Go Dog Go!

My Life As A Dog

Going to the Vet

Earlier this week B took me to the vet. It was a regular check up – time for me to get my rabies shot, check for heartworm and to make sure that I was in tip top shape. The visit began with its usual stresses. It is hard to believe how many other animals are at a place called “the animal hospital.” Cats, dogs, you name it, they were everywhere! It is not a secret that I do not like other animals, so waiting for our appointment was my own personal hell.

Before entering the examining room they weighed me. I weighed 26.3 pounds – the same weight as a really large turkey that you might serve at Thanksgiving for like 30 people. Dr. Buytenko seemed like a nice enough guy, though I must admit that he had some nerve touching me all over the place. I squirmed quite a bit, but there was no place for me to go as I was on a rather high table of stainless steel – not the most comfortable of places. So, the visit was going well, until the Doctor mentioned that I was overweight. I was devastated. Seriously, how over weight could I be? I regularly eat my cup of dog food and drink some water. OK, it’s true, I do eat some snacks and Hallie gives me an occasional yogurt cup to clean, but generally, I do not make a pig of myself (I mean no disrespect to pigs).

Dr. Buytenko suggested that I should lose some weight – you know, watch what I eat and perhaps exercise some more. His tone was so cold, like didn’t he realize that I was a dog and I had feelings? My whole body image is now out of whack – you would think that I have some huge “shank handles” the way he talked about me. I actually have some really annoying habits that have to do with food and they probably do not add one calorie to my diet. For instance, in morning, if Hallie eats that yellow cheese that is wrapped in plastic – I love to lick that plastic – I don’t really like the cheese. When the family eats dinner, I beg at the table, but not for food – I am hoping that they will give me their napkins – again not a high calorie food, but for some reason, I love shredding used napkins. Annoying? Right?

Well, as I enter the new year, like everyone else in the world, my number one resolution will be to lose some weight. This will mean an extra walk every night. The family and I had pretty much had given up that extra walk because of my fear of loud noises and the cold. Perhaps Hallie will buy me one of those thingies with the little red light. I use to love chasing that light – Lil Joe even made a movie of me chasing the light – that would be some good exercise. It’s just a shame that I will have to give up my care-free ways now that I have a weight problem. I wonder if there are plans for a season of the Biggest Loser that features dogs? Hmmmmm.

Take Your Dog to Work Day

I think that Hallie should take me to work with her at the Chicago Architecture Foundation(CAF).  Today, when I was surfing the web, I saw this really interesting article from AP entitled, “With a Few Rules, Dogs and Work Can Mix.”  It was all about how some offices allow their employees to bring their dogs to work and they are finding that the employees that do this are less stressed and that all of the employees are interacting more.  Here’s what the article stated,

Dogs in the workplace are “a growing phenomenon,” said Rebecca Johnson, director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in Columbia.

“People are realizing we need to do things to reduce stress in the workplace,” she said.

Dogs can build connections among co-workers and create a healthy diversion from work, Johnson said. People interacting with dogs experience a hormonal reaction that causes them to “feel more relaxed and more positive,” she said.

I am all for this.  I think that I can bring a lot to CAF.  Dogs love to walk and CAF offers over 85 walking tours.  I could conduct  tours.  How about “Fire Hydrants Around the Loop”  or “Downtown Dumpsters.”  These tours would appeal to any dog and probably their humans too.

The best part about me going to work at CAF is that I would get to spend all day and every day with Hallie. It’s very hard on me when the whole family leaves in the morning and I am alone all day.  I know I could hang out with Peepers, but seriously, I would rather not.  I like human interaction.  I am a “people dog.”  Going to work seems like the perfect solution for me.  I would get to be with people and I would make everyone feel less stressed and more connected.  I know that folks are tired of taking their daughters to work, so in 2012, let’s take our dogs!

Go Pee Pee

I love those 3 little words.  The minute I hear them, I have an incredible urge to.. well…. you know… relieve myself.  Besides having “to go number 1” when I hear “go pee pee,” I can also tell from those three little words what kind of walk I am going to experience.  Take for instance, tonight. Hallie and I just came back from my walk.  The minute she opened the front door, she started saying “go pee pee, go pee pee, go pee pee, etc.”  Didn’t she want me to at least walk down the stairs so that I wouldn’t pee right there on the front porch?  I guess not.  We barely walked anywhere and she just kept saying “go pee pee.”  Finally about a half a block away from our house, I couldn’t control myself anymore, and I went.  No sooner had I relieved myself and we were on our way back to the house. 

