Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bear: Then and Now

As we're counting down the days until our new pup arrives, I've been thinking back to what Thatcher was like as a baby. Today, I discovered all these old videos of Thatcher on our computer that I never really watched. Throughout the past two years, he has destroyed many a shoe, plant and ball. But some toys have been with him since he was a puppy. Three in particular: the stuffed bear, the rubber squeaky giraffe and the bean bag lion. Bear has been his best friend since the beginning, and as a result has taken the roughest beating of them all. Here is a look at bear then and bear now. I just noticed his head is now missing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fight or flight

So the state fair is going on and it happens that we live fairly close. How close? During the day, we can catch the aroma of fried doughnuts in the air. At night, we're able to hear the music from band concerts in the grandstands. Needless to say, many downsides to this. One being traffic. If we want to trek to our regular grocery store, the fastest route requires us to drive right by the fairgrounds. Now, this is actually a good way to practice your how-not-to-hit-pedestrians skill. Another downside comes around at about 10:30-11pm. Fireworks.

Thatcher is deathly afraid of fireworks. This did not stem from any particular incident. He has never had a bad experience around fireworks. In fact, he really hasn't been around them except for those rare occasions in the summer. But during the state fair, they shoot off fireworks every single night. It always happens right as I'm about to drift off to sleep. I don't wake up to the boom of the fireworks. We live in a big city, my brain is used to tuning out loud noises like trains, planes or crazy people. But I wake up to Thatcher's deep bark. He is convinced that the only safe place in our house when fireworks are going off is right in the doorway to our bedroom. So when they start, he runs upstairs barking, lies in the doorway of our room and does not move a muscle until they've stopped. Poor guy. Comforting doesn't even help. We try to get him to snuggle on the bed during this ordeal, but he will not move from his safe place.

Puppy update: 10 more days until we get to snuggle our new little Newfy. We received a packet of info from the puppy person. Contract, a book about the breed (can't wait to read!), etc. So Thatch and I are sipping coffee on the front porch, browsing through all the fun info. I may be slightly more excited than he is.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Loving summer

We spent Sunday evening in Thatcher heaven, aka: the dog park. The usual frolicking, splashing, swimming ensued. The nice thing about this dog park is that it's always full of life. Thatcher gets to practice greeting dogs politely, sharing sticks and coming when called. Well, he doesn't actually work on that last one. We do. Zero progress as of yet, but we're hoping for the day when he at least acknowledges that we are present. His favorite activity at the dog park is snatching balls or sticks from other dogs. I'm not proud of this. He's become rather lazy and rarely retrieves anything when we're in public. He loves the chase, but that's about it. So he's learned to wait until another dog has dutifully retrieved the stick or ball their owner threw for them. When they are almost to shore, he'll run out and take away whatever they have (if they let him). Needless to say, he gets growled at pretty frequently. 

To add to this, on the rare times he does retrieve something, he won't let it out of his mouth. He'll just carry it around proudly, looking out of the corner of his eye to see if any dog will dare try and take it back. Many other dog owners get confused, because their balls seem to vanish out of thin air. Unless we apologetically tell them that no, their ball hasn't disappeared, our dog is just hiding it in his droopy cheeks, they never know what happens. Thatcher's just a lost cause. I'm curious to see what different quirks the new puppy will have. Oh, and Thatcher says I can't forget to mention his absolute most favorite thing in the world about leaving the dog park: our ice cream stop on the way home. 


Thursday, August 23, 2012


Thatcher is a kleptomaniac. You would think that a dog as spoiled as he is would have no need to steal balls, toys, construction cones, etc. Not the case. He lives by the motto "finders, keepers". We've accumulated many the random item in our house thanks to this addiction. He's so sneaky about it too. Balls disappear into his mouth and hide safely behind his big droopy jowls. He can look you straight in the eye and be three inches away from you, and it's still impossible to decipher a ball in his mouth. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't kind of impressive. But the stealing part isn't the only problem.

