Tag Archives: dogs

Just a smile for today

15 Feb

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A tour guide dog

15 Feb

First of all I would like to thank the lovely Apprentice, Never Master for awarding me with the Liebster Award. I’m flattered and it’s a great encouragement for me, given that I’m just starting here. I’m looking forward to filling the questionaire but – since I’m quite new to the whole blogging business, I decided to take some time to get a grasp as to what I’m doing here and whose blogs I really enjoy.

And now – the post.

Zzzzzzzzzzz

“Go ahead, I’m already bored”

Being a dog owner has many advantages. Having a dog will lower your blood pressure (unless you find them gnawing on your favourite pair of loafers or eating the whole bunch of hot dogs straight from the grill), they force you to maintain your daily excercise routine (getting up at 7AM on a cold, dark, snowy Sunday to go on a walk is truly a blessing), they keep you safe (only valid if you don’t own a Golden Retriever, a Golden Retriever would sell your ass to a random stranger for some belly rubs and an “awww, who’s a pwetty doggy?!”). But there’s one thing about it that often gets overlooked.

Having to take a dog for a walk makes you visit places you would have absolutely no business visiting otherwise, because “hey! we have to go there! I can smell half a broken plate burrowed in the ground 3 blocks away, I absolutely have to find it!” (true story).

Why would anybody throw out a perfectly good stick?

“Oh what’s that? It looks good… smells good… hey, it’s a tree!, I found a tree!”

If you have a dog you will also find yourself talking to seemingly random people whom you’d never meet if it wasn’t for your dog’s ability to look like a happy, smiling pile of fluff (or, in some cases, if he didn’t just happily jump on them and tackled them to the ground leaving you with an angry passer-by and a huge dry cleaning bill). There are not many things in life that will make you go outside three or four times a day and explore the neighbourhood and let’s be honest – as much as we may love going out and see things, we love staying in our Internet-connected caves even more.

So what can you find when strolling around with your four-pawed friend? Well.. sometimes it’s just an update on what’s been going on in the past few days, like fallen trees or giant puddles on the lawn after a particulary bad storm.

20121031_155719 (1)

“It was like that when I got here, I swear!”

Other times it’s just a dead rat. Or a half eaten sparrow. Not a neat sight, but if you embrace the circle of life you may find it interesting. But there are so many other things – old buildings covered in ivy, hidden somewhere in the back alley completely out of place. An old shop. A cozy little cafe or a new pizza place. An ugly building transformed to look like an old ship (I’m absolutely serious, I found one by accident). You may also encounter some rather interesting individuals – painters, novice jugglers, bartenders practising with bottles. Or an old, scared, lonely woman who just needs to tell you her story. Or if you’re really… lucky, like I once happened to be – a strangely dressed man trying to hypnotize you with his gold ruby ring so that you loosen your dogs collar (it wasn’t to tight, rest assured).

I must admit that my sister happens to live in one of the more interesting parts of Warsaw, with  beautiful old buildings (not a lot of those survived the WW2), dozens of embassies, a few parks in a few minutes walk, hundreds of shops – modern ones as well as old fashioned workshops and so on – so our little trips are particulary interesting. Not everyone gets to walk their dog next to a 200 year old mansion (currently a seat of the Warsaw Music Society)

sniff sniff

“Mansion? What mansion?”

or an allegedly haunted house.

I can tell that Sancho loves these trips even more than he loves his regular visits to the park – he gets super excited every time we take an unusual turn, his tail wagging, his nose wiggling, his ears pricked up. So many new places to sniff! New people, sometimes even new dogs! I guess we’re just both exploring, him – with his nose close to the ground, me – with my eyes on the buildings and signboards.

So if you’re new to a neighbourhood or you feel like you don’t know yours well enough – get a dog. Let him/her take you for a walk. Wander around, visit the little alleys (don’t do that at night, especially not with a Golden Retriever), take little peeks at random backyards. You will be amazed how many new and unexpected things you may see.

And with that thought it’s time to say good night. Or have a good day/afternoon/evening (choose one).

“Exploring? More like snoring!”

25 Jan

This might be the cutest thing I’ve seen this week!

PS. Please excuse my rather concise posts, I’m trying to get my thesis done. I’ll be back with my low-quality golden retriever photos and silly thoughts soon, I promise!

Come to the dark side (we have puppies)

21 Jan

To prove that what I wrote yesterday is no lie – this is what I woke up to today:

If you look closely you can see that the weird catterpillar on the left is actually a dog sticking his cold nose right into his sleepy owner’s face

Actually that’s not true. When I first woke up all I saw were two hairy hind legs and a fluffy tail, stretched comfortably on my pillow, while my head was crammed between the wall and whatever space was left after the dog’s body expanded to take up most of the bed. I’d be mad, but this was  just too ridiculous to even care. I slowly rolled over and went back to sleep, happy that he didn’t notice that his morning walk should have started at least an hour ago.

This is the only bed he ever jumps into. I don’t think he even likes to lie on the furniture, they’re to small, to warm and move funny when you walk on them. I’m always amazed when I see pictures of Goldens sleeping on armchairs or sofas, Sancho would never do that – the only time when he’d jump on a chair is when the vacuum is on and that’s just because he’s a big, fat coward. But my sister’s bed is an exception – she’d drag him there all the time when he was little and he would sleep there ever since. Somehow he doesn’t share my sister’s view that he’s way to big to do that now.

‘I have no idea what you’re talking about.’

Why was I sleeping in my sister’s bed, you might ask. Well, the truth is it’s her apartment. And – technically – her dog. But she’s a doctor, with night shifts, additional private patients and an endless appetite for travelling, so we kind of made a deal when she got the dog. But let’s start from the top.

