Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Routine

Maisie and I are settling into a new routine now that I've been working from home for a couple weeks.  We are definitely spending lots of time together, though she's actually being crated more than before because I have been trying to get out of the house when I can and she hasn't been going to daycare very often (it's not that close to the house and kinda seems like a waste of money unless I'll be away for a significant amount of time at this point).  Maisie has been taking advantage of having the couch downstairs all to herself while I work upstairs... 

Other times, she hangs out with me and rests on the futon in the guest room/office.  She usually just sleeps, but occasionally feels the need to express her feelings about me not paying enough attention to her.

Yesterday, my co-worker Emily and Chrissy (both work-from-homers too) came over and we all worked together in my living room.  I'm not sure who was more sleepy...Chrissy:
Or Maisie.

Today will have a couple new experiences for us...first, my monthly cleaning service just arrived and Maisie has never met them...I'm sure there will be plenty of vacuum cleaner-fueled terror for her today!  I have never been home while they cleaned either, so I'm hoping we won't be in their way too much.  Second, for whatever reason Maisie has not been running at the dog park like she used to (and again, she has limited daycare visits now) and I am concerned about the overall reduction in exercise for her.  I definitely have noticed a slight increase in Maisie's leash aggression and I think the two things are related, so tonight we are meeting with a professional dog runner service for a consultation.  It costs $30 for a 50-60 minute run of between three and seven miles, and it would be great if that helped alleviate some of Maisie's crazy energy.  She's never really been running before, so we'll have to see how it goes.  I'll keep you posted!

p.s. please "like" our Facebook page if you haven't yet...I post pics and updates not included on the blog pretty much daily.  we'd love to see you there!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Maisie is feeling thankful today.  Thankful for things like big yawns...

Morning walks...

A refreshing beverage on a hot day...

Breakfast (and also dinner)...

And air conditioning!

Maisie's Mom is feeling thankful too.  For morning espresso...

Her new home office setup...

This face...

And air conditioning!

Plus we've achieved over 100 likes on our Facebook page!  As I said there, it seems you like us, you really like us...and we couldn't be happier about it!  : )

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Heat is On

Wow, it sure has been hot here in Chicago and it's supposed to get even hotter as the week goes on.  Poor Maisie has been panting through even the quickest of walks wearing her built-in fur coat!

And even though she's been drinking plenty of water, she's not peeing nearly as much because she needs the additional hydration.  It's unusual for her not to mark all over trees and grass while we're outside (likely to be the subject of a future post), so I try not to cut the walks too short if she hasn't yet done even one #1.  But that means she is a REALLY hot dog by the time we make it all the way around the block.  Fortunately for my picture-taking skills (or lack thereof), a heavy pant looks an awful lot like a smile in photos!  ; )

Once we finally get indoors, she just wants to chew an antler and sleep sleep sleep.

I took her to daycare yesterday, in part because I'm concerned she won't be getting nearly enough exercise until the heat wave's just too hot to go to the dog park.  The last two times we went, all she wanted to do was eat grass and alternate between rolling in the gravel and the dirty sprinkler puddles, apparently in an attempt to determine which technique will result in the filthiest pup.

How is your pooch dealing with the hot weather?  And how are you avoiding canine cabin fever? 

p.s. I posted that question earlier today on our Facebook page too... please "like" it if you haven't already, it's updated with fresh Maisie pics and info nearly every day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bumps and Bites

I noticed over the weekend that Maisie had two little spots on her right ear that appeared to be missing fur. It didn't seem to be bothering her, so I didn't think much of it...figured maybe it was from rolling in the gravel at the dog park on Saturday.  But yesterday I realized that the tiny bald patches were still there and it felt like there was a wee bump underneath each one.  Plus Maisie flinched when I touched her ear (but she also flinched when I touched the other ear, though a bit less...she just doesn't like having her ears touched).

When my previous dog Kaya was about ten, she had something called vestibular syndrome, which in many ways mimics the appearance of a stroke.  Initially, she couldn't walk and her head was tilted to one side (that had a residual effect and for the rest of her life, one ear remained up and the other down).  To help her recover, I began taking her to Integrative Pet Care, a holistic wellness and rehabilitation center.  Her treatment there kept a spring in her geriatric step even after her symptoms resolved, so we continued going.

