You Can’t Stop Him…

…you can only hope to cone-tain him!

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No Reading the Tea Leaves

I look at the “Los Angeles” mug I’m drinking my tea out of, and wonder whether it will make me sigh someday and miss my hometown, or if our life will be so different-but-better that drinking out of the mug will make me laugh and remind me of my own shortsightedness. I imagine I’ll have intermittent moments both ways.

Either way, I’m excited. Life seems full of possibility right now, and I am full of joy.

Wherever we end up, I’m sure the dogs will just roll with it — possibly even roll IN it — and be absolutely fine. There’s a lot to be learned from a dog.

Freaky, Freaky, FREAKY

Silly stuff happens to me all the time, but rarely is it something so well-timed as to be freaky.

I had just (JUST!) finished reading a Facebook status updated posted by Jeanie, one of Jethro’s littermates, that said, “All my molars fell out and new ones are already poking through, my human is trying to help but I am just too crabby to notice. I will try some tummy rubs and ice again tomorrow but today, it’s just not working.

I had literally (and I know how to use that word properly) just finished reading that, when I heard a click, like something very small had dropped onto the wood floor near the chair where I was sitting. I looked down, near where Jethro lay. He was also looking at what had made the sound.


I am not making this up.

It does help to explain why he was extra cranky and complainy last night.

The Late, Late Show

Now showing at Labrador Rodeo Cinema: The Whiny Post-Op Patient. Playing at 1:30 AM, 2:15 AM, 4:00 AM and 5:30 AM.

I. Am. Tired.

Neuter is Cuter

The poor little man got “The Big Snip” today.

Apparently, Tuesday is spay & neuter time at GDA, which I’m guessing is because we have a veterinarian in residence on that day of the week. They did procedures on several dogs today. When I picked up Jethro at 3:30pm, the vet department head told me that my little fella was the last done, but the first up. She said she caught him out of the corner of her eye as he wandered out of the wake-up area and into the hallway, figuring it was time to go home.

She also said they’d poked gentle fun at him because he had such tiny…equipment. They called him “Lima Beans.” Oh, the indignity!

But the procedure really is easier on the dogs when they’re younger. And since he’s going to move with us in March, it made sense for the school to do it now.

He has some very neat “invisible sutures,” which is handy because they don’t require a re-check for removal. And his extra-long nose necessitated a larger e-collar (yes yes, the “cone of shame”). Meanwhile, I’m supposed to keep him from “running, jumping and playing” for 14 days, and I’m not supposed to take him for long walks, either. (I will need some stronger pain meds, then. Possibly for me). The boy will learn to love his crate and x-pen, that’s for sure! And I’ll have to do something to keep Instigator-Dog Truman busy (pain meds for everyone, I say!)….

A few days before the procedure, his Amy visited us and declared solemnly upon her departure, “Bye, Jethro. Next time I see you, you’ll no longer be a man.” Then she turned to me and said, “It’s like a reverse bar mitzvah.” And she thinks she’s not funny….

It is night one of post-op puppy with activity restriction. Wish us luck.

When You Least Expect It…Expect It

Truman turned four years old (!) while Wolf and I were in Pennsylvania. I was assured by his puppysitters that he got birthday hugs and kisses on our behalf (if you’re not going to give him a steak or a jar of peanut butter or something, that’s all he really wants as a gift). Because the blog has been mostly devoted to Jethro lately, I wanted to pay a little tribute to my Grumpus. I bring you:

Great moments in Truman’s sneak attack history!

The thing is, he’s not a “kissy” dog, the way Jethro is. Jethro will lick your face off if you let him; Truman will usually go nose to nose with you for a full thirty seconds before deciding if you are worthy of his patented One Gentle Slurp on the Nose maneuver. But sometimes, when he’s really excited and you’re not expecting it, the slurp is fast and furious.

He does love to give scalp massages, but that’s a post for another time.

Happy Birthday, Roo!

Alas, Back in Plain Jacket

Well, I got a disappointing, but perfectly understandable, email today. Because of our impending move, GDA is going to transfer Jethro’s sponsorship to another puppy. They figured with the distance involved, if the SoCal-based sponsor were ever to wish to meet Jethro in person, it just wouldn’t be feasible. So the little man will be sporting the standard yellow GDA puppy in training jacket instead of the one with his (now former) sponsor’s name on it. Irony: we just got the sponsor jacket in the mail last week!

