The weight of love

“Who, being loved, is poor?”

–Oscar Wilde

Miss Thing snoozing

It’s no secret that I’m crazy about my dogs, Beau & Lola. They return my love tenfold, and I am definitely the richer for it.  And while they’re each special in their own ways, many are the times here at Chez Feinberg when our Chocolate Lab Beau dominates the stage.  He’s bigger, younger, goofier, and frankly just more ‘in your face’ most of the time than Lola, the lady of the house.

Last week, however, was different.  Last week Lola Bug was center stage.  Miss Thing had to go ‘under the knife’ to have her teeth cleaned and, unfortunately, several extracted, and I was as nervous as any mother can be.  Lola is generally a love about most anything I ask of her, but she *hates* having her teeth brushed, so it’s an ongoing battle to keep those little chompers clean, and it’s one that I was losing.  So….I (somewhat nervously) made the decision to have her teeth cleaned by our vet.

It’s not that I don’t trust our vet, I do.  But Miss Thing is a *little* thing, and the idea of subjecting her to general anesthesia always gives me pause.  I adore this little girl, she is my shadow, and the thought of anything going awry during her procedure gave me a lump in my throat I could scarcely stand.  Who knew that a package weighing just shy of 14 lbs. could deliver such a dollop of love?  But this little girl does.  She loves me like no other, and as long as I’m within her field of vision, she’s happy….and so am I.

I’m happy to report that Lola came through her cleaning with flying colors, bounced back from the anesthesia without incident, powered through a few days of painkillers, and is now once more fit as a fiddle and ready for love.  She’s small, but she’s mighty, and boy does she deliver.  As her idol Mae West was wont to say, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

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Crossing the Rubicon….

Exhibit ‘A’

Yes, it’s happened.  I’m ashamed to admit it, but when it comes to the Beauman and Miss Thing, I have crossed the Rubicon.

What’s that you say?  You want proof?  Ok, here it is.  I breezed through HomeGoods the other day to pick up a few supplies–candles, fancy hand soap, some seasonal Tchotchke, you know the drill.  And then I saw them–*designer poop bags*!  Yes, that’s right, a stylish plastic receptacle for pickin’ up poop (for those who weren’t aware, polka dots are in!)  Of course I had to have them.

Believe you me, the title of “fashionista” is not bestowed on just anyone…. 😉

I’m on a quest….

“Don Quixote” by Pablo Picasso, 1955

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?  The word immediately evokes thoughts of Don Quixote and “The Man of La Mancha” (admit it, you’re humming “The Impossible Dream” already, aren’t you?).  Ahhh, that it were so noble.  In reality, my quest is much more pedestrian (yes, that means ‘commonplace’ or ‘unimaginative’, but it sounds a lot sexier than ‘dull’, right?).  My quest is to rid the house of HAIR BALLS!

The pesky interloper….

It pains me to admit it, but I simply cannot get the best of these little beasts!  It doesn’t seem to matter how frequently I vacuum or how often I brush the dogs–as soon as I turn around, there are two more in the corner.  Ah well, back in to battle with my trusty Electrolux.

“To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe…”  Don Quixote, buddy, I am feelin’ ya….

Donna and Diablo PSA

Es ist heis. Fa caldo. Il fait chaud.  Whatever way you say it, it’s HOT out!  Here in New Hampshire today, the mercury’s in the low 9os.  Last week my parents in Illinois reported a temp of 104 at midday–NOT heat index–real temp!– and my brother in Texas forlornly informed me last weekend that “It’s been 100 degrees here for a least a month.”

While these blazing temps may be great for your tan, they are NOT good for our canine companions.  My crew has begun dispensing with their business with great alacrity–a quick outing in the morning, a VERY quick midday tour of the yard, and then a bit longer jaunt in the evening after the sun has set.  In between time is spent sprawled on the cool time floor or strategically positioned above one of the AC vents.

