Saturday, September 7, 2019

Photo Fail = Real Life

On a recent late summer weekend, I tried recreating our first "family" portrait together from June of 2018. I don't think we'll ever get as great of a picture, but we're having a lot of fun trying!

After setting up the camera on a tripod and getting everything ready, I told my mom to just keep clicking away no matter what and hopefully we'd end up with at least a couple good ones. I don't know if any of them are "good" but I love what they depict... fun.

In my opinion, the photo fails are better than the perfect portrait. This is real life.

Jake's tongue sticking out while Charlie looks the other way.

They both finally look at the camera, but Charlie's lip is stuck on her tooth.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Reunion + Dog Mom's Day!

Barley, Jake, Woody and Copper

We had scheduled another Littermate Reunion for the end of April, but snowy weather forced us to reschedule. Unbeknownst to me, we rescheduled for May 11th... National Dog Mom's Day!

VIDEO (click link):

So yesterday morning, I left Charlie with her daddy and drove 2.5 hours to Germantown WI to reunite Jake with his littermates at Homestead Howl Dog Park. Only 4 of the 5 dogs could make it but they still had a blast chasing each other and taking turns laying in a mud puddle.

The weather was still pretty chilly for mid-May and it seems that spring is a little behind schedule in arriving. I wasn't dressed warmly enough but watching the dogs romp around full of joy made it easier to endure the chilly wind for the two-hour visit.

VIDEO (Mud puddle!):

We all exchanged stories about the dogs and continue to learn how similar they are. All pups are total snugglers, very playful and sweet, have an ability to produce extra eye goopies (requiring kleenex cleanings often), love water and being near their people.

This was just the second time we've brought them all together and it was nice to do so without freezing our butts off in the snow like last time. It was easier sharing stories and getting to know each other this time and we're all still committed to and looking forward to the next reunion!

Barley and Copper taking a break to rehydrate.

Barley enjoying a stick.

Jake snoozed on the 2.5 hour drive home and proceeded to sleep for the rest of the day once we were home. I had to wake him up so I could give him dinner and a bath. His bath took longer than usual this time since he had taken the liberty of giving himself a "spa-like" mud bath at the park. The mud just ran from his fur in streams and didn't seem to want to stop!

Woody showing off his athletic physique.


After bathtime, I hand-washed his harness and collar to get all the mud and grit out and allow it to hang-dry overnight so it'd be dry by morning in case we go somewhere today.


Jake with Aunt Katie 

You would think that National Dog Mom's Day would be filled with gifts and flowers like a normal Mother's Day... but no, to be a dog mom means that you drive your dog 5 hours roundtrip for a playdate with his brothers, feed him extra special food and treats, give him a bath and wash all his gear. So basically just like any other day!

Time to rehydrate and give kisses

Jake was happy to be home and reunited with Charlie, who had spent the day doing gardening projects with her daddy. Since Charlie is dog-reactive, she does not enjoy dog parks or meeting other dogs so she got some one-on-one time with Alan today while Jake went on his reunion adventure. It's good to separate these two once in a while so they don't get too dependent on each other.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Jake's 1st Adoptiversary

One year ago today, we brought Jake home to become part of our family. It's crazy to think it's been a year already and yet, it seems like we've had Jake forever.

It was a Thursday and I was just going to drive 4 hours to Milwaukee to "see" Jake... not bring him home. I had no idea at the time how he would capture our hearts and how well Charlie would accept him.

That was our biggest hurdle: Charlie's acceptance of another dog. With her fear-aggressiveness toward other dogs, I thought we'd never be able to get a second dog. But in letting Charlie choose Jake, it worked like magic.

The day after we brought him home, we had a big April snowstorm. Jake adored the snow and had so much fun playing with Charlie in the backyard. I knew then that our Wisconsin winters would not affect this Texas-born rescue dog!

April 2018

April 2018

Just a few days ago we had another huge April snowstorm... almost exactly a year to the day from Jake's first snow in Wausau. I had to smile at the irony. And once again, he was in the backyard like a kid on Christmas morning... so excited with the fresh blanket of new snow.

April 2019

VIDEO (April 11th Snowstorm):

VIDEO (Snowstorm Shenanigans):

Jake was not the dog I thought I wanted. He was not the dog I had intended on adopting. But sometimes life chooses for you... and you get what you need, not necessarily what you want.

I needed Jake more than I knew at the time. He is Charlie's opposite in so many ways and compliments our life perfectly. Our family feels whole with Jake in it.

Jake is very social and wants to meet ALL the dogs and ALL the people when we're out on walks. It's hard to tell him that not everyone wants to meet him though! I can take Jake anywhere and know that he'll be fine. He's not scared of anything, whereas Charlie is scared of almost everything. He's very chill and easy-going.

Jake is a cuddler and a lover. He wants nothing more than to be as close to his "pack" as possible. He insists on giving kisses and full-body hugs every day, every chance he gets. He follows me around and I call him a "mama's boy," but I know he loves his Charlie more than anyone else.

When I take the dogs for their separate nightly walks, Jake howls and cries the whole time we're gone. I know he misses me, but it's Charlie that he doesn't want to be separated from. He probably annoys her like a little brother, but they really do love each other.

Charlie has a spring in her step again and playfully wrestles and teases Jake all the time. She romps with him in the backyard and take turns chasing each other. They are hiking companions and she shows Jake everything she knows.

