Washing Maki

After getting home from our trip, I noticed that our house smelled like dog. I’m not going to lie, it probably smells that way all the time. Our dog, Maki is a lovable member of our family. Yet she sheds. A lot. We are always vacuuming the house and even use one of those Robot Vacuums to help out.

But I noticed that Maki had torn a piece of carpet up and her nail had broken off in the process. It was time to trim her nails. I figured if I’m going to do that, I may as well brush her as well. While I did that, I noticed she smelled pretty bad. That meant it was time for a bath.

At first she was excited because she saw the leash and smelled the treat I had. But once the water came out- ohhhhh boy…. She was flipping out. Not a very happy dog while getting washed. Once I was done and turned the water off and began to towel dry her- she was relaxing again. Within minutes she was her bouncy, happy self once more.

I definitely smelled like wet dog afterwards. As did she. But within a few hours, she was pleasant smelling once more. I was too, but that’s because I showered off the smell.

Hopefully our home starts to smell nice again, at least for a little while.

Cat-Astrophic

Our kids have asked for a cat on numerous occasions throughout the years. My wife and I are quite allergic to felines, so we always said no. We always said that when they are adults, they can do what they want. Our kids accepted this answer.

As I mentioned the other day, we are in the Final Month Of Tenants in our basement. We agreed to allow them to have their dog and cat during their stay. Over the past year the cat has become friends with us. Specifically our 18 year old. The tenants asked if they could leave the cat behind.

So now we have a cat. After years of denying one in our home- “Buddy” has joined our family as of Saturday. Naturally, our 18 year old would like to give him a new name. That will probably happen over the next few days. Naming an animal makes having it as a part of our family more real.

The cat isn’t that bad. In fact he is very cuddly and friendly. Doggone it- I’m not supposed to be a cat person.

Furry Critters

Leaving our acre last year, I thought we would be seeing less wildlife as we hit the Suburbs. I was wrong. But at least we haven’t encountered any rats or raccoons.

The furry creatures are really tiny and almost seem lost. We had a baby hare hanging out under our deck. It wasn’t scared of me at all as I approached it to get a picture. In fact, it seemed as intrigued by me as I was of it.

The other little fellow that appeared the next day was a field mouse. It decided to cool off in our pool. I caught it swimming and then jumping onto our solar pool rings. Getting him out of the pool wasn’t too tough. I used our net and then released it back into the field behind our property. Maybe in the heatwave, it will return for a quick dip.

Of course our dog is often watching for wildlife as well. Generally she keeps the little creatures away, including cats. If she sees a coyote in the back field, she lets them know to stay away with incessant barking. Sometimes she does it from inside our home; other times she is in the backyard doing a proud stance on one of our rocks as she howls.

The wildlife is different in the ‘Burbs. Aside from the couple cute furry critters, it’s usually birds out and about. Most of the time I see hawks, owls, hummingbirds and a large assortment of other birds.

I have a feeling I will become a bird watcher pretty quick and start to get books and binoculars to view them.

Finding Shade

Since we bought a home that has limited trees compared to our last home, I have been enjoying the sunshine. I have taken a few hundred photos of the landscape, sky and the sun. I have enjoyed it immensely.

But we have little to no shade in the yard. So we bought a patio umbrella last summer. We also assembled a Gazebo back in March and placed a patio set underneath for socializing.

But our dog has found solace under a bush we have near the pool. It’s funny because I trimmed it just yesterday. She loves the shade and spent hours laying there this afternoon. Even with my music playing next to her- she hardly stirred.

Sure, I write about finding shade, yet local weather has been far from normal these days. But as summer slowly approaches- I know that the family (pets included) will need these spaces to cool off from the summer sun.

Do your pets try and find shade in unique places, perhaps your kids do. Let me know in the comments how you keep cool in the summer. (When it arrives…)

Waking Up To Woofs

Sleeping during the day because I work night shifts is already difficult. I’m not sure why, but today our dog went nutso a few times. She barked and whimpered loudly both inside and then later outside.

My wife works from home, so naturally this type of behavior also affects her ability to work as well. My wife did her best to calm Maki and get her to stop barking.