He eats the treasures he finds. Well, first he has to "kill" the object. This involves popping, ripping, tearing, shaking, etc. When the said object has been satisfactorily subdued to shreds, some of those shreds magically make their way into his stomach. Again with the sneakiness. But when we catch him eating something he shouldn't be eating, like leather pieces from a football or string from a torn apart baseball, he quickly responds in one of two ways. 1. Without breaking eye contact with me, he'll slowly gulp down the piece whole, in the most nonchalant way possible. or 2. He'll hide the pieces in his jowls. I will walk over to him and search his mouth, and find nothing. The moment I step away from him, he'll start chewing on it again. If I notice this and start to scold him, we then cycle back to number 1 or repeat number 2. It's a jolly time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Little dog in a big body

Thatcher has never understood his size. He thinks he fits perfectly on laps and in small armchairs. I think it's because he hardly ever meets dogs that are larger than him. You know how little dogs often have that "tough guy" mentality? Well Thatcher has the opposite. Has always genuinely believed he's a cute little lap dog. It's really quite comical, unless you are the one stuck underneath his huge body with your air source being cut off. I must say though, for being 115 lbs, he really can curl up into quite a tiny ball. Sometimes when I come across Thatcher in the random places he sleeps, it makes me laugh. Here are a few of those.

Puppy update: Six weeks old, 13.8 lbs. Got his first vet check-up today and is healthy as can be. Picking him up in 2 1/2 weeks.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Firework scare

Eventful night last night. In a bad way. We had some family over for a BBQ, and all of the guys were outside playing in the backyard. Thatcher, of course, had to be out there too. Well my sister-in-law and I were inside chatting and sipping on some wine, when we kept getting interrupted by the sound of fireworks. The guys had pulled out some leftovers from the Fourth of July and in true male fashion, had started having a firework "war" and throwing fireworks at each other. My sister-in-law and I kept getting irritated by the noise, when it occurred to me that Thatcher was out there with them. He is deathly-terrified of fireworks. That is no exaggeration. Right then, one of the men ran in for a lighter and I asked them where Thatcher was. He replied, "He's here inside, in the basement." A few minutes later, I decided I better go check that Thatcher really was in the basement. At that same moment, the guys all realized that Thatcher was definitely not outside. Everybody came running in the house and started looking and calling for Thatcher. He was nowhere to be found.

It was about 10pm and dark out by this time. Thatcher is black. I had no idea how we would find him. The guys fanned out and started searching the neighborhood. I found a flashlight and searched our yard, front porch and the next-door neighbor's yard. Fifteen minutes passed and still no word of Thatcher. We were all feeling awful, and I was about to go into panic mode. Right then, I get a call that they found him several blocks away. An elderly woman had found him and was holding him by the collar, walking him around the neighborhood and trying to find who owned him. A few minutes later, the guys showed back up with Thatcher, who was extremely shaken up. He spent the next couple of hours hiding in the bathtub, refusing to leave it. He's a little jumpy today, but pretty much back to normal. We swore we will never ever again allow fireworks anywhere near our house. 

On a brighter note, here's a few pictures from Thatcher's most recent photo-shoot with me. Enjoy. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Country boy (wannabe)

Thatcher had a blast up north last weekend. Ran around a family member's farm, pretending to be a country dog. Played with our nieces and nephews, chased chickens and jumped up and down hay bales. He adores the farm. When we turn down the gravel road in that last mile, he perks up and starts literally shaking with excitement. One of his favorite activities out there is swimming in the river that runs through the woods near the house. Once out of the car, he'll beeline directly to the river if we let him.

The only problem is that masquerading as a country boy is hard work for a city-raised boy. Thatcher usually tires out within the first hour or two, and spends the rest of the day slowly wandering the yard or napping in the house. He'll follow the little girls everywhere, making sure they stay safe in the yard. He met our new nephew, who is just two-months old. Spent much of his time lying on the ground next to the baby, sleeping with one eye open, keeping an eye out for trouble. I'll be interested in seeing how Thatcher does when we have our own kids one day. We've always joked that he'll be a fantastic nanny.

Update on the new puppy: Four weeks old, snuggly, sweet and huge. In pictures, he already looks bigger than what Thatcher was at 9 weeks. We get to bring him home in one month and the name is still yet to be determined.