Darren, Hudson and I spent a really great afternoon with my sister and her kids on Sunday. We mostly splashed around in their pool. The water was perfect.
Hudson mostly wanted to bark. Water makes him furious. Water that has people in it, that is. He barks, snarls, whines at it endlessly. We think he's worried that it's hurting us somehow. Even when I dangled my feet in the water, he was fit to be tied.
The odd thing is that he's quite comfortable in water himself. There's a pool at his daycare, and he's listed on the company web site as "best small dog swimmer."
See, here he is, settling into the kiddie pool.
His cousins, Lola (the golden retriever) and Hendrix will drink the water in the little pool, but they don't even want to step in. Hudson used that to his advantage when he wanted to escape their abundance of puppy exuberance.
He's smart like that.
When I was in the pool, I finally decided to just carry Hudson around with me in the water. He was a little tense at first (and I got a series of livid scratches on my stomach), but then he got used to it.
After a bit, we had him happily swimming back and forth between my nephew and me.
As soon as we set him outside the pool, though, he went back to his barking. So, progress in some ways, none in others.
It was quite a dog day afternoon, with three pups all eager for attention.
Yes, I was topless in this post. It won't be a trend.
... least of all Darren, but I feel that really need one of these little critters to join our family.
Yes, I'm having serious chocolate lab cravings.
Hudson has been an only child for nearly five years now, and I think it's time he get a brother or sister and learn to share his daddies' affection.
As much as we love Border Terriers, I don't think would could survive the addition of a second dog just like Hudson to our household. So I'm thinking larger, more sedate dogs.
The upsides of expanding our family:
Naturally, there's no need for a second dog. But then there wasn't a need for the first dog, technically speaking. Again, the LOVE.
So far I've got Darren to the point of helping me think of names for a new puppy. I think that's a good sign.
However, I won't put the hard sell on him. That would be wrong.
You, though, can feel free to pressure him mercilessly.
No, not that kind. Not the good kind. (Science has yet to discover people kinky enough to want to see me undress on stage.)
No, I'm talking about hand-stripping Hudson's wiry and rather complicated coat to keep him looking neat and trim.
I'm quite good at the job, but I hate it. (Sort of like when I worked at the bank.) It's not that the task of plucking out Hudson's coarse outer coat is super onerous--though it is. It's more that I never expected I'd end up as a dog groomer. It's a good trade, of course, just not one I felt called to pursue.
When Darren and I were deciding on a breed of dog, one of the many things we liked about Border Terriers was that they were described as having a "no fuss" coat that required twice-yearly hand stripping to remove the course outer coat and get down to the softer undercoat.
Little did we know that if you let a dog go that long between groomings, he turns out looking like this. (When Border Terriers are on TV or in movies, they're typically shown in this disheveled state to make the look like cute mutts. It's a source of great outrage in our household.)
After grooming, the little critters look neat and tidy (and not freakish like a poodle or a Bedlington Terrier).
So, when Hudson was about six months old, we starting hunting for a groomer who did hand-stripping instead of using a clippers (which makes the dog's double coat all fluffy and make it less resistant to dirt).
It wan't easy, but we finally found a little woman who looked like Yoko Ono, was a total bitch, and did a nice job grooming Hudson--for a base fee of $75 plus $40 an hour. That worked out to about $120 a session, and she only agreed to groom Hudson is we brought him in EVERY SIX WEEKS. That's a pricey proposition.
Worse yet, every time we called to make an appointment, we'd have to endure a whiny diatribe: "Why haven't you learned how to do this yourselves yet?? It's so hard on my hands! -SIGH- Okay, I suppose I can do it. But this is probably the last time."
As I said, bitch.
Finally, mostly because of the insane cost of keeping Hudson looking good, but at least in part so we'd never had to deal with bitchy-Yoko, we learned to do the task ourselves. Darren started out as the groomer, but after a time we realized that I was much faster at it, so now I'm the chief stripper.
We've gotten pretty good at it over the years, but its not something we relish doing, because it's a huge hairy pain in the ass. Hudson tolerates it well (he'll do anything for treats), and he even jumps up onto the grooming table, all wagging tale and spitty chops, waiting for the chopped-up Pup Corn he gets for cooperating.
He's about a month overdue for several sessions of stripping, and we really want to get him looking halfway decent before we leave for London next week, or his coat will be a scruffy disaster when we get home.
But in short, ugh, I don't want to.
For the past week we have been dog-sitting Chelsea, whose dads are off gallivanting in Hawaii. She'll be our guest until Sunday. She's a sweet little girl, and we've enjoyed her visit. Here she and Hudson bask by the fire.
That's not to say the week has been without a few hitches.
I'm fairly certain Chelsea feels quite at home with us, but Hudson has seemed a bit morose the past couple days. The two pups get along well for the most part, but Chelsea has clearly decided she's the boss of Hudson, and he appears to think she just might be. More than a few times when Chels has barked at Hudson, he's hopped on our laps for comfort. On other occasions he puts his tail between his legs and gives us a sad look that seems to say "I thought I was your special boy."
He still is, of course, but much like one of his dad's, Hudson is a nervous little cuss. Perhaps "hyper-vigilant" is a better way of putting it. This is never more apparent than during the nights. We decided that we might as well let Chelsea sleep in the bed with us and Hudson, and she has no problem with that at all. She hops on the bed, burrows under the covers, and snuggles up by our feet. Hudson curls up in his usual place along Darren's side and goes to sleep.
For a time.
But two or three times during the night, he'll decide he needs to make sure where Chelsea is. So he walks around on top of the comforter, sniffing for her, and eventually walking on her. This in turn annoys Chelsea, who hops off the bed, and shakes her ears noisily. Hudson then jumps of the bed, too, and some sort of kerfuffle ensues.
