Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Out Of The Crate

Today is our second day at the lake, and so far Brutus hasn't gone in his crate. Whew! He has spent a fair amount of time sitting by the door pouting because he wants to play outside, but NOT on his leash. He was outside all day with Don yesterday without his leash on, and had done great, so last night when he had to go potty, I let him out the front door without it.

Immediately his nose went straight up in the air. I should have known at that very second that I was in trouble because that boy has a nose like a Coon Hound, but he walked down the steps to the nearest snow bank and "took care of business". Just as I'm thinking "what a good boy", he takes off down the driveway, and I hear multiple hooves running in the snow. There were obviously some deer hanging out in the woods across the road. I called him, which was pointless, so I begrudgingly put on my boots, which I must say made a great fashion statement with my jammies, and headed out to round him up. Thankfully, as soon as I got to the end of the driveway, he came trotting back across the road. Waiting for him to decide to come home during the day is one thing. Waiting for him at night would make me crazy!! He didn't even ask for a treat. He just came in and jumped on the bed. I think, actually I know, that he knew he had been naughty. But I can guarantee that he thought it was worth it.

Today Brutus spent some time helping dad clean off the deck, by eating the fallen birdseed. That will make for some interesting poop scooping! I think I'll leave that job up to Don this week. :)

Well, I'm off to get ready to head in to town to do some toy shopping. Both of Brutus's Kong toys that we throw for him are toast, and they're pretty important. One got ruined from lots of play, and Brutus chewing the ball out of it. The other one hit it's demise yesterday in the snow blower. I don't think Don was any happier than the toy was. It took him quite a while to get all of the pieces out of the snow blower! Since we have actually had both of these toys for many months, there will be no complaining coming from us!! Thank you Kong company for making a great toy. :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Don't Think Brutus Likes Christmas

Brutus has had a tough few days. It could have been because I was busy getting things ready for the holiday and didn't get to spend as much time with him, but things really seemed to start going down hill for him when we brought the Christmas tree in to the house.

We waited until five days before Christmas to actually bring the tree in to the house for fear that Brutus would think it would be a great tree to pee on. I'm happy to say that that didn't happen. I am actually amazed to say that that didn't happen. We had to move his crate from one side of the rec room to the other side of the rec room to put the tree up, and I thought he would be fine with that too. He hates his crate. Instead, he spent the next week pretty much living in his crate, by his own choice. It was so sad. He would greet the kids as they came home, let them rub his belly for a minute, then go in his crate. He even sat in his crate while we were opening presents, and I thought for sure that he would be right in the middle of all the action chewing up all of the boxes and throwing around the paper. He was acting completely depressed.

When we go to bed at night, Brutus is usually two steps ahead of us. He LOVES to crawl in to bed and snuggle up. The whole week of Christmas, he would come to bed for a little bit, and then leave and go down in his crate. The "down" part is strange too because he doesn't like to be downstairs. The kids stayed up much later than we did, so they would be downstairs visiting, but he would still go in his crate instead of hanging out with them. We're talking about a boy who loves to be the center of attention here. Not necessarily in a bad way, but at least in some way.

It also bothered him (a lot) that he didn't get to ride in the car the whole week. I had my car completely vacuumed out so Nick could use it while he was home. His girlfriend Liz was coming in to town for the first time, and they had plans with other friends too, and there was just no way that they needed to be using a sticky roller to get dog fur off of them every time they stepped out of the car, so my car was off limits. Don had just vacuumed out his car too. He was taking some of his guys from work out for a Christmas lunch toward the end of the week, and no dog fur was allowed in his car either. Every time someone would leave, Brutus would go running down to the entry way all raring to go for a ride, only to be told to sit and stay. When he did what he was told, and the person left and didn't come back in for him, he was pretty sad.

