Pierogi Fest 2017

July 31st, 2017 No comments

Joe took Friday off so we could take my brother to Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana. Since we were going to be gone most of the day I arranged for B’s girlfriend R to watch Wookie. She arrived around 8 am so I could show her where Wookie’s food and water was, how to lock her up in her playpen when she was ready to leave, etc. Joe was teasing me because I had put together a 2-sided care sheet but what can I say? I was nervous having never left Wookie in anyone’s care before.

We all ate some apple fritters Joe brought home the day before before he and I left the house around 9 am.

We were very prepared this time around – I had extra plastic utensils, napkins, and salt and pepper with me in addition to our usual bottled water. The plastic knife in particular came in handy since they only give out forks. We arrived just before the official opening at 11 am and secured parking two blocks away near the church. Most of the main street where we used to park in previous years was already blocked by chairs people were using to hold their spot for the parade later that evening. Most lots were charging $20 to park which is just ridiculous!

We made our way through the fest to our first stop which, of course, was Dan’s Pierogis. They were woefully unprepared and despite getting there early and standing in a rather short line, we had to wait another 30 minutes for our food because most of the flavors weren’t ready yet. As if they don’t know they are the most popular booth there? They couldn’t have started preparing them sooner? Ugh. I ended up getting some taco pierogis from the Mendoza truck to tide me over while we waited. I love them! Even though they charge 75 cents extra for some salsa and sour cream it’s totally worth it.

We located seating in the shade by the nearby elementary school so that was nice since we spent a good hour, if not more, there. I ended up speaking to an older woman in a three person group who shared our picnic table. She seemed nice enough even though Joe indicated I may have offended her later when I loudly remarked that someone must not be able to read since I smelled cigarette smoke – apparently it was her and one of the guys. Oh well. It did say “non-smoking family seating” on the sign there. Ironic considering how she was remarking earlier about all the people who brought their dogs even though online it said no dogs allowed (they probably should have posted signs, though). Honestly, I don’t think she was offended, or maybe didn’t hear me, since when we left she was very friendly saying goodbye and wishing us a nice day and I didn’t detect any sarcasm.

We left the fest around 2 pm and stopped at the grocery store so J could get toothpaste, and then stopped for food at this little place called Chicago Pita Kitchen where we’ve eaten before. I did not care for my cheeseburger but the feta fries were delicious. Joe liked his Italian sausage sandwich but the fries in general there suck because they are undercooked. We played three games of Aggravation at my parents house and got home around 8 pm. At that point Wookie had been alone for maybe three hours so not bad at all.

Note to self: do NOT get the stuffed cabbage from Dan’s Pierogis. It is completely flavorless.

Categories: Excursions, Family, Food Tags:

Grooming Wookie

July 24th, 2017 No comments

I may have accidentally stumbled upon a way to make grooming Wookie less of a battle. Of course, we’ve been down this road before with mixed results. For instance, when I learned that putting her up on the kitchen counter would keep her from running away and she would calm down, I started doing that, but that was short-lived. Giving her treats while grooming her works, but only if Joe is around to do so while I work on brushing her. She eats the treats frantically, however, so I know she’s still stressed out by the process.

The problem is how easily her fur mats once it gets just a little longer. I can brush her in the evening and the next morning there are new what I like to call mini dreadlocks on her legs and near her tail. So of course it’s painful when I try to get them out. I try to hold the fur close to her leg so the brush isn’t pulling and hurting her, but despite having touched her legs, paws, face, etc. since she was 8 weeks old she still doesn’t care for it. Sometimes if the mats are too large I will just cut them off even if it causes her fur to look a bit weird in that spot because it’s easier and less traumatic for her.

In addition, she has watery eyes and gets tear stains. The stains themselves are the least of my worries even though they are unsightly, and I bought some Burt Bees liquid to clean them, but my main concern is how her fur gets very crunchy in that area if it isn’t cleaned and combed daily. She really really hates the comb near her eyes and nose and will nip at it and my hands. She bit me pretty hard last week (although she didn’t break skin) and it really made me feel dejected because I’m merely trying to take care of her and she’s biting me. I know I took it too personally, but it’s hard not to feel that way when the dog you love is biting you.

I have this pair of gardening gloves I purchased years ago to wear when handling Steve the rat. Joe wore them when Wookie was stung by a bee so he could hold her paw while I removed the bee stinger. It dawned on me that I should wear them when grooming her to see what would happen. As soon as I started brushing her legs she of course started biting at the brush, and by default my hands, but since it wasn’t hurting me I kept going. She stopped trying so hard after that. In addition, I had left her toothbrush on the rug and she started chewing on it. She was so focused on the toothbrush that I was able to continue grooming her, even getting some of her muzzle, and she didn’t seem nearly as stressed as she is when Joe is giving her treats. That’s an added bonus since she can eat through quite a lot in one session. On top of that, I didn’t have to put her up on the counter which tends to make her pee from anxiety.

Pretty much the only thing I don’t have too much trouble doing is brushing her teeth because she likes the toothpaste. That being said, it’s really difficult getting her back teeth since I have to kind of hold her down and pull on the sides of her mouth to get back there. Of course those are the teeth that already have plaque buildup so she’s definitely going to have to get a professional cleaning at some point to the tune of $165. Other than the dental chews sold at the vet, I’ve been told Greenies and Dentastix don’t do squat so that explains why even though I give her those I haven’t seen any improvement in those teeth. The vet-approved chews are a) more expensive and b) not nearly as appealing to her for some reason. Figures.

On the plus side, now that I’ve discovered her desire to chew on the toothbrush, I will be using that when brushing her. I just hope she continues to enjoy it.

