Tuesday, May 31, 2011

21 Nicknames

I hope I'm not the only one who has an insane amount of "pet" names for her pet.  Here is a not entirely comprehensive list of Maisie's nicknames...meaning, here are 21 that I thought of off the top of my head:

1)  Maise
2)  Lou (Maisie's middle name, in case I have not mentioned that previously)
3)  M.Lou (ala J.Lo)
4)  LuLu
5)  NuNu
6)  Maisonnaise
7)  Goofus McDoofus
8)  Smiley Jones (only when she is smiling, obviously)
9)  Monkey
10)  Bear
11)  Boo
12)  Bunny Rabbit
13)  No Way-sie Maisie (my brother came up with that one when Maisie got a little too close to his sandwich)
14)  Buh-doo (sometimes Buh-doo-doo, really no clue where it came from)
15)  Poopy Dunderhead
16)  Snoopy
17)  Little Monster (my attorneys are contacting Lady Gaga about her stealing this)
18)  Silly Bobilly
19)  Pumpkin Head
20)  Stinky Binky
21)  My Furry Little Money Pit (when referring to her in conversation)

*sigh*  "Call me whatever you want, just make sure you feed me."

What name(s) do you use for your dog (or cat) when you're not calling them by their actual given name?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Quick Morning Crawl

Maisie and I do this little pre-breakfast routine on a lot of mornings.  Why?  Because she's so damn cute!  And I sometimes let her earn her keep by entertaining me with said cuteness.  Wouldn't you?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where Art Thou, Spring?

Spring has yet to arrive in Chicago.  Perhaps it has experienced some travel delays, perhaps it has decided not to show up this year.  We've had a couple warm (even hot) days, but for the most part the weather has been chilly and rainy.  Maisie and I woke this morning to foggy, dark skies and lots of thunder...it's pouring rain now with possible hail expected later in the day.  It feels as if the city (and my deck) are permanently soaked at this point.  It's a work from home day for sure.

My previous dog Kaya had horrible storm phobia that got worse as she aged.  Towards the end of her (thankfully long) life, she was actually prescribed valium for it because she would shake uncontrollably, crawl into the bathtub and cower, claw relentlessly at the floor and/or try to wedge herself underneath furniture.  I was always so worried she might hurt herself and figured a doped up dog was preferable to an injured one.  Sometimes she was in such bad shape that I struggled not to take one of the valium myself!

Luckily, Maisie seems just slightly nervous during thunderstorms (and often doesn't react to them at all). When she does get anxious, it's never so bad that it can't be alleviated by our not yet trademarked but highly effective formula of approximately 70% snuggles and 30% antler chewing.  I did just get her a Thundershirt in the hopes it would help with her separation anxiety (more on that in a future post), but will definitely try it today for its original intended purpose should Maisie seem more freaked out than usual.  Go away, rain!!!

 "I'm not scared of you, thunder!  OK, maybe just a tiny bit..."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Animal Art

I love collecting brightly colored artwork...every room and hallway in my house has art hanging on the walls.  Through ebay's "self-representing artists" section and Etsy, it's easy to amass a fairly affordable collection.  About half of mine is animal related (with about 90% of that half featuring dogs...big surprise).

I have four pieces by Anne Leuck Feldhaus, a favorite local artist (and fellow rescue dog lover), here is one:

And another...she actually painted this one years ago for a rescue's silent auction fundraiser, I picked it up from her and loved it so much that I ended up being the high bidder!

This is right next to my bed to encourage a restful night's sleep:

I keep this folk art style painting in the kitchen, near Maisie's crate:

These pigs cracked me up and I just had to have 'em hanging around:

And this was an amazing birthday gift made for me by my friend Sara.  Perhaps you recognize the subject?

Not everyone appreciates the art though.  Maisie just wanted breakfast.
"See this empty food bowl, lady?  Put the camera down and fill it!"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stress Relief

Looks like a tough week ahead...in addition to a couple minor mishaps this morning, I've been having major issues at work, and now also a dental problem that I think will require a root canal.  I was able to get an emergency dentist appointment for this afternoon, but in the meantime I am very stressed out!

Luckily, I have a permanent in-house snuggler and that helps a little.  Maisie likes to curl herself right up against me, adjusting herself to whatever position I may be sitting in.  Like I said, it helps.

Update:  No root canal necessary...yeah!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Rapturous Walk

I'd heard the world might end today, but everything seemed fine when I woke up this morning so Maisie and I prepared to head out as usual.  When we got outside, Maisie took a look towards the sky...sensing no imminent danger, she determined it was safe for us to continue on.

So we started our walk around the block.  Maisie sniffed and snuffed like she always does, and showed off her new collar!

In the past few months, Maisie has started lifting her leg to pee about half the time.  Have any of you with female dogs noticed the the same thing?  Or conversely, do you have a male dog who prefers to squat?

I confess I have slacked with Maisie's training over the winter, but since it was a pretty nice morning we worked on a few commands once she finished her business.  Last summer, we took a class with a trainer who recommended incorporating some obstacle course type tasks into walks whenever possible, to work on maintaining focus around distractions.  There is a big rock towards the end of the block, and sometimes I have Maisie jump over it as we pass.  Other times, we use it as a perch on which to practice her "sit."

