tending my veggie garden has been a *bit* more challenging this year, and not just because of the insane heat and drastic lack of rain. i have a new kind of garden pest on my hands – this one much cuter than the aphid variety.
our newest member of the family is evidently not just a pug-beagle mix….i think he has some capuchin in there as well. that fence has kept cooper out for four years – but not lewis, our tenacious one. (although we’ve already established that coop is not the most athletic dog.)
the irresistible temptation is the frogs, who’ve been making themselves at home in the only cool/damp area in the yard. lewis is a determined hunter, and quite the skilled climber, as you can see. thankfully he’s not really digging holes (which he is good at) or eating produce (which there’s been little of); but he is trampling my poor weather-weary plants every time he goes bounding after his prey. we’ve yet to find an effective deterrent to the breaking-and-entering habit.
i’m intent on nurturing my little veggie-patch as best i can, despite parched soil, unruly growth, and a mischievous pup. any suggestions?
happy birthday, cooper! for your fourth birthday we got you what makes you happiest in the whole world—other than peanut butter—a playmate! seems like not that long ago you were just a wee pup yourself….sniff, sniff.
for quite awhile lee has been insisting that our puggle, (an extremely social animal) needs a pal to keep him company all day. so when a friend at pets and people alerted us that a pug there had a litter that they thought were puggles, one of the puppies was in our home within hours.
we’ve decided he’s more likely a carlin pinscher (or muggin), but he still looks just like a miniature version of cooper. (a mini cooper, ha!) and with all his bouncy energy we think he’ll be the perfect match for cooper’s unending playfulness.
here’s the embarrassing part: we’ve had the dog for a few weeks and still have not named him. this is unacceptable.
how hard can it be? there’s been no shortage of suggestions—both our own and those offered from friends and family—but we can’t seem to settle on one. picky, much?
in our defense, we fostered the little guy for a week or so before we were sure coop had really warmed up to him, so we deliberately avoided the naming attachment at first. but now the little guy needs a name. because we’ve been calling him “the little guy” for long enough that it might become his name by default.
so this is not only an introduction to the newest member of our family, it’s a plea for help – what should we call him?
UPDATE (november 30):
we did finally land on a name for “the little guy.” then, in a crazy string of events, we realized that he was a much better fit in a friend’s home and subsequently adopted an actual puggle from another shelter in the city. “the big guy” is one year old, but 15 pounds heavier than cooper. he and coop are like clones in their pugglish behavior, and we’re so happy to have lewis as a part of our family, now. photo to come soon on our Christmas card.
cooper is the canine george-michael bluth. at least when it comes to games of catch. i’d like to pretend that he’s been influenced by episodes of arrested development repeatedly playing on the television, but i’m under no delusions that cooper learned his flinch-and-duck reflex from studying michael cera.
nope, our playful pooch is an aggressive athlete in many arenas, but when an object – any item, small or large, soft or hard – flies in his direction…he’s a wimp. even when it’s a toy. a toy that you’re both playing with. a toy that he is springing up and down for. toss it his way, and he dodges it like it’s on fire.
i’m not kidding. he could be drooling over a treat in your hand and flee from it the minute if leaves your grip in a slow, soft lob. the very thing that he was just a nanosecond prior begging for with those big puppy eyes is instantly the most terrifying threat known to doggie-kind. it makes me laugh out loud every time.
this absurd response is almost the only reason the dog will break a stay command. cooper will stay put for ages, even if you forget about him (er, i mean, not that i would know that) he will still be waiting expectantly for you to release him. unless you flip a treat toward him – then “stay” is a dim memory.
i think a game of frisbee in not in his future.
i’m going to try to get it on video, but until then, view the original “cower instead of catch” move:
the other day, lee and i were wistfully reminiscing about the time, not so long ago, when our “baby” was just a tiny, adorable, energetic pup. he’s still adorable and energetic, just not so tiny anymore.
lee made me snort my soda when he recalled our absurd nightly routine in the weeks following cooper‘s homecoming: after work we would feed an eager pup and receive oodles of wet doggie kisses, play and cuddle on the floor, ooh and aww at how he was the “cutest puppy in the world” …then stick a matchstick in his backside. yes, you read that right. there was a time when preparing for bed meant getting out a box of matches and… well, let me explain.
you see, these first few weeks of living with our new canine companion also came with a morning routine: rolling out of bed and farkling over who was going to wash the dog and who would clean the kennel, not yet knowing which would be filthier. cooper could not seem to make it through the night without desecrating his bed with wet, smelly poo, no matter how early we got up. the odorous excrement didn’t seem to offend him, though, because he was just fine rolling around in it while he slept and ensuring the stuff was smeared everywhere. niiiiiice!
the problem was, we couldn’t get him to “go” before bed. he wasn’t yet familiar with his new surroundings, and was so skittish at the things-that-go-bump-in-the-night that he would hardly venture a toenailoff the back porch before scampering back inside, despite our efforts to illuminate the entire area with giant mag-lites. this lack of bedtime bathroom break meant that his tiny bowels had to be emptied in the middle of the night, even though his bed was not the appropriate location.
