Friday, December 7, 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Grete's Tricks

I've been putting off writing this entry for quite some time, but I really need to list out the tricks / skills we've been working on so that I can continue to work on them.

Sit - She does this less reliably than down, but she knows it as well as the average adult dog.

Down - She's good at this, but sometimes she's reluctant if there are distractions.

Come - When she's in the zone, she LOVES to be recalled because it's an excuse to run full-out. She's amazingly fast, and she LOVES running at Warp 10. Warp 1 jogging at my side is still hard.

Stay - Pretty good. Better than average, I'd say. I've only had her break stay on our way to lunchtime playtime, and that was after I was about 30 feet away.

Off - She's pretty good at this. She's been pushing her limits a bit lately though. She's not allowed on any furniture -- except for the futon. So far, she groks that distinction.

Go to your rug - She's sometimes good at this, and sometimes not so good. It's fun to alternate this with "Kennel" and "Futon" because she knows the difference.

Kennel - Working on this as a puppy really, really paid off. She's good at this, even when she knows we're leaving.

Futon - She loves the futon. However, I think she only gets this when I'm standing next to it. I haven't tried from another room.

Roll Over - She's bad at this - but she's done it about half a dozen times without help. I think she'll get this one pretty easy.

Shake - Classic shake was hard. I initially didn't teach it to her because I didn't want a dog that pawed for food. Then, I saw a dog in class do "shake", "high five", and "wave" -- and I was jealous. However, she wouldn't do shake. I finally gave up and switched it to "Give me a paw"

Give me a paw - She finally got this tonight, and much to my delight, she's relatively gentle with her paw. I can do this down low for "shake" and up high for "high five" but I'm not sure how to segue to "Wave" so she doesn't know that.

Ball - aka "ball ball ball" - aka Get your ball - I've broken a rule by repeating a command to make it interesting. She's pretty good about knowing what a ball is though. Loves em.

Touch - She picked this up in puppy class even though we haven't worked on it. It's just a natural thing for her to want to touch my hand with her nose, I guess. Like with "Give me a paw" she'll jump up if you do this up high.

Nose - This isn't set in stone. I have a paper cup that I got in class, and one night she seemed to know the difference between "Nose" which meant put your nose in the cup and "Paw" which meant hit the cup with your paw.

Paw - See Nose. See also "Give me a paw"

Bandanna - Again, this isn't set in stone either. When I work with the paper cup, I also throw down a bandanna to see if she knows the difference. I think she does, but I could be messing with the experiment by hinting in some way that I don't realize. (i.e. Looking at it.)

Find it - When playing with a soft fetch toy, we alternate between fetch, catch, and find it. I either hide it behind my back or in another room. However, it's clear she's not a hound. She doesn't sniff it out. She seems to catalog old hiding spots, but some are nearly impossible for her.

Fetch - She's good at chasing balls. Depending on the situation, she'll either get the ball and drop it WAY far away, or she'll drop it 10 feet away, or -- as I've been working on this - she'll drop it within arm's reach. It takes patience to get her to arm's reach - and a lot of "ball ball ball" or "get the ball" to get her to pick it up again.

Catch - She WANTS to catch, but she's still a bit of a Klutz. She can catch if you throw them just so, but her reflexes for catching are still iffy.

Drop - She's great at this. Way better than most puppies and better than the average dog.

Leave it - This totally depends on what I want her to leave. The cat - ok. Food - ok. A recently scented bush on a walk - No way. Thank goodness she only seems to care about urine. She avoids poop.

Car wash - She only gets this trick with lures. It's a trick where the dog is supposed to come from behind you and stick its head between your legs so that you can hold them and pet them. She prefers to go head first through the "car wash" and get her butt scratched.

Belly Rub - She sorta knows this.

Shake it - I sorta blame myself for her confusion with Shake. I think "Shake it" is a great trick, so every time she shakes water off, I say "Shake it" or "Shake Shake Shake" or "Shake your booty." (Again, I should just pick one.) It's hard to test this without a wet dog though.

Walk with me - (loose leash) - She's medium terrible at this on leash outside. If drop the leash, she's five times better. If we're inside, she's great at this. We can bob and weave through the cones at class with the best of them. Usually I'm the one making the mistakes - not her.

