Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Conversations with my dog

"Orion, we have to come up with some kind of job that you get to join me in," I say as we walk through the woods.
"Truck driver. I could do that. You could be a professional ride-a-long dog." Trot, trot.
"Humm. If I ever got to be an illustrator that would work, but we know how that's going. Maybe an architect--if I build my own firm you could come be at my office. Maybe I could be a landscaper. I guess that means librarian is out since I doubt I'll find a place where you're aloud in."
Pause in thought.
"I would've been a great trust fund baby."


"Orion, did you know you're my first dog?" He continues in front of me down the path.
"That means you'll be in the history books. You're kind of like Barack Obama since he was the first black president."


"So what do you think?" I ask, holding up my two pairs of jeans. "I haven't gone out in a long time. I don't know which ones I should wear." I set them on the floor to get my shirt choices. Turning, I see Orion peeing on one pair.

"So you think I should go with the other pair then huh?"


"Those are Canadian Geese. They mate for life. They also have some pretty cool concepts of camaraderie. They can also be rather aggressive. And they're big. You probably don't want to take one on till you're your full size. Just saying."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Puppy Meet Up

Puppy meet up.
Two and a half hours of play with five other dogs.
He loved it.
Need I say more.

Just noting

We play in the tub for awhile. Wool socks, college sweatpants, a green tank top, hair askew, we hop right in. Orion digs for China, while I sing songs. We slide down the edges, we flop on the ground. I build a tunnel out of myself and Orion goes through. I chew on his toes, while he chews on mine. We talk about what we can do tonight for fun. Eventually, I hop out to brush my teeth and he chases his tail in the now spacious tub. Then we go to my room and play on my bed. I'm ever watchful as he has peed on my blankets before. Tonight, he has more interest in discoveries. He discovers my hair ties, looped around the door knob, using his needle teeth to pull with such enthusiasm he nearly falls off the bed. I write his blog, until he samples the edge of my computer, the paper towel roll that tosses around in bed with me, the window shades, the car keys, the toes, oh the toes.
"Perhaps it is time for that chew toy," I say, gently depositing him on the floor.
He has been sick for a week and I am ever grateful to see his upbeat self. As I watched him sleep last night, I repeatedly thanked him for getting better--as I chugged Tylenol for my own fever.
"Orion, have I told you today that you're the best thing that's happened to me?"
He just keeps huffing and puffing as he sleeps.
It was cold in the living room last night, and I tucked a blanket over him to keep him warm, tucking him in.
Tonight, he peacefully chomps away on his rawhide, in a tiny corner of my closet. I suspect he likes the closeness the closet creates, just as he enjoys sleeping under the futon in the living room. I wonder at what point I should allow him free access at night. We have spent the last few nights in the living room, me tucking my five foot eight frame across the futon (folded up), while he snores z's beneath me. On occasion, Orion would surprise me and curl by my legs, a treat that had me continuing to snooze in the living room just for the chance to have my snuggle dog, but this dog tonight is more apt to chew me than snuggle me.
He has left the closet and prowls about.
As usual, I'm curious what he will find to entertain himself.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


If ever I wished I had a camera trained on my four legged friend it would be this evening while he ran back and forth in a dry tub butt tucked, flying like in a race from one end to the other.

Monday, March 21, 2011


This dog has my heart.
I step in to the shower, tugging at my braids to unravel them as my head is soaked by a steady stream of water. I left Orion out in the kitchen to finish his dinner, which he seemed scarcly interested in after downing two bowls of water. I need to get him a rabbit water bottle for his crate I think.
Suddenly, a little yellow head pokes his head around the shower curtain at the opposite end and lets out a sharp bark. I'm not so sure I like you in there Mum, he seems to say.
"Oh Orion, you know you don't like these, go finish your food," I say back as I watch him snatch at the streams of water blasting his head.
I close my eyes and tilt my head back, snapping them open when I feel something against my leg.
I laugh, tossing my hands into the air as my lovable four legged pal tumbles into the tub and lands beside me.
"Well hello then."
He wanders at the end of the tub, snatching bottles of shampoo off the sides, chasing them down the tub. When I look again he's gone.
"Oh great, I have a soaking labrador wandering my apartment," I comment to the sky.
And then he's back, tumbling back in, convinced my shaving cream is his new best friend. Surely he can't get his teeth around that, I think, but then he's out of the tub, shaving cream firmly in his mouth.
"Orion, that's compressed air. I don't know what will happen if your needle teeth puncture that!" I say, jumping out after him.
I finish my tub, dry off, catch him, dry him off. Wonder how it is that I am out of linen AGAIN, brush my teeth and see him back in the tub, chasing his tail.
Well, I wanted a shower dog...