As most people know, dogs essentially don’t sweat–most of their sweat glands are located around their foot pads and are not terribly helpful in dissipating heat.  The only real way a dog has to cool off is panting.  Thus is it critically important to be extra vigilant during these warm summer days to make sure our furry friends are kept cool and hydrated.  The most important things to remember:

  • Make sure that your dog has easy access to fresh, clean, cool water.
  • Don’t overdo exercise in the heat–Bug and Beau and I walk early morning or late evening (my brother has resorted to walking his dogs as late as midnight in Texas to avoid the heat)
  • Offer your dogs a cool place to take a dip–if you don’t live near water or have a pool, kiddie pools work great!
  • DO NOT leave your dog in a parked car!!  If you’re running errands, please leave your pet at home.  It takes no time at all for temps inside the car to reach deadly heights.
So pour a cool drink for you and your pet and relax.  As Sam Keen said, “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

For more hot weather tips, visit the ASPCA website.

Our little Lothario’s day of reckoning…

Our little Lothario

Big “doings” at Chez Feinberg today:  our little ‘hunka hunka burnin’ love’ was neutered this morning.   (I know, I know, I just sensed all the men reading this post cringe involuntarily….) Trust me, it’s for the best.  Not only are there proven health and behavioral benefits,  the re-direction of energy will be widely appreciated by all.  If you don’t believe me, ask poor Lola Bug and all the lovely lasses at doggy daycare–Beau’s {ahem} attentions were getting to be a bit much, that’s all I’m sayin’.

Mr. Man was remarkably nonplussed as he entered the vet’s office this morning–said hello to all his favorite techs, batted his eyes seductively, and then looked a bit puzzled when his attentions didn’t score him the cookies that are usually forthcoming (NPO and all that, you know–no food before surgery).  Nonetheless, he didn’t hold it against them.  He loves all the folks over at DWAH, so the minute his pal Jennifer asked him if he wanted to take a walk with her, he was out the door without a backward glance at poor old mom and dad.

Dr. Rooney called a little bit ago to say that he was out of surgery and all was well.  We’ll pick him up a bit later this afternoon and bring him home for the requisite TLC.  Lola Bug is brushing up on her nursing skills–she just waltzed through the office in what I could swear was a lab coat and I heard her muttering something about the rectal thermometer with a look of glee.  Ah, family…..

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?

Cool items for your pet!

I don’t know about you, but I am always on the prowl for cool new toys, pet accessories, puppy ‘bling,’ in short anything that’s going to keep my crew happy, healthy, safe and sassy!  🙂

My friend Kathy recently alerted me to a great new ID tag for dogs from a little company called Boomerang Pet Tags.  Kath purchased the stainless ‘Collar Tags‘ for her active Lab crew, and I can certainly see why.  They look extremely well built, lay flat on the collar so you don’t have to worry about them catching on anything, and are guaranteed to remain legible for the life of the pet!

The Nite Ize Spotlit is a *great* device for keeping track of your dog in the dark!

Here at Chez Feinberg, we have two very dark dogs, so it’s easy to lose track of them at night when they head out for that last of the night piddle.  To keep track of our little band, we’ve outfitted them with blinking beacons from a neat little Company called NiteIze that makes a product called ‘Spotlit.’  This small device attaches to their collars and will either blink intermittently or emit a solid, beam of light so you always know where they are.

Another device that I like very much for Beau is a piece of grooming equipment called the Zoom Groom.  This handy device is*great* for pulling out dead hair and stimulating oil production in a dog’s coat.  It also seems to give the dog a little massage as you use it–my Dobes always loved being brushed with this device and Beau likes it too.

Lastly, with black fly and mosquito season on the way, I wanted to share a great locally made product that’s perfect for us when spending time outdoors with our four-legged friends.  It’s called “Bug Off Insect Repellant” and it comes from Jenness Farm in Nottingham, NH.  This stuff is ALL NATURAL, which I love (just hate fumigating myself with DEET) and it really works!  It also smells wonderful, which is an added bonus.  (And even though it’s ‘off-label,’ I’ve also been known to give the dogs a spritz before heading out for an evening walk.  It seems to give them relief as well, and to date I’ve seen no negative side effects.  I *am* careful to avoid their heads–just spritz their backs and bums….

Any great finds you’d like to share?  Would love to hear about them!!