Day 19: An Ode To My Dog

Gotta capture his sweet moments

I didn’t want a dog. I’m allergic. I didn’t want to do the work. I knew the responsibility would fall to me.

I wasn’t really wrong.

Look at how cute he was, though. Like you could resist.

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He was naughty at first. Nipping hands, scratching arms…

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He even did a lot of damage to the furniture.

We used to spray bitter apple on everything to deter him from biting, chewing, and otherwise destroying. It helped a little bit.

Those first few years were TOUGH.

People have said, “Oh, he’s a labradoodle – it’s that lab side of him that makes him so playful and young – he’s gonna be like a puppy until he’s about four years old.”

Uh. What?

But he’s gotten mellower, our puppy has. And though he’s still a bit on the excitable side, and though he still likes to chew the heck out of everything, he’s so much a part of our family that I can’t imagine our world without him.

When he catches a glimpse of The Princess walking home from her bus stop, he races back and forth from one window to the next until she approaches the front door where he waits, tail wagging, to greet her when she enters.

When he hears Pumpkin’s bus, he stares intently out the window until she starts walking up the driveway and then he races to the door to welcome her home.

Yesterday, The Princess didn’t come home. She had rehearsal for her school musical.

He saw her friend approaching and did his typical window race and then he waited.

And he waited.

And he waited.

And she never came in the door.

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And he was sad.

Tonight, I picked the girls up from their dad. Puppy was eager the whole way, standing next to my seat. We pulled in the parking lot and I asked, “Are you ready to see your girls?” He jumped onto the passenger seat, tail wagging, his eyes scanning the parking lot. Waiting for his people.

It’s these kinds of things that make me love him more – that he knows that we love him and that he loves us back. Just as he matters to us tremendously, I can tell that we matter to him. That his demeanor is different when the girls aren’t around, that he actually appears sad when he doesn’t get to curl up with Pumpkin in the morning to watch cartoons or in the evening with The Princess – you can tell his puppy world is off kilter.

As I type, he’s curled up next to me on the couch. I love this time of day, just the two of us – one with opposable thumbs and one without – just holding the couch down.

The girls are home and my house is settling from the loudness that’s been missing for the past few days. I can tell he’s feeling it – and is now joyfully exhausted. His people are home.

I’m glad I was forced to cave in to the whole ‘getting a puppy thing’ because my life is better with him in it.

I can easily say that now that I’m out of furniture for him to chew.

For the love of puppies

The girls started asking for a puppy in the summer of 2010. I say the girls, but it was mostly The Princess running that show. Hell bent on getting a dog, she was. She was so set on getting a dog, that she would cry herself to sleep at night at the thought of not getting one. She would be responsible, she said. Prove it, I said.

There were all kinds of obstacles, the biggest being the fact that I was (and am) allergic to pretty much anything with fur. And so she began to do research. Research that ultimately led to an afternoon in early summer, in a shaded yard not too far from our home, where we sat on one side of a grassy yard, the dogs on the other, and we waited to see which labradoodle would choose us.

This guy did.

And so it came to be that we added a six week old labradoodle puppy to our family. We were fortunate in that he was quick to house train (thank goodness).


Not so fortunate in that after just several weeks in our home, Pumpkin accidentally tripped over the poor little guy, causing a greenstick fracture to his leg.

(All together now: Awwwwwwww…)


Lucky has been a part of our family for nearly three years. Admittedly, though he can be a world class jerkface at times – I adore him. My home feels safer with him in it. In general, he’s a playful and friendly dog. He tolerates the girls using him as a pillow (I’m pretty sure he likes it). He alerts me to people at the door, people walking by, cars within a two mile radius and any and all birds that happen to be flying by.

But sometimes he’s naughty. He likes to eat potholders. Flip flops. Socks. Cloth napkins. Stuffed animals.

