Category: Pets

Happy Birthday, Ferris!

Well, it’s just me and Ferris here for his big day. Two years old at last, which I suppose makes him no longer a puppy, technically. (At least, that’s what his dog food says, and who am I to challenge dog food?) How are we going to celebrate the big day? Well, I’m going to go and pick him up a new toy on my way home from work, and then I thought I’d give him something extra tasty for dinner. (For the first while of everyone being away, he went on a hunger strike. That only lasted two days, thankfully. Apparently his stomach won out in the end. He’s eating normally now.)

For all the excitement of the first while of having a puppy, he really is a marvelously well-behaved dog. I leave him at home with free rein of the house when I go to to work, and I come back to find him just patiently waiting for me. He doesn’t get into anything he shouldn’t. Doesn’t gnaw on things he’s not supposed to. Doesn’t (generally) bark for random reasons (or no reason at all). As long as we take him for a mile and a half walk each day, he’s pretty content.

There’s a time each evening around 7 when he gets pretty rambunctious, and it’s typically when we’re watching something as a family, but if I’ll just sit down on the floor with him, that usually makes him happy and quiets him down.

He’s got a number of quirks special just to him. For one thing, he adores vegetables. Every time Denisa is making dinner, chopping up cauliflower or lettuce or carrots or peppers, he comes running, then sits right by her side, ready to eat any of the scraps that might be left over. He really seems to love the crunchiness of it. He’s also a big fan of peanut butter, so we’ve finally figured out how to clean out the inside of the peanut butter jar: give it to Ferris. That provides him with at least a half hour of entertainment.

He gets scared easily by very random things. If someone blows their nose, he’ll head for the hills. Mainly it’s unfamiliar noises that send him for a loop. There’s a spot at the top of the stairs that he likes to retreat to for safety, and so if he gets frightened, that’s usually where you’ll find him. He also has a penchant for standing on stairs in a very awkward manner. He likes to have his hind legs on a higher step, so he can stand on his front legs and just look like he’s standing normally.

These days, he’s a wee bit less hyper when we have company over. It’s taking him a long time to get used to the idea that Other People can come into the house and not need to be jumped on and licked extensively. But we’re making progress there, at least. He would definitely be the world’s worst guard dog.

He used to like to rip apart any toy we got him, but he’s caught on to the fact that if he rips the toy up, he loses the toy, so these days he’ll happy just chew on it without tearing any heads off or stuffing out. He’s got a fox toy right now that squeaks when he bites it. I don’t know why we thought getting a squeaking toy was a good idea at all. But he seems to enjoy it.

He’ll be off to Dog Camp when I head out, and I expect he’ll pick up all sorts of bad habits, but that he’ll also have a grand time. In the meantime, I’ve got to go pick out a dog dessert for him to celebrate with this evening . . .

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Walking with Ferris

Ferris just turned 20 months old yesterday, and it’s been a while since I’ve checked in to let you all know how The Puppers is doing, so I figured today’s snow day(!) was a perfect time to do that. He might be approaching the end of his puppy days in terms of actual time gone by, but he’s still very much in the puppy mindset. That’s probably best illustrated by his penchant for going on walks.

If you even utter the “W” word around Ferris, he gets extremely excited. Jumping around, tail wagging, running-into-walls excited. In fact, if you put shoes on, or walk past the area where you might think about putting shoes on, his tail already starts to wag. Of course, actually controlling The Puppers when he’s on a walk is a trick and a half.

The first step is to tell him firmly to sit, before you put on his leash. This usually requires a few repetitions, as well as a scowl or two to make sure he knows you’re serious. You then need to remind him that he’s not a sled dog, even if it did snow last night, and even if we’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics lately. Mind you, he won’t listen, but repetition is the mother of all learning, and hope springs eternal.

As soon as you step outside, his first order of business is the Relieving of the Bowels, which he wants to do in Denisa’s flowerbed, right next to the front steps. If you drag him properly, experience has proven that he can, in fact, hold it until you reach the lawn.

Once that’s taken care of, you need to “gently coax” him across the street, since he’s shown a tendency to ignore things like “cars” and “fast moving trucks.” With that out of the way, the walk can really commence. Time has shown that if you constantly remind him “no pulling” and tell him “good dog” approximately every .2 seconds, then he won’t try to wrench your arm out of its socket more than ten times a minute. This is improvement!

Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a walk if you didn’t actually let him walk now and then, so every 100 yards or so, make sure to give him some extra leash so he can run around. This will last about 25 seconds, until he manages to spin around so fast he wraps his legs up as tight as Luke Skywalker flying around an AT-AT. At this point, Ferris will tumble to the ground and look at you, helpless, clearly surprised that this thing he’s done 1,000 times before in the exact same way somehow happened again. If you’re lucky, it hasn’t snowed in a while, and you can make it over to him to untie his legs without getting too much snow down your boots. If you’re not lucky . . .

