Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It is freaking cold here in Colorado and we are breaking overnight low records left and right. It's not just cold during the night, it is almost unbearable in the day time as well. Thankfully, I have a roof over my head and two extremely warm little bodies to curl up next to. Also, my stupid downstairs neighbor must turn the heat up super high because our floor is always warm. Ha, stupid neighbors...have fun paying your energy bill...
Anyway, how cold is it here? Well, cold enough that Pickle's pee froze in the span of less than 2 minutes. I took him out after work and right before I got to the stairwell a guy came in with his dog scaring Pickle into peeing a gigantic puddle. I couldn't move him until he stopped so by the time I got Cooper and Pickle downstairs to where the grassy area is and back up the stairs, the pee had frozen into a little yellow lake. Gross, true, but it is like, -32 with the wind chill. Luckily it isn't humid in Colorado or else it would feel worse.
We didn't really turn the heater on until Sunday but it started snowing and getting to sub zero temps Saturday night/early Sunday morning. We woke up Sunday and found to dogs cuddled up and "shivering" although it was 62 degress in the house. Liars. They have that super thick fur and I know they're just doing that to get sympathy and to sleep in our room again.
Now it is toasty and warm in the house which makes it so much harder for both the dogs and Corey and me to leave. Cooper especially hates the salt they throw down on the sidewalks and cringes, cries, and lays on his back with his paws curled to his chest. Somehow he always manages to step in the only pile of salt and complains about it. Pickle either doesn't care or avoids the salty spots because he hasn't had that problem yet. I thought about buying booties for Cooper but he refuses to walk if his paws are covered in anything; I have to bandage his paws during allergy season because he chews the pads of his feet. It's really pathetic watching your dog limp around after you because his paws are burning from the salt. Plus I hate the looks that people give me because they think I'm abusing my dog or heartless for letting his paws hurt when really, it's beyond my control. I also get super pissed because instead of whining about the pain, Cooper full out screams like a banshee when he steps in the salt. Then he just stands in it lifting on foot after the other and I can't do anything to make him move. It's like he secretly enjoys the pain...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Letting Go

I don't have to worry about Cooper or Pickle dying anytime soon; they are both relatively healthy and well maintained. I am, however, worried about my first dog, Sari. She turned 11 this year and although my brother calls me to tell me what she's been doing, I worry that she doesn't have many years left.
He called a few weeks ago to let me know that a possum was dumb enough to wander into the backyard where Sari was. Sari, the ever efficient killer, broke the possum's neck without getting one scratch on her or spilling any blood. Good girl. It's stories like that that makes me think that Sari has many years ahead of her. She was very proud of herself when my brother went into the backyard and she had her chest puffed out and started tossing the dead possum around. Gross. I remember coming home from school and she would be standing over whatever animal that dared cross her path. She could catch and kill birds faster than you could blink and slap mice like a cat to make them "pop." When my dad moved back to Washington with Sari, she got out of the backyard and killed a cat. To hear him tell the story you would be amazed at her prowess and sadistic nature. She basically tortured the cat until it was begging her to end its life. She chased it, pounced on it, let it go, give it a head start, and repeat the process for about an hour until the cat had little to no energy left.
She's an amazing dog. We got her when she was about 4 months old, ironically on Christmas day. Jindos are not really meant to be indoor dogs so she had to stay in the garage. Then she went to the backyard. I feel so bad for her because she was the most loyal dog anyone could ask for. She would protect us and our property with her life; she knew when you were sad and would sit next to you and lean on you to let you know that she's there, she would be genuinely excited to see you everytime you went near her and it really lifted my spirits to have a dog like her. She had a lot of socialization problems though; we never took the time to properly train her or get her accustomed to people and other dogs. Her prey drive was unlike any other and once she saw something she wanted, regardless of size, she had to go and kill it. Including small children.
I look at Cooper and his spoiled little face and the way he takes that for granted. Sari never got all the organic treats Cooper has, nor did she have as many toys. Cooper will never know what it feels like to stay outside longer than an hour nor will he ever know what it's like to be a diligent dog. I always wish I had Sari here with me although she would be miserable living inside. I just wish I could spoil her and treat her like a queen now that I make my own money and can spend it any way I want.
Corey's dog Sadie is 12 years old. She has cancer and her lungs and heart are filling up with fluid. Her health has been deteriorating for years but his parents keep holding on hoping that she gets better. While I know it will be hard to let a dog go, I don't think I can stand to see any of my dogs suffer as long as Sadie has. She's almost blind, has no energy, moody, is pain, arthritic, and hasn't eaten well for years. Although it would be a sad thing to do, I think putting her down would be best at this point.
Of course I can say that about Corey's dog. I don't know what I would do if that situation was reversed and that was Sari. I do know that Sari would be hundreds of times more miserable if she was suffering like that. Not to be able to run, chase things, kill things, or really, anything would break Sari's heart and spirit. I would want her to go with dignity and grace and not when she is literally peeing herself because she lost control of her bodily functions. I think she would deserve that.
The same goes for Cooper. He has a heart murmur and while I will continue to get that monitored over the years, if his condition worsens then I would have to put him down. I don't want Mr. Man to suffer; he's a good dog in his own way and I couldn't stand to know that my dog is suffering silently alone while I am at work. Plus, he is a bitchy little queen so I know his sufferings wouldn't be silent nor Ghandi-like. He would be screaming and in a horrible mood all the time. I wouldn't want that for Cooper. As soon as that mischievious little twninkle and smirk is gone from his face because he no longer has the energy or drive for life, I would have to make a very hard, tough decision.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I don't know if dogs can really remember anything in their past. I suppose tons of research has been done where mom dogs won't recognize their old litter or what not but I disagree with that. My old dog Sari had puppies a long, long time ago and had a small litter of three, healthy, adorable Jindo puppies; all female. We had one left for the longest time and found a home for her. After 2 weeks, the people who bought her brought her back to us because their older dogs didn't like it and would pick on her and bite her. Sari, for the 2 weeks her last puppy was gone, was super sad and lethargic and didn't have much of an appetite or will to live. As soon as we brought her puppy to the backyard, Sari's eyes lit up like she couldn't believe what she was seeing and her ears went back and she started making these crying noises. Her puppy ran straight towards her, leaping onto her face and digging its snout into Sari's teat area. We only kept her for another few weeks before someone else bought her. But that was the most touching thing ever and it was seriously like something out of a movie. And it kind of proves that maybe they don't forget. True, two weeks is a short amount of time but it could feel like ages to a dog, don't you think? I don't remember anything from two weeks ago...