Every night before I go to sleep, I do a scan of my counters to make sure that there’s nothing for him to swipe and eat while everyone in the house is sleeping. “Dog, quit eating things that aren’t food!” is a phrase I’ve uttered more times than I can count.

So it should be no surprise that eventually he would eat something that would make him sick.

Monday evening, my poor dog puked excessively and extensively. I have never seen him react like that. At one point, he threw up the plastic nose of a stuffed animal. Was that what set him off? Who knows.

But it went on so long that Lucky earned himself a trip to the after hours veterinary clinic. They did Xrays and kept him overnight and ruled out an obstruction and hours later sent him home with instructions to feed him a bland diet for a few days.

When it comes to my children, I instinctively react in times of stress or emergency.

When it came to my dog, I was clueless. I was glad to have had company at the veterinary clinic, grateful for him, he who could have (should have!) been home sleeping instead of walking me through the maze of animals and emergency (thank you. I am grateful). Do I do the x-rays? Leave him overnight? I didn’t know. When it comes to my kids, I’d have, without question said – Spare no expense, just make her well. Previous work experience in hospitals has given me an understanding of both procedures and what to expect – it makes it easier for me to advocate for their well-being.

When it came to my dog, I felt the same – but didn’t know… What’s necessary? Would they try to upsell me here in the after hours vet clinic? Are these tests necessary or are they just doing them to up my bill?  I kept thinking, “If anything happens to him, my kids will be wrecked.”

And, admittedly, yeah. I was freaking out about the cost of making him well.

Pets are expensive. Dog vomit is expensive.

No obstruction, so no surgery – thank goodness. The vet believes my dog will be fine. Upon hearing the news, a relief washed over me and I knew that despite my fears about spending the money, it was the right thing to do.

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There are other things I could have done with that money, I’m sure. Places I could have gone, lenses I could have bought.

But that’s a dumb game.

I wasn’t going places. I wasn’t buying lenses.

We get a tremendous amount of joy from owning a pet – he’s family. He’s happy to see us. He hovers at our feet in the kitchen when we’re preparing a meal (mooch). He runs to the window when he hears the school bus stopping in front of our house – and then runs to the door to greet my daughters, his people.

And he counts on us to take care of him.

And so we do.

I won’t miss a lens I didn’t have, and we won’t miss a vacation we didn’t know about.

But we’d have missed him. As Pumpkin said this morning, “That other stuff doesn’t matter. He matters.”

And he does.

(But no more stuffed animals for Lucky, because dang… I’d like to go on vacation SOMEDAY.)

Thursday Ten: I AM SO GLAD IT IS ALMOST MARCH edition

1. February. Why you gotta be like that? For the shortest month, it sure does feel like the longest month and you know, I am so so so ready to see it go. It’s not even that it’s been particularly awful (though, you know, it’s February and so it hasn’t been super great either – effing snow), but… dang. Every year feels like February is ten years long. Hello, March. I’m ready for you.

2. Followed Breaking Bad with Netflix’s House of Cards. Finished Season 1 of HOC, and now….White Collar. I haven’t watched as much television as I thought – so many shows to choose from. Watched the Pilot of White Collar the other night. Enjoyed it. We’ll see how long it lasts. (And I’m still muddling through Weeds. I had to stop watching because I got tired of Nancy.)

3. Spent a good chunk of time yesterday dealing with QR codes and I have to say… I’ve never actually used one. In fact, when the girls and I were at dinner last night, I purposely avoided something with a QR code on it. Does anyone actually use them?

4. Completely humiliated by my chicken fiasco, I feel like I should mention that the carne asada tacos I made last weekend were completely amazing. And the margaritas were face-numbing good.
margaritas and carne asada tacos

5. So, I watched most of the Oscars the other day and I agree with most of the criticism of Seth MacFarlane. But mostly – I had no idea who he was before Sunday. Annnnnd, uh… I don’t feel like I was missing much. (Also? Jennifer Lawrence is adorable but I’m tired of seeing her face everywhere. It’s like when you hear a song that you like and then the radio plays it OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER and finally you’re like, “STFU with that song already! That’s enough!” Yeah. That.)

