I’ve been traveling a lot lately. It’s not unusual for me to go on a couple of business trips every year, but I’ve been on three trips in the past five months. When I’m away Greg takes care of A.J., shuttling him back and forth to daycare, walking him, and feeding him.
While they both miss me, to a certain extent Greg and A.J. enjoy my time away. Greg makes dinners that he doesn’t make when I’m home, and he shares them with A.J. They’re both pretty happy with this arrangement.
I got home from my latest trip yesterday. Tonight, after A.J. spent 30 minutes staring at me to tell me it was dinner time (starting 30 minutes before his dinner time), I gave him his usual dinner: a bowl of dog food. It was the same dog food he’s been eating for years. After I set his bowl down he walked over and looked at his food. He looked up at me, then back down at his bowl. I went and sat down, and he walked over to me and set his chin on my leg.
“What? Go eat your food.”
Chin on my leg, big brown eyes looking up at me.
“What?” I stood up. A.J. got all happy and wiggly. I walked over to his food bowl. He looked at his food, looked at me, looked at his food, looked at me.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
I went to the refrigerator, pulled out some leftover sausage, and put a few small pieces on his food.
A.J. immediately ate the sausage and the entire bowl of food.
I think somebody has been getting a little too spoiled while I’ve been away.
Sometimes having a dog is as much about other dogs as it is about your own. Being a dog parent introduces you to other dog parents and to a whole world of dog-dom. And that can be very entertaining.
Today A.J. went to daycare. Most days when I pick him up the person who checks us out will tell me what A.J. did that day, or have some little anecdote about him. Today his anecdote was about the dog that checked out before us.
The man in line in front of me was talking to the daycare worker. I wasn’t paying much attention, but I heard that his dog was a large puppy who seemed to be in the “I’m much bigger than I think I am” stage of puppy growth. They brought the puppy out – a very adorable little Golden Retriever.
After they left, the daycare worker said “I have to tell you what just happened.”
“When I went to check him out and he told me which dog was his, I thought ‘that can’t be your dog.’ But then I realized the guy had an Australian accent.”
It turned out that someone had put that Golden Retriever into the system as an Australian Shepherd, because, well, what other kind of dog would an Australian have?
Another Christmas has come and gone, and A.J. has been as entertaining as ever. No trips to the emergency room, just a lot of fun with our mischievous boy. Here are a few of the things A.J. did that made us laugh:
Playing with Legos
Greg and I received some small toys in our Christmas stockings. I got superhero Legos and Greg got a Minion. We put them together, and I set them on the hearth. Today we ran some errands and left A.J. to watch football while we were out.
We left the house, but I forgot something and had to run back in a few seconds later. A.J. had already settled himself on the couch (where he’s not allowed – except when we’re gone, of course). We were gone for about three hours. We always assume A.J. makes himself comfortable and lies around the whole time we’re gone. We occasionally are proven wrong in that assumption.
After we’d been back home for a little while, I happened to look over at the hearth. One of the superheroes and the Minion were sitting on the hearth. But one superhero was missing. Iron Man’s car was on the floor in front of the hearth, and Iron Man was a couple of feet away. Someone had been playing with our Legos while we were gone.
Showing Me Ornaments
I was in the kitchen one day shortly before Christmas. I looked down to see A.J. right next to me, which is not at all unusual. Then I noticed something on the floor by his feet. It was a Christmas ornament from the tree. He had knocked it down and brought it to me. (Fortunately it was still in one piece.) I thanked him for the ornament, then put it back on the tree – much higher this time.
Greg and I opened our presents at home on Christmas Eve before we went to visit family. We took our presents out from under the tree and set them on the coffee table. I also got A.J. presents out from where I’d been hiding them and put them on the table with the rest.
Usually I help A.J. open his presents. This year he decided he was a big boy and could do it himself. One by one, he took his presents off the coffee table, opened them, played with the toy for a few minutes, then went to get the next present. He knew which presents were his, and he opened them all by himself. He’s so grown up!
To Grandmother’s House We Went
This year we spent Christmas with my parents. It was the first time A.J. was able to spend the holidays with us at his Grandma’s house. I don’t think he’s ever had so much fun at Christmas!
The forecast called for rain on Christmas Eve, but as we were driving up there it began to snow, and it didn’t stop all day. My parents live on several acres, much of it wooded. A.J. had so much fun! He ran through the snow, bounding through the trees, tracking squirrels, and generally just having a great time. He got more presents to unwrap and played nicely with his toys in the house. He was the perfect guest, he rode perfectly in the car the 2 ½ hours there and 1 ½ hours back (the snow was melted when we went home).
