Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas News!

Big news for the Bulldog Brigade!!

Buddha's parents are engaged! They decided that their little bastard puppy should have parents who are married and not just living in sin.

Er, wait, it might have been because they are madly in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together.

Either way, today is very exciting for Buddha (and Danny and Heather, and really, the whole family!).

Dreaming about a tiny tuxedo and wedding cake...
Content to be the center of the celebration!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nothing to do With Dogs

Lately, I haven't been able to come up with anything interesting about the Bulldog Brigade. Buddha is a very fulfilled suburbanite, living the high life in Woodbury [a word you can't help but say with a slight British accent]. Olivia and Griffin are happily going to the park every day, sometimes even twice a day if I have the time and it isn't painfully cold. They are needy, but adorable. They shed and slobber constantly. They love to eat. They cuddle aggressively, ramming their head into anyone who will get near them, and unconcerned about being 60 pounds, climb on anyone's lap they can (sometimes both of them at the same time). But otherwise, there's just not much to share right now.

It's been 25 days since my dad died. Some days are normal. Some days are not. In the first few days after he died, a lot of people gave me advice about taking time to grieve and take care of myself. I smiled politely, but secretly thought they didn't really know what they were talking about because I was fine. I was dealing with the loss really well and even though they'd experienced the loss of a parent, they really had no idea...

It turns out that grief isn't necessarily instant, it's more like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode at random intervals. Also, "fine" is a new four letter word my best friend has helpfully banned me from using, and perhaps those helpful people knew more than I was giving them credit for. 25 days. Right now my biggest hope is that eventually, I don't know how many days it's been since he died.

My therapist suggested that since I am a "processor" (ie- can go on for hours without pause- both in talking and in writing), perhaps I should write about my grief. So I have been doing that.

My secret dream is to someday write a book, or maybe a bunch of books. I don't have a subject yet, but I like the idea of  being about to spend all day in my jammies on the couch, while getting paid to do something I love. Perhaps it will be about bulldogs, but in the past 25 days, I have found myself telling everyone, including random strangers I have met while in line at the bank, stories about my dad. It makes me happy to talk about him and my dad was a character! So maybe I will write a book about my dad.

So, since I have a whopping 16 followers, I thought I'd put my first story on here and see what it is like to take something private and put it out in public. Also, I need help figuring out what you call the guy who works at the cremation society ("cremator"?? "crematory technician"???). I have no idea what that guy's title is, so forgive the brackets. Thanks in advance for reading...

Gold Teeth

“I have a strange question.” I’ve just finished setting up an appointment for later that day and the [cremation guy--- what’s his title??] has asked if there’s anything else he can do for me before we hang up.  

 “I want his teeth. Is there any way that you can help me get his teeth? Am I allowed to take his teeth?” I struggle with the request, not from grief, but because I feel weird and irreverent and I want to explain to the man that I am not creepy or morbid and that I don’t actually even want his teeth.

Years earlier, when I was a kid, my dad had a significant amount of dental work done and instead of just getting normal caps on his teeth, he opted for gold; all of his back teeth, over half of his mouth, were gold. And since that time, he’d told me over and over again, “when I die, be sure to get my teeth! Do not let anyone else take them. They are valuable, take my teeth.” He was strong and healthy and young. It was ridiculous to talk about his death so I always nodded and said, “of course dad, I will get your teeth.”

We got older and he continued to remind me about his teeth and instead of just agreeing with him, I finally told him, “I will get your teeth. I told Danny that I ‘dibs’ them and I am going to have a bracelet made out of them.” Satisfied with my answer, he responded, “Yeah, and then you can walk by your brother wearing the teeth bracelet and I can bite him!” After that discussion, he reminded me of his request less frequently, but the “teeth bracelet” became a running joke and he laughed often about the idea of biting my brother after death.

In all the years of telling me to get his teeth, we never discussed the logistics of said task. Once, when I questioned him on it, he said, “take a hammer and knock ‘em out.” Even as a child, I knew that wasn’t a practical answer, so I didn’t bother to press him further. I assumed that when he died, he would be really old, which would mean I would be really old and as a “really old” person, I would automatically know what to do in that situation.

