Friday, February 27, 2009

Bonding time with Dad

For the first time since Poe has joined the family I had to travel overnight for work. Two full nights away from home. Two long nights for the husband (DH).

Now, major props to the hubs this week. He loves to spend time with the crazy collies and couldn't wait for 2 nights alone with Jack and Poe. Manly meals of pepperoni and cheese for the man-beasts and embarrassment-free snugglefests and baby talk with his princess. He was ready with his lists of training homework, his clicker and treats. And his pen and paper so he could take notes for the blog post that will surely be generated out of this experience.

The husband decides that taking the kids into public alone can't be too hard. He loads them up in the car and takes them to a wonderful boardwalk close to home. There are people to watch, dogs to greet, seagulls to watch, water to smell.....................oh honey, how did you ever think this would go smoothly?

It started smoothly. Oh how such a short sentence can hold so much meaning. Everything was going well until Poe met a new friend. While meeting new friends is all in good, it helps if these friends don't have wings, don't fly, don't shit on your head and aren't currently flying over water. Poe tries to fit through the slats in the pier to meet her new seagull friend who we can call Bob. While Poesy can swim, this is really not the time or place. The husband blocks her. Crisis averted. But Poe once again shows her true brains and determination and figures if you can't go through something you might as well go over and starts trying to scale the railing. Well Shit. When that didn't work she jumps into his arms and tries to go over the rail. Well Double Shit. Thank god for DH's ninja like reflexes as he catches her and puts her back on the ground. Meanwhile, Bob isn't helping, still flying lazily overhead.

Fu*k you Bob.

Not to be shown up by his little sister Jackson shows just how smart he is. He is so smart that he can conjugate verbs, mainly the verb "to sing":

According to Merriam-Webster SING means:
1 a: to produce musical tones by means of the voice
b: to utter words in musical tones and with musical inflections and modulations
c: to deliver songs as a trained or professional singer
2: to make a shrill whining or whistling sound
3 a: to relate or celebrate something in verse
b: to compose poetry
c: to create in or through words a feeling or sense of song
4: to produce musical or harmonious sounds

According to Jackson sing means:

to channel his inner coyote and yodel, yip and howl so loud that there is no hope for slinking casually away, hoping no one recognizes when you return 6 months later.

Two women walk by and in conversation says "Whahahah ahahahahah singing whahahhawhahaha". Jackson quickly realizes that singing is a related form to sing according to Merriam-Webster and breaks out a howl like none other. People stop, staring slack-jawed at the tones emitting from his pointy little collie head. Jackson takes the stage and sings with all of his heart, dazzling his audience with eye drum splitting octave jumps. His audience grows, astonished that only 50lbs could push out that pitch for so long, much like Mariah Carey .

DH tries to quiet them but suddenly finds himself like most dads, woefully unprepared for the situation. Without even a crumb of a treat he is hard pressed to distract Jackson from his ever-growing audience. The husband stares into the crowd, seeing the cop car turning onto the street. Oh dear....there is no way to describe this scene without using the words "disturbing the peace". DH grabs the kids and bolts for the car. It might be a while before we can show our faces on the boardwalk, but hey, if you have to leave go out with a bang.

Dads might not do the job like mom, but they get the job done.

*love you honey*

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day little buddy!!!!!!

Five years ago this week my life turned upside down. My best friend was leaving for Africa and I agreed to keep one of the dogs she had rescues 9 months earlier. I loved dogs, but hadn't had one as an adult and what little I knew about border collies was enough to make me realize that I would NEVER have one. But my friend needed help and Jackson needed a home so I thought, what the hell? Never mind that I was broke. Never mind that I wasn't allowed to have dogs in my apartment and would have to hide a 50 lb collie. I made my one and only impulse decision and offered to keep Jackson.

Jackson was found 9 months prior as a wild stray in eastern Colorado. Emaciated, flea ridden, matted and feral, he stepped out in front of my friend's truck while she was driving into the middle of nowhere for research. She managed to get him and his brother into the truck and took them into her life. She vetted them, cared for them and trained them. She drove them back east hoping they would have a better shot at being adopted. Her parents ended up with Wiley and I ended up with Jackson. After returning from Africa Wiley came to live with her again and the boys were back together.
This Jackson on his first day. Skinny, sunbleached and scared out of his mind. He's ideal weight is 50lbs. Here he was in the high 20-low 30 lb range. He was almost half his ideal weight.

So not only did I suddenly have a border collie, I had a wild border collie that had been starved, neglected and abandoned. I had no money for behaviorists or classes so with the help of some wonderful advice from online friends, books, and unlimited patience we slowly because to heal. Happy, content and looking good, Jackson has made great strides in accepting people into his life. His strong spirit and willingness to trust has helped turn him into a wonderful companion.

He has handled his transition from feral stray to high profile city dog with style, grace and humor.

We have made one heck of a team on and off the field as we helped each other through numerous challenges and periods of loneliness. With my best friend abroad and my husband in grad school Jackson was a source of companionship and comfort. And I hope that my presence helped him adjust to his new life and the expectations that came with it.

Jackson has completely turned my life upside down, all for the better. Rest well old man, you earned it!!!!!
So to Jackson....Happy 5 year Anniversary of your Gotcha Day. The last 5 have been great and here's looking forward to the future and all that you can achieve.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Country Collies in the City (how's that for alliteration)

Jackson and Poe hit the big city this morning. For some reason we thought it would be a good idea to take the furry little terrorists to the most heavily guarded city in the country, Washington DC. Surprisingly the kids were on their best behavior. Poe was jumping up on statues, walls, and monuments, but at least she got down when police drove by. Jackson whined a bit, but who in Washington doesn't whine about something? They were so cute that tourists were taking their pictures. So if you see Poe and Jack on a billboard in Germany don't be too surprised.