At this point, you tell him “short leash,” which means his free ranging days are over until you go another 100 yards and decide to give him another shot.

Throughout the walk, there will be small diversions he’ll want to sniff and, ideally, eat. Things like dog poop, dead mice, cans, diapers, cigarette butts, and rocks. Despite your best efforts, he will successfully get about a third of these into his mouth. At this point, you have to decide if it’s worth it to force him to spit them out, or if that ship has already sailed. Usually this depends on just how gross the thing was to begin with.

You repeat this process for a mile or a mile and a half, until the walk is finished, and Ferris returns, reluctantly, to his regular indoor activities of sniffling around searching for dropped food, and licking random things around the house. In about fifteen minutes, he’ll start to ring the bell we’ve put by the door. He’s been told he’s only to do this when he needs to go outside to pee.

One day, maybe he’ll actually do that. Until then, he remains the Puppers.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Life with Ferris

It’s been a bit since I gave a dog update, which actually shows how smoothly things have been going with the little bounder. It’s definitely still been a learning curve figuring out how he fits into the family and how to make sure his needs are being met, but it’s been a fun learning curve (for the most part). I thought I’d take a minute to jot down some observations I’ve had about him from the last while.

  • He’s learned that human food is generally preferable to dog food, and that we often have human food just sitting on the kitchen island, unattended and free for the taking, if he can just reach it. On Sunday Daniela and I were making sugar cookies, and we set out four sticks of butter on the island to come to room temperature. They were not close to the edge, but they definitely weren’t in the middle of the island, either. When the time came to make the cookies, only three sticks of butter were left. Either we both totally spaced it and just put out three sticks in the first place, or we have a grade A butter thief in the house. Seeing as how we all remembered putting out four sticks, my vote is for the butter thief. Ferris has a really good innocent face, however. Whoever took the butter, they made it disappear completely. No wrapper. No buttery smears anymore. My bet is a certain golden retriever put his paws up on the counter and snagged a stick, wolfing it down in one gulp, wrapper and all. The good news is it didn’t give him any indigestion, at least.
  • A tired Ferris is a happy Ferris. As long as he gets a good walk in, he’s usually fine for the day. Luckily, our kids have picked up running as a hobby. Denisa has also started taking him for runs. If nothing else, having a dog has increased the activity levels around our house.
  • Despite his love of activity, he’s also gotten much better and just lazing around the house. He’ll happily sit in his cage (with the door open) for hours at a time, though he sometimes prefers his dog bed out in the open. In his ideal world, he’d crawl under the futon in the study and stay there for most of the time. It was easier for him to do that when he was a real puppy. These days he still tries, but he often gets stuck. “E” for effort, though.
  • He is definitely fond of routines. When we got all the kitchen cabinet boxes, it totally weirded him out. He’s very confused by this whole kitchen renovation, and I think he’s wondering why in the world we thought this was a good idea. (It has officially stated, by the way. Our old counters and cabinets are being dismantled even as I write this. There’s no going back now . . . ) I don’t know what we’re going to do with him while the renovation is going on. It’s going to change his current room where he sleeps. The puppers is going to have to figure out a new routine, poor thing.
  • Like with most dogs, he has a mysterious attraction to very odd things. He likes to eat poop and cigarette butts and rocks, and it takes a keen eye to make sure he’s not eating any one of those three times at any point on our walks. If you blink, he’ll be rolling in something vile, as well. There have been more than a few emergency dog washes.
  • He’s terrified of fly swatters, or anything that he doesn’t recognize in someone’s hands. I have no idea why. We haven’t hit him with a fly swatter (or anything else, for that matter), but if he sees you pick one up, he heads for the hills.
  • He still gets the random zooms. He’ll just run and run and run and run. It’s best to sit back and let him get them all out, when that happens.
  • He sleeps from around 8:30pm to 8:00am each day. He’s a good sleeper.
  • He’s not a fan of us watching television, but if we’ll sit with him and play with his rope or pet him, then he’ll usually be okay with it.
  • He still views MC as an equal, and one of his favorite hobbies is antagonizing her, probably because it gets him so much attention. That said, she loves the dog, so it all works out.
  • He’s generally the best behaved for Daniela, probably because she’s so likely to give him treats. He will do pretty much anything in the world as long as you have a dog treat in your hand. If you don’t . . .

Overall, he’s an energetic, playful dog. Sometimes a bit much energy, but overall a good fit for out family.

Now if he’s only leave the cigarette butts alone . . .