At 29, I did not feel really old and I did not know what to do about getting his teeth. When my dad’s sisters, my aunts, heard about my quest, they were horrified and gently tried to talk me out of it, reasoning, “it’s not that much gold and it won’t be worth that much money.”

It had been less than 24 hours since my dad suddenly died- that they thought this was even remotely about the money was only mildly insulting. I didn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, think that my dad’s gold teeth were my ticket to wealth or even actually worth any money. I didn’t know much about dental work, but I assumed we weren’t dealing with 24 karat, pure valuable gold, rather, some form of gold plating or maybe even just gold colored dental metal. I had no idea and it didn’t really matter because it wasn’t about the value of the gold.

My dad had just died and I was in shock and walking around in a daze while calling people to break the news. I had to tell people over and over again that he died and then comfort them as they reacted, while all I could think was, “he was my dad. I shouldn’t be supporting you.” Repeating the news over and over was worse than even his death. I was trying to be strong. I was trying to take care of all of the details because it was the only way left for me to take care of him and I was going to do everything I could to make sure I did everything he wanted. And he wanted me to get his teeth.

I know that he didn’t think through the details of that request- he didn’t imagine that less than 24 hours after he died, his 29 year old, grieving daughter was going to have to explain this morbid request as she attempted to figure out how she was going to carry it out, even though all she really wanted to do was lay on the couch and cry. In health and happiness, he could suggest smashing his mouth with a hammer- he wasn’t thinking about how impossible that would actually be to carry out. In a strange way though, figuring out how to get his teeth was a good distraction. I didn’t think about it as my dad’s teeth… which he won’t need… because he’s dead. I separated the fact that I was trying to remove part of his body, and it just became a problem I had to solve. No time for crying or sadness, I had a task to complete. So in that way, “get my teeth” was a good thing to focus on and get me through that first day of loss.

It’s against the law for a mortician to desecrate [ie--- “take apart”/mess up /take a hammer to--- word????] a person’s body. However, as the [cremation guy] explained, I could call a dentist and they could remove the teeth before he was cremated. My dentist office isn’t open on Saturday and even if it had been, there was no way I was going to call my dentist in the suburbs, and ask him to go to the morgue to remove my dead father’s teeth… “oh, and could I schedule my 6 month cleaning while I’ve got you on the line?” No.

I thanked the [cremation guy] for the information and said I would work on it before our appointment that afternoon. I hung up the phone feeling defeated and knowing that in a few months, when the overwhelming feelings of grief weren’t so strong, I would regret not fulfilling my dad’s request. But in those first moments of shock and pain, while googling, “how to plan a funeral”, answering my phone as it rang repeatedly, and struggling to remember simple things like how to breathe, searching for a dentist sketchy enough to get involved in this situation seemed insurmountable.

When I hung up the phone, my boyfriend Nate gently suggested, “what if you just waited until he was cremated and then went through his ashes? Gold doesn’t disintegrate, does it?  It would be sort of like panning for gold. He would like that- it seems fitting.” When I brought the idea up later that day, the [cremation guy] told me that part of the cremation process is to sift through the ashes to remove any chunks or medical metal that have been left behind and he could make a note that anything recovered should be saved and returned to me. I wasn’t sure if that would actually work, but I was satisfied with that arrangement and I thought my dad would be okay with it too.

On the day of his memorial, the [funeral guy] handed me a cardboard box with my dad’s ashes and an envelope with 6 chunks of melted metal. I was surprised that they were not shiny gold, rather, covered in a hardened layer of ash. Later, I dropped them into a cup of water and some of the layer washed away, revealing tiny flecks of gold.

Holding the glittering chuck, I said out loud, “I did it dad. I got your teeth. I didn’t even have to wield a hammer or smash your face. I hope you know what a ridiculous request this was. But I did it.”

