Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why O Why

Well the holidays are over so no more excuses for my pathetic lack of posts. My office has what is called a "reduced holiday schedule" between Christmas and New Year's Day. Because of the way the holidays fell and the two weekends in there, plus a generous helping of vacation days to burn, the last few weeks have meant no work, very low internet usage, lots of debauchery with friends and family, snow tubing, hiking, reading, and, of course, many dog walks and visits to the dog park.

Speaking of Finn, he has had two poop accidents in the house in the last two weeks! I am grateful for the fact that he goes on the wood floor near the front door but not pleased with the fact that I am cleaning up accidents for a 2-year old dog that I considered housetrained. Over the last few months he has been having recurrent bouts of diarrhea along with some itching and a red sore(s) on his lip. So, over the holiday break I did a little bit of investigation and learned that many dogs are allergic to certain ingredients in dog food. I decided to switch his food and though I'm trying to make the transition slowly it seems that his digestive system is still adjusting.

His accidents have been in less than solid form so I'm hoping that he truly couldn't hold it. Of course now I'm concerned that despite my best efforts with Nature's Miracle he is being drawn back to same area of the house and his doggy mind has started to think this is an okay place to go. Sympathies and advice appreciated from all you dog lovers out there!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Still waiting

Still no acceptance letter from the therapy dog people.

In the meantime, Finn and I have been learning to snowshoe. We got about 8-10 inches of snow on Tuesday and so it's a good amount for a beginner. Yesterday Finn ran straight into me and knocked me down into the snow. I've learned that snowshoeing can affect your balance on certain terrain. Luckily I had snow pants and a warm coat on so I was padded and not upset about falling into all that snow. Of course, Finn thought it was great fun once I was down there and started licking my face and jumping on top of me. Anyway, hopefully the snow stays around so I can continue with this new activity. It gets us outside and helps break up the long winter.

Today it was 0 degrees when I woke up and the wind was gusting to 40 mph and bitter cold. Makes you want to stay home and drink hot chocolate all day. I'm terribly behind in all types of holiday preparation including cards, decorations and gift purchases. We did finally get our family photo taken for our holiday card so that's one step in the right direction. It was a beautiful day right at dusk but the moon was full so it lit the sky in this gorgeous shade of blue. Here it is.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One step closer

I don't think that I realized how much paperwork would be involved with this therapy dog process. Not only did I need to fill out about 5 pages of forms and submit a photo of Finn and I but I had to take about 5 more pages of forms to our vet for him to complete.

After a full physical exam, heartworm blood test, fecal test, one vaccine booster and about 30 minutes of the good doctor's time, we learned that Finn has a slight skin infection on his upper lip. The therapy dog form has a list of systems i.e. body parts that are to be checked by the vet. Unfortunately, this small bump and little bit of hair loss on his upper lip required our vet to check "abnormal" next to the skin/coat section. We left with a week's worth of antibiotics and now wait anxiously to see if this abnormality warrants a rejection letter from the therapy dog program. We can't go on any visits until we receive our acceptance letter and identification badge. Who knew this would be such a process?

In the meantime, Finn and I have been enjoying the 8-10 inches of snow we got yesterday. Finn really gets quite invigorated by the snow and has a blast doing hot laps around the yard. Today it's super cold and windy but I hope to post some pictures soon of our winter wonderland.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Friendly Skies

So here is another post about the injustice in the world, albeit a bit more light-hearted this time. I was in an airport recently in pursuit of a standby seat from Minneapolis to Milwaukee. For those of you not familiar with the challenges and pitfalls of airline travel, specifically business travel, standby is what you do when trying to get on an earlier flight than the one you are booked on.

Sometimes I luck out, but sometimes I'm left to sit outside the gate wishing and hoping that some fellow traveler is delayed, ill, or has decided not to take that flight. On this occasion I was left to sit and wait until the very last minute when the gate agent shut the door to the jetway and confirmed I was not going anywhere early.

