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Doggie Weekend

September 10th, 2017 No comments

Saturday morning we headed to the Morton Arboretum with our friend, K, and her dog for their Tails On The Trails event. The line to get in was nuts and we had to park in a temporary lot that was set up since it was so crowded, but we had a great time walking around meeting dogs and their people. They had a scale available so I weighed Wookie – she’s 9.8 lbs now!

After two hours of walking around we found a place to have a picnic lunch before heading home.

After K went home Joe was going to work on the transition piece in the living/dining room but it turns out the pieces we purchased from HOBO were the wrong type. Luckily they let us exchange them even though it was a little past the 30 day refund/exchange window. Joe left a tool at his work, however, so he didn’t actually install them. It’s now scheduled to be done next Saturday morning.

In the meantime Joe decided to wash both cars and I sat outside with Wookie to keep him company.

This morning we took Wookie to the CSBarks Festival in Carol Stream. We go every year but it was even more fun having a dog with us. We ran into Stormy, one of the dogs from Wookie’s Petsmart puppy training class, as well as the neighbor two doors down with her dog, Panda. Our vet and groomer had a combined booth at the event so we stopped by to say hello as well. Wookie ended up with a nice bag of people and doggie swag from the event. She was very well-behaved too, even lying in Joe’s lap while we watched the dogs perform.

After the frisbee dogs we headed home so Joe could catch the first Bears game of the season. I made my usual – brats (which we got from Costco this year) with kraut. Yum!

Categories: Excursions, Pets Tags:

Arizona 2017 (8/28-9/02)

September 4th, 2017 No comments

Saturday (9/2) we came home from a five day trip out to Arizona to visit Joe’s family and we brought Wookie with us.

His mom recently found out she has cancer for the third time, this time in her uterus, so we wanted to visit her before her surgery which was on Thursday, 8/31. Despite having to be admitted to the hospital the day before because she wasn’t behaving normally (she could barely stay conscious and had trouble walking), she was cleared for surgery and everything went as well as could be expected for an almost 80-year-old woman.

Since this wasn’t actually a real vacation (it was too hot to do much anyway as it was over 100 degrees every day), we didn’t plan any activities and spent most of our time just hanging out or eating at restaurants since Joe’s parents no longer cook. We ended up dining at Village Inn four times over our 5-day visit. It would have been five times if Joe’s mom hadn’t gone to the hospital Wednesday since that’s where his dad wanted to have dinner because he’s a creature of habit. The place is like a Bakers Square although the decor isn’t as nice. That being said, the food was decent, and the staff was friendly, so there’s that.

We were able to convince Joe’s day to accompany us and our niece and her family to Backyard Taco for Taco Tuesday where all he would try is the flan because he doesn’t care for tacos. It was a bit irksome when I asked the girl if any of their tacos came with cilantro, she told me no, and lo and behold there was cilantro all over the pork taco, but other than that the food was flavorful. Plus I don’t mind cilantro, but Joe doesn’t care for it and we were sharing. The pork had pineapple pieces in it and the steak tacos were pretty good as well. The only taco that was bland was the chicken. I liked that they had a salsa bar for any toppings you wanted to add. A funny thing happened there – our niece’s daughter, O, who is only two years old, chucked a plastic fork and it landed right in the crook of this girl’s arm at the table next to us. That girl has quite the arm! She managed to peg me in the forehead with a goldfish cracker sometime during the week and it actually stung!

Our Week

Monday afternoon – Arrived at Sky Harbor, got picked up by niece and her daughter, went home to drop off luggage, went to In-And-Out for food
Monday evening – Village Inn for dinner with Joe’s dad & niece’s family

Tuesday morning – Village Inn for breakfast with Joe’s parents
Tuesday afternoon – Drinks & a corndog @ Sonic; played pool & shuffleboard at clubhouse since internet was down
Tuesday evening – Backyard Taco for dinner

Wednesday morning – Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles with Joe’s dad (he liked the iced tea and waffles)
Wednesday afternoon – Joe’s mom was acting strange so we called Joe’s niece (she is medical POA)
Wednesday evening – Red Robin for dinner with Joe’s dad, sister, and niece’s daughter. We brought food to niece who had driven Joe’s mom to the hospital and had her admitted.

