Saturday, July 17, 2010

DoDog Tale

I have been experimenting with making TBTB Dog Biscuits and had liver bars, tuna cookies and bananaramas on the counter. I dried them in the oven and was testing their shelf life to see if I got all the moisture out - they were in open plastic bags. I came home from town today to find that ZipDog had gotten on the counter and had a couple - apparently I caught her in the act, because only a few were taken (I actually thought she knew better and stopped on her own, Ha!) I moved the chair away from the counter so she could not do it again.

Later on I was in the bedroom talking on the phone. When I came out to the kitchen I noticed plastic all over the floor and upon further investigation I noticed that ALL of the biscuits were gone, about 3 lbs. worth. She had strategically found a way to jump up on the crate and balance herself long enough to help herself to the yummy treats. Guess after the first taste she just couldn't resist. Needless to say she is now in the crate for the evening w/o Dinner. Now, isn't that just like a DoDog? Grrrrrr!

So much for your bikini bod!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chronicles of a Doggie Bed 'N Biscuit

Tail-By-The-Bay Bed ‘N Biscuit is an upscale retreat for the well-pampered dog. We take care of dogs in the house where they are allowed to be on the bed, couch, and chair, or wherever they prefer. We serve homemade concoctions of carrots, rice, spinach, salmon and rice, with peanut butter biscuits and yummy chummies for desert. They go on long walks on the trail, compete for the chuck-it ball, and sometimes go to the beach for a swim. The resident dogs - OgDog, Luce, Woody & Zippy, enjoy all the canine activity. It’s a dog’s life here and they all love it!

The business was managed this winter by a very dog savvy couple, and I have received wonderful feedback on what a great job they did. Thanks Kristin & Chris for allowing us to travel all winter leaving our doggie clients in your capable hands. We couldn’t have done it without you, and you are missed both by us and the dogs - especially Paxton.

When we arrived back in Homer on Tuesday, five dogs were here to greet us. Sophie a retriever mix has been coming to the Bed ‘N Biscuit since she was a few months old so needless to say she is a regular. Her parents tell me when they turn onto Katie Jean Circle, Sophie starts jumping around in the back seat because she is so excited to come see her friends. Sadly she and her family are relocating to Oregon next month so she will be here only one more time before they leave. She will definitely be missed.

Zip is a gray & white Welsh corgi, and also a regular. His dad is a traveling speaker so Zip spends a good deal of time with us especially during the winter, sometimes as much as three weeks at a time. Zip loves to herd the other dogs around and has a little man complex. He can run after the ball with the best of the retrievers but his legs cannot compete with their speed. He never gives up though; throw the ball and Zip is off and running. He is a sweetheart underneath all the tough guy stuff, and we enjoy having him around. His favorite place is the pup tent when he’s not out herding.

Paxton is the neighborhood dog that thinks she really lives at TBTB. She prefers it here because her family works all day and she is alone. Apparently she spent most of the winter in the house, in front of the woodstove. She rarely goes home. Her family occasionally checks on her here, but for the most part she’s on her own. One has to wonder why they have her since apparently they are too busy to give her the love and attention she so deserves. We have adopted her and treat her like our own. She too loves the pup tent, or lying in the bathroom where it is cool. But her favorite is the organic, homemade food we serve not to mention the yummy chummies. If Paxton does wander back to her own house for the evening, I can count on her returning around 11 PM when she wakes me up barking “let me in,” wagging her tail wildly when she sees me. I open the gate and she goes directly to the pup tent unless Zip already has it. In that case she heads to the nearest empty dog bed or the bathroom.

Jessie is a newcomer this summer. She’s a 16-year old Husky that comes for day care while her mom works. Jessie loves to go on walks and lie on the deck in the sun. She is completely deaf but once I open the gate to go on a walk she is right there. Plus she has an uncanny ability to know when I open the treat jar not wanting to miss her share. She’s a very sweet girl and gets around surprisingly well for an older gal.

And then there's Ruby, who was picked up at the Emergency Room as her dad was having a heart attack and being airlifted to Anchorage. Ruby has been with us for over two weeks now; she is a golden lab full of energy but very well behaved. She has no competition when chasing the ball, as she can fly like the wind. A few days ago I kept noticing spots of blood on the floor. I was checking all the paws in the house thinking someone had a cut? Nothing. Then I started checking other areas to see if maybe one of the dogs had an injury. Nothing. Okay, then it dawns on me. . . I normally don’t accept unaltered dogs, but we picked her up during an emergency so didn’t have the normal interview. My suspicions were right, Ms. Ruby indeed is in season or as some may say “heat”. Great, now what? Where can I get the proper supplies for this dilemma in Homer, Alaska?

I call the local groomer that has some pet supplies in her shop. Yes they have what I need in a Small only. That won’t work because Ruby is a big girl. They can’t help me, but they suggest I call the Wagon Wheel, a feed store. Nope they don’t have any Pup Pants either. Last resort, Homer Hounds. Ah, yes we have the large Pup Pants you need for $22 and then you have to go to the store and buy Maxi Pads. Maxi Pads? You’re joking. Nope that’s what you do to keep her from leaking in the house, and having active males from miles around at your doorstep. Okey, dokey then. . . don’t want that!

I buy the Pup Pants and the owner of the store shows me where to insert the pad, right in front of the hole where the tail goes. I have to get the tail through that hole? OMG! Off to Safeway to find Maxi’s, I start laughing. I cannot believe I am getting pads for a dog? But at TBTB Bed ‘N Biscuit we aim to please and take care of our clients.

I get back to the house with all the stuff, and now for the hard part. How can I get this diaper on her when she keeps sitting down and her tail is wagging non-stop? How will I ever get it through the tail hole? We go in circles for a while, she sits, I get down on my knees, she gets up, I get up, and the whole process starts again. We do this about 3-4 times when I finally get one side fastened and half the tail through the hole. Ruby then rolls onto her back and I cease the opportunity to Velcro the other side – a bit crooked but fastened! Once she stands up we make some minor adjustments and we’re good to go for a while. These pup pants have to come off every time she goes potty and then it’s another goat (dog?) rope getting it back on, but we are slowly getting used to each other. Just today she started standing and waiting for me to get her tail inserted. That’s a good sign.

I had some sad news for Ruby today. Apparently her life is about to change because her dad is not going to make it. His children are making the decision to unplug life-support tonight. One son raises Labs and had given Ruby to his dad 6 years ago as a birthday gift. Ruby will be going home with him when this is over. I’m trying to prepare her for the change by talking about it. I think a dog can understand more than we think. It certainly can’t hurt to talk to her about it. At least she is staying in the family and not going to a foster home or worse yet, a shelter. Ruby will be going back to Wisconsin where she came from.

I’ve had many jobs during my career, but this is the best. You just never know what to expect from dog to dog at TBTB Bed ‘N Biscuit. Dogs teach us about being in the present moment, about enjoying the small things, and about tolerance. TBTB practices Wu Wei, the true way of the dog. Translated, Wu Wei simply means the art of not doing. Dogs are happy to just be. We learn so much by sharing their time and space. It’s a total howl, and I love it. Woof! Woof!