Sunday, March 20, 2011


"Orion, I have to take a bath. You hate me taking baths so you should probably go out of the bathroom." I say as I begin to peel off my clothes.
"You have got to stop chewing on me," I pull my leg away from him. "What is it? You used up all your wonderful doggieness this weekend visiting the relatives and now you're back to crazy dog?"
He whips his head back and forth with my bath matt in his teeth.
"Gee, thanks for the help with interior decorating."
I mentioned to a friend we should go for a walk. She asked to go at 3:30. I was hoping for 9:30 AM. As I watch Orion terrorize a paper towel tube, I'm skeptical he'll make it that long.
"Orion, give them to me!" I say tugging my underwear from his death grip.
"Since when did you get into underwear?" I say still pulling.
"FINE! Have them!" I give up. He trots out of the bathroom, tripping over my underwear dangling from his mouth.
"They're probably not healthy for you!" I shout after him.
But he is gone, somewhere in the apartment. I shake my head, and step into the tub.

Cross Country

"So when I was a kid, I wanted to be an Indian. I learned all about the plants, and what you could eat, what you couldn't eat," I say to Orion as we walk through the woods. "Of course I was in New Hampshire then so I don't know any of these."
He sticks his head into a low growing ivy.
"Don't you love the way it smells out here?" I ask, taking in a deep breath. "I have always loved the smell of the woods."
He trots along.
"You know for being so energized at home, you're kind of slow moving this morning."
I start to skip along the path.
"I have a dog, a dog named Orion, he needs to run so he doesn't kill his mum!" I sing, pulling him behind me. "He has so much energy, and little needle teeth, he is constantly underneath my feet! If only he would hike, a nice long walk, then he will sleep and we can nicely talk!" I continue skipping, till I realize he has put on the brakes.
"Orion, in order for you to be my nice dog we have to get some of your energy out."
He looks up at me.
"You're going to have to hike with me. I know it's muddy."
I look up and see a jogger coming up the path. Yes! I think. This will motivate him.
Sure enough, the runner goes by, chuckling, perhaps because he heard my song, and Orion is off, chasing after him.
"Hey thanks for motivating him!" I say, chugging along after my dog. "Hope you don't mind if we follow."
"No problem!" the guy hollers back.
Jog jog, dodge dodge, mud puddle, mud puddle. Cell phone slamming into my ribs.
"That's good Orion, let's keep up! You just need me to join cross country don't you?"
He's pulling ahead, ears flopping, feet up to his knees covered in mud, his little underbelly wet from the backlash of puddles.
I realize I'm beginning to huff and puff. Huh. When's he going to wear out? I wonder, as I continue my impromptu run. But no, we keep going. I'm suddenly feeling hot. I'm also hoping this guy disappears from view. Finally we reach a fork in the road, and Mr. Speedy has disappeared.
"Oh wasn't that a nice run Orion?" I say, peeling off my coat, untangling his legs from his leash.
"Wonder how long this path is going to be," I say, "We should probably invest in a map of this park."
We walk along, sniffing plants (Orion), listening to birds (Molly).
"Do you hear that sound?" I ask, tuning in to the rat a tat tat in the woods. "That's a woodpecker. The Native American's believe that a woodpecker's feather is good to give to someone who needs to avoid distractions. So I guess I'd give it to you if you had a lot on your mind, distracting you from your goals. But my favorite is the duck feather. Duck feather's are given to travelers because duck's can always find their way home. They are migratory birds." I go on and on as we skip over mud puddles, balance across fallen tree logs.
"You're looking kind of like a chocolate lab." Orion looks at me with an eyebrow lifted. "I know. I took you out here. We'll go visit the river before we go."
"Did you know I use to not like it when the other labs I lived with got all dirty?" He stopped and plopped his butt in the mud. "It's true. I didn't like that they'd get all muddy then sit on me and make my clothes dirty. I think it's different that you're my dog. I kind of accept it as is. Plus you're kind of cute all muddied up."
He whins and doesn't move.
"I know you're tired, but I think this path will actually get us back to where we started and there's no point in turning around when we've come this far." I tug his leash forward.
The runner shows up again, magically as if called.
"Hey! He made it through the mud!" he says, wizing by me.
"Sure did!" And we're off again, the last leg of the race...

