Friday, July 31, 2009

Studs Who Might Know Pugs: Prepare yourself for a Friday full of handsome.

This week, I stumbled across the HSUS' End Dogfighting program in Chicago. It's a combination grassroots campaign and training program that brings ex-dogfighters and trainers into urban areas and offers free classes (like agility classes) to pit bull owners of all ages to teach them how to properly interact with their dogs.

I LOVE IT.

But there's even a brighter spot in it. While the program's an awesome, awesome thing, their website has something very special on it: Studs.

And not just Studs, but Studs from Chicago. Seriously, they don't get much better than that.

A shockingly talented photographer named Saverio Truglia took some gorgeous pictures of the trainers, advocates, and students.

Below are some of the pictures (I could stare at these all day). There's more here.



You may thank me later.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mutum in Parvo.

I love Freekibble.com (and Freekibblekat.com). It's this website where each day, they post a dog- or cat-related trivia question. Whether you're right or wrong, as long as you play, ten pieces of kibble go to an animal shelter involved with their program. The only way this could be better is if there was more than one question each day.

Today's question is great:

Originating in China, this dog is often summarized as "Mutum in Parvo" (much in little).

A. The Pug
B. Shiba Inu
C. Tibetan Terrier
D. The Welsh Corgi


I think we all might be able to guess this one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shelter for the Scarred.

With Michael Vick's recent release from his prison sentence and the NFL's decision to reinstate him yesterday, there's been a lot of discussion of forgiveness. Do you forgive someone who's paid for their crimes? Do you deny them the chance to earn a living? What would the dogs do, and should their lead be followed?

I wish there was a clear-cut answer. My feeling is that if someone really sees the error of their ways and wants to change, they should be allowed a second chance. But I have reservations believing that he understands what he did and if he's changed his ways, and don't think it's right that he should get to go back to working his multi-million dollar career when so many good people who would never consider thinking about what he did (let alone actually do it) are counting pennies. At the same time, his bank account isn't my business. Uggghhh, stupid gray areas!

I guess what the real concern needs to be is not letting what happened be overlooked or discounted. A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon a five-part photo essay feature The Washington Post did on the Vicktory dogs called Shelter for the Scarred, which starts with pictures from the kennel, shows the dogs through their rescue, assessment, and rehabilitation, and ends with my favorite boy Leo, the one you hear about all the time being the therapy dog (he's the one with the fabulously frilly clown collar).

It's incredible and very moving. I recommend watching it when you have a moment.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/galleries/vickdogs/

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alice needs...

Have you heard of that game where you type your name and "needs" into Google and see what comes up? I decided to try it with Alice. Here's what she needs:

1. Alice needs help to start dating, someone to dance with her, and more work (it ends up that a girl named Alice with a blog has played this game before.)

2. Alice needs another break.

3. Musical Alice needs more work (I'm guessing this is related to #1).

4. Alice needs an alibi!

5. Alice needs only one wheatgrass shake, some positive thinking, and a crash course in California lingo.

6. Alice needs a new hobby.

7. Alice needs a new home.

8. Alice needs to make a Moscow dream come true; and

9. Alice needs a new home ASAP.


To which I would like to say:

1. I've been thinking of hiring you a matchmaker, Alice.

2. Yes, you do work too hard on snuggling up with your blankie and sleeping.

3. I really think you could make it big if we signed you up for American Idol. You have such a lovely voice!

4. ...Because I know what you did and I'm not covering for you this time! Okay, fine. I will.

5. Just one shake, Alice. Just one.

6. Because the rug has almost disintegrated this week.

7. Lies! You don't!

8. Who doesn't? and

9. Lies again! You're staying here with me. Unless I can come to the new home with you. And it's someplace warm. With a good looking cabana boy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Studs with Puggle repeat too cute not to post.

So when the Human Male left for work this morning, he was looking good. And by good, I mean Straight Outta GQ goooood. I almost said to him, "Who are you, and what did you do with my boyfriend, who should be sweaty and passed out on the couch from the heat like last summer? And did you take away his house keys? Please tell me you did!"

I had to take a picture. Partly to make into a t-shirt with the caption "...So back off, girls. This one's mine", and partly for him to send to his mom to show her that her former sweatpant-sporting rugrat grew up into a stud.

So while I'm getting my camera out, Alice came trotting over and stood behind The Human Male. She was standing so still. I thought that was kind of cute to have her in the picture. Unfortunately, the lighting was bad where he was, so I had him move. And interestingly, Alice followed, then posed in the exact same stance as before.