6. Spent a good chunk of Sunday watching HGTV. “Love It or List It” is clearly scripted (apparently that’s a complaint people have about the show – that it’s scripted… well, duh. OBVIOUSLY it’s scripted) but, kind of amusing. And then I watched some show about Americans living abroad and now I really want to go to Australia and Amsterdam and probably several other places that start with A.

7. I’m in the process of un-crate training my crate trained dog. Not for all the time – the thought of leaving him uncrated during the work day, for example, makes me fear for the life of my furniture – however, at night time, I don’t want to crate him. Turns out, if I actually pick up any clutter, there’s nothing for him to get into. Win-win – my house is clean and he gets to sleep comfortably.

8. I’m so over the snow. The kids are either out of snow days are damn near out of snow days. I can’t remember that EVER happening before since either of my kiddos have been in school. SO over the snow and paying for snow day daycare.

9. There are a lot of posts brewing in my head that someday I may find the time to write and publish. I’ll work on it. I hear things and think, WELL, I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THAT (Marissa Mayer, I’m lookin’ at you. With a scowl, you big ninny) – and then? I don’t write anything. I will soon.

10. In the spirit of the awesome girl power vibe I have going on in my house lately – I have to say that I’m pretty proud of myself that my drive way was the first shoveled after this gruesome dumping of snow recently. Not only that, but this mom with a shovel was out there before any of those men with snowblowers who live around me. And if THAT wasn’t enough girl power… The only person who offered to help (not that I needed any! *flex*) was the thirteen year old girl who lives next door! I don’t need or expect help – that’s not it at all (frankly, I’m enjoying the process of shoveling far more than I thought I would. Who knew?) – but it does surprise me that people don’t offer to help – except the neighbor kid. Girls just get things done.
grab a shovel

Thursday Ten: End of the Tunnel edition

1. Just one more day of consecutive daily posts. I’ve done it. Almost. Let’s hope I don’t screw it up. I’m probably gonna summarize this month tomorrow – it’s been an interesting experience. I have been considerably more candid, more revealing here than I have been previously – whether that is something I continue to do or whether I dial it back a notch, I’m not sure. What say you, lovely people?

2. It’s been a rough week in terms of my grandfather’s progress and lack of and the rehabilitation hospital (that I’ve been so pleased with so far) has really irked me. Sometimes I really don’t understand things, people, companies, procedures and the hows and whys. Truly frustrated with the latest development. GRUMBLE.

3. I deleted my iPod the other day – kind of accidentally – thus deleting all the stuff that was still living on my iPod but hadn’t moved over to the new iTunes after the old laptop went kablooey. Follow that? Looks like I’m missing, oh…. 800 songs. I am not happy about that development. Little by little I am finding what I was missing. Gah. TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.

4. I received an awesome card from my friend, Rachel, this week. It wasn’t so much the card – which was beautiful – but what she wrote inside of it. It really was a sweet thing and it was just exactly what I needed. It made me smile tremendously. My friends rule.
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5. I’m still reading the Cheryl Strayed book – it’s taking me awhile because EVERYTHING takes me awhile. I just don’t read as much as I used to. But? I’m loving it. Worth a read.

6. Baked two loaves of gingerbread last night in an effort to clear my mind and warm the house. There’s something about that smell, that lovely gingerbread smell. So warm and inviting and delicious. First gingerbread of the season – won’t be the last.

7. I’ve made a small dent in Christmas shopping. Very. Small. Dent. Most of my shopping has been via Amazon because it’s just easier with my schedule. I don’t really know how I’m going to get everything done in time. I usually aim to be done by December 15 – that feels impossible this year. BUT, I’ll try.