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

The Big Puppy Snip

My entire life growing up, Bob Barker drilled one fact into my brain. When I had a dog, I was going to get it spayed or neutered. And now that we finally had a puppy, you bet your booties I wasn’t going to let Bob Barker down. Of course, I discovered it was one thing to say that at the end of every Price is Right episode, and another to try and figure out the right time to do it. There are quite a few articles out there telling people that you need to fix a dog at a certain date. Unfortunately, most of them don’t agree with each other. Some say do it when the puppers is 6 months, because if you wait, Bad Things Will Happen. Then again, others say if you don’t wait until the pooch is a year old, then Bad Things Will Happen.

I don’t want bad things to happen to Ferris. After talking it over with our vet, as well as a friend who’s a vet, I took the typical Bryce approach and pretty much split the difference. Ferris went in for his procedure yesterday, when he was about 9.5 months old.

(Mind you, when I say “I took the typical Bryce approach,” I mean what I typically mean by that, which is that Denisa did all the work and I clapped from the sidelines. In my defense, I was at work that day, and she wasn’t, but full points to Denisa for puppy wrangling Ferris to and from his appointment.)

Ferris was very excited to go to the vet, probably because he typically gets to meet different people and pets when he goes, and that one time when they fed him different food as well. So he was on cloud nine when Denisa took him in at 7am yesterday morning. Sometimes you get questions you’re not expecting. “Do you want to pay for resuscitation if he needs it?” was one such question. I mean, how are you supposed to answer that? No? We said yes, obviously, but still . . .

The good news is that Ferris came out of it all very much alive. The bad news (for Ferris) is that it was much less of a fun day than he was really planning on. But he also avoided needing to wear the cone of shame, so he’s got that going for him. (Though we were told if he doesn’t leave the wound alone, he’ll have to don the Cone. Here’s hoping he can resist the temptation.)

Then again, MC was pretty upset with us when she found out the night before that “big snip” was not, actually, a puppy hair cut. Sometimes using euphemisms can be pretty bewildering to people who aren’t fully in on how those phrases work . . .

But the thing that really matters is that I didn’t let Bob Barker down, right?

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Pupper Update: Groundhog Edition

It’s been a bit since I’ve dropped in to say how the puppers is doing, and today’s been a busy morning already (on what I had planned as a day off), so I thought now might be a good time to do that.

Ferris is now over 7 months old. By and large, he’s doing great. On typical day, he gets up around 7 or 7:30 in the morning. Tomas and Daniela handled two days of that, Denisa handles one, and I typically handle Saturday. (Since I can’t seem to be able to sleep past 6:30 almost ever, no matter how hard I try these days.)

Mornings are usually the best time to be on Ferris detail. He has to be taken out a couple of times so he can take care of business, but other than that, he likes to lie around a lot and just relax. He has to, because he’s saving up energy to go crazy when the kids get home from school or ski practice. He likes all the kids, though he seems most partial to Daniela. (Which might or might not have something to do with her propensity to be a bit more liberal in the treat department. With think he’s named her “Treat Girl” as a result.)

MC and he get along great most of the time, except when he’s just too rambunctious. At those points, it’s hard for a 7 year old to contain a dog who’s about as big as she is. (Our best guess at his name for MC is “Squeaker.”) But they like to go outside and play together, and he loves going on runs with the other kids. (His favorite thing to do is to get the leash tangled around his legs, so that someone has to go out into the snow to rescue him. We’re working on kicking him from that habit.)

There are times when he can be very attention-hungry. He has a few toys that he likes people to play with with him. A couple of ropes. A stuffed shark (that he just killed yesterday). Many tennis balls. And if you aren’t playing with him when he thinks you should be, then you might have a pretty tough slog to convince him otherwise.

All told, we’re still very glad we got him. (Even more important now, since our last Degu (Shooting Star) passed away from old age on Saturday. That was a doozy of a morning, but it really helped the kids to have Ferris around to play with to soften the blow. I just looked over at my post from when Shadow died. Hard to believe that was 15 months ago. Shooting Star lived a lot longer than I thought she would. Nine years! She was a good pet, and poor MC was heartbroken Saturday.)

Ferris does a great job of getting people out of the house and moving. True, people don’t always want to go out of the house, but he doesn’t let that keep him down. He also is Not a Fan of watching anything on television. He just doesn’t understand why in the world we’d all want to sit in a dark room when we could be pulling ropes or gnawing the faces off of sharks.

He goes to bed each night at 8:30 and still sleeps in his cage, though we’re debating freeing him up more at night at some point. We’ve also left him alone during the day for a few hours at a stretch. So far, so good.

And with that, someone’s demanding to go for a walk. Have to run!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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