Thursday, June 27, 2013

Top Secret Hiding Spot

Now you see him.

Now you don't.  Almost...

Happy Thursday!  Stay cool today.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tough Love

You know I love this furry boy of mine, but Milton and I had a bad episode of tough love at the dog park on Monday night.  That evening I was attempting to quell Milt's energy before bed, so we arrived to the park late at about 8:00P.M.  As usual, the dood had a magnificent time swimming after balls, chasing his doggie pals, and most importantly, soaking up water to cool down. 

Soaked to the bones
The two of us stayed at the park until the last possible ounce of sunlight began to fade as the rest of the dogs and their companions began to file home.  All who remained were Milt, me, and another man with his two boys.  One of these dogs I had originally mistaken for a doodle, but he was in fact an Italian sheepdog.  If you have never seen one before, here's a picture:

This dog actually dreadlocks, and it is considered a good thing.

This sheepdog wasn't quite as hairy, but he did still manage to make Milton look short-haired.  The other dog of the pair was some sort of golden retriever mix that was very small in stature and low to the ground, like the one pictured below:

Little guy

The three boys were amicably playing with each other (or so I thought!) while I chatted with their owner.  Then, all of a sudden, a dispute broke out over a silly washed up piece of driftwood.  As far as I could tell, Milton had retrieved this wood, and he was happily standing guard over it while he gnawed away.  The golden tried to grab Milt's prize, but he was met, to my surprise, by deep dark growls from Milton.  Next thing I knew, a full out brawl had erupted, and who was the dog to start it?  My gentle giant -- Milton.  The two dogs snarled and snapped at each other in a fury of tumbling limbs and whirling fur.  They stood on their hind legs, spit flying, as they bit and snatched at each other.  I, a bumbling idiot, stood helpless on the sidelines repeatedly shouting, "Milton!  Milton!  Milton!"  Finally, after two minutes of intense heavy sparring, the other owner dove his body into the middle of the fray to yank each dog's collar and completely separate them.

After checking for signs of damage to either dog, or the fearless owner, while profusely apologizing, I hauled my wicked boy to the car and drove him home.  To put it simply, I was incredibly angry and mortified.  I was angry that Milton, who is unfailingly kind and gentle, started such a terrible scuffle that could have deeply wounded both dogs and us owners.  I was mortified because I felt that I could not control my dog.  As I watched Milton, the instigator, in tooth to fur combat, I desperately wanted to intervene, but I simply did not know how without injuring myself.  I thought that if I tried to break up the fight by grabbing Milton, as much as he loves me, he might turn on me too in the heat of the moment.  I was and am incredibly grateful that the other owner risked his safety to intervene, but I do not think it was fair of me to simply be "rescued" when it was my dog who started all the trouble to begin with.

Needless to say, Milton received a stern talking to and stone-cold attention from me that evening and the next morning.  To overcome my own shortcoming,  I researched online what others advise to do when caught in the midst of a dog fight, which appears to be a common dilemma.  Of course there is the common answer of throw water on the dogs, but that is not always practical.  Another website said to try and distract the dogs by calling out a common phrase like, "Do you want a treat?" which, to me, would seem to have little effect.  One solution I like is if two people are present, grab the hind legs of each dog, and pull backwards, which creates a wheelbarrow effect and throws them off balance.  The worst solution appears to be what that man did -- jump in the middle of it all.

Scuffles between dogs are bound to happen over asserting dominance, guarding a possession, or protecting something or someone.  Milton could have felt threatened by this two-pact of dogs, or he could have just been acting selfish.  Who knows?  I've been known to pick a fight or two just like him. 

I am, however, a deep believer that everything happens for a reason and this little incident reminded me that my baby boy is actually a puppy dog complete with sharp teeth and animal instincts.  I need to do better at reinforcing to Milton that I am leader of the pack, and he needs to always obey me.  This means that when we are out walking and Milton wants to lie down and roll over, I need to show him who is boss.  Likewise, when he yanks me clear off the sidewalk in pursuit of a squirrel, I need to demonstrate that I am leading the show.  When he refuses to give up his tennis ball during a game of fetch, I need to not give in to his antics. 