Sometimes I wonder if Pickle remembers his past life in crappy Iowa on a crappy po-dunk farm out in the middle of nowhere. I've been noticing more and more interesting quirks from him and I have now concluded that as a puppy he didn't have access to toys, rawhide chews, or really, anything to chew on. He doesn't know what to do with toys except sniff at them, won't chew on bully sticks unless Cooper's chewing on one, and is terrified of sticks. He's also terrified of children and men. Corey gets jealous because when we get home from work both dogs come running for me and they always run by Corey. I think it's because I'm the one who gives them treats.

Anyway, I think Pickle really appreciates the things he has in his life right now. I sure as hell spoil the crap out of him and try my hardest in making him feel like part of the family. Whenever I give him a treat he is already pulling out all his tricks before I even get the treat out of the bag. He sits, shakes, high fives, and targets without a treat in my hand. He only sits on pillows and snuggles into blankets but he's too scared or maybe nervous to let me cover him up with a blanket. I think he's enjoying his life a little more; at least I hope so.

Cooper on the other hand really takes his life for granted. He is bitchy and thinks the world should revolve around him and his needs. He rarely sits or does anything even if you do have a treat in your hand. Instead he tries to take it away from you if you're distracted. I suppose he was much more socialized than Pickle but we also got him at about 10 weeks of age whereas we got Pickle when he was 6 months old. Who knows what Cooper could have been like if he didn't find a home for that long.

I just hope Pickle continues feeling like the luckiest dog in the world. I think after all he's been through he deserves a lot of love, peanut butter, and chicken jerky.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sick as a Dog