Right here - She's good at getting to where I point. However, I use this sometimes when we're on a walk to get her back to my side, and there she's so-so.

Heel - (the real deal) She's sorta ok at this inside, but we've just stared using the word. I held off on using it because I only wanted to use it if she was already doing it perfectly. I think I should have worked on this more as a puppy.

Wait - She knows this pretty well by command, but she knows it automatically in certain places. She's pretty decent about wait after we step out the front door because I have to take time to lock the door. She's not so good about waiting at other doors because I don't want to block the flow of traffic at work sometimes.

Let's go - This is an easy one, but sometimes sets her going too fast. Hence, I also try to use "Slow" to remind her not to take off.

Slow - She used to know this pretty well and it got her to slow down on loose leash walks, but she's slipping up and pulling more these days.

Automatic sit - She's pretty good for a puppy at this. If I stomp my foot just so, I can even get this on outdoor full-distractions walks. I think this is because for a while I was really good about not letting her go forward without her sitting and looking back at me. Her loose leash tendency has always been to be in front, and again, I should have fought that more.


This weekend, Grete saw snow for the first time. She tried to eat it, and she seemed confused when it stuck to her tennis ball. Jason has some cute pictures that he will hopefully post soon.

Grete at 7 months...

She's probably a touch over 40 lbs now. We haven't been to the vet for a while so I don't have an official weight, but we've held her while standing on a scale a couple times. She's halfway through "Advanced Puppy - Off Leash" -- otherwise known as "Puppy College."

grete and bailey on black friday

Grete played host to a variety of dogs over Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day, Lola came over to play almost all day. The day after Thanksgiving, Bailey came to spend the night. Grete discovered the joy of a real dog bed, and Bailey discovered the joy of polar fleece. Also, Bailey was kind enough to share her ball with Grete -- a ball for which Grete felt an almost unholy love.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

please... make it stop

The set on flickr

Customer Images on Amazon


I've always felt that Bark in Ballard is a bit... overrated. They're nice there, but every time I'm there, I end up feeling rushed in some weird way. Perhaps they're too attentive. Perhaps I feel like an outsider since I'm not a "regular." It's just weird. Also, I think it's around 70 degrees in there. After the first 10 minutes, I'm roasting in my jacket, and I lose interest in their merchandise. Despite this, I went there on Sunday after class at Ahimsa on a whim. Oddly enough, despite Grete only having been there once back in August, the woman claimed to remember her. Again, they're so nice, but...

Here's the real clincher for me though. I broke down and bought Grete the skunk costume I had been eying on the Amazon website. Petco was completely picked over, and since the costume is only sold by third-party merchants, I couldn't quite bring myself to buy it from Amazon.
The Little Stinker.

If you do the math, I can get it for $13.45 with shipping.

The Bark price? ... $17.99

Ok. So maybe that doesn't seem like much more. But let's get back to the fact that these are super cheesy costumes that are barely worth the third party merchant's price of $8.96 (pre-shipping.) Somehow, Bark can charge double? I know.. I know.. Supply and demand. After all, I bought it at Bark, but yeah...

Monday, October 1, 2007

35.0 lbs

June 28 - 15.1 lbs
July 14 - 18.5 lbs
August 7 - 24.5 lbs
August 30 - 29.5 lbs
September 29 - 35.0 lbs

~2.9 oz per day. We've definitely slowed down again. I should start taking bets at her final 1 year weight. I'm still hoping for 60, but 50 is looking more likely.

Friday, September 28, 2007


In little tiny ways, Grete and Gesso are getting more and more comfortable with each other. Tonight, we had family brushing night on the kitchen floor. I laid the "grooming blanket" on my lap, brushed Gesso with the Furminator (which she loves), and Grete snuggled up beside us on an extra bit of the blanket. Gesso continued to purr the entire time.

Also... today, September 28th, is Grete's 5 month birthday.

She ushered it in by taking a nap with the cat.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Neverending story impersonation?

