Love is a many splendored thing….

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”

–Morrie Schwartz

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Well, it’s happened.  We knew it was only a matter of time.  The Beaumeister is in love.  That’s right, our little man has a girlfriend.  Her name is Gracie, and she is a cutie.  8 months old to Beau’s 17 months, full of spunk and able to give our boy a run for his money. Indeed, judging from Beau’s adoring gaze, her 100-yard dash not only won his heart, it is infinitely more impressive than mine. 🙂

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A sticky situation….

“Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas.”  

–Henry Louis Mencken

This morning started out like so many others…Beau pushed his nose against mine at around 4:30 a.m., then gave the plaintive combination ‘howl/bark’ that indicates, “You can take your time waking up, just do it damn quick because I have *got* to go the bathroom!”  Miss Thing simply groaned and rolled from one side of her bed to the other.  (Now there’s a girl who knows the value of waiting til the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee wafts into the room before shaking off the last vestiges of sleep.)

Beau trotted downstairs (OK, full disclosure, he trotted down the *second* flight of stairs–he refuses to traverse the first flight in a downward trajectory.  Going *up*, not a problem.  Going *down,* on the other hand, requires that Mom gather him up like a sack of potatoes and carry him down to the landing.  He’s lucky I’m a gym rat, that’s all I’m sayin’….)  But I digress….

With the coffee brewing and the whole crew downstairs, breakfast is served.  So far, so good.  Both dogs out to do their business, then back inside for a bit of R&R before the day begins.  Beau decides that he’d like to go out again for a bit of morning reconaissance, so I put him in the back on his long line so that he can explore at will without going too far.  He’s puttering, I’m relaxing, and then the barking begins.  Lots of excited barking.  I run to the back slider and look out to see Beau straining at his lead, trying to get nose to nose with this representative of the animal kingdom….. Can you say instant adrenaline surge?

Porcupine: Image courtesy of National Geographic.

I rush out to assess the situation and see how best to coerce 65 lbs. of excited Chocolate Lab back inside when there’s a new playmate outside.  Porcupine is nonplussed.  Sits on his haunches, munching a bit of clover and looking at the two of us as if we’re mad.  I clap, I cajole, I promise TREATS! CHEESE! SOLITARY CONFINEMENT! if Beau does not return his little chocolate bum to the safety of the house.  Darting glances between myself and the porcupine confirm that neither of us is looking like all that much fun, but Beau ultimately decides that I’m the one he’s going to have to answer to in the long run and trots back up the stairs into the house.  Who says ya need to hit the gym to reach your target heartrate?!

The joy of good friends


“It is by chance that we met, by choice that we became friends.”

–Anon.

We’ve had a glorious past ten days here at Chez Feinberg, entertaining dear friends from Australia.  I first met in these friends in a chance encounter at the beautiful Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania some years back (if you ever get the chance to visit this magical part of the world, GO!! You won’t regret it!!), and I knew from the start that we would be friends for the rest of our lives, no matter the miles between us.  We don’t see each other *nearly* as often as I would like, but when we do, we “suck the marrow” out of the experience, as my dearly departed grandmother used to say.

Chillin’ with friends

In this most recent visit, my friends met Lola Bug and Beau, neither of whom were in my life at the time of their last visit.  I’m proud to say that our crew proved to be world-class hosts, behaving beautifully while never missing the opportunity for a snuggle or rub from their new Aussie pals.

Beau & his new Aussie mate

Beau, not surprisingly, made it his business to be the major domo of our nightly Happy Hour, even managing to get a quick slurp of a Sam Adams when my friend’s hand-eye coordination proved a moment too slow. :-/  In fact, he’s decided this event should be an every-night occurrence here.  Since our guests departed, Beau has been eyeing the pilsners and a few moments ago he made it quite clear that the time had come to set out the cheese and crackers.

Miss Thing works the room

Lola, meanwhile, made sure that our guests knew that, although she’s a lady from the top of her nose to the tip of her tail, she’ll never walk away from a good belly rub.  As her idol Mae West was wont to say, “I speak two languages, Body and English.”

During our visit, we shared many laughs, revisited fond memories and made many new ones.  I was reminded once more how very precious good friends are, be they two-legged or four, and how important it is to treasure each and every moment.  As we head into this Memorial Day weekend, I wish you safe travels and happy times with the ones you love. Life’s too short for anything less.

Does this dog have an ‘off’ switch?!

Let me begin by saying that I’m generally very good about reading the fine print, you know “Some settling may occur during shipping,” “Don’t operate heavy machinery after ingesting,” “This structure is not meant to bear weight,” those sorts of warnings.  But I have to confess, although I have read about the prodigious energy of the Labrador Retriever, I did NOT fully appreciate the energy level that Beau would bring to the table.  Wow!!  This dog makes the Energizer Bunny ®  look like a slacker!

I literally cannot seem to wear Beau out!  I have a neighborhood walking loop that I frequent with both Bug and Beau–it’s a 2 1/2 -3 mile walk, up and down hills, etc. and we go at a good clip.  Lola comes home and sacks out.  Beau, conversely, pants during the walk, but is once again rearing to go within half an hour or so. :-/

Walking buddies!

I used to bike with my Dobes and would love to do this with Beau as well, but I don’t want to start such intensive exercise until Beau is 18-24 months old, as from everything I’ve read, it’s not good for their bones. That said, I’ve found a great bike leash that I plan to use when Beau does reach an appropriate age.

Beau LOVES puppy playschool at All Dogs Gym, and it *does* wear him out, but sending him to school on a regular basis gets costly.  He has a good buddy Desmo, a German Shorthaired Pointer who’s equally energetic, but both of Desmo’s parents work during the day, so play dates are tougher to arrange.

So….I ask you….what do *you* find works best to tucker out a 9-month-old firecracker safely?

Channeling Houdini

“The dog has seldom been successful in pulling man up to its level of sagacity, but man has frequently dragged the dog down to his.”

–James Thurber

The evening started out like many others.  We were headed out to dinner, so we pottied Beau and Bug, then put Beau in his crate in our bedroom with a treat, a toy and the television on for company.  Crate door secured–check. Bedroom door shut–check.  Television on–check.  Lola Bug in the main part of the house–check.  Everything’s in its place and off we go.

Fast forward 2 1/2 hrs, when we come home to TWO bouncing dogs greeting us *at the door?!*  Not only has Beau managed to open his crate, he’s also succeeded in opening the bedroom door, thereby gaining access to the whole house.  Gulp.  Not really thinking that he’s ready for the full run of the place, unsupervised, but happily the only casualty of the evening was David’s hairbrush (to say it’s a pile of bristles at this point is generous).  Lola Bug was looking a little haggard (I suspect there were quite a few games of chase during the course of the evening), but otherwise all was well.

This boy is definitely going to give us a run for our money.  Thus far he’s figured out how to open the front door (and to lock it from the inside, which he did the other day when I was on the *outside*), the garage door, his crate door and the bedroom door.  I caught him in the bathtub the other night diving under the water and holding his breath.  Could a reprise of Houdini’s famous “Chinese Water Torture Cell” escape be far off?!