Poor Cooper is sick, again. I don't know what he ate but it must have been bad. He was constipated Sunday and I had a feeling something horrible was going to happen and I was right. All Monday morning while I was getting for work, Cooper followed me listlessly begging for a pat or cuddle. He even came in the bathroom when the shower was on in hopes of getting one last pat before I got wet. Then he sat miserably on the bath rug while I showered. Eventually, with Corey and I in our normal morning rush, Cooper had to seek comfort from none other than Pickle. Pickle was sitting on the bed watching TV and Cooper sat right below him with his head up. Pickle glanced down and started sniffing and licking Cooper's head while Cooper closed his eyes and grimaced. It was cute to know that when he is feeling like shit, he will ask Pickle for comfort which makes me think that Cooper likes him a lot more than he lets on. Alas, Corey and I had to leave miserble looking Coop and a happy, yet stoic, Pickle.
When I got home last night at exactly 5 PM, I could already hear Cooper screaming in anticipation and impatience. When I finally opened the door, Cooper shot out and started scratching at the door leading outside the apartment. I got the leash on him and he shot out, ran down the stairs, opened the other door leading out the stairwell by himself, and finally found some relief and had diarrhea for a good 10 minutes. Poor little guy. He looked a little better when we went in and I was hoping that would be the last of his stomach problems. Once I finally got the dogs inside, I had to see the destruction and mayhem of Cooper when he really, really, really needs to go out and there's no one home. He had knocked over a chair trying to get our coats off, knocked over mittens drying on the kitchen island, got his leash (not Pickle's) off the hook by the door, and wreaked other havoc trying to distract himself from making a mess in the house. I have to applaud him despite the mess, picking up loose items is a hell of a lot easier than scrubbing shit out of the carpet. Not surprisingly, Pickle got into things too and ate a pen on the couch which means there are now black ink stains on the couch, and chewed up Corey's headset thing for his XBox. Which he is not happy about.
While Corey and I were eating dinner, Cooper didn't beg like he normally does. He sat by himself on the couch staring at us with the most pathetic expression on his face. Then he started whining and carrying his toys around which is what he does always before he throws up. And he did...by the dining room table. Mostly it was just spit and water. Poor little Choo Choo just sat there, completely miserable with watery eyes staring at the mess. If he could, he would have been crying. His ears were limp and he was looking droopy. When we took him out before bed, he had a little more diarrhea and I was hoping he would eat something at this point as he didn't have an appetite for the last 2 days.
Last night while I was drifting in and out of sleep, I thought I heard Cooper scratching at our door. I ignored him and when I woke up, I was greeted with a puddle of diarrhea in front of the main door. Luckily, it was on linoleum so it was relatively easy to clean up. Now I'm afraid of going home and finding another puddle of mess. I hope he feels better soon; I'm bringing home some Gatorade and cooking him some bland rice for dinner tonight.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Horrible Neighbors

I guess I have a new neighbor who moved in directly below us. He's an older guy, maybe mid-30s and has complained about the dogs twice in less than a week. And he called the cops as well but that's a different story.
Here's the thing: Corey and I both work in downtown which is 45 minutes away by light rail. That means I get up at 5:50 in the morning to walk the dogs and get ready for work with enough time for Corey to shower and all that good stuff before catching the light rail. That means the dogs are up by the time I get up. We keep Pickle in his kennel at night because he makes too much noise and Cooper steals his food. Cooper get free rein of the house because he doesn't do much but sleep; occasionally walking around. We get the dogs ready for bed around 10:30 every weekday night and later on the weekends. The neighbor complained at 6:20 in the morning that the dogs were running around. Um...if you're already up, then aren't you getting ready for work too so why does it matter if they're running around?
He came over last Saturday night at 10 to say that the sound of the dogs running around was too loud. WTF? It's 10! On a Saturday! Granted I am assuming he has a normal 9-5 M-F job, but seriously, 10? Most of the people who live in my apartment complex are young professionals around Corey's and my age. We're used to the noise! People have parties, listen to loud music, have raucous get togethers in the common area by the pool and people just deal with it. After 12 though, then we start asking people to keep it down.
The thing that bothers me is that the guy knowingly moved into an apartment complex that allows animals. Not everyone is going to keep a cat or a 5 pound dog. My dogs are super quiet; they rarely bark and yeah, they kind of run around. But so do kids and kids are a thousand times louder than a dog and I don't fucking complain when someone's asshole kid is screaming for hours. I deal with it. The dogs only run around for 15 minutes at the most and calm down. I keep them quiet during the night, they don't bark, and they don't really do anything but sleep and eat. I can't justify keeping them in their kennels all day and night just because some asshole downstairs can't put up with a bit of noise. I don't know his work schedule, but I think it's fair to assume that during the day, anything really goes since the apartment complex is EMPTY. As my dogs aren't barking their heads off but rather chasing each other BECAUSE THEY ARE BORED for less than 20 minutes, I think he should be able to deal with that. I don't mind putting them in their kennels during the night because hell, they keep me up too. On the weekends, however, I think I can leave them out longer than normal since most people can sleep in on the weekends. I can't keep them in the kennels during the day because that is just not fair; they have every right (as I am paying rent in our apartment) to walk around and be able to lay on the couch and stretch their legs.
I'm going to go down this weekend to talk with the new neighbors and try to figure out a compromise. I hate passive-aggresiveness and they have shown that side by banging on their ceiling when the dogs are too loud. Fucking A, get your lazy ass out and TALK with us. I hate the people who complain about something and never do anything to try and work it out.
The dogs are not at fault. They have their own minds and semi-free will and yes, if they feel like running for whatever reason, they are. I can't always make them stop and unless they are being destructive or super loud, I'm going to let them do it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Sometimes I wonder if dogs take after their owners. You know, personality, likes and dislikes, habits, etc. Cooper uses his paws a lot more than any dog I know and I think he learned that behavior from humans. For instance, he will actually slap Pickle or anything else that annoys him in a friendly manner. Ok, sometimes in a violent manner. My ex had a cat that would chase Cooper and Cooper will chase it back. They got along really well considering Cooper used to be terrified of cats and could be trusted in the same room together. Cooper would sit next to it as it groomed itself and would slap it and knock her over to get the cat to chase him. It was very amusing to me. Luckily she was declawed or else she totally would have made Cooper regret it.

