Cuddle Time

Morning cuddles with Mama

Most every morning it’s cuddle time on our couch. Sammy usually starts by putting a paw up on my leg and mostly he just wants to chew on me. But I make him come up for a full cuddle and he reluctantly submits. As an independent kind of guy, he likes for the full cuddle to be his idea. And he doesn’t really want to be fully on my lap. He wants to be on the couch with maybe just his head in my lap. When he was a puppy I used to cuddle him on my chest, and as he got bigger his body covered my chest and legs. I still like the full-body cuddle but Sammy thinks he’s too old for that.  When he turned three years old he decided that he was a big boy and should just do the head cuddle. Some days cuddle time is a bit of a struggle. :-)  It used to be Secret Cuddling with Sammy, but after my sister published a picture of him on my lap on Facebook, his secret was out!

This morning, Molly wasn’t in the mood to wait for her turn, and after I got Sammy up she barreled right over and hoisted herself up next to me. She was quite frustrated that Sammy was already in my lap so I had to console her for a while with ear rubbies. Molly is happiest when she has me to herself. She generally puts her front paws up and then waits for me to hoist the back end up onto the couch. Then she squirms and wiggles for a while, finally settling down and rolling on her back so I can rub her tummy. If I keep her up there long enough she’ll eventually fall asleep.

Of course, the whole time she’s up there Sammy is terribly jealous, even if I’ve just cuddled him for half an hour. He puts his front paws on the couch and chews on Molly’s neck and paws and generally tries to piss her off so she’ll get down and play with him. His other favorite thing to do is come over with a slimy Kong in his mouth and drop it next to me. I always make him take it back….ewww!

I always wished I had cuddled my other dogs on the couch. We used to cuddle on the floor a lot but couch cuddling is more fun. I’m getting less picky as I get older, I guess.



Travel dogs

We recently took a car trip to see my family for my brother’s birthday – so fun! This entailed packing up the car with all our stuff and the dogs. We’ve done this a lot over the years so we’re pretty good at fitting all our stuff into the car while still leaving room in the back for the dogs to be comfy. Sammy spent the night before the trip sleeping in the bedroom instead of on the couch. I think he wanted to make sure we didn’t forget him!

The dogs always get really excited when they see us packing the car, and once we carry their dog beds out they know they are in for an adventure. They go crazy when we let them out the front door and they immediately run to the car and jump in any open door. Once we get them corralled in the back, they don’t calm down until we actually get on the road.

Sammy used to be a challenge to travel with, as we would have to stop for him to pee about every hour. He’s gotten better now, and we can go up to three hours without stopping for a pee break. I don’t mind stopping, though, since it gives me a chance to get out of the car and stretch. The very back area of the car has enough room for the dogs to sleep and stretch out a bit, which helps on those 10-hour travel days.

We stopped overnight in Salt Lake City in a downtown Hilton that was pet-friendly. It was kind of a posh hotel but no one minded when we brought the dogs through the lobby. They got a lot of smiles and pets and comments on how beautiful they are. We’re lucky that our dogs are pretty well-behaved. The only mishap was when Sammy figured out that there’s a huge gap between the floor of the lobby and the floor of the elevator.

The first few times we went on the elevator he was fine. Once he discovered the gap he refused to board and I had to pick him up and carry him onto the elevator from then on. It was bit embarrassing, but once I explained it to our fellow passengers they were very sympathetic. It wasn’t too much fun when the dogs woke us up at 2:30am needing to go out. It was bitterly cold in Salt Lake City, so the middle-of-the-night pee run was a challenge.

Once we got to my sister’s house, the dogs were able to run around in the backyard and use the dog door at will, which makes life easier. I think her dog Clyde was happy for the company. She said he got depressed when we left. :-)

On our trip home we stopped at the same hotel in Salt Lake City and Sammy still wouldn’t voluntarily get on the elevator. And, strangely enough, the front desk told me there were no stairs up to the guest floors. Is it just me or is that really weird?

