Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

This morning I woke up with many things to be thankful for, but for specificities sake I will focus on just one - Pippy.

So, here is my list of the top 5 reasons I am thankful for Pippy this Thanksgiving Day...

1. Her patience... Each morning I wake up early (6:30 at the latest - that early) and proceed to do my daily devotionals and make myself breakfast. I do all this while Pippy sleeps, rests and waits in her makeshift bedroom. Her bedroom consists of her dog bed, flannel sheet, treat, and her favorite toy, Stuwie, in the bathroom upstairs. Yes, this sounds odd. A dog in the bathroom. But Pippy has taken well to her bath-bedroom. I don't close the door, instead Pippy is contained by a baby gate.  When I make my way up the stairs to retrieve Pippy she is usually just standing or sitting in her room, peering through the baby gate, awaiting my arrival. She never cries or whimpers. She must hear me downstairs moving around and opening cabinets and drawers, but she never lets on.

2. Her head tilt... Pippy's classic move. She has done it since the day I met her. Here is how it goes: Pippy sits (with perfect posture might I add) and then as if to say, "What you talking about Willis?" she tilts her head to the right and holds it there for a few brief moments. Occassionaly she then switches the tilt to the left - just trying to ham it up I think! She knows how to work her audience.

3. For being the best car trip companion... If you do the math, Pippy is a toddler in human years, but she is so much better in the car than I ever was as a toddler! She never asks "are we there yet?" and she doesn't raise a fuss when we get stuck in traffic for hours on end. She usually just sleeps. And if she isn't sleeping then she is probably simply relaxing, taking in the views as we travel along our route.

4. Her repertoire of tricks - okay so maybe just one... The living room is three shorts steps down from the kitchen but Pippy makes each of them an event. The "Run and Jump" is Pippy's go-to performance. A human will take a toy, throw it down the stairs and Pippy will run down the first step and then take a flying leap off the rest. It is completely unnecessary from a mobilization perspective, but clearly a source of thrills for my puppy.

5. And last, but not least, I am thankful that Pippy nudges me out of the door each day to walk in the great outdoors no matter what the weather. She does this silently and without any fanfare, but when I look at that cute little face I can't help but get off the couch and get my walking shoes on. She wants to be out in nature, experiencing all the sights, smells and critters our neighborhood has to offer. Come rain or shine, Pippy is always up for a walk in her red sweater. I've walked through my neighborhood more in the past four months than I did in the twenty years I've lived here. There was so much I never noticed and appreciated. But now I know what I've been missing, and I have Pippy to thank for that.

Friday, November 18, 2011

At War

It is official - I am at war.

This war has an army of three but our enemy is too great to number. Picture Gideon's army of 300 against the 135,000 on the side of the Midianites. Okay, so maybe this isn't a war of Biblical proportions but you get the point.

So who is the enemy you may ask? Brace yourself.... this battle is against the evil flea.

My naive entrance into dog ownership included completely overlooking a little bug called a Ctenocephalides canis, aka the flea. My lack of preventative measures probably arose from the fact that fleas make my skin crawl and I prefer to pretend they don't exist. Well, you'll see how far that got me! Instead of pretending they don't exist they are now haunting me by night and giving me the creepy-crawler feeling by day. It wasn't until Pippy was scratching like she had ants in her pants that the radar went off. I must admit that I wasn't even the first to raise the alarm. That prize goes to my Mom who did the first check and discovered the first of many intruders. I was horrified. Pippy was quickly swept off to the bathtub where we went to battle the fleas. Our weapons of choice included Dawn dish liquid and pure hatred for the enemy. I was hoping this was all we would need to claim victory.

Pippy was a trooper. She shook and shimmied but never let out a peep. Maybe she knew that we were fighting for her.

I wish I could say that the war was won once and for all that night but that is not so. There have been a number of attacks since and more bottles of flea fighting liquid have been added to our arsenal. Pippy has had countless baths. Chasing her around the house with various flea killing sprays has become our new game of choice. Her bedding has been washed and re-washed too many times to count.

Still the fight drags on. Last night I was once again stirred from a false sense of flea-lessness by incessant scratching coming from my furry companion sitting on the living room floor. I thought it was over! I thought we had won once and for all! But no. Upon further investigation I found another pesky intruder on her backside.

Back to the trenches (aka the bathtub).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

First Snow

Today Pippy experienced snow for the first time! This wasn't your typical northern Pa. snow, just some round white balls that only stuck to the ground for approximately five minutes - but to Pippy it was a new wonder to behold. She walked outside and immediately began sniffing the white mystery substance.

