December 23 is a mixed bag of emotions for me. Two years ago we had a happy memory as Tucker officially became Tucker Simpson Leeper when we picked him up from Ivywest. Suffice it to say, our lives have never ever … Continue reading
There are nine days before Christmas. Nine. If you are a crazy dog mom like me, or just like to include your pup in your holiday celebrations, here are some gifts that I recommend for them as well as a … Continue reading
Combining two blog posts into one this week. Last weekend was a bit uneventful and this weekend was chock full of things. I think I am going to start writing more about advice or other things I find that might … Continue reading
How did everyone enjoy their Thanksgiving? For me it was a bit of a wild last 2 weeks. First I was in Texas for work and then I came home (after a flight cancellation and scurrying to get my butt out of San … Continue reading
How was your weekend? Ours was filled with equal parts adventure and relaxation…we started Saturday off with an adventure: taking Tucker to the Arboretum in DC! Saturday mornings are usually what we refer to as “Dadder-days,” meaning Jason gets up and takes care of Tucker while I sleep in. They go off on various adventures while I sleep the early morning weekday walks away. However, this weekend I crashed Dadderday as we both wanted to check out the Arboretum. I had been there once before when I first moved to the DC area and knew it was dog friendly as I went there in springtime with my mom and Spenser who had to come down and sniff out DC to make sure it was OK. However, the Arboretum is huge so we were in a completely different section this time. It’s a great place to bring your dogs as they have trails, paved and unpaved and it wasn’t too busy (though in fairness, we were there early and it’s also fall where nothing is blooming). I wish we had more time there but we had to go on our next adventure….
Off to Dogma, where Tucker got groomed. He’s been groomed once before and he really just needed a really good bath, comb out and trim which is exactly what he got. One side note, our local news recently did a story on groomers and the dangers of cage dryers. Please make sure that your groomer doesn’t use cage dryers!! Tucker returned home exhausted and I spent the time cleaning out my closet..
Yesterday was a basic stay around the house and walk around the park and neighborhoods kind of day though he did get to go play with his girlfriend Maisy since she was out in her yard. That was a nice respite as this week I’ll be traveling for work which means that Tucker and Jason will spend a lot of bachelor time together (probably watching Netflix).
Things I’m loving!
A new feature…I’m working real hard on giving this blog the love and attention it deserves. I’ve started a Facebook page for it and an Instagram specifically for this page is coming. Bear with me as everything is a work in progress and with work and holiday travel, it might take some time to get everything looking fabulous. I wanted to share a few things that I’m loving this week:
- DVGRR’s Extraordinary Give: If you are a first time reader to this blog, Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (DVGRR) is very near and dear to my heart. My family adopted Oliver, a DVGRR rescue this February and he is the sweetest big fellow you ever met. Tucker, Oliver and Spenser have quite the bond and it brings me such joy to watch them together. The ExtraOrdinary Give is on November 20th and it’s Lancaster County’s largest day of online giving. DVGRR will be accepting donations. Please follow the link and give to this great cause.
- Great Dane With a Special Purpose: This story melts my heart. This Great Dane named George serves a very special purpose: as a service dog for a little girl with a rare medical condition. In this week of really horrific news, this is a bright spot.
- Reunited and it feels soooo good: Last week, our breeder Catherine with Ivywest posted a photo of Tucker’s brother Leo on Facebook. That led to photo sharing and story swapping of other siblings. I love hearing stories and meeting new puppy people – especially when they are related to Tucker!
- One non-dog thing: Ok, you may not think I have much of a life outside Tucker (I do! I do!) but I’m super de dooper excited about the news that the Dixie Chicks are touring in the US this summer. I absolutely love the Dixie Chicks and can’t wait to see them again!
So what did you do this weekend? Share your pup photos and stories with me either blow or in an email to me via the Contact section above.I’d love to hear from you all!
In anticipation of an upcoming trip, we’ve been going on meet and greets through Rover and DogVacay to find a someone to watch Tucker. We’ve used Rover in the past and loved our one sitter but she is not available for an upcoming weekend so we’ve had to line up a few meet and greets. Being the crazy dog mom that I am, I absolutely hate to leave Tucker, but it is our wedding anniversary and I feel like I should potentially give my husband some more attention on that weekend. We’ve met a ton of great people and their dogs but I often get a little self-conscious about how crazy of a dog mom I am once I realize how much I talk about Tucker. For example, I have a 5 page document that Jason call’s the Tucker bible where I detail everything I can think of that might happen or things that a sitter might need to be aware of. My reasoning for this is that if I were watching someone’s dog, I’d want to know everything I could possibly know so I’m doing these sitters a favor. I’m sure some roll their eyes or possibly don’t even read it (I’m looking at you Mom and Dad).I’ve tried to make it really humorous but that probably only solidifies how crazy of a dog mom I am.
