Jan 252013
Through all the training classes we’ve gone to with the pups, sometimes the most traditional methods just don’t work.

See, our Mr. B….isn’t quite that smart.

Maybe it’s in comparison to Miss M who is a regular circus dog, but traditional training methods don’t quite work with Mr. B. After all these years, he’s still confused about the difference between sit and down. Sure he doesn’t need to be a trick dog, but we still needed to teach him some basics. So we’ve been training him through the Art of Surprise.

It started when he would get anxious when we left the home. We would try to confuse him, opening and closing doors, playing a soundtrack of our voice, and sometimes popping out of closets. He stopped equating certain cues with us leaving. And maybe thought he was never alone because we could pop out of anywhere.
Then it evolved. He started to become comfortable and do things he would never do if we were home. Like go on the couch.  A few times I would lay in wait behind the kitchen counter, waiting for him to go near the couch, then pop up to surprise him. Though he takes a joke well.

Though, these techniques don’t quite work with Miss M. When we were bachelorettes together, I had a little rug in my bedroom where Miss M would sleep at night. I started to suspect she would leave the bedroom in the middle of the night, sleep on the couch, and come back before I woke up. One night I decided to set a trap. I made a pillow body on my bed (ala: Ferris Bueller).

I put a comforter on the couch and hid underneath. I thought I could wait for Miss M to try sneaking onto the couch, and I would pop up and scare her. I waited, and I must have fallen asleep. That morning I thought I needed to apologize to Miss M, but when I went to my bedroom I found the comforter on my bed rumpled, and some stray brindle hairs….

Have you ever been outsmarted by your own dog?

Or is she?
He just keeps trying

Jan 182013

Maybe we’re behind the times, but it was only this last holiday that we learned about the phenomenon that is “Elf on a Shelf“.
The elf is a little figurine that parents hide around the house. Its location changes every day, so you never know where it is. So not only is it spying on the kids…but each night it goes and tattles to Santa if the kids have been naughty.
When I first heard this it sounded kind of frightening, until I realized how poor Mr. B has been living with his very own Elf on a Shelf:

Just like the elf, Miss M can pop up anywhere:
She will uncomfortably watch you:
And she has no problem tattling:
Does anyone else unknowingly have an “Pup on a Shelf” in your house?

The true story.

Jan 082013
I’ve realized that sometimes there is a bit of an unspoken rivalry against “Big Dog People” and “Small Dog People”.  
Even with our pups on their best behavior, or out at events like this, we still hear the occasional and cringeworthy “My dog would be an appetizer for your dog” type comment.
Though I too have been guilty of making remarks about small dogs.
But the truth is, we’re all just Dog People.
And it doesn’t help anyone to make blanket statements or discriminatory remarks about other breeds, sizes, or types of dogs.
While all of our other foster pups have been pitbull-type dogs who fit in so well with our own pups, realizing abuse and neglect can happen to all types of dogs we decided to take on Elder-Shi Jack Frost.
Just like our own big dogs he loves nothing more than going for walks and being with his people. He has become the first one to greet me at the door when I come home. Despite his size, we still uphold him to the same expectations as our own dogs.
But we’ve realized the most significant side-effect of having a small-dog foster is that they can both become breed-ambassadors by showing through example that size and breed don’t matter and all dogs are individuals. Because really…they’re just dogs.
The biggest difference between our little guy and our own dogs…Jack Frost has longer hair which is now growing in and making E very, very allergic and uncomfortable, so unfortunately our fostering of the little guy may be short-lived. 
We were hoping to see the little guy through to his adoption, but we would also like to see E not so sick.
 If anyone in the Chicago-area would like to foster Jack Frost please email the New Leash on Life Foster Coordinator sarah@nlolchicago.org.
Or for more information on adopting Jack Frost, contact New Leash on Life Chicago here. 
Dec 202012

Everyone always jokes about the inequity of Goofy and Pluto.
They are both dogs. But definitely not equal.
Goofy wears clothes! Talks! Walks on two legs!
While poor Pluto…is just a dog. With a collar and not even a warm coat for the winter.
Little did we realize that we had our very own Pluto and Goofy:

In our house, Mr. B is the dog, and Miss M considers herself to be something more than a dog.
She thinks she is our equal. And that she owns her very own dog: Mr. B.

 Miss M has complicated thoughts and plots against us.

Like Goofy, Miss M is her own stylist and has a strong opinion about what she wears.
Like Pluto, Mr B is completely clueless and wears whatever is placed on him.
And he doesn’t even realize he has it on.

Miss M is very confident and voices her distaste, while Mr. B is very polite and always cheers us on with smooches and a wagging tail.
Do you think your pup is more of a Goofy or a Pluto?