As you have probably already guessed, Milton has since been forgiven and is no longer deemed a "vicious" dog by me. Sometimes tough love can be hard, but it certainly comes from the heart.  Our goldendoodle needs to learn a few hard lessons in order to keep both him and us safe and sound.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Milton and I like to take little field trips together on long hot summer days.  One of our favorite stops is Michael's, which, of course, is followed by a quick trip to PetSmart, located directly next door.  The two of us usually amuse ourselves in the doggie section of the store, sniffing the bones and looking for pups to greet, but on this occasion, I deviated from our usual path, and we decided to peruse the bird selection.

For a dog like Milton, who desperately wants to nab a bird but, sadly, has never been successful, he was utterly and completely entranced.  It was a private hunting ground just for him as he silently and stealthily observed the birds dart about in their sanctuary.  After quite some time of deep stares and jumps to get a closer look, I thought it best to relocate to another section of the store.  I could only imagine Milton's 62-pounds breaking the glass and birds flooding everywhere.  I wasn't in the mood to pay out, just so he could finally have a victory.  


So close yet so far away

I don't think the birds nor the PetSmart employees were too happy with Milt Dog stalking their lair, but it certainly brought a smile to my face and a little excitement into Milton's day.  Next time you stop by a pet shop, veer over to the bird section and see how your dog responds; it might surprise you or at least cause you to giggle just a little bit.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sassy Pants

Lately Milton has been, well, a... sassy pants.  There is no other way to describe it.

Sprawling out on the couch with his head lightly resting on a goose down pillow
Attempting to stand up at the kitchen counter

If you know me, you know that I tend to do a little inner monologue for Milton, like I am his "human" voice.  It's really not a big deal.  Don't laugh; if you are a dog owner, you do it too -- you know you do.  Catching Milton in these two above situations makes me wonder if he thinks he might be a human or at least part human.

Milton:  "Momma, are you a dog?  I've just been wondering, Momma.  I mean, how else could you possibly be my momma?  Um, I've been sitting on the couch lately, like you, Mom, and I've been trying really hard to walk on my two hind legs too."

Oh, the tough issues that arise when you are a Dog Mom are never ending.  We might need to sit the Milt Dog down for a little talk soon.  It's probably better if I do it than his dad; his dad can be a tad more blunt and outspoken with our little man.  I can break it much more easily to the Milt that while yes, he is a dog, he's just like a son to us.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mud Bath

On Tuesday my buddy, Danielle, and I took good 'ole Milt Dog to the local dog park.  As of late, we have been forgoing the "dry" land area to splash around in the lake and paddle after tennis balls.  This time, following our swim, we thought we would take a foray back onto firm soil in an attempt to dry off by scampering after more tennis balls.

Silly me threw a ball in the direction of this massive puddle, and wouldn't you know that it bounced right in?  Of course, Milton bounced right in after it.  Mud is just irresistible to him.

Happy as a pig in... #%*$!

Still fixated on that ball and surrounded by so many more!

Danielle and I carefully persuaded the boy to leave his puddle, so we could douse him with clean water from a hose.  For some reason, Milt Dog was still awfully stinky, so a bath was also desperately needed upon return home.  Milton, like always, had an absolute blast getting good and dirty, and I think these photos will certainly make a nice addition to our Milton photo wall!

Friday, June 14, 2013

The F-Word: Fun!

In just a few hours, I will be en route to the airport!  Am I flying to another tropical, luscious destination?  Sadly no, but that is just fine with me because I am picking up precious passengers instead!  Two of my dearest friends, whom I studied abroad  with in Italy, are arriving today for a five-night stay.  It is hard to believe that it has been six years since I, a college senior, traipsed through the streets of Florence with these two beauties.  Our friendship, luckily, has persevered not only through the years but varying geographic locations as well.  Last year, we all rendezvoused in Nicole's current city of Los Angeles; this year is Dallas, and hopefully next year will find us in Danielle's area, Denver.    