The picture came out so funny.


Look at that sweet little face, with those funny little teeth and glowing eyes (and hellooo, devilishly handsome Human Male)! I'm beginning to wonder if she knows how to pose, and if she thinks that's the best position for her t
o stand. Whether it's true or not-- or even possible for a dog to have that capability-- that thought makes me love her even more.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Studs with Pugs sighting!

Did anyone see the Rich Roll article on CNN today? All of the Twitter feeds I follow were going nuts about this, but for different reasons. The runners were loving it because he's crazy and does the Ultraman. Who even knew there was something more than an ultramarathon?! I'm exhausted and need a gel just thinking about it. The animal people were loving it for his plant-based diet. The healthcare organizations were loving it because it showed that a healthy diet and exercise might actually be good for you (who knew?).

Blah blah blah, whatever. You know why they should've all loved him? Because of that handsome little guy sitting with him in the first picture.

Oh hello, you gorgeous pug!

You know what would make this picture better? If Mr. Roll with the guns from picture 2 were holding the sweet pug. Yesss!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Priorities.

Alice loves tennis balls. And by love, I mean loooooooovvvee.

I woke up this morning around 3:30 and found Alice in bed, curled up with a tennis ball. Being 3:30A, I didn't have the wherewithal to take a picture. But I did when I woke up at 5:30A.


And still at 6:30A.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Found: A Pirate.

Alice, The Human Male, and I spent the morning bumming around Clarendon, a great neighborhood in Arlington, VA. While walking, we found a giant Playmobil pirate at Kinder Haus Toys.


As an aside, for local folks looking for Max & Ruffy's dog treats, aka Spot is now selling them. If you haven't been over there before, it's worth a trip. And stop by the Java Shack next door-- best coffee shop in the area.

Friday, July 17, 2009

In defense of non-shelter dogs.

I've mentioned this maybe 127,000 times before: Alice is a shelter dog. We only visited shelters and rescues when we were looking for her. Breeders and pet stores weren't avenues we investigated. And that's basically the end of the story.

But I've been noticing something: quite frequently, people who got their pets from somewhere other than a shelter or rescue group are actually embarrassed to say that when they find out Alice is a shelter dog.

Okay, so...why? Sure, I'm obviously a huge fan of shelter dogs and plan to have many, many more in the years to come. And wouldn't it be awesome if people made a shelter or rescue their first, fifth, seventeenth, twenty-second, and thirtieth stop on their trek to find a dog? Of course!
But honestly, it's absolutely no one else's business where you got your dog.

I love that getting your pet from a shelter is bigger than ever. But the downside to that is that I think a lot of people who didn't get theirs that way are being ostracized, or made to feel guilty about it. And I don't think that's right.


Does where you get your dog make your furry-faced buddy any better or worse? Positively not. I know completely fabulous dogs that have come from shelters, breeders, neighbors, coworkers, pet stores, online ads, flyers, or picked up as strays. And I don't think more or less of any of them because of where their owners saw them for the first time.

Do I feel that puppy mill owners and those who are making money off of them have a special place waiting for them in Hell? Truthfully, no-- because Hell's too good for despicable bastards like that. I'm not defending the practice at all-- or trying to drum up any controversy, for that matter. I simply don't feel anyone should be embarrassed because of where they found the right pet for them. As I see it, just like people can't control what their nationality is, dogs have zero control over where they end up before they meet their families.

What I do think is more important? Two things:

1. The dog owner. It doesn't matter where you got your pet if you don't train your dog properly (or train them improperly), don't make alterations to or arrangements in your life to accommodate the dog's needs, got a breed because it's trendy, or treat the dog badly (obviously).
Your sole job as an owner is to give a dog a good life-- to take them from wherever they are and make their lives even better. I'm of the belief that there are no bad dogs, but some seriously crapbag owners. And if you are one, be ashamed that you're failing at your job, not of where you found your dog.

2. Dispelling the rumor that shelter dogs are lesser creatures or damaged goods; that good dogs have had only one owner. Shelter dogs end up there for a slew of different reasons, which may have absolutely zero to do with them. If you think shelter dogs are undesirable and nothing but trouble, I personally think you're an ignorant idiot, and it'd do you some good to meet a few.

There's no reason why you can't support shelter and rescue programs if you got your dog from another source. There's no reason to be embarrassed about having a good heart and caring about animals, or wanting and working to see dogs other than your own thrive and have good lives (as an aside, Jorge Garcia-- Hurley from Lost-- just had a good couple of posts on his blog that exemplify how this is aptly handled).