in desperation, i called our friend and dog trainer to beg for advice. misti immediately recommended that we “match him.” huh? maybe some of you have heard of this technique or even used it before, but when i initially heard the suggestion that we insert a matchstick in the dog’s anus, i was horrified. envisioning nighmarish scenes in which we violated our precious pooch by forcing a burning stick into his nether region, i reluctantly asked for more details.
i was was relieved to discover that no flame was involved, in fact, only the very tip of a well lubed, conveniently sized stick would be in use. she explained that the issue was cooper didn’t feel any sense of urgency, so he was not compelled to relieve himself. the matchstick simply expedited the process by simulating the “gotta go” sensation. motivated by the possibility of a solution to our dreaded wake-up call, lee and i decided to give it a try.
of course, my tough husband couldn’t stomach the dirty work, so he won the job of soothing the head end of our pet while i defiled the business end. (although this did mean cooper was looking at lee when he experienced the betrayal of his trust.)
as wrong as it seemed, it actually worked! we led our match-wielding puggle to the back door, his pug’s tail curled back displaying the evidence of our scheme. and sure enough, he circled a few times, assumed the position, and pooped!
our manipulation of cooper’s BMs lasted only a few weeks before he wised up. just the rattle of the matchbox would send him fleeing to the door with his curly tail straightened out and tucked protectively between his hind legs. the method had effectively taught him not only to “take a break” before bed, but to do it outside!
while lee and i are more than thankful that stage is over, we will always laugh remembering the dung mines in the yard flagged with little matchsticks, and our regular conversations that leapt straight from “aww, isn’t he cute?” to “yeah, now let’s match his ass!”
when cooper bounded into our lives 2 1/2 years ago, we didn’t even know such a thing as a puggle existed. our puppy is a mix of pug and beagle, and we’ve recognized characteristics of both breeds in him: the hound’s hypersensitive snout that can sniff out the faintest odor of interest, and the pug’s social inclination that loves to be the center of attention. but evidently, “puggles” as a cross-breed share many traits, as well. when we found the loads of puggle videos on YouTube, we were shocked at the uncanny the resemblance in behavior.
in the absence of actual videos of my dog (we really need to use the video camera more at all), i give you these vids that would almost fool me if you told me they were cooper.
sleep barking. i’ve seen dogs snore, make running motions, and even tail-wag in their sleep, but i’ve never heard this distinct warbly sound from other dogs. when coop does this we call it “under-water barking.” most dogs dream about chasing cats, but ours dreams of snorkeling.
crazed running. lee & i were so amused at cooper’s spastic antics that we taught him to run his wild laps around the living room on command (with the order “run-run-run!”). granted, a few minutes of rough-housing on the floor sufficiently excites him to the same effect, but he clearly knows when we want him to sprint. he can run faster and jump higher than you might imagine for a dog with short pug legs. while we’ve finally established a no-banking-off-leather-couch rule with him, he occasionally loses himself in the glee and leaps from the floor directly to the back of the couch and down again just like this puggle does at about 00:39. (he often spins out in the same cartoonish way as well.) if the video is not streaming smoothly, you’ll want to use the link to watch on YouTube to get the full effect of those little legs frantically sliding in every direction.
standing ovation. for peanut butter, the dog will do anything. he can actually hold this position, with a bit of spinning back and forth, for almost a minute without a break. we were so proud of our especially talented pet until we found a few puggle videos that show similar skills. must be something in the build that gives them exceptional balance.
here is another common trait among puggles that can be endlessly entertaining, but this habit is something that i have never seen before cooper. he is a joy and makes us laugh every day without fail. what was life like before him?
today is our puppy’s second birthday. cooper is exactly one month younger than our marriage. after a month of pondering if we could be unselfish enough to take responsibility for another living thing in our home, lee and i decided (in a very non-committal way) to start visiting animal shelters to scope potential candidates.
that’s when a coincidental conversation with a stranger at lee’s office brought a little puggle (pug-beagle mix) into our lives. we agreed to take in the soon-to-be-evicted puppy, figuring that we had nothing to lose but a few carpet stains if we decided to find him another home. we never even considered parting with him after that. he has of course been a constant source of fun, laughter, surprises, and yes, at times frustration. and now we can’t imagine life without him.
we’re not the kind of pet owners that treat our precious pooch like anything more than a dog (i won’t detail specific practices here in case any of you fall into that category of pet-lovers), but we do like to throw a little family birthday party for him on this day. for the past two years, this has involved the two of us in the kitchen singing over him and a doggie-treat covered in peanut butter and topped with the appropriate number of candles.
we realize that cooper in no way distinguishes this day from any other, and certainly has no concept that this treat is any different from the many others he’s been given (other than the curious flame, perhaps), but we like to sing “happy birthday” to him, so we do. and he undoubtedly enjoys both the attention and the peanut butter.
so today we celebrate our furry companion. happy birthday, coop!
you can see more photos of our “baby” here, including shots of last year’s birthday p.b. bonanza.