Happy Birthday, Gigadog! February 2, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in pets, photography.
Tags: birth, Gigadog, macrocat, pictures
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Gigadog, aka Her Royal Fuzziness, had her second birthday this past week. Sadly, the pet store discontinued the carob and peanut butter cakes so she had to settle for yogurt-frosting oatmeal cookies with red sprinkles.
Since I know you’re dying to see what two-year old Gigadog looks like, here she is, snuggling with Macrocat:
Dear runners, about my dogs… July 11, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in pets.
Tags: dog, dogs, etiquette, Gigadog, runners
It would be much easier to walk the dogs individually, but it’s awfully difficult to find the time, especially with the hot weather. The only time I really have to take them out before the heat sets in is about 6 a.m. So I get everyone leashed up, and we look like this.
Keep in mind…that’s an 1/8 of a ton of dog I’m holding onto.
Today, Rainier left a brown, smelly gift on someone’s lawn. Cleaning this up is not easy while trying to hold onto the dogs. Therefore, I get them to sit down nicely on the sidewalk, and they are pretty good about staying there while I take care of their business.
Except today…because of someone who wasn’t thinking. After this incident, I feel it necessary to convey some etiquette to clueless joggers about dogs. I hope they listen.
If you see a dog seated on the sidewalk, please make a point to take advantage of the 8 feet of boulevard to your left. Only an idiot or small child runs up to a dog they don’t know. Do NOT try to run directly past them. I am not attempting to ‘own’ the sidewalk. I am telling you this to keep you (and me!) safe. If nothing else, try to remember that running on grass is better for your knees, so you can at least give your knees a break.
1 – Running up to a dog you don’t know is stupid. Not all dogs are friendly to strangers. If you run up to a dog you don’t know, they could very well turn around and bite you as they may think you’re attacking them. I hope not…but some dogs are that way.
2 – Running sets off a chase instinct in many dogs. If they didn’t have an inclination to go after you before, they very well may after they see you running away.
3 – A dog who is friendly may also be excitable, and you running up to the dog is likely to result in that dog jumping on you. I can tell you that having 100 lbs. of excitable fluff jump onto you can be an unpleasant experience.
4 – Running up behind a dog is stupid because, even if those dogs are super friendly with people (like mine are), you may spook them (like you did today), and they may take off running (like they did today). This may result in the person who didn’t see you because she is attempting to pick up poop either having her arm yanked out of the socket or nearly pulled over. All I can say is that I am glad Rainier really doesn’t move fast because he was a great anchor when Gigadog decided to check out these interlopers.
Now that I have clearly established reasons why you were not doing the brightest thing today, I can assure that I will continue to take my dogs to sit on the boulevard and let you pass. I realize not all people like dogs, and I make every effort to keep mine from accosting strangers who have no interest. I would ask that you do the same for me, however, when I am not in a position to see you coming.
Say hello… July 7, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in pets.
Tags: fostering, Gigadog, newfoundlands, Rainier
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…to our foster dog Rainier. I considered calling him Teradog, but I think we’ll reserve that one for someone who will be a permanent member of the family.
Rainier is a Landseer Newfoundland who will be staying with us until we can find him a forever home. Poor guy has a lot to deal with, however. This is what he looked like when we got him:
Poor guy’s coat was a solid block of mats. There was nothing we could do but shave it all off. Once we did that, we discovered that he has an ear infection, an eye infection, a skin infection, maybe some dental problems, and tummy issues. Poor guy is a mess.
He seems to be adjusting very well and is an amazingly calm dog. Gigadog…not so much, but this is the first time she’s ever had dogs over for a long-term visit. Also, she’s now in her camping kennel, which I’m sure is not helping.
Tags: fostering, Gigadog, illness, reading, west nile, writing, younger son
I never thought I’d be thankful for my child being sick. I suppose I should as it means he’s acquiring another immunity.
I’m guessing the younger son had West Nile. At least, the symptoms were consistent with West Nile, and it showed up a couple days after his daycare took the kids to a nearby state park to swim. Swimming hole = mosquitoes = contagion. The younger boy is usually pretty healthy, but it was obvious he was pretty sick this time. He spent two days solid watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons, eating jello and yogurt, and sleeping.
I constantly had a thermometer in my hand. The worst was reading temps of 103.5°F, because then I had to convince myself that it was really better not to give him Tylenol. See, the kid wouldn’t sleep unless I let his fever run up, and I know from past experience that you’ve got to let them hit that spike or it just drags out for days. It seemed to work because less than 24 hours after we initially discovered he was sick, his fever dropped down in to the below 101°F range. Yesterday, which was 48 hours after we found out he was sick, he was going stir crazy and taking Mike and myself with him.