This is my new favorite Grete picture. It helps to have a boyfriend with a really good camera and... what's the called again? Oh yeah. Talent. :-)
I tried to add his pictures of Grete to my flickr badges, but it seems like the all_tag source is broken or the results are just cached somewhere. Perhaps tomorrow they're show up, but you can check out the entire world of grete the dog pictures here.
Update: Yep. It was just weird caching going on. The badge on the right is now updating with all recent gretethedog pics. Whoot!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Grete's First Run

Grete and I tried to jog a little tonight. Here's the Nike+ readout. As you can see, she started to really get the hang of it toward the middle.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

29.5 lbs!

June 28 - 15.1 lbs
July 14 - 18.5 lbs
August 7 - 24.5 lbs
August 30 - 29.5 lbs

We're slowing down to ~3.5 oz per day.

Monday, August 27, 2007

You know you've been around puppies too much when...

Today, as I was coding in emacs, I typed 'M-x toggle-leave-it' instead
of 'M-x toggle-read-only'.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

doggie boredom

I'm sick. grete is not. life sucks.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Pool Party

Grete loves her pool - even when it's empty. It also makes a cute backdrop so there are some new pictures in flickr. I also added a couple flickr sampler badges to the blog. Scroll down for puppy goodness.

Grete by the numbers

In case you're thinking about getting a dog, here is a current snapshot of Grete's monetary cost during the first 40 days we've been together.

$120 to the shelter (Some of which I'll get back when she's spayed.)
$28.90 to the ferries (To pick her up)

$597.32 to Elliott Bay Animal Hospital (Exams, shots, fecal tests, medicines)

$302.52 to All the Best (First crate, first leash, first everything...)

$95.34 to Four Legs Good (Food)

$239.50 to Petco (Second crate, first pen, a couple toys)

$199.00 to Ahimsa (Training / Socialization)

$251.62 to Mud Bay (Spoiling - Toys and Treats)

$75.14 to Railey's (Spoiling - Toys and Treats)

[ $??.?? to the gas companies for picking her up and shuttling her around ]

[ $??.?? from others who have bought her presents ]

Grand [Known] Total So Far: $1909.34

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lucky dog

Grete had her final shots today. (Rabies + Distemper combo.) 1 week from now, we're clear for dog parks. However, Ahimsa would prefer we not go to the dog park until we're done with puppy class since some of the puppies there may only have their first shots. Thus, our first visit to a Seattle dog park may be the afternoon of 9/16. We'll see. In theory, I can also take her to the park and then give her a bath before class.

But that's not why she's a lucky dog. After the vet, we came home to a bag of free dog food and a $5 gift certificate to We entered a drawing at the Ballard Sunday Market / Seafood Fest on the 29th, and Grete won. Unfortunately, it's Canidae All Life Stages, and she's currently eating California Naturals Puppy, but maybe we can work it in as a treat.

24.5 lbs!

June 28 - 15.1 lbs
July 14 - 18.5 lbs
August 7 - 24.5 lbs

She's picking up speed! It looks like she's averaging 4 ounces per day. (Previously, she was averaging around 3.4 ounces per day.)

Crazy estimate for 6 months: (80 days from now)
41.5 lbs @ 3.4 oz/day
44.5 lbs @ 4 oz/day

Ultra-crazy estimate for 1 year: (263 days from now)
80.3 lbs @ 3.4 oz/day
90.2 lbs @ 4 oz/day

Obviously, she'll have to slow down before 1 year. :-)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Pill Pain

Grete is sick. She'll be ok, but the medicine she needs to take is super bitter to taste -- and she knows it. To make matters worse, it's a chalky half pill that disintegrates when it gets wet.

I first tried the string cheese. This worked fine with the antibiotics she was on, but she gets one taste of the pill and spits the whole thing out. I then tried peanut butter. That just made a huge mess of her, me, and the pill.

I then broke down and picked up some hot dogs. (Hebrew National - only the best for my dog!) Still no luck. She eats the regular ones sans-pill, but she got the "lid" off my pill pocket I carved into one of the sections, got one lick of the pill, and now she won't touch that particular section.

I left the hot dogs (both tainted and untainted) in her crate with her tonight. Hopefully she'll decide the taste of the pill isn't so bad.

