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?

Taking a weekend trip to see Georgia

OK, well, we’re not expressly going to see sweet baby Georgia (my in-laws’ dog), but she is a motivating factor! (In reality, my brother-in-law and his wife-to-be are having a wedding shower, and we are honored to be able to attend.)

Doggy summer camp
Georgia, the last time we saw her, in June.

It’s such a blessing that Pyrrha gets along with my in-laws’ dog and that we can take her with us when we go visit. Makes traveling that much easier!

Waiting for @guionpratt to come home. #germanshepherd #pyrrhagram
Pyrrha is ready to get on the road!

Plenty of Pyrrha/Georgia romp photos to come after the long weekend. For U.S. readers, hope you get to have a peaceful and relaxing Labor Day weekend at home with your pack!

Does your dog get along with your family members’ dog(s)?

Pyrrha’s first wedding weekend

Quite at home here

I’m still catching up on real-life stuff and work, but my sister’s wedding weekend was so beautiful and perfect. She was the happiest, prettiest bride I’ve ever seen, and I say that with some authority, as we’ve been to eight weddings this year (and went to eleven last year!).

Pyrrha was a trooper, too. I was particularly thankful for my dad, who is just as dog-obsessed as I am. He doted on Pyrrha and took care of her and walked her and played with her when I couldn’t—which was often, as I was serving as the matron of honor + bride’s beautician + right-hand woman.

Trying to make my dog fat
My brother, trying to make my dog fat.

My siblings are also quite fond of Pyr, which helps a lot. My brother kept slipping her food, as a way to buy her affections, I think, and playfully irritate me.

Loving on Pyr
My sister and Pyrrha.

Our beloved photographer, with P.

My sister Grace is also very sweet with Pyrrha, even though she is allergic to dogs, and Pyrrha’s presence made her eyes tear up all weekend. Poor Gracie; she loves animals so.

Dublin
Dublin.

Pyrrha also spent a lot of her time in Dublin’s backyard, as she normally does. Dublin is very tolerant of Pyrrha’s antics and the two spend most of their introductory moments growling and wrestling. After a few minutes, though, one can find them lounging side-by-side under the trampoline or plundering the basement for things to chew on.

Hanging out in Dublin's yard

As this is her third time at my parents’ house, she was very comfortable there over the weekend. I think she liked having all that space to prowl around and all those windows from which to watch the town’s plentiful squirrels. It’s so nice to know that we always have a place to bring her when we come home for family events or holidays. I daresay she is eager to go back, as soon as she can.

Pup links!

Red Aussie puppy. Click for source.

Great dog-related links from around the Web this week:

Dogs in the Workplace. Happy Bring Your Dog to Work day! While my office would frown on dogs in our space, I think Pyrrha would actually do pretty well here, particularly since I have a very quiet department. Did you bring your dog to work? Would you, if your office allowed it? (Pawsh magazine)

Travel 101: Prepping Your Pooch. I found this list of travel preparations from Vanessa–who recently made a cross-country move with her family and dog, Rufus–very helpful. I’m taking a 5-hour trip with Pyrrha in July to visit my parents and many of these tips were really helpful and insightful. Also: Doesn’t Rufus’ travel hammock look so cozy? Now that’s how I want to travel on my next road trip! (The Rufus Way)

No Party Zone. Do you avoid having house guests because of your reactive dog? Kristine shares some thoughts and a recent near-encounter with their future landlord. (Rescued Insanity)

Couldn’t Have Been a Lab; They Don’t Bite. Katie reflects on the dangerous precedent we set by breed stereotyping. Just because a dog is a lab doesn’t mean that it’s incapable of biting or showing aggression toward people. (Save the Pit Bull, Save the World)

Bye-bye, Cesar Millan. Animal rights advocate and professor Marc Bekoff celebrates the news that Cesar Millan’s TV show “The Dog Whisperer” is being cancelled. I for one am glad to hear it. What do you think about it? (The Hydrant)

Stay Away from “Stay” with Fearful Dogs. This is an interesting perspective from a dog trainer who believes that teaching a shy dog to “stay” could actually ratchet up their anxiety levels. Makes sense to me. I’ve been trying to teach it to Pyrrha, and it does actually make her way more nervous than other commands. Maybe we’ll get there eventually. (My Smart Puppy)

Ebon’s Training History. A sweet post charting the evolution of training for a dog over the course of his life. It’s interesting to think about how our dogs change with us as we grow up. (Musings of a Biologist and Dog Lover)

Lessons Learned from Dogs: Morgan and Kuster. Tales and Tails is doing a really sweet series on what she’s learned from her four dogs. Here are the stories from the two more difficult dogs of her pack, the German shepherds. Very heartwarming and well written. (Tales and Tails)

Innovative Ideas: Helping the Homeless and Shelter Dogs. Discussion of a program in San Francisco that would pair homeless youth with shelter dogs. Sounds like a really great idea; looking forward to hearing more about it. (The Bark blog)

Animal Love. Just some pretty, dreamy photos of animals collected by one of my favorite lifestyle/design bloggers. (Miss Moss)

Superdog Lova. Great, playful photographs of this high-energy spaniel. Very sweet. (Ulicam)

Leaving Pyrrha for the weekend

Yes?
How could you leave ME?