Kaya was 12 when our IPC vet found a little bump on her side.  It felt to me like a small pimple or something, but we aspirated it just to be safe.  To my horror, the results came back was a mast cell tumor, a common type of canine skin cancer.  We were incredibly lucky that it had been discovered in the earliest stage.  Kaya had surgery and (although the recovery process was a bit more difficult because of her age) she went on to live another four years with me.  The cancer never returned, thank G-d.

But what I went through with Kaya has made me uber-paranoid about any skin bumps on my dog, so I decided yesterday to take Maisie to the vet to get her ear checked out.  He did a skin scrape to rule out mange mites and it was negative.  In his opinion, it was either bug bites or an allergic reaction to something.  $87 later (possibly the lowest vet bill I've ever paid), we were sent home.  I was instructed to put Neosporin on the affected area twice a day, especially since it looked much more raw after the scraping (and as you can see here, it got kinda greasy from the ointment).

The vet also first said to give Maisie a Benadryl twice a day.  When I explained that this would result in a fairly comatose dog 24/7, we compromised and decided to give her just one per day, at night.  That means this is the dopey face I'll be seeing for at least the next several evenings:

But at least Maisie is OK, and it didn't cost a fortune to find that out either!

Hope everyone has a nice weekend, it's supposed to be HOT again here in Chicago...

If you have not yet "liked" our Facebook page, please do!  I update it frequently with new Maisie pics not included on the blog and currently, I'm asking for dog pics that could cheer a girl up...go post your dog's pic, I'd love to see your pooch!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stressing, Not Slacking

Even though I have been updating our Facebook page frequently with fresh Maisie pics and info, it's been a few days since I last did a blog post.  Maisie was tired of me, real tired.

The truth is that in addition to partaking in lots of fun summertime activities that leave me with less spare time, I have been going through some kinda stressful stuff lately.  It's hard not to let it get me down sometimes, but at least I know I can always depend on Maisie as a snuggle buddy.

Or a foot rest.

Or to guard the house against raccoon intruders...canine security rarely takes a holiday around here!

Or to just be so cute that she temporarily takes my mind off of other things.

Aren't we lucky to have a warm, furry companion by our side when life gives us lemons?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tire-d in Uptown

As I started the car to go to work this morning, I noticed the low tire pressure light was on.  Not wanting to risk a fully flat tire in the office parking lot, Maisie and I went to our (dog-friendly) neighborhood tire store.

While they investigated the problem, we took a short walk.

Maisie even made a little friend along the way.

We headed back to Just Tires and sat in the waiting room.  At first, Maisie was calm and quiet.

But she started getting agitated by all the machinery noises and every time a mechanic walked past the room, Maisie went crazy, lunging and barking (and scaring a little girl in the process).  So I decided we should spend the wait time taking a mini-tour of our Uptown 'hood instead.  We walked by a lot of landmarks, some new and some old.  Here are some of the highlights...

First, the Aragon Ballroom...a concert venue only a couple blocks from my house.  Built in 1926, it was just announced yesterday that the Aragon will be the location of President Obama's 50th Birthday celebration. How exciting!!!

Around the corner, we strolled past one of my favorite bars in the neighborhood (Maisie is not a fan of the name though).

As well as a comedy theater that may or may not have been named after Maisie herself!

On the same block, we passed the old Uptown Theater.  It was once an ornately beautiful movie theater (my parents reminisce about dates they had there) but has fallen into disrepair since it closed 30 years ago.

There have been talks throughout the years about restoring it to its previously grand state, but so far nothing has been done.  A poster in a broken glass case out front features details of the theater's inaugural week, way back in 1925.

A few doors down is a popular gay sports bar (not as much of an oxymoron as you might think).  They have pretty good food too, and my friends go there quite a bit.

Next to Crew is the Green Mill.  It first opened under a different name in 1907 but became famous (or rather, infamous) in the 1920's when one of Al Capone's cronies was part owner and the club became a mobster hangout.  They still have live jazz playing every night and it's a really cool place to take out of town visitors.

Across the street is yet another music venue, the Riviera (known to locals as "the Riv"), which was built in 1917. On a 100 degree summer night nearly a decade ago, it was here that I saw Wilco perform the best show I've ever seen...even though there's no air conditioning in this old building!

By that point, I figured it was time to go back and check on the car.  Unfortunately, in addition to a leaky rim (whatever that means) on one tire, they also discovered a nail in a second tire so the car wasn't yet ready.  Maisie and I waited outside this time so she wouldn't be as confined and potentially freak out again!

