About skLWAD

Former yuppie, now suburbanite experiencing life with a dog for the first time.

An Interesting Start To My Morning

Every day when I drive to work I listen to a local radio station’s 8 am “Feel Good Favourite”.  It’s a chance for listeners to call in and request a feel good song, and often these songs are dedicated to their friends and family.  It’s usually a favourite song of the person being honoured in the dedication, but sometimes it is the message of the song that is the reason it is chosen. 

This morning the caller wanted to dedicate the Feel Good Favourite to her friends who recently lost their “beloved lab”.  The song she requested?  “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen. 

So there I was, halfway to work, listening to the song lyrics and thinking of Kona as she gets older.  It was all I could do not to cry.  Especially when it got to the line “But I still come back to you” and all I could see was Kona running towards me when she’s called. 

I’m not kidding – the caller really picked an appropriate song.

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Visitors Beware

If you ever visit our household or have a chance to meet Kona there is something you need to know…

If you put your face anywhere close to hers, be prepared for this:

Yeah, our dog is a very affectionate pup.  She won’t hesitate to give you a kiss on the face.  The other day at the dog park one of the owners learned this the hard way… Kona gave her a big kiss… on the lips… and the woman didn’t have her mouth closed.

Yep, that’s our girl 🙂

Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday Kona!!!

Ten months ago we brought home an 8 week old puppy who looked like this:

First day at home.

Since then, we’ve gone through the ups and downs of a life with a puppy.  At times frustrating, at times entertaining, but mostly fun.  We went through a medical scare in the summer, and then experienced the “joys” of a dog in heat.  And now we have a 1 year old lab.

She’s definitely on the small side of the labrador retriever scale – just 50 lbs, and an inch or so shorter than most other female labs.  But she’s by far the friendliest, happiest, most loving dog I’ve ever known (no bias here of course).  If there’s another living creature that comes into her view, she wants to meet, greet and play with that creature – doesn’t matter what it is!

We can’t imagine life without her.

Who’s the Boss?

Is it this 15 lb snuggly beast?

Or this 50 lb bundle of energy?

You should know that Keegan has no front claws.  That, combined with being less than a third of Kona’s weight would suggest that he might not get the upper hand.

Until recently we hadn’t put it to the test.  The ground floor of our house is divided by baby gates so that Keegan can live unmolested in a Kona-free zone.  Normally, they just meet at the gate between the Kitchen and foyer.

Kona always rushes to the gate in the morning to say hello.  She bows to Keegan, to let him know she wants to play and her tail wags a mile a minute.  Keegan stares her down.  Periodically he paws at her.  Kona will sometimes reciprocate with her paw through the gate.

And that has been it… until the other day.  Keegan, while very snuggly and affectionate, is also really mouthy.  Especially around mealtimes.  Lately, he’s taken to sitting right by the gate and demanding food.  He was being particularly belligerent the other day and we’d had enough (he’d already gotten his meal).  Kona was at the gate excited to see him.  So P opened the gate. 

I was downstairs and heard the ensuing chase around our ground floor.  They ended up in a stand-off beneath our dining room table.  Keegan was hissing and growling and making it clear he wanted to be left alone.  Kona was wagging her tail and wanted to play.  Three times she would approach him, then back off.  Keegan finally brought out the claws on his hind legs and got her on the nose.  P stepped in at that point and brought Kona back to the dog zone. 

The next day I was upstairs and we decided to give it another try.  This time Keegan stood his ground beneath a dining chair.  Kona kept approaching him – she would bow down on the ground, keep her head to the ground and creep up towards him.  After 5 or 10 seconds she would back away.  We let it go on for a minute before separating the two.

Of course, Keegan spent the entire minute hissing and growling, although this time he stayed seated and didn’t bring out this claws.  And Kona?  She just kept trying to lick him.  In fact, Keegan’s fur was soaked after we separated them (I’m sure he LOVED that). 

It’ll be a long time before Kona has the self-control to not try and wrestle Keegan to the ground (in play), but I’m sure it will happen eventually.  Until then, we’ll just have to daydream about the day we can finally take down the gates and our cat and dog will hang out in the same space.

Pimp My Crate

As I’ve mentioned before, Kona is crate trained and we intend to keep her crated when left alone for now and the forseeable future.  When we first brought her home we collected some old towels and used them to cushion the inside of her crate.  This worked well (especially during the housetraining months) until the end of summer when we discovered this:

We quickly put a stop to leaving the towels in her crate.  Of course this meant that she had nothing to sleep on when she was crated, which we felt bad about.  Although, not so bad that we rushed to put anything in there – we heard too many firsthand accounts of dog owners spending thousands on emergency surgery after their dogs ate rags and other textiles.

