Pooping in PetSmart

“Who me?”

I have a love-hate relationship with my dog. Most of the time he’s adorable and his goofy personality makes me laugh. I mean, when you watch an eighty pound German shepherd act like a goof ball how can you not laugh, right?

There are other times when I question why we have a dog at all. Case in Point: Last week Noodge 3 (as I lovingly refer to him.  a.k.a. Munson) was in much need of a bath. He’d had an ear infection and after several weeks of shoving antibiotic fluid into his ear the fur on the side of his face had clumped together. (We often tried to clean the fur with baby wipes, but Munson is a long haired shepherd making the process much harder. That and he wanted to eat the wipes right out of our hands.)

Off to PetSmart for a bath! He loves getting a bath, though he doesn’t like the dryer and has to air dry and the wonderful people who work at our local PetSmart love Munson. Come on, how can’t you love a goofy, eighty pound, fluffy dog? It’s impossible.

After the bath, the Coffee King thought it would be fun to walk Munson around the store, check out some of the toys. I guess CK was thinking Munson would bark at the ones he liked best and we’d buy it. Kind of like when we took the kids to the toy store before they could speak.

Munson is easily excited. A little fun fact about German shepherds. They have a sensitive stomach. It was too much excitement for Munson. (Or someone gave him a treat we didn’t approve.) Because right in the middle of the toy aisle with absolutely no warning Munson took a squat!

It might not have been the end of the world except I’ve never seen anything so liquid puddling all over the floor in a store and coming out of the back end of my freshly cleaned dog.

I ran for help.

I found a woman on a ladder stocking shelves. I said, “My dog just had an accident.”

She pointed over my head and said, “the cleaner is over there. Do you see it?”

Uh…NO! You’re standing three feet above my head. Pointing in a general area doesn’t equal good directions. Anyway, because I’m smarter than I look, I found it. And here comes CK with the dog. “I’m taking him outside.”

And leaving me with the eruption is aisle four? You betcha.

What choice did I have? Did I really want to leave Lake Erie for someone to step into? Yes. But I didn’t. I grabbed several tiny, one-ply paper towels (more like cocktail napkins), an equally small garbage bag (think Ziploc sandwich bag) and the cleaner and went to battle.

The paper towels were useless and required fifty trips back and forth to gather enough to do any good. As soon as I put one down it was soaked through and there was no way on this planet I was touching anything that looked or smelled like that paper towel had become. The trick was how to shove the gigantic wad of wet, smelly paper towels into the sandwich bag without touching anything and hold my wallet under my arm without dropping it in the sewer. (Wallet is too large to shove in a pocket and I couldn’t put it down for fear while I was drowning in the polluted lake (not implying Lake Erie is polluted by the way) someone would come along and swipe it up.

No one came to help me. No one asked if I was all right. No one brought me a mop which I desperately needed. On one of my trips back for more paper towels another employee (and no one from the grooming center) said to me, “Make sure you throw that outside.” In the kind of voice that suggested I coerced my dog into defecating in her store. In fact, I make a career of doing just that thing. Haven’t you heard of it? Pooper Plopper. I’m very successful.

I managed to clean it up and break a sweat. You really can burn calories in all amazing ways. I scrubbed my hands and threw out the eruption in the inside garbage can, hee hee. Went outside to find CK and Munson doing laps in the parking lot. Munson no worse for wear. Me, trembling, disgusted, and questioning my sanity when I said hands clapping, “Yes, let’s get a dog! What fun!”






My Self-Centered Puppy

"Who doesn't love me?"
“Who doesn’t love me?”

I read in the Art Of Raising A Puppy, that puppies don’t do things to please you. They do things because they like how they feel when you praise them. They keep doing things you ask because they want to feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I mean have you ever seen a puppy lie on his back so you can rub his belly? Super cute and they know it plus it feels great to them.

Munson doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to. I have to trick him into thinking he wants to go back in his house and if you trick him enough times it becomes a habit. Kind of like with kids. And spouses.

He tells me when he wants to eat even though I put the food out and take it away after it sat there and he hadn’t touched it. He pretty much looks at me and says, “lady, you can’t make me.” And he’s right.

He barks to let me know his ball rolled under the couch and then looks at me like, “well, you moving to get my ball, or what?” Who’s raising this over-indulged furry monster?