As much as I love our dog, it’s behavior like this that makes me frustrated. Maki generally goes ballistic when she sees other dogs. If we are out for a walk, she tugs at her leash to try and get at the dogs. She also barks so loudly that she almost sounds hoarse when she does.

I have been wanting to do something about it, but I am unsure of where to go to correct this behavior. Naturally I turn to the internet of things to find solutions. Probably our biggest hurdle in correcting the behavior is that the entire family needs to be on the same page when training. This will help with consistency.

Alas, I am almost certain that we will not do anything to curb the woofer and her barks. We all have busy lives and adding yet another chore isn’t going to be easy. So chances are this will be the last time I complain about the behavior. I will either accept that what I can’t control, I cannot change. Or that things have gotten better and what we do works.

Only time will tell. Until then-

woof.

Shout Out To Family Pets!

We have always had a dog in my life. At one point my sister brought home a kitten way back when… In my early 20’s I also got a kitten, but he had a traumatic ending to his young life. A few years ago, we adopted some guinea pigs and loved the little squeaks they made. I also had a fish tank for a few years and enjoyed the zen like ambiance.

But dogs are the one constant that have brought me and my family the most joy and love. Our latest family member is Maki and she is so cuddly and kind to each member of the family. Sometimes embarrassingly so. Yet we love her.

She knows and senses when one of us needs a bit of extra love. She will come by and snuggle up right into your face. It’s a wonderful feeling albeit it can be annoying at first. But much like eating when you don’t realize you are angry because you are hungry- Maki fills your heart and joy returns.

Do you have a pet that brings you joy? Are you more a dog person or a cat person? Perhaps lizards or fish are your thing. Let me know in the comments if a pet has made your life better.

Our Little “Therapy” Dog

Having a pet is genuinely nice. In the past we have had fish and Guinea pigs as well as dogs. To be perfectly honest, we have always had a dog in our lives.

Our latest dog we have had as a family member for about a year and a half. We named her Maki once we adopted her. As goofy as she is, and as crazy as she gets around other dogs, we love her immensely.

She is our little “Therapy” dog. She makes each of us feel happy when we need it most. If you are upset, she knows instinctively and comes to you for rubs and kisses. Maki has been specifically good for our middle teenager’s mental health. That’s the room she sleeps in six nights a week. The other night is with our youngest.

As much as I push Maki away sometimes (dog breath galore!) I do enjoy having her nearby. She comes to snuggle me when I want to nap and really invades my space when she wants to. Maki is a happy dog and she makes us happy as well.

Doggo Play dates

This weekend had some nice sunny days for us around here. It was so nice in fact that our dog even had a play date. She was tuckered out in the end after running around the backyard with her friend from downstairs.

Jax

A fluffy black doggo lives with our tenants in the basement. Sometimes he comes upstairs to see if Maki can play. It’s funny as well when he wanders inside and Maki wants to play outside. The two of them trip over one another at the back door as one enters and the other leaves.

Maki

By the end of this weekend however, Maki was out of energy from jumping and running around with Jax. She needed a break and came upstairs to lounge in the sun. Jax followed her up and was trying to get her to play some more. She was done and just plopped down not wanting to participate anymore. Jax accepted this and went on his merry way.

It’s fun to see these floofers out there goofing off. They run and chase each other- generally exhausting one another. Jax is one of the few dogs that Maki doesn’t bark at. They’ve been good friends since they met in June.

Dog Nap

After a long day of pressure washing the driveway, I wanted to take a nap. It seems though our dog had different ideas. And my wife found it humorous as well.

With what little space there was between me and the back of the couch, Maki squeezed herself in. My wife thought it humorous to take a photo. After a bit my tried to call the dog off the couch.

Wouldn’t you know it, the dog climbed onto the back of the couch and began to wag her tail. Slapping me in the face repeatedly with excitement as my wife pet her. Soon after my wife left, but the dog was riled up and refused to leave me alone.

That was my cue to get off the couch. So I went to the bedroom and took my nap in peace. The dog was like a toddler unable to leave me alone. As much as I appreciated the love and affection-

I just needed a nap.