Given their good behavior we tried to take a few pictures of the kids in front of monuments. You might think this totally crazy, but last year we saw a man taking pictures of his cat on a leash. I think he's got the pet crazy market cornered so we might be okay.

The kids were great with the tourists and the crowds but with Jackson and Poe you never know what is going to happen when out in public. Things can go bad or they can go good. You just learn to go with the flow. Today luck was on our side. Honestly a million things can happen with these two.

This is how our day COULD have gone:

Poe deciding that gates reading "DO NOT ENTER" don't apply to her.
Jackson thinking that might not be the best idea.

Shit! The Police!
*Whistling* Nothing to see here officer. We were just taking our humans out for a walk. No breaking and entering going on around here. *whistling*

Mom that was close! I was a little nervous.

I'm sorry Mom, I didn't mean to cause any trouble. Forgive me?*

* this is how you know this is just my imagination. Like Poesy would ever apologize for having fun and getting in trouble.


The kids were great. They worked on sit stays, showed off for tourists and only dragged us like sled dogs about 50% of the time. They passed a few dogs with minimal hysterics and handled large groups of people ignoring them (the ultimate horror and torture). All in all it was a nice day. Of course the day couldn't be complete without a few snafus.

1) Poe tried to jump into the duck pond

2) Poe jumped up on a 5 ft retaining wall and fell off the other side (luckily the ground was only 6 inches down on the other side)

3) Jackson tried to jump on the same wall but didn't have enough slack in the leash so he was dangling, holding on to the wall with his little front legs while I tried to hold up his rump and ease him down to the ground

4) Poe tried to chase some gulls

5) Poe tried to jump into the duck pond.......................................again.

So all in all, this trip was a great success after our last trip. There weren't any police watching us on this trip (thank goodness- the day could have matched my imagination after all), but that wasn't true on our last trip into the city. Poe and Jackson decided to play bratty siblings in front of the White House and in front of two police officers. They tangled the leashes around my legs and rolled on the ground like two horny squirrels. I'm yelling at my husband for help but he was too busy taking pictures (bastard). The two police officers stayed in their nice warm car and laughed hysterically at the poor redhead hog tied on the White House Lawn. Serve and Protect my ass.

So yeah, after that trip, I'll count today a victory.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

The commercially recognized day of love is upon us. In honor of Valentine's Day Poe is showing off her pink collar with little pink hearts. She's ready for you to whisper sweet nothings into her ear:

Even Jackson gets in touch with his feminine side in honor of the holiday. It takes a strong man to be in touch with his feminine side, but it takes a REAL man to lay on a cotton candy pink bed

So to everyone reading, may your chocolate be plentiful and your flowers allergy free.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Training time with Dad

I had a late night meeting so my husband took over crowd control for the night. He is all excited to get a night alone with the kids and work on some training. I leave behind Poe's "homework" for obedience class and head out the door.

I get home and ask if they got in any training in. This is the run down of the things they worked on:

- Don't eat your brother's face
- Don't sit on your sister's head
- Jumping into Dad's arms
- NOT jumping into his arms when Dad is carrying juice
- Don't lick Dad's juice off the floor
- Hey that's MY juice
- Jumping on Dad's back
- Just cause I bend over it doesn't mean you can jump on my back
- Waiting for Dad to actual bend over before attempting to jump on his back
- If one dog is on Dad's back, you stay off it
- Fitting 80 lbs of combined collie on dad's back
- Don't fight with your sister
- Don't fight with your brother
- Don't fight on the couch next to Dad
- Don't fight on top of Dad.

And so I return to find two smiling collies and one husband that looks a bit like a shrimp curled up on the couch.

Things that they didn't have time for:
- Sit
- Down
- Stand
- Touch
- Heel
- Recall

But hey, I think everyone had fun.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Introducing the main characters

Welcome to the misadventures of Jackson and Poe! And just who are Jackson and Poe?

This is Jackson and Poe!

Now a little introduction to the main characters in this comedy I call my life.

Jackson: He's on the right Jackson is a border collie/rough coat(Lassie) collie mix. He has tolerated us for the last 5 years. He was found by my best frind running wild in eastern Colorado with his brother when he was 2 years old. My friend drove him and his brother back to Maryland hoping to find good homes for them both. After he ran away, chased some birds, and barked at everyone I told my friend he was a good dog and secretly laughed behind her back. But alas, as usual, the joke was on me. Over the next few months I got to know Jackson and I realized that he was in fact a great dog. During this time my friend was accepted into the Peace Corp and I offered to take Jackson. The rest is history! Jackson is now a mature 8 yrs old and the best dog ever!

Poe: She's on the left (obviously) Oh Poe...sweet sweet little Poe. How can one sum Poe up into a few short sentences? After having Jackson for 4 years we decided that he needed a friend (even if he didn't agree). We started looking for another border collie to adopt. One day I get a call from my husband. He found his dog. His little girl. He sends me the petfinder link of a dog where you can clearly see the word CRAZY in her big beautiful brown eyes . Lucky for her, those big brown eyes were overshadowed by the cutest little freckled nose ever. Problem was that she was in Alabama. And we are not. But apparently we are crazy too and we drove 15 hrs to go meet her and brought her home to Maryland. She is about 20months old and a border collie/hungrarian hellhound mix. Or Border collie/springer spaniel mix. We haven't really figured it out yet.

Setsail: That's me *waves*. I am the chauffeur, personal trainer, poop-picker upper, chef, and personal assistant to Jackson and Poe :)