Let me tell you what I like about Munson, though. When I walk in the door he charges from wherever he his, even if he’s napping, and greets me with a hardy hello. No one else in my house does that. He runs around my legs, forgetting he’s 70 pounds and not 14, practically knocking me over. All that spinning in circles is probably a ruse to knock me over so he can lick my face which he knows I don’t love, but he does.

But here’s my favorite thing about Munson, don’t let a stranger come near his family. He goes from being our cute, silly, self-centered puppy to a full-blown German shepherd on a mission. His fur stands up, his tail curls toward the sky, he growls under his breath and then barks deep and loud and long. He scared the living day lights out of the painter the other day. Poor guy.

I wonder if this “life in the key of me” business will ever end with Munson. Or will he some day simply lift his head and sniff in my direction when I walk in as if to say, “oh, you again. Rub my belly.”

Will he pack his bags and go off to college forgetting about all the treats I gave him? Forgetting about all the fun times we had running in the yard chasing balls? Probably. But until then I’ll just have to try and enjoy the occasional face lick.

Do Puppies Relieve Stress?

photo 1 (7)
Do you want me to lick you now or later or both?

I thought I read somewhere dogs help people relieve stress. Well, my blood pressure is up and I have a German shepherd puppy. That sweet, fluffy, stubborn puppy actually has a mind of his own. It’s scary, really. He decides he doesn’t want to do something he’s not going to do it and I have to wait him out until he does. Let me explain.

We all know what a clean freak I am, from the first day we brought Munson home we have been wiping his paws off before he comes back in the house. Until recently, he was agreeable to this. In the beginning, if I said, “Munson, paws” he’d jump right on the towel. I’ll admit it, that was pretty darn cute. Now when I say, “Munson, paws” he sits down and looks at you. Okay, not  bad, but when I approach with the towel that stinker either walks away or tries to eat the towel. Sometimes I have to let him chew on the end of the towel just so I can dry his feet. Who’s in charge here? Hmm…

He’s also decided his water bowl is a toy or maybe a mirror. I can’t decide which, but sometimes he sticks his paw in the water like he’s trying to grab something. Does he see his reflection and think, who is that handsome dog? You can guess what happens when he slaps at the water. Water everywhere and on his paw, which if I don’t wipe off, he will track wet paw prints all around the house and you know I can’t allow that. Now, I’m back to saying, “Munson, paws.” And he eats the towel. It really is a vicious circle. Do you think he does it on purpose?

But then there was the day I picked up Noodge 2 early from school because she wasn’t feeling well and when she got home Munson walked up to her, tail wagging, and give her a kiss hello without jumping once. Like he knew some how that she needed a calm friend and this moment wasn’t about him. Sitting with her puppy made her feel better.

You can’t help but giggle at him when he grabs his Frisbee, wraps it around his snout, and covers his eyes with it. I don’t know how he sees where he’s going, but he finds you and hopes you’ll grab that Frisbee and throw it for him. And of course, I do. It’s hard to say no to him.

I can't see  you, but I know you're there. You're playing with me whether you want to or not!
I can’t see you, but I know you’re there because I have supersonic German shepherd puppy hearing. You’re playing with me whether you want to or not!

And there’s nothing like his greeting when he sees me first thing in the morning, but I’m not the one taking him outside. I wish everyone was willing to choke themselves just to say hello to me.

Oh, that Munson. He’s Noodge number 3, the cutest puppy with his floppy ears and long soft, fur you just want to dig your fingers into and he doesn’t relieve any stress in my day. Not one little bit.





Things Happen

Things happen. Roll with it.
Things happen. Roll with it. I did. 

I’m not good with the phrase: “things happen.” I don’t like variables. I’m a planner and things happening mess up my plans. Let me give you an example: When our new puppy has to go out and do his business he has a designated spot. Everyone in the house abides by this rule. Except of course, the puppy who sometimes decides he’s going and he’s going right now and too bad we’re not near his spot. He’s a dog. Things happen. I need to roll with it. Here’s what I can’t roll with. Cleaning up his mess. Now why do you think I clean up after this puppy? So no one will step in it since they won’t know to look because he went in a place we said wasn’t okay and so my entire yard isn’t a toilet.

Well, guess what happened to me? And at the one time I accidentally wore my best sneakers. It wasn’t until I was already outside with the puppy that I realized in my absent-minded way I’d even put those sneakers on. I must have confused taking the dog out with taking the kids to the bus. I’m always taking someone somewhere, but I digress.