Corey says that Cooper's a lot like me. Corey only recently got back with Cooper; we lived apart for over a year in which Cooper stayed with me. He says Cooper's behavior's changed a lot, both good and bad. At least now we can trust him to be alone outside of his kennel while we're at work. Cooper had a horrible marking problem when he was a puppy. I don't know if Cooper learned some weird, quirky things from me or not but here are some things he does that I definitely do:

  • When he sleeps in the bed with me and jumps on my legs, I always groaned or made a noise. He does this whenever he lies down or when someone nudges him while he's lying down.
  • His eyes glaze over when I've been lecturing him too long. Or make him repeat tricks. My friends and family have told me numerous times (and professors) that my eyes glaze over when something is very boring to me.
  • He's more of a homebody than he looks. Sure he enjoys his walks more than words can describe but at the end of it, he is eager to go home and do nothing.
  • Cooper sniffs flowers because he sees me doing it in the spring and summer. If I stop to sniff the roses, he'll stop, turn to look at me, realize I'm sniffing flowers, and happily sniffs the ones in his reach.
  • He gives up easily. Yeah, no need to desribe that for myself.
  • He's a picky eater. He won't eat "cheap" treats and seems to be able to tell the difference between organic and non-organic foods. While I can't distinguish that, I am a picky eater and will only eat certain foods.
  • Cooper is a bitch. I've been told I'm one as well by my own father. Actually, that's how my dad likes to preface a conversation with boyfriends. True story.
  • Cooper hates getting up in the mornings. I have to drag myself out of bed and he groans when he hears the alarm going off and curls into a tighter ball; just like I do. Eventually we both give in and finally get up. Mornings are inevitable.
  • Cooper's really easy going, he likes everyone and everything until they wrong him. He can hold a grudge longer than any dog should.
  • And last but not least, we're both Asian.

Corey thinks I've been too easy on Cooper and that's why Cooper thinks he can get away with murder. Maybe that's true but honestly, how can anyone say No to his cute little face? He knows what's right and wrong, but his strong shiba personality let's him believe that he is above that law. I can discipline him when he needs it and he does submit to me. Deep down he knows I'm pack leader but likes to pretend otherwise.

This is a picture of Cooper and me at CU Boulder. See how happy he is?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Two Shibas

Cooper and Pickle still do not get along. We have had them in our new apartment for about 3 months now, and Pickle for 4 months. Cooper still hates Pickle and will not stop trying to "dominate" him. Pickle makes the situation worse by not ever leaving Cooper alone. He has that annoying little brother personality that really pisses Cooper off.

Cooper's fine when they're both outside on walks. He doesn't really mind when Pickle shoves him out of the way to sniff whatever Cooper was sniffing first. He doesn't really care if he's the "pack leader" or not; Cooper likes to either be in the front or dawdle behind everyone (Pickle and Cooper never fight over who gets to be leader). Cooper also could care less where Pickle pees or poops and doesn't feel the need to over mark the area.

It's in the house that gets really bad, annoying, and frustrating. Cooper will bully Pickle and scare him so badly Pickle doesn't leave his kennel. When he does venture out, Cooper stresses him out by growling every time Pickle moves. When Cooper's lying down having a nap or just relaxing, Pickle comes out of nowhere and jumps on Cooper and tries to make Cooper chase him. I know Pickle's still a puppy but he should really learn to tone down when everyone's relaxing. Usually I yell at Cooper because he's the one that gets loud. Pickle never makes a sound when he's playing with Cooper and I don't think he can even growl. I feel bad for always yelling and disciplining Cooper because it really isn't his fault all the time. Corey gets on my case when I yell at Pickle because he feels sorry for Pickle. He can't help that he's undersocialized; that'll be the fault of the breeder.

