Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

When I graduated from college and moved to my very first apartment in Boston, I decided that I should represent my foray into adulthood by sending sophisticated Christmas cards (homemade resplendent with stickers) to all my family and friends announcing that I was out on my own.  Five years later, I am still on that kick.  If you are a member of my immediate family, newly acquired immediate family, or one of a select group of friends, you know that I mail cards for almost every holiday - Valentine's Day, Easter, and then my busy season starts - Halloween, Thanksgiving, and my big push - Christmas!  It is meaningful to me that I am spreading good cheer and happiness card by card through the U.S. Postal Service.

So after a fruitful trip of photo shooting to Louisiana, we came away with this doozie of a card!

Milton the Reindeer

My husband was none too happy that we were not represented in the card, but quite frankly, I do not need anyone commenting on my current dress size or hair color tinge.  Milt always seems to look pretty darn good, so I thought we should lead with our best!

Jeff and I are particularly excited this holiday season because we signed up, via the Doodle Kisses website, for a doodle holiday card exchange.  The way the mailing process works is whoever wants to can submit their address to be added into a group of about 50 people to receive a magical doodle Christmas card just in time for the holidays.  So this year, Jeff and I, or rather Mr. Milton, will be mailing cards to 49 other doodlers across the United States.  All of the other doodle moms attest that this is their favorite part of the holiday season.  So far, we have not received any because it is still somewhat early, but I can share with you the one that my friend, Thuy, hand delivered to me:

What a handsome family!

All I know is during the entire month of December, I am going to be running out to our mailbox to see what adorable doodle cards have arrived for our Milt!  This should add a little excitement, and joy, into our lives!  If you rarely mail letters, consider it because happiness can arrive in the form of a simple letter or card.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Riding Along in my Automobile

I don't own a fancy car.  I'm rocking a Toyota Corolla, although it is a sleek jet black.  You have all seen the lovely doodle sticker that I display on the back, so people basically can figure out what I'm all about when I motor past.

It really doesn't add a "cool" factor to my car.

The thing with my Corolla is it gets outstanding gas mileage.  This is why Jeff insists that we drive it everywhere, and I mean everywhere - from the great plains of Texas, across to swampy Louisiana, and all the way up to woodsy New York.  As he puts it, we are going to, "Drive it into the ground."  That's a pleasant thought, I know...

Due to the amount of time I spend in the car, and the fact that I eat breakfast (think crumbly muffins and rolls) every morning within its confines, as well as haul the dirty Milt home from daycare, it has become quite filthy.  So, our latest car addition is this lovely backseat cover bought at Bed, Bath, and Beyond on Black Friday ($10, 20% off):

No more grime.

Here is the link, touted "As Seen On TV":

Now that I just read the reviews, some people lament about the smell.  Well, we shall see.  I need to clean my backseat first before I can lay it down, so it could be a little while.

Likewise, in an effort to upkeep our car and everyone in it, we have purchased the Milt a very sturdy seat belt.  For our other long road trips, we borrowed a belt, but we thought it was about time the Milt had his own.  Jeff purchased this one on Amazon, his go to shopping venue, for $18.50.

Safe and secure

The seat belt actually reminds me of a bulletproof vest.  It straps around Milt, and then it hooks to the actual seat belt, so he is not incredibly mobile while we are driving.  In case of a crash, he shouldn't fly out of the car either!  Here's the link in case you need one too:   

Milt seemed pretty tolerant/content while wearing it, despite preferring his usual loosey goosey fashion.

Getting cozy on a break
Checking out the action in the front while on a pit stop

Sometimes Momma likes to join the Milt in the back of the bus.

Our recent Tennessee road trip locked us in the car for 11 hours on the way there and 13 glorious hours on the way back due to traffic and our frequent food, potty, and Dairy Queen stops.  I thought it was about time to invest a little more into our reliable vehicle of choice and make the ride more pleasant and safe for the Milt and us.  Happy Travels during the holiday season, everyone!                                                                                                           

Monday, November 26, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

Thanksgiving in Tennessee was an absolute ball.  Milton, of course, had the most fun out of the three of us.  Our doodle loves to socialize with anyone who will give him a little pat on the head or a good belly rub.  Everyday Milton made the rounds of the multitudes at our celebration:  adults (15), other dogs (8!), and especially little children (7) who are just on eye level with him.  The Milt gave out quite a few licks to kids, inducing some tears, but, on the whole, he received a warm reception from everyone! 

