Send my Love To Your New Lover DC

To my loyal Tails of A Crazy Dog Mom readers, taking a time out today to write a more personal piece not necessarily all about dogs…normal content to return soon!

If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend everyone drive on the George Washington Parkway into the DC area. I once made a pact with myself that if I were ever driving that stretch of road and the DC skyline with the Washington Monument came into view and I didn’t smile or it didn’t take my breath away, I would know it’s time to leave.

I have to break that pact.

You see, it’s just impossible not to be mesmerized by that view. And as you get closer or go along the Parkway other monuments come into view. Whether you’ve lived here 9 months, 90 years, or like me, almost 9 years, you just can’t help but be blown away by DC’s beauty.

But. And there’s a but. It’s expensive. It’s hard to live here without family close by. It can feel like a rat race and wear you down. So DC, after almost nine years, I have to break up with you. But not before I say Thank You.

When I arrived in January 2008, I was 25 and knew only a few people. I was wide-eyed and if I had to pick a song, Wide Open Spaces from the Dixie Chicks is what would have defined me. I started a job at a legislative tracking firm. I loved the Metro. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My job was tough but I was so fortunate to meet a great group of young people just like me- eager to explore the area and mostly people who didn’t know that many other people. We explored new restaurants and neighborhoods. We went up the Washington Monument at night. We did the 4th of July fireworks. We went to Nats games and golfing on East Potomac Park among the monuments. We drank too much. Or not enough depending on the work day. We laughed, we cried. We helped eachother move. We cursed the Metro (I don’t love it as much as I did anymore). We formed good friendships even after some people started to leave the area. We were in each other’s weddings. I truly learned here that friends are family.

I never felt like I was a DC-lifer. In fact, at one point I even temporarily left, only to come back six weeks later with a great job offer and more importantly, I had met THE boy who was here. A few months in, it was clear that this was not just another relationship, but THE relationship that would lead to marriage. I had to persuade him a little bit, sitting on his front porch asking him if he was my boyfriend (I had to make it clear before he went on an all guys college football roadtrip). New memories were made. Even a skydiving trip. Families met. We became an official family in 2012 with our marriage. That next year we got our puppy Tucker. We enjoyed the area and every year when our lease came up for renewal we discussed leaving and every year we decided to stay.

Until this past year. We made a decision that we would really strive to leave the area. We had interviews in Pennsylvania that didn’t lead to anything until June. An opportunity was presented to me that we couldn’t refuse.

And yet, I sit here in our apartment in Arlington a few days away from starting a new job and I’m nervous about leaving the area. It’s scary because the boy will be staying down here until our lease ends in October. There are lots of unknowns but there are also several ways life will be easier. New adventures await which we are excited for. I’m hoping Tucker will enjoy his new adventures as well. I’m hoping for a fenced in back yard for him! But I will never forget my time here. In fact, if we ever have kids, I am making sure they spend at least a year in DC. I just hope they don’t need me to pay their rent when that time comes.

So DC, in the words of Adele:

I’m giving you up
I’ve forgiven it all
You set me free, oh

Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We’ve gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain’t kids no more
Send my love to your new lover.

Except don’t treat her better. Treat her exactly the same. Because for every tear I may have cried here, I also laughed 1,000 times more. For every time I cursed the metro, I remembered that’s where I met the husband. So when I’m driving out of here today, I will glance in my rearview mirror back at you but then look onward to the future (and don’t miss me too much, I’ll be back on the weekends!)

Thankful for Two Years!

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Dearest Tucker, Halloween weekend not only brought out tricks and treats, but also birthday fun as you turned 2- complete with you in a hot dog costume and us in ketchup and mustard costumes because it’s only fair–if you have to … Continue reading

Being a crazy dog mom aka #sorryI’mnotsorry

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?

Did you really think I would post a photo of his poop?

Did you really think I would post a photo of his poop?

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Tucker goes for a swim

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.

Tucker can swim!

          Tucker can swim!

After swimming winery time!

After swimming winery time!

Crazy Dog Mom, Sort of Crazy Husband and Tucker go to the Nats Game

Last fall, I came upon an offer for tickets for a Washington Nationals game that had a Pups in the Park theme- you could take your dog to the baseball game. How fun, I thought! One problem: it was for a Sunday during September and my husband could not miss an NFL game. So, I put my tail between my legs and waited patiently for the Nationals to announce their Pups in the Park for 2015. One magical cold February day, the dates were announced and I had my tickets for the first Pups in the Park day faster than you can say “That’s a good boy!”

For the Washington Nationals, their ‘Pups in the Park’ games tickets partly benefit the Washington Humane Society. An adult ticket is $26 in the Outfield Reserved Section (Sections 140-143) and a dog ticket is $10. The dog actually gets a seat AND that ticket price goes to the Washington Humane Society.

Waiting for the parade to begin!

Waiting for the parade to begin!

As the date got closer, I got a little nervous- Tucker gets along well with all dogs but he gets excited and pulls and I wasn’t sure what he would think. I didn’t want to stress him out any. We also learned that we could participate in a parade on the field prior to the game. So, my husband and I hatched out a plan to make this as organized as possible and as stress free as possible. We had previously bought a parking pass for a lot about a half mile from the stadium and decided to leave our apartment around 10:15 to make sure we were in line for the parade at 11:30. Now, on a good day we can get to that parking lot in about 10 minutes…on a bad day with traffic, it could take a lot longer. We brought water with us and I brought a bone in case he got bored. We hoped that we could make it to first pitch before he got too bored. Oh, and we made sure he had plenty of exercise before we left so he would be a bit tired.

The day arrived and it was a beautiful sunny day with a high of 80 degrees…in April. I had picked these tickets because I thought it might be the coolest weather. While it was warm, we lucked out with no humidity. We also lucked out with traffic and made it to our assigned parking lot in plenty of time. This worked out perfectly for us because Tucker is quite the puller when excited. Since we weren’t in a rush, we could make sure he stayed calm and didn’t pull as much. We got to the right-field gate and there was already a line of puppies and owners. We checked in (you have to bring a signed waiver and a vet record to participate) and got into line for the gates to open. Magically at 11, the gates opened and people and their pups started going through the metal detectors.

Once through the metal director, we lined up in another line in the tunnel leading to the field. At this point, I was super excited, my husband was super excited, and Tucker was straight chilling. It was remarkable to see all these dogs there and they were all so well-behaved. At 11:30, they escorted us on the field and we got to walk around the whole field and take photos and videos. After that was done, they re-scanned our tickets and we were off to the Outfield! They had reserved a whole big area where the dogs could go complete with sod that the dogs could have a potty break on and plenty of water. There were also several picnic tables where we could relax in before going to our seats. Tucker was one of the first dogs on the sod and he peed quickly (repeated visits there led to no such further actions as I think he figured out it was fake..). We then sat down at a picnic table where we got some food and some beers and conversed with other owners and their pups.

As the game grew closer, we found our seats. We were fortunate to not have anyone sit in our small row or in front of us so we could spread out. Tucker really wasn’t a fan of the seats and he preferred to either sit or stand in front of his seat, or sit on his Dad. However, many dogs were sitting in their seats (old pro’s!).

Excuse Me, lady, do you have nachos you'd like to share?

Excuse Me, lady, do you have nachos you’d like to share?

At the game!

At the game!

Mommy and Me

Mommy and Me

Got my seat right here!

Got my seat right here!

Remember how I said we had just hoped to make it to first pitch? Well we made it to first pitch and the first four innings before we decided everyone had a great day and it was time to go on to our next adventure (which was going to pick up more dog food!). Tucker was exhausted but I could tell he had a great time–and it was fun being able to go to the game with him. I also want to note how wonderful the Washington Nationals staff was with this event. It could not have been planned or executed better in my mind. They have 5 more Pups in the Parks events planned for this season but tickets go fast- get yours NOW!  

What an exhausting weekend!

What an exhausting weekend!

Now I’m on to planning the next big adventure that I want to take Tucker on: THE BEACH!

Things I’ve learned from my dog

The other morning, Tucker and I walked up Arlington Ridge to Prospect Park, which overlooks the city of Washington D.C. and Arlington VA. From there I can see the Washington Monument, the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery…and all the cars stuck in morning rush hour on 395 :). I was in a particularly reflective mood for some reason that morning and it got me thinking of the ways Tucker has changed me in the year and a half since we’ve brought him home:

One of the best days ever: when we picked Tucker out!

One of the best days ever: when we picked Tucker out!

1) Mornings are great: I have to say, I love my morning weekday and Sunday walks with him (my husband lets me sleep in on Saturdays while he goes running with Tucker or to the park with him).  In the DC area, it is very busy and I constantly feel on the go. Before Tucker, I was never a morning person. I would get up about 30 minutes before I had to leave for work, eat breakfast, get ready and off to the Metro I went. Now I get up most weekday mornings at 6 or earlier so that Tucker and I have plenty of time to go out, come back in and eat our breakfasts and settle a bit before our morning walk. The mornings are mostly peaceful- fairly light traffic around the neighborhoods and most of the foot traffic is a few people getting an early metro or people with some of our favorite 4 legged friends. Not only is it great exercise for both of us, but it gets me prepared for the day at hand. When I have to travel or have to be somewhere early for work and my husband walks him, I often feel like I’ve missed out on something. Are there some mornings where I would rather just stay in bed? Absolutely…mostly on those rainy mornings where I have to balance an umbrella and a golden retriever. However, it’s probably my favorite walk of the day.

Selfie on our morning walks.

Selfie on our morning walks.

2) Meeting people: I am an introvert. Once you get to know me, I open up and am silly and love to talk…but I generally shy away from big social settings. Having a golden retriever puppy, EVERYONE wants to pet your dog. We’ve met a lot of our neighbors and their dogs (I admit, I don’t know a lot of their names-its mostly ‘Fluffy’s mom, Bella Boo Bear’s Mom, etc) but there’s a sense of community that I didn’t feel before we got Tucker. We take Tucker most places that we can–wineries, running races, dog friendly restaurants and our newest adventure yesterday: the Washington Nationals Pups in the Park event. Yes, we took him to a baseball game–and he performed phenomenally well. Tucker is a conversation starter and that has helped me break the ice and has even helped me in situations when he isn’t with me.

 

Friends

Friends

Tucker even has little human friends aka cousins he loves!

Tucker even has little human friends aka cousins he loves!

3) Partnerships are stronger and better: I’m an individual through and through. My husband doesn’t define me and I don’t define my husband. Prior to Tucker, my husband and I enjoyed doing things together, but many nights we might watch one things on TV and then go our separate ways- maybe me watching something in the bedroom, while he stayed out in the living room. Or we approached things differently. This may be a longer way of saying that we weren’t always a unified team. When Tucker came into our lives, we had to become a team- who took him out and when, who fed him and when, etc. When he’s gotten sick as sometimes our pups do, I’ve been a stressed out mess and Jason has been the balance. The calm in any storm. Not only does that help me but it helps Tucker too. This also leads to my second favorite walk: Family Walk. Every night after we’ve had our dinner, we walk Tucker around the neighborhoods for our nightly “family walk.” We talk about our day, what’s going on in the world, etc. I admit, the growing partnership hasn’t always been easy and there have been bumps in the road but there’s no one I’d rather do it with.

Photo1

Our first night at home. December 2013.

April 18, 2015. At Nats Park!

April 18, 2015. At Nats Park!

4) Persistence is key: This is not my favorite Tucker life lesson as sometimes it shows my weaker side with him, but he has taught me that sometimes if you really want something, persistence is key. This is where I sometimes Mommy fail. You know how they teach you in obedience that if your dog barks because he wants something, to ignore him? Easier said than done when you are trying to get something done and he’s barking for his special bone in the cabinet. I usually start strong- ignoring, making sure I don’t give in to his barking too soon, etc. Some days, he does just get it at the first bark. However, he has learned that if he is persistent, and barks but then behaves perfectly, he will get a reward. We’ll get there soon enough with the good behavior, but it takes persistence—–and sometimes a little bark.

Sometimes we have differing opinions...persistence is key

Sometimes we have differing opinions…persistence is key

5) Life is for living, loving and smiling: I think this might be part of Tucker’s mantra. A woman walking her two small dogs the other day stopped me to tell me that Tucker was the happiest dog she’s seen. And he really is. He is frequently smiling and has an air about him that he loves life. The world can be a scary place-how often do we turn on the TV to see horrific news? Do yourself a favor–the next time life gets you down, turn ‘off’ (or mute if you can’t turn off completely) and play with your dog- or if you don’t have one, take a walk-chances are you will find a dog that wouldn’t mind another friend!

Smile!

Smile!

Where we Like to Walk

Hi!

I hope everyone is having a great start to their weekend. My second post for NoVADog Blog is out! Please go here to check out a few places in the DC area where we like to walk Tucker. Also, please be sure to check the blog out for other informative articles like learning how to run with your dog and a training plan for starting to run with your dog from other guest bloggers.

Tucker enjoying a Spring Day!

              Tucker enjoying a Spring Day!

Tucker has a playdate today with someone from Rover who may watch him when we’re on vacation this summer. We’re trying out these services (people host your dog–its almost like Match for your dogs) so if anyone has experience with them, please let me know!

Tomorrow is Easter and you can bet your bottom dollar that I have an Easter Basket ready (or almost ready) for Tucker!

Happy weekend!

Carly

Glow Dog Glow 5K!

Glow Dog Glow 5K!

Exciting News!

After I started this blog last summer, I reached out to several different places to see what I could do to expand my horizons. One of the places I reached out to was my local dog magazine, NOVADog. A few months ago, I was contacted by them to see if I was interested in guest blogging for their SeeSpotRace blog. The SeeSpotRace Glow Dog Glow 5K will be held on May 23. It is a night-time race that you can run with your dog. It is being held at the Prince William Fairgrounds in Manassas, Virginia at 8:15 pm. To find out more and to register, please click here.

So, for my first blog entry, I wrote about the Whistle Activity Monitor for dogs. We recently purchased one for Tucker and have really been pleased with it. Now, I am not only obsessed with tracking my steps, but also Tucker’s activity throughout the day! Read my guest blog and please let me know what you think!

Glow Dog Glow 5K!

Where Have We Been?

There has been a few month absence in the blog. It’s been hard to find time to write and quite frankly, the end of 2014 just really sucked dog-wise, January was all about recovery and February was about…rebirth. Despite the ice storm today, March is here and I’m starting to breathe a little bit again –  happy spring is around the corner and it’s hard to hate March – it is, after all, my birthday month!

So what happened? Why the long absence? And now the “rebirth?” On December 23, Emily, who I have written about before went to the rainbow bridge. She was my parent’s dog and my “sister” who had health problems the last few months at age 13. That previous weekend, my husband Jason and I, along with Tucker went up for the Christmas holiday. Jason and I had to travel to Indiana for his family’s Christmas and my parents were going to watch Tucker until we flew back on Christmas night. When we touched down on Christmas night, my parents met us with Tucker. Sadly, Emily had been having some episodes after we left, and they made the agonizing decision that no one ever wants to make. It was peaceful they said, and my parents were grateful that Tucker was there to be with them and their other golden Spenser. I was devastated but I knew that Emily had lived the best possible life. The vet told us it was likely she had a tumor or cancer and that there wasn’t much my parents could have done. We were pleased that she left us with little pain. Still, we had a good Christmas and we were happy that Tucker had done well at my parents house despite the circumstances. On December 27, we were spending our last day in PA, getting ready to head back to Northern Virginia to continue the rest of our Christmas vacation.  One of my parent’s neighbor’s had gotten a puppy a few months before and we went outside to see it, leaving Tucker and Spenser inside to play. We were gone less than 5 minutes and when we came back, I noticed Tucker was playing keep away with something he had grabbed. I couldn’t see what it was, but as I moved forward, all of a sudden it was gone and I went into panic mode. I searched all around, and all I could see is that there was one less mitten on a bench. He couldn’t have swallowed that everyone said…I still called our local vet, who said to either get him to an emergency vet or if we weren’t sure, feed him bread to help him get whatever went in, out. I really couldn’t say for sure he had gotten the mitten, it was so large and even though I couldn’t find one, it could have dropped somewhere outside. So, we fed him some bread..nothing came out and he continued to act normally eat, play and potty absolutely normally. I began to think that maybe he hadn’t really gotten anything. On December 30, we went to the vet for his annual exam and shots. The vet saw him, felt him, said he had no gas or stomach pains that he could see and just to monitor him, but he certainly wasn’t acting like a dog who had gotten something. At 3 AM on December 31, I woke up to Tucker trying to throw up- he threw up dinner but nothing else. I took him outside and he pooped but everything was normal. He kept trying to throw up further and rested off and on. I was fully panicked.

As soon as the vet’s office opened, I called and we got him in right away. They thought maybe it was a reaction to shots but he had never had reactions. I knew. Something was in there. They X-rayed him there and they could see the glove in the stomach. Because our vet’s office didn’t have surgery hours, we had to go to the animal hospital. We got there as quick as possible, but still had to wait hours to be seen because we weren’t a regular appointment and Tucker didn’t seem to be in distress (he had stopped vomiting). When they saw us and reviewed the X-Rays, they were hopeful they could either bring it up via making him vomit again or endoscopy. Neither worked unfortunately. They had the glove during the endoscopy but they were nervous about pulling it through the endoscope. Off to surgery, he went. I was a wreck. The only thing getting me through was that my brother’s golden had gone through the same thing after he ate a pacifier, so I knew what to expect. Tucker sailed through the surgery, and stayed overnight (Happy New Years Eve, right?) The next day we were able to pick him up and he’s stomach was shaved and he had a big scar in his abdomen but he was doing well. The next few weeks were all about recovery. I plan to write a full post on the surgery and recovery period separately, because I think that would really help people going through the same things, but I was so glad when after 10 days, he was able to get the staples out.

Tucker and Spenser enjoying Christmas

Tucker and Spenser enjoying Christmas

The guilt though was there for me. I felt like such a horrible dog mom. How could this have happened? Nothing I read and nothing anyone said could make me feel better. The vets even said he had no symptoms and that it was likely the glove would have had to come out surgically whether we rushed him to the vet the day I thought he may have eaten something or when it actually happened. Nothing helped me calm down. We were lucky that nothing more serious happened to Tucker and I just kept thinking, I can’t lose my boy. Forgiveness of myself came in time and as Tucker healed, so did I. He certainly didn’t hold it against me and his opinion was all that mattered to me in the end. I wish I could say that Tucker has learned his lesson and hasn’t eaten things since, but sticks on walks, napkins, etc., are hard to ignore for him. We are just super vigilant on walks and also make sure nothing is where he can get it in the apartment.

Tucker's Cone After Surgery

Tucker’s Cone After Surgery

As I said in the beginning, February began re-birth. Tucker was feeling better and at my parents house, they were looking at getting another dog. They rescued a 4-year-old golden retriever from Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue named Oliver. Oliver is an amazing dog and we were so happy to meet him a few weeks back. After a few minutes of greeting, Tucker and Oliver were off running around the dining room table and wrestling like old pals. They love each other dearly.

Spenser, Tucker and Oliver

Spenser, Tucker and Oliver

So this leads us to March. I’ve been asked to blog about dogs for a local dog magazine and I am super excited about that. I am in the process of redesigning this blog and I would appreciate any feedback you have for me.

Tails Wagging,

Carly