Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Tail of a Single Dog-Mom in the 21st Century

So this blog might be all about the most adorable dog in the world, but it's also a smig about me. Well heads up, this post is ALL about me. I'm not sure if I coined the term "dog-mom" or where it came from but it definetely describes me well. So what does it mean to be a single dog mom? More so than actual moms, we get over looked when it comes to hard worker of the year awards. But we do work hard! At least I do. My everyday routine goes something like this: Wake up, take Missy out. Come back feed Missy. Attempt to chase Miss/throw around the toy while having breakfast and coffee, checking email, blogging, and then getting ready for the day. Then its time to pick up apartment and Missy toys before heading out on a walk. Then it's back home, fresh water for Miss, lunch, another check of the email. Then I try to get some homework done, usually with one hand on a slobbery rope before heading off to work. Nine hours later I'm back at home and before anything else, Miss is out for another walk. Then it's another round of food for both of us, some homework/slash rope playing time followed by bed. Now those are just the days I work. On my days off, if it's not vet appointments or a trip to the groomers she's usually headed to daycare. That way I can, oh, what's that you think, come home and rest??? Not a chance. That's when papers get written, the apartment gets clean, and the laundry is done. See pretty busy for not being an actual "mom" don't you think? And I don't get the excuse of walking around in my sweats all day either because I don't have a kid now do I? Nope just a dog. Now, before you jump down my back let me say this: I RATHER BE A SINGLE DOG MOM THEN A SINGLE KID MOM! Those moms have it rough! If there's anything Missaroo has taught me it's that I couldn't be a single mom thousands of miles away from home. NO WAY! But dog-moms are moms too in their own right. I still clean up throw up and poop like any one with a two year-old. And of course there is the added pressure I put on myself to be a GREAT dog mom, good at my job, a perfect student, and I must look fabulous while holding it all together. Do we have it as bad as kid-moms, nope, not saying that. Just saying this: The life of a dog-mom can be pretty hectic too!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Don't Forget the Quality Time Mom!

I love my dog to death, but do I spend enough quality time with her? Most of my "Missaroo" days are spent taking her to the vet, daycare, and the groomers. Then there are the mandatory walks and feedings. I'm blogging about her, working full time, and going to school full time. Although my days might revolve around her, like any busy mom the time we spend together isn't always quality time. I wish I could spend all day with her, but I can't. Today was a prime example. I HAD planned on only having to work four hours and spending the rest with Miss. BUT I got woken up early to go into work and worked all day! Poor Missy didn't even get a real walk in before I left. Now I have to work another 20 hours over the next two days plus I'm behind on my school work. What can I say? Sometimes life gets in the way of our quality time. I miss my little girl. I guess its time for me to finish the blogging and start doing some Missaroo chasing instead!

Yes, That's Right, Missaroo Wears a Backpack

I often get asked, "What is your dog wearing", or "Is that like a pack or something" or my personal favorite, "Is he packing his own lunch?" I just love when people think Missaroo is a he, I mean she has a purple leash and pink collar for crying out loud! But to get back on track, Missy wears a backpack, or use to anyway, for two reasons. One, she is too easily distracted by other dogs. The backpack puts her in "carrier" mode so she's more likely to think, "gotta carry, gotta carry" and less likely to think, "other dog, loud car, bird, squirrel." The second reason is because she is so high energy, weighing her down makes her use more energy in the same amount of time. I am the first one to admit she looks silly. She thought so too the first time I put it on her. I tell her to be proud in her backpack anyway. By now, she's pretty use to it. She usually only wears it when we travel though. And the best part about the backpack is when we do go for long walks she can carry all of my stuff, keys, phone, ect,, and her own water! Gotta love the self-contained dog!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Out She'll Lick You To Death

Missy is a licker. She has trouble keeping that tongue of hers inside her mouth. She has licked everyone at some point, I'm pretty sure. I have to warn people, "watch out, she'll try to lick your face clean off." I remember the first time I took her to the vet. She was pretty timid, hid under the chair, and generally had a fear of being anywhere that wasn't right up against me. She made it through like a champ in the end like she always does, but as soon as she knew the shot portion of the visit was over and the vet was petting her, she licked the vet chin to forehead. The vet said, "She's been waiting to do that this whole time, hasn't she?" Even when Missy is sitting nicely and you pet her, that tongue is out of her mouth licking her lips. Let me tell you, it's pretty darn gross but you can't help but laugh.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Apartment Dogs Know How to Bury Bones Too