But ... what's next? The pill in a hot dog method doesn't seem to work that well. Grete is a dainty eater most of the time and won't indiscriminately wolf down food. i.e. She chews almost everything bigger than a pea, and the pill is about the side of half a pea.

Suggestions welcome.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Whidbey Island

On Tuesday, Grete, my parents, my aunt, my uncle, and I went to Double Bluff Beach on Whidbey Island. (After you walk past a flagged pole, the remainder of the beach is off leash. Of course, Grete isn't really ready for off leash play, but at least I knew she would be welcome on this beach.) It was a really gorgeous day. The water was actually bathwater warm for the first 10-20 feet from shore. Grete plowed right into the water after me, time after time. She's definitely going to be a water dog.

Now that she's well past her second series of shots, Grete got to meet a couple friendly healthy dogs. Unfortunately, one of her first encounters was with an overly friendly lab mix, and she got a little scared. Thankfully, once she figured out that it was ok to play with a miniature dachshund, she made her first friend. Willow was her name. She was the smallest dog that Grete had met so far.

Later that day, we stopped in Langley and met a 170 lb Mastiff. He was the biggest dog that Grete has met so far. She wasn't too sure about him. Even when he was laying down in front of her, she clung to my legs. However, once he left, she struggled to follow him.

the biggest dog that grete has met so far

the smallest dog that grete has met so far

grete's first time in puget sound

mmm... driftwood is tasty.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

18.5 lbs!

June 28 - 15.1 lbs
July 14 - 18.5 lbs
~ 3.4 oz per day

(I think she's been eating about 8-10 oz of dog food per day.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Grete did not like the tape measure, so here are some fairly quick (and thus probably wildly inaccurate) measurements.

Neck: 10"
Chest: 18" (Near armpits)
Length from collar to start of tail: 20"
Tail: 10.5"
Height: 15-18" (This is a guess. She wouldn't stand still.)

Also, she's definitely getting heavier.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Grete now has a Dogbook (Facebook) profile.

Check it out.


Grete doesn't seem to be food motivated yet. This might be problematic for training, and so I set out to find her favorite treat tonight.

If I had to force rank the treats into tiers at this point...
Tier I: Zukes Power Bones - Chicken Flavor
Tier II: Wellness - Chicken and Lamb; Zwiki - Lamb
Tier III: Liv-a-Littles - Cod or Chicken; Natural Choice - Lamb and Rice; Cheese or Misc Biscuits
Tier IV: Zukes Mini Naturals - Peanut Butter
Tier V: Uphaus Raw Advantage

Test Elements (Left to Right):

  • Bulk Cheese Biscuits (Mud Bay)
  • Bulk tasty bits of biscuits of multiple colors (Mud Bay)
  • Whole Life - Salmon flavor
  • Liv-a-Littles - Cod flavor
  • Zukes Mini Naturals - Peanut Butter flavor
  • Zwiki - Lamb flavor
  • Wellness - Chicken and Lamb flavor
  • Zukes Power bones - Chicken flavor
  • Uphaus Raw Advantage
  • Natural Choice - Lamb and Rice
  • Liv-a-Littles - Chicken flavor

Methodology: I placed them all in bowls in a line while she was in another room. I did this twice.

Results: The first time, she went left to right - eating everything EXCEPT the Zukes Mini Naturals in Peanut Butter flavor and the Uphaus. She seemed particularly interested in the Zukes Power Bone in Chicken, as well as the Cod Live-a-Littles. The second time, she attacked the middle and then worked her way outward. Again, the Uphaus was last, and the Zukes Power Bone in chicken was one of the first. There was a high degree of interest in the empty bowls of the Zukes Chicken as well as the Cod Liv-a-Little. All bowls got a cursory double-check after they were all empty.

Caveats: I should mention that all the treats are new except for the last two (Zukes Mini Naturals and Uphaus) - so perhaps a novelty effect is also present. I will have to continue to test to get statistical significance.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Puppy Classes (a.k.a. The Point Where I Really Start Sounding Like a Crazy Parent)

This weekend I finally registered Grete for puppy classes. Starting July 29th, we will be going to Ahimsa Dog Training in Ballard on Tuesdays and Sundays for six weeks. I also hope to drop in on the Saturday puppy playtime. She's be attending classes from 14 weeks to 20 weeks.