I’ve been thinking more about my status as crazy dog mom this week for several reasons. I’ve already mentioned the meet and greets. The other is I’ve kept a very close watch on Tucker this week—and remember, I already watch him super closely. He had a little diarrhea earlier this week and he has a fairly good tummy so I was worried he got into something that I didn’t see. Normal people would probably say, dogs get into things from time to time, diarrhea is OK, but of course I panic. The only change we’ve made is that our vet recently changed which Heartworm preventative pills they use and we are back on Heartgard which he’s had before but not for some time as we were using Sentinel. I gave him his monthly dosage on Monday night and then next day he had a tummy upset. I was then on poop watch…they got better as the day went on and the situation has cleared up but not before I utterly embarrassed Tucker by taking photos of his poop and sending them to Jason who was out-of-town. I’m sure he loved those photos. #SorryI’mnotSorry Tucker. The vets office told me before that they love photos like this because it can help them immensely. And, as a crazy dog mom, I love the vets office. It’s basically like going to a therapist for me. Sometimes I think if I had to do it all over again, I would search for a vet to marry. Today, Tucker took his sweet time going to the bathroom and immediately my guard was up. Remember the Homeland Security terror chart? My radar went on high alert and then he went and was jolly. Oh and yes, if you haven’t figured it out, as a crazy dog mom, I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about poop.
Another reason I’ve been thinking more on my crazy dog mom status is that I am in a Word Press course on blogging to help me with this blog. I’m sure that all the attendees will love to read about my dogs poop, but ask anyone who has a dog and I bet they analyze their poop as well from time to time. So, to all my “classmates,” my name is Carly and I am a crazy dog mom. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?
Recently I joined a group on Facebook for a breeder that my parents have used. She created a facebook group so that the families can connect and share their photos of their golden children. It’s been fun to see the various goldens, and I especially enjoy connecting with people who have siblings of my parents pup, Spenser. Spenser will be nine in September but he will forever be my puppy. My family decided to get Spenser when I was still living at home and we are very close, even though I haven’t lived at home for several years. Every time we come home, Spenser is my shadow. He could never ever leave my mom or dad or his golden brother Oliver but we have a special bond.
Several facebook posts in this group lately have featured new puppies who have gone to their fur-ever homes. It’s so sweet to see these little fuzzies and I even get a bit of puppy fever. Tucker will be 2 in October so he’s still very much a puppy but you know what I mean, those little guys and girls you can pick up and snuggle….and then I remember the puppy teeth, the wake up calls in the middle of the night, and did I mention those puppy teeth? I remember when Tucker was really small and I would look at him and say, what is your personality going to be like? Yes, let’s not forget the title of this blog: Crazy Dog Mom. And don’t forget one of the best parts of puppyhood: you can drink! Can’t do that when you’re pregnant!
I can tell you exactly his personality now: he’s a sweetie (what golden isn’t though?) with a mischievous streak and he’s a real smartie. He loves being outside and walking through the neighborhoods. He’s playful with other dogs but only a few at a time or else he gets nervous. He loves routines…as do I…he’s still very much a puppy- we’re still working on the jumping and the occasional nip but thankfully there’s no more puppy teeth. He makes friends fast and remembers them for life.
Now here are some new puppy tips from me:
1) Crate Train. I can’t emphasize this enough. We still have Tucker’s crate up and open because he still enjoys going in it even though he now sleeps with us and has a gated off area (which includes the crate) when we are out. I often find him laying in there when we get home. It’s their safe place…and a safe place for you too. I can’t begin to explain how much more peacefully I slept at night during those first few puppy months knowing he was in the crate. The crate is in our bedroom so he never felt alone.
2) Socialize. Another one I can’t emphasize enough. We got Tucker in the winter of the polar vortex in Northern VA. We were fortunate to have places that host puppy socials (welcome to Northern VA, full of DINKS- Dual Income No Kids). We also got him in obedience class as soon as we could. Luckily we live in an apartment complex and a dog friendly community so there was no shortage of friends for Tucker to meet. And don’t stop doing it. We still take Tucker to dog parks, dog friendly restaurants/wineries/shops, etc.
3) Exercise. You need exercise, your dog needs exercise. If it’s hot or cold, treat puzzles or ipad games (yes, seriously!) My motto in life is that a tired dog is a good dog. Why do you think I’m writing this blog right now? Because I exercised my pup and he’s enjoying a nice little nap right now. If you really want to track your dog’s exercise and sleep, get a Whistle Activity Monitor!
