Cat nap

We’ve had a busy past two weeks as I’ve been trying to focus on my applications for graduate school. I received some much needed critiques on the stories I’m thinking about submitting, but some days it’s hard to stay positive about this whole application process. But as Ashwin keeps reminding me, this year will be my year! I have to believe that I will end up at a program next Fall, and that somehow, this will be the perfect program for me!

In the meantime, the dogs and I have figured out a schedule that provides optimal sleepy puppies so I can work. Every other day, Meeko and I go to our neighborhood park to throw the tennis ball, clicker training, and of course play chase with the other dogs. Meeko has officially learned how to “shake” but since Ashwin is a lefty, I’m going to teach her to shake with her “other paw” next! It’s hard to believe she’s 10 months old already!

On the odd days, Snickers accompanies us on a more relaxed walk up and down some of the flatter streets in Nob Hill. Some hills are just too steep for her and I have to carry her up. She tries though!

And now, here are some pictures of Meeko and Snickers taking naps in the California sunshine.

Stinsen Beach and a new sweater

I finally went across the Golden Gate Bridge! This Saturday Ashwin, the doggies, and I headed to Stinsen Beach: population approximately 500.

After a long and extremely winding drive, we drove into the beachtown’s main area.  It’s crazy how many micro climates there are in Northern California. This beach town was at least ten degrees warmer, and even though the breeze was still there, the sky was free from fog and clouds. We got a quick taco and quesadilla lunch at a restaurant with an outdoor patio. Meeko and Snickers each got a tasty nacho chip– yum!

The main stretch of beach turned out to not allow dogs. This led to an Ashwin rant wondering why the world was against doggies. Unfortunately, I think it comes down to people not picking up their doggies poop. I certainly wouldn’t want to walk around stepping in that! Though in reality, all the sidewalks in San Francisco are covered in dog pee so…

We drove a few blocks north to a different section of the same beach, designated “County beach.” In other words, dog friendly! There were much less people, and all the dogs (except for one, but he was leashed) were well behaved. Meeko quickly found some friends to play chase with and graciously shared her favorite squeaky tennis kong with anyone who was interested. She even play wrestled for the first time with a 2 year old puppy! It was so fun to see her play biting, and teasing the other dog even though he had her pinned upside down in the sand.

Snickers had some pep in her step and even chased Meeko a little bit! She didn’t care for the cold water though, so we stayed away from the waves. We walked far down the beach, watching huge cargo ships floating slowly in the distance. Meeko entertained herself by galloping in circles around us while Snickers stuck by my feet. As we were leaving the beach, Snickers found a dead fish to roll in and got a second wind of energy. She sprinted around us, obviously very pleased with her new scent. I told her “We’ll see who’s laughing when you are getting a bath”

After some oatmeal shampoo and more running around the house, the dogs settled down for a nap and I made some chocolate chip cookies for the humans in the house. Ashwin said they were the best ones I’d ever made!

In other news, Snickers got a new sweater so she isn’t so cold on all of our hardwood floors. I think she likes it!

A Snickers in Golden Gate Park

Sunday afternoon Ashwin’s Dad met us at a lake in Golden Gate Park. Our main goal was to tire Ms. Meeko out, but Snickers was the surprise star of the day!

The park itself was beautiful, and we met lots of friendly puppies. Children of all ages were smiling at Meeko but for once she was oblivious. All she cared about was the soccer ball under Ashwin’s arm. That may sound cute, but I was annoyed that she couldn’t just relax and enjoy her walk like she usually would. We made a mental note to bring a bag for the soccer ball next time.

Back in her youthful days, Snickers was an avid swimmer. An Olympic champion of chasing ducks across entire ponds. I have many memories of being done with a walk and calling out to Snickers to get out of the water. She would turn her head towards me like, “Yes I heard you, but I’m not done yet!” and keep swimming. Now when we come across a body of water, Snickers doesn’t always feel like swimming. But not this day!

As soon as we came up to the shore of Stow lake Snickers started getting excited. Her little tail was wagging and she was growling playfully at the ducks. The ducks on the other hand were more like, “What, you want some of this? Come and get it if you’re so tough! *quack*” Snickers kept putting her front paws in the water, then changing her mind. All of the sudden she was climbing out onto a fallen willow tree that was hanging over the water! She was 2 feet above the water standing on this tree when she realized that she was stuck. At this point other people had stopped to watch and were taking pictures. Ashwin and I were laughing and calling to her “Snickers! Why are you in the tree?” She tried to turn around but lost her footing and fell into the water.

As she doggy paddled back to shore, the look on her face was priceless. She was so embarrassed! When she pulled herself onto the shore, she walked past us and the other people and shook herself off on the other side of the path. “It’s okay Snickers, nobody saw you fall” I lied.

After walking up the hill on the island in the middle of the lake, Snickers went round 2 with the ducks on the same shoreline. She successfully chased them and then came back to me. Much better!

My only regret for the day is that I didn’t get a video of Snickers in the tree because I was too busy holding onto Meeko’s leash.

22 Days: Meeko is driving me crazy

Things she has ripped up or eaten in the past few days: pajama shorts, pair of socks, 6 undies, one shoe and a bra.

I decided to sell her metal puppy crate and have been transitioning her to a canvas travel crate. It has zipper-doors and a top that zips open so she can pop her head out and look around in the car. Her most recent feast of Jackie clothing happened because she managed to hop out of her crate through a small opening in the top. I had left a bit of it un–zippered so that she wouldn’t get too hot. She spent her next four hours of freedom going through my laundry basket and “redecorating” my room with shredded clothes. Thanks Meeko!