Personally, I don't parade my rescued dog around town to make people feel badly about themselves. But if the opportunity arises to show someone you can get a super cool dog from a rescue or shelter, Alice is an awesome ambassador-- I'm not going to stop her from doing her thing.

In short, basically what I'm saying is, to all good dog owners out there: be proud of your fabulous pooches, defend the other ones out there, and stand up against bad and careless pet owners.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Want to see pictures of a happy dog?

Then go here:

http://findleo.blogspot.com/

Because the website could now change its name to Found Leo!

Some pretty darn inventive searchers built a trap and were able to catch him yesterday-- after more than five weeks missing. And does he ever look relieved to be safe.

I think this truly shows what happens when you lend a hand to your fellow dog owner: very, very good things!

Congratulations to the searchers and the Atlantic Region Central Border Collie Rescue! And welcome back, Leo!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Please Help find Leo!

Maybe it's because I now have a dog, or that one of our family dogs ran away, but I've noticed that there are a lot of missing dogs out there. Now there's one in our neighborhood: Leo.

There's a lot more information about Leo and pictures on his blog.

I just feel awful for this handsome boy. He's a Border Collie from the Atlantic Region Central Border Collie Rescue that's had a very hard life-- for instance, he has a bullet lodged and a healed fracture in just one leg alone. Can you imagine that? The poor boy, after about 12 hours in his new foster home in early June, he zipped out the door, and his people have been trying to bring him home ever since.

The good news is, they've not only had sightings this past weekend, they have a motion-sensor camera on a feeding station and have caught him on it.

Sending lots of love to Leo's family and searchers-- here's hoping he comes home soon!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Alice's first love.

In the last blog post, Mr. Puggle asked who was in the picture above Alice's dishes. That's Alice's cupcake boyfriend, Warren Brown.


Mr. Brown is the owner of Cakelove, a cupcake place around the DC area. We have one in our neighborhood, and we used to go in there so often, they cheered when we walked in like they did for Norm on Cheers.

Everything there is good. The Human Male's favorite are the brown velvet cupcakes, and I like the orange on vanilla. And baby pumpkin heads, Salty Caramel cake, and Cynthia's Sin. YUMMMM.

Alice loves Cakelove's vanilla cupcakes so much, she wants to marry Warren. But since he's already betrothed (and she's a dog), she had to settle having her picture semi-taken with him at last year's National Book Festival.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Only dogs will accept ice cubes as birthday presents.

Earlier this year, I learned that dogs love ice cubes. I'm not sure how I managed to just find this out now, but I'm glad I did. I've seen fewer things funnier than Alice contemplating how to eat an ice cube.

So for her birthday, I decided to fill her water dish up with ice cubes as a special treat this morning. She got so excited, she wiggled and bounced around. And then she started digging them out. It was the cutest thing.

I did it again tonight and recorded it.

video

You should see our kitchen-- there are serious puddles. Plus her feet are completely wet, and she knows it-- she's jumping up on us, leaving little wet footprints everywhere.

Happy Birthday, Snugs.

Happy Birthday... kind of.

According to Alice's paperwork, today is her birthday. I love birthdays and would love to celebrate hers, but here's the catch: being a stray, the only paperwork we have is from the vet that saw her while she was in the shelter-- and because of that, we're pretty sure today was the day she lost her puppy.

Because it's all over her paperwork, we use today on anything where we have to list Alice's birthdate to keep things consistent. But since it may not actually be her birthday, and because there might be something not so happy associated with it, The Human Male and I are a little conflicted on how much we should celebrate it-- particularly since we also plan on celebrating her adoption day.

What dates do you celebrate for your pets? Birthdays? The day they came home? Both? Neither? Something else?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Marlow, go home!

Many of you may have seen Mr. Puggle's blog today on Marlow, the puggle from Manassas, VA who went missing when he slipped out of his collar on the Fourth of July.


I feel awful for his owners-- you expect the Fourth of July to be such a fun day, and then something so upsetting happens.

Here's the neighborhood near where he was lost:


View Larger Map

If you're in the Roseberry neighborhood of Manassas and come across that handsome little guy, please call 703-282-3061.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Hunt.

On Saturday, the SciFi Channel had a Twilight Zone marathon. We recorded a whole bunch of them, and tonight we popped one on. It was called "The Hunt", and it told the story of a man and his dog who go out on a raccoon hunt, end up drowning, and coming back as ghosts, trying to find Heaven.