As usually happens when I am the only person sitting near an empty airport gate area, the man across the aisle from me struck up a conversation. He was also going standby but was confident that I would be allowed on board the flight before him because he was a "non-revenue" ticket. I learned that this meant his brother was a pilot and so he was floating around the airport waiting to scoop up any available seat to Milwaukee. Once the jetway door closed it was clear that neither of us was going anywhere, revenue or non-revenue.

About two hours later I met up with this gentleman again outside the gate for the flight that I was booked on and that he was hoping to get on. As we were sitting there waiting to board, he was called up to the podium and presented with a first-class seat. He was positively giddy when he returned to tell me he had been bumped to first class.

Now, I realize that a first-class seat on a 44-minute flight is no prize. However, as someone who has racked up thousands of frequent flier miles flying for business, I was seriously disturbed that one of us revenue-generating frequent fliers who regularly slogs through airports tolerating bad service, delays, weather and cancellations was not bumped ahead of someone whose brother works for the airline. Are you listening airline executives?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The country life

I was traveling for work again this week and am now fighting off a small cold. Damn airplanes! They are just simply giant germ traps.

So yesterday I decided to work from home and not spread my cold around the office. Around noon I was startled by Finn barking like a alien spaceship had landed in the backyard. This is what he saw.

It was bizarre because this little buck was running from the front to the back of my yard and all around the neighboring yards as well. It was the middle of the day and he didn't seem to have any destination in mind. Just getting some exercise I guess or, more likely, looking for some friendly doe that might have been hiding in my garden.

Friday, November 7, 2008

And I Approved This Message

Despite my love of politics and the legislative process and other nerdy things of that nature, I am glad that that election is over. I'm thrilled with the result but I know many of you are not. I live in a dark red county of a blue state and sometimes it's tough to be the only one in your neighborhood who is supporting a certain candidate.

Recently we stopped by our local Irish pub where we know the owner and were immediately attacked for having an Obama yard sign. The usual arguments about taxes and the economy were mixed in with other more disconcerting commentary about being a "Hussein" and a Muslim. Now, I'm not naive enough to believe that this election is enough to end racism in this country. I'm well aware of how persistent it is, even among members of my family and people I consider friends. However, I AM naive enough to hope that everyone, regardless of their political persuasions, is proud that we've taken this big, historic step forward as a country.

Most importantly, I can't wait to see what kind of puppy those two little girls get to take to their new home.

I don't intend for this blog to be a political one so I promise to get back to more noncontroversial matters in my next post. Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Big Dog Discrimination

As a big dog owner all of my adult life, I have found there is a certain level of discrimination against the 50+ pound doggy crowd. Some hotels and resorts that are "pet friendly" are actually restricted to small dogs. Some people are more fearful of big dogs just because they are big. Houseguests don't want a big dog on their lap but probably wouldn't mind a small dog or cat.

I'm sure there are other examples but the most discouraging, especially this time of year, is the very small selection of big dog Halloween costumes! Last year, in order to participate in our local doggy day care's Halloween party, I went out in search of a costume for Finn, our 70-lb Labrador. I didn't have much luck as almost all of the costumes were only provided in small and medium sizes. I ultimately settled on a tuxedo and top hat outfit that came in size large. It appeared that all of the super cute costumes - the hot dog, the pumpkin, the dragon, etc. - were reserved for the small dogs.

I quickly discovered that even though the packaging on the tuxedo costume indicated it would fit a 50+ pound dog, I could barely get it zipped. Finn looked like a stuffed sausage as the costume fabric pinched and stretched across his chest and back. Worried that the circulation was being cut off to his legs and chest, the nice staff at doggy day care took some photos and quickly took the costume off.

So this year, I gave up on the costume idea and went with a simple neck scruff that was more comfortable and just as festive. As you can see by the picture, Finn was less than pleased to be wearing it but was a good sport overall! Happy Halloween!