Friday, May 20, 2011

Sexy is as Sexy Does.

I’ve made no attempt to hide my love for the Arlington County Fire Department.  They spend a good amount of time in my neighborhood, and it’s always a pleasure to see them.  They’re really pretty, plus they’re nice to Alice.


There was a house fire in town today, so they couldn’t hang out in my ‘hood and let me ogle them.  But the charming studs they are, they made up for it.





What’s that picture?  Oh, it’s just of the adorable orange cat that they saved.  From a burning building.  Who’s fine and safe now.  No big deal.


(Props to AWLA’s Animal Control for helping out, too.  They’re also pretty studly.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good Running Boy!

This weekend, The Human Male and I ran our first half-marathon, the Marine Corps Historic Half.  It was AWESOME.  I could talk about it for days.  Marine Corps races are a hoot—so well organized and hot Marines along the course.  Can you ask for anything better?  Fredericksburg, Virginia is a very cute, fun town.  We ate at a great restaurant called Capital Alehouse (the fried pierogies were insane) and found a fantastic wine store called The Virginia Wine Experience that not only had fantastic staff, but two wine cats.  How cool is that?
Wine cats
We also had a lot of fun with people along the course—from the house with tequila shots (I did indeed take one—mine was the 98th they gave out), a tiny horse for petting, kids passing out Twizzlers on the course, and a pack of therapy dogs singing, it all still makes me smile when I think about it.  I can’t wait to do it all again.

On the same day as our race, the Maryland Half-Marathon was happening.  And there was one very special first-time half-marathoner in it.

That’s Dozer, a three-year-old goldendoodle.  Apparently Dozer’s house was on the course, and he thought it’d be a great day to go for a run.  He did it in great time, too—he clocked in at 2:14, which was quite a bit faster than mine (not that I'm supremely jealous or anything).

It sounds like he may have turned around and went home afterwards.  He’s now back and safe, and has started a fundraising page (he’s already got more than $1,500!) and was going to receive a finisher’s medal.

While I do wonder why no one stopped to think about why a dog was running alone on the course, I still love this story.  Wouldn’t it be fun to be running along and see a dog pacing you?  And listen to how the cheering gets louder when he gets closer to the line—how much fun would that be to watch?

Though we didn’t do the same race, I’m really tickled that Dozer and I met the same goal on the same day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

How about some good news?

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about Lucy and Lillie, the pug mixes available for adoption at my neighborhood shelter?  Well, have I got a story for you!

Lately I’ve really had the urge to get a second dog.  Maybe it’s my birthday looming on the horizon and the reluctant acceptance that I’m now well into my thirties, so I need something exciting to compensate.  Maybe it’s a switch-out for The Human Male proposing (no, he still hasn’t).  Maybe it’s the old biological clock cultivating itself not in “I want 2.5 kids” but rather “I want a mastiff that weighs the same as 2.5 kids”.  I don’t know, but I’m feeling the itch.  And I had a feeling about Lillie.  So a couple days after I posted, The Human Male and I went over to the shelter and checked her out.

And she. was. AWESOME.  A tiny little lump of a dog, she jumped into my lap in the playroom, and that was it.  Truthfully, if you asked me what she looked like afterwards, I’d tell you that the top of her head was round and she had cute wee bitty feet.  I never really saw her face.  But I loved her.  One of my criteria when we were looking for Alice was that I wanted a dog that would sit in my lap—which Alice did, and it won me over.

My concern, however, was how Alice would react to her.  Alice is bold, hyper, and bossy.  Those are all quirks that I love about her and no problem if you have an only-dog, but I wasn’t sure how Alice would react to a dog that was so mellow.  Would Alice terrorize Lillie?  Would Lillie mellow her out?  The Human Male and I left that day with the agreement that we’d think about it.  A hard decision as it was, it became harder when we walked in the door that night and Alice ran to the door as we opened it, ricocheting off my belly and parading around the house with a toy at Mach 5 speed.

So we thought about it.  And thought about it.  And decided that if in a week she wasn’t adopted, then we would fill out some paperwork.  And then decided to wait a little longer.

Then last weekend, I saw a posting from the shelter on Facebook.  And who was in the picture, but Lillie—with her new girl named Shay.

Lillie was adopted by a family that has an adorable little girl.  A girl with a big, beautiful smile, who wears sweet outfits and appears to carry a bright pink bag.  A girl who just met her best friend in the world, and put her in a pretty collar before she left the shelter—as the write-up said, already treating her like a princess. 

