Monday, November 30, 2009

Found: A REALLY High Bridge.

Alice, The Human Male, and I arrived back home from our Thanksgiving trip to New York on Sunday evening. We had a super terrific time-- we ate a lot, did a lot, saw a lot of friends and family, and had a ton of fun. It was a great way to kick off the holiday season.

One of the best things we did was visit the brand new Walkway Over the Hudson in The Human Male's hometown of Poughkeepsie. There's an old set of train tracks that span the Hudson River, and in the mid-70s, there was a fire that took out the tracks. The metal structure has stood there since then, basically decaying. Then last month (after years of planning and renovating), it opened as the highest pedestrian walkway in the world (212 feet up).

I should note that it's not even remotely as scary as it sounds. The Human Male went last month and explained it to me, and I had the image that it was as wide as one train track, and something akin to those walkways you see going over highways and busy streets. Talking to other people, this is the common perception. In reality, it's about two trains wide and extremely sturdy. There were a ton of people on it (jumping, running, walking) and it wasn't even remotely shaky.

I absolutely loved it. We went a couple of times: first, after dinner on Thanksgiving, and then on a run the next morning. On Thanksgiving, we were there right around sunset and it was absolutely gorgeous. The Mid-Hudson Bridge is beautiful most days, but with the sunset... wow.

Alice loved it, too. She was so excited to get out and walk around on it, and lots of people told her she was cute.

Additionally, a really nice couple stopped us and told us that they had a puggle, too. Yet another case of puggle-lovers being fabulous people.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had these big plans to post a special Thanksgiving picture taken today. I made sure that my camera battery was charged and that Alice had her special Thanksgiving attire. And then I left town without my camera-to-computer cord. Whoops!

So instead, I give you one of my favorite Alice pictures. It's the same one in her header right now.

My mom made the bandanna Alice is wearing. It has Alice stitched on one side and "Whatcha Eatin'?" on the other. It cracks me up. Alice spends a lot of her time begging for food (including right now, as I write), and helps drive the point home. You know, for everyone who has a hard time interpreting the beady-eyed stare.

We spend Thanksgiving with The Human Male's family, and what's typically an exciting holiday has reached a new level this year.

There are five dogs in the house: Alice, Max the golden retriever, Lucky the beagle, Brodie the Swiss Mountain dog, and Molly the cockapoo (The Human Male's family's new dog). Max hangs out near the door, Brodie sprawls out by her dish, making sure that no one goes near it, Lucky howls, and Molly spends her time trying to get Alice to play with her.

The cops have stopped by: The Human Male's uncle hit a fire hydrant while pulling out of the driveway last night. The hydrant's knob ran along the side, denting it in until the knob got caught inside the wheel well. A cop (and acquaintance of The Human Male's dad) happened to be driving by at the time and hung out while waiting for the tow truck to come (the car had to be pulled out sideways), lights flashing. Apparently even the neighbor that they refer to as Boo Radley came out to see what was going on.

I have a pretty embarrassing sleeping set-up: I'm staying in The Human Male's 9 year old sister's room. She recently got one of those bunk beds with the full-sized futon on the bottom bunk. His sister very excitedly made the futon for me... using their parents' fancy silk sheets. I have a very strong suspicion these sheets were... um... not intended for use by anyone but his parents. They're making me blush. Terribly. I swear I'm an adult, but I dare you to be in the same situation and not want to hide.

Gotta love family holidays.

Best wishes to all of you, your family, and friends this Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Can I have a picture of you for above my bed?"

A Dog-Owned Life posted a super cool video on Monday of the Los Angeles Animal Services' PSA for pet adoption. Here it is:

I cannot stop laughing about the cop asking for the picture, then saying he doesn't deserve it. It makes me cry a little.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Avoid the Mall!

One of the biggest shopping days all year is upon us. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of shopping. Sometimes the hunt just isn't worth the hassle of having to deal with people.