Because Pickle has socialization issues, I think this is made harder because of Cooper's constant bullying. Pickle isn't able to relax because he's wary of Cooper being mean to him. When Corey and i watch TV too loudly Pickle freaks out and hides or he paces. And you know what happens every time Pickle moves; Cooper growls. I think it might almost be best if we gave Pickle up to a family that has the time to socialize Pickle and bring him out of his shell. Maybe Cooper was meant to be an only child but I still want him to have Pickle around. Granted Pickle enjoys Cooper's company way more than Cooper enjoys Pickle. I just feel like I'm taking the easy way out but at what point do you say enough is enough. I don't feel like this is healthy for either dogs because Cooper's getting more and more stressed and I'm sure Pickle's stressed more than we could imagine as he isn't as vocal as Cooper. But I'm afraid of Pickle going to the wrong home; I'm afraid someone might abuse him or drop him off at the pound when they realize that he is a lot of work. It's not that I'm afraid about the work, we are making slow progress, but it's just the fact that I can't stand listening to the damn dogs fighting all the damn time. I put Cooper in his kennel when he's being a dick but as soon as I let him out he's all over Pickle again. And Pickle doesn't know when to just give Cooper space and leave him alone.

I just don't know what to do and I feel like a horrible dog owner. I do get frustrated with Pickle because he is so terrified of everything and has too many issues but I feel like he's my responsibility now. I seriously want to call Cesar Milan and have him help me with my anti-social pup and jealous Cooper.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Off Lead

Everything I have read about shiba inus recommended one thing: never let them off lead as they have a high prey drive. I have always wanted a dog that you can let off the leash and play fetch with in a park or something. My first dog, a Korean Jindo, has an extremely high prey drive and couldn't be trusted off lead. Although I will admit, she is a clever escape artist and would randomly get loose and roam the neighborhood. God knows what she killed during her time away from home, but she always came back in one piece and without blood all over her so I figure we're ok.

Anyway, my friend Fox has a male shiba inu named Jackson. Jackson is the very rare shiba because he listens to Fox attentively and can be walked without a leash. He stays relatively close by and although he doesn't know "sit," "shake," or other cute tricks like that, he knows "up" (get up on the sidewalk), "heel," and "watch out." It's so amazing to see an animal who is so prissy and independant willingly listen to his human and follow him devotedly around. Jackson will also willingly give up pursuit of squirrels, rabbits, and other small vermin he comes across. I'm jealous.

Since moving to the suburbs and noticing the lack of sidewalks around here, Corey and I take the dogs to a near by park and let them run around. We use those super long training leashes on them so they're easier to catch if need be. Sometimes I think I can trust Cooper off lead because he has no interest in anything. He doesn't care if a squirrel is less than 3 inches from him, he doesn't care for other dogs, children, or balls thrown in his general direction. After we switch leashes on the dogs, Pickle takes off and runs around in ecstacy while Cooper rolls around in the grass and plops down to watch Pickle. He doesn't want to run, play, or enjoy the great outdoors. Corey and I have to coax him to run by dragging him a little or getting Pickle to attack Cooper. Cooper just isn't interested in being "free." If I walk away to the other side of the field, Cooper will pick himself up and follow me. Even though he has some free rein, he stays no farther than 15 feet away from me.

This is Cooper just sitting in the park. Pickle doesn't stay still long enough for me to take a picture and I only had the camera on my phone available. Anyway, I kind of worry about Cooper's weight because I feel like he isn't getting as much excercise as he did when I lived downtown. I wold walk him for at least an hour after work and since I don't have a car, whenever I went anywhere I would drag him with me for a false sense of security against the homeless and the crack whores. I don't get home until much later now that I live so far away and usually I have to start dinner almost as soon as I get home. So poor Cooper will be driven to the park that's less than a mile away, I make him run for about 20 minutes, and we walk around the park but in all honesty, the entire trip takes less than half an hour. Totally not enough excercise for Cooper and Pickle.

I just feel guilty I suppose. I don't want obese dogs but at the same time I'm too lazy to do more than the run at the park. Living in suburbia really does make a person lazy...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Too Cute!