On a bright note, he did get a new "Tuffy" toy for Christmas from a company that claims to make the "tuff"est soft dog toys ever. When it first came and I took it out of the box, I swore that Brutus would never get through it. This thing was sewn through so many times, and made out of some of the strongest fabric I had ever felt. Four days. That's what it took. In four days Brutus had the top of the head ripped open and was unstuffing this guy. He LOVES this toy, so I think I'm going to have to just keep restuffing it and sewing it back shut!! I would still say it was a purchase that was worth it, because Brutus loves to chew on soft toys and pull out the stuffing, and at least this one was a challenge for him. Here's a link to the company if anyone wants to check them out, and I'll put a link up on the main page too. Their shipping was incredibly fast, and for the quality of the toy, I felt the price was reasonable.

The tree is now out of the house, and the kids have all gone home, :-( . On the bright side, we packed up the three cats and Brutus and headed to the lake. Today Brutus gets to spend the day with dad snow blowing the driveway (which is huge) and going for a ride in to town. He will be the happiest boy on earth. Hopefully now that things are settling down he will get over pouting in his crate. I will never know what made him do that, especially for a dog who has typically been very fearful of his crate. Does he have bad memories from something that happened in a house with a Christmas tree? Is that the time of year he was thrown away? I guess we'll never know. January 9th will mark the one year Anniversary of when Brutus joined our family, and all I know for sure is that we will celebrate, and special treats will be given. Maybe even a Kong birthday cake with peanut butter in it. He'll have no idea what we're celebrating, but Don and I will know that we're marking the one year mark of one crazy ass fun year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ho Ho Ho and a Ha Ha Ha!

What happens when you do this to Brutus??

Brutus does this!!

And Mom dies laughing. I know, I know. I can just hear what Don is saying right now, but it really was too funny!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crazy Busy Week

I'm not sure where this week has gone, but somehow it managed to get away from me with the Brutus blog not being updated. Since I don't want to bore you with a bunch of crazy details from the week, I'm just going to do a photo update today of Brutus spending some great quality time playing outside at the lake with Dad. Whether water is liquid, or frozen, he loves it........big time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brutus Scissor Teeth

Friday night when Don and Brutus headed to the lake, I headed out to do some shopping. The primary things on my list were cat food and milk. I came home with a new sofa and dog toys! I would say I got a little distracted. Happens to the best of us, doesn't it??

The toys I bought for Brutus were intended to go in his Christmas stocking, but the little stinker got his nose in to a small open space in my bedroom closet door, sliding it open, and managed to find the stuffed hedge hog I had bought him. He LOVES stuffed animals, especially with squeakers in them. Somehow Brutus was built with an internal "squeaker" detector, and a passion for unstuffing stuffed animals. As long as he doesn't do it to real animals, I'm cool with buying the occasional $3.00-$5.00 toy for him to have his fun with. The first thing to go is always the eyes. He literally puts his little front teeth around the attached eyeball, rips it off and spits it out. Next is usually the limbs. Once the limb pocket is open, he starts unstuffing the animal. He loves to pull the stuffing out bit by bit and spit it out. As soon as he can get a hold of that squeaker bag, out it comes. He squeaks it a few times, spits that out too, then shreds the rest of the animal. I can tell you with certainty that it goes this way every time. I would say that it's a big waste of a toy, but he enjoys himself like you wouldn't believe. So that was last night.

This morning he pulled the good old "mom's on the phone, what can I get away with" routine. I finally got fed up with trying to keep him entertained while I was on the phone, so I caved and gave him his other Christmas stocking toy. It WAS a twisted rope with a tennis ball in the middle of it. He loves to play tug of war, and chase after balls we throw, so this would be perfect. Or so I thought. I took the tags off and threw it to him, and he literally had it destroyed in five minutes. All that's left is the rope, and I'm sure he'll have that shredded in no time. On the bright side, it works great to clean his teeth. :-(

I'm just not sure what Santa's going to think about this.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Where Did Summer Go...And I Want It Back!

