Saturday, December 01, 2007

Special Guest Dog

For a while now we've been sort of 'fostering' our neighbor's dog, Sadie. Isn't she a cutie?

She was a rescue, but our neighbor says she's a malamute cross. To me she looks more like a combination Collie & English Sheepdog, but who really knows?

Kodos loves having another dog around, even if she doesn't always want to play when he does.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Urine Nation

I have problems...

The family took a lovely road trip down to Tucson a couple of weeks ago. The house was going to be empty for 5 days or so, so we:
  • boarded the dog
  • up-ended a bag of cat food into a big bowl & scooped their litter boxes for the cats.
Since returning, 1-year-old Kodos has peed in the house four times, in 3 spots. And it seems not to be the regular, only-mildly-offensive pee. This is especially pungent stuff. I can smell it in the room, even after cleaning it with the Get Serious enzyme cleaner, which is supposed to make the smell imperceptible even to the sensitive noses of animals. I've gone over all 3 spots with that several times, and with an upright carpet steamer, and with a hand steamer. The smell is better (at least once the affected spots dry) but I can still smell it if I put my nose down in the affected area. I am definitely in the market for carpet-cleaning tips--please tell me how I can fix these!

Until I can get these things cleaned, I dare not let K into the carpeted areas of the house, so we're back in baby-gate purgatory for a while. This is particularly a drag, b/c my in-laws are visiting, and they are not the most nimble folks.

Have I mentioned that I need carpet cleaning tips?

So what the heck is going on? Why the sudden backslide of house training at this late date? I had trusted Kodos to roam all over the whole house for many months. He hadn't had an accident since I took away the beef bone that seemed to make him, um, incontinent in a different way.

Here are some facts to bolster the conclusion I'm about to lay on you. ;-)
  • At the boarding kennel, Kodos was stationed 2 kennels down from a female in season.
  • While we were gone, the cats took to using one of the bedrooms (the one K first peed) as a litter box & the place stank to high heaven. (Thankfully, they peed on bedding, which was easily removed & laundered--not so much with our carpeting.)
  • Kodos has recently begun lifting his leg to pee, as opposed to squatting.
So I'm thinking that Kodos has had a more or less sudden sexual awakening, and that that is causing him to 'mark' in the house (e.g., pee not to eliminate urine, but to spread his scent around, as a way to mark his territory). More importantly, I'm hoping that getting him neutered (and we did that this past Wednesday) is going to remove this impulse from him completely.

That's right, isn't it? The vet 'fixed' him, didn't she?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Consarn it, I've been tagged by Orion Count Drulzelot. Apparently, this means I need to write a new blog post (which I've really had to do anyway) and mention 7 random facts/habits about myself. Since this blog belongs to Roy (the human) rather than Kodos (the majestic, mischievous Newf puppy), I'm going to write about me. So here goes.
  1. I am besotted w/my puppy Kodos, who is now a year old. (Big ups to my Mom, who pointed this out during her recent visit out from NY & used that word 'besotted', which is exactly right.) You're shocked, I know--it's not as though every blog post for the last year or so mentions him prominently...
  2. Just about all of my favorite TV shows have been cancelled by FOX. These would be: Arrested Development; Futurama; Firefly & (just recently!) Family Guy.
  3. I have a law degree that I've never used--never sat for a a bar exam, certainly never practiced, and have pretty much reverted back to a normal person. All that's left are the student loans. Yay.
  4. I am pretty sure this whole 'world wide web' thing is a fad, and will blow over any week now.
  5. I have a very long commute to work--2 hours there, 2.5 hours home. But it's in part a beautiful ferry ride, and I don't drive any bit of it, so I get a lot of work done on my laptop during it.
  6. I am one of those knee-jerk liberal Democrats your parents may have warned you about. Probably the education is to blame for that. I've been in a kind of political fetal position ever since the 2004 presidential election. Got me one of those mp3 music players right then & have been doing a wide eyed la-la-la-la-this-is-not-happening-la-la-la-la ever since. I don't normally talk about this, but this morning's announcement of Scooter Libby's get-out-of-jail-free card has me particularly outraged today. Bloody bastards.
  7. I am a Cancer, which explains why I am not into astrology. Who likes to say they are "a Cancer"? They may as well have named the sign "Pestilence" or something...
Next! ;-)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

We need a ramp for this thing!