Ok, it was 7 degrees outside, but other than that, I do not know why Hallie was in such a hurry.  I mean I have been in the house all day, doesn’t she think I would want some fresh air.  So, it was 7 degrees.  She has a pretty warm coat, hat, scarf, and gloves.  What about me?  Nothing.  I don’t even wear boots.  I mean seriously have you ever seen those dorky dog boots?  They look like balloons for your paws.  I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them.  I can handle the cold.  Of course the fact that we were outside for about 3 minutes makes it very easy for me to deal with cold weather.

Actually on any given day, the time from when we walk out of the house until I hear those three little words,  dictates the kind of walk I am going to have.  Severe cold or rainy or snowy weather, they say ‘go pee pee,” about 5 seconds after we leave the house.  On a warm sunny day, we can walk 5 miles before I will hear a “go pee pee.” I am practically dying because there is no need for me to go pee pee, if Hallie is out enjoying our walk.

I know that this post sounds like I am complaining – like I don’t appreciate the special times we have on our walks.  I guess I am a little bit.  Judging by tonight’s weather, I can already tell that tomorrow I will be taking 3 very quick walks.  Why?  I heard the forecast… 90% chance of snow and the high temperature for the day will be 20! It’s a good thing that no one ever says ‘go pee pee” when we are in the house.

Here We Go Again

Hallie often leaves the radio on during the day so that I have company.  I am a big fan of NPR.  I literally listen to every program they offer. My favorites are “All Things Considered,”  “This American Life, ” and “Re-Sound.”  I can barely make it through “Story Corps” on Friday mornings.  The stories are always so touching.  It is a little disappointing that I have never heard a dog and their human on Story Corps – afterall aren’t we “man’s best friend?”  (But I digress).

Earlier this week, I was surprised to learn that it was the Iowa Caucus and that can only mean one thing…it’s time to vote for a president again.  It sure does feel like Obama just got into office.  The most important part of any election for most humans is the candidates.  For me, the most important part is whether or not the candidates have a dog, and what kind of policies do they support that will benefit me.

Here are some interesting facts about American presidents and their dogs that I found on dogtime.com: 

  • George Washington’s dog’s name was Sweet Lips
  • Teddy Roosevelt’s dog ripped the pants off of the French ambassador
  • Lyndon Johnson’s dog relieved himself in front of the Shah of Iran

In 2008, I reported that the winner of this past week’s Iowa caucus, Mitt Romney, did not have a dog.  As it turns out, I may have been a little too hard on Mitt.  He didn’t have a dog in 2008, but according to his wife Ann,

“Mitt and I love our dogs. Seamus was our first–an Irish setter. When I wasn’t at home, Mitt let him sleep on the bed. And usually when he was riding in the car, his head was out the window. Seamus lived to a ripe old age, basking in the affection of a large family…

Ann continues…

“We are a dog family. Casey was our Bichon, McKenzie our Golden, and Marley our Weimaraner. Marley had 8 puppies, which Mitt delivered all night for her one summer. When she died last year, she was in Mitt and our arms, and we all cried. Yes, we love our dogs.”

MittRomneyRoadToTheWhiteHouse.blogspot.com – From Ann Romney – Jun 30, 2007

I guess it is hard to be a presidential candidate and have a dog at the same time.  Mitt is probably on the road a lot while he is campaigning.  His kids are all grown, who would be home to walk his dog?  I guess in the interim that if he really wanted to show some support for canines, he could change his name to “Mutt.”  I know that for me, if his name was Mutt, I would take him a lot more seriously.


Happy 2012!

Can you believe it?  I did not write one post for all of 2011.  Did you miss me?  Of course you did.  Well, as they say…”I am back in the saddle again,” and happy to be working with Hallie on my blog.  It’s funny how all of this came about.  Since there has been a lot of “together” time due to the holiday season, Hallie and I were surfing the net and we read some of my old posts.  I must say, I am one funny dog and it was really a hoot reading those old posts.  We got to talking about the possibility of writing together again and we have decided to just do it, so here we are!

So here’s a quick update on everyone.  Hallie is doing great!  She is still working at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (they still do not have any tours for dogs) and she is getting ready to teach the docent class that begins in 2 weeks.  I know that will keep her very busy.  B is busy with his congregation, JRC, and working on his book.  He is working with a publisher that is helping him turn his blog into a book.  I wonder if that would be a possibility for me?  I mean honestly, look how popular that Marley and Me book was.  Frankly, my story would be way better.  Who can resist a rescue dog that has done well in the world?