Again, Pippy was teaching me. How often do I go through life barely looking up and truly taking in the amazing creation around me?

I was reminded of the first time I got glasses. On the car ride home I noticed something that amazed me - the leaves on the trees. All this time the leaves had been so vivid and beautiful but I hadn't noticed because I couldn't see their detail. Once I had glasses it was like seeing a tree for the very first time. Now, seeing things through Pippy's eyes, I am getting a whole new appreciation for nature and the world around me. I am learning to enjoy the simplicity of the changing leaves of fall and the first snow flurries of the winter. Her curiosity is inspiring and humbling. Pippy is teaching me to soak in the beauty of all that God created. Thank you, little furry teacher!

Exploring the snow pebbles.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Recommendation #1

My avid reading has taken a turn for books featuring dogs as key characters. One in particular struck a chord with me. Not only is this book all about a man and his dog, but the dog is none other than a schnauzer - he could be Pippy's long lost relative! Following Atticus is an inspirational story of the hiking adventures of a man and his dog in the mountains of New Hampshire. A must read for anyone who has been taught priceless and unexpected life lessons through the journey of owning a furry friend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bathroom Break

Pippy doesn't have a large repertoire of commands. To most standard commands Pippy just stops and stares. I have very little to brag about on her obedience training thus far. But can I toot Pippy's horn for just a moment? 
Pippy pees on command. This amazes me to no end! I can't even do this! My dog who won't come when you call and bites ankles for fun can pee when you say "Go pee, Pippy." This is quite an accomplishment. I take the Pipster outside, set her on the ground, give her the magic words and sha-zam! Pippy does her business and the whole ordeal takes less than a minute.
Maybe this is entirely normal for dogs. If it is, please don't tell me. I want to enjoy the appreciation of Pippy's peeing talent for all its worth. I don't want anyone to rain on my parade and tell me that this is typical behavior for a dog of Pippy's age. In my mind, this is the miracle of miracles.
When we come in after the quick trip to the yard for a potty break I give Pippy a ruffling of the fur and lots of praise. Thank you, Pippy - you may not come when I call but you shine when it comes to the bathroom breaks.

Haircut Documentation

Pippy pre-hair removal:

Pippy post-hair removal
Yes, she has eyes!
Her hair style is a work in progress. More will follow.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Work of Art

Tonight was Pippy's first experience with a haircut. I must fess up to negligent dog grooming. The length of the fur around Pippy's eyes resembled that of a 1980's rock star. Not exactly what I would call cute although it was quite comical. So, after a quick google search I determined it was time to step up to the plate and cut back the fur gone wild. Being the prudent puppy owner I am I did my research - thank you's "How to Clip a Schnoodle" post. I didn't have No. 4F clippers or comb attachment - I'm too old school for that. None of those fancy accoutrements for me, just some handy dandy hair cutting scissors. They work on humans, why not schnoodles?
With my tool of choice in hand I pinned Pippy down on a towel and went to town. I don't usually cut hair. This is not my strong suit but the poor puppy needed to see again! I had read that schnoodles can get the "teddy bear" cut around the face. That sounded cute. There were no pictures showing me how to accomplish this so I relied on my knowledge of stuffed teddy bears and channeled that image while doing my trimming. I'm not sure how many times I repeated "stay" and "calm" during the procedure (I call it a procedure because a sharp item was involved) but Pippy and I both survived it without blood shed or body parts missing. All in all I would classify that as a success.

Come!.....or not

I have a theory. Pippy gets a thrill out of NOT coming when I call her. She could come - in fact, I think she has even considered it a few times. But she is as stubborn as a mule. She has her mind made up that the word "come" will never have its way with her. I could call out"Pippy, come" while dangling a 20 pound turkey and I swear that dog wouldn't move a muscle. "Come" applies to every other dog on the planet except Pippy. Apparently she believes she is above all of this doggie obedience nonsense! She is a dog with an independent streak the size of the Pacific. If she could talk I think she'd ask, "Who do you think you are telling me to come? Psshhh, You come!" The amazing thing is she doesn't even have to talk. The dead stare and occasional head tilt speak volumes. She is not coming and that is final.

Calendar Worthy

When she pees on the carpet I remember this picture.
It is puppy calendar worthy in my opinion. And yes, I know, that sounds like one of those Moms who thinks their kid is the cutest out of all the other kids in the WHOLE ENTIRE 2nd grade. But come on, just look at that face! Who could not love her? She is a heart breaker and if I don't get her fixed all of the other little boy puppies are going to want their paws all over her. Which reminds me, I need to get this girl spayed and pronto!
Pippy - August 4, 2011