We are going to Indiana this weekend for my paternal grandfather’s memorial service. My dad’s family is where I got my dog-crazy genes from, and they all encouraged us to bring our latest addition along. However, after some further thought, I feel like a 10-hour car trip to a place with lots of unfamiliar people (and one unfamiliar and shy dog, belonging to my aunt and uncle) would be way too much stress, for everyone. It will be better for all involved parties if Pyrrha stayed behind.

Thankfully, Pyrrha’s former foster from SGSR is a SAINT and has graciously agreed to take her back for the weekend. This is the best of all possible worlds, as it’s a place (and a pack of GSDs) that Pyrrha is already familiar with. I am so, so thankful that this could work out. It eases my anxiety a lot.

I, of course, really hate to leave her now, especially as I feel like we had a big breakthrough last night: It was the first time that Pyrrha actually tried to play with US!

Back story: I’d been really discouraged with her over the past few days, as it seemed like she’d been regressing and getting even more shy about things that formerly didn’t stress her out (like going in the backyard, or wanting to be in the room with us while we made dinner, etc.). But for the past three days, we’ve had daily thunderstorms, and I think those have only contributed to her anxiety, even though she hasn’t shown any serious signs of storm phobia. I was even starting to feel like we made a mistake, that she’d never get better, that we were not right for her, and so on…

But then last night, after our dinner guests left and we moved her crate into the guest room, she suddenly perked up. It was like her personality did a 180. We sat down on the loveseat to watch her, and she suddenly gave us a play bow and clambered up into my lap. She started kissing our toes, trying to playfully mouth our hands, and even played with her squeaky bunny toy–for the first time! Those few moments made all of my doubt and discouragement fade away. I was reminded that there is a happy dog in there, that she is going to come out of her shell, and that she still has so much to learn and gain confidence about.

She’s going to be OK. We’re going to be OK. I have to keep reminding myself to slow down and be patient. As of today, she’s only been with us for a week. I shouldn’t expect her to magically transform into a stable, happy dog so quickly. She’ll get there. So, here’s to hoping that she still likes us after we get back from this weekend!

Handling your dog’s car sickness

Photo by Martin Usborne.

My childhood dog, Emma, was not a great car passenger. The car made her extremely anxious and caused her to drool uncontrollably and vomit (even when the car was standing still). At the time, we were all fairly ignorant of any training techniques to mitigate her car sickness/fear. Her vet recommended Dramamine and so we gave her a small dose any time we had to take her anywhere in the car. It mostly worked, but she was always (understandably) woozy whenever we arrived at our destination.

Because of her terror of the car, we didn’t often take Emma anywhere. I always regretted this and have since been hoping for a dog who was an easy passenger. But I don’t know if I’ve actually encountered any dogs who actually enjoyed the car; most of them who are termed “good in the car” seem to express small signs of distress. Bo, for example, totally balks any time we ask him to jump in the Jeep. I always have to pick him up and put him in. Once we start going, he doesn’t get sick, but he does drool more and seem anxious about the whole endeavor. In another instance, I once took a short car ride with my friend Anna and her German shepherd Heidi. Anna told me that Heidi was great in the car, but Heidi flipped out for the duration of the ride. She kept trying to climb into both of our laps (a restraint would have been a good idea) and started crying and screaming like she was in physical pain–but as soon as we opened the door, she was happy-go-lucky and acted like she had no memory of her former panic attack. It was a stressful 10-minute car trip, to say the least.

So, if you have a dog who rides well in the car, how did you do it? Is it something you trained, or did you just get lucky? Do you have any tips for training a dog out of his or her fear of the car? I’m all ears!

Pup links!

Release the hounds! Click for source.

Dog-related links from around the web this week:

Snow Day in March! We had an unusual dumping of snow in my town yesterday. The city’s best-loved photographer takes some photos of her dogs in the snow; their joy is infectious! (Cramer Photo)

10 Simple Ways to Show Kindness in the Dog World. I thought this was a beautiful and inspiring post, reminding us of the simple things we can do to show gentleness and respect to other dogs and dog people. (Rescued Insanity)

How to Get Your Dog to Answer Your Call. Helpful reminders about training and receiving reliable recall. (The Inquisitive Canine)

How to Choose the Right Dog. Lindsey shares her wisdom about choosing a dog from a shelter. Decide your non-negotiables up front! This is helpful to me right now, because I’m in such a state of concentrated dog-longing that I could very well make poor, haphazard decisions based on any puppy face. (That Mutt)

6 Best Pet-Friendly Hotel Chains. Brief but useful reviews of the pet-friendliest hotel chains across the U.S. (Pawnation)

The Morran Book Project. I love this. A collection of illustrations from all over the world of artist Camilla Engman’s beloved terrier, Morran, made into a beautiful little book! (Miles to Style)

Hank, Cat for Senate, Responds to Attack Ad. Hank the cat is running for Virginia Senate, but he’s been smeared by an ad campaign from the super-PAC Canines for a Feline-Free Tomorrow. Which is hilarious. (Animal Tracks)