The dogs were as happy to get home as we were, and they immediately ran outside to the backyard through their new Extreme Weather dog door!


Play time

Even in the really cold weather (it was 14 degrees today, maybe) the dogs have to be exercised. Lately, it’s been walking up the driveway to the mailbox and back. We just can’t stand to be outside too long because it’s face-freezing weather. The other thing I do is throw balls for the dogs in the backyard. Here’s how it goes:

I sit down to put my boots on and Molly runs up and practically bowls me over in her excitement. I push her away and she turns in circles, whining, and nips at Sammy if he gets too close. Next. she starts to bark. When Molly barks, the windows vibrate. So do my eardrums. It’s actually a painful experience. I love the fact that she could intimidate someone with her bark, but when it’s used indoors on a calm day it’s quite overwhelming. Don’t even get me started on how loud she is in the car…

So next, I have to stop putting my cold weather gear on and escort Molly outside before her barking drives me crazy. Then I finish getting dressed while Sammy runs around trying to find a ball to play with. He keeps forgetting to hang onto the ball though and drops it in his excitement, so I have to keep telling him to get his ball. He understands me perfectly, but he just doesn’t remember to hang onto it. Finally, we’re ready to go out. Now Molly is standing outside the door waiting for Sammy to come out so she can steal the ball out of his mouth. Naturally, Sammy doesn’t want to go out. I have to devise elaborate distractions for Molly so Sammy can sneak out and get a head start on her. Some days Sammy manages to grab his ball and run out the dog door while Molly is accosting me in the putting-on-the-shoes phase. I always feel like I’m herding the dogs!

Once we’re outside the chase begins and if I’m lucky Molly keeps Sammy running for a few minutes. Then I have to throw a stick for Molly and the ball for Sammy. If Molly goes for the ball Sammy plays keep away and then they don’t get exercised. It gets complicated! Sammy usually stops dropping the ball anyway, and I end up chasing him around. This is his favorite thing. The picture at the right is Sammy in his safe zone, in a

Sammy safe at home base with his Kong.

little clump of bushes in the backyard. I don’t know why this place is designated as home plate, but he always goes back there until I or Molly chase him out.

Molly likes me to hold a stick up high so she can jump for it. She also likes to play tug-of-war and I learned to wear gloves no matter what the weather because she gets too excited and tends to grab my hand instead. If I don’t pay enough attention to her she’ll shake the stick at me and growl. For our other outdoor activity (walking to the mailbox) Sammy gets strapped into his harness and leash and Molly gets to run free. Molly will usually come when called so she has more freedom. We experimented the other day and took Sammy off his leash when we got back to the house, and he promptly ran off to the back of the property to eat deer poo and wouldn’t come when I called him. Needless to say, he’s still on the leash.


Sammy, we’re glad you’re alive!

Molly taking care of Sammy…

It was a year ago today that Steve called me on my cell phone to tell me that Sammy had been hit by a car. It’s unbelievable how fast a year goes by and how much happens in that time. Sammy is fully recovered, with only a small patch of skin that won’t grow hair to show that he was ever injured. I’ve gone through some really hairy patches with my animals over the years, and aside from Charlie’s sudden and shocking death, getting that phone call was the worst.

Sammy is now a leash dog, and although he may be a reformed car chaser I’m not about to test out the theory. We sometimes let him off leash when we’re close to the house and he always comes when I call him, but I’m not ready to trust him anywhere near the road.

If your dog chases cars, he’s going to get hit, so take appropriate measures now before you have to go through the terror and pain of watching your dog suffer. We used all of the healing tools at Steve’s disposal to help heal Sammy, including microcurrent therapy, light therapy, vibe plate therapy and supplements. The vet was astounded at his recovery, but not many people have these tools at their disposal.

We gave Sammy extra hugs today and told him how glad we are that he survived being hit by a Suburban. (!)