Had some down-time yesterday, and so eldest daughter & I loaded Kodos up into the new SUV, and headed over to the dog park. Kodos had a wonderful time of course, and everybody exclaimed at how big he is (and only 10 mos old!). He got kind of mount-y toward the end there, but in general was a gentleman. (So says the very biased daddy--hopefully the other dogs would agree.)

K has climbed himself up into the new car only once so far. The other 4 times he's been in, I've hoisted him in, one end at a time (e.g., I put my arms around his upper chest & hoist his front end up onto the back part of the car, and then I crouch down & lift him in by his rear legs). Not optimal, but it works.

Well, upon returning home from the dog park, K did not want to jump down from the car. He may have hurt a leg while romping w/the other dogs (tho he seems fine now) or he may just have been tired. Either way, he wasn't coming down & so, after 10 minutes or so of waiting for him to recharge, I kind of hugged him sideways around the tops of both sets of legs & brought him out. It worked fine, tho I really didn't think I'd be strong enough to do it (K was 100 lbs. at last weigh-in).

But enough of this foolishness--I ordered a petstep II ramp from Amazon yesterday, and we'll be working on getting K to use it as soon as it comes. Wish us luck!

Saturday, April 14, 2007


We finally got our new RAV4 yesterday--very exciting! Here are some pictures:We went through a freelance broker sort of person, and so they delivered the car right to our house on a trailer.

Here are a couple of pics:

After being bilked into buying unwanted mud flaps, floor mats, and a very lame looking (hopefully it's more functional than it appears) protective rear bumper "appliqué", I was feeling too poor to splurge on the one dealer-installed-option I really wanted--a rear cargo tray/mat to protect the carpeting & foldaway 3rd row seats against the slings and arrows of muddy Newf feet. Fortunately, Costco was selling these lovely $18 industrialish rubber entry mats--the sort of thing you'd encounter upon walking into a supermarket, say. I had to do some (rather inexpert) surgery on it to um, "optimize" it for the space, but I think it's going to work just fine. Check it out:

There are actually 2 "stow-and-go" seats underneath that mat, which means that when we're not hauling Kodos around, we can accommodate 7 people in this beast. Which rocks.

In keeping with family tradition, we have named this vehicle. The name we chose is Plavalaguna, after the blue alien character from Luc Besson's The Fifth Element (scroll down to the Soundtrack section to see a picture of the Diva Plavalaguna herself). We have a bit of an alien streak going I guess--we call our Accord Banichi, after a character in C.J. Cherryh's novel Foreigner.

In the main, I'm pleased with the independent-broker process we went through to get this car. The guy we worked with (Mark Heinemann) had relationships w/dealers in a four-state area, and could sort of reach up the distribution chain to identify and divert the vehicle we wanted. In theory he wasn't a salesman, but in practice he seemed pretty close to one. But no matter--the fact that we were able to do all the wrangling via e-mail was absolutely wonderful. Anybody who's spent 3 hours in an auto dealership trying to hammer out details and/or make credible threats of going elsewhere, while trying to keep their children reasonably entertained knows what I'm saying.

I had ordered the consumer reports invoice report on this vehicle, so I had independent verification of the dealer costs on the various options. I feel like we got a good deal on the vehicle as configured, but the configuration is not exactly as we wanted. The things that were really important to us were the 3rd row seats, the 4wd, and the roof rack. Anything else was pretty much gravy--and not gravy we wanted to pay for. We knew we were going to have to accept the sunroof (which is a plus for me, but L thinks it's just something to leak), the enhanced stereo, and the daytime running lights, just b/c that's the way Toyota manufactures these things. These were all acceptable, but the vehicle Mark found for us also had the aforementioned mudflaps, appliqué, and floor mats, which most certainly were not worth what they charged for them. So I'm 80% happy, but not 100%. But I have yet to be 100% satisfied w/any car purchase, so, c'est la guerre.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Kodos' First Swim

Yesterday we had an unseasonably warm day (80 degrees!) and as Laurel's brother Jay was in town visiting, I took the day off & we headed over to Scenic Beach State Park for some fun in the sun.