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Helping Dogs

Today I am writing the final paper for my class this semester. It is a 10 page financial analysis on a nonprofit organization. It was due Tuesday and I'd planned to spend all last weekend working on it. But then my dad died and, well, it was just a little difficult to concentrate. My professors gave me an extension until today, which is actually not a very good extension at all because I alternated between planning a funeral and randomly bursting into tears all week.

Writing a paper about the finances of an organization is a nearly impossible subject for me to focus on normally, so writing it this week didn't really happen. I am determined to get it done today because it is hanging over my head and making me miserable, and, well, I don't want to take an incomplete in a class I've gotten A's on every assignment in thus far and should be rocking.

But obviously it's going just as well today since it is 10:40am and I am blogging about my dogs, but really, any minute now, I am going to dig into those audits and get researching. I have two assistants who are by my side in solidarity with the project, but unfortunately, their peaceful snoring is EXACTLY how I feel about this topic, so I'm conflicted. But perhaps it will be a nice break from real life.

Bring on the budgets!!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

One Upper

My brother called me this morning with huge news- Buddha has learned to read. They were at the dog park and Buddha went running off to a farm area and when Danny called him back, he pointed at a sign and said, "that sign says no trespassing!" Buddha went over to it, looked at it, studied it, peed on it in annoyance and then ran off in the opposite direction to avoid trespassing. Amazing.

Of course, I had to break the news to Danny that Olivia recently completed writing her first children's book about a puppy named Juddha who gets beat up for being obnoxious (it's fiction, but there are some elements to real life in it).

Danny told me to tell her congratulations, but that she's kind of a one-upper. That's probably true, but that's just the way the Bulldog Brigade is...

Learning to read
Please teach me to be smart...

Exhausted after a long day of writing...
"I read and write, so what? Don't annoy me."

Monday, November 28, 2011


Over the past few days, I've been alternating between hysterical crying and being totally focused on taking care of details. When I've been able to switch into detail-mode, the crying has stopped, but so has the filter that usually prevents me from just blurting out every last thought. To be totally honest, the filter I am speaking of is not the most highly functioning part of me regularly- I have a tendency to be pretty honest about things and I have never had a poker face, so you pretty much always know what I'm feeling. 

On Saturday I met with the funeral home director to make arrangements to have my dad cremated. It had been less than 24 hours since my dad died and I think I was supposed to be hysterical, but I had cried the entire night before and I just didn't have any tears left. I was ready to answer questions, fill out paperwork and check another awful, heartbreaking task off my list. 

I have always been interested in the "behind the scenes" part of things. Whenever I go anywhere, I always wonder whose job it is to choose what hangs on the walls and where things go. I'm always curious about staffing, schedules and management. And so when the funeral guy said, "do you have any questions?" I couldn't resist. I asked several questions about the cremation process, about the urns that were displayed around the room, the morgue, and so on. I'm not sure if he thought I was heartless, or if friendly/smiling/ lack- of-emotion-while-discussing-one's-recently-dead-father is normal. 

My dad didn't want to be set on a shelf, so I wasn't shopping for an urn, but I was very intrigued by them. As I was browsing, I noticed "memorial necklaces" and asked about them. They take some of the ashes from your loved one and infuse it with the glass to make a pendant. I think my dad would have told me wearing him around my neck was creepy (and I agree), but when the funeral guy asked if I was interested, my response wasn't a normal, "no thank you". What flew out of my unfiltered mouth was, "I'd like to have that done when my dogs go, but I don't think it would be right with my dad." 

That was the point that my boyfriend gently put his hand on my arm and guided me out, wincing with apologetic embarrassment as we left. 

For the record, I would consider that for them and no one (including my dad) would be surprised by my dead dog ash necklace. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Losing My Mind

In case you were wondering, yes, I mentioned the bulldog brigade in my dad's obituary.

Preceded in death by father, John and niece, Ria . Survived by children Natalie and Danny Jr., mother Carol, sisters Vickie, Val, & Amy, countless friends, and three loving grand-dogs.