All in all, A.J. had a very good Christmas. He wishes everyone the happiest of holidays. Happy New Year!!
It’s the day after Christmas, 2017. I haven’t updated this blog in months. Not because A.J. didn’t do anything noteworthy – he’s still a constant source of entertainment for everyone who sees him. Instead it’s because I spend my days at work writing, and when I get home I don’t often have the energy to write more, even about something that is so much fun. But as the year comes to a close, here’s a short recap of some of the things I don’t want to lose track of:
The last blog entry was just before the 4th of July, so we’ll start there. I’ll write the full story later, but for now I can say that we survived the battle zone known as Portland a little better this year than last. Last year we weren’t at all prepared for how awful it is here – fireworks and bombs going off for weeks, driving A.J. completely crazy. This year with the help of a thunder shirt and some medication, he managed much better.
I’ve been very proud of my little guy this year. He’s had to be incredibly adaptable as our lives changed around him. For his first three years with us I was home with him almost constantly. Then last year I went back to work and moved us to a new home. But that year Greg stayed home with him and took him for long walks every day. This year was all new again.
In February Greg started a new job. We found a daycare for A.J. where Greg could drop him off on his way to work. A.J. adapted to this new routine and the new daycare well. He was always happy to go in when Greg dropped him off. Then in August Greg’s company had some layoffs, and the new guy had to go. A.J. was back to having someone at home with him all day.
Then we went on vacation for a week. Someone at the dog park told us about a place outside of town that sounded perfect for A.J. They have a lot of property, fully fenced, so the dogs can run around and play. There’s also a large covered area and an indoor play area. They have a bus that comes into town twice a week to pick up and drop off dogs, so we don’t have to make the hour-long drive to take him there.
So, off A.J. went for a week at a new boarding facility. He had a blast! When we picked him up the kennel owner laughingly said “You forgot to check the ‘My dog is crazy’ box.” He told me A.J. was so much fun to have there. He also introduced me to A.J.’s new girlfriend, a pretty little brown springer. Apparently the two of them had a wonderful week running around and being crazy together.
In the meantime, Greg had found a new job. Two days after coming back from the new kennel, A.J. went for his first day at a new daycare. As usual, they loved him there, and he’s been a regular ever since. I drop him off in the mornings, and he can’t wait to go in and see the other dogs. They have a webcam, so I can watch him from work sometimes.
So, two new daycare centers and a new boarding facility – it’s been a lot of change for one little dog. But he’s so smart and adaptable, and so sociable, it hasn’t been a problem at all. He’s still my happy boy.
In the meantime we still take him to the park regularly to run off leash. He’s a constant source of entertainment to many, many people there. He tracks and chases squirrels, going non-stop the entire time, his stumpy little tail always going a mile a minute.
We stop by the coffee shops on our weekend walks, where A.J. gets too big a share of our scones and donuts. Throughout the summer and fall he walked to restaurants with us and we all sat outside and ate. A.J. is always a quiet and polite little boy, and happy for all the attention he receives from so many people who walk by.
This year ends with another trip to the fun boarding facility. He also had a wonderful white Christmas as his grandma’s house. We’ll talk about that later this week. I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but I am going to try to be better about adding entries to this blog, because I don’t want to lose track of all the fun things this amazing boy does, and all the happiness he brings to so many people.
Everyone familiar with dogs knows that they’re creatures of habit. They know when it’s time to be fed, they know when it’s bedtime, and they know every turn on their daily walk. If you try to stray from this routine, they will happily remind you of your mistake. When it comes to feeding time and bedtime A.J. is no exception. But walking, well, let’s just say A.J. has a mind of his own. Continue reading “Walk This Way”→
Today was a snow day. It snowed all night last night, and partway into the day today. By mid-day we had a full foot of snow. Depending on where you live this may not sound like a lot of snow, but in Portland, Oregon, this is very unusual and more than enough to shut down the city. I worked from home, and in the afternoon – it was time to play! Continue reading “Snow Day!”→
While I’m out of town for business, Greg has taken over A.J. duties. Here are the updates I received today:
“Well, you missed the 3:00 AM throwing up and the 5:00 AM barking explosion. Other than that, a pretty uneventful night.”
“I let him run loose at the park, and he had a pretty good time. When I called him he came right back to me, no shock required. He also had a huge gob of drool hanging out of his mouth. He gave himself a mighty shake, and the entire gob hit me smack in the nose. The precious moments just keep adding up.”