Tag Archives: dogs

Sad Finn Diary

Last week I came across this sad dog diary video. There’s a cat version out there too. Take a minute and watch it.

Ok now stop laughing. Since I can’t get this out of my head, I thought I would let Finn share his take on this weekend’s activities. That and I realized my phone is chock full of sad Finn photos. So without further ado, I bring you the Sad Finn Diary.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary

Dear Diary,

My human has returned home from Minnesota and started grinding up all of her food instead of eating it whole. I know not yet the reason. She shoves perfectly shaped fruit into a loud machine until nothing is left but a pulp. Perhaps a form of self mutilation? I need more time to research. I have taken to eating items to induce sickness in solidarity. But for some reason my human is feeding me nothing but chicken and rice this week. It is delicious and I feel guilty but satisfied. I’m afraid she will have to learn this lesson on her own. Poor human.

http://instagram.com/p/a3bRYdTaaN/

My human shared my ‘tricks’ with the world through a new Instagram video feature this weekend. At least that’s what she told me. I don’t know what this Instagram she speaks so highly of but I don’t think I like it. Aside from the exhausting task that ‘high-fiving’ has on a 75 pound species like me, she asked me to do it twice. I can only assume this is because I knocked her device out of her hand the first time. I don’t think she realized I did it purposefully. I fear the device is brainwashing her. I must stop it.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary simply social blog

I received a new chewing device this weekend. Well two of them. I assume this is a sign that the other items in the house were not meant for this purpose. Specifically those that my humans sit on. I pretend to be interested as my humans try to decide what animal my new chewing device represents. The discussion of lobster versus sting ray goes on far longer than it should. Since I can’t don’t care to add anything to the conversation, I focus on the similarity in taste between my new plastic stick and the ottoman leg. I determine that this substitute will suffice for now. But not forever.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary simply social blog

On Sunday my humans took me for a ride in the car. I didn’t know where we were traveling but I was very excited nonetheless. As the building disappeared and the fields grew wider, I considered that they might be taking me back to my place of origin. I could not be sure. Contemplation makes me tired. I must rest.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary simply social blog

When we arrived at our destination I realized that my humans were meeting with other family members to sit under tents and talk. I spotted two other dogs across the yard. They looked familiar but it would take at least 15 minutes of butt-sniffing to determine how I knew them. Their humans called them by name: Harley and Charlie. According to my human they were my cousins. I’ve yet to determine how that is possible. 

golden retriever simply social blog

I soon realized that this wasn’t just a family gathering but a challenge of superiority between my kinfolk. The smell of grilled meat and beer wafted through the warm air as we clumsily tried to reacquaint ourselves after months of isolation. I chewed a stick to calm my nerves. It tasted much more authentic than the plastic version.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary simply social blog

There were children at the gathering as well. Some newer than others. My human thought they were adorable but to me they smelled of milk and mixed vegetables. To each their own I suppose.

Baby aaron simply social blog IMG_3221

We left the gathering some time later and began our drive back home. Exhaustion from the day’s events soon sunk in. I didn’t reign superior on speed, agility or weightlifing, but I did manage to be the only one brave enough snatch the victory napkin flag from the matriarch. And for that I am proud. I will voluntarily wedge myself into the smallest nook of the floorboard and reflect on how I can improve my skills before the next gathering. 

IMG_2325

I am starting to think that my human is afraid of me. Nearly every morning after I show her how to pee outdoors, she puts me back inside and runs away. Just today she offered me a treat but then ran away before she delivered it. Is this some sort of sign? She did glance at that wicked device first.  I will pull all of the dish towels from the counter in protest until she returns home.

greater swiss mountain dog sad dog diary simply social blog

Running for their lives

If you haven’t guessed by now I have a bit of a soft spot for animals. Ok a huge spot. Like a gigantic coffee stain all over your carpet spot. And in case you are wondering I pulled that analogy not only from the immensity of my animal love, but my knowing just how big of a splash a 32-ouncer of iced coffee can make (ahem, Murf).