My dad always claimed he hated all three dogs, except that I can't tell you how many times I overheard him talking to them, sharing whatever he was eating with them or telling people stories about them. Imagining that look of disgust he made whenever I referred to them as "grand-dogs" makes me laugh, because it was all an act. He thought I was ridiculous with them and I can just see him in heaven saying, "come on", but, as I said out loud when I wrote it, "look dad, if you can hear me, this is payback because you left me with a lot of paperwork, so, ha ha, now we're even." I like to think that even though he's gone, we can still play-fight about his relationship with the puppies...


On Friday, Olivia and Griffin lost their Grandpy.

My dad has been sick for a while and living with me since October. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we were excited to go to camp on Friday to spend the weekend hanging out in the woods. On Friday morning, my dad went to an appointment and I packed so we would be ready to leave at noon. As soon as I got out to cooler and started packing food, Olivia started losing her mind with excitement. As I usually do, I riled her up further by saying, "who wants to go to camp?!"

At 11:30 I got a phone call letting me know that he'd fallen down a staircase, was unconscious, and in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. I went rushing out the door, leaving the excited dogs behind. My mom went over to my house at 4 to let them out and feed them and they were very unhappy I wasn't home yet. When my best friend dropped off some treats later that evening, Olivia was being super naughty, humping and biting Griffin, throwing a tantrum and generally expressing her displeasure at not being at camp yet.

My dad passed away at 8pm. When I got home 45 minutes later, I think Olivia and Griffin could sense that something was wrong because they were pretty calm. They haven't gotten much attention this weekend, which usually leads my angels to turn into crabby, horrible little beasts, but they've been oddly subdued. Dogs are amazingly perceptive to emotions and I have appreciated it during this difficult weekend.

This is Olivia, trying to bite my dad's feet, while he  attempted to avoid her puppy teeth.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eating Out of Boredom

It's been a while since I've posted- I'm blaming writer's block, but I'm not sure if it's that I can't think of anything to write or if I've just been really busy and haven't had time to write. 

In the meantime, here's a video of Griffin and Olivia eating frozen peas. They love vegetables and sometimes when they are bugging me for a snack or I need to keep them occupied for a little while, I will throw a few handfuls of frozen peas on the floor and let them go crazy. I used to put hard food or vegetables into rubber kong toys, but Griffin couldn't figure out how to get anything out of his, so I would always end up on the floor, helping him anyway, so this just skips that step. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Friends

Olivia and Griffin have some new friends. A few weeks ago, we were at the park and two little boys came over and asked if they could pet the dogs. Zeke is eight and his little brother Nate is four and three quarters and they live across from the park. They were a little nervous about my big slobbery dogs, but they were very interested as well. The next time I was at the park, they came over again and asked if they could play. They ran after Olivia and kicked the ball for her to chase and it was fun. As a youth development professional, I couldn't help wonder where their mom was and think it was probably a little risky that two little kids were playing alone in a park with a strange adult, but I was kind of enjoying the break from running after the ball with Olivia, so I put my professional opinions aside and let the kids play.

The next time I saw the kids, their mom came outside with them. She told me they had seen me outside for months and think the dogs are funny. If they've been watching me from the window, I'm sure they've seen me trip myself while chasing the ball, lecture the dogs when they don't listen, and generally be an insane dog person. Embarrassing. But she and I chatted and I told her I am a camp director, the dogs are camp dogs, and I think she must have decided I was safe.

So today, the boys were back and are getting more comfortable with the dogs. But today, instead of playing with Olivia, they played with Griffin. I have kept him on a leash every time they've come out to play because while he is super friendly, he doesn't know he is as strong as he is and I sometimes worry about his manners. As in, I'm pretty sure he will knock down a 4 year old so he can sit in his lap, not realizing said 4 year old is terrified (that didn't happen, but I could imagine it happening).

I'm not sure how the game started, but when I turned around, Griffin was chasing Zeke across the park. I started running after both of them because I was concerned that he was scared. But Zeke was smiling and so was Griffin (in that big, slobbery, puppy way). They didn't go very far when they both paused to sort of stare each other down, and then Zeke made a sound, took off running and Griffin chased after him. They did that over and over and over again for 40 minutes. I was shocked Griffin had that much energy. I tried to get a picture of Grif, because his ears were bouncing up and down and so were his jowls and he looked so happy galloping around. An 8 year old is just slightly faster than Griffin- not too fast that it isn't fun, but not too slow that Grif can catch him and jump on him. They were the perfect match.