In the meantime, I was stuck at home, and it was the probably some of the best uninterrupted time I’ve had in months to work on my dissertation. This resulted in a big jump forward, at least from my perspective. In that time, I learned how to use the debugger and managed to fix a couple major issues with my code. On top of that, I managed to finish a fictional novel I’ve been reading for the last six months. (Yeah, I know…) I even spent some time doing some fun writing of my own (though obviously not the blog).
I also was asked to take care of a rescue dog for a couple days. He’s a very sweet boy, but he makes Gigadog look tiny. (Maybe we should call him Teradog?) I’ll probably be picking him up tomorrow, so I’ll try to get some pics up. (Depends on how busy he keeps me.) I think we’ve decided to call him Rainier, since he’s huge as a mountain. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he and Gigadog get along well.
Wordless Wednesday: How the big dogs stay cool June 27, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in pets, photography.
Tags: Gigadog, ice cream, pictures, wordless wednesday
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Tags: engineering, friday fun, Gigadog
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A friend posted the following video on facebook. I think I may use this with my class this fall, so they can get a good handle on the cool things you can do with control theory:
This is based on the following video created with computer animation. (I find it amusing that for so many years, we’ve been trying to master creating animation that looks real, and now Intel tried to make something real that mimicked an animation.)
Once you’ve finished watching those, you’ll want to check out the latest cartoon featuring Gigadog. (I think all Newf owners understand this one…)
Reserve(d) Bitch June 4, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in pets, Uncategorized.
Tags: dog show, dogs, Gigadog
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Yes, I know I’m gorgeous. Now put away the camera and let me eat my kibble in peace.
(As an aside, bitch does, in fact, refer to a female dog in the context of this post. After spending the weekend using the word repeatedly, I think I’m significantly less sensitive to the other common meaning.)
Showing Gigadog this weekend was…interesting. I actually have videos of our participation, but I’m not going to put them online in fear of people using them as primers on what not to do when showing.
First, I was worried I’d be overdressed in my most formal business dress suit. Turns out that I blended in fairly well. So definitely dress up for these things and don’t worry about how formal you look. Yes, there will be people in tshirts there. However, very few of them will be in the ring…they’re mostly spectators.
Second, it was really awesome to have someone there to help. A friend drove from the middle of the state and was a huge help during the whole process. When you’re sitting there, spazzing about the fact that your dog has rolled in dirt and is drooling, it’s nice to have someone who has the clarity of mind to hand you a drool rag and brush. The second day, Mike also helped by spending about a half hour doing a thorough brushing before we left. She looked much better.
I really had no idea what I was doing this time around, and it was obvious. As my friend put it, Gigadog did her best impression of a bloodhound. Given the dogs are supposed to keep their heads up and give the impression of effortless movement with their legs, we were a long way off. The first day, I could barely get her to pay attention. However, I’m considering it a win because she was the only one in the ring for her class, and she didn’t just plop her butt down and stare at the judge. So…100% improvement.
The second day, I ran into someone I used to hang out with regularly. I had no idea she was into showing dogs, and so we got to chatting. I explained some of the problems I was having, and she attempted to give it a go. She wasn’t having much more success, and she disappeared for a while. She showed up a short time later with the couple who had bred her dog, and they gave me a ton of useful information and ideas. The second day in the ring was much better as she *kind of* kept her head up. But I also have an idea of what we need to work on in the future.
There was actually a third day, but I decided not to go. There were supposed to be six newfs at the show, and only two of us showed. If she at least had been able to compete against a puppy, it might have been worthwhile, but otherwise, we were just too exhausted. She did get some ribbons. On both days, she was the only one in her class, so she got first place for class each time. She also got a ribbon for reserve bitch (that is, the second place female dog of all classes). It would have been a bit more exciting if she’d gotten it with more than two dogs in the ring.
The one other thing I learned is that Gigadog, like myself, is very used to the quiet we have at home. Spending a good chunk of the day in a noisy, busy environment was kind of tough on both of us, and I was physically exhausted from trying to keep her corralled. She has this unfortunate habit of just running up to other dogs, not realizing that her size and dark color are very intimidating to most other dogs. She just wants to play, but the smaller the dog, the less they see it that way.
Overall, we’re off to a pretty terrible start, but given we did a lot better the next day, I’d say we’re on the right track. Like everything, we’ll get better with practice.