We also worked on "down/stay" today.

Finally, she jumped a fire hydrant without hesitation...go Maisie!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bad Habits

I don't have many household rules for Maisie and the ones I do have are pretty basic, such as no peeing on rugs, no begging for food, no chewing on furniture and no sleeping directly on the sheets of my bed. However, more often than not, after making the bed I return to a scene like this...
Or this.

No matter how many times I correct her, nearly every day I find Maisie either mid- or post-comforter bunching. I understand that it's doggie instinct to make a little nest, but it drives me nuts!  You're probably thinking "well, why allow her on the bed at all then?"  That's a valid question.  The answer is 'cause I'm a sucker.  A sucker who enjoys her Maisie bedtime snuggles.

I have also noticed that Maisie seems extra itchy lately.  She's always had a bit of a licking habit, but recently she's been really gnawing at her paws...
And nibbling at her flank.

I'm assuming it's a seasonal thing, especially since my allergies have been acting up as well.  Has anyone else noticed their dog displaying increased allergy-type symptoms over the last few weeks?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sleepy Girl(s)

Maisie spent the whole day at daycare yesterday and then had an unscheduled visit from Mr. Peepers last night. Needless to say, she is exhausted this morning!  So am I for some reason...I actually hit the snooze button when the alarm went off, something I almost never do.  While I had no choice but to finally get up, lazy Maisie has so far not even left the bed.

Last time I checked, she was sound asleep once again.  Hopefully that means she'll snooze most of the day away because she'll be in the office with me, but in the meantime I am very very jealous!

On an unrelated note, a couple people have asked about the design change so I wanted to share the details.  I noticed a credit for Designer Blogs while reading a post on Pet Blogs United (there's a similar button on my sidebar now too).  I assumed it would be too expensive to make any major changes to the blog, but figured it couldn't hurt to look.  To my surprise (in addition to pricier and more time-consuming custom orders), they have a selection of premade templates for just $10 if you want to install it yourself or starting at only $20 including installation.  The design I chose cost $25.  I did spend an extra $10 for the little pink heart favicon you now see next to my blog title if you bookmark it...and I also learned what a favicon is since (being a bit behind technology-wise) I'd never heard the term before!  The whole experience was unbelievably easy, and the new template was up and running less than 48 hours after I placed my order.

Monday, May 16, 2011

In with the New

So the new blog design is complete and installed and you're lookin' at it.  I love it, and hope you do too!

Whatcha think???

Mister Peepers

It was too rainy (and cold!) to take Maisie to the dog park this weekend, and by yesterday afternoon she was bouncing off the walls.  So I was extra happy that my friend Curtis brought his dog Mr. Peepers over last night for our weekly Sunday Funday gathering. Peeps is a smart little prince of a Boston terrier, and he and Maisie love their playdates.  He is unfamiliar with the concept of sharing though, and will often steal a toy or antler right out of Maisie's mouth...Maisie, shockingly, allows it.  Peepers also enjoys humping Maisie as much as possible, which (unsurprisingly) Maisie does not allow.  While her issues are primarily behavioral in nature, Mr. Peepers has more than his share of medical problems...mainly, the fact that he is allergic to nearly everything.  He can only eat special food and takes daily medication, but still has an irritated, itchy chest almost all the time.
Chrissy gives our boy some much appreciated scritchums 

After the first round of wrestling and chasing and chewing antlers together, Peeps and Maisie sat with us as we decided what to order for dinner.  We all enjoyed some champagne as we discussed our options.
Curtis ponders the many dining possibilities (my pig and tiara were birthday gifts)

Both dogs were able to just chill out for a while before round 2 of playtime.  They really are the best of friends. :) 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Out with the Old

Maisie is a tough little monkey and she plays rough.  That means her collar gets dirty...like, really really dirty. For a while, she sported a very cool black fabric collar with hot pink embroidered skull and crossbones.  I washed it periodically on the top shelf of the dishwasher (an awesome little trick for cloth collars, BTW) and though that kept the collar clean, all the washing combined with Maisie's frequent wrestling matches eventually caused it to fray.  I realized then that a leather collar was a better option for Maisie.  She's had the same one for about a year, and modeled it as she snoozed on the couch this morning.

The collar has definitely seen better days, but I've been hesitant to replace it because I couldn't find another one I liked as much.  Then yesterday, I noticed that one of the silver decorative bones was missing.  It fell off a couple weeks ago during a typically vigorous Maisie/Mr. Peepers playdate, but I was able to fix it temporarily (I am surprisingly handy for a petite Jewish chick).  It must have come off again while she was staying at Paul's.

I took that as a sign that it was officially time for a new collar.  As mentioned in a previous post, it had to be pink.  I searched and searched online, and finally discovered a handmade pink leather collar that appears to be worthy of the Divine Miss M at a shop on Etsy.  I think it will look great on Maisie...don't you agree?