Also, she was cut very short today. Isn’t she adorable?

I will try to keep brushing her daily even though it won’t be necessary so she can form new associations with the brush and not fear it since it shouldn’t hurt if she isn’t matted. Honestly, I think some of her reaction is just her being sensitive since I can be brushing an area with no mats and she still tries to scoot away or bite.

Categories: Pets Tags:

Annual Party

July 18th, 2017 No comments

My bookbag smells like a campfire despite using Febreeze on it. Just one of the drawbacks to sitting in front of a bonfire for the evening.

Sunday was one of the cooler days we’ve had lately and it was our friend’s annual party. She always holds it on the last day of our city’s Summerfest so we can walk a few blocks from her house to the park to watch the fireworks. They screwed them up, however, and we never got a big finale. They later posted online about them being deemed unsafe. 

I was really glad I brought extra clothes, although before we lit the firepit I was still freezing. Other than that and having to immediately shower when we got home around midnight, it was a great night. Lots of laughs and our friend whose wife passed away two years ago from cancer was even able to join us. Last year he met up for our pre-party lunch but went home afterwards  due to work obligations the following day.

We didn’t get to bed until sometime around 2 am since we wanted to let Wookie run around after having been cooped up all afternoon and evening. Even though we didn’t sleep in too late on Monday we were both exhausted and unmotivated. Other than some laundry and a trip to Aldi to take advantage of a rare coupon to celebrate their grand  re-opening, it wasn’t a very productive day.

Categories: Friends, Fun & Games Tags:

Home Depot is Dog Friendly

July 17th, 2017 No comments

Did you know you can bring your dog to Home Depot? I remember reading it somewhere so I called the one near us to confirm and they said yes. So after a walk with Wookie at Community Park in Carol Stream, which we hadn’t visited before but won’t be returning to because it sucked, we took her with us into the Depot to look at transition pieces. We never put one in between the dining room floor and the living room carpet but we need to now that Wookie exists because she was chewing on the carpeting. As a temporary fix we moved the couch back a few inches to hang over the transition and put a throw rug down in the walkway. Unfortunately, not only did they lack pieces that would match the color of the laminate in the dining room, they were extremely expensive compared to the prices at Hobo ($30+ compared to $13 per piece, of which we’ll need two). So we’ll be heading back to Hobo at some point so we can stop using the stupid throw rug which I’ve nearly tripped and killed myself on more than once. 

Honestly, I was pretty surprised when the Home Depot employee I spoke with indicated they have dogs in the store all the time since I don’t recall ever seeing one in all the times we’ve shopped there. Coincidentally, as we were leaving the store a couple was coming in with their Chihuahua. The woman glanced at Wookie in the cart and kinda chuckled. I wonder if they had also never seen another dog there as well. 

Categories: House & Home, Pets Tags:

Wookie VS The Bee

July 14th, 2017 No comments

Wookie was stung by a bee yesterday. Or more like she stepped on one. Just to back up a little…

Last week we paid for a membership to the closest dog park to us which is only a five minute drive from the house. We scoped it out the weekend before and liked that there was a separate section for little dogs. The annual membership is $50 for non-residents (it’s in a different city that borders ours) until July 1st when it’s reduced to half price.

Since purchasing the pass we’ve taken Wookie there a handful of times. The first time there was a group of dogs that met her at the gate and they ran off together which was so cute, but since then she hasn’t been entirely thrilled with the dogs she has met. She is always curious and will sniff them, but she really doesn’t like when they return the favor, and since she hasn’t really played with other dogs before she gets scared when they chase her because she doesn’t realize they aren’t trying to hurt her. In addition, she’s not very fond of male dogs in general although they really seem to like her. One in particular, a mini-Collie named Sheldon, would not leave her alone. She kept running away and finally I picked her up and put her on my lap and he was still trying to get at her. I’m hoping with time she will relax a little and learn to play instead of running away or just going off on her own to sniff around. I joked with Joe that she’s like her mommy – she thinks she wants to socialize but quickly grows weary and would rather be alone.

Overall I like the park because everyone there is friendly and the dogs are for the most part non-aggressive but they haven’t mowed it since we started visiting and the white flowering weeds attract bees. Which brings us back to yesterday. We lucked out and had the park to ourselves so Wookie could run around without being harassed. We spent a good half hour there and as we were leaving Wookie jumped up and yelped, but we didn’t see the cause. In the car she started holding up her right paw but after inspecting it twice I still didn’t see anything so I thought maybe she just sprained it. We stopped at Culvers for dinner which we decided to take home since we could tell she was not feeling well. We contemplating taking her to the vet which was literally across the street and open for another few minutes but ultimately decided against it since there wasn’t anything visibly wrong. Or so we thought.

Once we got home Joe was inspecting her paw closer, which of course she didn’t like so she was getting a little vicious with her biting (note to self: buy a muzzle for these situations). Finally he spotted a dark spot between two of her paw pads so we went upstairs into the bathroom where the lighting was better. We distracted her with treats while he spread her paw and I used tweezers to remove what we then realized was a bee stinger. It was very small, and I’m thankful she didn’t have an allergic reaction! Joe ran to Walgreens to buy some childrens Benadryl and we gave her a small dose. Within an hour she was back to her old self and even putting weight on the paw again. What a relief!

It’s always nerve-wracking trying to decide whether a vet visit is in order. If she was obviously injured it would be one thing, but in this situation we probably would have paid $100 just to have the vet do exactly what we did, so I’m glad we decided to wait and see. Today she’s acting normal except for a little diarrhea she had this morning which may be from the medicine. We gave her a smaller dose than necessary but since she’s feeling fine I don’t plan to give her any more unless her paw swells up.

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