The Milt always tries to make himself at home wherever he goes.

The hospitality we received from Jeff's family was wonderful.  It is always a shock returning home because the three of us in our apartment just can't reach the same level of excitement as a houseful.  Milton certainly tries his best, though, to keep us always entertained!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving is a rather unusual one for us.  Rather than celebrating today, like most families, we are embarking on an 11-hour road trip to celebrate tomorrow in Tennessee with Jeff's brother's family.  I am not one for change in routine, but sometimes it is just necessary, and the end result is equally as good.  We are looking forward to the festivities, and I still plan to eat a turkey sandwich for lunch to keep in the spirit of the holiday! 

Yesterday, the Milt and I stayed home babysitting our little buddy, Leo, while his Momma was at work.  As I baked the morning away, Milt and Leo co-existed and played a little.  I learned that Leo likes to hide his treats, and I further learned that Milton likes to take them away.  I noticed that Milton craves attention, and I also noticed that Milton craves this attention whenever I start to pet Leo.  Someday we might just have to get a little brother for our boy, so he can learn to share!

Two cranberry breads, two pumpkin rolls, and three bags of rolls!

Leo refused to abide by my sofa rules, so I was forced to accommodate him.

Milton napped unless Leo started chewing one of his toys, I petted Leo, or Leo did something else that Milton found offensive..

To update all of you, on the neutering situation, the Milt is still not fixed, which is disappointing to both Jeff and me.  We really wanted to get everything taken care of over the holiday week, so we could spend time with the Milt while he is recuperating.  This  experience has brought up a whole slew of grievances with our local branch of the SPCA where we began our endeavor.  Do let me enumerate them for you:

1.  All three Dallas SPCA branches only have one phone line, so during your workday when you want to contact the veterinarian, who is supposedly operating on your dog, you have to wait at least 15 minutes on hold before reaching anyone.  By this point, the vet might have gone home, and you are left speaking to the vet tech, who probably knows an awful lot, but sometimes you do want to reach that doctor.

2.  Milton came home reeking of urine.  At first I assumed that he just wet himself a little on his belly when I picked him up, but no, he absolutely stunk, and I was forced to bathe him.

3.  Later that night, we discovered a massive tick engorged in Milt's head which required tweezers to yank out (the bug was still alive) and a late night run to our local Wal-Mart to buy Peroxide to clean the wound.

4.  After the operation did not occur, we fasted the Milt again, and Jeff took him bright and early the next morning to the other SPCA branch that does, indeed, perform this type of surgery.  Upon arrival, Jeff was informed that since Milton was given anesthesia yesterday, that we would need to wait a couple of weeks until he could be put under again.  The main point here is that when I picked the Milt up, the vet tech never told me that Milt was put under.  You would think the owners would want to know this little fact, so that we could monitor him that evening, instead of trying to take him on an hour long walk because I was convinced that he was cooped up all day in a kennel.

To say it pointblank, I am not a fan of how the SPCA operates.  At this point, I would actually say that I am a vocal critic of their operation, especially since I left a message with their manager yesterday, and I still have not heard anything back.  I have been told that the SPCA's clinic is more like an "assembly," servicing (neutering and spaying) upwards of 100 dogs/cats per day and does not focus on patient relationships and customer service.  Despite the $82 price tag, the Milt and I have moved on.  We will be paying a few $100 more when we finally select our vet, but it will be well worth it knowing that the Milt is in good hands.

This post might seem a bit dreary, especially on Thanksgiving, but Jeff and I are so very thankful that the Milt is still happy and healthy after coming out of his "surgery."  For that, we give an awful lot of thanks.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone; enjoy this special time with your family and friends! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Slight Hiccup...

Recently, I received the inevitable phone call from Jeff.

         "Heidi, I just picked Milton up from daycare, and they say he needs to be neutered by the end of the month or else he cannot return."

