A quiet autumn with the dogs

We’ve been enjoying lovely weather lately, and the dogs are content. What more can you ask for?

Snapshots of backyard living:

Fall on the backyard

Honey baby

Odd allure of morning glories

Princess P

My only minor concern involving the pups is that Pyrrha has developed a small, strange little sore on her upper and lower lips. We’re in touch with the vet about it, and we’re switching up some routines to try to rule out possibilities (wound from rubbing/digging, allergies, autoimmune disorder). I’m sure she’ll be OK, but I feel kind of obsessive about it. I’m a hypochondriac on behalf of my dogs. Can anyone else relate??

Anyway. All will be well. How have you been spending your fall days?

Working on their relationship

The progress of a fearful dog can often seem imperceptible. For me, one of the primary ways I am able to detect progress with Pyrrha’s myriad fears is by hearing guests say, “Wow, Pyrrha seems so much calmer/more interested in me/less anxious.” Without this external confirmation, I am often incapable of noticing her improvements on my own.

Guion and P

She has never been a fan of Guion. In many ways, she still doesn’t totally trust him. She brings a lot of baggage to the table, but I also think his personality is just one that she’ll never totally warm up to. He is expressive, animated, and loud, many of the traits that Pyrrha abhors in people, especially if they happen to be male. Pyrrha has warmed up to a few men in a noticeable way (my father and my brother-in-law), but their personality types are quieter and they seem to engage with her in a way that she wants.

Guion and P

However, since adding Eden to the household, we’ve both noticed a small shift in Pyrrha’s comfort level with Guion. She boldly begs from him whenever he is eating — a behavior that our trainer said to allow, because Pyrrha is expressing bravery by approaching Guion — and lately, she’s even been seeking attention from him.

Guion and P

He told me that the other day, when I wasn’t home, she came up to greet him, sniff him over, and lean on him for pets. This sounds like such a small, insignificant thing, but in the Pyrrha/Guion relationship complex, it’s huge! It’s doubly so because I wasn’t home; my presence is usually a prerequisite for any voluntary interaction between them.

Inter-species communication #germanshepherd #doglife

After two years together, they are still working on their relationship, but I am proud of them both. And always happy to observe progress, however slight.

If you have a spouse/partner, do your dogs interact differently with the two of you? In what ways?

Dogs in the wedding

We took a weekend trip, with both pups in tow, to attend a friend’s wedding. It was a lovely outdoor affair, and the couple are a happy, athletic, dog-loving pair. They have a pair of Brittany spaniels, named Eolus and Maple, who are their heart and joy.

At the rehearsal dinner, each table had a paper silhouette of one of the family dogs on it, which naturally warmed my heart. During his toast at the rehearsal dinner, the bride’s father said he knew that she was in it for life when Matt, her groom, bought her a dog (little Maple). And then, after the ceremony, both dogs were brought in to get family photos with the bride and groom. Here is a poor photo I snapped of Maple, the younger spaniel, giving her mama a kiss:

Maple gives her mom a happy wedding kiss #cheers2thechisholms

Although the dogs didn’t participate in the ceremony itself, they were certainly important members of the family. And I think this was rather an ideal way to involve pups in a wedding. I don’t know many dogs who would actually enjoy being in a wedding, but I’m sure they wanted to be around for at least part of the fun. Maple and Eolus had a handler assigned to them during the reception, and so they got to hang out for a bit and mingle with guests.

Did you/would you have your dogs in your wedding? We didn’t have dogs when we got married, but I imagine we’d certainly want them around to be included in the photos, as our friends did.

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

Meanwhile, our dogs had a nice vacation with my parents. They both get tons of exercise when my dad is in charge of them, and so they are always very happy and content. As you can see, they are both very devoted to him:

Ever devoted to grandfather Jak #germanshepherds

We got some more off-leash practice, including some romping at the shores of a lake, in the afternoons. They both did quite well, although they seemed especially excited to be FREE and were a little less attentive to us than they were on our recent hike.

Hanging out in Davidson #germanshepherd #babygurrrrl

How were your weekends?

August dog expenses

Hard life

A breakdown of what we spent on the dogs in August:

  • 1 August 2014 / Kibble / Tractor Supply / $51.00
  • 4 August 2014 / Heartworm preventive / $39.56
  • 4 August 2014 / Fish oil supplement and toothpaste / $26.54
  • 22 August 2014 / Kibble / Tractor Supply / $51.00
  • 24 August 2014 / Nylabones / Amazon / $9.00

Total dog expenses for August: $177.10

(Previous month’s expenses: $189.65)

Lazy summer play with Roland

Play date with Roland
Roland!

This past weekend, we had Roland (aka Pyrrha’s BFF) over for a play-date. But we forgot that dogs are SO lazy in this Southern, summer heat… and so there was a lot more lounging than playing going on.

Play date with Roland

Still, I know the girls always enjoy having a friend over — even if everyone was fantastically lazy.

Play date with Roland

Play date with Roland

It’s always nice to have Roland visit, because Pyrrha is so familiar with him that I’m never worried about how she might react when he comes around. She is always at ease when Roland is over.

Eden is still learning how to chill out when dogs visit. We usually help redirect her insane barking and leaping by giving her a ball to chomp on; this keeps her engaged without going overboard and, importantly, it keeps her quiet.

Play date with Roland

Does your dog have a best dog friend? The kind of dog that you’re always at ease about?