Miss M’s very own pet!

Dec 182012
Miss M and Mr. B enjoy baths together

We always joke about Mr. B  being Miss M’s pet dog.
Though actually…it’s really true.
Since Miss M is quite the diva, we didn’t want to deal with more dog drama when we added a second dog. Plus, we have a smaller space where separation can be more difficult.
So we let her choose.
Much like the Bachelorette, Miss M met many dogs. Some tried many ways to impress her. Some tried many ways to impress us. For the most part she wasn’t interested. The dog she was probably most interested in was an overweight beagle named Butters.
When we met Mr. B she thought he would suffice.

Looking back, we never put this type of consideration into our family pets. We just brought pets home and expected them to deal. We even thought it was funny when our cats became big and puffy because they were scared of the new dog. And they all seemed to get along.
Maybe it was because we had an actual house with a backyard where our pets could have their own space and they really didn’t need to interact much. Or maybe because we had so much space I really didn’t interact with our pets as much so I never noticed if they didn’t get along.

I’m always curious…how did you integrate your pets? Did you let them choose? Or did you just make them deal? How are some ways you handle pets not getting along?

How we integrated a second dog
How Miss M controls her pet dog
Becoming twins

Dec 142012

Miss M and Mr. B live by their own rules.
Life is too short for walking, must run everywhere

Everyone is complimenting me, even when they are only talking on their phone

Food must be enjoyed by all

Encourage service staff (A and E) to do better with derogatory sneezes and snorts

A face within kissing distance must be kissed

A best friend makes the most comfortable pillows

Every day should be an adventure

What have you learned from your pups?

Their favorite adventure.
And again.

Dec 072012

Oftentimes when we are walking the pooches around the neighborhood, someone will stop us and comment on Miss M and Mr. B’s good looks.

Whenever anyone gives the pooches a compliment, Miss M will wiggle and smile until the person or group of people start petting her. Poor Miss M doesn’t realize that most people have been stopped by Mr. B and she is lumped into the compliment by default.

Unbeknownst to the pups, Mr. B is quite a strikingly, handsome pooch. Though when people come up to pet him he remains quite stoic.

Some questionable people have given Mr. B indecent proposals, and others have even asked us if Mr. B is a “model”. Mr. B is completely oblivious to these proposals and compliments and he lives humbly clueless.

Miss M is also completely oblivious to the proposals and compliments for Mr. B and believes they were all meant for her and she lives cheerfully clueless.


Before you start feeling sorry for Miss M

Socially awkward!

And sneaky.

Nov 302012

Since we started our little blog, we are always humbled (and often blushing!) by all the nice comments and compliments our pooches receive.

At the same time, we know there are many even more amazing pooches and proud owners out there. Sometimes it does make me a bit sad, because I wish everyone had the chance to hear these types of compliments about their very own pooches.
The hardest for me is when I see the Facebook voting contests where there are some dogs who received hundreds of votes, and other dogs received only a few. I know when people put their photos up there, they have the same type of hope that people will see the special thing in their dog that they know. And it upsets me to see that not recognized.
I want everyone to get these types of compliments, so whenever I’m on a dog contest site I like to leave comments recognizing the nice attributes of each dog. And once you get started liking and commenting on the photos, you can’t just like half of them, and you need to make sure everyone gets a nice comment.
Apparently, Facebook doesn’t like this. And they banned me, because I left too many comments. (And now I feel like a stalker!)
We really do love seeing everyone’s pooches, and we would love it if you could share photos of your pups on our Facebook page so everyone can see them! (Though we are still banned and even banned from liking and posting comments on our own page!).
Oct 262012

Miss M has perfected the art of posing for photos that we often have people stopping us and marveling how Miss M actually does sit and model each time I take out the camera.

Which has also caused her to become a photobomber. Any time we try to try to take out the camera we now have Miss M hopping in front and striking a pose.

Like this photo we were trying to take of former foster dog Bella:

Or the time she just happened to appear when I was trying to take a photo of Mr B laying on his stuffie in his tepee:

Sneaking into my photo of the flowers:

But then we realized someone else has been doing a bit of photobombing of his own:

And popping up in his little green hoodie:

Has anyone else’s pup perfected the art of photobombing?

In case you missed it:
Miss M models

Oct 192012

Far too often I take my best friend Mr. B for granted, but quotes like this

remind me how lucky I am to have such a great friend.
When I’m feeling sleepy, he is there to wake me up with smooches.

When I’m feeling tired, he provides a head for my hands to rest on and a surface to soften my callouses.

When I need someone to listen, he is there with two open ears.

When I’m feeling small, he looks up at me like I’m his hero.
When I’m feeling down, he provides a comforting body to hug.