I am, however, hot for online shopping. Not only can you get everything you need without getting out of your TV pants or fixing your hair, you get packages in the mail. Yay! I was even more excited to learn today that The Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation (the rescue belonging to The Lost Dog Cafe owners) has a link through Amazon where they get part of the commission. I've heard of this program before, but I've never seen one with a pet rescue. I love the idea of getting to be lazy, avoiding traffic, and still getting to help out a good group.

I know there must be other organizations out there that use the Amazon program (or anything similar to it). Know of any? Please share them below!

Did You Know...

That dogs can be blood donors?

I had absolutely no idea. Zero. But my folks' vet recently had a blood drive (take a look at
pictures of the donors-- so adorable!) and my mom sent me the e-mail notice about it.

As big as a proponent I am of blood and organ donation, I'm pretty embarrassed to admit I'd never once given a thought about where dogs get blood when they need it. Thank goodness someone thought about it!

The only catch is that weight and age requirements vary by collecting organization, veering toward the larger side. At my parents', dogs had to be big-- I think over 50lbs. But according to BellaOnline's article on dog blood donation, it mentions that one accepts dogs at 35-- probably the super high end of puggles, but feasible. Maybe as technology improves and the practice becomes more common, they'll be able to reduce the weight.

If you know some big guys, BellaOnline has a listing of donor programs around the US, Canada, and the UK, as well as additional resources for information. Wouldn't it be great to be able to help out fellow dogs like that?

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Brownie.

I consider myself a pretty cautious dog-owner. If we get something with a silica packet, I walk it out to the trash immediately. I make sure that coffee cups are off the kitchen table and pens are off the floor. The cord for the window blinds are wrapped up tightly. And yet, I performed a cardinal sin of dog owning on Friday.

Some of my far-away coworkers were in town from for a meeting. On Friday, my new supervisor brought in brownies from Marvelous Market, a place in Dupont Circle near her hotel. On her way out to the airport, she stopped by my office to see if I wanted the end of them. I said no, but then she suggested that I bring them home to The Human Male. There are few things that The Human Male loves more than brownies, so I decided to take the end.

Several hours later, I left for home. I was absolutely exhausted and burnt out, and nearly fell asleep on the bus. So I got in the door, dropped my bag, and The Human Male and I went to the store to pick up a pizza.

We were gone for only about 15-20 minutes, and when we got home, Alice was chirping by the door. We open it, and I notice there's a plastic knife and dirt speckles on the floor. I immediately assume this is something that The Human Male did, and asked why there was a knife on the floor. Then I saw the container.

I'd completely forgotten that I had the brownie in my bag, and Alice had gone digging in my purse, pulled it out, opened the container, and ate the brownie. Always trying to get to anything chocolate, Alice was thrilled. The Humans... not so much.

The brownie wasn't very big, but you just don't mess with dogs and chocolate. We looked up how much was "safe", and The Human Male called the vet. Fortunately, we were in the non-emergency range, and Alice had no ill effects whatsoever, except for a huge case of happiness that she finally got some chocolate.

The moral of the story: Always remember when you bring home treats, and don't leave them where nosy, chocolate-lusting puggles can reach it.

(By the way, the brownies were pretty marvelous.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Lost Dog Cafe.

There's a restaurant here in Arlington called The Lost Dog Cafe. I mentioned this place briefly a couple of months ago-- it's a cafe and deli with a ginormous menu and benefits The Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, a shelter the restaurant owners also run. We'd heard that it was excellent and somewhere in town, but I only know pockets of Arlington-- the road names sounded familiar, but we couldn't pinpoint where either one was.

That was until a couple of weeks ago, when The Human Male and I realized that one of the two locations is just a few minutes around the corner from us, literally across the street from the Arlington Cinema N Drafthouse, a movie theatre we frequent that not only shows movies for $5, but has a full, fantastic dinner menu that includes very good wine. Once we found out it was so close, we immediately picked up the phone and ordered.

I'd heard the place was good, but I completely underestimated how good. It's one of those places that can make something very simple into something that makes you want to jump up and down and utter the phrase "slap yo mama". STUPID good. Yes, we are talking sandwiches here.