I always loved random fuzzy animals larger than myself. I am not the type of person who will carry around a 5 pound "dog" and still respect myself at night. As a small child I have always wanted German Shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes, or Huskies. I loved big cats, wolves, bears, you name it. I'm partial to polar bears because I love their kindly expressions and their tiny little eyes. I like how they slump around and how gracefully they swim for such a large size. Most of all, I love how roly-poly they are. They remind me of gigantic white puppies.

I am bored at work and Googled polar bears and I came across this image:

I mean, how cute is that? Apparently the polar bear came back several times to play with the dogs. It makes me think of Cooper because before he got attacked at the dog park, he loved bigger dogs. He would jump on them and frolic with them and it was the cutest thing. At our old apartment in Iowa the upstairs neighbor had an old German Shepherd named Max and he was like a grandpa to Cooper. He never seemed to mind when Cooper would jump at his face and pull on his lips. If Cooper heard him coming down the stairs guess who wanted to go outside. Cooper. Ah, they were too cute for words and it was the sweetest thing to watch a 120 pound dog playing with a puppy that weighed 13 pounds...

Cooper actually had a goat friend for about an hour when I took him up to CSU for an echocardigram and x-rays. CSU's Vet Hospital also looks after large farm animals and had a few goats and horses in a pen behind the vet school. I needed to walk Cooper and also wanted to pet the horse so I figured, eh, two birds, one stone. Cooper didn't like the horse too much and the horse didn't like him either, but the goat loved Cooper. They were sniffing noses through the fence and would walk next to each other. It was sad to leave because the goat stoof on its hind legs and bleated at Cooper in the most heart-breaking bleats I've ever heard. Cooper kept looking back at the goat and tugging on his leash to try to go back there. It was Cooper's first true love...

I started thinking that if we had that goat, no other dog would dare mess with him again. That goat would kick any dogs' ass should they threaten Cooper. The horse was being mean and stampy towards Cooper and the goat wedged its way between the two lest Coop gets hurt. If only I could keep a goat in my apartment...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I know I'm not supposed to have a favorite dog out of the two I have but sometimes I just can't help it. Corey's really good at liking both Pickle and Cooper equally but sometimes I see myself favoring Cooper more than Pickle. I play with both equally and give them the same amount of treats but I just like Cooper better.
True, Cooper has a lot of problems. He chooses to listen to you and rarely does anything you ask of him unless you have a treat in your hand. You can see the little wheels in his head turning when I tell him to sit. "Hmm, do I really want to do that? She doesn't look like she has anything in her hand...I don't smell anything...ugh, that stupid Pickle is looking at me...wait, what did she want me to do again? I'm itchy; I'm gonna sit down and scratch myself." By then I get exasperated and either tap his butt to make him sit or ask him to do something else such as a high five. "High Five? Does she have the nail clippers? I hate getting my nails trimmed, it hurts. It makes me feel weird. Hmmm, I'm hungry, when was the last time I ate? Ugh, there's stupid Pickle!" Seriously, I think that's how Cooper thinks.
Anyway, I think I like Cooper more because obviously I've had him longer. Not only that, he was my only friend when I moved out to Iowa last November to be with Corey. He kept me company while Corey went out every weekend with his buddies and obviously he didn't invite me. When we broke up, I moved to Colorado and left Cooper behind for a few months until I got settled in with all intentions of having him flown out to me. Corey and I tried to get back together again and he came out with Cooper and left him since he was returning on my birthday. Well, long story short, we broke up again for a long time and Cooper was my main company while I lived in Downtown Denver. I was very depressed and had absolutely no motivation to do anything but lay in bed and cry. The great thing about Cooper is he really could care less about my problems. He would whine and scratch at the door to be let out. He refuses to poop anywhere near where we live and makes me walk him 8 blocks before he considers pooping. If I don't let him out quickly enough he will drag over my coat, shoes, whatever to make me get out of bed. He refused to show that he cared, never cuddling, licking, or anything. Everything he wanted he had to have and I existed to make him happy. Needless to say, if I didn't have Cooper I would have been a complete shut in.
I suppose that was Cooper's way of telling me that hey, life goes on. Sure it sucks ass that your boyfriend/fiancee dumped you twice in 6 months but look outside! Snow! Let's play in it! And hey, look, it's spring! Let's go sniff all the flowers and you can pick me up to sniff the cherry blossoms! And ooo, the crab apples are falling off the branches, let's chase them! Cooper always managed to cheer me up regardless of how badly I felt about life. Also, if anything were to happen to me, who would take care of his cute little face? Cooper lives a very pampered life which includes tons of organic chicken treats, peanut butter and cream cheese filled kongs, organic chicken breast cooked with rice once a month, and organic free range beef with rice every month as well, and all the free range bully sticks he wants. That doesn't include toys every few months, long daily walks where people will chase me for blocks to pet him, and not to mention all my friends downtown who have dogs and we have random doggy playdates.
That being said, I have a lot to be thankful to Coop for. He showed me that it's ok, you have to live your life even if it's boring and only involves work but hey, let's go outside and chase things. He is a very wise little guy and I guess he has that going for him.
Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself but obviously, Corey and I are back together. Maybe third time's the charm for us. He moved out to Colorado to be with me and we are pretty happy. We're working on our issues and it helps that we have Mr. Man to make us laugh and set aside our differences and anger to fulfill his every need.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

