So he barks at us

Josef Koudelka, Spain 1977. We're all having a little stretch here.

Josef Koudelka, Spain, 1977.

Contingency (vs. Necessity)

By Lydia Davis

He could be our dog.
But he is not our dog.
So he barks at us.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Lydia Davis writes the strangest little things; I am just in love with her. Her translation of Swann’s Way is what turned me into a mega-Proust fan, and I just finished her collection, Varieties of Disturbance, at times hilarious and perplexing.

My parents and my sister and brother-in-law are coming to stay with us this Easter weekend, and I’m excited to see them all. My father is especially looking forward to frisbee time with Eden. The fact that she is in heat doesn’t seem to be slowing her down at all! (Unfortunately for us, ha!) And she also appears to be adding the weight back on, which has been very encouraging. I think she’s going to turn out to be quite a lovely young lady, once we kick that giardia and get her back up to a healthy weight.

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

A four-dog play-date

We hosted a springtime play-date, and these three good-looking dogs came over:

Loki, the Newfoundland

Four-dog play-date


Josie, the German shepherd

Four-dog play-date

Josie. (I love her; she’s a little pocket shepherd!)

and Finn, the Llewellin setter (Finn’s first time coming over to play with us!)

Four-dog play-date


I did not get any good photos of the play, so apologies. It was hot, so the pups were doing limited romping and lots of moseying around the yard, looking at each other.

Finn was a little bit nervous about the play-date, and Loki didn’t like him much. It was the first time I’d seen Loki testy with another dog, which was interesting. My best guess is that it has something to do with the fact that Finn is intact. Also interesting: Eden went into her first heat the very next morning after our play-date, but the boy dogs did not care about her at all. Finn was enamored with Josie (who is spayed) and could not leave her alone! Josie’s mama said, “I think she must smell nice to the boy dogs; they always love her.” Indeed! Josie was an all-star, just rolling with the punches, putting up with any brattiness from Eden (and reacting calmly when Pyrrha tried to start something with her). Good girl, Josie. Wish you would rub off on our crazies!

Four-dog play-date

The shepherd girls check out Finn, who is a little unsure of their advances.

As I alluded to above, Pyrrha did not attend the play-date, sadly. She did not interact well with Josie (totally Pyrrha’s fault, and not Josie’s), which was sad and surprising, as the two of them played together beautifully the first time they met. She got all up in Josie’s grill and started posturing with her (putting her head over Josie’s shoulders and giving a really intense, bug-eyed stare), which escalated into snapping and growling. I intervened quickly and put Pyr inside for the duration of the play-date. Usually it’s Eden that I’m more nervous about with new dogs. Sigh.

Pyrrha’s play style has changed since we added Eden to the household. She’s gotten more tense about other dogs in the yard and simultaneously more standoffish during play time. She still seems to enjoy having other dogs around, but she seems less at ease about negotiating introductions/greetings. After the initial meeting is over, Pyrrha is fine, and coexists peaceably — but if she can’t get over that initial hurdle, she just escalates her anxiety. I don’t know what this means or how I can help her.

It’s a very specific issue, but do you have any ideas what could be making Pyrrha more testy? Have you ever seen this play dynamic change when you added a new dog to your home?

Four-dog play-date

Springtime in the backyard

We had a beautiful weekend of yard work, and the dogs spent all day outside, basking in the sun, chomping on sticks, and playing with each other (and some other pups; pics to come soon).

Playing in the yard with the girls

Playing in the yard with the girls

Playing in the yard with the girls

Playing in the yard with the girls

Playing in the yard with the girls

I love watching them play together. Most of the time, they’re just peacefully coexisting in the house, but in the yard, they like to go wild and play chase and wrestle. It always warms my heart to be reminded that they actually like each other (even though they will still grumble from time to time, like any pair of siblings).

Playing in the yard with the girls

This crazy baby just started her womanly rite of passage.

Our news, as of this morning, is that Eden started her first heat. Which is kind of a bummer, but also maybe a good thing, because I keep hearing studies that confirm that waiting longer to spay is beneficial for dogs, especially large breeds. Guion called me five or six times before I showed up at work this morning, and when I called him back, thinking some terrible emergency had happened, he said, “Um, there are all of these little blood droplets on the floor… and Eden can’t stop licking herself…” Well, there you have it. “I think you need to take her on a girls’ weekend and explain the mysteries of life to her now,” he said. Guess so! Also wonder if I should buy her some ice cream and some fashion magazines so she can curl up on the couch until the cramps subside… ;-)

Playing in the yard with the girls

The side of the fence that we want to make a privacy fence. Exhibit A: The trampoline.

What happened in your households this weekend?

A tail we could wag

Last Locust puppy play date by abbyef, via Flickr. Our German shepherd Pyrrha gives a dramatic play bow. #gsd

Pyrrha during a play date.

“In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.”

— W.H. Auden

. . . . . . . . . . .

Happy Friday! Isn’t a wag such a wonderful, happy thing to observe?

One of my favorite facts about Pyrrha is that I can just look at her from across the room and smile, and her tail starts to wag. Or I say her name. Or, “Hey, good girl.” With a fearful dog like P, this is so deeply heartwarming to me, that just receiving a little verbal affection and recognition from me can make her tail thump on the floor.

Eden, however, is not prone to give many wags. She takes herself VERY seriously. We get lots of wags (and body slams and face nips) when we greet her first thing in the morning, or upon coming home from work, but she is not very liberal in handing out wags. But in play, you get a few intense, focused wags. It’s hard to explain, but they are much more focused than Pyrrha’s calm, slow wags; Eden wags with intention.

Is your dog very wag-gy? Or does he or she keep a more silent tail?

Review: EVO Wild Cravings treats

The girls got to try the EVO Wild Cravings treats (turkey and chicken formula) from A 20-oz. bag (it’s big!) sells for $8.69 at

EVO treats | Doggerel

The ingredients are excellent and very limited. The treats are also grain-free and made in the United States.

EVO Wild Cravings treats (turkey and chicken) ingredients:

Turkey, chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, potatoes, herring meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, egg, apples, carrots, tomatoes, cottage cheese, dried chicory root, and vitamins and minerals

EVO treats | Doggerel

In short, the dogs were thrilled about these treats, and we were certainly happy to receive them. The treats have a very high protein content (47%), so we’ve been giving extra treats to Eden to help her gain weight. The treats are a bit larger in size than a US quarter, and they have a rather hard, biscuit-y texture. Due to their high protein content and composition, they probably wouldn’t make great training treats, but they’ve been excellent incentives for our dogs to be happy about crate time — and to use for the occasional, fun, “just-because-we-love-you” treat.

Have you ever tried EVO products before?

Disclosure: We were provided with a bag of these treats in exchange for our honest review.