I thought Nate was afraid of Griffin because he was standing back and looked a little hesitant, and then he hid behind a tree, saying, "he'll never find me here" but then he kept making sounds to get Griffin to look at him and he cheered on his big brother the whole time, even running alongside him a few times. He and Griffin collided once, which surprised both of them, but I held Griffin back before he could throw his whole body on top of the tiny child, smothering him with love (and terrifying him at the same time) and Nate giggled, so we were all fine.

It occurred to me that someone driving past the scene might be a little concerned as they watched a 60 pound dog chase down a tiny screaming child while a strange adult looked on laughing. But let me reiterate- I was carefully supervising both the dogs and the children, everyone was safe, enjoying themselves and happy. The dogs were well exercised, the kids had fun and I enjoyed myself as well. I don't think I would allow my small children to play with a random adult and two giant dogs unsupervised, but I'm not a parent, so what do I know. Also, I'm happy my dogs have some new friends, because they miss camp, the campers, the attention and I am too tired to chase them for 45 minutes at a time.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


My dad has been staying with me for the past few days as he is undergoing tests to get on the list for a liver transplant. Griffin and Olivia are not quite sure how they feel having their Grandpi at home.

They are unhappy with the long hours we've been gone at the hospital, even though their Grandmother has been coming over to spend time with them while we are gone. They haven't been getting 4 park trips per day and that is unacceptable to Olivia.

They are enjoying mealtimes immensely because my dad drops as much food as he eats and they like the sharing that they've all been doing. And I think they enjoy that when I am gone, they can be outside all day because he is home and so the door is open pretty much all day, every day.

Olivia, as expected, has a few opinions. We re-arranged the living room to accommodate a tv (which isn't usually set up) and I'm not exaggerating, Olivia walked in, looked at the new set up, looked at me, gave me a look that said, "I don't like it" and then turned around with her nose in the air and walked to the kitchen where she sat, pouting, for a good amount of time. No other dog in the world cares about the living room arrangement, but Olivia is not an ordinary dog. I coaxed her back in and she reluctantly sat on the couch, but she was clearly displeased with the loud volume, the warmer-than-usual temperature of the room and the old man in the corner.

Griffin is struggling with my dad's lack of interest in aggressive cuddling. Every time he walks past my dad and wipes slobber across his pants, my dad struggles to see the charm or cuteness.

But overall, everyone is adjusting and living in slobber and harmony.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mug Shot

Does this look like the face of a criminal? I didn't think so either, until today!

When we got to the park, there as a man throwing a ball for his golden retriever. He was using one of those ball tossing sticks (see photo below). I don't own one of these because on the rare occasion my bulldogs chase a tennis ball, it's always limited to the length of my living room.  

Griffin was being his usual charming, smiling self and wiggled up to the man. I said, "he's very friendly" and as the man smiled at me to acknowledge my ridiculous dog, Griffin casually, and yet surprisingly quick (for him) grabbed the toy our of the man's hands and ran away. My mouth dropped open and my eyes got wide and then I ran after him, shouting, "give that back!"

Luckily bulldogs aren't long distance runners, so I caught him 20 feet away and was able to return the toy to the nice man (who, luckily, was smiling) and then take my little future criminal to the other side of the park so he wouldn't embarrass me any more.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Together Again

Back from NYC! We had a great trip and got to do lots of very cool things like see a taping of the Daily Show, see the Lion King on Broadway, visit the 9/11 memorial, do some shopping and hang out. But I missed my dogs terribly and I couldn't wait to see them. I got home from the airport by 7pm last night. I was planning on driving to camp today to pick them up, but I just couldn't wait any longer, so as soon as I got home, I changed my clothes and then jumped in the car for 2.5 hours to get to my bulldogs. I was tired and not excited to be in the car, but it was worth it when I got there and they were so snuggly and excited.