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Orion and I went on a quick excusion to my sister's house so that he could meet my mom, my sister, my brother-in-law and 2 year old nephew. After weeks of chewing, jumping chewing, dangling from my leg chewing, finger chewing, full of energy chewing, I can honestly say I was so proud of my little guy as he was WONDERFUL. I couldn't have asked for a better behaved puppy. Not only did he always pee on the pee pad (appropriately placed on my sister's carpet) but he did not jump and bite my nephew's face, rather jumped and LICKED. I was so glad to see so much licking. Nevermind that he would still chew on me. I'll take that for good behavior in public. And he snuggled. I mean snuggled. Kate's dogs did want to eat him, so he and I crawled into his pop up crate (also referred to as his tent in my book) and I zipped us in. Figured out that there was not enough circulation to stay cool (another reason he wasn't happy with this setup) so we opened the windows, and then I dangerously took my face's beauty in hand, and laid my head down. My lovable little pup just laid his head on my head and fell asleep. Seeing how historically speaking, my face low equaled fair chew target, this was amazing.His tent was also quite spacious and I enjoyed my nap. Oh there were slews of things I did that would be absolutely against my advanced behavioral analysis but in a strange place, I didn't care. He also spent time comfortably in his play pen without yelling his head off. All and all a great way to end a weekend, beaming with pride.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


"Are you ready to go?" I ask, as I tug the hat over my head. I bend down to slip on my shoes, and dodge his leaping form as he goes for the hat strings that fall from my head. Clicking his collar into place, I notice my neighbor must have decided it was too tight the day I had him let Orion out, because suddenly it seems larger.
Out the door we go, Orion tucking his tail between his butt and running full tilt in an butt-tucked dash for the door. I open the door to the apartment and am greeted with damp sticky snow falling from the sky. It is cold out. Just yesterday I was in a tee shirt. I push the packing snow from the first step, so I don't sled down the rest of them feet first. Orion prances on the wood board that covers a vacancy in the stone, where age and weathering have made erosion a natural outcome to the ancient stairs. I believe he is most intrigued by the slippery surface of the board, shoveling his paws in front of him, butt in the air as he prances about.
I try to bribe him to try the stairs--a method we are perfecting since he jumped in a bush the last time I asked him to go down stairs. He is not interested.
I scoop him up, wet belly and all, depositing him in our potty area, letting him scoot about before guiding him down the hill and onto the sidewalk. While Orion easily looks like he has the energy to run a nuclear power plant, he is not too thrilled about this walk. Leash between his teeth, he trots up the street. We have gone one block when he starts to whimper.
"What is it Orion?" I ask, as if he might pause and say, "Mom this was a miserable idea, I'm freezing, I swear I'll chill out at home if you would just get us out of this snow." Instead, I let him direct our progress. He decides we're turning around.
"Okay," I say. "We're following you."
We cross a street and make it half way down that block before,
"Whimper, whimper." Orion stops. Plops his bottom down.
He turns and begins retracing his steps. I am wondering if he is aiming to return home, and if so if he can figure it out having only done this walk two times.
He loops back towards our apartment and bolts for the building when he sees it in sight.
"Well. I guess that means we're done with our walk."

Four Weeks?

I do believe it's true. Orion and I have been hanging out for four weeks. Crazy. That's four weeks of not sleeping full nights too. Amazing I'm standing. So with no further adieu...

1. I could watch him chase his tail for hours and still be smiling (well, except for when he cracks his head spinning circles too close to the wall.)