As I stated before – I’m a dog person (not that I don’t like cats, they seem like great dudes – I just never had one). My whole family, we all are dog people. But when my siblings moved out and my old friend Gacek departed  (a dog that was with me for over a half of my life) my parents finally said it was enough. And while I have to admit it was quite a relief not having to do the daily walking rutine, it was sad beyond words when there was nobody greeting me enthusiastically at the door every day.

Untill, one day, I got an e-mail from a friend.

Hi, I know you miss having a dog… maybe this will interest you.

The single sentence,  then a picture of a beautiful Golden Retriever lady with a crowd of tiny, white, adorable puppies (no pedigree, but the breed was quite apparent). And then the description – the owners are getting a divorce, the wife is threatening to drown the puppies if nobody takes them. What an awful story! My puppy sense started tingling. I knew my parents wouldn’t want to take one. And I didn’t really think anyone I know would. But I wrote to my sister nevertheless – a short, not really too-serious text message, intended more as a conversation starter than a real inquiry. She was scuba diving somewhere in Tanzania at the time, so I didn’t even expect her to reply to quickly.

“Hi, there are some golden retriever pups up for an adoption, what do you say?” I also explained briefly the ugly side of the situation. And then the most unexpected reply came:

YES!

But the story doesn’t end here. My friend started calling and arranging everything. Me and my sister agreed that I would help her every time she wanted to travel or needed to go to work.  But soon it started to seem that it was all a hoax or some kind of a stupid joke, yet my friend wouldn’t give up. Meanwhile my sister came back from Africa and after a few weeks she started to accept the fact that it will probably never happen. But she’d still ask: “when will I get my dog?!”

And then I got a call. Apparently my friend went all the way to the other side of the country to bring a puppy from some different family. He’s taken him  home and kept him for one day and the next day I went there, pick up the small, toothy ball of fur in a basket, brought him to my sister’s home and took her by surprise when she came back from her night shift in the morning. She opened the door and there we were – me and the sleepy little creature, cutest thing on Earth.

It took a lot of will power not to name him ‘Fluffy McFluffington”

The giant, happy spark in her eyes nearly blinded me.

Is it mine?!

And then it was clear. He would be forever spoiled.

Can you blame us?

A dog owner’s life

20 Jan

Being on a short deadline with my B.S. thesis (B.S. here being an acronyme for both bulls*it and Bachelor of Science) I decided to use my time wisely and start a blog. So I grabbed a glass of chocolate milk, found a quiet, comfy spot in the kitchen and started writing… I wish. The milk is long gone – it took me almost an hour to find a blog name that wasn’t already taken. Seriously, people who hog blog names and never post a thing should burn in hell. “Hello, welcome to heaven-dot-com, please register to enter. Sorry, this username is already taken!”. I’m already imagining the ghost town that the Internet will become in 30 years, when there will be no more usernames or addresses left.

I came here with a concept, some thoughts in my head that I wanted to get out (mostly silly ones, I’m a silly person) and some cute but horrible-quality photos of my Golden Retriever, to make the reading less insufferable. I’d offer you cats as “CATS ARE NICE” (copyright belongs to certain Mr. Death, created by Sir Terry Pratchett) but I don’t have any. You’ll have to do with the dog.

Anyway, the moment is gone – I’m not sure if what I’m going to write will be any good, so let me apologize in advance – I’m sorry if I wasted your time. Here, have a dog photo to make your day better.

Image

Did I mention the terrible quality?

What I wanted to write about is actually dog related. I love dogs, I always had a dog and I accept my dogs with whatever flaws they have. But I noticed there are many people who are completely unaware of the fact that if you have a dog – especially a big one – the dog becomes a huge part of your life. It’s not just the walks. It’s not just the expenses.

When you adopt or buy a dog, you adopt dog hair all over your clothes. You adopt the cold nose suddenly touching your leg in the middle of the night. You adopt the seemingly pointless barking, the smelly dog-kibble breath and the affectionate, smiling snout slobbering all over your keyboard.

Hi there! Whatcha doin’?

But wait, there’s more! In a package with a dog comes also the dog smell all over your house. Contrary to common belief dogs don’t smell bad. It’s just a smell that you have to grow up with to be able to accept it. Dogs don’t stink (except when they do… occassionaly. It’s their festive smell, every dog has his/her own favorite – “l’eau de dead rat” or “parfume du horse waste” are the most popular choices). It’s just how they smell. Did your dog ever gave you hard time about how you smell? No? That’s because he loves you and accepts you for who you are – so don’t be a dick and go give him a treat.

Among many other benefits you get with your dog are (depending on the model) your favorite flip flops being chewed on, your dirty laundry being stolen (and chewed on), your food being licked, your pants being drooled on and – if you’re very lenient – you, getting pushed out of your bed in the middle of the night because you didn’t leave enough space for him to stretch his paws.

Kind of like this, but the paws go into your face.

And if you’re anything like me – you’ll love it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to correct these behaviors if they annoy you. There are many great methods to teach your dog to behave (and if you choose well he will have the time of his life while learning!) and by all means, you should use them. And there are some behaviors that are absolutely unacceptable, like unjustified aggressiveness.

But if nothing works – and sometimes it just doesn’t – there’s just one thing to do. Accept it. Learn to love your dog for who he/she is. My dog is far from perfectly trained, which is mostly our – me and my sister’s – fault. And sometimes he drives us to insanity with his barking, nagging and drooling. But at the end of the day we sit down, drink wine, share the “you won’t believe what the dog did today!” stories and think that it’s kind of cool to have a dog with a rock star personality.

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