Pupper Comfort

We adopted our dog Maki last November. Since then she has been a big part of our lives. She helped brings some vivaciousness to old elder dog, Lex- thus giving him almost another year with us. Maki has also helped with being an emotional support animal of sorts to all of us at one time or another.

Even though Maki is a strange character- oftentimes acting as if she is going through an Existential moment- she is still a dog needing love and attention. She enjoys curling up on the couch and trying to take the best seat.

I’m not always happy with this turn of events. I preferred having dogs at our feet. Not on the couches or beds. Maki is not an exception in my mind. But I have been outvoted since day one. So she gets a spot on the couch.

I swear she knows how I feel. Because as soon as she jumps on the couch- her face is in mine. And she has The Worst Dog Breath Ever! She must know this because that snout of hers goes right up to my nose.

Maybe if her breath didn’t smell so bad, I’d be more accepting of the fact she has earned a spot on the couch, not just our hearts.

A Year With Maki

My wife pointed out to us all that it has been one year since Maki entered into our lives. Over this past year, she has been through a lot of emotional times with us. From Christmas to birthdays, to moving homes to the Loss of Lex– our other dog… Maki has been here with us and for us in many ways.

Yesterday, our daughter shared these images on her Instagram. This was her caption: “A year ago today I met my best friend. The first photo here is the first one I ever took of her. She always knows when I’m feeling down when nobody else does, she’s funny, and she loves me. I love her so so much, happy adoptaversary” When I read that, I really understood the idea that pets can be great companions.

Maki has been wonderful for the mental well-being of our family members. She is always nosing in for a cuddle or rub. Maki is also the first pet that we have allowed to sleep in our kids’ rooms and permitted to jump on the couches. Taking her for a walk hasn’t been problematic either, as we all enjoy talking with her as we walk the neighborhood. Something about Maki is different than our other dogs, and it shows.

We all love her and are happy that she is sharing her love with us in her own derpy way. I can’t believe she’s been a member of our family for a year already.

Existential Doggo

Another great evening to be had on the back deck as the sun begins to set. I keep on sharing pictures of the view, and it is well worth it. It seems I’m not the only one who enjoys the deck and the sky.

Our dog, Maki, has decided that she is just as good as her human family. She has discovered the joy of sitting on our back patio set and staring off into the horizon. I watched her for a while while she just zoned out.

When I finally got her attention, she just looked so happy. She also didn’t want to leave her seat. So I sat beside her and we gazed out on the horizon. She’s a great companion who can sit silently and just enjoy the moment.

Dogs are the best. I wonder what she was thinking?

Remembering The Family Dogs

Today is International Dog Day. Since I was a small child, I have always had a dog in my life. When I was born my parents had a wired haired fox terrier named Whiskey. When he had to get put down, I was maybe 3 years old. My father vowed to never get a dog again.

A couple years later, he brought home another terrier named Brandy. She lived with us for a couple of years until she bit my mother’s hand quite badly. Since my sister was a toddler at the time, the decision to give her up (the dog not my sister much to my chagrin).

Shortly after that we moved away from Edmonton, Alberta and into Langley BC. My parents adopted a cocker spaniel puppy named Charlie. He lived with us for about four years until a tumor took over. He was one of the most lovable doggies ever and enjoyed being cuddled.

Alvin the little white pooch mooch.
Chuppy the puppy.

We moved again to a new home where my mother and sister adopted a multipoo that I got to name Alvin. He was a bouncy little fella always happy yo see you. He lived for a very long time. So long in fact that my wife and I looked after him in his final year.

When I met my wife, she had a Rhodesian ridgeback that was a big ol’ softy. His name was Chuppy. Everyone who met him fell in love with his demeanor. He lived for 17 years. He was always known as Chuppy the Puppy. Bum rubbies was the best way to his heart.

Then came Lex Luthor. We adopted him about eight years ago at the age of about six. He brought some energy back into Chuppy which was the biggest reason for adopting a second dog. He was such a well trained big lug who always hung out with us everywhere in our home. We lost him at the start of this summer, so that sadness is still fresh.

