Busy Bees

While the cat’s away the mice will play. (Thank you to my grade-school religion teacher for this lovely phrase. Ravens, you know what I’m talking about). In this case Jake is the cat, which makes Wats and I the mice. No, we’re not eating all the cheese in the house or leaving droppings in the cabinets, so no need to set traps (although we’d both surely take the peanut butter bait). But we have picked up some new hobbies in recent days.

Running:

First of all, I’m not one of those naturally athletic people who exudes coordination and endurance. Watson on the other hand is something like a playful cheetah. When these two combine, it makes for pretty humorous sight.

Since there are no pictures of this event because obviously that would just complicate my coordination issues further, allow me to set the scene for you: We run on a nicely paved trail near the apartment. Watson is still on a rope-type leash, no retractables yet. I keep a moderate pace, but Watson does a lot of pulling me along at the beginning since he likes to put part of his leash in his mouth as we trot along. By this time I’m cracking up and trying to run while he’s speedily weaving in and out and on and off the trail. I’ve definitely stumbled and nearly tripped a few times. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m the girl who broke her ankle while walking…) The proof is in that cute boot.

Basically, this is a dangerous hobby. After about five minutes, Wats tuckers out and slows down a bit. He still keeps up for the most part (not that I’m fast by any means), but sometimes when he finds a nice shady area, he’ll lie down without my knowing and ouch, there goes the ol’ shoulder.

I’m really trying to enjoy this whole running thing, and Watson is definitely helping. It’s nice to have a good laugh while I’m panting and sweating glistening. I appreciate his just-keep-running attitude. It’s pretty contagious.

Stick collecting:

Along with our runs, Watson and I take at least two lovely walks around the area each day. Upon our return home, Watson never fails to pick up a stick (many bigger than he) and drops it off in the front lawn of our building. We’ve got a nice collection going on. Sometimes he adds a nice dirt clod or rock to the mix, but mostly we stick to the sticks.

Extreme cuddling:

After all this exercise, who doesn’t want to curl up and relax some? Well, Watson and I have taken cuddling to an extreme level with the help of our man abroad. Jake sent us some goodies that are perfect for super sonic snuggles. This amazingly soft and cozy KING size blanket (in a wonderful grey color) is big enough for a pup that likes to stretch out and a lady who’s most comfortable in a ball-like position. (Sorry for the headless-blanket-lady look.)

He also sent Watson his very own first sea turtle! Don’t worry it’s just a toy, but it’s eco-friendly and absolutely adorbs.

I honestly can’t believe he found a sea turtle chew toy (oh the joys of the Internet). Watson has been enjoying the little creature so far (but I’d say it’s in more of a rough-housing sort of way, aka: not-so-cuddly.)

So, if you were wondering how a lady and her pup lad keep busy, there ya have it. Trying new things is always fun and adding a puppy into the mix certainly keeps it interesting.

Have any of you picked up new hobbies this summer? Are there any collections out there Watson might want to try getting into next? Hope your summers have been great (ours is about to come to an end way too quickly.)

Wags&Kisses

There’s No Place Like Home

Okay, the cat dog’s out the bag. Toto, I’m not in Indiana anymore. I just so happen to be somewhere that people like to call “paradise”: St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Not to make any of you readers jealous, but here’s a little bit of what “paradise” looks like:

It’s not every day that people get to travel to places like this, so why do I keep putting quotation marks around paradise? Because it almost feels like it, that’s why. One thing about traveling is the fact that you have to leave something behind. As you well know, I’ve left both Mackenzie and Watson back home. It’s only for a month, so it’s not really a big deal, right? Well, after reading the last post, it’s apparent that it’s affecting the pup, but it takes its toll on us as well, me especially.

It’s great that I get to see the two of them daily via Skype. That is whenever our internet is actually working and not freezing on Mackenzie’s unintended funny/awkward faces (gummy smile!). (You can’t see me here, but in some of these Skype pictures you’ll notice my shirt is off, well, that’s because it’s always so so hot in paradise).But then again, Skyping is only through an 8 x 8 screen. I guess that’s better than nothing. What’s really been getting to me is how the dog’s taking all this. Recently Mackenzie’s found Watson in this position:Hanging out by the window is pretty normal for him considering there’s a lot that goes on outside. And it’s also pretty normal for him to start wagging his tail whenever he sees someone coming from or going to their car. But it’s not typically the case for him to then run to the door, sit down, whine, and wag his tail as if it’s me who’s coming into the building, finally coming home. A little heart-breaking isn’t it? Tell me about it.

When he finds out it’s not me heading up the stairs, he heads on over to the couch and seeks comfort in Mackenzie’s lap or Mr. Koala.But I’m sure in reality, he’s imagining a little something like this:(I’ve really stepped up my photo editing skills these past couple of posts. Has anyone noticed?)

Either way, I’ve found that I’ve left behind more than my girlfriend and my puppy. I’ve left my best friends. Down here, I’m just “OJ” or the “Other Jacob” (the friend I’m helping is also named Jacob), but back home I’m more than that. I’m Watson’s “Playmate of the Year” (no, not the bunny kind). As unfair as all this seems, it’s actually practice for our little guy. I’ll be leaving again in a month in a half, only this time it’ll be for 5 months. But after that, I’ve told myself (and I guess now all of you) that I’m done with the lengthy traveling unless I can take those two with me.

Aside from seeing both of them when I get back, I’m looking most forward to Watson’s reaction when he realizes that I’m still around. I’ve always watched those videos of soldiers when they return home from war and the reactions of their dogs. (If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, have a look here or here or here.) I can only imagine what Wats might do.

