual living room of a Domino editor, it can be good enough for Mr. B. Just imagine this nice, serene living room with a big meaty pitbull head popping out of that teepee.
I found this one online. I like that it's white. It has clean lines. And even though it's a teepee, it is kind of classy. It's held up by the poles, so it can take up as much, or as little, of the 5 foot diameter as necessary. And most importantly, Mr. B loves it. He took to it just as we were setting it up in the middle of the room. Miss M., on the other hand, not so much. It kind of freaked her out, but I did catch her sneaking in there later in the night.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pooches: Poor Mr. B and the Crate

Every night Mr. B decides to take a nap in Ms. M's crate. The unfortunate thing for Mr. B is that Ms. M loves to follow after him and lay with him in the tight quarters. Every so often, Mr. B would go in and right when Ms. M enters he will turn around and try to find another place to lay. There was even one time, when Ms. M was all the way in the bedroom and she heard Mr. B going into her crate, she ran down the hall and right into the crate with him. As I write this post, Mr. B is going into Ms. M's crate and Ms. M is following him in. This is her third attempt, in the first two tries, Mr. B turned right around and left the crate. Here is what they look like right now as I write this post:We finally caught Ms. M following Mr. B into the crate on video (this video was not planned and it is just capturing a normal night in our house):
video

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Officing: Dueling Computers

Usually when I have work to do I need to go to the local coffee shop to focus. Unfortunately, since I've been working on the National Boards I need to work at home to have the abilities to print at whim, have multi-piles of papers scattered all over the house, and work on dueling computers. It wasn't until I started working at home again this week, that I realized why I need to leave the house: the pooches are a huge distraction.
I like working near the window and I sit on the cushion and have my dueling computers set up around me. Unfortunately this makes me really attractive to the pooches as they have tried numerous attempts to sit in my lap, and Miss M. has even tried to usurp her pillow back and take over the dueling computers.I created a barrier with our movable ottomans, but that doesn't always stop Miss M.
So I send the dogs to bed awhile, but then I feel bad because I know how much Mr. B. likes to watch TV so I let them out again. Then I start wondering what Mr. B. is looking at and I start looking out the window with him.
Then I see Miss M. laying in "pray" position and all of a sudden I want to mark that behavior and start dog training. And when Mr. B. is sleeping in front of me like this I get the sudden urge to tickle his feet.
And when Mr. B. gets up to smell the flowers it reminds me I need to add water to them:
And when I get back Miss M. has usurped my space again.
On a work-related note, I'm in the final stretch of submitting my portfolio .I mentioned before, but this an extensive program demonstrating how you are a "Master Teacher"; only 3% of teachers in the nation have this degree. And now I understand why.
It's this extensive process where you need to analyze every single thing you do, explain it, and provide evidence. It doesn't sound too bad at first, but then you realize you only get 6 months to complete it and you need to demonstrate nearly a year's worth of work, all while teaching 150 students at the same time. Plus, it makes you feel really bad about yourself. My only comparison is this: there used to be a show on Discovery(?) about a man who met different tribes and tried their customs. One custom was to take this drug that unleashed all the repressed memories and you were forced to face every single terrible thing you've done in your life. That's kind of what this process is like. I need to analyze all the things I normally do, and I'm suddenly feeling very inadequate. But this is all the "process" we take to make ourselves better teachers. And I do enjoy pain. I have to take the test in June, but then I don't find out my scores until November. This will probably be the last post you read about this. And here is Miss M. where she finally decides to sit nicely next to me while I'm working.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chicagoing: Lost dog ettiquette

The other day E and I took the pooches for a walk when a random chihuahua came running out to meet us. Nobody was with him. The dog didn't seem to have a tag, and the pooches were getting so excited it was hard to grab the other dog. Luckily some other people came around to help. Then, literally 5 minutes later, a women came over holding another dog and asking if we lost it. It only had a rescue tag. The woman happened to be a dog groomer, so we felt she was in control of the situation and left the dogs with her.
We were so lucky to have other people around this time, but I realized I don't really know what to do if I find a lost dog on our walk. Our neighborhood has several multi-family units, so it would be impossible to check each home. Plus, we are bordered by several busy streets and it makes me nervous to have a lost dog roaming the area. If I'm walking both pooches by myself there's no way I could grab another dog. And if I do manage to get the dog and take it to the vet to get its microchip scanned, what do I do if it doesn't have a microchip? Our local Animal Care and Control puts down 18,000 animals each year. What experiences has everyone had with lost dogs?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pooches: Shunned