Last fall we adopted Maki. She is turning five and much like Lex did for Chuppy- she brought some life back into Lex for a bit. Maki is probably one of the most loved of all. She has become an emotional support dog without intentionally doing so. She seems to know when people need love the most.

My wife and I have spoken about Maki being our last dog, but in reality we both know this to not be true. We are dog people and will always have a dog as a member of our family. They bring such joy to us all.

Dog Dream

Last night I was dreaming about our dog Lex. I dreamt that he was back with us as his younger self. As the dream went on, I unfortunately began to awaken. As that occurred, I did my best to hold onto my dream. But I could not.

From the deep sleep I awoke in a slow and sad pace continuously trying to force myself back into my dream. Instead I woke up crying.

This has never happened to me before. My subconscious caused extreme emotions to overcome me. After a few tears fell on my pillow I returned to sleep only to not reenter that dream.

Just like the loss of our family dog, my dream was also gone. But the memories remain, almost hauntingly so.

Maki School Pick Up

Once in a while I’ll bring our dog to get the kids from school. I used to bring Lex, but he is elderly and frail that I worry about him traveling. Even if it is for a short distance.

Maki did a pretty good job hanging out in the very back on the way to the school. She popped her head up a few times, but mostly laid down. She did bark as we approached the school which shocked me. She tends to bark at other dogs.

Darwin was pleasantly surprised to see Maki in the car and quickly took her out to wander the field. Maki loved the new scents and grass, giving a good tug for Darwin to keep up.

The drive home was a little more chaotic. The kids put their stuff in the back on half the trunk space and folded one of the chairs down. Theory sat in the back and tried to keep her still, but I was getting dog breath in my face as I drove.

Maki only barked once randomly as we neared our home. It was a good little surprise for the two youngest seeing their dog greet them. I’m hoping to do it more often as the weather gets nicer.

Pretty sure Maki likes car rides.

Carpet and Pets

Our home has very little in the way of carpets. Which is both good and bad.

It’s good because the wood floor is easy to keep clean especially with dog hair running rampant. We just need to sweep or vacuum regularly to remove the hairs and dirt. A light wash every so often and the floors look amazing. This type of flooring is so much better for my allergies.

For carpet- we have our media room and the main hallway upstairs. Over the weekend we finally bought a carpet cleaner… after living here for almost 14 years… I’ve borrowed carpet cleaners from friends and rented a Rug Doctor a few times in the past. But with Covid still around- it was time to just buy one for ourselves. Thank you Amazon and next day delivery!

Our hallway looks so much better and smells a ton better as well. The carpet cleaner really pulled out the pet smell from the floors. I don’t like carpet for the fact that it collects dust and allergens. But I like the softness under my feet. Maybe I can fall in love with carpet once more.

Which do you prefer hardwood, tile or carpet?

The Future is Now

2020 may be a lot of things to a lot of people. It has certainly been a unique journey. For my family and I- it has meant skyrocketing into the future.

My wife was already working for Shopify for a while before Covid restrictions came into play. She was working remotely and had a good handle on things like Zoom meetings and Google Docs. She was able to help out teenagers get used to the “new normal.”

This summer I got my first 3D printer. I have enjoyed printing a bunch of plastic stuff. All it takes is a file and a spool of filament to create something from almost nothing. It’s not just doing the printing, I’ve also enjoyed painting the items and adding mechanisms to create movement. Robotics and electronics have been brought back into my world after a near three decade hiatus.

This past weekend we entered a new level of futuristic lifestyles. For my wife’s birthday, I picked up an Oculus Quest 2 VR headset for her. Immersing oneself into the virtual worlds is mind boggling to say the least. From active games like Beat Saber to simply painting in a 3D world- this is possibly one of the greatest escapisms I have ever seen.

As the winter arrives and 2020 draws nearer to the end, I for one have enjoyed more of this year in captivity than I expected. We even adopted another dog- Maki who entered our lives right when we needed her to.

How do you feel about technology these days? Are we moving too fast, or too slow? Let me know in the comments.

Giving The Gifts of Memories

Yesterday was filled with laughter, tears, and everything in between. My wife celebrated her 50th Birthday at home with her family. And it was the only way she knew she wanted to spend it.