I think I’ve mentioned before that from the time I was 1.5 until 17 years old, I had a pet pug named Muffin.  She meant the world to me.  For her nearly sixteen years, I told her my secrets, I dressed her up, I had elaborate pretend stories involving her, I wheeled her around in a baby doll carriage.  I also terrorized that dog, as only a kid who doesn’t know better will.  And Muffin took it, with a smile on her face—literally.  Muffin was really stupid, and the best friend that a little girl could’ve ever hope to have.  And I’m pretty sure that I was Muffin’s best friend, too.

The first thought that I had when we met Lillie was that she reminded me of Muffin, and was part of the reason why I loved Lillie so much—they had the same smile in their picture.  But because a dog reminds you of one you loved in the past doesn’t mean that you’re the right people for your dog.  By no means could we have offered Lillie what she got.  Yes, we could’ve provided her a safe and loving home for the rest of  her years, but by no means could we have provided her the same quality of life, the same adventure, the same unbridled adoration, that her new girl Shay can.

Lillie absolutely won the jackpot.  Things got quite dusty in the house when I saw the picture—absolute tears of joy.  Lillie flat-out won at life—she went from having no one to having the absolute best situation possible.     

Okay, so maybe this whole being in my thirties thing isn’t so bad.  Maturity can teach you some pretty cool lessons.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Alice’s Celebrity Boyfriend.

A few months ago, The Human Male and I started watching the show Veronica Mars, which is about a teenage detective with a bad attitude—picture Nancy Drew with a taser.  It first came on in 2004 and lasted three seasons.  Such a shame, it’s an absolutely fantastic show and ended with sooooo many loose ends!  But I guess that’s the best way to end a show—solid with a ton of potential, rather than to wear out its welcome.


On the show, Veronica has a dog named Back-Up, a burly brown pit bull.  He’s super adorable, and we always got excited when he was in an episode. 


A couple months back, I put on an episode and it featured Back-Up pretty substantially at the beginning.  A few minutes in, I noticed that Alice was pulling her bed and toys into a pile in front of the TV.  She then flopped down in the pile and stared at the screen.  She was actually watching the show!


I had a good laugh at the time, and The Human Male and I still sometimes tease Alice about her celebrity boyfriend—but we figured it was a once-off thing.  Then we popped on Veronica Mars again about a week ago, and sure enough, she jumped on the couch and started watching again!


Does your dog watch TV?  Have any favorite shows?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Dog Therapist.

Recently The Human Male and I had a doozy of a fight. The yelling kept flaring up for several hours, even after we’d both left separately to cool off.

Alice doesn’t like loud noises. If our voices get too loud, she starts jumping around and barking in high-pitched howls and peeps. Considering we live in an apartment and don't want to be "those neighbors", we use her as a signal that we’re too loud and need to simmer down. And as it got later and our issue wasn’t getting resolved, I thought some space and sleep would do us some good, so I decided to pull out the air mattress.


Well, that was just too much for Alice to handle.  She laid on the regular bed for a while, curled into a tight little ball, then ran to the air mattress and stole all the blankets, pulling them into a pile. After The Human Male and I calmed down a bit, I flopped onto the pile of blankets Alice made.

And the pile was wet.

At some point when The Human Male and I were bickering, Alice took it upon herself to end the fight by weedling on the air mattress. I have no idea when she did it, but I must’ve been sitting right there when she did.

And darn if her little act didn’t call a truce and cause me to abandon the air mattress that night!

I wish I knew what Alice was thinking when she did it. I’m sure it was something like she was angry or confused as to why she couldn’t flop on both of us as she slept, and her little brain short-circuited. But I’d like to think that she put more thought into it. “Well, my first attempt of screechy-barking didn’t work this time, so let’s see if this brings the humans back together,” she said, then scribbled her findings in her little therapist’s notebook, making plans to pull her notes into an article and deciding which journal to send her research for publication.

No matter her what her intention was, it's safe to say that that little dog knows a thing or two about human nature.

Military Dogs.

So it’s been a momentous week for the U.S., huh?  Let me tell you, Monday was quite an interesting day in our neck of the woods—especially heading into our train stop, the Pentagon. 


Later in the week, reports started coming out that a dog might’ve been involved with the operation to get bin Laden.  The last thing I’d heard (it’s been a few days since I’ve searched, though) was that it wasn’t confirmed, but that it was completely within the realm of possibility.


I’ve mentioned my love of the Pentagon’s bomb dogs before, and it’s made me quite happy how much attention’s been paid to military dogs this week.  They’re really hard-working and play such an important role in security.  Plus you can tell that they really enjoy having jobs.


I stumbled across a great photo essay called War Dog on the Foreign Policy Website, which has fantastic pictures of military dogs at work.  It’s really moving, and it makes you really proud of our four-legged soldiers. 


Belly rubs all around!


(Not to be outdone, Slate put together a very funny slideshow called The Cats of War.  Quite entertaining.)