Category: Pets

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.

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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.

Puppy Update: December

Hard to believe Ferris is already over five months old. It’s been a bit since I gave you all an update on how Mr. Drooler is doing, so I thought I’d fix that right now.

All told, he’s settling in very well. He’s got a routine that he sticks to for the most part. Up around 7am, lunch at noon, dinner at 5, and to bed at 8:30pm. Lately he’s been teething, with little puppy teeth coming out left and right. This also means that his mouth is hurting him, and so he likes to gnaw on things a bit more than normal. (The real trick is convincing him that MC is not a chew toy. He still views her as his peer instead of Someone to Listen To.)

Tomas trained Ferris to ring a bell by the door whenever he needs to go out. This was a very good idea in theory, and Ferris picked it up very easily. However, it also gave Ferris a tool to tell us that he pretty much always wants to go out. If we’re not being entertaining enough, he’ll just go over and ring the bell. Multiple times. Have you tried reasoning with someone whose trump card is “I will poop on the floor if you don’t do what I want you to do”? It’s very difficult, especially when the only way they can communicate is by ringing a bell, barking, or lunging for your seven year old.

Still, we haven’t had any accidents in a long time. (Except for one, when the kids were all trying to get ready for the bus, and Ferris was freaking out. We thought it was just because he was sad they were going. It turns out it was because he had to poop . . .)

He’s very affectionate, and still likes to come sit in my lap, even if he doesn’t really fit anymore. (He’s getting very big, very quickly.) He will happily play fetch with anyone who’s up to the task, and he loves going on runs. That said, he also tends to be frightened pretty easily. We were watching Alone the other day, and there was a bear on the screen. Ferris was not a fan of the bear at all, and wouldn’t calm down until the bear left. Of course, it was on our projector, so the bear was bigger than he was. I guess we can’t blame him.

The older he gets, the easier he is to have around. It’s great having someone there who’s always up for some camaraderie, though it’s true that sometimes I’d rather just sit there and relax instead of entertaining a five month old puppy. But between the five of us, we’ve usually got him covered. Really, if we can get the nipping completely under control, I think we’ll be sitting pretty. We had been yelling at him a ton when he nipped, but I’m beginning to think that’s the wrong approach. It’s like ringing the bell. He knows he can get attention if he does it, so we have to try distracting him instead.

It’s a learning curve, but we’re getting it down. Still very glad we got the little bounder.

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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.

Ferris Update: October 2020

Ferris took another trip to the vet today, this time for a scheduled visit. He’s 16 weeks old and 24 pounds. Overall, things are going so much more smoothly with him than they were even a month ago, it’s night and day.

These days, he gets very tired by around 8pm, but we do our best to keep him up, because we’d rather be able to sleep a bit more in the morning. (And when I say “we,” I really mean Tomas and Daniela, who have proven themselves to be very capable dog whisperers. More on that in a minute.) He wakes up around 6:30-7:00, with no accidents at night, and none during the day. (It’s been weeks since he had an accident, and that was because he was sick.)

Walking him has become much less of a sled dog situation as well. He does a fair job walking by us and not pulling us along, and he’ll come when we want him to. (More or less. There are still times when he’s just too interested in whatever it is he’s smelling. Probably poop.) We’ve found that as long as we take him on a couple of walks a day (a mile or more), then he’s generally well behaved and not too exuberant. He’s got a lot of energy, but that’s okay. It gets us out of the house more, and I count that as a good thing.

He still can get a bit carried away with wanting to show his love through his teeth, especially with MC. But he generally knows not to nip now, and those situations are limited to times when he’s feeling particularly excited. He likes to jump more than he used to, which is a new problem, but we’re working on that as well.

Really, however, I’m nothing but happy that we got him. He feels like a real addition to the family, and he loves to be doing whatever the rest of us are doing. It’s fun watching how excited he gets at even the smallest of things. It’s also great to see what he’s done for the kids. I think having a dog has really helped Daniela and Tomas up their responsibility game. My girls have both learned how to say “no” forcefully, which I’m very pleased with. MC has a friend who always has time for her. I’ve watched her and Ferris playing with a ball outside for long stretches of time. She’ll get the ball, throw the ball, and then run with him (he’s on a leash) to go get the ball and repeat the process. They think it’s a blast.

If I were to do this again, I would see if I couldn’t get a puppy that’s a bit older than Ferris was when we got him. Even a few weeks makes a big difference. 10 weeks might be perfect. You still have some training to do, but a lot of it is already done. Those first few weeks were definitely rough, but things have improved so much that it makes you forget the rough parts. (In that way, much like having a baby. Though I do feel this is very much the “baby lite” experience. Yes, babies don’t have teeth and aren’t mobile, but they require so much more attention . . .)

Anyway, just wanted to give an update on the little bounder. If you see us around town, he would love love love to say hello. He pretty much loves anything that moves. (Or smells like poop.)

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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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