Recent Adventures

Dear Reader, I know that it’s been a long time and that I have lots to catch you up on, but before I go back to what has been happening since last we met, let me describe the recent happenings, and in particular last weekend.   We take Dr. Jenkins to D.C. frequently and stay at a sweet hotel named the Liaison, which is right at the base of the Capitol.  This is truly a dog-friendly hotel: your pooch can dine with you in their restaurant, selecting from their own doggy menu!  Now, we’ve stayed at the Liaison several times, but only on this last trip did we finally get to the restaurant.  With Dr. J.  Was it wonderful?  All parties, canine and human, respond with an unqualified yes!

This is the place:

The humans with canine companions dine al fresco:

Here’s what they offer the dogs:Sadly, they were out of the doggy brew – a non-alcoholic beery bev.  For his entree, we chose the Happy Puppy, and given that Dr. J has never had “human” food, this was truly a gourmet excursion for the boy.  A generous portion of steak, and  it was delivered nicely medium rare:

Our food did not evince anywhere near as much excitement from us as the absolute wonder that overcame Dr. J when he realized that this tantalizing dish was for him!

He ate his steak in, what, 5 seconds?  Truly, he inhaled it – there was no chewing, no gnawing, no pausing – he hoovered it, so that I was a little worried that he might choke – but he didn’t.

And then the poor fellow had to wait while we ate OUR dinner – which must have seemed like an eternity to him. ….but he settled down pretty quickly and watched the people go by.

The hotel provides a lovely, plush bed, which was his next stop.

 

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Snow Days!

On the Alpine Trail

Dear Reader, it’s been a very non-wintry winter.  Daytime highs have consistently been in the late 50’s; night time lows are barely hitting the 30’s; daffodils and crocus and snow bells have given up waiting for the big chill and have commenced a’ blooming; tree twigs are swelling with nascent buds – and all this without the usual sustained cold temperatures which, in the rhythm of the seasons, earn us the brightening flourishes of early spring.

If you are a “seasons traditionalist” like I am (read: upper East coast), this is all very worrying, as well as disappointing.  Like the lady getting the pink diamond-like nails at Ultra last week said , “Even the snakes are confused, not even hibernating, and you know that’s bad.” No one, I am sure, would disagree.

So Sunday was unalloyed bliss, utter delight, happiness translated into weather, jubilation:  IT SNOWED!  And snowed, and snowed, and snowed…through the afternoon, through the evening, and all the way into a school-mandated day off due to inclement weather today!  YIPPEE!

Now, the big thrill is not the day off today, although it’s nice; we actually had a professional development day scheduled, so the students were already off, and I definitely could have used the time in my classroom….no, the big thrill has been…..Dr. Jenkins in the snow!

Our happy day started with the forecast:

REALLY?????

And it really happened!  Real, deep, gorgeous snow!

Now, Dr. J experienced his first snow when we were in Staunton in October – we had a freakish snow event which whitened the town –  but it was neither deep nor substantial enough to really get serious about.

Snowballs!

This was the real deal! Billowy, crunchy, gorgeous snow, and lots of it.  We played all day long, and Dr. Jenkins LOVED it!  He is definitely a snow-loving fellow (E & J, this bodes well…) and was ever so happy to wake up Monday and find the world still besnowed.

Snowballs # 2!

On the Alpine Trail

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2012: Inception

Some new years are better than others.

This one qualifies as a good one.

Why?

You have to ask???

Because of Dr. Jenkins, of course!  Reflecting on 2011, the most significant event, the most earth-shaking life change, the biggest decision, the “ne plus ultra” was most definitely the finding and acquiring of this little dog.  Raising Dr. Jenkins has changed our lives from the inside out; as my brother-in-law noted today, Dr. J has become our surrogate child, the one we didn’t know we needed.  As such, he is at the very center of our attention, and his ongoing development casts a rosy glow on the coming year in ways we had not anticipated.

Have you gotten in touch with your inner puppy?

Simply put, knowing that he is going to be here with us for, like, a long, long time, and all the while evolving, developing, learning, growing…well, it just makes us happy.  Both of us.

On the Alpine Trail

Part of it is that he is such an easy-going, intelligent, and sweet-tempered creature.  In his current space expansion – he stays out of his pen but enclosed in the living room when we are around – he trends towards being close to us physically, no matter what he is engaged in.  He loves play with us and can tolerate a lot – a VERY lot – of affectionate patting, tickling, and hugging, but he is also perfectly content entertaining himself with any of his many toys.  He loves attention and occasionally demands it – especially when we have guests, like we did yesterday and today, and especially at the beginning of the visit, after which he calms down – but usually quits either on his own or with a time out.    He seems to adapt – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, to learn – very quickly.  For example, just now Carter brought a snack into the living room.  Now, Dr. J is extremely food-motivated, so immediately he was over by Carter sniffing around.   Carter told him to go to his bed while pointing in that direction, and Dr. Jenkins just…did it! He walked towards his bed and needed only one reminder to get there; when in the bed, he quickly lay down and basically napped.  We’ve been working on this skill for about a week now, and already he is able to recognize the word bed and, for the first time that I have noticed, to follow the direction a finger is pointing!  And he stayed in his bed until we said he could leave.  That’s a pretty steep learning curve, I think.