Leading up to her milestone birthday wasn’t easy. Hitting fifty is a tough one. In fact, almost every decade milestone birthday is tough after age twenty. You get moments of regrets- like you haven’t accomplished everything you had hoped. But you also get moments of appreciation for what you have achieved in your life. The most uplifting is when you get moments of clarity when you realize this is exactly where you need and want to be.

My wife’s birthday started with breakfast in bed. The kids greeted her warmly and were excited for the next part.

Followed by a Fifty Clue scavenger hunt. This lead her all around the house. The last clue brought her to tears. It was hidden hidden behind a picture of her puppy- Chuppy. This was her best friend prior to me entering her life and creating a family.

Her final clue lead her to our theater room. Where we set up a pretend car- as a reminder to her fortieth birthday when we bought a Pathfinder. Hidden inside were “Brown Paper Packages tied up with string” as a clue to her forty fifth birthday when I made her a 45 record spacer from a “Sound of Music” LP (her favorite movie). Inside the unsuspecting boxes was an Oculus Quest 2 VR. This was my chance to bring the world to her since we are unable to travel and we really wanted to get away.

Finally we celebrated with a lunch that was filled with coffee and coffee cake (made by our oldest). For dinner we did go out for sushi at our favorite restaurant. That was short and sweet because we all wanted to watch one another play some VR.

All-in-all I’d say she had a birthday that was memorable.

I’m On The Pot Again

I’ve fallen into a nightly routine ever since a new dog showed up in our home. Yes, we have officially adopted her. We are changing her name from Scarlet to Maki. Because she is such a goofball. Take a look:

Anyways, a new dog in the house is causing me issues. I have been suffering from allergies. So Much so, that I have resorted to using a Neti Pot once again.

I tried for the first few days to take allergy medicine in order to cope. But it wasn’t working. As well, my coworkers were thinking I was sick. During a time of Covid- it’s not good to be sniffing. The Neti Pot is my answer. It has been helping my nasal passages. I can breath better after each flush.

It’s not like those Seasonal Allergies that cause suffering because of flowers and pollen. These allergies are from a cute puppers that needs love, and I cannot help but give her rubs. So I’m back on the pot. And it’s helping.

Old Dog Lex

Our puppy is growing old. I love him tremendously since we first met. We adopted him back in January 2013 to be a friend to our old dog- Chuppy. Little did I know that he would also be such an integral part of our lives.

He was such a goofball back then even at age four. This picture is from the day we drove him home with us. He has always been a perfect match for our family from the first day we met him.

As all dogs go- he is quite content to be lazy. But he also tries to stay energized when he knows that there is a potential walk about to happen.

He’s still a lovable goofball. Even as he gets slower and has difficulty keeping up. He wants to be a young pup- but his age is catching up. So Happy Belated Adoption Day Lex!

Doggo Sitting

In the past when we have gone on vacation, we have left our dog, Lex Luthor with friends, family or at a Kennel. He has always been returned to us happy and healthy.

However, the one time he stayed at my sister’s place, he escaped within the first few hours. I received a phone call from someone who had collected Lex. My sister felt so awful about him breaking free that she would never look after him again. I wasn’t mad at her, he was quite the energetic dog when we first got him. Even in the first week of us adopting him, he jumped our fence and wandered the neighborhood (without us knowing). Lex is much older now and far less active.

An old friend of mine asked if we could look after their puppy while they were out of town. He’s a youthful nine month old puppers. Very friendly and gets along with our family and Lex which is great. Having this puppy here has made us be more energetic and mobile. We are going for more walks and playing around more. But we did the same thing my sister did. We were complacent about following the rules of a new dog.

One night, our son let both dogs out into our backyard. Our dog Lex returned. But our visitor did not. With a fenced acre and lots of trees, we searched the backyard nonchalantly thinking that he must be there. No such luck. Turns out he ran into the neighbor’s yard. So our kids went to get him.

Puppies don’t listen very well. This puppers was no exception. He kept running further and further off whenever we got close. Not only did our kids try and catch him, but three more neighborhood kids got in on the excitement. This puppy was chased through about twenty acres of open farm lands.

