Friday, March 29, 2013

Pooches: Mr. B Tries so Hard

One of our all-time most popular posts. Make sure to watch the video to see why.
Mr. B is such a sweet and loyal dog, but sadly, he is not very bright, which makes life difficult in a home where treats are handed out based on intelligence and to make matters worse he lives with a pooch that is smarter than anyone else in the house.
I would like to state that A chooses to treat the pooches after a trick or some sort of show, which clearly favors Miss M. I, on the other hand, give treats whenever they look cute, which is clearly in favor of Mr. B. The snooty Miss M and A are the intellectuals of the house, watching foreign movies with ironic humor and reading things like books, while Mr. B and I are very much the simpletons of the house watching instant classics like the new Muppet movie and reading things like the comics page in the newspaper.
Poor Mr. B, despite his inferior intellect, he still tries very hard to learn new tricks. It took us over a year to teach him down, on top of his other trick of sit, but A wanted to push the boundary and add wave to his repertoire of tricks. Now Mr. B is so confused that he cannot tell if he should be waving, sitting or laying. Sometimes you can see that single wheel in his head spinning so slowly as he tries to figure out the trick that will get him the morsel of treat.
But like his old man, he is not quite bright and not a quitter and he will try until he gets it right.

Why we need to do things like this. Though if this is happening, maybe it all evens out.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pooches: Mr. B Goes Skateboarding

We know people have certain impressions of older dogs. Many people don't realize our very own Mr. B is nearly 10 years old, and he still loves going skateboarding with E. And of course, documenting it with his very own camera.
Even though Mr. B is almost 10 years old, he is one energetic pup. Though our daily walks are enough for Ms. M, sometimes they are just not enough for Mr. B. So whenever the weather is cool, we try to go skateboarding together around the city. When we first started, it was bit of a harrowing experience, because Mr. B would try to cross in front of me, but after some practice, he now sticks to one side. However, there are things that will catch his attention and I will have to be aware of when he will suddenly pull.
I use a harness and place the leash on the back part of the harness and we stick to side roads that have a lot less traffic.
Now that we have the Go Pro camera and chest strap, Mr. B can take videos from the pooches view. We just need to figure out how to make it stay steady.

Plus, check our Facebook page to see what the pups are up to this week!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pooches: On Pier Picnics and Staycations

We've realized the best part of our vacations is discovering something we love to do and trying to replicate it on an everyday basis. We may or may not be doing this this week:
One of the most important things we learned from our recent trip was that it wasn't about needing  to travel far away, but finding ways to recreate our favorite aspects at home, and of course with our pooches. During our travels we were lucky enough to go to Copenhagen, a magical city of brightly painted buildings, modern design, elegant girls on bicycle outnumbering car traffic, and a classic amusement park from the 1800's located smack dab in the middle of the city. Is it a wonder Hans Christian Anderson made this his home?
 But then we realized one downfall: everything was insanely expensive. An ice-cream cone was $8, fifteen dollars for a drink at a bar, and $25 for a hamburger. While one guy at our hotel told us he rarely went out, we quickly learned how to do Copenhagen like a local. They would go to the store, grab a six-pack of beer, and sit along the pier. The pier would be packed with people hanging out and sitting along the sidewalk.
Every chance we had, I kept asking E if we could go back to sit by the water with the beautiful buildings, and I thought it would be the one thing I would miss. Until I realized Chicago has its own beautiful waterfront views:

With city skyline:
 We decided to hang out with the pooches along the waterfront having our own 'pier picnic'. It's not really legal to drink in the city parks, so we did keep it legal, and Scandinavian, with this sparkling pear drink from Ikea.
With 18 miles of lakefront path, there are plenty of opportunities for different views and bigger crowds.
What are your favorite staycation ideas that include your pup?

We have been able to do more of this and this, but not enough of this, yet.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pooches: On FInding "The One"