We played a little while this morning and then headed back to St. Paul. It's been a whirlwind of travel and I'm eager to rest and relax.

Monday, September 12, 2011


So... I don't think I am ever going to have children.

I've always thought I would, and I like kids, but it occurred to me today, as I sobbed hysterically for the first ten minutes of my drive, that if I am this upset saying goodbye to my dogs, what would I be like with actual human children that came from my body? And then I decided, for my own sanity, that I would probably stick to bulldogs for the rest of my life. So, sorry mom and dad- those future grand kids you always talk about? Yeah... not happening.

Olivia and Griffin are on vacation this week. I am headed to New York City to see the Daily Show, the Lion King on Broadway, eat hot dogs off the corner and shop for some knock off handbags with my mom. While I am gone, the puppies are hanging out at camp with their Grandpi. When I told them about the plan, they were thrilled and they bounced around and whined and drove me insane until we got the car loaded and headed up north. 

Sunday afternoon-Monday morning, I think we were on the field with the ball about 10 times and Olivia couldn't get enough. She was in heaven and so happy to be back to camp life. I know they will be happy back to freedom with the wind in their hair and hours in the sun and romping through the woods. But I miss them already. 

My biggest fear is that something will happen to me and they will think they've been abandoned and not understand why I am not there to take care of them. The thought of them feeling sad, lonely and confused makes me want to burst into tears again (seriously, how to real parents function on a daily basis?!). My second biggest fear is that something will happen to one of them and I will never see them again. 

I have to stay focused on my fun trip ahead, otherwise I start panicking and googling how to cancel my tickets and hotel room. They will be fine without me for a few days. 
And hopefully my dad will be fine too. I called around dinnertime tonight and all he said was, "they don't listen very well when they don't want to, do they?" 

I'm sure it will be a wonderful week for all of us. I hope so anyway... 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update on the Patient

I'm not sure if this photo can fully show the horror, but this is a gallon sized ziplock bag that is almost full. "What is that?" you might ask... THAT is what was removed from my darling Griffin's stomach. I almost fell over when the vet brought it out to show me. He didn't just eat a piece of a ball- there are MULTIPLE pieces of all different sizes and colors. The different colors tell me that he's eaten plastic ball on more than one occasion, since we usually use a different color ball each time one pops.

I feel like the WORST puppy mom that ever lived. He is with me nonstop and yet, I've never seen him eat anything he isn't supposed to. Some dogs are chewers and they destroy things and you have to pull things out of their mouths all the time. Griffin is NOT one of those dogs.

The vet and several of the vet techs have all told me stories about dogs eating things and having this surgery. One of the vet techs' dogs has had this surgery 6 times! I appreciate them trying to make me feel better but if he ever does this again, the next surgery he is going to have is getting his little jaw wired shut!

My personal embarrassment, shock, disbelief and worry aside, everything went well. Surgery was smooth, he stayed overnight at the hospital and won the whole staff over with those giant pound-puppy eyes. When I picked him up yesterday afternoon, he looked a little tired, but was happy to go home. I fed him tiny cups of chicken and rice throughout the day and evening. He ate and drank normally and without hesitation, which was good to see. He has about a 5 inch long incision, but so far, it looks clean and appears to be healing well.

Hopefully he will be as good as new in no time and HOPEFULLY we are done with surgery for a while...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Emergency Surgery

Olivia and Griffin have a lot of freedom at camp. When Olivia was a puppy and first at camp, I was afraid that she would be in constant danger and that I would need to watch her closely all the time. But that's not the case. She (and Griffin too) pretty much stay inside or in the yard at my house, or they wander over to my office. Camp is not that big and they are very social dogs who like to be around people, so they are always near me. The staff and kids watch them as well and I rarely worry.

On Wednesday, I caught Griffin standing over a pile of vomit that had plastic ball in it. Whenever he and Olivia pop a ball, they run with it, sometimes tug-o-war with it and play with it, but I have never seen Griffin EAT the balls! So I was surprised by the plastic he had vomited up. I watched him closely for the next few days and he seemed fine- he was eating, drinking, and pooping normally. He was active and playing and wasn't in any pain, and didn't have any indication of discomfort.