After that, I think it's on to Advanced Puppy and then Better Manners, but it seems to depend on the dog. I really think she'll be an agility superstar, so I'm anxious to give that a try. Unfortunately, it looks like they aren't offering puppy pre-agility currently. I'll know more once we start class.

New Places, New Faces

Jake took Grete to his workplace this morning. As I stood on the front porch watching them drive away, I felt something twinge inside me. It was harder than I expected. I think I finally understand why I used to get "I miss Sadie" SMS messages when I was dog sitting. I was emailing Jake every hour or so to check on Grete.

She was totally a hit at his work. She made friends with everyone, including the founder and CEO of his company. She also soaked in some culture at the Olympic Sculpture Park. As a side note, I think it's funny that Grete has been the sculpture park, but I have not.

No pictures though. Next time I'll be sure to send Jake with a camera.

She's tuckered out from the adventure though. It's 8 pm now -- which is prime time play time -- but she's alseep at my feet.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Held down by The Man

As you can see, Grete is adapting quite well to office life.

We spent Monday in a conference room to avoid the dog that shares my normal office, and she put herself into this position... twice. Being the fretful mom that I am, I got up the first time to move her because it just didn't look comfortable, and she got right back into this position.

Today we spent the day in the corner office of a former VP. Get a dog, get promoted. ;-)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Look, Ma - No hands!

11 am - Grete is soooooo relaxed.

(Apparently Jake is also a dog whisperer as well as a cat whisperer.)


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lap time > Danger of sleeping dog

Oddly enough, spending the day at work on Friday set Grete back a bit when it comes to Gesso. She's getting more adventurous overall, and as a result, she thinks she can get away with more when it comes to pestering the cat. Gesso is being a good sport about it, and she still has her values straight. For example, lap time still trumps dog hassle. Also, the chance to chomp on grass currently outweighs the danger of puppy antics.

Since I really want Grete to understand that Gesso is off limits, I'm really trying to discourage chasing. (Gesso can totally fend for herself, but she's getting older, and I want her retirement to be a pleasant one.) Grete seems to have a spectrum of states, and depends on the state she's in, the more or less effect a given technique will have. For example, if she's in her calm or semi-docile state, a simple light-hearted "leave it" totally suffices. If she's in her demon state of too much pent-up energy, I go through "leave it" and then escalate to a firmer "that's enough" and finally... I've attempted the shake can. To be honest, I'm really not a fan of the shake can. It doesn't always get her attention, and Gesso doesn't like it either.

I think my current tactic will be to give calm attention to both when Grete is in her "good" state. If she's in her "demon" state, we'll try to get to "good" by taking a walk or playing fetch in the back yard. However, if that doesn't work, I think I'll start leaving her leash on her in the house so that I can stop her and lead her to something else fun when she starts to chase.

Thoughts? Suggestions always welcome.


Grete is totally cool with me messing with her feet. In fact, after we go for walks, I wipe her paws with pet wipes. At first she protested a bit, but now I think it feels good because she rolls over and offers up all four paws for her quick puppy pampering.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Flickr Sets

My set of pictures on Flickr
Maggi's set of pictures on Flickr

One Full Week!

Grete went to work for the first time today! I don't mean to brag, but... I think her cuteness exceeded the expectations of most people.

She did really great in Christel's office. Not one accident. She also slept like never before. I think the excitement of a new place wore her out pretty quickly. If I'm right, and it was just the excitement, then I dread the day when she's super comfortable at work. However, some folks pointed out that dogs somehow know that work is work and home is home -- so perhaps it will be easier to work at work and play at home. We shall see.

Given that one full week has passed, I should review some news and some stats...

She came home on Friday, and we spent the weekend trying to adjust. However, her poop just didn't want to solidify, so I took in a sample on Monday. It turned out that she had a weird parasite, but it wasn't really affecting her. It was a parasite that only affects things like chickens, rabbits, and giant ant eaters. (Eimeria.) Yes. Ant Eaters. I couldn't make that up.