Thursday morning – Breakfast at Village Inn with Joe’s dad before heading to the hospital
Thursday afternoon – At hospital
Thursday evening – Picked up pizza from Salerno’s on the way home; woman who we adopted Wookie from came over to visit while Joe and his dad went to the clubhouse to use the internet

Friday morning – Breakfast at Linda’s Hoosier Cafe with Joe’s dad (we met the owner and her son), then accompanied niece & her husband to her ultrasound appointment (she’s 6 months pregnant with her second daughter). It was really cool seeing the baby! Joe’s dad left him an impatient voicemail just as we arrived back at the trailer at 10:35 to pick him up even though we had told him we’d be back between 10:30 and 11:00 am.
Friday afternoon – Visited Joe’s mom in the hospital, then after dropping his dad off at home went out for snacks. I ordered a tall green tea lemonade from Starbucks but they screwed up and charged me for a grande, then upgraded me for free to a trenta which is 30 oz! I shouldn’t have drank the whole thing but it was really good (I paid for it later at the pool when I almost had a panic attack so I’m guessing it’s either caffeine or sugar that could be a trigger). Joe got a shake from In-and-Out and we went to his sister’s house to hook up her Wii & computer. Despite having never peed in anyone’s house before, Wookie peed on her bedroom rug. Whoops! Afterwards we stopped at Jack In The Box to try their nuggets but they don’t know how to count and gave us 4 instead of 5 so we ended up with 9 total after Joe complained. They were decent but not worth $2 for 5 nuggets.
Friday evening – Dinner at Village Inn with Joe’s dad, sister, niece, and her daughter

Saturday morning – Flew home

Flight Stuff

I swear the more I fly the worse I get. I thought after falling asleep on the flight home last year I would be less anxious but even with 1.5 mg of Xanax in me I was still very nervous during take off and landing. I can’t stand the low altitude turns and both flights had periods of turbulence which required them to turn the seatbelt sign on. Coming into Arizona there was one part where the plane felt like it “dropped” considerably which scared me enough that I made an audible noise so Joe teased me about that. The takeoff on the flight home freaked me out because there was considerable vibrating when we first got airborne that I don’t recall hearing/feeling before. Even Joe later remarked it was unusual to him. We paid extra to upgrade our boarding position on that flight and ended up sitting forward of the wings whereas on the way out we had sat behind the wings. I think ideally I’d like to sit over the wings in the future. I also had to keep going pee on the flight home (3-4 times!) whereas on the flight out I only went twice.

At least Wookie was very well-behaved in her carrier for both flights. More than a few people remarked how quiet she was when we were waiting for our flight home. Sky Harbor has a really nice animal relief area too. Wookie wasn’t interested in using it, but I liked how it’s located after you go through security. We met a cute black Brussels Griffon named Pickles in there. It’s a large room near the restrooms that has fake grass, a fire hydrant, poop bags, and a sink. In contract, Midway airport has an outdoor fenced-in concrete area over by baggage claim before you go through security. It makes no sense.

TSA Hates Me

The worst thing about our trip is that I was singled out by TSA at Midway. First they swabbed my hands but apparently they didn’t like the results so they pulled me aside for a full pat-down and went through my carry-on bag. I got picked for a hand swab at Sky Harbor too but luckily that’s as far as it went. The security lady was giving me attitude, however, because I was trying to keep an eye on my jacket going through the x-ray instead of walking all the way down to where she was pointing. She kept ordering me to leave my things alone even though I wasn’t trying to touch them so finally I yelled “I’m just trying to keep an eye on my stuff!” Seriously! Thank god Joe was there to keep an eye on my stuff since I had the dog in my arms too. Someone could have easily grabbed my stuff since no one was paying attention to it since they were so concerned about what a threat I apparently was. *rolls eyes*

Observations

It got so hot during the day the asphalt would bubble and pop when you drove over it.
None of the stores or restaurants were overly air-conditioned like they are here. Probably because they can’t afford it! The only exception was the hospital.

Final Thoughts

All in all it was an interesting trip but I would never visit Arizona in August/September again unless absolutely necessary. It was so hot you couldn’t do anything outside unless you got up super early or stayed up late, and even then it was already in the mid 80’s. We slept in the trailer’s Arizona room which wasn’t as air conditioned as the rest of the trailer so the flannel pants and sweatshirts I brought were useless. I purchased a very large suitcase the weekend before at TJ Maxx for $70 which was perfect for all my stuff plus Wookie’s.

We borrowed a crate and fencing from the girl we adopted her from who lives across the street but Wookie refused to step foot in the crate so she slept on some fleece on the ground. We also ordered a potty pad holder that we had shipped directly there and which she used faithfully. The heat seemed to affect her appetite like it did us and she only ate about half the amount of food I brought. For the most part she got along with everyone except niece’s daughter since she’s not used to children. She also would bark at Joe’s dad since he wasn’t home when we first arrived so in her mind he was an intruder. That being said, by Thursday she was running around his legs wagging her tail. She got along ok with Bella even though they didn’t play together, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about her previous mom’s (whom she didn’t remember) dog. Everyone seemed to enjoy playing with her, though, and she was mostly well behaved except when we’d leave her locked up to go out. Once she realized we were actually leaving the house entirely she would calm down, however. Hopefully next time we travel we can leave her with someone we trust because while it wasn’t a big deal on this particular trip, I can’t see having her with us on a real vacation. Plus it’s $95 each way on Southwest even though she takes the place of a free carry-on.

Categories: Excursions, Family, Vacation Tags:

Grooming Wookie

July 24th, 2017 Comments off

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:

Home Depot is Dog Friendly

July 17th, 2017 Comments off

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 Comments off

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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