For as long as I can remember I’ve felt an incredible urge to take care of animals. It started innocently enough. Injured or stray cats, birds, and a baby rabbit here or there. I’m sure my mother was just thrilled the day I offered to take home the corn snakes from Montessori over spring break. And I can still see the look on my sister’s face when I thought my smallest anole got loose near her bedroom one summer afternoon. George, the leopard gecko. Countless lizards. Gus, Gus the emaciated kitten who “jumped” into our trunk after a county tournament at UIS. If there was an animal out there looking anywhere near needy, you better believe I was going to find some way to convince my family that we were the only ones in the entire city who could give this animal what they so obviously needed. Right then.

But it wasn’t until an early 90’s Christmas morning that I fell in love for the first time. Her name was Maggie and she was the most beautiful mutt I had ever seen. She sat whimpering in our kitchen, a big red bow perfectly contrasting her jet black fur. We had just finished opening presents and as soon as I spotted her I instantly forgot about the Fugees mixed tape I had just received and started bawling. I never thought I could love something so much so quickly. Her litter had been dumped off a truck on the side of the road. Someone no longer wanted her, but I couldn’t have imagined middle school without her.

And then there was Max. I still remember the man telling me that there were only two available puppies left when we got to the farm. One boy. One girl. As I picked up the little yellow lab and he wiggled in my arms, the man mentioned he was the runt of the litter. The thought that this guy would be left at the farm known as the runt no one wanted sealed the deal for me. I fell in love all over again. He was as perfect running  alongside me in high school and as was when he patiently waited for me to throughout college, keeping my parents company in between visits.

I considered going into veterinary medicine for a period of time. I even had the privilege of job shadowing at the zoo in high school where I not only got to witness a female gibbon being implanted with birth control, but the wrath of the male gibbon as he decided to take out his frustration on a fellow student standing a bit too close to his cage.  I eventually went a different route, but my love for animals hasn’t changed.

It took me a long time to decide I was ready for another dog after moving to Chicago. Well, I was ready, but I knew it just wasn’t fair to the animal if I wasn’t in a place both career and housing-wise where I could give him or her the life he or she deserved. I considered adoption. After all, there are thousands of homeless pets in the city and many of them need families more than those that are bred for it. Plus, they are free. But if you’ve read any of the preceding paragraphs you’ll know that the likelihood of me stopping at just one is slim to none. I volunteered and the guilt I felt was overwhelming. I considered fostering but I felt myself closer and closer to “dog lady” each day. I can’t stop at just one. What about the others? At the end of the day I decided I wanted to raise a pup from the start and after a lot of research and thought, I opted to get Finn.

And although sometimes (ok most of the time) I still feel guilty when I think about all of the other pets out there that are waiting to be loved, I decided to turn my guilt into action and sign up to run the Chicago Marathon as part of Team PAWS. I know I’m crazy, but it’s for a good cause, right? Please tell me I’m right.

paws chicago

This Sunday was the 13th Annual Zoetis Run for Their Lives 8K Run & 4K Dog-Friendly walk benefitting PAWS Chicago. My cousin’s girlfriend just so happens to be one of the folks in charge of the event, so it was a great way to raise money for a very worthy cause, spot some really cute pups and see just how much my running has rubbed off on Finn for his very first race. Ok, walk. Dogs weren’t allowed to run in the 8K and Finn is more of a walk a few miles and then take a nap kind of guy anyway. The timing was great as we had to run 8 miles on Saturday and I was feeling guilty leaving him at home on such a beautiful day. NOTE: there should be a dog-sitting service for those of us who run the lake path. Just two hours to complete your mileage and then you can pick up your dog and take him to the park, beach, wherever. Anyone interested? I know I’d pay for it. 

I spent the majority of the time making mental notes at the adaptations for dog-friendly races vs. human races. Here’s what I learned:

    1. Even though your dog has no clue that he’s signed up for a 4K race at an unfamiliar location with nearly 2,000 other dogs that morning, he will undoubtedly bark and spin in excitement when you mention the phrase “ride in car” to him early in the morning. He will then settle into his spot between the seats as if the previous 5 minutes of barking and spinning never happened.

      greater swiss mountain dog

      I’m so excited I can hardly stand it guys. Seriously.