You would think that after three months Cooper would realize that Pickle is here to stay. Unfortunately, Cooper still hates Pickle almost as much as the first day he arrived. If anything, I think Cooper might hate Pickle more now. Cooper was never one to cuddle, but he really does enjoy lying by your feet on the couch or on the bed. He hasn't been doing that since Pickle came into the picture because Cooper refuses to be on the same bed/couch/side of the floor/you name it with Pickle. Cooper will give an angry bark/growl/snarl and jump off the couch or bed while giving Pickle the dirtiest look I've ever seen from a dog. Pickle, being oblivious, will jump off the couch or bed and follow Cooper around just to annoy him further.
Besides the fact that neither dog can sleep in the room with us, Cooper also steals treats and food from Pickle. Pickle never defends himself in those situations and lets Cooper eat everything. I think Cooper just eats out of spite and not because he's hungry. However, Pickle will beat up Cooper if they start "fighting." Cooper wouldn't harm a fly and has no hunting skills nor prey drive so watching him try to "fight" with Pickle is one of the most amusing parts of my day. Granted, my life is very pathetic and sad which is made even more pathetic as Cooper is the highlight of my day. Cooper tries to make himself look tougher by growling and snarling for all he's worth but he never goes in for the "vital" areas of Pickle's body. He never goes for the throat, ears, pretty much anywhere where he might actually have a chance. He nips at Pickle's thighs and tries to nip Pickle's paws but he's too scared to actually bite. Pickle, on the other hand, has no problems going for Cooper's throat, ears, eyes, belly, and other vital areas. It's really pathetic to watch Cooper start a fight with Pickle only to run away to his safe area (Corey and I established "safe areas" for both dogs to run to when they're feeling overwhelmed with each other).
Last night Cooper was sleeping on the floor while Corey and I were watching tv. Pickle was sitting on the other couch and when he got up to move to the couch Corey and I were sitting in, Cooper started growling at Pickle. We thought he was growling at the door so we ignored him but when Pickle moved to the other couch, Cooper growled again. Even when he's sleeping he can't ignore Pickle. I'm hoping that with time Cooper will accept Pickle and just leave him alone but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Cooper's very stubborn and sometimes when we go for walks, I can see Cooper giving Pickle the evil eye and scheming ways of pushing Pickle into on coming traffic.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pick Pocket