To me, the best part about leaving is always being able to come back. (Especially to what I hope will be an extremely excited pup!)

When you have to travel, what’s your favorite part of coming back home? A sloppy lick from your dog? Perhaps getting to sleep in your own bed? Maybe even some smokehouse almonds (which Mac has promised to have stocked in the pantry upon my return. I’m holding you to that, lady.)

Wags&Kisses

Perplexed Pup

For almost a week now, Watson’s been a little more confused than usual. Not that he’s normally befuddled, but for the last few days he’s had a confounded and generally bummed out expression on his furry face.

When we come home from a walk, he searches the house and cocks his head from side to side. When he’s ready for bed, he pokes his head in every room of the apartment, and flips his ears quizzically (I’m not sure if ears can flip quizzically, but you know what I mean). What could he possibly be looking for? Perhaps the very first toy we bought him? This little hedgehog was Watson’s first travel partner, but Watson’s razor-sharp teeth chewed the stuffing out of him in about a month. We salvaged him by removing the remaining fluff, but a few days ago Wats completely shredded off the hedgie’s quills fur and left if all over the floor. Adios, hedgie, to the trash you go.

But he has many many (many) more toys to keep his mind occupied from the loss of his first toy friend, so I’m thinking it’s not that. What he’s looking for and confused about he only has one of… his daddio (play pal and snuggle buddy).

As some of you already know, Jake is helping a friend/colleague do some sea turtle (hawksbill sea turtle, to be exact) research on the lovely U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix. He’ll be there for a while, but little Watson just doesn’t seem to understand.

Since Jake’s been gone, we’ve Skyped (aka: video conferenced) some, and figured maybe Watson would want to see him (yes, we have quite the high-tech dog). Well, that just led to more confusion. He started barking and getting antsy and leaping into my lap. We think he recognized Jake’s voice, but wasn’t able to see his face on the computer screen. One afternoon though, I was sitting at the dining room table Skyping with Jake, and Watson calmly climbed onto my lap, rested his head on the table, put his paw on the laptop keyboard and just stared right at Jake’s face on the screen. (Trust me, it was the cutest thing ever.) And he stayed in that same position for a solid 10 minutes. I think that might’ve made Jake’s day.One thing I think is pretty neat is that Watson actually responds to Jake’s whistles over Skype too. If we’re talking in the living room and Watson’s in the back room, he’ll come running in to me once he hears the digital whistle. He doesn’t even respond to my real-life (attempts at) whistling the way he does to Jake’s.

This is a pretty interesting time for us as far as puppy-parenting goes, but so far I’d say it’s going well. Sometimes Wats does seem to have a little bit of sadness added to his confusion, but hopefully once Jake gets back these new expressions I’m seeing will disappear. And maybe Jake will even bring a replacement for the pup’s trashed toy… (Watson’s hoping for a sea turtle stuffy from an exotic Caribbean local!)

Any advice for this poor pup who’s searching for his pops? Or this puppy mama who’s trying to keep the little guy occupied?

Wags&Kisses

It’s His Potty

Since we only received one comment when we asked our readers to share their inquiries about good ol’ Watson, we’ll go ahead and do our best to answer that question.

Aunt Sheri asked: “Is he totally potty trained now?”

We think it’s safe to assume she was referring to Watson, not Jake, so sticking with our first instinct, we continue on…

Short version: Yes, Watson is fully, totally, completely potty trained. And we love him for it!

Long version: Our little 5 month-old Wats has been doing all of his business outside for about a month now. (Did anyone else imagine Watson decked out in a dapper three-piece suit conducting a conference call when you read that? Or maybe just posing on the cover of GQ?).

Well, even though he dresses like an executive, we still weren’t sure what to expect as far as a time frame for potty-training to be finito, but it seems he’s right on schedule, and we’re through with spot-cleaning four times a day, thank goodness!

As we mentioned here, Cheerios were our secret weapon when it came to reinforcing good bathroom grassy-knoll behavior. One way I’m able to tell that Watson is fully, totally, completely potty trained is that we’ve for-the-most-part tapered off on the Cheerios, but he still keeps going to the front door time and time again. Most of the time he sits patiently until we notice he’s there, but other times he brings his urgency to our attention by squirming and barking — what I like to think of as the equivalent of the human style “pee dance.” (Come on.. don’t act like you’ve never done it.)

One little caveat: All of this positive progress with the total, complete, full potty training only holds up at our apartment. I’m not saying that at any given time he freely relieves himself on the floors of other people’s homes, but we have noticed a trend with Wats, he’s a dog who appreciates routine. When we’re staying with someone else, he’ll usually let us know when he needs to take care of things, but sometimes the excitement of new people, animals, and places gets to him, and it seems there is simply no time to go outside. That’s when we (and our very generous hosts) find little “gifts” lying around. (Actually, we sometimes find other non-bodily-but-still-bathroom-related gifts lying around at our place too… only three times though.)

One curious setback: When we visited Evansville for an entire week at the end of May, Watson came home and had clearly forgotten that outside is the place to be when nature calls. Is there a condition called puppy amnesia? If so, perhaps this is what the pup was suffering from at that point. We had to go back to coaching and reinforcing with Cheerios, but after a week or so, Watson was right back to the grass where he belongs (well, only when he needs to go or enjoy some exercise rest).

Not only are we thrilled to have a potty-trained pup (or puppers as I’ve been calling him lately. Sorry, boy.), but our cream-colored carpets are also so excited to get back to their pre-pooch, spotless glory!

Thanks again, Sheri, for the great question! And as always let us know if we can answer any of your other queries! (We know you’re out there, loyal readers, in 11 different countries to be exact (!!!), and we want to hear from you!)

Wags&Kisses