    2. Dogs are not nearly as interested in pre-race photos as their humans are. Especially not with strangers taking said photos.

      paws chicago run for their lives swiss mountain dog

      got one, oh there’s another dog, got one

    3. Always check out the free swag. If you do, you might discover that your local daycare facility will outfit you if you stop by their booth before the race. Thanks Tucker Pups!
      tucker pups paws chicago race greater swiss mountain dog
    4. Just like human races, dogs dress up in all sorts of costumes to entertain the crowds. No they don’t. Their humans do and those poor pups are left to just sit there and get their photos taken the whole damn day by people like me.
      dogs in costume
      And if you think that middle photo looks familiar, so did I. Just like those toys we used to have when we were little. But what was the name…

      that’s right go go my walkin’ pup

    5. Ever experienced ridiculous lines for the bathroom right before a race? Not here folks. You can pee wherever you want. Slowing down through a water station? Not a chance. Just help yourself to a tub of water right along the course route. Race photos? No need to worry about losing pace. There’s no timing in this race.
      greater swiss mountain dog race running for their lives chicago
    6. Not all dogs are water dogs. Case in point.

Finn visits the lake from Sarah Murphy on Vimeo.

  • All races should end in a well-deserved nap.
    tired greater swiss mountain dog

I’m excited to be a part of TEAM PAWS this race season as I truly believe in what they do: Save Lives. If you are an animal lover like me or just want to support a great cause, I would ask that you consider donating to my page today, tomorrow or sometime before the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2013. You can make a donation here.

Thank you for your consideration and have a wonderful week.

What Finn Ate Wednesday

In light of recent events, I decided to dedicate this What I ate Wednesday to my pup. After all, he’s ingested more interesting stuff than I have this week. Except maybe that delicious antipasto at Coco Pazzo, or the leftover roasted beet salad and quinoa from my Sunday post. Oh, and snickerdoodle dip. But more on that later.

I used to think Mondays were rough. Coming off a relaxing weekend away or at home to the impending workweek ahead. Trading the freedom of leisurely activities for cost centers, conference calls and a cold commute. But as much as I think we have a hard time transitioning into Mondays, I’d imagine our pets have it even worse. Unless you have a cat then they are just excited to get you out of the house.

5-plus walks and 3 park visits per day. Ok, this is cool! A spontaneous car ride to visit Nana and Papooch where I can eat acorns and meaty things and run in the backyard until I puke? Don’t mind if I do! Weekends are AWESOME!

But then Monday hits. And just as you come back from your early morning walk and finish your continental breakfast, suddenly you’re faced with the dreaded baby gate of doom which can only mean one thing: She’s leaving.

Ok don’t panic, Finn. Let’s evaluate the situation. She’s not going to that ‘Jim’ she talks about because she’s clearly not wearing stretchy pants. Is it time to eat again? Darn, she’s just refilling that round thing that holds my water. Oh yes! Here comes that soft and fluffy pad I sleep on in my crate. It’s so cozy I could just lay down right…no Finn! Focus! Oh look! Toys! She’s throwing all of my favorite toys in the kitchen. Not anorexic big bird. I love anorexic big bird!

finn_bird

It’s official. She’s going to work and she won’t be back for a very long time.

A few hours pass.

Stupid bird. quit looking at me. You’re no fun. You don’t even squeak. Silly pillow. You’re not THAT soft. Oh great, I’m out of water. What the heck do I do now? Where the heck is my mom? I’m annoyed. What can I do to show her how bored I am? She likes to cook. I know that. Sometimes rarely she uses those paper things on the shelf. Maybe if I chew off this outside cover thing she’ll get the hint. After all, I do love the taste of paper.

finn_mess_1

It’s probably my own fault that this behavior transitioned into Tuesday as well. After all, I had a work function and a social event Monday night so I warned Finn it would be a long day. I think my exact words were ‘Look, I know it’s Monday and this one is going to be tough, but I promise to make it up to you.’ We tried to squeeze in as much play time as possible in the time I was home but it just wasn’t enough.

So as I open the door Tuesday afternoon I was greeted with another surprise.