Jake makes me laugh every single day. He's a goofball to the core. I don't think he even knows how funny he is, which makes him even funnier. He's got a bouncy step when he walks and his ears flop playfully as he prances about.

He's a youngster at heart with a short attention span, going from one toy to the next always looking for fun. Jake likes to sleep as close to me as possible. Every time he gets up to rearrange himself during the night, he plops on top of me and slides off leaving himself tightly pressed up against me until I need to push him away to gather my blankets back around me. Even if I seem annoyed, he makes me smile and laugh because he's just so sweet and innocent.

I'm so happy to have this love-monster in my life and he makes us all so happy!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Race Day! (We did a 5k)

On Saturday, Jake and I participated in a 5k Run/Walk to support a local animal rescue group! This was the first time I had ever done anything like this... partly because it's outside of my comfort zone and also because with Charlie's noise-reactivity and dog aggressiveness, we'd never been able to participate in something like this (it would totally stress her out!).

VIDEO (riding the shuttle bus):

Shuttle Bus Jake

But now that I have Jake, I can finally do activities that include other dogs! Jake is a total social butterfly and absolutely LOVES meeting other dogs. He's such an easy-going dog. I never have to stress about him meeting/greeting other dogs.

VIDEO (meeting & greeting):

We had a lot of "firsts" for this event. Jake rode a shuttle bus for the first time (he did fairly well after he settled down and got over the initial excitement that there were other dogs on the bus and he wanted to meet them all!).

VIDEO (meeting the mascot):

When it was our turn to line up at the start line, I wasn't anticipating running the race but rather walking. However, when all the other people and dogs started running, Jake wanted to keep up with them! So we ran (jogged) for much of the first half of the race. Once the pack started thinning out and there weren't dogs in front of Jake urging him on, he resorted to his usual "weaving wanderer" style of walking and stopped to sniff where all the other dogs had peed.

Everyone lined up to start in the pouring rain.
We also did the whole thing in pouring rain. It was a miserably cold 42 degrees and constant rain for the entire time we were at the event, which included 45 minutes of standing around before the 45 minutes of our race time.

Jake in the blue harness on the right

Jake (blue harness) & myself (pink jacket) in the background
VIDEO (running the race!):

We were soaked to the bone. My clothes were dripping wet all the way down to my undergarments. My shoes were squishy. Jake's leash was soaked. All of our clothes and gear must have weighed an additional 10 lbs with all the water we were carrying.

But we did it! We finished the race. Although as we approached the finish line, Jake kept trying to pull me off-course toward the other dogs waiting in the pavilion. I laughed so hard as I pulled him back on track so we could cross the finish line.

On our way home to dry off!
It was all a big socializing party for Jake and he just wanted to get back to all his new dog friends. The weather was awful, but every day with Jake is a fun day and he gets me laughing even when things aren't perfect. Love my little man.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The End is Near

It's too soon to say "we're in the clear" but after a long and difficult winter, it seems the end is near. Spring is definitely on its way.

We've hardly had a chance for outdoor activities this winter. After an icy December/January, we received record snowfall in the month of February. I was so busy and sore from all that shoveling and I had no energy left to take the dogs for walks or hikes. Even if I had wanted to hike somewhere, the parking areas were plowed in with snow and not accessible. The couple times we did make it out for snowshoeing, the snow was impossibly deep for the dogs and we had to turn back right away.

Last week we finally saw a bit of thawing but the thawed snow quickly froze on sidewalks causing dangerous conditions again. I attempted to take the dogs for a walk last Friday night (a week ago) but ended up falling on the ice and hurting my knee (among other things). I've been taking it easy this past week and opted to forego any additional walks until the sidewalks are completely clear of ice and snow.

A few days ago Mother Nature dumped a bunch of rain on us, which weighed down the snow on roofs and caused major ice dams. One of those ice dams fell off my roof and took down part of the roof overhang and rain gutters with it. That piece of roof crashed into a window. So I spent the afternoon cleaning up glass, boarding up the window and shoveling the remaining snow off my roof (actually Alan helped me with that part - thank you honey).

The cleanup of this damage will be ongoing for a bit... contractors are so busy with all the snow/ice damage that it's impossible to get someone out to look at it anytime soon. The next night, flood water from my backyard started pouring in a hole in my basement. I had to chop ice in the backyard to divert water away from the house and then mop up the mess in the basement. It feels like this crap will never end.

But then we had today! It was beautiful out. Spring is in the air... the sun is sitting higher in the sky, days are getting longer and the air has a humid quality to it that makes me believe winter is almost over. Just a couple more weeks of gradually warming temps to melt this incredible depth of snow and we'll be able to get outside on a more consistent basis. It's almost here... I can feel it.

The dogs were in heaven today. The snow on the trail has condensed enough that they could manage running around without getting too exhausted. No one had been through to break trail yet, so it was still exerting, but the sunshine and fresh air invigorated us and we spent over an hour walking and playing in the woods. I wore my snow-shoes still to make sure I could get through, but the dogs did well on their own without following me.

I found myself singing along to the radio on our way home, my spirits lifted from the time outdoors. My mood's recovery still has a long way to go after this crazy winter, but today was a good start and I'm looking forward to getting out again soon.

VIDEO #1 (click link):

VIDEO #2 (click link):

VIDEO #3 (click link):