Not a dog person June 1, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in older son, pets.
Tags: conformation, Gigadog, newfoundlands, pets
We had a couple dogs when I was growing up, but I was never really impressed with the idea of having one as a pet myself. They always seemed like so much work compared to cats. Of course, now that I’ve owned almost a dozen cats, I know that’s not necessarily true. I also realize now that you can train dogs, something which cats aren’t very willing or able to do, and that makes a huge difference when it comes to interacting with them.
Still, a lot of people were surprised when I got a Newfoundland because not only is it a dog, but it’s a DOG. Newfs tend to have some of the worst qualities of dogs: big, clumsy, fur everywhere…and, OMG, the slobber. It almost never stops.
But here’s the thing: I still don’t think of myself as a dog person. I actually find a lot of dogs annoying. They’re cute when you pet them (if they’ll let you), but definitely not something I’d want to take home.
I do consider myself a Newf person, though. When my older boy was a baby, his grandparents had a Newf that would let my son crawl all over him. The worst he’d do is give a big sigh and look at me with those big, brown eyes, as if to say, “As long as he’s happy, I’ll deal.” Of course, this was several years after our first, and rather terrifying (from my perspective), meeting where he jumped up, put his paws on my shoulder, and introduced himself by giving me a big, slobbery kiss. That dog was the first dog I really became bonded to, and after that, I decided that if I were to ever have a dog of my own, it would have to be a Newf.
I find this all terribly amusing because today, as a non-dog person, I will be attending and showing my dog in a conformation event. I never intended to show dogs, but after all the comments on how Gigadog was such a pretty dog (not only from random strangers on the street but people who work quite regularly with dogs), I took her to her breeder to have her evaluated as a show dog. My breeder thinks she’ll have a good shot at getting a title.
I just hope we don’t have a repeat of our CGC experience…and that the judges don’t dock for slobber. On the up side, I have another place I can wear some of my formal business attire given I can’t really wear it to work.
I love my dog, but… April 29, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in pets.
Tags: CGC, Gigadog, obedience
Today, we took Gigadog to have her evaluated for a CGC (Canine Good Citizen). For those unaware of what this means, your dog has to do some basic heeling, allow strangers to touch them, and generally behave themselves around other people. Given how huge Gigadog is, I find it rather important that she be well-trained.
We had been practicing in her obedience class, and she was doing all of the exercises fairly well with the exception of being greeted by a stranger. Gigadog is terribly friendly and would rather make a point of introducing herself rather than waiting for someone to notice her and pet her. I figured she would fail the test, or at least that section of it, but I also thought it would be a good experience to take it so we could see what we needed to work on.
Things started off okay, except, as I expected, she decided to introduce herself rather than sitting nicely and had to be restrained. So we failed that part right off the bat. However, then we started the heeling part and the other stuff…
It was like she was a completely different dog. She kept looking over to the side of the ring where all the people were. She wouldn’t look at me, she wouldn’t listen to me…and then she finally just sat down and stared at all those people out there and wouldn’t move. Afterwards, I had all kinds of ‘advice’ for what I was doing wrong with my training. Funny thing was, it was all stuff I was doing.
No, I realized afterwards was that we were witnessing one of these really bizarre behaviors that Gigadog has that I have never been able to break her of: she wants to people-watch. When we go out for walks, she will occasionally see someone across the street. She will then plop her butt down, wag her tail, and sit there until they disappear or I give her a good hard yank on her leash (she is impervious to gentle gestures). Normally, we use a prong collar on her (and before you yell at me, try keeping a 100 lb. puppy from yanking your arm off), but we’re not allowed to on the test. Despite the fact we had a martingale collar, we were getting no response from her. She just wanted to sit and watch all those people staring at her outside the ring because she KNOWS that if she sits nicely, they’ll all come and pet her. And Mom is just being a big dope by not letting her sit there.
So we failed the exam because she was dragging me all over the place during the heel (kept trying to go toward everyone outside the ring) and wouldn’t do a thing after that. In fact, I think we failed spectacularly.
I thought this would go pretty well because there wouldn’t be any other dogs in the ring to distract her. Boy, was I wrong. Given all of the obedience and rally and other trials we want to do are set up to function this way, I have no idea what we’re going to do now. I think that I might want to talk to my instructor and see if we can find a way for my fuzzy prima donna to practice how to not be a show-off.
But she didn’t care…just wanted some cheese when we got done. Dogs are goofy.