So we were actually phototagged by Pibble to choose a mathematically random photo to tell a story about. This couldn't have come at a more perfect time as I'm in the home stretch for my National Boards process. My portfolio is due at the end of this week, and all I've been doing for the past couple of days is sitting in front of my computer writing. I actually took Monday off of school to work and I sat from 7 am to 10 pm only stopping for lunch and dinner. And it still doesn't seem close to being done...
So for something more interesting, the above photo was actually the PAWs 4K walk along Chicago's lakefront trail. It's like a huge dog parade where we get to walk along lake Michigan and then hang out in a big field at the end. We live about 2 miles from the lake, so the pooches don't get there often. Here is Miss M. gazing at the waves.
While we like to do these types of walks, they aren't always pitbull friendly. A lot of the time our pooches end up getting shunned. When we first started dating E took Miss M. on the walk while I was away at a conference. I guess they got a lot of stares and comments to "stay away from that dog" because she was a pittie. And they all created a big circle around them and no one would talk to them. Unfortunately, there are also certain parts of the city that are not pitbull friendly. In my first neighborhood men used to scoop up their tiny dogs and give us dirty looks when we came by. Does anyone else have dog racism experiences? Or does Miss M. just need to work on her smile?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Schwang Manor: Another Lazy Sunday

It actually wasn't a lazy Sunday for A and me. A is down to her final week of preparing for her National Board application and I spent all day preparing for school this week. However, the pooches enjoyed this past Sunday by lazing around, eating, lazing around some more and eating some more. What was unusual about this lazy Sunday was the role reversal of Ms. M and Mr. B. For the first time ever, Mr. B was using Ms. M as a pillow. We were surprised that Ms. M didn't snap at him. Maybe Mr. B really is a single blue pit bull. Eventually Mr. B wisened up and slept squished between the ledge and Ms. M.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pooches: Single Blu Male

Whenever we take the dogs out for a walk, someone will inevitably ask if they are twins. Despite being completely different breeds, we realized that they have started to morph into a single dog.I think just by living together they've become kind of like a married couple who starts having a physical resemblance. Now I understand how the second dog is supposed to follow the Alpha dog's lead. But in this case, I think Mr. B has taken his stalking to a new level as he is constantly mimicking Miss M:
Which given her circus dog tricks should be a good thing. But instead of picking up her good habits, he's just picking up the annoying ones. Like looking miserable:
Waking us up each morning:
And looking miserable in unison:
Does this happen with most paired dogs? Or is Mr. B. really a stalker: Single Blue Male?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

DoggyStyle: Keeping up with the Shedding

We're so excited that spring is finally here. But, with spring comes the shedding of the fur coat. The pooches lose nearly their whole coat. Which with two 75 lb pooches means a lot of hair.
One of the smartest things I did after getting Miss M. was adapting my furniture needs to my new lifestyle with a dog. I was a single girl without any real furniture. When I did decide to buy things, I went for non-traditional furniture that is light and would be easy to move.
Now vacuuming is super-easy. I ended up with these upholstered cubes I bought on sale fromWest Elm. They are really lightweight and they even have wheels. If the pooches are having doggy smackdown, or even just sprawled out for a snooze, the cubes just roll out of the way.The best part is they're multi-use. I originally used to have them for seats at our table. Now they work as ottomans, side tables, or extra seating for parties. While West Elm doesn't carry these any more, I do like the quad stool ottoman from CB2, or this less expensive storage option from Target.
The second thing we've been doing is giving the pooches fish oil in their meals. We just squirt a bit on top of their food, and they actually enjoy the taste. The extra Omega 3's keep their fur healthy and shiny which means their hair is less dry and brittle. And if their hair is less dry and brittle that means less shedding and hair for us to sweep up.
Do all dogs shed their coats at this time? How do you keep up?
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