Boy Loves Dog!

IMG_0051I was recently waiting for my plane to board at the Omaha airport and overheard a little boy who was maybe 7 or 8 speaking to his mother on the phone while he and his dad were waiting for their flight to depart.

He spoke to his mom about the usual things; “We saw a boat,” “We drove really far,” “Dad bought me a toy” and “We just ate a cheese burger and fries.” But then he asked his mom about his dog, Cooper, was his name. “Where is Cooper?” he asked. Then he asked the cutest thing; “Mom can you put the phone near him so that he could hear him snore“. He was quite for a few moments, apparently listening to his dog snore, and then he spoke again; “It’s nice to know I’ve got a dog waiting for me at home” “He’s going to jump all over me“. He giggled a little and then said “Okay, bye” and hung up the phone.

It was so touching to hear his voice change when he spoke about his beloved Cooper; getting a little bit quiet with a giant smile on his face. I don’t know what kind of dog Cooper is, but in my mind he is a frenchie like my Maddie(pictured above) because there is no sweeter sound than her happy resting snore and no one I am happier to come home too(well besides my husband, of course).

Do you have a pet waiting for you at home?

Life is good Pet Tees

Planning Our Summer Road Trip

IMG_0359 Nothing is better than a summer road trip!

I am starting our plans for our road trip to California, this will be our third annual meandering down the west coast. The anticipation is starting to build and I can hardly wait to get the dogs in the car, load up the iPod with some great tunes, fill the cooler with snacks and drinks and hit the open road.

Our Santa Cruz Beach

View out our window at our little place in the sun.

We have ended up at least in part at little place near the beach in Santa Cruz where the dogs are welcome, the beautiful beach is right outside our door, we have a little kitchen to prepare meals and an awesome burrito place just 3 blocks away.

Our route has changed the last two years, the first trip involved a trip to Arizona to visit my grandfather at his “snow bird” location in Sun City West near Phoenix, a stop in trendy Palm Springs the same weekend as the Coachella music festival (there were some sites and a crazy price for a bare-bones motel in a sold out town – sometimes timing is everything) a stop in Northwest Portland with a visit to my very favorite bakery in the world, the St. Honore’ Boulangerie for a yummy Croque Monsieur and some pastries and bread for the road.

Mo chillin in the window seat!

Mo chillin in the window seat!

Our last trip was more of a direct trip to our spot in Santa Cruz with a short stop in Medford, Oregon. We ran into a couple at one of the rest stops in Oregon, they were driving an older VW Eurovan(so jealous) and traveling with their dog. Our dogs had to smell each other, the way that only dogs do, we smiled and said hello and headed back out on the road. We ran into them again the next time we stopped to let the dogs walk and take a break. We laughed and decided to introduce our selves, they were traveling back to their home in Santa Cruz from visiting relatives that lived less than 20 miles from us. Small world. We visted, shared business cards, let the dogs sniff and play for a few minutes and then headed back to the road.

Meeting people on the road is one of my favorite things about a trip, but I have to admit my husband is much better at that (if that is something that can be rated) than I am. He can strike up a conversation with just about anyone about just about anything. I am a bit more shy and striking up a conversation with a stranger is not an easy thing for me, I guess I feel like I am intruding on their lives or maybe that I just have nothing of note to offer them. But when it does happen, I really do love it.

As I begin poring over maps to plan some possible routes and look for dog friendly hotels along the way; my spirit rises, I feel giddy inside and am back to being a kid in school watching the calendar slowly click by waiting for the day school will be out for the summer.

Do you have any summer travel plans or dog friendly hotels to recommend on the west coast?

Doggy Style

IMG_0640  Mo chillin in the window sun.

Funny, I posted my story about how our dog Maddie came into our lives “We Don’t Need A Damn Dog” and the next morning I came across this article in the New York Times by Jane E. Brody, “Life With A Dog: You Meet People.”

Mrs. Brody writes that she has been a widow for nearly 4 years and felt acquiring a four legged friend would be a better option that a two legged one. That comment made me chuckle. And this observation about those who encourage and those who discourage your dog ownership.

“While most dog owners I know encouraged my decision, several dogless friends thought I had lost my mind. How, with all my work, travels and cultural events, was I going to manage the care of a dog?

No one asked this when I decided to have children. In fact, few people consider in advance how children will fit into their lives. If you want a child badly enough, you make it work.”

One of my work friends responded to our addition of Maddie to our home with “Why the hell did you get a dog?”  Non-dog people just don’t get it.

Another passage that rang so true was about how much her little furry friend makes her laugh.

“Yes, he’s a lot of work, at least at this age. But like a small child, Max makes me laugh many times a day. That’s not unusual, apparently: In a study of 95 people who kept “laughter logs,” those who owned dogs laughed more often than cat owners and people who owned neither.”

Mo apparently doesn't get "Doggy Style"

Mo apparently doesn’t get “Doggy Style”

Our two crazy dogs crack us up everyday with silly antics. They also seem to instinctively know when we have had a terrible day or need some love and attention. When my husband recently came home after a stint in the hospital those two wouldn’t leave his side for days, just very mellowly hanging out with him until he felt better.

And as the title of the article states: “Life with Dogs: You meet People” she writes of the number of people that she has met because she has her little Max.

“But perhaps the most interesting (and unpremeditated) benefit has been the scores of people I’ve met on the street, both with and without dogs, who stop to admire him and talk to me. Max has definitely increased my interpersonal contacts and enhanced my social life. People often thank me for letting them pet my dog. Max, in turn, showers them with affection.”