Brutus isn't liking this being a house dog business. Summer was so much easier. If I had to go somewhere (while living at the lake), I would simply make sure that his water bowl was nice and full, put him on his outdoor tie and leave the garage door open about two feet. It was perfect. He could spend the whole time guarding the house from chipmunks, which frankly was a full time and very interesting job for him, and I knew that he would be fine and entertained while I was gone. We have neighbors close enough to us that I knew he wasn't sitting there crying the whole time. If he was, I would have heard about it. He did one night, but there were deer hanging out in our yard, just beyond his reach. That wasn't even fair. I think they knew exactly what they were doing. I can just see them standing there eating my baby trees, and the conversation going something like this; "Wow, let's just stand here and see if we can really irritate that dog. Oh my gosh, look at him bark, that's so funny. How long do you think he'll keep doing that? I'll bet you that bush over there that he'll bark for thirty minutes!!". Um yeah. It probably wasn't a good night for our poor neighbors.

So now that we're living back in the city and winter has hit, Brutus is officially an indoor dog. If I leave the house and he can't come with me, he has to be crated. He has terrible separation anxiety, and even though I plan to train him to eventually be in the house alone, he had enough other issues that were higher on the list to conquer before that one. If I were to leave him in the house out of his crate, I wouldn't have a front door left when I got home. He would freak! We still try to walk him every day, but it is gradually getting a little tougher too, even for his own well being. This morning it was 3 degrees Fahrenheit when I woke up, and I don't want him freezing the little pads on the bottom of his feet, and I can guarantee that he isn't a "boot" dog. We have trouble getting close enough to his feet to trim his nails, so if we were trying to fashion him up with some boots he would have a fit and also chew them up in a New York minute. Plus, I find dog fashion to be a little embarrassing. I get the whole sweater thing, especially for small or short haired dogs, but the ruffled dog dresses are so BAD! Our neighbors black poodle was outside last weekend trying to jump around through the snow in a red ruffled dress. So not cool.

Anyway, now that it's cold out and stays dark so much later in the morning, Brutus likes to sleep in until around 9:30 in the morning. I had to leave at 8:30 today to go to the doctor, and he couldn't come with, so I had to get him out of bed and outside to go to the bathroom before I could leave. I would have liked for him to eat a little breakfast too, but he knew I was up to something, and he sat right at the front door. His instincts are incredible. I started the car to warm it up for a few minutes before I left because it was SO cold out, and then he started jumping in circles. He loves to go for rides. You can only imagine his dismay when I said "crate". It took a piece of cheese to get him down the stairs, but he went. As soon as I shut the door to his crate he started to cry, not bark, but literally cry. All the books say to never make a big deal about leaving your dog, so I just said "see you in a bit". When I got back three hours later, he was one very sad pup. I couldn't move a foot without him practically running in to me.

We did go out and play outside for a while, and he tooled around the yard while I cleaned up some of his "piles". We're expecting more snow tonight, so I figured I better get them picked up before they get buried. Those little spring surprises are no fun! lol! By tonight, I knew it was bath time. The last bath he had was right before the kids came home for Thanksgiving, and he was getting pretty stinky from playing in the snow. Wet dog equals stinky dog, and for some reason he can't go outside without doing head dives and sliding around in the fresh snow.

Don helped me get him in the tub and scrub him down and get his ears all cleaned out, and at this point I think he probably thought that it was one of the worst days he had ever had. He has those eyebrows that he looks at you with, and even though they usually look sad and make you feel so bad for him, I also think that they know a few swear words, and I'm sure I heard a couple come flying off of the left one a couple times tonight!

I found one of his Kong's and filled it up with some kibble and peanut butter. He took it from my hand, took his big wet body and laid on MY side of the bed and licked it until he practically fell asleep.

Tomorrow will be a better day buddy. Mom doesn't have to go anywhere. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So Sad

Oh my God, if there is a dog that can break your heart, it is a Lab. All they have to do is look at you with those eyebrows, yeah, I said eyebrows, and you're toast.

Last Saturday Brutus got to play with the neighbor dog Yaeger, and he had the time of his life. On Sunday, Don was outside hanging up the Christmas wreath and Brutus got to go out to help him. Well, he decided he would hightail it right over to Yaeger's house to play again. The big problem with that was that he isn't allowed to hightail it out of our yard to go anywhere without us, and he wouldn't come back when Don told him to. He wanted to be with his friend, and that was pretty much all he cared about. So, Don had to go over to Yaeger's house and bring Brutus home, and Brutus got put on his outdoor tie while Don finished up his work. He was pretty unhappy, but he needs to learn.