Cute,,,and clever!

In short, so far this is not a dog who has been difficult to train.  Corgis are supposedly very headstrong and willful, and of course we have nothing to compare him to, but he is usually very amenable to our requests and directions, and seems overwhelmingly to want to please us.  If I change direction on a walk, he responds immediately and comes my way; if I pause or lead him off the sidewalk to let someone pass, he sits and waits; if I pick up the pace, so does he.  This is not to say that he doesn’t sometimes pull or take off after something or get overly engrossed in sniffing – he does – but he is easy to redirect. He seems to want to do the right thing.  And he has shown no interest whatsoever in chewing or destroying forbidden items, even when he is alone.  Again, so far.  There’s still time.  But the advance signs are good that temperamentally he is responsive, eager to please, and balanced, and that he is built to stay that way.

Let's go!

Which makes 99% of the time we spend with him more fun than people ought to be allowed to have!

 

 

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2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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De Dogfundus – Holiday Edition 2011

(Dear Reader, the following post has been painstakingly transcribed from the synergy of vocalization, behavior, and facial reactions that Dr. Jenkins has used to express his feelings lately.  I also found a few, er, notes tucked into a dark, linty corner of Dr. Jenkins’s new bed  – or were those the leftovers of a once-intact book or newspaper?  From these found sources, I have pieced together the following.)

What a confusing time.  I had kind of thought I had these tall creatures pretty much figured out.

They appeared to have regular habits, which I, a corgi, can appreciate, and I was getting used to their routine.  Simple, right?  The shorter, faster, furrier one would get me up in the morning, take me to the outside for a ramble (mostly, I think, to patrol the area for interlopers and eccentrics like the guy with the big dog and the gun), put me in my pen, and then disappear out the back with a muffled bang; then the taller one, the one without long fur, would come and hang out with me until we left the house for another ramble – this one longer and more adventurous.  Then he would leave, and I would spend several hours ruminating in my pen, all the while keeping a sharp eye out for the two bewhiskered and intemperate old timers who wander freely, for reasons that remain obscure, through this place. (The tall ones and the old ones were here before me, and all of them wander freely.  I think there is something about longevity and freedom going on, but it’s still too early to tell.  I mean, I’m still technically a puppy – what do I know?  Must watch and learn; thankfully, these are corgi traits.)

Not as nice as they may seem...

After a very long time, the one with the short fur would come back, and then the long-furred one, too.  Then she – the long-furred one – would take me for another ramble into the glorious late afternoon, and she would bring the squeaky ball and we would run and chase and play among the tall, tall trees on the wide hilly lawn.  We always walked back to the house with those trees in our eyes.  She would take me back into the house – always making me sit and wait, sit and wait – and by then the darkness would have made the inside all golden, and I would be back in my pen.  Much later, he would take me to the outside for just a short time and then upstairs we would go, and he would put me in my baby pen, the pen I lived in when I first came here.  And they would sleep.  And then I would, too.

For most of the time that I have been here, this has been the routine.  I was coming to expect it – the five of us, all together, doing out various things to this general tune.

And then they went and changed on me.

It all started the night they brought the trees inside.

What the....?

Bringing the outside in made no sense to me at first, but then I got to thinking that maybe they don’t want to go to the outside anymore because it has gotten colder, and they, with their patchy fur –  large areas on them don’t appear to have any fur at all! – might freeze.  Maybe we could not go for rambles anymore, and the trees inside are meant to keep us company until we could go out again.

Then she took me out for a long walk and destroyed my whole theory.  Hmmmm.

What they did next was even more surprising: they brought down boxes and boxes and put sparkly toys and lights all over the trees!  The trees spread out from all those shiny toys, and sat in their corners glowing and twinkling inscrutably.

Over the next few days, the tall ones kept busy changing other parts of the house – they made it smell different with hot, spicy airs coming out of the back room, and they were all over the place hanging things, polishing, putting cloths over tables, and moving chairs and tables around so that I had to learn a whole new layout.

Twinkly!

One wonderful thing they brought out was ribbon!   Ribbon is like magical string; it’s the same idea, but it tastes and feels different, and has  lots of different colors and curliness and textures.  I fell for the ribbon – I even swallowed some, and I liked it! – and now I know to look for it in corners and under couches. I want more ribbon.  I can’t help it.

