Saturday, June 09, 2007

Too Bad it was the PUPPY Kissing Booth...

...because I came prepared.

Okay, jokes about which of us would have made more money. Doesn't Truman look mortified? "PLEASE, woman, you're embarrassing me!"

Open House 2007

This year's Open House fund raiser was pirate themed, which is right up my alley, so I'd been looking forward to the festivities since Truman's arrival. Unfortunately, Truman and I had just had a few of our more "challenging" days together, so my patience had worn a bit thin by the time we even arrived at the school...but seriously, look at that face. You just can't stay frustrated for too long. I just love that little stinker.

Thankfully, the South Bay raisers -- as keepers of the Puppy Kissing Booth, which is billed in the annual program as the world's cheapest therapy at $1 per puppy kiss -- had a nice spot where we all congregated, and there were a few wise folks who had brought kennels. Truman got a few time-outs, and I was able to walk away for a bit and do the necessary things (like eat lunch and use the restroom) unfettered.

There's always a do-it-yourself photo op at the event, and this year's backdrop was a super cool pirate ship playhouse that one lucky person got to take home as a silent auction prize. Near the ship was a bag of dress-up goodies, but I didn't have the heart to put anything complicated on either of us, so we made do with hats. Truman was surprisingly compliant. So here's me, sailing the seven seas with my cabin boy. Arrrf, mateys!

For all the cool piratey decor, I didn't spy anything entitled "Davy Bones' Locker," which was a missed opportunity, if you ask me. Maybe I should volunteer for the planning committee next time.

For all Truman's "I'm the Dude" attitude (and occasional attempts at mutiny in the at-home pack order), he is actually quite an obedient and intelligent dog. He "sits" and "downs" with surprising consistency and quickness, and even his formal "come" command is...well, coming along. However, I had wisely set low expectations for the puppy trials. This environment, after all, is just about the ultimate test of attention span for a little furball of only five months. They don't call the GDA campus "Doggy Disneyland" for nothing, and the added excitement of hundreds of people and dogs, people in funny hats, the smells of tri-tip barbecue...heck, these things distract ME.

So the little man was kind of a spaz, but -- like Lomax last year -- primarily in the things that he seems to have mastered at home, treating the strangest of tasks like they're daily events. Sit and down? Joining me as I sit in a chair at a restaurant table? No way. Too much going on. Didn't hear a word you just said, woman. Getting on the pirate van? Walking past the goats and llamas? No problem. What llamas?

It's all a mystery. My roomie took a hilarious series of photos, practically each one showing Truman in a state of utterly joyous disobedience. She managed to not, somehow, capture his finest moments. But here's my favorite shot of Truman, who will walk on grates, rocks, woodchips, and just about anything shy of hot coals when we're at home...but could not possibly resist the siren song of the styrofoam popcorn:

It is most telling when one of the trainers acting as a course judge laughs and says to you, "That's okay -- he gets extra points for cuteness."


Though we didn't win any fancy ribbons, I'm proud of how he handled the whole day (only occasionally lunging, and rarely "vocalizing," and generally being his fearless, exuberant self), and we are both very proud of all the South Bay dogs and other friends who placed, including Truman's sister Tori, who took second place in our category.

The boy earned his grog. Drink up, me puppies, yo ho!

Of the six GDA pups in Truman's litter, five of us were in attendance. Unfortunately, Thatcher wasn't there, and we didn't get Tori in time for the following photo. But here, along with the little yellow pirate, are Trooper, Tia and Tai: Truman's littermate(y)s.

Friday, June 08, 2007

He Who Must Soon Be Neutered

Before I got Truman, my roommate bought a little Harry Potter "sorting hat" key chain, and it was our plan to put it on Truman's cute little head, take a photo, and announce to the world which house he'd been placed in.

From day one, Truman has been virtually impossible to catch in a nice sitting or lying down pose. The hat idea, which would probably have worked on a calmer pup, soon fell by the wayside. Even the photos from puppy pickup day show the other dogs happily in the arms of their raisers and obediently piddling on the grass before the trip home...but not Truman. I have some lovely pics of him obsessing on eating the grass, lunging for the other puppies, and (this one's my favorite) stretching from the safety of my arms to bite the neck of a nearby littermate.

So the roommate immediately suspected, even without the aid of the sorting hat, that Truman belonged in the house of Slytherin. His great love for the squeaky plush snake toy was another clue.

But the decision was solidified yesterday, after another random attack during a trip outside to relieve. When Truman's deadly puppy canines left this bloody, jagged mark on the top of my left foot, I knew what I was dealing with:

He's not just from Slytherin. My dog is freaking VOLDEMORT.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hey, That's COLD!

We had our first visit with Dr. Steve on Monday -- the "new puppy" appointment. Of course the doc was impressed with good lookin' Mr. Truman. Clean ears, healthy coat, strong frame, wagging tail, fresh stool sample...what's not to love?

Fortunately, the waiting room at the beautiful new facility wasn't crowded, but that didn't stop the boy from wanting to make friends with the aged Golden Retriever and the arm-candy Maltese and the cat-in-the-box. We sat on the other side of the room, as you can see in the photo.

I didn't dare attempt a Kodak moment in the exam room. Truman wasn't particularly thrilled with having to stand on the table, even though there was a nice towel there for his comfort, so I ended up keeping him in a lock the whole time.

The dog does not make sense. He was absolutely perfect for the vet tech who took his temperature (in a very sensitive area, I might add), but when the doc wanted to look at his teeth, he wouldn't hold still for anything. If it had been me, that whole thing would have been the opposite.

My favorite part of the visit:

ME: "Truman loves fabric. He's destroyed four pairs of jeans, a sweatshirt, a shirt, and countless pajama bottoms."

DOC: "Yeah, you really have to watch what you leave lying around with these little guys. Be careful -- we just had to do surgery on a dog who ate some socks off the floor."

ME: "Oh, no. He doesn't get run of the house, and the clothes weren't on the floor. I was wearing them at the time. It usually happens while we're on a walk."

DOC (eyebrows raised incredulously, laughing): "You're gonna have your hands full with this one!"

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Can I Get an Interpretation?

Truman attended church with me for the very first time today.

And only barked once.

I am grateful for many things in my life of faith. Among them is my pastor, who has welcomed all his quadrupedal congregants with the same grace and enthusiasm as he welcomes the bipeds. Even when they're improperly exercising their spiritual gifts.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Why So Many Pictures of Him Sleeping?

Deceptively innocent looking, no? Don't let him fool you. Though I admit we seem to have turned a corner in the last couple of weeks in terms of his behavior, Truman (along with his "I'm the Dude" attitude, and his remaining sharp puppy teeth) continues to be a daily challenge. One of those challenges is trying to get a photo of him in a conscious state without my having to hold him still and be in the picture while someone else works the camera.

Meanwhile, the list of "why do they give me the crazy ones" dog nicknames continues to grow....

The Yellow Dervish
Greased Lightning
The Kraken

Friday, June 01, 2007

And Suddenly, He's Huge

Remember teeny tiny dog and his teeny tiny carrot?

When did THIS happen?