One of my favorite things to do is entertain, and so I spent the morning frantically cleaning, followed by yoga to calm down, and then grocery shopping and flower buying galore.  I think in the pre-guest panic, it is easy to lose sight of the true anticipation -- reinvigorating friendships and family bonds.  It really doesn't matter if my crown molding is dusty or if I didn't find the time to bake breakfast scones (two of my current worries).  All will be forgotten when the girls arrive and the fun commences.

While mopping under my nightstand, in the midst of my whirlwind cleaning, I came upon this:

Tucked away for later

Dreaming of fetch

Now the Milt Dog knows how to have a good time; he takes after my dad whom I quoted in the title of this post, "The real F-word is fun!"  For myself, I have struggled with the art of relaxation quite a bit throughout my life, so that is yet another lesson our doodle has truly shown me.  That being said, I will certainly enjoy my friends' visit, but I am pretty certain that Milt Dog will be ecstatic; he knows what the truly important things in life are.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

An Unpleasant Encounter

Milton and I enjoy taking walks in the early evening when the sun is finally beginning to wane.  Last night we left here at about 8:00P.M., and we began our usually two-mile loop.  We go up one side of the street, sniffing about, and we return down the other side because we need to check that out too. 

Now, Jeff and I might have created a nasty habit (I don't think so.), but during our early morning jogs throughout the school year, we were always faced with a reoccurring dilemma.  Whenever Milton went potty, we would bag it up, and then run with it for about three miles due to a dearth of public trashcans.  This was unpleasant, as you can imagine.  So instead, we began placing this stinky bundle on the corner of the sidewalk to pick up when we looped back around.  A small plastic bag sitting out of the way, to me, does not seem like too much of an inconvenience to anyone, especially if it is not directly situated on someone's property.  Gasp, shake your head, and think what you may, but we are responsible adults, and we always circle back to pick up what is rightfully ours to dispose of in a trash receptacle.

Getting back to my original story, last night Milt and I were enjoying our evening stroll and, most importantly, minding our own business.  Milton began heavy sniffing on the edge of someone's yard, and he proceeded to potty.  As Milton's Momma, I immediately untied the waste bag, that we always carry on Milton's leash, and I scooped up his poop.  As this occurred in the first few minutes of our walk, I neatly tied up the bag and carefully placed it directly under a stop sign at the end of that street.  I checked the street name, to mark our spot, and I knew we would be back in about 20 minutes to pick up the bag and take it home.

Milt and I continued about our merry way when I was spooked by a jogger, in his late 40s, huffing and puffing along on our left.  This is the dialogue that ensued:

Disgruntled jogger:  "That was a very unneighborly thing you did back there with your poop bag."

Incredulous me:  "We walk this route daily, and we are circling right back to pick it up.  Do you expect me to carry it for the entire walk?"

Disgruntled jogger:  <Grunts.>  Proceeds to continue jogging.

At my yoga class, we always discuss life issues, including energy.  Well, my positive energy collided with that man's negative energy resulting in a very unpleasant remainder of our walk.  How dare he intrude upon my life with his snide remark.  Nasty rebuttals, that I wish I had said, began to circulate in my head, like, "From the looks of you, I obviously walk this route a lot more than you jog it," or "I would never comment on your painstakingly slow pace, so don't comment on my dog etiquette."  My main point of contention is if this man thought I left the bag there, with no intention of ever picking it up again, why would I have even bothered to scoop up Milt's waste?  Instead I would have just left it smoldering on the grass...


Favorite spot

I concede.  Perhaps our habit could be interpreted as rude.  I see it as savvy especially if you are walking or running multiple miles, carrying a noxious bag of excrement is a bit bothersome.  Right or wrong -- the take-away from this story is I let that jogger's negative energy run all over me; I had an awful lot of trouble shaking it off.  For next time that anything rattles me, I need to refocus and realign my thoughts.  The person affected the most in a troublesome situation is the one who harbors the ill feelings instead of breathing and letting go.

