Doggie Visitation



Tootie and Cooper came to San Francisco for the first time to swim in the Pacific. And to see their mama. I got to hear about how Cooper killed a squirrel while on his leash, how Tootie kicked Kevin down the stairs at 4 a.m. and how the two of them managed to tear the face off of a possum. (They are country dogs with their kill instinct in tact.)

Their Dad took this picture of us three, which I love very much.

You can see my pictures of Tootie and Cooper's visit to Crissy Field in San Francisco on Flickr.

Tough Tootie

Tootie was bitten while we were away.Tootie was bitten at dog camp by a Weineramer. Apparently she was just standing there when the dog took a big chunk out of the fleshy part of her shoulder. There is a deep puncture wound and a large piece of her skin missing. Poor baby. We have to hold her down and squirt antibiotics in the hole and peroxide her up. Cooper came back with some sort of crusty hot spot, too, though it was not caused by a bite.

The bad dog was kicked out of the pet farm and sent to doggie jail (regular kennel). Tootie's bite is infected, but she seems fine. She shimmied up a five foot wooden gate to get to us, and she barely flinched when we dressed her wound, so she's cool. Hopefully she'll have a war scar to carry around with her.

Something I Never Imagined I Would Do

I just finished writing resumes dogs. I do not lie. Here's a taste of Tootie's:

Description: Tootie is a super friendly, well-behaved mixed breed that we rescued from the pound after she was abandoned. She is 3 years old, and has lived with us since she was 9 months old. She is a medium sized dog, weighing just over 40 pounds. She enjoys sleeping, lots of treats and long walks in the park. She is fully house trained and loves people. She is well adjusted to other dogs, as well, like her brother Cooper. She is my first pet dog, and we love her as if she was a child.

Health/Grooming: Tootie is in excellent health, save for the 5-7 extra pounds she carries around thanks to all the treats. She is on a regimen of flea and heartworm medicine that keeps her delightfully pest-free. She gets regular brushings outside to lessen her shedding. Her nails are clipped on a regular basis, about every 3 weeks. She is up-to-date on all her vaccinations and receives regular exams at Value Vet in Nashville, TN. Tootie is fed single protein holistic food that improves her temperament and keeps her nearly bark-free and very happy.

About Us: We have no children, so we cherish our dogs like they are our kids. We are adamant about responsible pet ownership—we exercise our dogs daily, they are trained to sit, stay, lie and come. On walks we always pick up the poo and dispose of it in our own trash bins—never someone else’s. When we go out of town Tootie stays at Almost Home Pet Farm, a kennel-free dog farm that allows for free roaming. Brittney has volunteered in the past for the Nashville Humane Society and is a contributor to, a dog welfare charity.

Reference: Our current landlord. Randy Neff can be reached at 615-###-0337. We did not have Tootie prior to this landlord. I wish Tootie could have come with us on the house hunting trip, but Mr. Neff can tell you about what a good tenant our Tootie has been.

This may actually be better than any resume I have written for myself. I even put her picture on it.

How the Boarding at the Pet Farm Went

In a previous episode I told you about Almost Home Pet Farm, where Tootie and Cooper lived while we were away. We called the house this morning from Denver to get directions once again to the rather remote doggie destination, when the assistant answered the phone. She kindly gave me directions, and told me that "Tootie is just a little snugglebunny." They both slept next to her, one nearly atop the other.

When we got there she had all the other dogs in the house but ours. We pulled up the long gravel drive to see them both paws up, looking over the deck. The assistant quickly came out to greet us, along with one slick little escape artist named Seamus who bounded over the gate like a bunny. We ignored the ignore rule (as usual) and gave them lots of lovin' right on the face. Tootie about busted my lip she kissed me so hard.

We hit the car to head back home, finally, and within minutes they were both dead asleep. They came home, and immediately hit the hay. Cooper has apparently had too much social interaction because he was all, "See ya later, I'm gonna nap where y'all aren't." Tootie managed to stir a bit ago, maybe for some water, after which she slowly wandered back where I was. I was sitting in the floor, so I called her over to me for a rub. Usually it can be a struggle to keep her from climbing all over me when I get down on her level like that (The assistant said, "Man, she is all elbows.") Tonight she just walked over and pressed her head against my chest. She stood there, practically sleeping standing up. I pushed her into her crate, and we haven't heard a peep from either of them since.

Mission accomplished with the kickass dog boarding place, but I'm a little bummed that they are out of commission. I missed them so much, I wouldn't mind a little elbow right about now.