In one of the first blog posts, I mentioned there are two things that make Missaroo the most adorable dog in the world. This was the inspiration behind "Fast Paws McGee." The second thing that makes her so adorable is the fact that she "buries" her bones inside the apartment. The first time she did it was only a day after I got her. I had no idea what she was doing except making some sort of scratching noise. When I peaked around the chair I realized, "she thinks she's burring her bone!" She walks around the apartment with her bone in her mouth until she finds the perfect spot. Then she puts it down and pushes her nose against the floor like she's pushing dirt onto it! She then uses her paws to push the bone into the carpet, or blanket, or where ever she's decided to hide it. I find bones behind pillows, under a pile of clothes in the closet, in the sides of chairs, and sometimes underneath my head in the morning! She's pretty darn good. I have to admit I'm super impressed sometimes at how well she hides them. I find a lot of them by accident when I'm going to clean or I sit on one, OUCH! I love that Missy doesn't let her apartment living keep her from being a real dog. Even apartment dogs know how to bury their bones.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You Can Do It Missaroo!

Missaroo is a pretty smart dog. I mean I know I'm a little bias, but most people when they first meet her often say, hey your dog is pretty smart. When I could get her attention away from the other dogs in obedience class she was always the first one to pick up on the latest lesson. Her biggest problem in beginner class was that she would get bored and when she's bored she barks. Since I happen to know how smart she really is, I do my best to push her. No, not physically, mentally. Here's an example. Missy and I are apartment people. Often times when I throw her rope or tennis ball across the room it gets stuck on top of her crate, behind a chair, or sometimes in the shoe basket. Missy will take one look and give up, as if to say mom you're going to have to get it out for me. But me? I'm not getting it. This is when the mom in me really comes out. I go over to the toy and point at it and say, Missy get your toy. She stares at me as though I'm talking in the same language as Charlie Brown's teacher, but I'm not giving up. Missy, come on, you can do it, get your toy. And you know what? She'll actually give it a try. It takes a while sometimes but I never give up on the encouragement. Even as she is starting to pull out the toy and dropping it I tell her "good girl Missy, you can do it." As smart as Missy is on her own, our trainer and vets have agreed, the mom encouragement helps with Missy's development and learning. I think of my pup as playful and ready to explore the world. There are many things she is still discovering and afraid of but my encouragement is always right there. I guess that's part of being a mom, you are your kid's cheerleader. There are lots of things I'm trying to show and teach Missaroo. The funny thing is, Missaroo is really the one encouraging me. She encourages me to show love, feel love, and even when love breaks your heart to still get up everyday and find something else to love. Wow! The Missaroo is even smarter than I thought!

Why is Your Dog on Crack?

Probably one of the most insightful things anyone else has ever observed about Missy was said to me by a co-worker and amazing writer, "Your dog is adorable but you need to stop feeding her so much crack, Shmishshmish-moo lay off the crack, crack-dog." What can I say, it's totally true, Missy is a spaz. There are definitely two sides to the Missaroo: The adorable, calm dog, and the crazy, crack dog. Here are the pictures to prove it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Avoiding an Itchy, Itchy Fate

If there was any doubt left in your minds that I love my dog more than most, this latest blog should be the final straw. I am allergic to Missy. What!?! You might be asking yourself right now. That is the usual response I get when I tell people that I am allergic to dogs, but yes it is very much true. This actually explains a lot. Missy gets groomed every 6 weeks. Her latest appointment came today. She has to get bathed regularly with a special shampoo that helps eliminate most of her shedding. As you can tell by the pictures, Missy also spends a lot of time in my bed. This means the sheets and comforter are also washed every week. I have to vacuum every week too. Just about every other blanket in the apartment is also washed on a regular basis as well. And still sometimes when her fur comes into direct contact with my skin I get itchy. I scratch, and I scratch, and I scratch. The other day at work I scratched my chest so much it hurt for the next couple of days. I usually put Missy into her crate right before I leave for work after I'm all bundled up. But on Thursday, I didn't have my coat buttoned and I had on a v-neck shirt. When I picked her up and carried her into the other room I didn't even think about the fact that she was going to make me itch for the rest of the night, but she did. When all else fails, I take an allergy medicine. When I first got her, she also triggered my asthma. The meds, washing, and getting use to her in general have helped, but it is still a lot of effort everyday just to avoid an itchy, itchy fate.

Missy Needs a Dad

WARNING: This might be our longest, most personal blog yet, be prepared to sit down and enjoy!

I started referring to myself as Missy's mom during Petsmart training classes. ((Which I highly recommend by the way)) Our trainer would call us moms and dads. She also has a nickname for Missy, "Crazy." I thought it was silly at first, but the more Miss and I have been through, the more I've embraced the roll of mom. For those of you who know me fairly well, you know I have a very strong feeling Missy might turn out to me by only child much to my own mother's chagrin. That being said I came to the conclusion last week that the Missaroo needs a dad. Now, this has a lot less to do with my single status then you might think. Let me explain.