Well, around comes Monday, and instead of going downstairs to go potty when he woke up, Brutus wanted to go out the front door. Yeah, right, I can't see through this one at all. The first thing on his mind when he woke up was going over to Yaeger's house again! Instead of letting him out loose, I put his outdoor tie on him, and this was the scene for the next thirty minutes until his paws got chilly and he decided to come in for some breakfast.

The front window is beveled....sorry for the bad picture!
Anyway, Yaeger's mom and dad both go to work during the day, so Yaeger is inside his house all day. He's probably just as sad as Brutus is. It's really quite pathetic. He's as pouty in the house as he is outside. Brother! Wait until we tell Don that we have to get another dog so Brutus has a playmate. JUST KIDDING!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Love......And A Lesson

I was working on my photo for my photo club today, and it kind of coincided with Brutus playing out in the snow. When I was watching him jumping around and playing and just loving life, it made me realize just how far we have come in the last few months.

A year ago, my husband and I decided we would welcome our first dog into our family. Our last child had left for college, we weren't ready to retire yet, and we had some love to spare.

A year ago, a dog named Brutus was sitting in a high kill shelter in Missouri, scheduled for death in the gas chamber. A young man at the shelter could see that this dog had so much love in him, but as so often happens, someone bought him and either didn't have the time to train him, or didn't care enough to train him, and therefore they didn't like him and they threw him away. I will admit that when dogs aren't trained, they can be no fun to be around, but unfortunately, they don't exactly know how to do this themselves. It's one of the responsibilities that you have to think about before you decide that you want that cute little puppy that you see in the store window, or the humane society or your local paper. Dogs are a lot of work, and a lot of money, and they deserve the respect of not being adopted if you can't handle this. The Humane Society of the U.S. put out a statistic last year that it estimated that there were close to four million dogs euthanized. Thankfully for Brutus, this young man called the Midwest Animal Rescue, and a wonderful chain of love began.

People selfishly give their time to transport these animals to safe no kill shelters and foster homes. Once they reach safety, they are typically given medical care, socialization skills, and training so they can be permanently placed in their forever home. Some of these poor animals are so emotionally and physically damaged that I can't even bare to think about it. It makes me literally sick. One of the first dogs that we went to see had been tied to a tree for a year and a half and beaten regularly. We are as patient and loving as you can get, but we knew we didn't have the knowledge to give this girl what she would need, and we had to be honest about that. If I came within five feet of her, she would tremble. How can any human be so incredibly cruel. I will never know. My motto has always been, "humans deserve twice of what they give to an animal, good or bad". Anyone who would hit an animal is a coward. Animals don't think things through like humans. They run on instinct, and hopefully some good positive training.

Now Brutus on the other hand, I knew we could handle. He had absolutely no training, didn't even know his name, and was "probably" about two years old, but he didn't seem to have any deep emotional scars other than being scared of loud noises. The more we got to know him, the more we figured he was probably bought to be a hunting dog and failed. About all he hunts is mice!

I'm not going to tell anyone that this was easy, because it wasn't, but neither is raising a puppy. Brutus had some bad habits, like "marking" my leather chair (thank God I own a carpet shampooer) and chewing up shoes, but I spent the first six months of his time with us involving him in every aspect of my life from loading the dishwasher to getting the mail, and those bad habits are but a memory.

Today, Brutus is a boy that has life by the tail, and couldn't know a greater love if he dug his way to the center of the earth. I encourage anyone looking for a canine or feline friend to consider adopting an adolescent or adult animal. There are so many little souls out there sitting in metal cages that need love, and with some patience and time, they will give it back ten fold.

