Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dinner with the Brigade

We pretty much follow the same routine every day. Olivia is the leader of the pack and she begins demanding dinner around 4pm. The sad whining she starts off with progresses over the course of the hour until she is either screeching or barking- at which time Griffin and Buddha join in. I try to ignore them until 5pm (success is determined by my patience level of the day)- which seems like a reasonable dinner time to me. At 5pm, the Brigade eats dinner.

All three dogs get dry food. Olivia and Griffin get fish oil pills (which has DRASTICALLY reduced their shedding and makes their coats shiny) and Angel Eyes (which gets rid of tear stains). I also add fresh vegetables (green beans, broccoli, carrots or peas) to their dishes. It doesn't take long to prepare, but if you watch this video, you would think it takes forever based on their sad little faces.

I don't enjoy torturing them, but sometimes I find their drama sort of amusing. Sometimes I want to shake all of them, but mostly, I think they are an adorable little pack of starving beasts.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011


Last night, the Bulldog Brigade (all 6 of us) went to an event called Dog Days. Twice a month, the Metrodome is open for dogs to run around and play. It's been so cold lately and there must be a lot of stir crazy dogs, because the place was packed!

There was everything from a GIANT, horselike great dane (seriously, ENORMOUS) to a herd of tiny little chihuahuas who were wearing sassy little outfits and when they were on their way out, put on tiny winter coats, complete with furry hoods. There was the shortest, fluffiest little pekingese that, upon seeing, Griffin's eyes lit up and he rushed toward it, giant mouth open wide. I'm pretty sure he wanted to either chew up up or swallow it whole. In Griffin's defense, he wasn't being aggressive, it just looked exactly like one of the stuffed animal toys we have at home. It was fun to see the wide variety of dogs and their crazy owners.

Buddha was jubilant, sprinting the entire time, peeing on everything (seriously, he peed like, 8 times) and making friends with everyone. Griffin didn't have any idea what was going on, but he was excited. I kept him on his leash the whole time because there were so many small dogs and Griffin is completely unaware that he is 65 pounds. I'm pretty sure that he thinks he is the same size as his cousin Buddha and he was quick to play bow (that adorable stance where his butt is in the air and his chin on the ground) to every tiny little dog under 15 pounds. If he would have shown interest in some bigger dogs, I might have let him off his leash to play, but I wasn't going to risk him accidentally swallowing a puppy.

Olivia loves to play and is friendly with other dogs. I used to take her to puppy playtime twice a week, but she only plays if she is in the right mood, otherwise she gets really snobby, puts her nose in the air and walks around ignoring everyone, which is what she did last night. Olivia refused to acknowledge any of the other dogs, but she did let people adore her and pet her and coo over her.

I should be used to people's reactions, but I am always surprised that in a building FILLED with dogs of every size and shape, my dogs attract such attention. Last night, I watched people gasp, smile and say, "bulldogs!!" Maybe it's because they are such a recognizable breed or because they are hilarious, but my dogs always draw a crowd.

Of course, my dogs are aware they are special. There were huge buckets of drinking water everywhere,  and I saw every other dog drinking happily. My dogs refused. At first I thought they just weren't thirsty, but eventually they were panting and as we stood in front of the water, Olivia looked at me and her eyes very clearly said, "you've gotta be kidding." I took out a bottle of water and she (and Griffin too) drank the whole thing. I refilled it several times and they were both happy to drink bottled water, but wouldn't even consider the buckets.

Snobbery and one attempt at eating a chew toy looking puppy aside, it was a wonderful evening and all three dogs were EXHAUSTED. A successful night of socializing for the Bulldog Brigade.

Nothing cuter than an exhausted bulldog...

Monday, February 7, 2011

"I Brake for Bulldogs"

We've been on an unfortunate ball popping kick lately and so this afternoon, instead of going to the park like usual, we had to go for a walk instead. Going for a walk is a form of cruel and unusual punishment for my darlings, but they need the exercise, so we walked.

I'm sure we are a sight to be seen- snow pants and a parka, winter hat with ear flaps, huge mittens and giant boots, I waddle more than I walk, dragging two sad looking bulldogs (yes, they were both behind me most of the way, taking tiny steps and making pound puppy faces).

We'd gone less than a block when a woman came running towards me, saying, "wait, stop!" I didn't recognize her as a neighbor and then I saw that she had pulled her car over and it was still idling as she approached me. She didn't look particularly friendly and I wasn't sure if we'd done something offensive in the 5 minutes we'd been outside, but I prepared myself to get yelled at anyway.

When she got near me, she said, "I brake for bulldogs!" And then she went on to explain how she'd grown up with a bulldog and how much she loves them and when she saw me walk by she just needed to stop and say hello. I wanted to encourage her to be less creepy about it next time, but instead I smiled and introduced Olivia and Griffin.

The thing about bulldogs is that they are the most friendly, lovable dogs, and regardless of who you are, they will greet you as if they've been waiting for hours and you are the only person alive and they haven't had any attention in days and you are their savior. Their enthusiasm is incredibly rewarding.

So my little hams wiggled and snuggled right up to her, their faces on top of each other as they competed for her affection. Griffin somehow managed to get his entire face smashed into her hands, with just a little bit of tongue poking out of his mouth, while wiggling his whole body, making him the most irresistible dog that ever lived.

She petted them and cooed and gushed about there's no other dog but bulldogs and then she thanked me for stopping and was on her way.

This is not the first time I have had someone brake for bulldogs. When Olivia was just a puppy, an older gentleman was driving by and when he pulled over and starting talking to me from the side of the road, I smiled and chatted politely, thinking it was strange but kind of sweet. When he got out of his car to show me a photo of his long deceased bulldog (that he still carried in his car), I continued to be friendly, but I had my hand in my pocket, prepared for the possibility that I might have to mace him (I didn't have to).

I understand the power of the bulldog.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Double Escape

It's been a few days since Griffin's great escape and there haven't been any more break outs. Buddha still jumps out regularly, but now he jumps back in the yard just as quickly, and he hasn't gone missing in a long time. So this afternoon when I let the two of them outside, I wasn't worried. Until 2 minutes after I let them out when I went to check on them and the yard was empty.


Neither dog.

I ran inside, kicking off my slippers and jumping into my boots while grabbing my coat and screaming, "they're BOTH gone!" It was early afternoon and both Danny and Heather were still at work, but Olivia was casually lounging on the couch. As I frantically ran through the house, I am not exaggerating when I say that she rolled her eyes in annoyance and disgust as I rushed out to find the boys.

Up the alley, I could hear kids outside playing, and knowing our social butterfly dogs, I headed for the noise.

"Have you seen two dogs lately?" I tried to be calm and friendly instead of out of breath and screechy.

"What do they look like?" -9 year old girl

It took all of my youth development professional skills not to shout, "how many dogs have you seen in this dead end alley?! ANY dogs, have you seen ANY dogs?!" Instead, I gave a quick description and did my best to remain kid friendly. I must have done well because I instantly had two dog finding assistants.

"I think I saw them go that way" the first girl said. Unfortunately at the same time she pointed to the left, the other girl pointed to the right and I was beginning to wonder if they had actually seen the dogs or if they were just being helpful.

But just as I took a deep breath and got ready to power walk around the block, from around the corner, Buddha jumped out and Griffin was right behind him. Just two buddies out for a stroll.

When they saw me, they both galloped over, wiggly and excited, as if to say, "hey! you came too! FUN!!"

Instead of crying or yelling (both natural reactions), I remained kid friendly as I escorted my darling boys back to the safety of my yard. Another crisis averted- I foresee some digging in my weekend plans...