My G is going to school in Montana.  I miss him around the house.  Every so often, I go and lie on his bed just to remember his smell – I know that sounds really sick, but that’s what dogs do. Today is Lil Joe’s birthday – he is 16.  honestly, where do the years go?  He was just a wee boy of 12 when I came to live with this great family.  You will recall it was he who convinced Hallie and B to get a rescue dog.  He promised that he would do everything for the new dog.  Of course, you know how that goes… that’s what every kid who wants a dog promises.  Why do parents fall for that crap?  I thought Hallie and B were smarter than that.  Oh well, thank heavens they weren’t smarter than that or I wouldn’t be here.  Peepers, the cat, is still living in the basement.  Her living situation has been upgraded because the family had the basement re-finished.  Now she has a TV to watch and couches to sleep on.  Don’t feel too bad for her that I still never let her come upstairs.

As for me… I am just doing more of the same – sleeping, eating, sleeping, walking, thinking about eating, sleeping, sniffing, thinking about eating, etc.  It’s a dog’s life and a good one at that.  I have some resolutions for 2012.  Here they are:

  • Write blog posts regularly
  • Don’t bark at dogs that go by our house
  • Don’t bark at dogs when I am taking a walk
  • Try not to rub my but on the ground or the carpet
  • Don’t pull on my leash
  • Stay away from all garbage
  • Be loving and kind to my family

Here’s to a wonderful 2012!

What’s Going On?

I was just looking at my blog stats and my readership has drastically gone down.  What’s going on?  I admit, I have not been writing posts on any kind of regular basis since March.  As you know from my post in early September, I have been going through a rough patch though things are definitely looking up.  Honestly, why kick a dog when he’s down?

Dogs and Privilege

Hallie won an I-Pad!  She made a donation to NPR during their fundraising drive and was entered into a drawing on the day they were giving away I-Pads.  How lucky is that?  Hallie was so excited to win something, she didn’t even seem to want the I-Pad and gave it to B.  Now B is enjoying his new toy – but truth be told, I am the one who is really enjoyiing the I-Pad.  Because of my opposable thumbs you know that it is difficult for me to type.  But with the I-Pad, I just simply touch the device and the “world is my oyster.”  Whooo – whoo – I am finally able to surf the web with ease.

So, being the good doggie that I am, I have been reading  B’s blog and his recent sermons from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  One of the sermons was about “privilege.”  It was mostly about the “privileges” that humans have (and there are a lot), but it got me thinking that as a dog, I have a lot of privilege in my life.

First of all, a quick explanation of what privilege is.  It’s an unearned benefit that some one or some dog enjoys simply because they have  certain characteristics.  This makes me think of pure-bred dogs.  They are the only dogs that can compete in dog shows.  It doesn’t matter if they are good or nice dogs, just because of their DNA and who their parents are, they can compete and win all of this prestige in these international contests.  It’s an unearned benefit that these dog get and they probably don’t even appreciate their awards.

Designer dogs or fancy mixed breed dogs – are another breed of dog that experience privilege.  People pay oodles of money for these dogs.  They think that because of thier unusual breeding, these dogs will behave better.  But as it turns out, some of these fancy dogs may still bite their owners – but no one expects them to. 

And then there is me.  It may not seem that a rescue dog has a lot of privilege.  But I have privilege because of the family that adopted me.  You will recall in my last post, I mentioned my visit to the doggie boot camp.  Had I been adopted by another family, I might have ended up back at a shelter or worse still sent off to the doggie farm in the sky.  But I have enjoyed this benefit simply because of this family and not because of anything I did.  There are a lot of privileges that I receive from this family – there is daily food and water, long walks, medical care, loofa toys, etc.  I recieve all of this just because of who I am not necessarily because I deserve them.

A lot of time when dogs have privilege, they don’t even realize that they have the privilege, it is invisible to them.  Having read Brant’s sermon, I now realize the many privileges that I have in my life.  Of course it makes me very happy, but now that I have this knowledge, I must acknowledge how it affects my relationships with other dogs.  There are dogs all around me, who are not as lucky as me.  I need to ask myself what I am going do do now that I have this new knowledge.

True Confessions

Well, I haven’t written on my blog in many months.  Truth be told, things took a turn for the worse.  I was becoming more and more agitated – barking at dogs that past by our house, barking a other dogs when we went for walks, pulling on my leash, chasing squirrels and anything that moved, barking when people came into the house, jumping on people, including the family and finally biting two of Lil Joe’s friends.  I was one angry agitated dog!  Any loud noise would make me jump and when there was thunder, I would take refuge in B’s closet.  Hallie was at her wit’s end and I know that she and B seriously discussed sending me away and worse – the dog farm – if you know what I mean.

In the end, they sent me to doggy boot camp at the First Place Training Center in Mchenry County – over an hour away from our house.  On the way to the training center, I knew that something serious was happening. I had never been in the car for such a long drive and I was a nervous wreck – I even had a #2 accident in the car.  B brought me there and left me there.