As for the bra, yes, she actually ate it. I know this because Monday morning as I was trying to get ready for work she puked it up, one piece at a time. She didn’t even chew the straps, she just ate them whole, like angel hair pasta. Yes, you really needed that visual.

She’s getting spayed this Thursday, maybe that will calm her down a bit?? No offense Ms. Meeko, but the world doesn’t need any crazy puppies from you!

 

Puppy Timeline part 2

When puppies are very young, they don’t really bark. They squeak.

Once a week all throughout December, my boyfriend, Snickers, and I made trips out to see the Sheltie litter at Merlyn Kennels. Very soon, the two female puppies knew that we were there to see them. They would jump at their pen and lick our hands while the boys in the litter would continue falling on top of each other and knocking over their water dish. I felt like a proud parent– They are just so smart! We knew from the beginning that the breeder would be keeping one of the female puppies to become the next matriarch in her line of show dogs. Essentially, whichever puppy best represented what the Sheltie breed aims for, in looks, personality, etc., would be the one she would keep.

I’ll be honest, I had fallen in love with the other female puppy. I’d tentatively named her Bianca, from Disney’s The Rescuer’s. Eva Gabor does the voice for the character, a Hungarian mouse who works in a mouse-version of the UN. (If you have never seen this movie, please do) This puppy walked around like she was the prettiest thing ever, and she was always posing. The other female puppy seemed to have little interest in me–she’d rather play with a toy by herself than let me pet her. The breeder explained that just like human kids, puppies can go through awkward phases where they are emotionally ‘behind’ or have little interest in humans. This was hard to accept when Bianca seemed genuinely interested in interacting with me (and Snickers, despite the many growls and snaps that came her way). I crossed my fingers, hoping for Bianca.

Finally, right before the puppies’ 10 week birthday, we stopped in for our visit. “Here’s your puppy!” the breeder greeted us. I studied the puppy–which one was it? Looking quickly, it could be tough to figure out who was who, their colours and markings were quite similar. I remembered that Bianca’s feet were white only on her paws. This puppy’s feet, legs and chest were all pure fuzzy white.

I asked how she made the decision of which puppy to keep. She explained that “my puppy” was beautiful, and had perfect markings for a show dog. In fact, there was absolutely nothing wrong with her. Unfortunately, the markings that would make her a great show dog carried potential problems for her future puppies. If my puppy were bred, there was a risk that her puppies could be born with all white faces, or large amounts of white in their fur. Not only would this disqualify them for showing purposes, but the genetics that cause white faces in Shelties often cause blindness or deafness. So, while puppy Bianca was not as “technically” beautiful in the world of show dogs, she was the more ideal candidate for producing show quality puppies.

Hiding my disappointment with a smile, I reached out for my new puppy, unsure of what to expect from her, let alone what to name her!

Puppy Timeline Part 1

There has always been a Sheltie in my life. When I was really little, we had Gallie, an oversized Sheltie with an overbite. When I fell down a ditch into a riverbed, she ran back to our house barking at my Mom until she followed Gallie to my rescue, Lassie-style. Turns out ‘Gallie’ was short for ‘Galleria,’ as in the mall. When I discovered this I felt genuinely bad for her.

Then there was Misty, aka Moose. I was in 6th grade and my biggest wish was finally coming true– my parents told my sister and I that we could each get our own dog. I had my heart set on another Sheltie, while my sister was debating between a Beagle or a Jack Russell based solely on the cuteness of their faces. My Mom, sister and I drove out to the first breeder we’d gotten in contact with. She bred show dogs, and had one puppy left from her latest litter of champions. I remember sitting on her couch, listening to the sounds of about ten Shelties barking at us from outside, when she placed a tiny Sable Sheltie into my lap. The breeder began to explain that she was the runt of the litter, and that she would probably stay pretty small. I looked down and the puppy had fallen asleep stretched out across my lap. I sensed this dog and I had something special, so I whispered to my Mom that we didn’t need to look anymore. Moose was my “soul Sheltie,” like a soul mate only fuzzier.

While I was still in college, Moose had sudden kidney failure and passed away at the young age of 10. My sister’s puppy pick, Snickers, was depressed for weeks. At meal times, she kept waiting for Moose to sneak up and steal her food. She looked for her in every room. When I graduated from college, I became the only family member that was in a position to take Snickers. I moved her down to Pittsburgh, happy to have a dog back in my life. But the idea of having another Sheltie was always in the back of my mind.

After several phone calls, emails, and begging, I finally found Meeko’s breeder at Merlyn Kennels. She had a litter of Sable puppies due at the end of October 2011. There were five total, three boys and two girls. We started visiting the puppies once a week in December, not knowing which of the two girls we would get.

 

Meet the dogs!

This reflects their personalities perfectly

HI. I’M MEEKO. I am full of mischief. I like to find paper and then tear it into teeny tiny pieces. I also like to chase things. If it moves, it’s a sheep. Soccer ball? Sheep. Human feet trying to go down the stairs? Sheep. Snickers? Sheep.

OH! That’s right, this is Snickers. She is my big sister. Except we’re not related. But we do everything together, and she’s showing me how to not go to the bathroom inside. She makes this face at me a lot, like I’m bothering her or something. WHY WON’T YOU CHASE ME??

I just chased my first herd of ducks. That’s why I look so pleased with myself. At first they just waddled away from me, but then I ran and barked and then they all shot up in the air and that was a little scary. Jackie laughed at me. My feelings were hurt but then I forgot.

Now it’s naptime.

Deep Z's
I don't always sleep on suitcases, but when I do, I tuck my feet and nose into the handles.