The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

March 19, 2008

Adventures in Dogwalking

Filed under: Wanderings — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 12:53 am

In general, Beagles are very friendly and affectionate dogs , but let me tell you, they can be a real pain to deal with sometimes.  As I’ve discussed previously over here, my parents own two Beagles (Imola and Minardi, gratuitously pictured below,) which means that I get to come over to their house and visit them pretty much whenever I want, but it also means that I get to come home to my own nice, clean (whenever I feel like it at least) house where at least 75% of the furnishings have not been chewed on by dogs at any time in recent memory.  Every once in a while, I get this idea in my head that a Beagle or two of my own might be fun to have.  This is usually followed by a reality check, as discussed below.

Normally, these two get at least one trip to the off-leash dog area over at Marymoor Park per day, usually two.  Every once in a while, I might accompany my Mom over to the dog park, but until last week, I had not taken them over there myself before.  Since my Mom is out of town for a couple of days and my Dad leaves for work too early in the morning to take them, I was asked this morning to bring them over there myself.  When I took them over there last week, they were actually quite well-behaved, followed me around as expected, and when the time came to put them back on their leashes, I had no problem doing so.  When I went to go pick them up today, they seemed a little more ramped up than last time, and all seemed well as I took them over and walked the loop around the park.  Shortly before we reached the exit, something got Imola’s attention, and she headed for the fence and started barking at what I would guess to be some bird in one of the trees.  I gave her a couple of minutes to get it out of her system (or so I thought,) and we continued. 

As we approached the entrance, I got the leashes out to put them back on leash to lead them back to the car, but apparently they had other ideas.  Immediately Imola saw some more birds, and darted out the entrance to the dog park barking at the top of her lungs, with Minardi following close behind (the two of them are practically inseparable, and if one starts barking, most of the time the other one is going to drop whatever she happens to be doing and join in.)  This resulted in a bit of panic as I had to run through the parking lot carrying two leashes and a bag of dog poop to catch up to them before they got away.  It only took a couple of minutes for me to catch up and bribe them with a treat for long enough to get the leashes on, but not before they managed to get into the bushes, resulting in a couple of scrapes while exiting.

As friendly and loyal as beagles are, their seemingly instinctive Attention Deficit Disorder is not what I’d call one of their more endearing personality traits.  If a beagle picks up an interesting scent, they will immediately drop everything and chase it, which can on occasion result in them getting lost.  Fortunately, with two dogs that like to stay close to each other, this does provide some degree of safety as if you have one on the leash, the other isn’t going to stray too far from her sister, but chasing after a pair of distracted beagles when you’re supposed to be at work in a half hour is not my idea of  fun.  About a month from now, my parents will be embarking on their latest Caribbean cruise, and I have been asked to stay at their house for the week and a half that they will be gone and take care of these two, which includes daily trips to the dog park.  I have no problem with doing a thing like this, but when something like this happens, I start to worry that at some point they’re going to get away and I’m not going to be able to get them back.  I guess that’s why I prefer to leave the dog ownership to other people…

January 31, 2008

Fruity, But With Just a Hint of Whatever I Rolled In Down in the Yard Last Week

Filed under: Food — Tags: , , , — Brian Lutz @ 11:53 pm

Just in case you have had that little nagging sense of guilt over the fact that you aren’t spoiling your dogs enough lately, over at Neatorama today they link to something that should rectify that quite nicely.  The fine folks at Bark Vineyards have turned their attention to the four-legged members of our respective families, and have produced a variety of “Wines” intended for consumption by dogs and/or cats.  The term wine is used only loosely, as the product contains no actual wine, and in fact doesn’t involve grapes anywhere in the process of making the stuff.  With names like Sauvignon Bark, Meowlot and Pinot Leasheo, the ingredients for most of the “varietals” consist mainly of chicken or beef broth with a few dehydrated vegetables and things like that thrown in, and these concoctions are intended to be poured over your pet’s food as an added treat. 

The end result is probably a lot more palatable to a dog than a bottle of your finest Pinot Grigio would be, but it comes with a hefty price tag of more than $20 a bottle, which might be just a bit hard for most pet owners to swallow, especially for something that one could probably mix up in their kitchen without too much trouble if they were so inclined.  It appears that the product is being positioned more as something to be given as a gift rather than something one would serve to their own dogs, as evidenced by the assorted paraphernalia available to compliment the product itself.  On the other hand, if you’ve made the decision to become a food snob, why not take your pets along with you?  You might find it difficult to train them to be picky eaters such as yourself, but in the end you’ll have yet another feather in your proverbial cap the next time you need to belittle some pesky commoner.

January 23, 2008

Now With 50% More Dog Drool Than the Leading Brand

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 1:51 pm

Over on his blog, my uncle Jeff posted about a rather unusual water bottle he came across at REI designed to let you share water with your dog while you’re out on the trail, noting the less than completely hygenic nature of such a product.  On one hand, I tend to agree that of all the things one might be inclined to share with their dogs, the water dish definitely isn’t one of them.  On the other hand, if you have excitable dogs like Imola and Minardi around, you probably stopped being horrified by their face-licking tendencies quite some time ago.  I think that a more likely problem with a product like this is getting a dog to actually use it in the first place.  I suspect that most dogs are not particularly concerned about the cleanliness of their water sources, and would probably be content to drink from whatever random puddle they happen to come across. On the other hand, if you’re concerned about this type of thing, why not just bring a separate dish for the dog to drink out of in the first place? 

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