Because of Maddie and Mo my husband and I know most of our neighbors; well I should say most of our neighbors children. We can not walk through our little neighborhood without some of the kids shouting “Maddie and Mo”, “Maddie and Mo” and stopping us so they can shower some love on the two of them and get kisses in return. And these two are little social butterflies, they just bask in all the love and attention.

Jane Brody’s article also goes on to share some common sense tips before acquiring a canine companion as well as links to other studies about the benefits of having a pet in your life.

Having Maddie and Mo in our lives has definitely had it’s challenges, from the chewed molding around the house that we are still saving to have repaired, to the middle of the night potty runs and the occasional scuffle over food.  But every challenge has been met by three times the joy from the love they shower on us and the laughter that they bring to our lives everyday. I can’t imagine my life with out them in it!

Do you have a pet in your life?

Life is good Pet Tees

“We Don’t Need a Damn Dog!”

IMG_0568   I don’t have children, I have dogs!

It took nearly four years of prompting, prodding, poking, pleading and pushing to get my husband to agree to adding a dog to our life. Finally, around Valentines Day 2011 I was able to get the stars to align.

In 2008, I was working an event and I met a dog breeder. She had a baby English Bulldog in her arms and of course I had to ask to pet her and got to talking to the woman; telling her how much I loved French Bulldogs, where I had first encountered them, etc. She said that she and her husband bred both English and French Bulldogs and she gave me one of her cards. I tucked the card away and only casually mentioned to my husband that I had played with a baby bulldog that day and got the usual response, ” We don’t need a damn dog“.

The business card ended up in the bottom of my work bag for more than a year; until one day I was cleaning out the bag because I was getting a new laptop at work and wanted to carry it in the bag. I came across the card and popped it into my wallet.

Several months went by and I happened to pull out the card when I was getting out my debit card to pay for something online. I decided to pull up their website to see what the cost of a Frenchie would be, I had heard they were expensive. Once on the site I knew I had heard correctly. They didn’t have any puppies available at that time, but I looked at a bunch of pictures of some past puppies and their parents. I showed a couple to my husband, he admitted that they were cute, but again said “We don’t need a damn dog“.

I would pull that card out every few months, look at the puppies, see if they had any available for adoption, show them to my husband and hear the same thing. “We don’t need a damn dog“.

Sometime around the end of 2010, I started looking at their website almost daily because they had posted a note that they had two new litters of Frenchies being born and I wanted to see the new puppies. As I remember the two litters were quite big; 6 in one and 7 in the other. So many cute puppies and they would be available around Christmas time, of course.

I watched as each little cutie was adopted by another family, each time telling my husband; “oh no, another one has been adopted can’t we please get a puppy.” And again he would say “We don’t need a damn dog” and now he added “especially at that price“.

It was the around the end of January and I was just finishing up another event out-of-town. I had some time to kill at the end of the day right before we could start packing things up. I was wasting some time looking at email, Facebook and then I thought to pop over to look at the puppies. I was surprised, they still had two little ones left, both appeared to be very, very small they were around 3 months old and still hadn’t been adopted. So on a whim I sent the breeder a note. I mentioned that I had met her all those years ago and that I had been longingly watching all the puppies get adopted and saw that they had two still left. I asked if they might be willing to work with me on the price, because the regular price was just out of my budget. I sent it off figuring that they would probably say “no negotiations on the price and thanks for looking“. I packed up and headed home.

The next morning I got an email. “Thank you for your interest in our frenchies, I think we can negotiate on the price. I need to share your offer with my husband. I will contact you shortly.” My husband was up watching the news, I was still lying around in bed. But I got up, so excited about the possibility of the new puppy, I kind of forgot that I hadn’t event spoken to him about it.  I kept checking my phone as I got ready. I took my shower, checked the phone, dried my hair, checked my phone, brushed my teeth, checked my phone.  Finally, the reply came. “Yes, my husband agreed to your offer. Which puppy would you like to adopt? Both are female”  She offered to send me a link to some video of the puppies. I replied;  “Great I will show them to my husband and get back in touch.”

So, then I had to think about my approach with my husband. I decided to tell him about the great deal I had the chance to get on a puppy and would he please just look at the pictures and the videos that she was sending me and to just keep an open mind. Please.  His reply was “We don’t need a damn dog” but this time it was accompanied by “But I will take a look at the pictures and videos


Maddie the day we brought her home.

Then he saw her, tiny, cinnamon brown with a little black mask on her face hopping around her sister. Those cute bat ears and a tiny tail that looked like it belonged to a baby dear.  I couldn’t believe it, he said “OK, that one!

Within minutes of that “ok” I made the deal, paid the adoption fee and made arrangements to pick her up the next morning. I wasn’t going to give him a chance to change his mind.

We picked her up in the Denny’s parking lot just off I-5 halfway between Vancouver, where the breeder lived, and Olympia where we lived. She was so tiny, I could hold her in one hand, she trembled when I took her in my arms, but soon snuggled up next to me under my coat and stayed there for the next two hours. Snoring, sleeping and snuggling with her new human. I don’t think I was ever as happy as I was that day.

And so much for all the rules my husband laid out when he agreed to the dog. Not on the furniture, no sleeping in the bed, no feeding her from the table, you walk her, feed her, etc, etc.  He was puppy whipped in a day. She was sleeping on his lap while he watched T.V., he was singing her to sleep at night in her crate, giving her scraps from the table and within a month she was sleeping in the bed and not the crate. She has helped him lose 20 pounds, cut his blood-pressure medicine in half and I think just in general really cheered him up.

They say people with dogs are happier and live longer and I believe it!

What about you – do you have pets?


Life is good Pet Tees