Category Archives: O.P.P. (other people’s pups)

Rock You Like a Furricane

The Bronx is back. We’ve been puppysitting him for a week, and when he and Truman are in the same room, it’s CrackTown, U.S.A. They simply do not stop without enforced time-outs.

Bronx is a sweet little guy, six months old now and still intact. He’s pretty mellow on his own, but he and Truman have been taking turns doing inappropriate things to each other in the name of dominance. It’s been hard for me to accomplish anyth– excuse me for a moment, won’t you?


Ahem! Okay then. So, “Humpus and Grumpus,” as I’ve taken to calling them, are home with me today while Wolf is out doing some steam locomotive stuff and big band music stuff. It’s been a long day of absolute nonproductivity for me. I figured I could separate the boys successfully by taking Bronx out on a few errands (it’s nice to have a portable dog in the house again), and maybe stopping for coffee somewhere.

But I can’t find my keys.

And I’m almost certain they’re in Wolf’s car.

So I’m pretty sure I’m stuck here in the eye of the furricane until…tomorrow, basically, unless I feel like going out for coffee at 2 A.M., when I expect him home.

Shuffles the Clown vs. the Humpopotamus

Wolf and I are puppysitting little Bronx this weekend; he will be eleven weeks old on Saturday.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a furball this young in my care, Wolf has never had the joyous experience of puppy-induced sleep deprivation, and Truman hasn’t had a canine playmate in a while, so we thought it would be a nice way to spend the holiday weekend.

Bronx is a mellow little guy. A champ at sitting, patient with food and water, cuddly and affectionate, excellent recall skills. A good boy, an “easy” puppy.

It will come as no surprise to long-time readers that MY dog-in-residence — Truman, otherwise known as Dingus McFreaktown — is the one causing all the chaos. They’ve done nothing but play and wrestle and squeak and chew and slobber and run in circles and follow each other around since Bronx got here last night. I’ve had to put the little man in the kennel a few times, just to give him a break from the Yellow Instigator.

Funniest thing? In just twelve hours’ time — including several hours of sleeping last night — Bronx has done *eleven* Labrador shuffles. Full butt-tuck-and-run, crazy-circle, energy burst shuffles. Indoors. Amazing.

And Truman is very excited to finally be the alpha dog over someone else. Unfortunately, this means that when I haven’t been busy getting up to take the little dog outside to pee, I’ve been busy getting up to pull the big dog off the little one.

I…won’t post a photo of that. But we’re going to take pictures of them sometime this weekend, and hopefully post those soon. Assuming we can get them to stop moving long enough to focus the camera.

New Kid on the Block

The people who raised our friend Trooper are raising another puppy. Everyone, meet seven-and-a-half-week-old Geo:

Yes, he’s a cute little stinker. But don’t worry, Truman. You’re still my little sunshine.

Epcot Comes to Visit

June 22 — Puppy swap!

Our good friend Epcot, another tall, yellow and handsome male Labrador, needed a ride up to GDA for a vet appointment, so I took the opportunity to puppy swap with his family.

When you’re used to an immature, opinionated, feisty five-month-old with the self-image of Napoleon and the brute strength of a tiny Clydesdale, you forget how blessedly “easy” it is to handle a big dog. Epcot was ever the gentleman, a pleasure to walk and cradle and command.

My neighbors were confused. They’d see me outside, relieving this big yellow dog, and the inevitable comment would come. “He’s HUGE!” Then I’d wait for the sheepish question. “Is that…the same dog?” And I’d laugh. If we were living in a soap opera, where a child who was born two seasons ago is suddenly attending college, then yes. That would be the same dog. But I would politely explain, and introduce them to Mr. Epcot, who would smile to put them at ease.

He was a good boy. Very sweet, laid back, intelligent. But as much as he tried to convince me that the floor of the passenger side of my truck just wasn’t comfortable for a dog of his size, I was not about to let him drive.

Finally, He’s Tired…

…and it only took four hours of running with ten other dogs.

Last night was Paige’s last freestyle back yard romp with her buddies before turn-in for formal training. I’ll leave the details of the story for Matt & Amy to tell, but I will say that it was a joyous gathering of friends and puppies — our count at the peak of the evening was eight Labs, two goldendoodles and a goldador. Glorious chaos!

We wish the best of luck to delightful, cuddly, snorty, lovable miss Paige as she embarks on “Paige One” of the next chapter of her life. May she prove to be the top of her class, just as she is always at the top of the dog pile for the water dish….

We love you, Paiges.

Big T and Little T

June 11 — Because Truman requires so much exercise to keep himself in check, I try to not only walk him two or three times daily, but also to arrange play dates for him with other GDA dogs. Trooper, who you may remember from this long-ago post, lives nearby and has just the kind of personality necessary to show Truman that the world doesn’t revolve around him.

Lomax was always an agreeable sort, and Trooper was occasionally a little too rough for him. But Truman is made of springs, teeth and attitude, and even at the tender age of five months, he is not only a willing but a fearless playmate for our manly friend Trooper, who was career-changed for being “a lot of dog.” In a few months, when Little T has grown a bit, it will be even easier for him and Big T to tussle.

Did I forget to mention that this Trooper is no relation to our littermate Trooper?