I always talk about how I never expected to adopt a pit bull. Though I never realized this was what would lead to finding my human 'One', and we're excited to reshare for favorites week.
I never expected Miss M to be "The One". And I never expected my experience with Miss M to lead me to E where we would one day be married with our little family.
See, I was very calculated when I began looking for a dog. My first decision was that I wanted to adopt. My second decision was that it would NOT be a pitbull-type dog. Not even a percentage. When I was scanning all the photos on Petfinder I would skip all the dogs with big blocky heads, and I would move on from anything even hinting at being a pitbull.
But then an amazing thing happened. After meeting so many dogs at so many adoption events, I met a pitbull. And she was amazing! She was laying on the ground, patiently, and when I looked in her direction her face lit up and she began wiggling in excitement. I had never met a dog so sweet and so in tune with people--until I went over and met the second pitbull at the event.
 It was only after meeting my first pitbull in real life that I realized how wrong all my assumptions about pitbulls had been. And I had to make Miss M mine.
(Vintage Miss M)
At the same time, I had been very calculated as a single girl. I always had a singular idea of the 'type' of person I would end up with. And I would limit most of my experiences to trying to find that type of person.
But after realizing how wrong I had been about my perfect dog, I realized how wrong I had been in my calculations.
As E wrote in this (favorite!) post, we were never expected to be together. I am Jewish and E is Korean-American. Our families expected different things for us.
But at the same time, it was inevitable:
E, who has a PhD in neuroscience, was working in a research lab. He wanted to become more involved with his community. He decided to become a high-school teacher in the city.
I was working downtown in advertising. I wanted to become more involved in my community. I decided to become a high-school teacher in the city.
We ended up teaching at the same school; we started the same year. Our school was so big, it was only that second year that we met each other. I knew early. He was afraid of my pitbull...until he met her that first time.
If it hadn't been for my experiences with Miss M, I never would have realized how wrong my calculated efforts were. Or what I could have missed out on. And now we live happily with two pitties in the city!
I'm always curious about everyone's back stories and how they knew their pooches were right for them. How did everyone else end up with your "one"? And did your "one" help you find your other "one"?

We don't share a lot about ourselves. Though we have written this (E's favorite post) and when this happened.
We will also be updating our Facebook page with a hint of what the pups are up to this week.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pooches: Mr. B Can Never Win

For Spring Break week we decided to take a bit of a break ourselves while sharing some of our favorite posts.
We always joke how Miss M thinks Mr B is her very own pet, here we were able to capture the exact moment where she usurps Mr. B's toy:
We make sure to supply the pooches with an ample supply of toys. Though most of the toys are shared, they each have their own toys. The problem is that the only toy Ms. M ever wants is always the one Mr. B is playing with. Typically, Mr. B will be playing nicely with a toy and out of nowhere, Ms. M will show a lot of interest. 
First she will walk around, spying on the toy.
Then she will ever inch so closely so he won't suspect
to the point that Miss M will be sharing the toy with Mr. B.
Without any notice to Mr. B, Miss M will slyly start taking the toy away
Using her monster paws to complete the take over. 
In the end, all Mr. B can do is look to us for some sympathy.
We usually try to dictate the rules and give the toy back to Mr. B, but the same thing will happen all over again.
Miss M is ever so cunning. One time, Ms. M got a different toy, bit it to make it squeak and dropped it in front of Mr. B. As Mr. B went to check out the new toy, Ms. M moved around him and grabbed the toy she actually wanted. This was the first time that I realized that she was actually smarter than me. Now poor Mr. B doesn't guard his toys and Ms. M will just blatantly take the toys away from him.
Are your pups sneaky with toys too?

Don't believe us? We were also able to capture this scenario.  And this one.
And look how often this happens.
Make sure to check our Facebook page with some hints about what the pups are up to this week, and to read this special message from Bessie-Belle's mom.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Things to do in Chicago with Dogs: St. Patrick's Day Parade

Since so many of us spend our winters hibernating, we take any chance we can to get our pups out there to meet people. Luckily for us, St. Patrick's is a HUGE event in Chicago. The city even dyes the Chicago River green:
 The downtown parade attracts huge crowds. Fueled by green beer, the city was alive with locals, visitors, and even so many people from other countries decked out in green and enjoying the festivities in the sub 30 degree temperatures.
We even met so many people who were curious about our pit bull-type dogs and eager to meet our pups. Some people had never met a pitbull before!
Decked out like a Dapper Leprechaun and a Fairy Leprechaun, the pooches became their own attraction. They brought joy to the people, and in turn they were swarmed by the paparazzi:
Mr. B wore his video camera just show what it's really like to be swarmed by paparazzi, and how excited people were to see pit bull-leprechauns. That's Mr. B behind the green hat:
Did any other pups make it out for St. Patrick's Day?
PS. Isn't it unbelievable this was at the same time a year ago?
And can you believe people love meeting pit bull-type dogs this much?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pooches: When I Thought My Dog was Ugly

When I first adopted Miss M I used to tell people she was a dog with a good personality.
Mostly because I never thought she was very cute.
Vintage Miss M looks like a Vampire!
Miss M was way too skinny with a huge lollypop head and pointy hips. She was missing hair and I thought her head looked like a muppet.
I tried really hard to find the perfect 'old lady name' that would suit her.
We spent a lot of time together in those first few months after I adopted her. Mostly walking.
Sometimes when we were walking, I would hear people yell out "What a beautiful dog!". 
I would always look around, wanting to check out this beautiful dog everyone was talking about, but all I would see was Miss M:
Maybe I didn't realize it at the time, but my gangly, underfed Miss M turned out to be a swan.
Or at least a dog with a big, fuzzy white hat.
 Were you drawn to your dog based on personality, or looks?