4) Photos. Take Lots of Them. We have 80 million and no, I do not think that’s an exaggeration.
5) Get to know where the best deals are. I love Chewy. My neighbors do too because I see lots of boxes from Chewy in the mailroom. There can never be enough Bitter Apple Spray when you have a puppy or young dog. Once I think I covered myself in it. We have a cabinet that looks like Chewy, Petco and Wylie Wagg threw up. But pups need toys and treats and bones. Remember those puppy teeth?
One of my goals in the next year or so is to take Tucker to a beach, perhaps in the fall when its quieter. Since Tucker has never really been swimming, I was curious to see how he might react in a pool. I heard about the Northern Virginia Animal Swim Center. This swim center offers “Learn to Swim” lessons for 30 minutes and I thought: Perfect! It’s out in Middleburg, VA so it was a little bit of a trek from Arlington, VA but we had made a plan to stop at some dog friendly wineries on the way home and make a day out of it.
Once we made it out to the swim center, which is on acres of farmland, we met Roger, the owner and he put Tucker in a harness that had a very long lead/leash on it. We went first to a long shallow pool with ramps on either end that Tucker could wade into…Using the lead, Roger guided him in and BOOM! Tucker went swimming away to the other side. Roger had us call his name to encourage him as well. We did this a few times then went outside for a potty break before starting to retrieve balls in the pool. When Roger thought he was ready, we graduated to the bigger deeper pool- with the lead at first and then on his own. After 30 minutes, he was worn out but he swam great and Roger gave us some cues to get him to turn around in the pool. Now, of course this was a controlled pool and not an ocean so I would still be very careful, but Tucker can swim. Being a golden retriever, I thought that might be the case but you just never know!
I’d highly recommend a trip out there- it’s a bit in the country but would be wonderful if you want to see how your dog does or if your dog needs to swim for any health issues. We paid $40 for a training session which included Tucker getting a bath at the end. Also, Middleburg is a really adorable town.
I would like to take a time-out from Tucker’s adventures and tell you about an organization that is very near and dear to my heart. You may have read about the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue before, and now I’d like to request your support for this great organization.
How did you become a dog mom/dad/family member? Some people get puppies from breeders (that’s what we did) and some people adopt dogs from rescues and shelters. Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue, located in Eastern PA provides new beginnings for displaced Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles. Since 1993, they have placed over 4500 golden retrievers and other DVGRR dogs into homes. My family first became acquainted with the organization when we were looking for a sibling to join Emily,the golden matriarch of our family. At 5 years old, we had noticed that she really enjoyed when other dogs stayed with us and thought it was time to get her a sibling. While we didn’t go with a DVGRR pup at that time, we started supporting the organization and other friends adopted through DVGRR.
Fast forward to the end of 2014 and the start of 2015—Emily, our golden matriarch passed away at the age of 13, leaving a void in our family’s life. My parents weren’t sure what route they wanted to take for their next dog. They have Spenser, an 8-year-old sweet golden retriever and wasn’t sure if they wanted to get a new puppy or adopt, but knew that Spenser missed having another dog. They started looking and put in an application for DVGRR which was approved. After they were approved, they could set up appointments to visit the dogs that were ready for adoption. They wanted to see Oliver, a sweet 4-year-old golden who had been picked up as a stray and not claimed. Off they went with Spenser to meet Oliver. All 3 of them immediately fell in love with Oliver and Oliver was adopted by our family and was in his fur-ever home that afternoon.
We miss Emily everyday but Oliver (or as I call him Oliver Wiggles) has brightened our days. He exhibits many of the same Emily quirks which is uncanny and has become a real love to all family members. We are forever grateful for DVGRR for all the care they gave Oliver and for all the care they give to other dogs. I constantly remind Tucker how lucky he is–some dogs have faced horrible circumstances in their lives, but organizations such as DVGRR have helped those dogs undergo incredible transformations. I would love to be able to adopt a DVGRR one day when we have a little more space for 2 goldens!
Now, how can you help? Well that’s easy! DVGRR is participating in the Saving Pets Challenge 2015, a fundraising campaign in which animal shelters, rescue groups, and spay/neuter clinics from around the country compete for over $100,000 in grants toward innovative programs. It’s a one month challenge and the organization that raises the most wins a $50,000 donation. ALL DONATIONS GO BACK TO DVGRR.
So, could you spare a few dollars? I know that you can! Please go here to donate (it’s my mom’s personal fundraising page for DVGRR) And if you are looking for a golden retriever, check out DVGRR’s Available Dogs page. Maybe you’ll find your next fur-child!
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
Editor’s Note: I’ve since learned DVGRR has helped over 4500 goldens. Please consider helping this great organization today!