Today the vet called and said her second sample on Thursday showed no sign of the weird non-parasite parasite, so she cleared it on her own. In fact, so far she's had two samples run, and nothing really serious has turned up - which, I think, is really good for a puppy. (Gesso's poop was also clear - so no transmission occurred either.)

Just to be safe from other real doggie parasites though, she's on Panacur Granules for three days. I call it her doggie cocaine because it comes in little dime bags that I mix in with her food.

A week after the Panacur runs out, I'll give her Sentinel Spectrum. It looks to be a monthly thing, but the vet didn't say anything about that so I'll have to follow up.

She does have a little lump to the left of her left shoulder blade. The vet took a sample, and she thinks it might a little bacterial infection from a fellow puppy bite. Grete is now on antibiotics just to be safe.

Although she didn't really sit still, she weighed in at 15.1 lbs on Thursday. If you believe that you can take their 8 week weight and triple it, she may get to a healthy 45 lbs. However, I found a breed specific growth chart, and it make it clear that it's too hard to say at 8 weeks without knowing the parents.

As for me, I've had a couple moments where I've thought, "Oh my god, what have I done?" but they actually pass fairly quickly. I think the first few months are going to be the hardest because there are lot of places we can't go yet.

The vet would prefer that she not meet other healthy work dogs until a week after her second set of boosters, and thus I'll be carrying her around my work to avoid other dogs (and to avoid accidents) until July 19th. Hopefully she doesn't get too big for me to carry before then.

I also got the impression that my vet would prefer we avoid the dog park and puppy classes until she's had her third set of boosters, which means sometime in August. This is a bummer, but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry.

It's late, so I'm going to post this and head to bed. I promise there will be pictures in the next few posts.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Why Grete?

So, last night I started to use Greta as the puppy's name. It was a good name, but I couldn't quite justify why I liked it so much. It was easy to say, and she seemed to like it.

After doing some more research, I'm 99.99% sure that the puppy's name is now Grete. I'm naming her after Grete Waitz, a Norwegian marathon runner. To be honest, I just learned about her today, but it seems right. I stumbled across her name when I was looking up name meanings, and she's an amazing person with an amazing life.

You can read about her here:
[Her biography at]
[Read about her first and most memorable marathons here.]
[Listen to her speak here]

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Names that I considered instead of Grete

Here are some of the names I considered - in no particular order.
  • Kaylee - Firefly reference
  • Zoe - Firefly reference
  • Jayne - Firefly reference
  • Laika - First dog in space
  • Belka - Another space dog
  • Strelka - Another space dog
  • Charlie - I apparently named all my fish Charlie growing up.
  • Mimosa - Gesso's Hobbit name - Fun, but silly
  • Hebe - Plant name - I just like saying it - but silly
  • Zelda - Duh
  • Arya - G. R. R. Martin character
  • Hela - Like in "Hello Goodbye" by the Beatles - I've had that in my head since I picked her up. However, I think this is too close to Haela, the name of a friend from college's dog.
  • Senka - Serbian for 'shadow' - makes me think of Sanka coffee though.
  • Greta - There used to be a Greta Gretel that worked at Amazon. She was super cool.
  • Beyla - Elf - Cute. Ends in A.
  • Rivka - Allegedly, this is the Hebrew form of Rebecca
  • Emrys - a Welsh form of Ambrose
  • Inta - After my college piano professor. She was a wonderful woman.
  • Tilda - Since people think I look like Tilda Swinton. Also, it has a geeky feel.
  • Fargo - Good name. Does not fit though
  • Onya / Anya / Anja - Perhaps too soft
  • Alma - Perhaps too soft
  • Katya - Fun to say
  • Nadia - Sorta fun to say

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Search: September 2005 to June 2007

I bought my first puppy books in September of 2005.
And today, June 22, 2007, I FINALLY brought home a puppy.

This is just her petfinder picture. I know it seems hard to believe, but she's a thousand times more cute in person. I will be posting more pictures, but she keeps falling asleep, and I don't want to wake her to go get the camera.

So far, she seems like the perfect puppy. She has done her business outside. She seems to know retrieve pretty well for an 8 week old. She also respects Gesso's authority (and mine as well.)

