Monday, August 29, 2011

Just Kidding

Well, our old gal Irene (at least for residents of Manhattan) is becoming known as the storm that never was. Granted, it was very rainy and yesterday afternoon was crazy windy, but all in all there was minimal damage and no major issues near my neck of the woods related to the storm.

The chance of a muted storm, however, did not preclude me like so many others from stocking up at Whole Foods on Friday afternoon. It was absolutely jammed at the store in Tribeca (glad I didn't try the UWS location) and the shelves were picked over and sometimes empty!

My boyfriend ended up staying with me and G and the cats for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as his apartment is very close to what was termed Zone "A" - basically, the area where if flooding happens, you're S.O.L. I picked up a lot of non-perishable items, along with fruits and veggies in case the power went out. We also picked up the requisite 24-pack of water, 2 6-packs of beer and 3 bottles of wine, because, you know, why not?

Like many, we never lost power/cable or had any leaks, and it was actually a pretty fun weekend, despite being seemingly trapped indoors. We watched several Netflix instant queue items and lots and lots of hurricane coverage (I need a break from the Weather Channel). I also learned about G's special talent of simply "pinching" it for 20 hours (she was not interested in wee-wee pads).

The grey days were great for sleeping in and the residual effects on the transportation systems caused a 12pm start at work (although, because I can bike, I was in normally).

All in all, I feel very lucky the storm wasn't worse and that we're able to get back to all things non-Irene related! :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness!

Well, it looks like Irene is ramping up to blanket NYC (and the rest of the east coast) this weekend and I have been in full hurricane preparedness mode since yesterday (Kara, if you're reading this, I know you will attest that I was a little crazed about it last night ... a little ...)!

For G, who hates even the lightest sprinkle of rain on her coat, I've picked up some adult wee wee pads for the weekend. I am relieved that this simple option will allow her to remain indoors, away from any damaging winds or flood waters. Fingers crossed she'll be able to figure it out!

Further, after discussing various scenarios with some hurricane-seasoned Floridians, I received the following tips:
  • Pick up cash - if power is out, credit cards won't work!
  • Water - with extreme flooding, make sure you have ample water on hand. This could mean anything from filling up your bathtub and sinks, to buying bottle water. Remember, if you have any pets, you should think of their needs, too! 
  • Food - my mom suggested picking up a cheap cooler to store refrigerator/freezer contents if we do in fact loose power - a bag of ice too! For the pets, make sure you have at least a 3-4 day supply of meals stored up!
  • Flashlights/batteries - make sure you have a least one strong flashlight with back up batteries (in case you need access dark areas, like internal stairwells)
  • Battery-powered fans - if you do lose power, remember, it's August and it's going to be warm. A battery-powered personal fan can help get the stale air moving when you are unable to open your windows.
  • Board games, books and booze. Definitiely high priority in a hurricane!
Anyone else have any hurricane suggestions?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Walkin' & Waggin'

Total bummer, but we had some rogue thunderstorms this Saturday that totally killed our walk with our neighbor R! We resheduled for this Sunday, but now I'm hearing rumors about another rogue storm, this sassy-pants named Irene, that might put a damper on that walk too - oy!

That being said, I'm hoping to start walking with G with R soon, in addition to meeting up with a co-worker and her 2 pits regularly after Labor Day. I'm definitely going to take Two Pitties in the City's advice (thanks :) ) and contact Two Grad Students and a Pittie to see if they might be interested in getting some walks organized.

How cool would that be?

Here's some shots of my smilin' little girl from this past Saturday doing what she does best - posing:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quick Update

I am so pumped! My neighbor has responded and agrees it might help to walk our pups together (see yesterday's post). While I'm not expecting miracles and will definitely give the gals plenty of space, we are going to try and meet up at Riverside Park this weekend for a Very. Calm. Pack. Walk.

I'll definitely keep everyone updated! And, once again, thanks to Two Pitties in the City for the inspiration!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lobbying for Calm

As I mentioned yesterday and have a few times before, G has some leash aggression issues when coming into and out of our lobby (with me). Our apartment building is, thankfully, very dog friendly and from yorkies and dachshunds, to labs and even Burmese Mountain Dogs, our building has all types (and sizes) of pups.

I have been working on myself to remain as calm as possible when passing through the lobby area regardless of whether dogs are present. I'm getting better and so is G (especially with small or older dogs), but we still have a few "arch enemies" that she will just bellow at!

One dog in particular, a young chocolate lab, really gets under G's skin and vice versa. At first, I thought it was G insighting the barking, but as it turns out, I think they both start to wind each other up equally!

The owners of the lab are super friendly (thank goodness) and we give each other a wide berth, but I'm interested in putting this issue to rest as the couple has 2 small twin babies. Needless to say, when the dogs get to barking and pulling, it can be overwhelming to control their behavior when you add in a giant stroller to maneuver.

That being said, this morning, I ran into the lab and his owner as I typically do on weekdays and ended up leaving a note for them with the security guard on duty. Inspired by Two Pitties in the City and all of the amazing things they do - I asked the owner if they wanted to try walking the dogs together (albeit, with a LOT of space inbetween)!