2. We have reached an agreement that he will sleep two hours if I give him a nice long walk.

3. He is learning to fetch, but sometimes misses the point, chases the ball, then leaves it there.

4. He loves raw hide squares. LOVES them.

5. He can peer into the toilet now = he is getting taller.

6. I have not had a moment to myself where I could do something without him asking for my attention.

7. That's fair game considering I got him for the pay-attention-to-me and love-me-unconditionally concepts.

8. He likes to carry his leash in his mouth while going on walks.

9. He loves people.

10. I love giving him hugs when he's all sleepy tired.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I walk in from Karate and Orion lazily stands up from an afternoon of napping. I am full of energy, so I bound over and open his crate with enthusiasm. "Yeah Orion! How goes it, Orion?!" I exclaim. I quickly loop his collar around his neck and out we go to the front of the apartment. Orion is learning how to go downstairs--a slow tedious process that I swear half way explains my stiff neck. On one stunning occasion, Orion decided to design a new way of getting to the bottom--a flying leap into the bush beside the stairwell.
"ORION!" I shouted, trying to resist the urge to pull on the leash and potentially strangle the pup as he slid to the bottom of the bush.
But on the stoop we stand, myself in my gee, him in his dirty collar, and he mosies down the steps in his classic sideways shuffle--two feet down, turn, two feet follow (same step).
Back in the house, we run around, I toss balls, I pull ropes, and then we bounce on the bed. Orion's little body goes up, goes down, I go up, I go down, he is not sure if he should cling to the blankets for life, or leap and chew my face off.
The phone rings in the front living room. By this time, my gee is off as I am adjusting to my "going out clothes" presently, my undies and snazzy bra. I scoop Orion up, all full of gusto, drop him to the floor, and tear off down the hall, little yellow dog hot on my heels.
Laughing, I reach the phone out of breath and tear back the other way to the safety of my bed where the neighbors won't have a free show and I will be safe from the needle teeth so closely pursuing.
My dog prances after me, leaping for the bed, unsatisfactorily landing with paws on the edge.
I giggle a childish giggle having made it without getting chewed, capturing the flag, and making it back across the line, and happily slide the talk button to on.

Friday, March 4, 2011



I sit at the top of my apartment stairs, past the first floor where I live, head on my hand, hair dripping wet and trying to curl around my head, as my dog attacks the keys I have attached to my belt loop. There's a growl, a prance, a tug, a pull. Momentarily he pauses distracted by the leash he has around his neck. Back to the keys. My pants pull slightly in the direction for which he is. His head is adorably soaked, with mud spots from where he perused the underbrush on our second walk of the evening. As we return to the apartment, he runs around as if we have not just gone on two walks in the pouring down rain. As if he isn't just nine weeks old and yesterday was exhausted after one block of walking. As if we didn't run back and forth seven times in the back yard trying to wear him out. As if we didn't run loops around the inside of the house. As if we didn't go up two flights of stairs just so he could demonstrate his ability to do stairs--and hopefully wear him out.
I look at him. Not only do I think he grew another three inches since I left him at lunch, but he has just about chewed me to my limit. The purple squirt bottle dangles from my pant loops. "No bite" is becoming a whine. A plead. Am I doomed? I think as I run around my chair for the sixth time, yellow lab hot on my heels. I vaguely recall my friend describing a point in her labs life where she sobbed to her father to just take him for a day, she was worn out, never mind that she was thirty something. She couldn't handle his energy any longer. Lab energy. It's true. I even broke down and called my friend with a dog--maybe if she could just let us play for an hour, tackling another dog would expunge the remaining excess energy. I get being cooped up for four hours while I'm at work. I get the whole pay attention to me thing. Chew my leg off? Eat my shirt off from my body? What happened to a nice rainy evening, dog snuggled close to me and a movie playing at the foot of the bed?
He has the cutest face.
I know he's just tired.
You could not pay me to be a single mom.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


A thud sounds from upstairs. I would like to imagine it is people moving furniture, one person stepping incorrectly and dropping his end, but I know differently. A third thud, crackling this time, like a chair over a washboard. A series of loud swearing echoes after. A bang as the door slams. A bang as the apartment door exit slams.

I look at Orion who's ears are tucked back, listening. What are those noises? I imagine him asking, expectantly looking at me.

"Orion, we won't fight like that," I say. My internal body seems to cave inward as the shouting continues. My karma affected.
"If you have a problem with me Orion, you should, well," I think about how he can articulate it, "Well just ignore me."

"I may yell at you, but I will never hurt you. At least not on purpose." I pause. "And I won't throw furniture at you. But I will squirt you if you keep trying to eat my feet."

It is comforting this building of a permanent relationship.