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!”
A.J. has been helping around the house again. Here’s an email I received while I was at work today:
Subject: Before you ask tonight…
…yes, I DID try to wash the paint off your dog’s ear.
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.”
Sounds to me like they’re having a good time.
A.J. continues to amaze me.
I’ve mentioned before that he has climbed trees. The trees that he’s climbed don’t have trunks that stand straight up, they’re at an angle of around 35 or 40 degrees (90 degrees being a perfectly straight tree). I’ve been saying he climbs trees, but really he’s just been running up into the trees. Today, however, A.J. climbed a tree. Continue reading “A.J. the Daredevil”
We had a thunderstorm very early this morning. I would have slept right through it, but A.J. made sure to let me know what was going on. When I woke up to his barking I was sleepy enough not to care what it was about. I told him “Shush,” petted him for a moment (since he was standing by the side of the bed), then told him to go back to bed.
Very soon after that he barked again. This time I woke up enough to open my eyes and see the flash of lightning outside. Now that I knew what he was barking at, I also knew he wasn’t going to stop. He again was sitting right next to me beside the bed, so I got up, sat on the floor, and petted him.
As the wind and rain pounded the windows and the lightning continued to flash, A.J. settled down and stopped barking. After about five minutes of sitting with me, he got up, walked over to his bed, laid down – and fell asleep. The message was pretty clear. Now that I was up guarding the house from the evil flashes he could go back to sleep.
Wait a minute – isn’t it the dog who’s supposed to guard the house?
A.J. will eat almost anything. I’ve tried to teach him not to just grab anything that hits the ground. This works in the house. If we’re in the kitchen and I drop something, he’ll wait a moment and make sure it’s okay with me before he picks it up and eats it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work when we’re out on a walk. I spend a good portion of time on every walk saying “Leave it!” or “Drop!” Both of these commands work at home. On a walk, they both seem to mean “Grab it and swallow, quick!” (This, of course, leads to all sorts of lovely consequences.)
There are a couple of things we’ve dropped in the kitchen that A.J. hasn’t been at all interested in. One is cherry tomatoes. He’ll pick one up then spit it out, pick it up and spit it out, but he doesn’t believe it’s food and won’t eat it. The other is lettuce. Same thing, he’ll pick it up and spit it out, but it’s not food, he’s not eating it.
The other day we were walking along and I saw something on the sidewalk that A.J. started to lunge for. I pulled him back saying “Leave it!” Then I realized the thing on the ground was lettuce. Knowing he doesn’t eat lettuce I said, “Oh, okay,” and continued walking. A.J. pounced on the lettuce and ate it.
Apparently even lettuce tastes good when it’s been out rotting on the sidewalk.
A few months ago I took A.J. to the airport with me to pick up Greg after a business trip. A.J. was the star of the airport. Shortly after that trip I read an article about programs at airports around the country where they bring in therapy dogs to calm and cheer up passengers. For various reasons, I recently failed to renew A.J.’s therapy dog certification, but if our airport had this program I would have renewed it; the airport is definitely the place for him. We got to experience that again yesterday. Continue reading “Another Trip to the Airport”
I can’t imagine there is anyone who spends any time around dogs and really pays attention to them who isn’t constantly entertained by them. When I got my first dog I saw all the funny and interesting things she did and thought I’d get used to it within a month or so. But in the 13 years we spent together, she never did cease to entertain me.
A.J. … well, when it comes to dogs that are entertaining, A.J. seems to be a walking sideshow. Today was a perfect example of that. Continue reading “A Walking Sideshow”
“I’m going out to get the monkey before it gets dark.”
Sometimes I surprise myself when I actually pay attention to what I’ve just said.