You know that rug I pulled a string out of yesterday, lady? Yeah, well that was your warning. And you left it out for me anyways. Silly Mom. And since the cookbooks didn’t do the trick either, I chewed that rug to pieces just about 10 minutes before you got here. I notice how meticulously you put it back in place every time I move it. Maybe you’ll get the hint now? PS you know it was time for a new one anyway.

finn_mess_2

Guilty as charged, Finn. After cleaning up mess #2 for the week, I bundled myself in as many layers as possible (sub-zero temps have joined us again here in Chicago) and spent the next few hours walking, playing, standing in the dog park so Finn could let out some of the energy he was obviously storing up this week. And when we were too cold to play outside anymore, we headed home and played some more.

So what does a guilty mom give her puppy after a few ‘alternative meals’ the past few days? Dessert of course! As I pulled out a jar of peanut butter I was reminded of a recipe I made a few months back. And so we cooked. (NOTE: no cross-contamination of dog peanut butter vs. human peanut butter occurred during the making of this recipe)

I kept stumbling upon the same recipe on Pinterest. Over and over a photo of something called ‘Cookie Dough Dip’ kept popping up and sparking my interest. First and foremost I love cookie dough. I’ve always been one more in favor to eat the dough than the cookies themselves and this recipe was egg-less so you don’t get that awesome weird taste in your mouth afterwards. Shout out to my Aunt Barb who let my cousins and I make a batch of cookie dough and (gasp) just eat the dough on our visit to California several years back.

So I finally got around to actually clicking on the recipe and was even more intrigued to read that the main ingredient was, wait for it…chickpeas. Say what? No chance this tastes like cookie dough. I had to attempt it. And while it tasted a little more like chocolate chip peanut butter cookie dough, it was good. Too good.

Several spoonfuls later, I decided to try an alternative version from the same web site. This time Snickerdoodle. Same basic ingredients with the addition of cinnamon and substitution of chocolate chips. Once again, too good!

snickerdoodle_dip

Snickerdoodle Dip

  • 15 oz. White beans or chickpeas
  • 3 TBL nut butter-I used homemade almond (recipe posted soon)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • up to 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxmeal
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Garnish with raisins

In a colander, drain and rinse beans. Add all ingredients to your food processor and blend until smooth. Add raisins if you like them. I happen to love them. So much so that I should rename the blog simply raisins. Raisins rule.

Trust me on this one. I know it sounds weird, but this stuff tastes like cookie dough. Grab a spoon and dig in!

Prefer the original? Try both versions from Chocolate Covered Katie.

The good news is it’s Wednesday. And we have just a few short days before more walks and a long vacation with Nana and Papooch. I haven’t told Finn yet but I’m hoping that keeps him from destroying anything else. At least until Monday.

Super Groundhog Bowl Day

swiss mountain dog puppy

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

 

I am fairly confident that by the end of this post I will have some correlation between one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems and the events of this past weekend. Fact is neither Finny or I was sick, but we did take pause (well I did and inferred that he did as well) when it was reported that good ol’ Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow early Saturday morning, indicating that we might just be in for an early spring. The prediction couldn’t have come at a better time as Chicago was blanketed in our first measurable snowfall that morning. And with that, it was Saturday–time to go out and play!

swiss mountain dog snow

After a few days of sub-zero temps, I couldn’t wait to get this pup out in the snow and into his element. He is a Swiss Mountain Dog, after all. And since we confirmed early on in our relationship that humid Chicago summers and Finny do not mix, we set out for the black diamonds of Mary Bartelme Park to take advantage of some fresh pow.

I of course thought it would be a good idea to try to schedule a photo shoot during the snow play. Let me remind you that temps were still in the low 20’s with flurries and a decent wind. To say I got some good shots would be lying. I managed to catch this snow-lover’s eye for a split second and then it was back to stick-eating and ice-inhalation for the remainder of the excursion. I learned one thing though, either I don’t hydrate my pup enough or he just really loves the white stuff.

I think we can all benefit from a little poetry in our lives. A little reminder to play when you get the chance. And that spring is just around the corner. Right, Phil?

Don’t be left in the dark (too soon?) Wednesday with a round-up of Super Bowl recipes that will keep your body looking more like Beyonce and less like Ma’ake Kemoeatu.

super bowl chex mix nutella cookies crab dip

Have a great week!