        <Radio Silence> on my end.    

I don't think my husband realized it, but I had been dreading that day for quite sometime.  I suppose my main opposition to neutering comes from the fact that we never neutered our chocolate Lab, Brutus, when I was growing up.  Of course, he mounted many a leg and humped quite a few small children into submission (my friends can attest to that), but this just seemed normal.

As a dog mom, I feel like I am giving our doodle an "unnecessary" operation that results in mutilation and the need for painkillers.  Recently, I voiced this opinion on my doodle connection website, Doodle Kisses, and the post received 1,348 page views total along with 88 comments on how it is "irresponsible" not to neuter your dog.  I did not realize this was such a hot button issue.  The multitude of reasons for the practice, include to control the pet population, prevent unwanted cancers, and to quell dog lust to procreate which can often lead to aggressive behavior.  Jeff and I decided neutering was a necessity and a worthy cause at that.

So yesterday I sent Milton and Jeff bright and early to a 7:30A.M. appointment at the SPCA.  We chose to have the operation at their clinic because they perform a day procedure, rather than an overnight, it is significantly cheaper ($82 including anesthesia, surgery, and painkillers) than visiting a vet's office, and as we all know, the SPCA performs an interminable number of these operations every year, so they must have expertise in their practice.  At about noon, we received a phone call that since one of Milton's testicles had still not yet descended, the surgery could not be performed.  The vet suggested that we wait until the Milt was 8 or 9 months old to see if the remaining testicle would descend naturally.  Now Milt is almost 7 and a half months old, and Jeff and I have read a few articles on the topic as well as spoken to multiple vets, and they have convinced us that any natural resolution is not likely.

Note the lone ball.  It wasn't this clear before Milt was shaved.

Almost all male testicles have dropped by 6 - 8 weeks of age but not our boy's.  This condition is known as cryptorchidism - "hidden flower."  In normal development, the testicles form in the abdomen and then travel down a canal to their final resting place in the scrotum.  Our boys' pair did not follow that routine path.  Instead, Milton's other testicle could be floating around anywhere along that route.  Who knows?  The main worry is a condition like this can easily develop into testicular cancer or torsion, so the testicle must certainly be found and removed.

For Jeff and me, it makes us nervous (seriously distressed really) that Milton will need the one normal incision plus another incision in the stomach which will require an elevated bout of anesthesia and an elongated recovery period.  

Today we plan to try again with the Milt at a different SPCA that is more comfortable with performing this procedure.  Hopefully it will be quick, almost painless, and we can put all this behind us for the Thanksgiving holiday and the rest of Milt's life.  It is not the most pleasant condition to be stuck with.

On an up note, Queen Goob, one of my very best fans, is the winner of the Lotsa Doodles Calendar Contest!  Yay, Goob!  I will drop that little gem in the mail for you very, very soon.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

Milton's Momma (me) likes to exercise everyday if possible, whether it be yoga or a walk/run.  Sometimes Milton gets in the way of this when he asks to go potty, play ball, or take a walk for his own daily constitutional.

Last week, he certainly interrupted my workout routine by pulling this little stunt:

Strenuous, huh?

Dumbbell = soft pillow

 Ahh, Milt Dog.  He always needs to be right in the midst of things.

REMEMBER - the calendar contest is still in effect until 9:00P.M. CST this evening.  If you want a Lotsa Doodle's calendar, please comment on last week's Thursday post.  Thank you!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lotsa Doodles Calendar Giveaway!

10,000.  Does this number mean anything to you?  It means an awful lot to me because last week I hit 10,000 PAGE VIEWS on!

Since I began blogging on May 28th, the week prior to bringing the Milt home, I have garnered 10,000 viewings of my blog (plus lots of views), and I am positively thrilled.  To all of my loyal readers, thank you for reading multiple times a day (Mom), checking in weekly, or occasionally perusing monthly.  I sincerely appreciate it all.  These past six months of writing about our little goldendoodle have been a whole of fun, challenging at times, and overall rewarding.  Blogging has really allowed this writing teacher to practice her trade.