Oh Pickle...where do I begin? Well, my boyfriend and I decided that maybe Cooper would like a friend. I have always wanted a black and tan shiba and we found a breeder that had a few available in Jewell, Iowa. My boyfriend was moving from West Des Moines out to Denver and we decided to buy a pup before he made his move. We got Pickle at 6 months of age; we thought an older puppy would be more appropriate for us since Cooper's mellowed out and we didn't want to stress him with a young pup. Also, he would immediately get neutered and that greatly helps with potty training.
Alas, in deciding to get Pickle, I had to trust the judgement of my boyfriend when he went to pick out the dog. We agreed on a male about six months of age that was a little on the submissive side. That was the easy part. When he went to pick out the puppy, he wasn't able to "tour the facility" and only met Pickle's mom. I have reservations when it comes to looking around to see how the dogs are kept. Also, the breeder bred several other breeds of dogs including poodles, huskies, carin terriers, and I think that's it. I thought it sounded like a puppy mill of sorts. Anyway, poor little Pickle's first experience off the farm was a 10 hour car trip from Iowa to Denver. When he got to my place, the poor little guy refused to look at me. When we introduced him to Cooper he perked up a bit but once we got them inside the house, Pickle sat in a corner and didn't move, look around, anything. Cooper got a little territorial because he's been an only "child" since we brought Pickle home. The first night Pickle spent in Cooper's kennel and didn't make one sound.
Now, at 10 months of age, Pickle has a ton of social problems we're working with. I believe that he was kept kenneled all day when he lived in Iowa and had very few encounters with people. He freaks out when he sees someone; running in circles and defecating or peeing. When we take him out for walks he constantly circles in a clockwise direction; never counter-clockwise. He's fine with other dogs but when he meets people he just freaks out and can't calm down. I've had friends, strangers, vets, you name it, try to make him feel comfortable by not directly staring at him and letting him sniff them but he refuses to do it. When we have company over, he runs and hides in his kennel. Since we moved to the suburbs from downtown Pickle has had less encounters with people and I wish I could get him out there. We're going to enroll him in puppy classes to see if this will help. He's smart; he just has interaction issues. His constant circling makes it almost impossible to walk next to him without tripping on him and we have tried harnesses, a gentle leader, keeping the leash longer, shorter, somewhere in the middle, and even walking him with two collars and leashes with one person on either side of him. Nothing really helps. However, the circling has become a lesser occurance since we got him in July so I believe we're making progress.
Besides his circling and fear of humans, Pickle is an overall good dog. He is a very quick learner and bascially copies everything Cooper does. He loves to cuddle and will squeeze his way between Corey and me when we're on the couch or in bed. He was a little hard to house train but we expected that. Pickle seems to be fascinated with TV and will watch TV with us for hours on end. Once he started trusting us, his personality just bloomed. He's very playful, happy, and so eager to please. I think he appreciates his new life with us compared to the hell he had to live through in Iowa. He has the stinkiest breath and no matter how much we brush them or give him this anti-tartar stuff, his breath smells like dead and rotting animals. The vet says his PH balance is off and he has a lot of tartar build up so we'll have to get his teeth professionally cleaned every year.
He loves Cooper. I don't know what he would do if Cooper wasn't around for a day. He follows him around like an adoring younger brother which annoys Cooper. Pickle wants to be as close as possible to Coop but Cooper doesn't allow that. But, it is so cute to watch them play together; tackling and running after the same toys. Pickle's more assertive than Cooper and will yank toys out of Cooper's mouth. Cooper doesn't know what to make of this and will usually just make angry noises.
I'm hoping with time and some training, Pickle can start to trust humans and not be deathly afraid of them. So far, we're making slow but steady progress.

Friday, October 3, 2008

All About My Mr. Man

I got Cooper when he was about 10 weeks old from a small breeder in Iowa in November of 2006. Well, she was almost at the Minnesota border, but Iowa nonetheless. He was the last one left of his litter and the little guy was so excited to see and meet new people. He was fat, cuddly, healthy (as far as I can tell from looks alone), and had a dingleberry stuck to his side. It was love at first sight. I just wished that the breeder noticed the clump of poo stuck to his side but oh well, I brought him home with it on him since it was freezing and I didn't want him to catch a cold.

Now Cooper is fully grown at 2 years of age. He's quite a handsome fellow if I must say so myself, but he is very, very dramatic and prissy. I think he has more feminine features than masculine but I suppose that's ok. He is very eager to please and is extremely easy going and laid back. He's the first male dog I have ever owned so it has been a learning experience.

Here's more about Cooper:
  • He hates water and will squirm and scream during baths. I happily paya very nice man to wash my dog a couple times a year. He also hates getting his nails trimmed but I put an old t-shirt on him which for some reason makes him freeze up so the most he can do is whimper while I trim away.
  • He has seasonal allergies and I am dealing with that right now. Poor little guy's face is red and puffy and he just looks miserable.
  • His nick names include: Coopa Coop, Mr. Man, Choo Choo, and sometimes I call him Cooper Face.
  • He loves everyone he meets. I don't think he ever barked threateningly towards anyone unless they were ignoring him. He doesn't do too well with dogs since he got viciously attacked by some huge mutts at a dog park.
  • He's not a cuddler but is on you like glue when you're sick. I like that.
  • He is very vocal. And he has nightmares and screams in the middle of the night because of them. It probably includes water and large mean dogs.
  • He has a heart problem. At first the vet thought it was a heart murmer but after a year of saving money (i.e. paying off enough of my credit card debt) I took him to Colorado State University Veterinary School to have it thoroughly checked out. I can't remember the medical name, but basically he has a small hole in his heart that never closed up while he was in the womb. Nothing too serious but we'll keep checking up on it. Nothing but my deep love for that dog would make me step foot on my rival college's campus (I went to the University of Colorado at Boulder and CSU is our rival in-state college).

So yeah, I suppose that's about it for him. He's really the pride and joy of my life right now.