Separately, I am considering an update to the design of this blog.  I may have found an inexpensive way to do it but have not yet committed at this point, so I'm keeping the details to myself for now!   ;)

Friday, May 13, 2011


While in Nassau this week, I learned about potcakes.  Contrary to what you may think, they have nothing to do with either pot or cake.  It's the name given to the many stray dogs who live on the island, so called because residents used to (maybe still do?) feed them the remains of a traditional pea and rice mixture that gets caked to the bottom of a cooking pot.  The ones I saw were all yellow potcakes...

But apparently there are plenty of black potcakes as well.
Maisie and Havi's Bahamian sister?

Potcake overpopulation is a major problem in the Bahamas, due primarily to negative perceptions (and misconceptions) regarding spay/neuter there.  Although all the locals I asked assured me that the dogs are fed and generally looked after, a little online research disproves that, saying the animals are considered a deterrent to tourism and therefore it's not uncommon for them to be poisoned or even shot.  Though I was unaware of their short life spans at that point, my heart broke when I saw a potcake anyway and I became mildly obsessed with feeding at least one during my stay.  Unfortunately, I never had anything edible when a potcake appeared and when I did have food with me, I saw no potcakes.

Thankfully, there are humane and rescue organizations in the Bahamas trying to help the potcakes.  Some even have adoption programs for them here in the States.  Knowing there were so many needy dogs around just made me miss Maisie more, though I don't think the feeling was mutual.  My dog walker Paul said she had tons of fun playing with his dogs the whole time I was gone.  Here's a photo he took of Maisie hanging out on his back deck a couple days ago....her tail is just a blur 'cause it's wagging so fast!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Tomorrow morning, Chrissy and I are heading to the Bahamas for a few days of much needed relaxation and sunshine.  Maisie will be staying at my dog walker Paul's house, hanging out with his three dogs (and any other client's dog he may be boarding, though I think it's just Maisie this time).  To tide you over while I'm gone, here's a pic of her enjoying doggie overnight camp of sorts at Paul's when I went to Mexico last spring.

If you click to enlarge, you'll see that Maisie is smiling as if she knows she's being photographed.  Or maybe she's just happy and having fun...she loves being there so much, she sometimes cries during the car ride home after I pick her up!

Mother's Day

It's no secret that I treat Maisie like my child more often than not.  Concerned about her well-being as always, I got up early and took her to the dog park this morning since she will need to be crated while I'm at brunch celebrating the holiday with my family today.

On behalf of Maisie and Me, I wish a very happy Mother's Day to all you dog moms out there. Those with perfectly behaved pets and those with problem children like mine.  Those with little dogs and those with pups bigger than they are.  Those with adorable puppies and those with pooches who have a face only a mother could love.  But especially, to those who have opened their homes and hearts to a rescue dog (both fosters and adopters).  By providing a stable environment to an animal who perhaps never knew love before, you truly embody the best qualities of a mother.  Enjoy your day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Good Day Sunshine

Although it's supposed to rain later today, Maisie and I woke to bright sunshine this morning.  I opened the bedroom curtains and she got closer to enjoy the rays.

But quickly jumped back into my (unmade) bed to soak up the sunbeam streaming in from the window.

Which made her very relaxed...

And kinda sleepy.

Now it's time to get that lazy dog outta bed for breakfast and a walk.  And time for me to make espresso and get a move on!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

So Fresh and So Clean

This morning, I kissed the top of Maisie's head and realized that she was kinda stinky. Since she rolled in the (likely peed upon) gravel at the dog park yesterday, I probably shouldn't have been surprised.  It's a beautiful (albeit windy) Sunday in Chicago, so I decided we'd make the short trek to Soggy Paws, a local doggie self-wash place so I could give her a bath.

We live in a very urban and generally, not so pretty area.

But on our walk, we passed a sparkly mosaic mural that I love.  It's the exterior of a youth social services agency a couple blocks from my house and it's such a cool, unexpected pop of color on an otherwise drab stretch of city street.

There is a little strip of African business along the route as well.  We walked by a shop selling African clothing and candles, and an interesting restaurant (with their delivery truck parked out front).

We also saw a video store that specializes in Nigerian movies.

When we arrived at Soggy Paws, they asked if Maisie had any allergies or skin issues, then mixed up a custom shampoo from their extensive selection.  We always get a combination of the oatmeal (because Maisie tends to get itchy) and dark coat shampoos.

Besides not having to worry about bringing any supplies or making a mess at home, I also love that they wash your dog's face for you with a special mango scented foam.  The staff is super friendly and gentle, but Maisie of course hates that part anyway (as she does the entire process).

After her head was all clean, it was time to wet the rest of her down...

And soap her up.  Please note the pitiful, pathetic face that accompanies this stage.

I then rinsed Maisie off, dried her with the towels Soggy Paws provides, and finished with a bit of "high sheen" spray to make her coat extra glossy.

Naturally, I always end up buying some treats for Maisie to reward her patience before we leave.  She ate one right in the store, and we headed back home.  It was wonderful to be outside on such a nice sunny day, though the wind was strong enough to lift a dog's ears!