8. I was thinking of printing some of my calla lily shots for my mom for Christmas – they’re her favorite flower. So, I bought two callas, took a ton of pictures and then realized that all of them have this look about them. I’m not entirely sure how calla lilies became the flower of choice for sympathy cards because there’s something kinda… Georgia O’Keefe-y about them.

9. My dog doesn’t shut his eyes all the way when he sleeps and it’s creepy as hell.

10. Tonight The Princess has an event at her school. It requires that she bring an entree she’s made. It starts at 5:30. What the hell are they thinking? Even if I could make it on time, the cooking part creates drama. This schedule, this event, is not very friendly to many schedules – namely…MY OWN. With some juggling, everything will happen as it should and everyone will be where they should be when they should be there but UGH. (Don’t get me started on the school Christmas program for Pumpkin – it’s in a few weeks. That one is also going to take some juggling. Who plans this stuff?)

Kitchen Through The Lens: Homemade Dog Treat

I swear I'd have taken the sticker off the cookie cutter if it was for people
Yeah. What of it. I like my dog.

What I made was a variation on the #7 Beef Dog Treat – I say “variation” because I realized as I was getting ready to start making these that the bouillon powder had garlic powder in it – and I just didn’t want to chance it because garlic is not good for dogs. Soooo, I swapped out the bouillon powder and the milk for some chicken broth instead. And I can’t know if it was a good or bad switch because basically? My dog eats anything.

I admit – I even bought a special cookie cutter…shaped like a dog.

even food for my dog gets baked on parchment

The thing is – the reason I added a homemade dog treat to the list, knowing I wouldn’t test it out myself (though the ingredients are both dog and people safe) is kind of the same as why I don’t use boxed cake mixes: it’s good to know what you’re eating. And hey, it’s good to know what your dog is eating. I know, I know… if your dog is anything like mine you’re thinking, “He licks his own butt, why do I care if I can pronounce the ingredients in his food?”

Okay, well, fine. Maybe you don’t. But hey, it matters.

I admit – I buy the mass produced Milkbone type treats for my pup and probably won’t stop – mainly because this is not something I can see myself doing on a regular basis, but you know, sometimes it’s a nice thing to do.

Even if your dog never says thank you.

homemade dog biscuits

Thursday Ten: Doggy Antibiotics edition

1. After the whole dog pee catching debacle for my puppy who had suddenly been peeing in his crate (when he’s NEVER EVER DONE THAT), the vet let me know that he had a bladder infection. Poor little dude. It’s been an interesting learning experience of how to give a dog pills (he prefers ’em wrapped in turkey) and even just to gain the knowledge that a) dogs CAN get bladder infections and b) apparently dogs can also get kidney stones so your vet may want him to get an xray to make sure he doesn’t have stones and if you’re lucky, he is stone free but you won’t find that out before spending $60 for an x-ray. Ah, no matter. Glad he’s on the mend, really. 346 | 365

2. The concert last week was a good one – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals put on a great show. Is it the best concert I’ve ever been to? Meeeeeh, not so much. But The Princess had a great time, despite the fact that we got caught in an AWFUL downpour, and her joy made it fun for me. I love live music and if I can share it with my daughters, I’ll be happy.

3. In my Kitchen project this week, last night I was able to cross margaritas off my list. I, uh, didn’t take very many pictures. It was a very good margarita. Look out for that post soon. Know, when I write my post I will not make you do margarita math (one parts this, two parts that, blah blah blah). I get the point but everything tastes better if you don’t have to think too hard.

4. Annnnnd because I have some tequila left from this week’s adventure, I already know what I’m making next week. Hint: There’s also tequila in it. Might make a fun snack for next Saturday’s U of M season opener against Alabama (GO BLUE). Hmmm… Perhaps I need to cross a few other things off my list as well. Michigan football might be an excellent occasion to try out the stout braised beef tacos (also on my list).