Calendar Boy

To thank all of you, I am giving away a Lotsa Doodles Calendar, featuring none other than the Milt!  All you have to do is comment on this post at and tell me why you would like a calendar.  This giveaway will run from today, Thursday, November 15th at 7:00A.M. until Monday, November 19th at 9:00P.M.  Feel free to comment once daily during this time span, and I will add your name into my shoebox drawing (saavy, I know!) each time.  Once the contest closes, I will randomly generate a winner by sticking my hand in and pulling out a slip.  I will announce the grand winner in Tuesday morning's post and drop the calendar in the mail.

Thank you all so much for following, and I hope you continue reading the adventures of Milton the Goldendoodle.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Paradise Revisited

This past weekend our little family made the trek once again to northern Louisiana to visit the magical land complete with trailer, slough, and all.  Our boy was thrilled that we finally made it back into that neck of the woods both to see his grandparents and run wild for a couple of days.  We did not take nearly as many photos as the first time we visited because we were caught up in the moment, and it's not always easy to tear away and grab your camera when you're having fun or, rather, watching your little doodle having fun.

Fall in Louisiana

Milt contemplated hopping in the boat with his Pop but thought better of it.

Uncle Dusty taught Milt some poor table manners; Uncle Dusty really doesn't care for the Milt too much.

Jeff and I ran a quick errand to town, and we returned to this.  Pop insists he did not even realize Milt crawled up there.

The land requires a good wash and brush for the Milt, followed by Daddy carrying him to avoid more muddy paws.

The main reason we visited the land this weekend was my wonderful husband, Jeff, was celebrating a birthday (not a golden one but momentous nonetheless), and he wanted to celebrate by hunting in seclusion.  I was not terribly thrilled with the idea, despite wanting to see my in-laws, since I just returned from my five-day California camping trip.  I have never been a "happy camper."  The land does have its perks, though, like antiquing for treasures and pie at the local watering hole, Lea's.  The tight sleeping quarters and limited ease of showering and toileting I can do without.

No red cake this time - tres leche (whole, condensed, and evaporated milk), instead!

The other main reason we trekked to the land was to capture Milton in the perfect Christmas photo.  Here is a little preview:

A droopy reindeer in the back of a pickup truck

Don't worry - this one was not the winner.  We did manage to coax a couple of tail wags out of the boy, and I am now excited to get our Christmas cards underway!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

On days when Milton does not attend daycare, we feel compelled to take him for an awful long walk in the morning.  Generally it is my duty and desire to take the Milt because I like the exercise too, but last week Jeff joined us for a very early morning walk.  Thankfully with the daylight savings time, it approaches light toward the latter half of the walk, so we are not in complete darkness the entire time.

Generally Milt enjoys his walks, but at times he can get a bit obstinate when he does not get to pick the direction we walk in, sniff everything for that extra minute, or say hi to each and every dog we encounter.  In particular, Milton gets the greatest enjoyment from our walks when he finds the perfect stick.  It always puts an extra little pep into his step.

Walking proud

This stick was a monster.  Our goldendoodle was incredibly proud of himself when he snagged this one.  The kicker is he carried it a remarkable 1/2 mile home all the while prancing and looking up at us to double, triple check that he could keep it.  The Milt was taking up a lot of space with that stick span, and we had to steer him clear of quite a few walkers and bikers!  It is really enjoyable to watch a dog's innocent pleasure all from picking up some old castoff from a tree.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our Little Boy's All Grown Up!

Yesterday, November 7th, marked seven months for the 'ole Milt.  It is hard to believe that we have been raising this boy since June.  He's our main dependent, and depend on us he does.  When you see a dog every day, morning and night, it can be a little difficult to tell how much he has grown.  Well, here are some telltale signs that the Milt is turning into a "young dog" and leaving "puppyhood" behind.

1.  At the vet today, for Milton's monthly heart worm pill, he hopped up for his usual weigh in.

No, this is not a trick.  Milt weighs a whopping 50.3 lbs.!

That is quite a big difference from one of Milton's much earlier vet visits.  See the below.

A mere pup, perhaps 20 lbs.?