I think you are starting to get the picture that the Missaroo is a high energy dog. She loves to run and play, and Missy loves to play aggressively. I think if I would wrestle her to the ground everyday she'd be a pretty happy camper. I play rope with her, I chase her around our apartment, I throw the tennis ball around, and I take her for walks. That's my roll as mom, but the men in Missy's life have been more willing to get down on the floor and play with her. As previously mention, the love of Missy's life was probably the best at playing with her, although their interaction was short lived. I would come out of the bathroom and he would be lying on the floor hiding her bone from her while she was attacking him. At first I thought she had just gone nuts, until I realized he had her bone. This is not something you'd find me doing. I do consider myself a pretty out going dog-mom overall. But there are some things I think a dad could just do better.

So how do I feel about this? I would love to find Missy a dad. Does this mean I'm in the market myself? Well, I've never been one to say I'm looking, I'm not looking. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I don't ever turn something down because the timing isn't right, but I'm not about to force anything either. Currently, both of our hearts are broken. Like I said earlier, I'm a dog-mom and like any single parent you can't just bring men in and out of your baby's life. Unfortunately for Missy, I think this means it might be a very long time before she has another man in her life to fall in love with too.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Uh, Oh! Here Come the Motorcycles

I should be happy that spring like weather has hit the Inland Northwest so soon. Missy and I were both very happy to be out on the balcony enjoying the day that is until I heard it. And worst of all Missy heard it too, the sound of a motorcycle driving by. Missy HATES motorcycles! Some of you may think you've seen Miss flip out, but until you've seen her around a motorcycle you just don't know how bad it can get. Missy has an ear-piercing bark. Sometimes I know she's about to bark and I still jump when that noise actually comes out. I have to grab my heart. That bark, plus an all-out flip out until the motorcycle is out of sight might rival any two-year-old's tantrum I've ever witnessed. It's probably just as embarrassing for me as a dog-mom as it would be for a kid-mom. Missy also flips out around small dogs, sometimes big ones, but mostly small ones. One day, I kid you not, I saw a man on a motorcycle holding a small dog! THAT was my worst nightmare! I try not to tense up when I see one, but by the end of the summer I noticed myself tensing up in the car even when Miss wasn't with me. I'll try not to let her notice, but now until next winter I know I'm going to be thinking, uh oh! Here come the motorcycles!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Lazy Dog Days of Winter

The other day Miss and I made a trip to the vet for some routine vaccinations. Like always, the first stop was to the scale. Turns out Missaroo has gained FOUR pounds in just a few months. Wow! I feel like a bad mom. In the last year since I got Miss, she has always hit that scale at 26 pounds. There's really only one thing to blame it on, laziness. Missy eats the same everyday, almost at the same time even. ((I'm very big into routine, schedules, and lists but that's another blog for another day)). Now I admit I've been down in the dumps the last couple of weeks, but truth be told as soon as it got a little cold I ran inside and hid. Unfortunately ,Missy has been curling up next to me that whole time. But the weather is making a turn for the better and so is my mental well being, so it's time to hit the streets again and take off some of that weight. I promise, the lazy dog days of winter are over for us!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why I (Day) Care So Much

I often get strange looks or replies when I tell people I'm taking Missy to daycare. Yes, that's right, she gets dropped off at doggy daycare downtown about once a week depending on my schedule. Well I guess there are a couple of reasons for this. First, when I was a kid we had a dog named Harvey. He was a German Shepard, super smart, and BIG! We loved that dog to death but were not the best owners. Harvey spent most of his day chained in the backyard or in the basement and all he ever wanted to do was run. But with two small kids and one big dog it just never happened. When I got Miss, I made her a promise she would have a better life than dear Harvey did. Missy also loves to run, I do not. She is also an apartment dog. Now granted, the Miss and I walk about 90 minutes a day in decent or better weather. But she still comes home and wants to play, I want to rest. Now that I am going to grad school and working it has been even harder to give her all the energy I have. So she goes to daycare and RUNS for HOURS with other dogs. That's all they do is just play naturally. She loves it, I love it. And at the end of the day, well a picture is worth a thousand words right???