5. Writing this post is making me hungry.

6. I wanted to write more of a post about my dinner with Lisa the other day – and I may still – but one of the things I love most about her is that she is so creative and sweet-spirited. It’s really uplifting to be around her. I’ve struggled in my thinking about my photography often – because the market is pretty saturated with people and their cameras – and I struggle sometimes in the feeling that I should be comparing myself to others. It’s an awful feeling. Lisa was tremendously encouraging and she gave me some great ideas as well as perhaps an unintentional pep talk. I took her words to heart and will be trying some new things – including perhaps (soon?) opening an Etsy store to sell some of my photographs. I’ll post the information when I do it – and I fully hope y’all will kick me in the ass if I start taking too long. {And Lisa? Thank you.}
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7. Dear West Michigan theaters: Why do you not have the movies I want to see showing anywhere? I have heard NOTHING but great things about “Beasts of the Southern Wild” annnnnnd… looks like I’d have to go to Detroit to see it. Pfft.

8. Politicians need to stop talking so much.

9. The other day I needed a lift so I went to visit my sister and my niece. My niece puked all over me. I think that means she loves me.

10. Just over a week left for year four of my 365 project (366 this year?). Any ideas for what I should shoot on August 31 for this year’s final picture?

Thursday Ten: Playing an Ice Bucket in a Hotel Room edition

1. A few months ago when tickets went on sale, I picked up two to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals when they were in town. Figured it might be fun to have something to look forward to, and I love Grace Potter. And then my sister couldn’t go. So. I’m taking The Princess with me tonight to see the show. This won’t be her first concert – as we muddled through the Jonas Brothers/Miley/Hannah Montana concert a few years ago, and frankly… she’s a little underwhelmed about going (“Hey! Want to do something special and go to a concert with mom?” “Uh… do I have to?”), but… I’m hoping that ultimately she has fun. And if not, oh well, as long as I have fun. Here’s one of my favorite songs by GP – I love how the guy is playing an ice bucket and a hair dryer. It makes me giggle.

2. So, my dog who has been crate trained and has never had a problem with said crate has recently occasionally been peeing in the crate. I called the vet yesterday – wanted to be sure it wasn’t some sort of infection. They told me I’d have to bring in a doggy urine sample. They gave me very little instruction as to just how to do that. Frankly, the dog was a little underwhelmed with me, but I AM THE BEST PET OWNER EVER. Waiting for a call back from the vet…

3. The Princess has been in physical therapy for a week now for the gymnastics injury to her shoulder. It still blows my mind that my ten year old needs PT. Last night, she texted me a picture of her shoulder which has started to bruise. The physical therapist has been kind of digging around the shoulder with her thumb to attempt to break up possible scar tissue – and it’s bruised my kid’s shoulder. Slightly underwhelmed by that all.

4. Despite how wretched my 35th birthday was, on the 16th of each month, I can’t help but think towards the next birthday. For those of you playing along at home, I’ll be 36 in exactly two months. I will have a better birthday this year. I am determined that there will be no crying this year and that I can start aging gracefully… at least until I turn 40.

5. We’ve got another few months until the election and I’ve gotta say that I think a good percent of y’all that I follow on Twitter and Facebook are going to drive me ABSOLUTELY bonkers before November. Even those of you on the same “side” as me. OY. I appreciate being informed and being passionate about your beliefs and your candidates. But beyond that, I’m just easily annoyed. (I also hate the people on Facebook who tell everyone else to work out. Like all of the sudden someone is going to read your status update and say, “OH? Exercise is GOOD FOR ME? I never knew that. Here! Let me put down this Twinkie and Mountain Dew and go for a run! Oh thank goodness someone was there to tell me how unhealthy I am!” Never happens. Be a good example, sure. Be a nagging pain in the ass? No.)

6. And I should just follow up that whiny rant with a video because FAT BABY FLAMINGO LEGS.

7. Just over two weeks until the kids begin a new school year. They’re ready. They are SO READY. A fight this morning over who got to hold the television remote went into dirty territory with one daughter insisting she is cuter, the other insisting she is smarter and funnier. And me ready to pull my hair out. All of it. They’ve had a smidge too much togetherness.