Only to return to our backdoor.

Now I kind of know how my sister felt. Even though I wasn’t overly scared that we’d never see him again- there was that small negative part of me that wondered how I would tell my buddy that his godson lost his dog. Luckily I didn’t have to. Maybe he will read this when he returns from his vacation. Until then, the puppy has found a happy place in our house and has made himself quite at home. I don’t think our son will let him out of his sights again.

Somewhere in all this is a good lesson to learn. I don’t quite know what it is, but my son’s guilt was punishment enough. Looking back, we also saved a dog in Odaiba, Japan and returned him to his owner. People and pets have a bond that you can’t refute.

Jodie

This weekend my mother came by for a visit. It’s been a couple of years since she came into town. She also brought her friend Jodie.

Jodie is a sweet little puppy that is about four years old. My kids have nicknamed her Snowball. The kids have given her tons of attention this visit as well.

The puppy needed a home and my sister voluntold my mom she was getting a dog. It’s been a while since my mother had a pet. My mother inherited this dog from my sister’s husband’s step mother.

Even though we aren’t small dog people, we have enjoyed visiting with Jodie. She’s a sweetie.

Lex Stays at Home

When we used to go to conventions or go on vacation out of the country, we can’t take our beloved dog with us. In the past we’ve had friends and family look after him. But we’ve also come to rely on a local kennel.

Birch Bark Kennels is the place we have been taking Lex (and our previous dog, Chuppy) for many years. The price is great, and our dog runs in excitedly. The staff are pretty darned good at their jobs as well. We get him back healthy and clean every time.

The kennel has been recognized in our community as well over the years. That makes me really happy to know that they care for animals in such a great manner. I’m always happy to leave our furry family member in their hands.

That being said, he is also really happy to see us again after our vacations. He could barely keep still in the car ride home and wanted to lick me constantly. The first thing he did when he entered our home was run to his bed. He landed in it so fast that it slid further under our piano.

I wish we could take him on some of these trips, but it would also take away from our travels. Spending sixteen hours in Disneyland each day was already tough on us. I couldn’t imagine how it would be for him in an unfamiliar room for that length of time.

I’m really happy to see him again that’s for sure. Absence does make the heart grow stronger.

Wildlife House

I love animals. Always have. I think I could’ve been a veterinarian if it wasn’t for my allergies. Living in the countryside means more woodland creatures all around.

Yesterday when we returned from camping, there was a squirrel hanging out on our back deck. The fact that we were able to walk outside and it didn’t move, meant something was wrong.

After about thirty minutes of us eating lunch outside next to the little dude, we decided to catch it and take it into a place called Critter Care Wildlife. A local organization that specializes in mammal rehabilitation.

We put a box over the little critter and put a towel on top. We dropped it off and the staff was really happy to take it in. They gave us a case number so I followed up today to see how Mr. Squirrel is doing. He’s been integrated into a new group of squirrels and is bouncing back. The organization is unsure as to what was the original issue, but they will be keeping an eye on the little guy.

This afternoon another woodland creature entered our home. We had left the sliding glass door open and the bird flew right in. It bumped the window and perched itself on our cds. My oldest and I grabbed a towel and tossed it over top and I gently carried the bird outside to set it free.

Mr. Birdie took a moment after I uncovered its head before taking off. (Our son names every animal and stuffed animal MR.) We have had numerous animals visit us for brief moments. My favorite moment was when we rescued a hummingbird.

I think that when I retire, I might get into bird watching.

You know, like old people do- ’cause I’ll be old. And I’ll need a reason to look up from my smartphone once in a while.

Camping 2018

I’m not sure what the weather will do this week. But we are heading out to do some camping at Twenty Mile Bay like we did last year and the year before. My wife has enjoyed our last two trips because the weather has been perfect.

The last time I checked was on Sunday, so it looks like the end of the week will be blah.

I’m not sure if we will stay the entire time we had planned. We may cut it short in the end. That’s the unfortunate reality of camping. Whatever time we get though, I’m sure we will make the most of it with the family.

I’m okay with a bit of rain while camping. Only a bit though. Downpours and we are outta there.