The funny part is Milton's simple, natural action induced that spiteful comment, and I don't think he was bothered in the slightest.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Puppy Photo of the Week

Good Morning!  Jeff and I returned home yesterday from a five-day vacation in Mexico!  One of Jeff's good buddies from high school, Robbie, was getting married on the beach, so, of course, we absolutely had to attend.  While we were lounging at the pool, we sent Milton off to "camp," otherwise known as his usual, Downtown Dog.  Upon arrival home, Milt Dog is utterly exhausted.  Last night Jeff and I bathed and brushed to get him nice and clean again after all of his daycare fun.  He was still a quite damp before bed, so we bundled him up to keep our little guy warm.

Sleeping boy

When we woke up this morning, Milt was still all wrapped up, so he obviously slept hard.  We are happy to be back home with our boy.  I will post more on Mexico later this week; Jeff and I had an absolute blast, but to quote myself, "Everything is better with cheese, on a boat, and with Milton."

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Summer is in full swing, especially now that I am out of school, and everyday is a Momma and Milton day!  We are beginning to get into our daily routine of waking up, saying goodbye to Daddy Dog, and then taking a nice long walk or run.  Upon return, Milt naps most of the late morning and afternoon, periodically waking to play ball, while Momma sneaks off to yoga class.  We take another little evening walk while we wait for Daddy to come home.  It's blissful. 

One thing I have noticed, as I observe Milton's sleep schedule, is that he spends an awful lot of time in our bathtub.  Jeff and I refer to it as his "alone time."  I think Milton tends to have more alone time post-walk in the heat, especially when Momma turns the air conditioning off during the day.  That's why  Jeff and I decided that yet another haircut was in order. 

Skinny boy -- newly cut

Sitting pretty

 The first time we cut Milt, we wanted to keep his fur on the longer side, so he didn't look too much like a poodle.  Milt's hair grows incredibly fast though, so we thought the shorter the better this time.  I even took those scissors and cut his head way back because he definitely traps a lot of heat in that hair.  I always feel bad when I see Milt heavy panting, and I know it is due to the mop of fur covering his entire body. You might not be able to tell in these two photos, but Milt dog has quite a few bare patches.  Jeff is still perfecting the art of grooming; thankfully, he has a bunch of years and a whole heap of fur to master it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Puppy Photo

Milt and I played a little ball yesterday (like everyday!), and it seemed as if after every couple of tosses, all he wanted to do was lie down in our flowerbed.  That's what 90+ degree heat will do to you, I guess.

A bed of grass

Jeff made the comment that a tennis ball is basically attached to Milton's mouth all the time.  He is certainly passionate about the game.

Monday, June 3, 2013


This past Friday, Milt and I took a little jaunt to Petco to use one of  his birthday gift cards.  Of course, we left late afternoon, and we got bogged down in typical Dallas traffic.  That aside, we first went to the wrong pet store, PetSmart, and we were forced to redirect to the other side of town.  No problem.

We walked into Petco, and I immediately stepped, with my bare footed flip-flop, into a big puddle of doggie piss.  Typical.  Then the store was all out of the cute dog bone tag that we wanted.  Well, we got over that and picked out a different one, but then, wouldn't you know it, the engraving machine was on the fritz!  Although, the nice Petco employee offered to make us a free engraving once the machine finally rebooted, which I thought was very gracious.

Milt Dog and I waited and waited while he yanked and tugged on his leash because, as you know, a pet store is pretty exciting for a little fellow.  Foolishly, Petco placed their engraving machine directly next to a whole nicely refrigerated section of various real bone products right at puppy nose level.  The next time I responded to one of Milton's yanks, I noticed he was munching on something and what do I see but this:


It was a meaty knuckle bone that Milton simply could not resist.  I was more than a little mortified.  That is certainly not how Jeff and I raised that boy.  Normally, I can talk my way out of these situations fairly easily -- it looked like a free sample, Milt just took a little nibble, etc; however, in this case, Milt was squarely in the wrong with his Momma holding him red-pawed.