8. I’m still having fun with my cooking project. I thought for sure I’d be tired of it by now. Thinking it needs to be margarita week soon though before summer is gone. Do you have a favorite margarita recipe? My goal is to not use any mixes or yuck.

9. This is one of my favorite shots I’ve taken lately. I really love sunflowers, if you couldn’t tell.
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10. The plan for 2013 was to do the Avon Walk in Denver – as we were trying to do a different city every year. UNFORTUNATELY, the Avon Foundation decided to eliminate the Denver walk. Boo. My team and I will be walking in Chicago in 2013 (NYC in 2014!). I love Chicago so it’s not a total heartbreak – and since a trip to Chicago doesn’t require air travel, maybe I can start saving for a different trip somewhere else (I really really think I need a vacation). It’s going to be awhile, but I may just throw a dart at a map and see someplace new.

Thursday Ten: May, Huh? edition

1. I am endlessly amazed by how quickly time zips by and how blurry each day seems to get and how I am already seeing notes in the kids’ backpacks about the last day of school and that’s how close it is – that it’s NEXT MONTH already and whoa, May, where did you come from?

2. Tomorrow is the dog’s birthday. He’ll be two. I remember when we met him – there were two puppies to choose from. We moved some distance away from the puppies and waited to see who would come to us. This is the little guy who chose us. He chews up stuff that should not be chewed, but dang if I don’t actually love having a dog. House actually feels safer with him in it (mainly because he hasn’t been trained not to bark at everything that goes by). Nice to know that no one will ever sneak up on us in this house. 06/29/10

3. So The Princess will be making a puppy birthday cake tomorrow. I have no idea what’s in a puppy birthday cake, but I envision a messy kitchen.

4. In an impulse grocery store purchase last night, I got these granola bars. Simply Eight. Supposed to just have only eight ingredients, so theoretically not all the garbage and chemicals and yuck. I was thinking, “FANTASTIC! I could use a little less yuck!” Well, FYI. The yuck is what holds a granola bar together. If you want a pile of crumbs, you should try these.

5. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that OH MY GOD CHRIS MANN MADE IT TO THE FINALS ON THE VOICE. I’ll stop yelling now. Seriously, so excited for him. The guy is so phenomenally talented and I’m excited to see what is in store for him career-wise. I’ll definitely be watching next week and cheering him on. As should you, because REALLY? He’s so good.

6. Two weeks from tomorrow I get on a plane (ACK) to go to Boston to spend the weekend walking 39.3 miles to fight breast cancer. I’m still a ways away from my goal, so please, if you have been thinking of supporting the cause and supporting me in this walk, go ahead and CLICK to donate to the Avon Walk. It’s an amazing cause, it’s an amazing experience. I cannot believe how quickly it’s approaching.

7. I scheduled an appointment for a hair cut tomorrow afternoon, thinking it was time for a change. Now? Can’t think of what to do with my hair. So, you know… I plan to leave the salon looking pretty much the same as when I walked in. I like having long hair – as much as I am tempted to chop it off, I don’t think I’m going to. Unless you can convince me by showing me pictures of great hair. Not too short. My hair is curly. I don’t want to puff up like a mushroom cloud or something.)

8. Do you know those days when you have a ton of things to do and then you eat too much yummy food at lunch and suddenly you’re in a food coma and you can’t figure out what to do next? Not me. I never have those days. Never. Not ever. Not even right now. Not a little bit.

9. I still haven’t started reading the book club choice of the month – though I showed it to the Princess and as I had anticipated, she seemed very interested in reading it. I think I may force myself to read this – that’s part of the point of book club – but, I accept that this isn’t really my cup of tea. I’m SO BAD AT BOOK CLUB.

10. I have gone through this list three times to make sure I counted right. One of these days, I will realize my fear of posting a nine-itemed Thursday Ten list.