Not Everyone Loves You, Missy Mae


In case you haven't figured it out yet Missy likes people. On walks people often stop us and want to say hello or give her a friendly pet. She is very happy to stop and say hey there right back. BUT not everyone is a dog person, or is willing to go up to a stranger and her dog and stop them on a walk, and others simply don't have the time no matter how adorable they think Missy is. However, Missy does not understand this concept. She thinks everyone was put on the planet to pet her. When people walk by without petting her she tries to follow them, as if to say, hey down here you forgot to pet me. I have to tell her, not everyone loves you shmoo. We came across an extreme example of this the other day. Sometimes when Missy needs to potty very earlier in the morning I'll just walk down with her and let her do her business. She's not on a leash. The distance is maybe a foot from our door to the patch of grass outside. So at 5am it happened again, she did her business and then flew up the stairs back to our apartment while I followed. This time my old neighbor lady happened to be coming out at the same time. Now, I know the many different sides of Missy and this was definitely her happy-go lucky self running up the stairs. My neighbor practically had a heart attack and ran back inside and closed the door. Now Missy didn't jump, bark, or act in any aggressive way. She was simply on her way back home. I thought the neighbor kind of over reacted, but I could see how a dog running at you might be scary. But once again this was the happy Missaroo. And then I remembered, the neighbor has always been a little hesitant around us. I thought it was just because she was old. But I guess I need to listen to my own words of wisdom to my dog, not everyone loves you Missy Mae.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Can We Talk About the Chickens

One of Missy's favorite places is the Engel house in Kennewick. It just so happens to be one of my favorite places in the state as well. This summer while hanging out and being unemployed for a couple of months, I spend almost everyday there whether they were actually home or not. One day Miss and I headed over there to meet up with my Washington State grandma Mary and her daughter for a swim in the infamous 85 degree pool. Miss was free to roam around while we went for a swim. At one point, she disappeared under the fence. My first thought was she probably went out front to go to the bathroom. And then I heard it. A chicken screaming bloody murder! I ran out to the front and there I find the slowest chase of all time. Missy is following this chicken pulling its feathers off one by one as though its some kind of game. She's not barking. She actually seemed to think it was fun. So Then I start chasing Missy chasing the chicken. But we are only moving as fast as the chicken is, which is not very fast. Luckily, Missy became trapped it what had become an obstacle course of Sim's belongings out front. ((They had recently moved and some of the backyard items hadn't made it to the new house yet)) The chicken ducked under a pew to escape, leaving Missy stuck. I was able to pick Missy up and carry her into the house. The chicken survived. Needless to say the chicken fence was secured the next day and the Engel's never had another problem with the neighbor's chicken wandering over again.  I think that was the day she became one of the family too. 

The Missaroo in Love

The Missaroo loves the men, and not surprisingly, the men love her. I first noticed it when I took her to work with me. She actually rolled over for one of the guys in the KREM 2 Newsroom. She has NEVER just rolled over! It usually takes lots of treats and a few tries to get it right. But then I thought back to our days in the Tri-Cities. There are two men from there that she just adores. The first one is Wayne Engel.  He is also my Washington State dad. He was the first person other than me to call her the Missaroo. When we returned for a visit she actually recognized the sound of his truck pulling into the driveway and FLIPPED OUT! The second man is Wayne's son and my Washington State brother Danny. He was the first person to ever dog-sit her. He also gave her a bag of treats instead of her food because he said she liked the treats better. Then there is my dad. They became buds over a week of bonding while I worked. And now there is the latest and greatest love of her life. Missy is in love. All I can really tell you about him is he is someone, that I up until very recently, dated. She knows where he lives and barks at his house when she goes too long without seeing him. She would attack him when he came over to our apartment. And would bark at him when he would hug me instead of pet her. Jealous! He loves her back. He has given her one of her many nicknames. Now she sadly sits by the window, stares out into the street, and waits. I tried to break it to her that he's not coming back but alas, at the end of the day Missaroo is a dog and just doesn't understand. Missaroo and I are both heartbroken these days. Once again, I'm thankful we have each other.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fast Paws Mcgee

There are two things that Missy does that make her the most adorable dog in the world. One of them is the "fast paws." Missy loves to jump on people and just get right up in your grill. It is super annoying if she can reach your face. But if you're standing and she stands up too you'll get the "fast paws" in action. Missy is all about the attention! She is the star of the show after all. So basically she stands up and claws her paws at you as fast as she can. Missy has some pretty long legs for such a short dog. And as one of my co-workers found out if you yell "fast paws, fast paws" she'll go even faster! Just make sure you're wearing long sleeves!

Let's start at the beginning

I thought our first post should give a little bit more background on who it is you're reading about. In December of 2008 I was living in the Kennewick, Washington and missing home, aka the great state of Illinois. I decided maybe it was time for a companion. I went to petfinder.com and searched for dogs. It wasn't long before I found a 1 year-old named Missy who was the perfect size and loved car rides. She was found abandoned in east Pasco. Although there were no signs of physical abuse, emotionally she had issues. On January 24th, 2009 I went to met Miss for the first time and it was love at first sight. I took her home without owning a single dog anything! Our first stop was to Petsmart. The entire car ride this new dog of mine wouldn't stop strying to lick my face! She still hasn't stopped and she's been by my side ever since. Even though I went to her there is no doubt we saved each other. She has also earned several nicknames and currently goes by, Miss, Missy Mae, the Missaroo and most recently shhhmish-shmish-moo!