It’s a bummer, because it’s an honor to be asked to raise a sponsored dog. There is some extra work involved in submitting quarterly reports, of course. My first one for Jethro clocked in at 46 pages of photos and stories (which is way more work than anyone asks for, but since I keep this journal anyway I might as well give the sponsors more for their money, right?). There’s another bummer in that we’ll be missing out on the free dog food that comes as a benefit…but honestly, we were going to forfeit that anyway once we moved, so it’s not a big deal. The subsidized dog food came in quite handy while the pack leader was out of work, and these nice little perfectly-timed bonuses tend to be how I am most aware of God’s faithful provision in my life. I’m grateful for having had the privilege as long as we did.

I’m fine with it, but it’s a good thing Jethro has no clue what’s going on, because the poor little fella is scheduled for neutering tomorrow as well — de-sponsored and de-dude-ified in the span of just two days! That is some serious demotion (cue Mr. Banks’s humiliation scene from Mary Poppins here).

Is “Happy New Year” Still Acceptable?

Happy New Year! Can I still be saying that on the 17th?

Wolf and I have been away for the last two weeks on a little adventure. We drove one of our cars across the country so we’ll have one less thing to deal with during the move in March. We crossed something like ten states in five days on the road. Five…long…days. Then I stayed in Pennsylvania for an extra week, getting to know a little about the area where we’ll be relocating, and trying to find a place for us to live.

It is no picnic finding a rental place that allows dogs, let me tell you. Yes, even extremely well-behaved dogs! I suppose I can understand a landlord’s prerogative in that; you don’t necessarily know your tenants or their pets. If it were me, though, I’d be much more inclined to allow dogs than, say, cats. After all, I’ve never had to replace the living room carpet because of a dog.

We have some good leads and will see how it goes. I’d just like to have an address, and a square-footage count, so I can start thinking more strategically about what to take with us and what to get rid of before the move.

Meanwhile, my boys were with puppy sitters the last two weeks. Truman stayed with his favorite adoring “aunties,” and got to play with some very energetic one-year-old golden retriever girls AND his favorite career-changed goldendoodle. Sometimes when I pick him up from Auntie Georgia’s house, I’m not entirely convinced he wants to leave.

Jethro was staying with a family in my puppy raiser group who just turned in their dog — also a male yellow Lab — for formal training. So that was good for both the snuggly dog and the people who miss having one to snuggle. They brought him back to me last night, and I swear he bulked up! Can’t wait to weigh him at the school on Tuesday and find out how much he’s gained.

From the sound of it, Jethro got lots of love and attention and training time (his first lesson: how to distinguish between puppy toys and children’s toys — apparently a LEGO sacrificed itself in the endeavor). They took him to restaurants several times, where he was apparently very well behaved; and to my puppy group meeting, where they said his obedience was quite good. He responds very well to verbal correction, which is a terrific trait.

I forget sometimes what a high standard we hold our dogs to. When someone says that he was very well behaved in a public place, I always think, “Well of COURSE he was!” And then I remember that he’s just five, five and a half months old. We forget. But people who aren’t used to service dogs in training often marvel at what our little puppies can do. Know anybody else who’d take a five month old pup to the office, or to a restaurant, and expect obedience?

And doesn’t it make you smile when someone says, “I didn’t even realize there was a dog here”…? What a gift these dogs are, for their eventual partners and for us. What a privilege to raise them, to teach them, to be proud of them and to love them long after they’re no longer ours.

It’s a new year. There’s excitement ahead. Welcome, 2011.

Have Yourself a Hairy Little Christmas

Merry Christmas from LabradorRodeo! May you and yours enjoy the many blessings of the season!

And may your four-legged family members be more appreciative than mine seem to be.  (Yeah, I don’t know who pooped in their stockings, either. Apparently there’s just no Christmas joy in them until there’s something under the tree that is clearly marked for canine playtime or consumption.)

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you!

Christmas Morning

Before we went to my in-laws’ house for family festivities and dinner and all that fun human stuff, we let the boys open their presents (a squeaky “Ruffians” octopus for Jethro and a Kong “Beast” toy for Truman, though I suspect they’ll share like good dogs).

But we also did something I’ve been wanting to do for two months now: take the boys for a walk around the big park behind our house. Jethro’s first real walk! The whole circuit is almost a mile, not counting the getting there and getting back, and the park is usually full of walkers, joggers, dogs, children, sports, picnics, birthday parties, squirrels, birds, miniature trains, and feral cats (something for everyone!).

There were two fantastic things about this walk in the brisk, invigorating post-storm air. One, since Wolf is home, all four of us were able to enjoy it together. It’s going to mean double the good exercise, but also double the time, for me to walk the boys after he leaves again.

And two, a nice long walk full of new and exciting experiences makes for a very sleepy puppy.