We've done take-out both times, but I bought it this time and walked in to pick it up while The Human Male sat in the car with Alice. The place is freaking adorable-- it's cozy and clean, with huge, beautiful dog murals on the walls. The other location (the deli) apparently has pictures of its adopted dogs all over its walls.

The Human Male and I have tried four sandwiches: The Bureaucrat, the Purebred, the Cowboy, and Pavlov's Perro. They're all easily the best sandwiches we've ever had. The Black Bean Dip is something to write home about, too. What's even better, that delicious food benefits sweet-faced rescued cats and dogs. It's so win-win, it actually makes me a little weepy.

The weekend's just around the corner, which means Pizza Friday. Typically we just get a frozen one, but I hear one of 31 flavors calling our name...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another Case of the Mondays...

I think Alice has the right idea today. Since I live in the Eastern Time Zone, can I choose which "Eastern" I follow? Because it's 11:30P in Australian Eastern Daylight time right now...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Great Dane + Basset Hound = Buttercup!

Last weekend The Human Male and I stopped by PetSmart while we were out running errands. We saw them setting up pens outside for a rescue group and wanted to see who was there.

The group was called Homeward Bound, and they were up in DC all the way from Ellijay, Georgia. I'm still shocked they traveled that far, but truthfully, after seeing the dogs, it doesn't surprise me why they were here.

As pretentious and image-conscious as DC is, foufee dogs are the exception. Lots of people get theirs from shelters, and it's common to see odd mixes and less than mint-condition pooches. It's honestly one of the few situations where character matters in this town. The Homeward Bound dogs were not going to be winning any beauty contests, but we spent a good amount of time with each, and it was clear that any one of those sweet dogs were going to make a great pet. These were happy, kind-hearted dogs. I'm so thankful that they ended up with a rescue.

There was one there that was truly unique-- Buttercup. They think Buttercup's a Great Dane-Basset Hound mix. I'll give you a minute to wrap your head around that...

...No luck? Okay, imagine a Basset Hound on steroids-- half again as high, half again as long. Then stick a Great Dane head on it. Buttercup!

Still having a hard time? All right, here are some pictures of her.

I wish there was something near her to give some reference on her size. She was enormous. And low to the ground. And an absolute doll. I love that second picture-- that was the dog that we saw.

If you're near Ellijay, or if you have a Great Dane-Basset Hound-shaped hole in your life, I strongly encourage taking a look at Buttercup and the other available pets at Homeward Bound. I'm sure you'll find a great new family member!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Got Mail!

I got great mail today-- a letter from my niece Mini-C!

Mini-C turned 13 in October. I simply can't believe it-- it seems like she was four years old last Tuesday. But no, she went and grew up into an awesome kid.

Today, I got a thank you note from Mini-C. I think this is the first note that I've gotten from her in ten years, and that note was written on a typewriter (on beautiful blue sky paper). I can't even begin to tell you how cool it is to see her handwriting-- it's so pretty and grown up!

I left it on the kitchen table as I worked, and a little furry puggle face snuck up and grabbed it at one point. I figured that was just Alice trying to get in trouble, so I took it from her and absent-mindedly set it on the chair. Alice returned to her spot on the bed shortly after and stayed there most of the day.

Right after Alice got up around 4:30, she walked over to the chair and slooooowly started to pull the note out. Then she ran around the room like a crazy person, waving it in the air.

Mini-C has two boxers-- she might have smelled them. Or Alice might've just really wanted her own cool letter from Mini-C.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Little Helper.

Due to some minor flooding concerns courtesty of Ida and a bout of a sinus thing (I dare anyone to ride DC public transportation and not catch something), I've decided to work from home for a few days. I love working from home and not having to commute, but I find that it's easier to focus when the house is in pristine condition.

So this morning I made the bed. Alice loves to help-- or maybe I should say "help". Typically her efforts consist of sitting right where I need to pull the blanket and wagging her tail. Today she sat on the very corner of the bed, then jumped off and ran into the living room to lay in her "work chair". I took advantage of the situation, finished up the bed, and started working.

About five minutes later, I walked into the bedroom and found this.

I didn't even know she'd left the chair.