She's not a fan of the crate though. That's going to need some time, I think. She'll go in to get toys and drink, but I shut her in there very briefly to unload the car, and she yipped a bit.


In every dog book, there exists 2-5 paragraphs about how to introduce a dog to your cat. I think I violated every tenant in those texts.

I took the still-dripping-with-stress-drool puppy to the lawn and she squatted again. We chilled on the grass for a bit, and then we turned to the door. Gesso was looking out at us. Her mouth moved in a silent meow behind the glass.

I didn't feel right putting the puppy back into the car, so I risked a terrible first impression with the cat. Gesso - as expected - jumped up on the couch - and then made herself scarce.

The puppy and I sat on the bare wood floor of my living room for a while. I dried her chin and introduced her to some of her toys. She took to them right away. She did not, however, take to her crate right away. Remembering the box full of puppy puke, after a while, I risked putting her in her crate with the door shut and ran out to the car to grab everything. She did not like that, but I'm sure it was the right thing to do at the time.

More sitting on the floor. More toys. More cuddling.... She quickly dried off, and the drooling stopped. We went for our first walk. We made it less than half-a-block to the east. And napping... lots and lots of napping...

The Journey

Even though I was terribly nervous, the drive up to Port Townsend went quickly. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the QFC parking lot, nibbling on a bagel and drinking some steamed milk in an attempt to quiet my stomach.

11:00 popped up on the dash of my car, and I drove back to Jacob Miller road, up Critter Lane, down a gravel path and through some trees -- and pulled up to the Jefferson County Animal Shelter.

I walked in the door, and there she was. A volunteer had just bathed her, and she was being cuddled/dried in a towel on the volunteer's lap. I pointed to her. I pointed to me. The volunteer smiled.

Mazzie, the woman with the lovely accent who I spoke to on the phone, was there at the desk, and she started pulling up the paperwork right away. No interview. After years of prepping for rigourous breeder interviews or aloof rescue volunteers, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that they didn't grill me. I suppose the assumption was that since I had called twice on Thursday, placed the hold, and come all this way, I must be good enough for this puppy.

Eventually, it was decided that I could come behind the desk and hold her. She smelled slightly of damp puppy, and she didn't squirm too much.... until I had to try to hold her and write the check at the same time.

They had a donation box, and they offered me what looked like a cat bed for a windowsill at first. I passed on that. They then offered me a sheet of fake lambs wool as a dog bed, and I took that.

They also gave me some Purina puppy food and some Purina adult dog food. I asked what she had been fed at the shelter, and they said, "it changes every day." (Not a good sign!)

Outside on the grass, she immediately squatted. (A really good sign!) We spent some time getting to know each other out there and then headed out.

She was bigger than I expected, and so, even though I had brought Gesso's carrier and a cardboard box lined with a blanket, I decided to risk it and let her sit on the passenger seat. I draped the fake lambs wool over it first, and she settled right in. (Another good sign!)

I left my right hand on the passenger seat, gently holding the leash in case she started chewing on the upholstery. She never did. Instead, at one point, she turned around and used my hand as a pillow. I have to confess, I almost started crying with happiness at that moment. It was a really, really, really good moment.

We made it all the way to Port Gamble before the first problem... Apparently, she had eaten a huge breakfast of the mystery food. (In fact, since I've brought her home, I wonder if she's even eaten as much as that which came out on the lambs wool just outside of Port Gamble. ) Pulled over, cleaned up as best as I could, brought out the box, put her in that. Then I noticed the drooling. So much drool! Her chin, my jacket arm... saturated.

The ferry ride was ok, and she got lots of admiring looks from kids and ferry workers alike, but as we headed down I-5 from Edmonds, more breakfast came out in the box.

We were less than 10 minutes from home when this happened, and it would have been only moderately stressful if a brown car had not stalled RIGHT IN FRONT of us. Stuck in the middle of a fast moving I-5, sandwiched between a stalled car and a huge impossible-to-see-around Mac truck with a puking puppy -- that isn't my idea of a good Friday. Eventually the Mac truck played linebacker for me and we both pulled out into traffic, and we made it safely home.