First Big Snow

We had our first big snowfall of the season yesterday, and this morning Brutus was MORE than excited to get out there and help Don get the driveway cleaned out. He had already been out back to go potty, (Brutus, not Don) so he had done a couple head dives into the fresh powder, and when dad said "Brutus, do you want to go outside with dad?" I thought his little butt was literally going to shake off. In this picture, his tail is wagging so fast that you can't even see it!!
We need to go back about fifteen minutes though. Brutus had been on the bed with me, looking out the bedroom window. The neighbor two doors down has a golden lab named Yaeger, and Brutus had been watching Yaeger play outside with his dad, and I could just see his mind going. This was going to be good. He and Yaeger have played on occasion, and Brutus has been known to sneak over and steal one of Yaeger's bones every now and then, so they are probably considered doggy friends.

So, Don opens the door, and this is what we see:

And he's Yaeger's house!!

And he made it!!

It's really hard to tell these two apart, but Brutus is the one with the deflated ball in his mouth. Yaeger is slightly bigger than Brutus, and has ruffly fur on his tail. Otherwise, I have mistaken Yaeger for Brutus a few times!! Also Brutus always has his collar on, and Yaeger rarely does.

These two played and played and played. It was awesome, and so much fun to watch. They were like two kids in a candy store that hadn't had sugar in a year!
This is when it gets funny. They had been playing for quite a while, and I think they were getting tired, at least Brutus was. He had Yaeger's ball, and he decided to lay on it to take a break.

Yaeger was like "dude, this is totally not fair. Get off the ball!! Come on man!!" But Brutus stayed right where he was.

Pretty soon Yaeger had had enough and decided he was going to tell his dad. He started barking like crazy. I still have the flu, so I was in my bedroom window, two houses away, and I could hear him. It was  hilarious!!
It worked. They were up and running around again, and having a blast. I think Brutus just needed to catch his breath. He's such a goof. At one point he was rolling around in the snow, and I know him well enough to know that he was just thinking "man, this is so awesome"!! Yaeger was looking at him like he was crazy!
Then it was time to come home. Yaeger's dad was done with his driveway, and Don needed to get busy with his. I love that we can "occasionally" trust Brutus to just play outside now. We were so worried when we moved back from the lake that being outside off leash was going to be a huge issue, and he certainly hasn't been perfect, but he keeps getting better and better, and days like this certainly make it worth his while to stick around. 
Today was an awesome day in Brutus land!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mom Is Sick and Brutus Doesn't Like It

I have the flu, and Brutus just doesn't get it. My bones hurt, I am freezing to death, I can't keep anything "down", and all Brutus wants to do is play. I can't even tell you how many times I've been hit in the head with a ball or bone. Aren't dogs supposed to instinctively know when their owners are sad or sick?? Or, is that just the older and wiser dogs that know these things. Daddy needs to come home from work soon. :((

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's Your Sleep Number?

So, the week that Don was gone, Brutus decided that he LOVED sleeping on his side of the bed. Apparently it's much more comfy than the bottom of the bed, which would make sense since it not only has a nice little sleep number assigned to it, but it has years of molding added to it too. Probably too many years. I can no longer get the bed to look nice and smooth on top. You can always tell where our body "dents" are.

When Don came home, Brutus really didn't think that it was such a great idea that he moved off from "his" side of the bed. It kind of started with Don crawling in to bed to watch TV. Brutus would see him coming, and he would run over, jump on the bed and plop himself down right on Don's side of the bed so Don couldn't lay there. Don would have to push him over toward the middle, but Brutus literally turned himself in to dead weight. Of course, I was laughing the whole time because Brutus was acting like a big child, and well, I'm not going to say how Don was acting. :)

Then Don was waking up exhausted. He said that Brutus was taking over his pillow. He would start out with just his head on the pillow next to him. Then he would move his head so it was sort of cradling Don's head, and then it would end up that his head was on top of Don's. Not good. Keep in mind that while all of this is going on, Brutus is snoring and also moving his body over closer toward Don too.

Well, last night I was having trouble getting to sleep, so I was sitting on the bed doing some stuff on my laptop. Pretty soon Brute was snoring and had laid down with his head right next to Don's. I just couldn't resist getting a picture. I know that Don isn't going to be happy about this one, but honey, just remember that it was funny, OK????