Being the quintessential 1950-60s macabre TV show, I expected something off the wall and unsettling to happen. What we found instead was the sweetest, most wonderful tale of love and loyalty to a pet.

If you haven't seen it before, I found the episode online here. Sorry I ruined it, but it's still good.

Will Rogers said it best:
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

We're making sure Alice gets plenty of time outside on this beautiful day before the super scary fireworks start. Happy Fourth of July to you all!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Minus one puggle.

June was a busy month, and I'm a bit behind on posts. Let me fill you in on one big event from last month.

Approximately thirty seconds after getting back from Chattanooga, I flew up to Buffalo, New York for a conference. This is the first time since we got Alice that I've traveled without her. I have to say, it felt really weird not having her there. I missed that sweet little girl something fierce.


I actually started out okay. I was only gone a week and was busy all of it, and The Human Male is with her and I know they'll have fun together. Then I found a channel with an America's Next Top Model marathon my first day, and a terribly sad HeartGard commercial came on-- it was that one with the dog in the cage getting the heartworm treatment and they talk about how he can't have much human contact. I actually got a little misty.

After a night spent not bending around a puggle and a long day working the conference, I was doing okay again. But I came back to the hotel tonight and found an Alice hair on my laptop. It made me cry a little-- but not as hard as when I lost the hair. I missed that sweet little girl something fierce.


Okay, so I wasn't totally without her: I brought a picture of Alice along with me. So I decided to take pictures around town with the picture. So it's kind of like she's here. Just flatter and less inclined to beg for treats.


Here "she" is in front of the big Buffalo Theatre sign.



And in front of a buffalo.


My coworker and I went out to dinner at a great restaurant called The Chocolate Bar.


I had a raspberry truffle martini. It was delicious.


Main Street in Buffalo has a trolley system. The framework on it is really cool.


Buffalo also has an obelisk that looks like a mini-Washington Monument. The idea of a fake Alice in front of a fake Washington Monument makes me giggle.


The conference ran from Sunday to Wednesday. On Thursday, I hopped on Amtrak and headed across New York State to Albany to visit my Urban Family. This was Alice's "first" train ride.


Funny aside, a few stops after I got on, this guy wearing a leather jacket and carrying a nice suitcase sat down in the row across from me. I didn't think much of him until he took off his jacket, exposing his old, ripped up racing shirt, with the sleeves and collar cut off. Then he opened up a cooler, pulled out a can of Budweiser, and slipped it into a coozie. By the way, this was 10:45 in the morning. I was all prepared to be snobby about it, but when he finished and went in his cooler to grab another, he leaned over to me and politely asked if I wanted one. I didn't accept, but it was seriously the nicest thing anyone did for me this week.

I was greeted at the Albany-Rensselaer train station by my friends $-Money and Sean. What a nice treat! I went to grad school in Albany and lived there for a few years, so it holds a special place in my heart. I've also had some very odd and memorable experiences here-- it's easily the weirdest place I've ever lived. This was the first time I've been back since I moved two years ago, and I knew there are some special places around town that I just had to get "Alice"'s picture in front of.

One is The Egg.


The Egg is a theatre in downtown Albany that looks like the spaceship for a breed of alien chickens. It's a great place to see a show-- because it's roundish, there isn't a bad seat in the house.

We dropped my stuff off at $-Money's house, and then we walked over to Lark Street. We cut through Washington Park, this great place that was designed by the same guy that did Central Park. In the Park, there's a giant fountain of Moses. I don't know why.


We walked through Washington Park to get to Bombers Burrito Bar. Bombers may be my favorite place in all of Albany-- and there are some super mean restaurants there (I actually lost 10lbs when I moved to DC because the food's not as good here). Over the years Bombers has gotten fancier, but it's still no-frills, awesome giant burritos and the best margaritas around. One of the best things about Bombers is that on your birthday, you can get either a free burrito or a giant margarita with sparklers in it. I still celebrate birthdays with giant margaritas because of it.


I wanted a picture of Alice here for a couple of reasons. One, it's my favorite; two, many special moments in my life over the past five years have occurred here (including that my fam went here for lunch before my grad school commencement ceremony); and three, The Human Male and I met each other here, at $-Money's 25th birthday party *. In fact, we met right in this booth.