Dog-Free at Disneyland

GDA has a rule about theme parks: puppies must be twelve months or older to go. So unfortunately, when we learned that Natalie was coming to the Happiest (and Most Expensive) Place on Earth, both Joanna and I knew we were in the same boat — our little ones would be too little to attend. So while Camry was at a puppysitter’s house and Truman was in his kennel at home for a few hours, the two of us headed to Disneyland to meet a fellow raiser from another country, with whom we’ve become acquainted via dog-blogging. (This is why the Internet is cool!)

I was dogless, which was a nice break for me. But one of the benefits of having a dog with you at Disneyland is that you don’t really have to wait in line to go on most of the rides; you’re treated like a “wheelchair party.” Being wise to that principle, Joanna borrowed a dog for the day: Price, who just happens to be a littermate of the lovely Miss Paige. They look quite a bit alike, and Price is also, like his sister, a belly-rub beggar and world-class snuggler. Price’s presence ensured our VIP treatment, and brought the requisite “ooh”s and “aah”s from passersby, who could not help but notice his handsome face and professional demeanor.

Though I only had a few hours to spend at the park (because my wee beastie can only spend so much time at home in the kennel), it was fun to meet Natalie and go on a couple of rides, to swap puppy stories and take a few pics and eat ice cream at the Carnation place (where Price could stay cool on the nice marble floor after a walk on warm pavement). I’ll let Joanna give you the details, but I will say that Price did very well and managed the crowds with ease. I enjoyed taking the leash a few times and remembering what having a big dog is like.

It’s too bad we didn’t get to meet each other’s dogs! Maybe Truman and Camry would like to go on a road trip to Toronto for a playdate with Fielder….

Puppy Swap!

This weekend we traded brother for brother, Truman for Tai. I enjoyed hosting the little black dog! Okay, not so little: at last check, four-month-old Truman weighs 34 pounds, and Tai weighs in at an even more studly 38.8 pounds. In addition to their sturdy builds and handsome faces, the boys have more than a few things in common. For example, they BOTH know how to play innocent for the camera. Perhaps you see the resemblance….

Truman and me, at a coffee house on Friday:

Truman, asking if we are ready to leave the coffee house:

Tai and me, at church on Sunday:

Tai, asking if we are ready to leave church:

While Truman was busy chasing Paige and “getting his wiggles out” at Matt & Amy’s house on Saturday, Tai and I had snuggle time and ran a few quick errands. Sunday afternoon, Truman had a lovely 3-hour kennel nap while the rest of us joined other puppy raisers at a showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Truman did, however, manage to join us for dinner at El Torito, where he snored away contentedly on the tile floor, despite being in close quarters under the table with three other dogs he knows.

The key is to exhaust him, which is easier said than done. But we persist….

Take the GDA Train

March 24 — I attended a GDA outing with puppy raisers from several area groups, from Union Station on the Gold Line to Pasadena, lunch at Cheesecake Factory (and yet, we ate no cheesecake?), then back to Union Station. Pictured at left: Suzanne with Windsor in front of the MTA Gold Line train.

Truman was too young to attend, so the brave young man had his first overnight stay (at my area leaders’ house) and I borrowed my favorite cuddler, Little Miss Paige.

All the dogs did very well on the train, and it was nice to meet people from different groups — one future puppy raising family brought their two little girls. Here’s a photo of Paige and…Paige.

Human-Paige’s sister Aubrey brought puppies of her own. She made their jackets herself.

I was also happy to see other friends I wasn’t expecting.

Joanna & Dash:

Denise & Oceana:

The MTA generously gave each of us a free day pass so we had one less expense. Having the pups ride the train was a great way for them to promote public transportation for people with disabilities.

Guide dog user Agustin, who regularly uses MTA, and his dog Shadow (who has her own MTA pass ID badge — look closely at her picture) joined us. Also joining us was a news crew from Spanish-language TV station Univision; all day long we were asked to stop so the camera man could catch up and get a dog’s eye view of our pups in training as they walked past him.

Paige received many “she’s so beautiful” comments, like she always does. It was her first trip on the metro, and aside from pulling a little too enthusiastically and lying down in some gum, she did great.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the best part: the looks on people’s faces. One woman was unprepared to board a train car where nearly every row contained a floor-riding guest, but it was too late for her to go anywhere once she realized. And there were certainly some surprised restaurant patrons when we all got up to leave and a dozen or so dogs emerged from under the table.

Raya Sunshine

I was having yellow dog hair withdrawals, so when Dave and Lydia put the call out for someone to watch Raya for the weekend, I jumped at the chance.

Beautiful Raya is a special dog, because she’s a GDA breeder. She’s 3-and-a-half years old, and quite the spunky girl! When my roommate came home from work on Friday night, she was met with the most enthusiastic yellow Lab she’d seen in our apartment since last August. Raya wiggled and ran back and forth and vocalized profusely, in an impressive display of friendliness toward this person she didn’t really know.

And Amy exclaimed it in the perfect phrase: “She has the Spirit of The Moof!”

Indeed, she does. Playful and fun, silly and sweet, the sunny Miss Raya was an absolute joy.

Also, I’ll have you know, just because Raya is a breeder (and therefore no longer required to adhere to the strict guidelines imposed upon guide dog puppies-in-training), that doesn’t mean she has lost her touch. Raya’s obedience is still stellar; she has the most perfect “formal come” I’ve seen, as a matter of fact. Amy and I spent a good amount of time on opposite sides of the living room, calling her to come back and forth and laughing with delight as Raya practically reared up to charge full-speed to the giver of the command and fling her backside around to park in a perfect little sit.

Raya, may all your puppies be as smart and full of life as you are!