Well it was very different than my home.  I really had to shape up – there were dogs everywhere and no one cared for my non-stop barking.  No one would let me get away with my usual shananigans – especially Vince, the main trainer.  At first I hated him, but then I came to realize that what he was training me to do, made me a lot more calmer.  I wasn’t as agitated.  At the center, I had a chance to run around a lot and to think about how crazy my life had gotten.

Three weeks later, Hallie and Lil Joe came to pick me up.  I was so happy to see them, though I was pretty subdued at first.  They spent 3 hours with Vince and me learning all of the new things that I had learned. 

I’ve been back for over a month and I am so glad to be back with the family.  I am way more calmer and no one here puts up with my bad behavior.  They do what Vince did and I remember that I much rather be here than at doggy boot camp.  I definitely still have my moments – but life seems so much easier now.  Hallie takes me for these amazingly long walks -which would have been impossible to do before I went away.  She makes me sit before before we cross any streets.  When the boys have friends over, I may bark a little when they first arrive, but I basically leave them alone now and hope that they will do the same.

Believe it or not, this weekend marks my third anniversary with this loving family.  I always knew that I was a lucky dog, but now I know it more than ever.  As a Jewish dog, the Jewish new year is in two days and while this is a time of celebration, it is also a time for reflection of the year that has passed.  It’s a time to ask forgiveness to those who you may have offended or harmed.  I want to publicly ask for forgiveness to those boys that I bit – you know who you are – and also to my family – for making their lives so difficult.  I am truly sorry.    And to everyone else – a sweet and happy shana tovah!

New Computer

Lil Joe got a new computer and there was this great deal.  He got a Dell Inspiron and Hallie and B got a mini-computer for $200.  Since I am a dog and don’t spend money, this actually sounded like a lot of money to me.  Hallie was so excited about the new little computer.  Of course, if Hallie is happy than I am happy.  It’s a cute little computer and with my thumb issues, it is actually easier for me to write on this computer than my usual laptop.

Here’s what is new in my world.  Hallie is still taking her architecture class.  Now she is learning about modern buildings.  See the picture at the beginning of this post – that is Mies van de Rohe’s very famous Federal Center. To me, it looks like a big box made of glass and steel.  Hallie assures me that this building is a masterpiece and that I really do not know how to appreciate it.  It may look like a big box, but it is a very carefully designed box where no detail was left to chance.  I would appreciate this building more, if Hallie would take me on a tour – but she still says “no way.”

Jorge has been busy, busy, busy in our basement.  The whole place is transformed.  You may recall that two years ago, on My G’s birthday, there was a huge flood in the basement.  Everything was turned upside down and we had to remove the carpet.  Well now, thanks to Jorge, a good portion of the basement has been finished.  He knocked down walls, the floor has been tiled, the walls are newly painted, there is drywall everywhere.  It is going to be an amazing spot for folks to hang out.  Unfortunately, I am not allowed to go down there because that is where Peepers lives.  Remember her – that’s the cat that lives in the basement.  She has been living there since I came to this house.

Well, the weather is finally getting warmer.  This means that Hallie and B will be more willing to take me on long walks.  Last week My G actually took me on a really long walk – we walked like mile, while My G walked his friend to the train.  Nothing is better than a long walk on a nice sunny afternoon.  The great thing about being is a dog is that you can just come home from these walks, drink a little water, and then take a nap.  Aaahhh, it’s a dog’s life!

Chicago’s Historic Architecture

Hellooooo everybody!  Have you wondered where I have been?  Have you missed me?  Do you see that building in the photo in this post?  That building, the Marquette Building, completed in 1895, designed by Holabird and Roche, is the reason that I have not been blogging.

You know I have lots of incredible ideas and opinions about a variety of subjects.  However, since I do not have opposable thumbs, it is difficult for me to actually use a computer keyboard.  For years, I have relied on Hallie to translate my thoughts and concerns onto this blog.

Since January she has been taking a course through the Chicago Architecture Foundation (where she now works) to learn how to become a docent.  It is an intense course – hundreds of pages of reading, written assignments and oral presentations.  She has been working diligently on this.  I respect her commitment, but do I care about masonry load bearing walls, Chicago windows, metal frame construction, cornices, pediments, acroteria – the list goes on and on and on and on.

The truth is, I would care – but has Hallie even offered once to take me on one of her walking tours?  No!  Are these dog-free tours?  You know how I feel about that?  I’m sure the tour would be interesting to me because I care about everything that Hallie cares about.  Maybe I will have to go to the Chicago School in order to show her how serious I can be about her new hobby!

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