A bit of coaxing gets Hudson back into bed, but because Chelsea is uncertain of her surroundings, she needs us to turn the light on so she can see to jump back up. The whole affair is not conducive to sound sleep for any of us.
Of course, the dogs get to sleep all day after Darren and I leave for work, so they're feeling fine by the next night, when we repeat the whole thing.
This is how they spent nearly all day Thursday, as I worked from home.
As if instigating this fun each night weren't enough for Hudson, he has also decided that it's the height of canine sloth to sleep past 4:15 am. Darren and I have been taking turns moving out to the living room to sleep with him on the couch for the last precious hour of night.
Today Hudson is going to his daycare, where he'll frolic until Sunday evening. Tonight will be the first full night's sleep Darren, Chelsea, and I have had in a week.
Looking forward to a three day weekend and a one-dog night,
This is Hudson's littermate, Lapis. He's a one quick little critter. It's so cool to watch him zip along through the agility course. He looks just like Hudson! And he even barks the whole time he's competing--just like Hudson does when he chases a ball.
I really wish we knew someone who was looking for a dog to compete with. Hudson would love it--but I don't have it in me to do the training. No, I don't see that happening.
As I mentioned last week, Darren and I had the honor of watching little Chelsea while her dads were off gallivanting in Las Vegas for four days.
Apart from the first night, when Hudson literally didn't sleep AT ALL from the excitement of having another dog in the house, it was smooth sailing. Both Hudson and Chelsea are more interested in people than other dogs, so they both spent a lot of time vying for our attention.
After the first day, the pups were more at ease with each other, as you can see here.
They were also content to nap with me on Saturday, which was good, because I was dead tired from Hudson keeping me awake all Friday night.
And here's a little clip of Darren trying to convince the dogs to play with each other. Chelsea's up for it, but Hudson is somewhat reluctant.
It was great fun having another dog in the house. Darren and I have so much love to give. (Not enough love to have a human kid, mind you, but enough for two dogs.)
Hudson is glad to be the whole cheese again today, I'm sure, but it was good for him to learn to share his daddies.
[That's Chelsea with Prince at a Paris fashion show.]
Now that we know a Chelsea, too, we like the song even more.
Our friends Jay and Scott are entrusting us with their sweet little Italian greyhound, Chelsea, for four days while they're off in Las Vegas. We'll play her theme song several times this weekend, I'm sure.
Here's the young lady in question. You can tell she's a woman of mystery...
I'm excited for Hudson to have a playmate for the weekend, although I know he'll be jealous at first.
Look for some pictures of the canine fun and games next week.
Have a great weekend everyone! We've earned it!
Yesterday was Hudson's fifth birthday, and he celebrated in style at his day care.
(I recall my fifth birthday. I got a box of 64 Crayola Crayons--with a built-in sharpener--and my dad took me and my friend Paul to a terrible Japanese sci-fi movie at Austin's only theater. I quite liked that birthday, but Hudson probably had more fun turning five than I did.)
Here are a few pictures from his big day.
Hudson sports a party hat and poses with his friends. The dog on the far left is Sebastian, who belongs to my friend Sophie. On the far right is Trooper, one of Hudson's regular playmates, and in the middle is a poodle who's just happy to be part of the fun.
Hudson wears his birthday hat with the rakish flair inherited from his stylish dads.
The birthday boy enjoys his cake--hamburger and rice. (Mmm, that's what I want this year!)
I can't tell you how much we love our day doggy daycare. I don't know what we'd do without them. I guess I'd have to be a stay at home dad!
Have a great weekend!
When we were choosing a breed of dog, one thing we read was that "Border Terriers will sing several times a day."
We weren't entirely sure what that meant, but now we know all too well.
I offer a sampling of singing Border Terriers, with Hudson closing things out in a repeat performance from last year. (Notice that he needs no accompaniment.)
First, we have Jimmy.
And last but not least, my own little Canine American castrato, Hudson.
I think we need to get Hudson a few siblings and hit the road as a trio.
Well, after six or seven trips to the vet, three keratotmies, and more than two weeks wearing that dorky plastic cone, Hudson's eye was finally declared fully healed this afternoon.
Darren and I are extremely relieved, because we didn't want to board him over Christmas if he wasn't better, and we can't really to bring him with us to Wisconsin, because Darren's parents have a cat that drives Hudson absolutely mad. (As in constantly, whining, never sleeping, and ceaseless searching for the cat, who detests Hudson.)
But, more importantly, we're just so glad that Hudson's eye is finally better and he can go back to his normal, happy dog existence. He was amazingly cooperative with wearing the cone, and he put up with us smearing antibiotic salve in his eye three times a day, but he was mopey and unhappy, because life was just a pain for him.
Now he can curl on up my lap like he's supposed to.
It's a Christmas gift for our whole little family.
The other day when Hudson came home from his doggy daycare, his right eye was all puffy and squinty, and he seemed like he was perpetually winking at us. He also kept rubbing that eye, so we knew it was bothering him.
We took him to the vet the next day, and as it turns out, he has a fairly long (but fortunately not deep) scratch on his eye that he must have picked up while roughhousing with another dog. Our vet gave us some antibiotic salve, an anti-inflammatory/painkiller, and (alas) the dreaded Elizabethan collar that will prevent him from rubbing his eye while it heals.
This is the first time Hudson has had to deal with one of the plastic cones, and he's not loving it. Here he is, looking cute and forlorn this morning.
He's tolerating it quite well, all things considered, but he has no conception of why he can't get through the small spaces he normally navigates without problem.
When he gets into a jam, I swear he gives us a reproachful look that says "Why, why have you done this to me?"
We'll all be very glad when he's healed up and we can ditch the collar.
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