2.  The past two weeks at daycare, we have felt the pressure to get the Milt his first grooming session due to the magnitude of mud he takes in and retains.  Grooming sounds fancy, but Milt's not that kind of guy.  To be quite frank, we like him hairy.  I am fully determined to see just how long his fur can get.  Also with the onset of fall and the approach of winter, he needs that fur to stay warm, even if it is Dallas.  Our concession is to brush him out more and hope for the best.

Lots and lots of fur

Constant bed head

The tail has finally grown in.

3.  Jeff and I are now the proud members of both Sam's Club and Costco.  With Milt's tender tummy, we really couldn't just take him off his routine puppy food, cold turkey.  It was becoming quite bothersome to always beseech our friends, last minute of course, to pick us up Milt's special brand at Costco.  So, now we are double dipping.  With a boy who is eating about a bag a month, we need to stay on top of things!

All stocked up.

4.  The one thing people always comment on about the Milt are his paws.  We hear that they are "huge, massive, gigantic - That is going to be a big dog."  Well, we hope he keeps on growing.  This seems somewhat of a silly statement akin to when Jeff lamented on a forum about how our dog does not naturally like to swim, and someone replied, "Why do you care?"  Exactly.  Why do we care if Milt is big or small?  I don't know.  It's like wanting a blonde haired kid or petite feet.  It's just something we're into!

Big Foot

Daddy insisted on taking a measurement

As you can see, our boy might be all grown up (almost), but he still likes to dip into his toy bin every day.  I think he'll always be a pup at heart (thank goodness!).

Quite content

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stubborn Husband

More often than not, I win our fights over anything and everything, and believe me we are quite passionate when it comes to arguing.  One major battle I have lost at present, however, is the Milton in the bed.  Despite my recent post when countless readers told us to give in and let Milt up, Jeff still bluntly refuses.  He is resolute that our doodle is just too much of a dirty dog to be a cuddle bunny in bed.

This has left me with no other option than to join Milt down in his lair.  Recently, I have taken to squeezing in next to the Milt in the early morning hours for a little "Momma and Me" time.

Momma and her boy

Truthfully, I pity Jeff because he's the one missing out, not us.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Puppy Photo of the Week

The Milt has some pretty big news to announce.  He is excited, nervous, and a little bit bashful all rolled into one.  How can this be?  Well, Milton is a Calendar Dog!  He was selected to be Mr. May (along with two other dogs) in the Doodle Kisses's Lotsa Doodles Calendar.  This was the money shot taken by Alicia (

To view the actual calendar page, click here:

Initially when we heard the news, Milton (and his Momma!) were happy but a tad disappointed because he was not a full page spread.  This year Doodle Kisses did not have enough puppy photos to create a full puppy calendar, so the Lotsa Doodles, featuring multiple doodles on a page, was our one option.  The other funny bit was that when I previewed the calendar page, instead of Milton's name, he was labeled "Murphy."  Thank goodness that was a quick fix!
If you are interested in buying a calendar, here is the link:  There are three calendars to choose from - Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, or Lotsa Doodles.  If you do order, make certain to select January 2013 as the start month.  We ordered four, so three of my loyal readers (you can probably figure out who you are!) will be getting a very special Christmas gift this year!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Baby Bag Totin' Dog Parents

Recently we met a couple of good friends of ours out at dinner.  They brought their two terriers, Sam & Eddie, and, of course, the Milt joined us as well.  Upon our arrival, our friends got quite a chuckle out of the big backpack that Jeff wore to dinner, referring to it as our "baby bag."

Well, let me tell you new puppy owners, you never know when an emergency might arise - messy potty but no bags, irritable dog while dining out, stuck in traffic without any food...  What is that old Boy Scout motto? - "Always be prepared."  Neither Jeff nor I have ever been in the Scouts, but we buy into that ideology.  So, here is what we keep in our "baby bag":

Water and food bowls are key for dining on the go, although many restaurants will provide water.

Food, treats, and toys to occupy

Tennis balls for an impromptu play session and, of course, bags to pick up any unexpected messes

Extra water just in case...

If you don't have a baby bag, I recommend you acquire one.  There are lots of fun gadgets and gizmos to make your bag even more fun rather than lame.  You might seem silly but definitely better safe than sorry!