On Saturday night, he vomited up his dinner. He had been playing before and after dinner, and Buddha was visiting, and Griffin had eaten dinner really fast. I made some hamburger and rice and he ate hungrily, so I figured it was fine. But then Sunday morning, he vomited again. Afterwards, he begged for breakfast, ate and went to the bathroom normally and spent the whole day playing and running around. Monday morning, like clockwork, he woke me up vomiting once again. I wasn't planning on leaving camp to move home until Friday, but I was feeling really stressed out. I called the vet who told me to watch to see if he was in pain, struggling to go to the bathroom, etc. He was fine, so I decided to wait for another day.

But this morning, once again, he started the day vomiting, looked like he felt terrible, and my stress level was at an all time high so I loaded up the car, called the vet and raced back home. On the way to the vet, he started vomiting again and by the time we arrived, I was feeling like the worst puppy mom of all time. Why didn't I bring him in a few days ago?!

The x-ray showed something foreign in his stomach and within a few minutes, they brought me a $1700 estimate, a consent form for surgery and let me say goodbye before rushing him off to prep. I feel relieved and less stressed out than I have in days- I'm not happy with the situation, but at least I know what is wrong and how to help him.

The vet called a little while ago to let me know Griffin was doing well after surgery. It's never good when an experienced surgeon says, "I was really surprised by how much was in there! I kept pulling stuff out and it covered the whole table!" I can't believe Griffin ate a plastic ball and I am so frustrated at him! When he is feeling better, I might strangle him for stressing me out!

The vet is calling me in the morning and hopefully I can go and pick him up right away. Poor Griffin...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It Takes a Village

Last night, I was in my living room with a few of my staff when I got a phone call from another staff member. She was calling from a kayak in the lake, and she wanted to let me know that Olivia was at the beach, wading in the water on her own.

When Olivia was just a puppy, I used to panic about her getting lost somewhere at camp or getting into trouble. She and Griffin pretty much roam freely around camp whenever they want, but they rarely leave the yard around my house without me and I never worry about either of them anymore.

So that phone call was quite a surprise! I went sprinting out of my house towards the lake. But halfway between my house and the water, Olivia sauntered up, giving me the same look that the teen campers sometimes give. It's the, "you're so lame, why are you freaking out right now?" look. Apparently she'd already been yelled at and chased out of the water and she didn't want to hear it from me too. Can't a puppy just take a nice evening wade in the water to cool off every now and then without being hassled?

Not when Puppy Mom is the boss and has posted signs around camp alerting staff and campers that BULLDOGS DON'T SWIM. If you see a bulldog near the water, alert someone immediately! Campers are vigilant about this rule and I regularly have to calm them down when Griffin, Olivia and I arrive at the beach and all of the campers jump into action as junior lifeguards.

My staff have intense jobs, little free time, and work hard! And yet, they are incredibly patient with my dogs and regularly make sure they are out of harms way. Despite Griffin's tendency of running at moving cars and Olivia's fearlessness, I know they both have a lot of people watching out for them around camp.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Olivia Demands Her Ball

Olivia lives for chasing her ball. Since she was 7 weeks old, we've had the same routine of wake up, go outside to potty, come inside to eat breakfast; and since 2 years ago when we discovered the ball, we've had the same routine of waiting for a while after breakfast to digest and then go outside to play.

Actually, let me clarify, the real routine is wake up, go outside, eat breakfast, throw a fit until it's time to go outside and then when mommy can't handle the screeching anymore and gives in- THEN we go out to play.

I've taken this same video before, but those noises are just so cute, I can't resist re-shooting the same video every now and then...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Random Pictures

Griffin of the forest- resting in the bushes
 Griffin and Olivia are staying busy at camp. Here are a few shots from the past few weeks.
I think he likes to pretend he's an explorer
because he hides in the bushes often...

Kissable lips

So exhausting being a camp dog!