We of course took Kodos along (had to drive in 2 cars, but we were more comfortable that way anyway) who wilted a bit in the heat, but was very eager to get out & about in the wonderful forest there.

We set ourselves up on the rocky but not unpleasant beach, and then had a stroll. I led K down to the water (still not confident enough to let him off-leash) and he seemed a little interested in the water, but not overly so. It was mostly about the new smells and creatures at that point, and as I didn't want to get wet myself, we just padded around the shore.

Cut to after lunch. Some kids started throwing rocks into the water (a very common occurrence of course--you put kids next to water, and they're going to throw stuff into it). For some reason, this set K off--he was barking and seemed to really want to get down there. So okay I figure--let's see if he'll actually get into the water. We go down (away from the rock-throwing kids) & I lead him into the water (always on-leash w/his gentle leader harness). You could tell the water resistance felt really weird to him by the way he was watching his own front feet.

I cajoled & goaded him out further and further by throwing his tennis-ball dumbbell toy nearer/farther away, until he finally got to a place where he couldn't really just walk, and--check it out!--his legs started that familiar paddling motion and my boy was actually swimming! He even retrieved the toy a couple of times (tho as often he just nudged it w/his nose & then turned back, leaving me to wade further out into the water to get the toy back). He had a couple of revelations, including that he couldn't breathe when he stuck his face into the water, which I think sobered him up some.

It was really interesting to have his attention on me. Up until that point, he was pretty heedless of me, being completely engrossed by the park, the other dogs and people there. But when we were in the water and I was throwing the dumbbell toy around, I had his attention. It wasn't quite as as intense as that of the border collies we see at the dog park when their person is chucking tennis balls, but it was close. At one point--possibly overconfident--I took his leash off to see if that would embolden him in his swimming out for the ball. It didn't seem to have that much effect, and he lunged toward a thrown rock, so I grabbed him & leashed him up again.

We may have a water dog on our hands! :-D

Once we got home, I tethered K up to the deck & gave him his first garden-hose shower (up until now it's all been tub showers). He was not amused. I discovered later that he'd cut one of his paw pads a bit--no doubt on a rock in the water. It bled some, but seems fine now. We'll keep an eye on it.

Girls first skiing

This week Laurel's brother Jay came up from Wyoming, and we took advantage of his skiing instructional skills and put the girls on skis for the first time in their lives. We went to Crystal Mountain, over by Mt. Rainier. Both girls did great!

Here, Jay & Annelise contemplate the conveyor belt in the beginner area:

Here's a picture of Simone getting her first bit of sliding in, on the training slope:

Here's one of Annelise on the training slope:

Annelise--naturally--took to skiing like the proverbial bat out of hell. Simone is much more tentative about being off-balance however, and I was a little worried that she wouldn't have fun.

After they got used to sliding on their skis and 'snowplowing' to stop and steer, it was time to tackle the ski lift up to the bunny slope. My dim memories of ski lifts were that they were pretty challenging, and guaranteed to make you fall at some point. But we had a pretty decent time of it, all told--they actually slowed the thing down to let us get in place. Jay told us later that Annelise loved the lift--loved being up in the air. Simone didn't love it, but she did just fine.

Now, the bunny slope had two grades on it--a fairly short, steep one right down from where the lift let off, and then a longer, more gradual slope down the hill. On the steep part of the slope, my fears for Simone were realized--she was scared and very angry that I would lead her into such a dangerous place. She wiped out a couple of times.

But to my delight, the second part of the slope was gradual and long enough that 'Mo was able to get herself under control and up to a speed that was comfortable and fun. She made a couple of lazy loops, and could pretty much stop at will. By the time we got to the bottom, she was very willing to get back on the lift and have another go. After all the driving we had to do to get there, and all the preliminary practice, we only got 3 runs in, but on the third run 'Mo didn't wipe out at all on that first, steep slope.

So--it looks like we're going to be able to do family ski trips once in a while--very cool!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

New Crate

The girls were helping Kodos to feel comfortable in his new crate.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Red Menace

Yesterday on an impulse I picked up a laser pointer toy at PetsMart. I've seen people play w/their cats w/these--you shine the laser on the floor, and move it around & their prey instinct kicks in and they chase it all over the place.