Thanks for the hand, Alice.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Furry Welcoming Committees.

Via Andrew Sullivan's blog, I stumbled across the sweetest posting on Mental Floss today: videos of dogs welcoming their soldiers home. I highly recommend watching them-- and bring tissues.

I have nothing else to say about this, except that I'm really happy these people recorded the dogs' reactions. Now, can I have a Kleenex, please?

As an aside, when I was in fifth or sixth grade, one of my classmates brothers came home from Iraq (Desert Storm) and they had him come in and surprise her and her younger sister while we were in mandatory choir class. I remember her pouncing on him in pure joy... and then our teacher made us get back to singing. I had to be a lot older to really understand what I'd seen. I appreciate it far more now than just the 20-minute respite it gave us from stupid rehearsals. Hopefully the kids' classmates will one day feel the same way.

Who Doesn't Love a Man or Woman in Uniform?

Happy Veteran's Day!

I just heard about something fun going on in New York: Kisses for the Troops. Cosmo Magazine is collecting kisses on postcards at locations around the city today. The postcards will be sent to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and $1 will be donated to the USO for each one. Location info's located here. If you're not in NY, they're also accepting kisses by mail-- info's here for this.

Personally, I think this could be filed under "Love in the Time of Swine Flu". Can I just kiss a real soldier instead?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Good Stuff for Friday.

Friday snuck up on me this week! Guess that's a good thing, right? I'm actually not sure if anything notable happened this week. The world didn't end, so that's a plus. Though it's barely 8A now, so maybe cautious optimism is in order for a little while longer.

I have three good things for the week:

1. Alice returned to normal. Occasionally, Alice goes a few days without eating much. She acts totally normal energy-wise, but gets super clingy. She's been doing this since we got her, so we figure it's one of those rescue dog quirks. Alice was like this for a couple of days, and then started eating everything. EVERYTHING. She tore through half a bag of food in less than a week-- typically that's about 2+ weeks' worth. She wouldn't stop eating. And because she was eating so much food, she was drinking a ton, too. And she was being obnoxious. While debating on if we should take her to the vet or not, we spent time on the couch snuggling her and giving her a lot of attention. Wouldn't you know it, the next day she was back to her old self. Sometimes dogs are really easy.

2. Alice kisses us at night. I'm adjusting to the time change a bit slowly. Monday night, I crashed out around 8:45. So we decided to just give in and go to bed early. The Human Male was up a bit (or maybe a lot) later, and discovered that Alice gets up at night, gives us each a kiss on the face, and goes back under the covers. I've woken up with her around my head before, but I just figured she was jumping on our heads. Nope, she gives us kisses and goes to bed. Just when you think your dog couldn't get any cuter, they do.

3. My favorite news story of the week. The Lantana, Florida Post Office is in jeopardy of being closed. To protest, around 1,000 residents mailed coconuts to the Postmaster General here in DC. No packaging, just coconuts-- with little notes stuck on them. Overwhelmed by what to do with so many coconuts, the office called up a local organization called Bread for the City, which provides a host of services for DC's low-income and homeless residents. The coconuts are now going into the grocery bags for their clients this week. There's no part of that story that doesn't make me smile. Lantana's folks are a very funny, creative bunch (plus they have a Barefoot Mailman-- I'm soooo moving), and now their work is helping others. I hope their plan works and their post office stays open!

Your turn-- share your good things for the week!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The New Blanket.

Virginia falls are a little... erratic. One day it can be 83 and oppressively humid, then the next four days can be 50 with monsoon-like. While you can dress in layers and manage during the day, it gets a little harder around bedtime to figure out how many blankets you need.

Lately the sheets haven't been enough, but the down comforter is way too hot. So we bought a new blanket. It's this green, king-sized, silky, fuzzy blanket-- the kind that feels like a super luxurious Muppet monster. It ends up that the light weight of it is totally deceptive and it might be hotter than the comforter, but it's sooooo cozy. Alice in particular has taken a liking to it. She wads it up at night and buries herself in it-- always making sure her belly is on it.

What items in your home did you used to own, but lost to your pet?