Not sure if they got the note and I made it clear, no pressure from me to participate or even answer me, but I'm hoping they respond so we can start to make our strolls through the lobby a tiny bit less "eventful."

Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Report Card

Yesterday, G went to daycare after a seriously rainy weekend, which she spent mostly asleep at home (read: had a lot of energy to diffuse). The daycare I take her to is different than most I've encountered in that they don't allow you in the space with your dog to pick-up and drop-off, but rather ask you to call. As they don't (currently) have a way to obstruct the front door from the prying/excitable eyes of pooches, this "no knocking" approach works to keep the dogs calmer when entering and exiting the facility.

Because of the way drop-off and pick-up is coordinated, I typically don't get a good deal of time to chat with her caretakers unless I speak with them over the phone. Yesterday, however, when I picked her up, I began to chat with the girl who brought her out and as it turned out, my little pooch received glowing reviews!

Apparently, G plays all day (All. Day.) with only a brief nap that she's essentially forced to take (nap time for all pups!). She shows no food or toy aggression to the other dogs and typically doesn't bark unless she hears me on the phone (no, seriously). Further, she plays with other pits, rotties and generally bigger dogs all day long with no issues at all!

I am both incredibly proud and incredible confused at this behavior. While I've never seen her show food aggression, but she has been known to get sassy around her toys (with me or other dogs in my presence). She barks a LOT as people pass by our apartment door - something we're working on, but which still is my number one frustration. And finally, she isn't always the most prim and proper on leash with other dogs (especially other pits) and any dog in our apartment lobby. Sass-a-frass to say the least!

Clearly, the common part in the equation above is yours truly - G is going into a different mode of behavior when I'm around vs. not.

That being said, it makes me hopeful that her behavior is A+ at daycare, because it means that through hard work, we can get it going at home as well! Fingers crossed (and perhaps the name of a good trainer!).

Monday, August 15, 2011

i heart Bryant Park

One of our typical Friday evening activities is to troop from our apartment in the UWS down to 40th/5th to pick up my boyfriend, J, at work. From there, we walk even further east (usually to Lexington or Third Avenue) to hail a cab down to the Lower East Side.

The walk exhausts G (and me mentally, to be perfectly honest) as it requires a lot of concentration to go through busy Midtown with a dog. You need to have complete control over your pup and the novelty of seeing a dog in Midtown, for tourists at least, can cause quite a commotion. Remaining calm is paramount - and I don't always succeed!

By the time we make it to our destination, Bryant Park, G is usually pooped and spreads herself out on the cool concrete in front of the library while we wait for J to wrap things up. Those (relatively) quiet moments in the Park are a great way to relax right before delving into a busy weekend - something both G and I appreciate immensely!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011


As I've mentioned before in this blog, G and I have been battling her separation anxiety for a couple years now. As long as I'm around, she usually holds herself together, but if I leave her (even if she's still with another person) she tends to get very antsy and whiny.

I heard all sorts of suggestions and remedies for calming a pup both when they're with you and on their own: collars, sprays, hormones, it was even suggested to me that I get another dog to keep G company (so what happens when that doesn't work?!).

One of the odder suggestions I received was from G's babysitter, who mentioned the Thundershirt for her. She explained that this was a shirt, (a la Temple Grandin) wrapped around the abdomen of the dog that worked similarly to the calming effects of swaddling a baby. The gentle pressure is said to release chemicals in the brain triggering relaxation.

To be honest, at first I thought it was completely ridiculous, however, after reading up on the product - both on their website and elsewhere (for non-biased opinions), I figured it couldn't hurt to try it. It was a 100% money-back guarantee if the product didn't give you results.

I purchased the Thundershirt about six months ago and was pretty religious about keeping it on G both when I was and was not around. For the most part, I think it provided an improved relaxation effect for her, but it was hard to say how much so.

With the spring/summer months, I didn't dress her in the shirt as much as I didn't want her to overheat (although, according to the manufacturer, that's not really a worry unless it's over 95 degrees Fahrenheit), but I am looking forward to getting her back into the shirt in the cooler months of fall and winter. I am interested to see if I can teach her a positive association between the shirt and relaxing (especially on leash).

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to School!

Yesterday was G's first day back at (a new) daycare. As with any time she starts something new, I'm always a nervous Nelly about it - just wanting everyone to love her and for her to behave like the good pup I know she is.

Well, after meeting with the owner of the daycare prior to going out of town, I sent G off for her first day yesterday and lo and behold, I had nothing to worry about! Via text message the owner let me know that she was doing great, reveling in all her new doggie friends and charming all of the employees.

Phew! I always know, in my heart of hearts, she'll do just fine, but I can't help but get anxious for her - counterproductive, for sure, but I'm so proud of my little girl for (once again) proving that she has the personality and manners of well-behaved pup.

I asked her if she had fun at daycare, meeting all of her new friends. She didn't answer me (obviously), but the below pass out spoke volumes: