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!

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.

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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 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

Tucker is turning 1!

I know I said I would write more in my last blog post. Every week night and weekend, I put a blog post on my to do list. Every weekend and week night, guess what happens? I get distracted. Either playing with Tucker, snuggling with Tucker, tiring out Tucker, or trying to have a life. In fact, I sat down to write this blog a half hour ago. What has happened? Tucker took my bagel, wanted to play tug of war, and now while I try to type this on the balcony is investigating every wood piece out there. However, I do want to write more and I do want to share some more Tucker adventures. So here’s what we’ve been up to:

We went to Gran’s house for a weekend where we played with Emily and Spenser and Bailey, my brother’s golden. Those weekends always tire us out and my parents house is the best “dog park” there is.

We actually went to dog parks here. I am a little leery of dog parks but I know it’s good for Tucker to run around and play with other dogs. While I haven’t mastered going to the dog park by myself with him, and my husband always has to go with us, I’ve stopped being such a helicopter mom and let my dog play.

We have continued our CGC class and he’s doing great. I’ve seen real progress and will be sad when it ends this week.

We moved into a bigger apartment within our complex. He’s still adjusting but thus far I think he likes it.

And the biggest: Friday is not only Halloween but Tucker’s 1st birthday. We are pretty excited and I do promise a blog entry will be coming celebrating our boy turning 1 this weekend.

Until then, puppy hugs and kisses.

Carly and Tucker

Tucker with Uncle Spenser and Uncle Bailey. Teaching him everything they know!

Tucker with Uncle Spenser and Uncle Bailey. Teaching him everything they know!

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Tucker and his new dog bed.

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Moving is ruff. Think I will just sleep here.

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Dog Park mid run.

September to Remember

Greetings! I have to say that regularly blogging is harder than I expected. It’s already been more than a month since my last post. Everyday life busy-ness and not wanting to be at the computer when I am home from work can make this challenging. Tucker turned 10 months old at the end of August. We’ve had adventures in Great Falls National Park, some more dog park fun, and we just started our Canine Good Citizens Class this week. We also checked another monument to visit off our list and went to see the Lincoln Memorial a few weeks ago. Of course, the month wasn’t without some concern- we had some tummy aches and the dreaded diarrhea. Something was going around our neighborhood. We’re fortunate to have wonderful vets- Caring Hands Animal Hospital who handle this crazy dog mom with incredible patience.

We’re fortunate to live in a very dog friendly area of Arlington, VA and today we will be attending Pups n Pilsners- an outdoor beer garden that is ALLLL about the dogs. Last year we went to the event before we had Tucker and felt so left out without a dog. I can’t wait to bring him today thought I hope it’s not too overwhelming for him. Fall is starting to descend on us and cooler temperatures are allowing for some great walks.

I promise to start blogging more and hope I can meet more dog parents. I love learning from you all.

Carly and Tucker

Tucker has to deal with 2 college teams and 2 NFL teams to root for. Purdue with Daddy...

Tucker has to deal with 2 college teams and 2 NFL teams to root for. Purdue with Daddy…

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And Penn State with Mommy. He also roots for the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers

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At Great Falls- all Tucker wanted to do was run and jump in the rocks. Mommy is a city girl and was a bit more nervous about the terrain..

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Lincoln Memorial!

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Family Portrait. Crazy pup, crazy parents.

Wineries, World Cup, and Tucker, oh my!

Tucker at Three Foxes

Tucker at Three Foxes

First I would like to apologize for not posting since Father’s Day. I had a work conference and then I was under the weather, and of course I had to spend time with Tucker! Tucker did well when I was away- it was hot but my husband did a good job keeping him occupied. So, let’s get into some of the fun things that have happened the past few days.

The weekends we try to tire Tucker out as much as possible because as we say, a tired dog is a happy dog. FYI, the same thing works for husbands! Luckily the weather cooperated and it was not as warm or humid as it had been the previous few days. On Saturday we went to our last puppy playtime at our training center. Tucker was getting a little on the older side of the puppies and this weekend we are going to my parents house so we decided his puppy playtime at the training school will end and be replaced by more trips to the dog park and Canine Good Citizens classes in the fall. Then we had some longer walks in the neighborhood but Sunday was our Funday!

One of the best things about living in the DC area is the abundance of dog friendly places. We visited three dog friendly wineries: Barrel Oak, Fox Meadow and Three Foxes. We had been to them pre-dog, but having Tucker there made it so much nicer! Barrel Oak was our first stop and it was huge! They were having a cocker spaniel rescue adoption day among other things and the place was crawling with other dogs. One of the nice things was that they had several wine tasting areas set up- inside and outside. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the wines there, I did love the atmosphere and would love to go back. Our next stop was Fox Meadow and while we didn’t do a tasting, we did sit on their gorgeous patio and have a glass of wine while Tucker enjoyed his Himalayan Dog Chew. Our last stop was Three Foxes. This one was by far my favorite. Like Barrel Oak, they also had outside tastings with super friendly staff. After the tasting, we actually sat in the vineyard and had some food. If you like wine, I would definitely recommend all three!

Tucker is also actively watching the World Cup! Today, I tweeted a photo of Tucker to the Today Show and they retweeted it. Tucker is famous!

This weekend we are taking tomorrow off and going to PA to visit my parents and their two goldies so Tucker will be in heaven and it will be another fun and tiring weekend for him.

Now here’s a question for my readers: What do you do to tire your dog out, especially if there is warmer weather? How about chews and bones? What do you give your pup?

Til next time…

 

Tucker at the Winery

Tucker at the Winery

 

I believe that we will win!

I believe that we will win!