Saturday, January 8, 2011

I Used to Pull Your Pigtails

It's official - Jackson has a little sister! Sophie is actually about four months older than Jackson, but she's smaller, and she follows her big brother around in a devoted way.

Except when they play. They speed around the yard side by side, and Sophie growls and bangs like an NHL enforcer. Then, when they settle down, they stand together panting and she licks her big brother's face. Awww!

Monday, December 13, 2010


We've been in the new house for about a week. It's going well. Jackson loves chasing squeaky balls in his big new yard. He's starting to pee and poop there without too much pleading on our parts. He seems to like Gus, the pit mix next door. And the sidewalks of Bellevue are filled with dog walkers, so he, and we, enjoy the walks.

A couple of nights ago, I took Jackson into the yard late at night, for a bedtime pee. Suddenly he stiffened up. I pointed my flashlight where he was looking - a cat! A big tabby, in our yard, frozen in place.

Jackson was maybe 50 feet from the cat. I was at the halfway point between them. I should have gone to Jackson and brought him back into the house. Instead, I rushed the cat, figuring it would flee. It did. But as soon as it started moving, Jackson took off like Wile E. Coyote out of a cannon.

There's a wooden wall around the trash cans in the back of our yard. The cat ran to it and jumped up on the cans. Jackson got there a half-second later. The cat hissed. Jackson lunged at it.

No harm, no foul. I figured the cat would jump down behind the trash cans, ending up safely outside the yard. Instead, it decided to run all the way across the yard to the front gate. Jackson flew after it. I called him, but it had no effect, like trying to reason with a Glenn Beck fan. The cat escaped under the gate a step ahead of Jackson.

I'm hoping the cat decides our yard is now off-limits. I figure that, given more tries, Jackson will only get better at this. And, down the line, when we get the second dog...oy. Not a good place to be a cat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

City Life

As Yogi said, it gets late early out there. About six o' clock this evening, Jackson and I were walking down a dark street alongside the highway. As we neared the corner, I saw a couple of young guys across the street doing something at the back of a van. Maybe something sketchy. My internal alarms starting ringing. I had a few seconds to decide whether I should cross normally, turn the corner and avoid them, or maybe even grab my phone and report a vehicle break-in.

I decided they were unpacking the van, nothing more, nothing wrong. We crossed over to them. I said hi as we passed. They said hi back. A few seconds later, one of them said "Cool dog." I said thanks as we walked away.

We were maybe 50 feet away when one of them yelled, "You want some dog food?" He explained that he and his friend worked in an organic dogfood factory, that they got all kinds of free samples, that they would be happy to give us some.

By this time, we were all standing together, and they were loving Jackson up. From his reaction, they were good with dogs, and that dogfood factory smell probably didn't hurt.

I passed on the dogfood, because Jackson can react badly to changes in diet. But we got a consolation prize. One guy went into his house and came back out with a remarkable goodie box: kangaroo chews, shark cartilage (outdoors only, because it makes a mess), cow bones stuffed with sweet potato, and some sweet potato chips. Jackson scored a little chip right away in return for his one trick, a sit. The walk home was a more-or-less continuous clumsy dance as I tried to keep him away from the rest of the box.

These generous guys work for Best Bully's Bully Sticks. Go spend all your money there ASAP.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Doghouse Update

We closed on the new house about a week ago. Renovations underway: we're taking out bushes to open up more space in the yard, and putting up a serious fence.

We've been taking Jackson to the new house for a few hours here and there, and walking him in the new neighborhood (very dog-friendly). Two days ago, in our backyard, Jackson met Gus, the pit mix next door. Pals at first sniff. They played from opposite sides of the chain link fence, bowing and running. Jackson was as excited as we've ever seen him with another dog. Yesterday, Jackson got his first taste of "Chase The Squeaky Ball" - his favorite game - in the new yard. He loved it. Room to run!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Rage and Chips

Last night, around 9:30, I took Jackson out for his late walk. He started in the bushes alongside our front steps, sniffing around for a few seconds. While he was sniffing, I heard a couple of guys and a dog coming down the sidewalk towards us. I couldn't see them, but the dog's tags were shaking very quickly, too quickly for the usual walking pace. I thought maybe the dog was off leash.

Sure enough, as soon as I could see them and yell, "Leash it!" the off-leash dog saw Jackson and came running. It was a young dog, and it wasn't attacking. But it ran right through my "No!" up onto our steps, and stopped right next to Jackson. By that time, the two guys had appeared. The owner said "Sorry" and got his dog down off the steps. He didn't leash it, though, and it went running off.

"Leash laws, please," I said. "Sure, man," the owner said as he walked away. He said it in that hipster/punk dialect where "sure" is a synonym for "fuck you," and he did nothing to leash his dog.

I snapped. I started walking towards him. In my finest Brooklyn gutturals, I said, "Hey, asshole, I'm talking to you." He immediately called his dog to him, leashed it, and crossed the street. (In my defense, I had been watching Sons of Anarchy before the walk. It gets me all revved up.)

Back home, around midnight, upstairs in my office, I heard a sound - something coming through our front-door mail slot. I went downstairs. There on the floor were four Pringles-style potato chips. It could be a coincidence, but Occam's Razor says reprisal. Or a peace offering for Jackson? Dogshit would have been a clear message, as would a dog biscuit. But four potato chips? The semiotics elude me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

In The Doghouse. Maybe.

We made an offer on a house. Good walking neighborhood, suitable for eventual one-story living, and a nice big yard. Plenty of room for a greyhound or three to keep busy.

To be continued...