Now I have to throw my sneakers in the garbage because even an OCD cleaner like me has limits. It’s a shame, I like those sneakers, but they are a year and half old. I’ve probably walked enough miles in them they can’t do their job well anymore. This is really an excuse to go out and buy a new pair of sneakers.

The Noodges will tell me the sneakers are a fair trade for the dog. I guess they could be right. And let’s face it. Things happen. 

Life Lessons of a Mom: Children and Puppies Are The Same

How can you say no to this face?
How can you say no to this face?

I never had a dog growing up. Well, I had one for about five minutes. My father brought home a white German shepherd puppy when I was about seven. My younger sister, she was four at the time, was deathly afraid of this white, puff-ball puppy. My parents had a decision to make. Keep the puppy or keep my sister. Now, that I’m thinking about it, my mother was probably the one who said keep my sister. My father might’ve wanted the dog, but that’s a blog post for another time.

Now that we have a puppy I had to learn what to do with him. (This goes to my OCD, controlling personality. Did I mention I’m Italian?) Our breeder recommended reading The Art of Raising a Puppy, by Monks of New Skete. Let me tell you what, all new parents of human babies should read this book too. In fact, any parent that isn’t sure how to discipline their child should read this book because children and puppies are the same. Don’t go getting your panties in an uproar because I’m comparing children to dogs. I’m speaking the truth. raising a puppy

In the book, the Monks talk about how important it is not to reward the puppy for whining. Let’ say you’re in the car and your puppy starts to whine because he doesn’t like going for a ride. If you pet him and tell him in a soothing voice it’s okay, what the dog really hears is “Keep whining. I get a lot of good rubs from that lady if I make this noise.” Do you know how many times I watched a parent give their child a cookie or soda to stop crying? They think it’s a distraction and let’s face it, no one wants to hear their child cry, but if you just told your kid he couldn’t get out of the stroller and he cries you can’t give him a cookie to make him be quiet. What does he hear? “If I cry then I get something I really like. I don’t remember why I was crying, but who cares? This lady keeps giving me sweets.” See? The same.

The book explains about dogs being pack animals and in that pack their is a hierarchy of who’s the alpha and who is the omega. The Monks say you must establish right away who’s the alpha in your pack once the puppy comes home.  That would be the humans, in case you weren’t sure. If the human doesn’t show the puppy who’s alpha then the puppy will naturally claim that role, it’s their instincts, and now your puppy will push you around. Again, same rule applies to children. Parents often forget who’s in charge. Parenting isn’t a democracy and if your child doesn’t know who’s in charge, then they will be. And that’s bad news, friends. You don’t want your teenager in jail because you didn’t establish who was in charge when you brought her home. Don’t laugh. I’ve seen that exact scenario happen.

I’m surprised no one has written a book about parenting and paralleled puppy training to it.  I guess in today’s society that would upset someone and no one is allowed to be upset so I apologize if I’ve upset you. But I’m not giving you any treats.



Life Lessons of a Mom: Be Careful What You Wish For

I wasn’t sure I could get this post out this week. Life in our household turned upside down. We have a new edition. A German shepherd puppy.

His name should be Noodge 3.
His name should be Noodge 3.


Noodge 2 has been asking for a dog for a very long time. Hubby has also wanted a dog for as long as I can remember. Noodge 1 was on the fence at first and me, well, I like the idea of a dog. I wasn’t sure about the work. Because I have nothing to do ever so I figured, what the heck.

Why a German shepherd, you may ask. They’re loyal, smart, great with kids, and protective. I wanted the companionship when I went for a power walk along the country roads. Serial killers and bears hang out in the woods. I need to play it safe. And at night I want something to growl when an intruder approaches so I can press the panic button on the alarm panel.

It’s a long road to get to that protective dog stage. Right now he’s a cute fur ball who isn’t in love with his crate. He’s missing his brothers and sisters. Can’t say I blame him. You wouldn’t find me going to live with strangers willingly. Not without a concealed weapon. All he has is a bandana and the ability to pee.

We successfully survived the first day and night. Well, the puppy did. When I looked in the mirror after spending the night sleeping on an air mattress in the mud room next to his crate, I screamed. Who was that gaunt woman with hollow eyes staring back at me? I was pretty sure I didn’t play with a Ouija board the day before.

I hear all our hard work will be worth it. (That’s what they say about raising kids too and I’m still debating that one.) I’ll have to keep you posted on that conclusion.

But next time I ask for something I’ll try for round, clear, sparkly, and large. Just saying.