If you have not yet "liked" us on Facebook, please do!  You'll know right away when there's a new blog post, and the Facebook page always features extra photos to help satisfy your Maisie fix even more often!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Workin' Wednesday

Maisie spends one of our last days in the office just like she spent all the rest of 'em!

If you have not yet "liked" us on Facebook, please do!  You'll know right away when there's a new blog post, and the Facebook page always features extra photos to help satisfy your Maisie fix even more often!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Maisie, You're a Fiiiirework!

Those are the lyrics to that ubiquitous Katy Perry song, right?  ; )

What a great holiday weekend we had.  I did so much that I wasn't sure how to best recap, so I decided to break it all down in two categories:  1) activities and 2) what was eaten during said activity.
My friend Curtis (aka CPH) accompanied me through most of this...

Friday night
Activity:  CPH is the grilling expert amongst our friends, and he came over to clean my grill in anticipation of all the use it would get in the next few days.  I said it wasn't necessary, but he insisted (and I'm glad he did).  Maisie kept me company out on the deck while CPH scrubbed his little heart out like a gay Cinderella.

Food:  We ordered in Indian and it was delicious!

Saturday day
Activity:  Breakfast, followed by a trip to Sam's Club to stock up on the necessities for Sunday's BBQ.  Maisie remained at home in her crate and chewed up a blanket to show me how very unhappy she was to have been left behind.

Food:  We went to one of my family's favorite breakfast restaurants in Evanston (a nearby suburb) since that's where Sam's Club is located.  I had eggs scrambled with sun-dried tomato, smoked turkey and goat cheese, with potatoes and their famous apricot cheese "flakey" on the side.  So tasty...

Saturday night
Activity:  CPH received a smoker as a gift from his brother and decided to try it out on the freshly cleaned grill.  We sat on the deck sipping champagne (none for Maisie) and enjoyed the beautiful night while the smoker did its thing.  The strangest part of the evening was that as CPH prepared the chicken for smoking, I said he could give Maisie the raw gizzards and neck (it was as gross as it sounds).  But shockingly, she refused to eat them!  This is a dog who eagerly devours grass, sticks and even occasionally poop in addition to her steady diet of raw meat...yet she turned her nose up at actual raw chicken parts!  I still can't believe it.

Food:  Smoked chicken and corn on the cob...check out the chicken, it was fantastic!!!
Activity:  My 3rd Annual "3rd of July on the Lanai" Party!  As the name implies, I have hosted this party for the last three years and (if I do say so myself) it's one of the best parties of the summer.  It's extra fun for me because I get to hang outside with a big group of friends and Maisie at the same time.  About 25 people attended and Maisie mostly just chilled with everyone, happy to be included (she was tethered the whole time so she couldn't wander too far, as she always is when outside on the deck).

When she needed a moment not surrounded by people, she just stepped outside our circle of chairs.

Though sometimes her fans tracked her down for more scritches and loving!
She was such a good girl during the eight-hour(!) party, though I eventually brought her inside because she was so tired (as documented in my previous post).  Good thing I did, because fireworks started shortly after that.  Maisie was pretty freaked out, but thankfully the Thundershirt seemed to help somewhat and I didn't feel the need to add a Benadryl to the mix this time.

p.s. there are more pics of Maisie's weekend on the blog Facebook page 
go"like" it if you don't wanna miss out on all the Maisie bonus extras! 

Food:  Burgers and hot dogs...prepared with love (at least, I think that was love) by Grill Master CPH!

To celebrate the actual 4th of July, Maisie and I went to the dog park.  She was filthy afterwards, so we walked down to Soggy Paws and I gave her a bath.  Later, CPH returned (as did Craig and Brandon, two more of my fabulous gays) and we enjoyed our last evening of the weekend out on the deck.  Along with Maisie, who (based on the look on her face) may have been attempting to seduce them.
   "hey boys..."

Food:  There was just a bit of food left over from the previous day's festivities.  Take a look...

So we grilled again and enjoyed the remains of all the incredible side dishes people had made for the party (and more of the delicious corn on the cob).

All in all, it was just a really great weekend...perfect weather, plenty of relaxing with friends and a lively fiesta to boot!

Monday, July 4, 2011


Maisie was so well-behaved during my annual 3rd of July BBQ party yesterday...but all the excitement eventually caught up with her, so she took a snooze right in the middle of the conversation circle!