Another big change is that the two tall ones, the ones who are mine, no longer leave the house like they used to.  Instead, they’re around all the time!   In fact, it seems like finally they are able to play with me the way they always seem to want to – which is constantly! And the long-furred one, in particular, seems to have her corgi face on more often.

And that’s not all!  Since the trees came in the house, I keep getting new toys and treats, like the one I am enjoying now!  I know where these came from, because, like all corgis, I have a very precise memory for food, and who could forget these crunchy and crackly treats?  I have only had them once before, when some tall ones who were here in the fall brought them, and these new treats remind me of the fun I had with them. Other excellent toys came from far away (I could tell because of the way they smelled), and were in bright colors like the trees and made many great sounds.

New Toys!

Plus, the tall ones let me out into the room with the big tree during the day, and we would  all hang out together!  I would play with my new toys and they would play with theirs (mine are more fun; apparently, you’re not supposed to chew on those toys they look at all the time, and what fun is that?).  I started to think that I could get used to this, and when they put me back in my pen, I let them know that I didn’t like it as much anymore.

I also didn’t like it when they tried to put things on me.  I could handle the bow with the bell, but the headpiece was too much.

Is she kidding?

Then all the other tall ones started coming inside.

Lots and lots of tall ones – some that I have met before, but several that I had not.  Such a variety of tall ones, and all so close together – like me and my sibs before they split us up – and I started to wonder if these creatures weren’t a whole lot like me, after all. They all sat around the trees and looked at them and barked and whined and yipped and scratched at each other.

This is more like it!

They put treats and treats and more treats on the big table, and they ate and drank and barked for hours, with some of them taking paper and ribbon off the boxes and throwing it around the room.

Lots of tall ones!

I was confined to my pen in the hall, so while I did have a pretty good view of what was going on, I didn’t get to play with them.

I barked along with them and tried to tell then that I could be very useful in a situation where things are on the floor – floors are my specialty, after all, given my stature – but they didn’t get what I was trying to say and kept making the “eh” sound, which I now know means stop.  But why do they all get to bark, and I don’t?

Then came the night when my tall ones brought their bed down into the tree room. This was a first for sure!  What is with these creatures?

Bed in the living room?

They also gave me a new bed, and this is my favorite thing of all!  It is big and soft and fits several prime toys!

My new bed!

And we were all going to sleep together!  I got so excited – I used to sleep with all my brothers and sisters, and that was how I knew that they were mine and I was theirs.  I had so many of the same feelings for these tall ones as I had had for my sibs, and that’s why it had always seemed strange to me that they put me in a wire box in another room when it came time to rest. That’s an odd way to show that you belong together.  And I had noticed that while I slept in the other room, the bewhiskered ones, and especially that big, red one – were in the room with the tall ones sleeping with them! I am an easygoing corgi, but I will tell you frankly that this galled me. Why them and not me?

Like any corgi, I wanted to figure out what all this meant.  I mulled it over and then it came to me: maybe this new change meant that they had finally come to their senses!  Maybe when the trees come inside, we have some rituals and gatherings to celebrate that the tall ones and I will all sleep together downstairs! Maybe everything that had been going on was a prelude to the big event, the piece de resistance, the grand illumination:  I was going to live and sleep with my pack like I used to!

Well, like I said, it’s been confusing around here.  I kept romping and playing to let them know how happy I was to be with them, and they kept rolling away from me; finally, they barked quietly together, and the next thing you know,  I am back upstairs in my wire box. When it was light again, they removed the bed from the room with the trees.   So I guess I don’t have it all figured out.  But the trees are still inside, so maybe……

(Dear Reader, at this point, the messaging broke up.  This is as much as I could get, this time.   We’ll see if he chooses to let us into his inner world again in the future.)

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Lately

Dr. Jenkins is now 8 months old! How much larger will he get? He now weighs over 25 pounds and has STILL not grown in to those ears! He is developing into such a loving and chipper fellow; he’s always been independent, in his way, but he’s ever more responsive to verbal commands, and he grows more affectionate and clever by the day, it seems. His likes are clear: treats, sticks, projectiles (Mr. Squeaky Ball above all others…), us, being outside, treats, running, jumping, treats…..Here are a few recent pictures!

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Fall!

Dr. Jenkins definitely loves fall! If you remember back to the early days of this blog, you will recall that the young Doctor was not a fan of the heat of the summer; I fairly dragged him down Rivermont! But he loves this cooler weather and chasing leaves is a new favorite. He’s been a rambling pooch as well. Here are some pics of what he’s been up to over the past month.

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