Our First Boarding Experience

The boyfriend and I are going on a mini-vacation to San Francisco, which means we have to board the dogs. This is the first time we've ever had to do that. I'm already anxious as it is, but leaving my dogs behind for three days to be locked in a cage while I galavant in California drives my nervousness up to neurotic levels. I wanted to find a place that would actually be fun for them and not stressful, so I lucked into finding Almost Home Pet Farm by doing a simple Google search. I read about their facility--no kennels, mountainside to roam, sleep where ever they want, romp with 15 or more dogs--it all sounded like a dream doggie vacation.

I called Friday night to schedule our audition for the mutts. You have to drive down with your pets for an initial visit to see if they will get along with the rest of the pups, and to make sure they are not manic or aggressive or otherwise risky to take on. There are no kennels or runs at Almost Home Pet Farm, so they have to make sure your dog is well socialized and adjusted. Tootie took a large dump in the driveway and Cooper drooled everywhere, so obviously they passed with flying colors. The place is great--really remote (an hour drive away in Carthage!) with tons of room for them to run and jump and hump and play. There are large leather couches and big comfy beds for sleeping. They also get homemade organic treats.

Oh, and that's another thing. The Almost Home Pet Farm is a hippy sort of place that requires, unless under special circumstances, that your pets be fed holistic foods. Holistic meaning all natural, no fillers like corn or other empty carbs, with most of the product being animal protein. The owner of the Pet Farm likens it to not allowing the children in her day care to gorge on candy all day. Once she requested that all dogs switch to the higher protein foods she saw behavioral changes in the animals that convinced her never to go back to Pedigree or even the "premium" brands like Eukeneuba. Tootie and Cooper are both overweight, with the blonde one being heavy enough for the vet to call her a 7 on a scale of 1-10 fatness. So, we decided to give the holistic food a shot. It's a little more than twice as expensive, but they don't need to eat as much, since they feel satiated longer due to the high protein content. It supposedly reduces shedding and barking and overexcitability, so I was willing to try it out. And besides, the owner of the Pet Farm wasn't selling these products, I had to go make a special trip out to Berry Hill to get the stuff. No commission at stake in this case.

The dogs seem to love it. I chose the Azmira brand, Classic Formula, because it has 8% fat whereas other brands had 11% or more. They don't usually get excited by dry food, but this stuff they gobble right up. And if the benefits are a less barky dog who doesn't shed like it's going out of style, I'm all for it.

We'll be gone for just three days. The dogs will be blissed out at The Farm. I doubt they'll miss us a bit.

If I Took My Dogs To Work

One of my bestest internet friends, Ariel, gets to take her Sassy to work, and I think that is about the coolest thing ever. In fact, if I am not mistaken, dogs at work was one of the reasons she ended up a dog owner--she fell in love with a co-worker's Boston Terrier.

Anyway, I was thinking of what it would be like if I took my dogs anywhere to work with me, and I can't do it without laughing. Tootie and Cooper would not be good @work hounds. Here's how the day would go:

Upon arrival Tootie would enter the room at full speed, then proceed to give hearty, I'm-going-to-climb-up-to-your-face love to anyone willing to take the full-on assault. Cooper would run around sniffing and whining.

Day 20: Project 365

Anytime anyone spoke on the telephone, Tootie would come sit in front of them and stare. As if they were talking to her. God forbid anyone have an important discussion while Cooper is sleeping, because he would, if he were at my work, let out a loud, reverberating moo, much like the noise cattle makes. If you've never heard a dog moo in its sleep, well, it can be distracting.

There would have to be outside time, because if not Tootie would stand at the door or window, whichever, and bark. Incessantly. At lunch she would spend the entire half hour on her back two, hopping around with her front paws in the air checking out everyone's spread. If you gave her a bite of sandwich, she would not mind. If you did not, that would be okay, she would find some of your important documents and eat those instead.

tootie freak face

If there was a couch or large chair, Cooper would sit on the back of it, like a cat. He would not tear the couch up, as he is light and nimble, but it is still unacceptable office behavior. If I brought a rawhide to keep them occupied, Tootie would stalk around with her chew in her mouth, making guttural growling sounds if Cooper dares near her. She would then wolf the treat down in record time, then lay panting in the floor with an audible belly ache.

They would fight. They would hump at each other unsuccessfully. It wouldn't be that awesome, I don't think.