I'm going to state for the record that I tried to talk to the Human Male that night, but he ignored me. Nay, he gave me attitude, and then he ignored me. I wrote him off as a frat boy. We started dating a year later **, after he started talking to me and I learned he wasn't actually a frat boy.

My burrito and margaritas were just as I remembered. Delicious, filling, and I needed a nap afterwards.



While on Lark, we also stopped by Hodge-Podge Books. This was special for a couple of reasons: one, it's a little kids' bookstore, just like Shop Around the Corner in You've Got Mail; and two, the shop just closed at the end of June and is going strictly online. It's pretty bittersweet, and I needed to have a picture of Alice in front of it.


On Friday, $-Money and I went down to Poughkeepsie to visit our friend Katie. The Human Male's from there, so we do have actual pictures of Alice there. But not in this super-classy top we found at C.C. New York Wigs.


Katie has a cat named Regis, who's both the biggest and fanciest man cat alive. I had to get a picture of Alice with him.


We stopped for lunch at the Eveready Diner in Hyde Park, which you might recognize if you watch the Food Network. When we go to the PK, I always try to stop here. The food's awesome and the Sundaes are EPIC. I got a cherry ice cream soda that was beyond awesome.


After we got back to Albany, another member of the Urban Family, Miss Heather, arrived from Long Island, and she, $-Money, and I went over to the Biergarten. It's a new place run by the same guy that owns Bombers and is in an old firehouse that used to house one of my favorite places in the city when I lived here called Noche (also owned by the Bombers Guy). I'm convinced that space has good vibes-- I've never had a bad time at any establishment that's been there. It was really fun to see what it looks like now. Noche used to be very sleek and dark, all red lamps and black leather couches. Now it's brightly-lit picnic tables and even brighter colors, with peanut shells all over the floor. Oh, and on your birthday, you get a beer served in a 2-liter glass boot.

Out of all the great times I've had in this space, this one was way up there. This is the type of place that needed to go in here.


On Saturday, we met up with some other friends at the Miss Albany Diner (which is next door to the Biergarten).


If you've ever seen the movie Ironweed, you might recognize this place. I can't say enough good things about it. It's a great cross between being as old-school as a diner gets, but with incredibly creative food-- like making a delicious horseradish sauce for the garden omelet (which has different veggies every time), or making home fries with sweet potatoes and peanut sauce.

Down the street from here is a giant Nipper statue. Alice had to go to it.


Rumor has it that Nipper's little brother, aptly named Little Nipper, is up in Baltimore. I'm going to try to hunt him down with the Real Alice.

Later in the afternoon, we stopped by Kurver Kreme, an ice cream stand that's a lot better than it should be. Miss Heather and I regularly had dates here during college and after work. The Human Male and I have had a few dates there, too.


Saturday evening, we went to a Roller Derby match. It was hugely fun, and our team (the Department of Public Hurts-- BRILLIANT) won! The roller girls were really nice and the crowd was great. There were all kinds there: college kids, twenty- and thirty-somethings, families. The little kids were the best. You could tell they were getting a kick out of the pushing and the fun uniforms. It was really touching to see the little girls watch the match-- this may sound a little strange, but what a wonderful, powerful example the roller girls were setting.


I left first thing the next morning, and got back to my real Alice in the afternoon. She looked smaller than I remembered, and was eighty times happier. I also learned that she pulls the stuffing out of her toys for my benefit.

As much of a pain as it is, I'd rather be picking it up than not having her around.


* As a courtesy to her, I'd like to point out that we were celebrating her 25th birthday in the fewtcha. Don't worry, $-Money-- I'll go along with you being 18.

** Today, in fact, is our third anniversary.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My life is complete.

I'm so excited right now, I don't know even know what to write. So I just have to say it:

I MET WONDER WOMAN.

Lynda Carter did a CD signing at the Downtown Barnes & Noble tonight. My friend Honey and I went.

And we took Alice, in her special patriotic star bandanna.





Next to my mom, Lynda Carter is the most gorgeous woman I've ever seen. And it's not even like "I had a lot of work done" kind-of pretty. No, we're talking "I was sculpted by the Gods and look even better at 57 than I did at 27" pretty.

I asked if she minded if we took a picture with Alice and she said of course not. While I was picking her up, she told me I was beautiful. Beautiful!

Holy cow, can I tell you what that means to someone who lived in Wonder Woman Underoos for several years as a child? I don't have the words to describe it, except to say that my inner three-year-old's biggest dream has been fulfilled.

I managed to get out of eyeshot before I started crying.