Hanging with campers
Hanging with campers

Hanging with campers

Ringing the bell
Hating the sound of the bell
A wise little puppy by the tree of wisdom

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Too Funny Not to Share

This is a hilarious video that someone shared with me on facebook. I laughed out loud and then watched it several times, so I had to share. Typical bullies... 

I posted it on facebook with the caption- "not my bullies, but totally something they would do." Danny pointed out that if it had been my dogs, Olivia would have found a way to get someone to do it for her and clearly Griffin wouldn't have been able to figure it out. He's actually pretty accurate in that observation as Olivia is a bit demanding of the camp staff, but somehow does seem to get them to do what she wants. Meanwhile, Griffin is incredibly lovable, happy and sweet, but a bit on the slow side when it comes to street smarts.

The camp weeks continue to fly by, each one a bit crazier than the last, so there are many pictures, videos and stories to share about the puppies, but they'll have to wait until a day with a little more time...

Monday, July 18, 2011


Olivia and Griffin found a turtle. This actually happened a few weeks ago and I am just getting around to uploading photos and video. I didn't get video of when we first found the turtle and it was walking around. Griffin was very unsure of it and possibly even afraid. I don't think his eye sight is great, so I'm never sure what he can see and what he thinks when he sees something. The turtle went into its shell as soon as they both started bowing and jumping at it. They wanted to play, but the turtle wasn't interested. I can't blame the poor thing I suppose, but I wanted to get some more cute video of the bulldogs interacting with it. 

Eventually, after it was in its shell for a while, they lost interest and we went inside. The turtle was gone a few hours later, so I think it wisely moved on to a quieter, dog-free area of camp...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Olivia and Griffin have been so busy! I have tons of photos and video of them hanging out with kids, being hilarious and adorable, and I will update soon! 

In the meantime... hot off the press... just arrived to the camp store... CAMP DOG STICKERS!! 

25 cents or 5 for $1!!! 

A bargain for cuteness! 

Yes please! 

UPS arrived after the camp store had closed for the day, but several staff members were wearing them this afternoon and I am positive that tomorrow, when the store re-opens, there will be a mad rush! Luckily I have 4800 of them so I think we will be well stocked for awhile. 

Monday, July 4, 2011


The Bulldog Brigade were back together this weekend! Buddha came to visit his cousins at camp and they had quite a day of fun! They played at the beach, played with the ball, relaxed in the sun and Buddha took home a big bag of bones from our 35 pound stash. Overall, a great day!

The Bulldog Brigade go to the beach...

Buddha playing in the sand

Griffin (after rolling in the sand)
Buddha is joyous after playing at the beach
The beach was exhausting for Griffin...

After a long day of playing with Buddha and Grif

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Campers

I'm not sure how I am ever going to move back to my lovely city home in the fall, because the bulldogs are in heaven and by the time summer ends, we will have been here 5 full months. September is going to be a rough transition...

The first week of camp was last week and it rained every single day. My dogs will roll in a puddle, jump in a lake, and splash in their pool, but if there is even a tiny bit of rain coming from the sky, I can't drag them out of the house. This week, it's been much nicer weather, and aside from the 2 hours a day that sports is on the field with a ball (which both Olivia and Griffin will steal and pop at the first opportunity), they are free to roam around camp freely.

Today was sweltering and they were stuck in the house most of the day, except for swimming. They were very unhappy with me, and I felt bad, but the house is cool and I knew that even in my office or outside, they would overheat. Some dogs live in a kennel for hours and hours every day or live on the street. My dogs have a pile of bones, the couch they lounge on all day, treats, freezie pops Nurse Julie gives them every day, visits from staff, and yet, today they were feeling very mistreated. They were brave and managed to suffer through the hardships...

Walk?! Not these bulldogs!!
They ride shotgun and are driven door to door...

Being the boss means that the staff have to be nice, even when
 the activity they are teaching gets interrupted by a sassy puppy...

Loving the beach on a hot day.

At the beach...
Griffin is quite the swimmer
Also loving the beach...

Olivia's favorite time of the day is when she
gets attention from a field full of campers 
Griffin's favorite time of the day is when he is the center of attention