Well, our grey tabby Pickles saw through this ruse right away--paid it a little attention at first, and then stopped. "Oh right--that light is back." Kodos on the other hand, will tear around like a maniac trying to catch the red dot. It's a strange combination of funny and scary to watch, as he is 100 pounds, and so focused on catching this thing that he will bang into things (walls, furniture) in his fervor.

I was hoping to be able to use it outside, to play with him w/out subjecting myself to the risk of stepping in poop, but apparently the beam emitted by a 6$ laser is not bright enough to show up outside during the day. Ah well...

Ix-nay on the Ip-snay (for now)

I have changed my mind on neutering the dog so early. I mentioned to a fellow Newf puppy owner that we were going to get the deed done, and she mentioned some things that gave me pause. Specifically, she said the advice she'd gotten said that the physical development that may be adversely affected isn't just a matter of appearances. It's potentially a matter of orthopedic health as well. Well, I'm spooked enough by the thought of dysplasia that it caused me to reconsider. I posted a question about it over on and got some references to lots of opinions, including this article from a vet, which made me think really hard about how obnoxious K's behavior has really been.

So I consulted w/my vet about it, and his opinion was that the most important factor in bone development is nutrition, but if we wanted to put off the neuter until 12 months or so, it seemed reasonable to him. So that's what we'll do. I think I'll try to wait until 18 months actually & just watch his behavior. If it gets too too bad, I'll do it earlier.

In other news, we've tested out leaving K alone unattended again (we went back to heavy crating after he gouged the drywall) and so far, so good. I suppose it may be that he doesn't like the taste of the spackle as much as the drywall. Either way, the walls look pretty decent.

(Daughter Annelise had an excellent suggestion for getting Kodos to stop chewing the walls. When we put a plate down for him to lick off after dinner, he invariably eats everything on it except for any stray pieces of lettuce. A's thought was that we should cover the walls with lettuce b/c K obviously doesn't like the taste of it. Hah!)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Again with the snow...

It snowed again today and Laurel told me to go get video of the dog, as he was jumping into the air to chomp flakes out of the sky.

Alas, I missed it. But here's the video I did manage to get:

Monday, February 19, 2007

Snippety snip

My dear poochie Kodos is now 8 months old, and has entered adolescence. Thus, he has become a butt-head. Lucky for him, he is an incredibly cute--nay, beautiful butt-head Just look:

Could you stay mad at him for making a 6" diameter gouge in the drywall? (picture here--he enlarged it the next day.) I didn't think so.

I have a 3-pronged plan to combat this obnoxiousness
  1. Try and get to the dog park more often, so as to exercise the demons (hah!) out of him.
  2. Starting March 12 (yikes--that's my wedding anniversary!) we re-do basic obedience over at Noelle Ritter's. This time, no kids--just me. Fewer distractions.
  3. On March 9th, K goes in for neutering.
It is arguably early for the neutering (a lot of the advice I've seen is to wait until a year, in order to give them a chance to get their last hormone-induced growth in) but I'm willing to risk it to keep him from developing pushy and/or destructive habits. I have a hard time imagining him morphing into anything short of his current breathtakingly beautiful state. Not that I'm biased or anything... ;-)


With our latest addition to the family, we have been feeling a bit cramped in our current vehicles (a '99 Accord and '91 Civic). Thus, we are car shopping. We would like to be able to bring Kodos on various trips with us, and the days of us all getting into the Accord are long gone.

Now, having successfully avoided the minivan ('cause we're hep, man--thanks for asking) through the addition of 2 children to the family, we are fairly eager to keep doing so. Which means either station wagon or SUV. But Dear Wife is allergic to station wagons, and let's face it, she does like 80% of the driving, so I guess it's SUV-city for us.

The problem is that we've always been small-car people, and in particular, Honda people (I've never owned a non-Honda in my life). So naturally we have looked at the CR-V, the Element, and even the Pilot. Of the 3, the Pilot most captured my imagination. I have this fantasy that my brother would actually come out to visit us someday w/his family of 4, and since the Pilot seats 8, we could host them & all move about in one vehicle. I also have this fantasy that my sister would come out to visit someday, but she's got 6 in her family, so there's no way to avoid multiple vehicles.

But anyway, dang is that Pilot expensive--about double what we paid for the Accord in fact. So that's looking like a pipe-dream at this point.

The others are okay--the CR-V is actually quite nice, and a nice size. The fatal flaws on that are a) no 3rd-row seat at all and (this is silly, but it matters to me) b) no built-in aux jack so we can listen to our mp3 players in the car. To quote Lindsay Bluth "what are we, Amish?"

The Element has its funky look (which we both like) but it's a tad bit utilitarian for the money, and it won't hold all 4 of us plus the dog in the back. So that's out.

So... last Saturday we strayed across the street to the Toyota dealership (heresy!) and tried out the new RAV-4. Loved it! It gets decent mileage, is not outlandishly large, and yet you can still get it with fold-away 3rd row seats for 2. So it would hold 7 people in a pinch (w/close to no luggage or legroom, mind you, but sometimes that's enough). The salesdude even let us drive it home to test how it fit in our garage (no problems). We like. I have ordered the Consumer Reports price report on it, and will devise my strategy for getting a good price on it.

While we were there, we also looked at the Highlander. We like that one (and in fact daughter Annelise likes it better than the RAV-4, b/c it's got a bigger back for hiding in) quite a bit too. What makes it less of an attraction to us is that you have to choose between getting good gas mileage (e.g., get the hybrid) and fitting > 5 people in it. That is, you can't get a 3rd row seat on the hybrid (I believe because that space is taken up by all the batteries). So we'll see how it goes. It's conceivable to me that we'd settle for a non-hybrid Highlander if it's too tough to get a good price on a RAV-4. Wish us luck...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Getting big!

From Kodos
Kodos is 7 months old now, and has taken to resting his head on my keyboard tray while I'm working. This is cute, except when he's waiting for me to share food with him (as in the pic above), at which time he creates a slippery condition on my mouse pad. But I can't fault his patience.

As you can see, he is distractingly beautiful. ;-) His adult coat is almost all the way in, and it is gorgeous--curly and lustrous. I have woefully neglected his grooming since my one ill-fated attempt at an ear-trim which resulted in drawing blood. Poor guy--I almost wished he'd bit me for it, I felt so guilty. I promptly gave him a thing of leftover roast beef and all was forgiven. But he's skittish around me when I've got cutting implements, and I can't blame him. I think I will let the fur go au natural, and will just try to focus on brushing and nail trimming for a while.

We have discovered the fenced-in, off-leash area at local Raab park. Kodos loves it! We've been twice now. The first time, there was an ornery bulldog who growled & snapped at K, which was a bit scary. But his owner removed him from the park
right away and the rest of the visit was a hoot.

Kodos spent a bunch of time playing w/a gorgeous husky named Keetna (sp?), who literally vaulted back and forth over him. Such energy! It was a blast seeing all the different breeds playing together. There was a little Italian Greyhound that had the energy of a hummingbird--so fast!

The funniest thing that happened was, after getting tired out playing w/Keetna, Kodos took up w/an adorable chihuahua-doxie mix named Troy. Troy would bounce up and down on his hind feet, which brought him just about to K's face level. Kodos pranced around a bit, careful not to step on Troy, and then sat down. Well, as soon as he did, Troy promptly ran around to K's rear, mounted him, and started humping away. I just about fell over laughing. The whole time K has this confused look on his face like "what? do I have something stuck in my fur or something?". I don't think K even felt him back there. Hah!

We had one other amusing thing happen since the last post. We had a big windstorm, which knocked down a section of the fence between our backyard and that of our neighbors, who own a skittish little miniature pinscher named Lucky. Lucky is a frequent visitor to our back yard, since even before the wind storm, he can easily squeeze through the opening where 2 fences meet.

Well, Kodos was naturally loving his expanded domain during the time before my neighbor went and fixed up the fence. The neighbors like Kodos, so that wasn't an issue. But more than once we looked out and saw him w/his head stuck into their pet door, no doubt barking his fool head off. "Can Lucky come out to play?" Fat chance--with your head blocking his way out.