Well, the dog tag machine was never fixed, and we bought that big knuckle.  I still like to think that Milton was somewhat innocent in this situation and that temptation proved just a little too strong, but he's a pretty bright boy, and I think he was fully aware of what he was doing the entire time.  The reward just seemed greater than the punishment because we all know his Momma is really terrible at discipline.  Watch him walk on leash with me, and it will be quite obvious that I do not hold the control.
The little thief

Dragging his kill into the yard

I thought about throwing out the knuckle, just to teach Milt a lesson, but we all know how quickly dogs forget things.  He probably just thought his Momma bought him this bone to be sweet: Wasn't that nice of her?  Well, what's the moral of this story?  The Milt was just like a kid in a candy shop, and he is not to be trusted near food.  Ever.  Last night, he hauled himself up on a kitchen chair to reach the table.  This boy is on a roaring rampage.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Goldilocks & Her Doodle One-Year Anniversary Today!

Happy First of June!  Exactly one year ago today, Jeff and I welcomed Milton the Goldendoodle into our home.  Little did we know how he would completely change our lives for the better.  Now we can't possibly imagine life without our boy.  I used to say, "Everything is better with cheese or on a boat."  Now, I will tack on to my statement, "or with the Milt."

Since it has been one year with Milton, that also means it has been one year of me blogging.  To put it simply, this blog has been a rewarding adventure.  I enjoy capturing Milt's life on film and then creating interesting stories to correspond.  It has certainly challenged my creativity and sharpened my writing skills.

Looking back over the course of this memorable year, here are a few of my very favorite blog posts:

 Goldendoodle Draft
Picking out the perfect puppy, and we succeeded!

New Housemate
Rainy Day with the Goldendoodle
How can I ever forget this disaster?

Shoes Galore
Naughtiness from a young age onward...

The Long, Long Car Ride
Milt, Jeff, and I certainly bonded on that 25-hour car ride to visit my family in New York...

All Good Things Must Come to an End
Fun with Grand-Nan

 Doggie Adventure with Uncle Dave

Milton's first boat ride with Uncle Dave - unpleasant for Milton, annoying for Uncle Dave, and nerve wracking for Momma waiting on shore!

Swamp Dog
Milton's first foray at Momeaux and Pop's Louisiana slough!


Tricks Galore!

Halloween Arrived Early this Year
Making friends as we go

Puppy Photo of the Week
Lotsa Doodles Calendar Boy - That was one big accomplishment Momma was pretty darn proud of for both her and the Milt (our photographer, Alicia, too!).

Puppy Photo of the Week
It hasn't all been roses and sunshine...

A Slight Hiccup...
The never-ending saga

A Gingerbread House for Christmas!
Celebrating milestones with Milton by our side

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow...
Snow in Dallas - extraordinary

Doodle Palooza

Shearing a Big 'Ole Sheep (Goldendoodle!)
Oodles and oodles of doodle curls

Proud Momma and Daddy

When I began this blog, I attested to chronicle all the trials and tribulations of the first year with a puppy -- potty training, feeding habits, sleeping schedules, etc.  I think I have successfully accomplished that goal.  I also stated that I would blog for one full year and then be done.  Well, I am going back on that statement, just a little bit!  I don't think I can give up blogging entirely; I have way too much fun writing these posts.

Yes, this blog will march on, but it will be amended in a way.  No longer will I adhere to the strict Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday posting schedule.  Instead, I will post when news happens, and when it doesn't, I won't. The tight schedule was taking a bit of fun out of blogging, and when fun begins to dissipate from something you normally love, you should always rethink it.

Well, dear readers, thank you for following along with the first full year of life with Milton, our beloved goldendoodle!  Do continue to read on, however sporadic the postings may be, as we enter another wonderful year with the Milt.  All of your posted comments, emails, and phone calls, have really made this endeavor truly remarkable.