Though you wouldn't expect it, sometimes this happens.
But usually it's this. Or even this.
What I originally thought.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

DoggyStyle: Making Dinosaur Dog Hoodies

We've been learning a little trick about getting through our eternally long Chicago winters: wear fun winter clothes. 
I've developed my own collection of colorful winter coats that actually make me excited to wear them and get outside. So, we had to do the same for our pups to get us out there for longer winter walks.
After seeing a kid in a monster hoodie, I thought it might be funny to make some for the pups from their huge collection of hoodies. We found this tutorial and template. 
For the dogs' hoodies, we used 3 sheets of contrasting felt to cut out 8 diamond shapes. We used fabric glue (Liquid Thread!) to glue the diamond shapes into the dinosaur spike. We like how the glue helps keep the scales stiff, and we have already washed the hoodies once and they were fine.
The whole family helps out!
Since we live in a very hipster-neighborhood, it was nothing new to see pitbulls walking around in dinosaur hoodies. Though these would also be really easy for the dogs to wear for Halloween.
Any other pups out there wearing hoodies?


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pooches: On Taking Chances

Every so often, people ask us whether it's worth it.
Worth it to foster dogs that might cause heartbreak when they leave.
Worth it to adopt older dogs that might not be with us as long.
Worth it to even have a dog at all when the pain of losing them is so great.
I don't think anything can ever prepare us for the pain of their loss.
Though, at the same time, sometimes it helps me to think about how much worse it would be if none of us even tried.
Like many others, both Miss M and foster Bessie Belle were dogs 'on the list'. Their lives were supposed to end that day. So even though we would love the time with our dogs to be so much longer, I like to think about how they did get an extension to really get out and enjoy life. And sweet Bessie Belle was able to touch so many lives.
At the same time, we also also so thankful to Mr B's foster mom and his rescue group who took a chance on an older lumpy pup.
So I guess what really keeps us going, is the idea of chances.
The chances so many people have taken to save the dogs that have touched so many lives.
The chances people took that brought our own dogs into our lives.
And while it can be painful, it can be worth it to take that chance.

What does everyone else say when people ask whether it's 'worth it'?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pooches: Goodbye, Sweet Bessie-Belle

We are so saddened and heartbroken to pass along the news that our former foster dog Sweet Bessie-Belle passed away.
We are often asked about sweet Bessie-Belle, best remembered for her pretty white eye-lashes, trademark flower behind her ear and sweet disposition.
Our sweet gal was actually marked for the Euthanasia list, but when New Leash on Life, Chicago saw how sad and shut down she was, and how she showed her big grin with even the slightest attention from people, they knew there was no way they could leave this big gal behind.
She was as big as she was sweet, even making our very own Mr. B look tiny in comparison. We feel honored to have been able to have had her in our home.
While it was harder than we expected to see her go, we knew she had found a more perfect mom than we could have ever expected. She loved Bessie more than anything and Bessie was happier than ever going on long walks, meeting new friends and having the best of care. Her mom was diligent keeping us involved and aware of how everything was going on with Bessie. Bessie always remembered who we were. When we would see her out and about, she would gladly greet us with excitement, just because she loved people, but once she realized it was us you could tell how truly happy she was to see us.
Bessie was even chosen to lead the Ruff Haus Halloween parade. She was so proud to be at the front of the pack, and she even came over to our place to pick out the perfect costume.
Unfortunately for all of us, the cancer was more aggressive than expected. Everyone thought she had a more time, though the progression was much quicker than anyone had realized. It was especially shocking to Bessie's mom who had just had her other dog Roxy, Bessie's big/little sister, pass away mere weeks before.
Bessie Belle was such a special dog, and we know she will be missed by so many.
Please let her family know of any thoughts in our comments section at the bottom of our post.
Any donations in memory of Bessie can be made to New Leash on Life, Chicago by clicking here. 

Remember this?
Bessie & Miss M's Unequal Relationship
Bessie Meets Her New Family
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