In December Petsmart had a sale on dog beds and crate mats.  I debated picking one up but even on sale it was still pricey. When I took a good look at it I decided it was something that I could make myself – a removable fabric pillowcase surrounding a thin layer of foam.  I called up my sewing guru (aka Mom) to find out where to buy the foam, and to see if she had any leftover flannel or fleece I could use for the project.  Not only did she have the fabric but she volunteered to make it!

Mom improved on my initial concept – she ended up creating a quilted mat, sized to fit our crate.  The quilting is on the bottom side only, as stitching is something that Kona seems to be attracted to.  And the best part is that we can toss the mat into the washing machine when it needs a good cleaning.

The minute we presented it to Kona, she walked right on top of it, spent 30 minutes sniffing it, and then settled down on top of it.

So far we are just using it as a second “dog bed”, outside of the crate.  Our plan is to monitor her using it to make sure there are no chewing moments (in which case we’ll take it away).  This is the strategy we used after we repaired her dog bed, and so far the dog bed remains undamaged.

For now, it spends most of the time in the kitchen – tucked away in a corner where she can settle and watch us while we cook or clean.  It’s been 3 weeks and she hasn’t made a move to chew it so we’re pretty happy about that.  Eventually we will start leaving it in the crate at night, and after that is successful we will leave it in during the work day as well.  Fingers crossed that it all goes well!

Pro #2 – The Great Outdoors

I’ve never been an outdoorsy kind of girl.  I like the idea of being outdoorsy, but it’s just never been part of my lifestyle.  My idea of a perfect winter day involves a mug of hot chocolate or tea, a roaring fire in the fireplace, a comfy couch and a good book.  In the summer, swap that to an iced tea, remove the roaring fire, and the rest is about the same.

But over the past 9 months (yes we’ve had Kona that long now!) I’ve found that outlook changing.  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that regardless of the weather, our dog loves and needs to be outside.  She is filled to the brim with energy and must be walked twice a day, or she’ll drive us nuts.  Which means I am going to be outside, whether I like it or not, at least once a day for a solid half hour or more. 

Granted, knowing that I’d be outside in all types of weather I’ve made sure to invest in some quality outdoor gear.  From my yellow wellies and raincoat, to my new winter parka and snow boots – I’ve got the right clothes to keep me dry and/or warm as the case may be. 

Via.

Back at the end of summer I mentioned how much i enjoyed the serenity of our morning walks.  As winter approached, there was less and less light during those walks and for the past few months they are in complete darkness.  Despite my morning-person tendencies, lately I’ve found myself dreading getting up on the weekday mornings.  The 5:30 am alarm has not been kind and the thought of the cold or rain hasn’t inspired any excitement on my part. 

But then I head downstairs to receive the most rambunctious, enthusiastic, happy greeting you can imagine.  If that’s not enough, once we get out on our walks any remaining negativity disappears.  It’s peaceful, and some days are especially beautiful – like last Tuesday when Kona and I were the first animal and human to walk on the freshly fallen snow along our route. 

Via.

So who knows.  Maybe Kona is making me not just a dog person, but an outdoors person too!

Classiest Dog Ever

I hope you can hear the sarcasm oozing from the title of this post. 

Today was the big day – Kona is at the vet to get spayed (and microchipped).  P and I were looking forward to it as we never want to go through this again.  Not that having a puppy in heat was a big deal – just a nuisance really – but it will be nice not to have to worry.  One puppy is enough thank you very much!

Anyways, I brought Kona to the vet this morning and when we arrived she was SUPER EXCITED.  I don’t think I can express in words her joy.  As soon as I let her out of the car (on leash of course) she made a beeline for the door, then sat patiently as we waited for the staff to unlock it.  Once inside, she discovered a german shepherd (wearing a cone of shame), a yellow lab, and a fluffy black dog.  Kona just about exploded in excitement.  The staff and the other dog owners all enjoyed watching Kona express her happiness (tail wagging at warp speed). 

I’m not sure how I managed to do this, but we did get Kona on the scale, and she actually sat patiently (although you could tell she was bursting with energy and wanted to move) as we waited for the scale to register a reading.  Only it was broken, so the receptionist had to walk over to fiddle around with it. 

Now, this is probably the moment where I should let you know about a bad habit of Kona’s, one that we’re trying to break.  So far she only does it with me, but I think that’s because of my height compared to P’s.  See, my bum is just above the height of her nose, so if she tilts her head up she can just lightly tap my bum with her nose.  Only, she likes to approach with her nose just slightly between my legs.  NOT COOL.

So yeah, the receptionist walked over to the scale and was trying to reset it.  Kona hopped off the scale and walked behind the receptionist.  All of a sudden the receptionist jumped up and emitted a little shriek.  Then she turned to me and said as she laughed, “I just got goosed!”

I knew EXACTLY what Kona had done and I was mortified!!!!

Kona of course was sitting behind the receptionist, wagging her tail and looking up with a happy grin on her face.  Yep, our dog is classy.