Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mister Master Relaxer

For anyone who thinks that Chihuahuas are eternally hyper, I beg to differ. The Mister is a master relaxer. There's really nothing better than a Sunday afternoon nap with my Feisty. Chihuahuas are burrowers, so it's under the comforter and right behind my knees for him. It's better than a heating pad when I have the occasional knee ache. Seriously.

Feeding the Mister

While the Mister came from the city pound, he has never suffered from a lack of self esteem. From day one, he let it be known that he deserved and expected the best that life has to offer. Specifically, he hates dog food. I've tried wet and dry - organic and non.

Finally, I decided to try my hand at making his food. Friends and family gasp and shake their heads, "You're spoiling that dog." Okay, maybe.

But it's way better than wasting money on food he won't eat or watching him go hungry.

There are actually a lot of cookbooks for dogs and this is one of my favorites.

The Dog Ate It by Linda West Eckhardt, Barbara Bradley and Judy Kern is geared toward recipes that are suitable for both humans and canines.

Here is a recipe that both Mama and Mister enjoy:

Corn Bread Quiche

1 (6-ounce) package corn bread mix
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup shredded baby carrots
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed and drained
1/2 cup chopped bacon (or bacon bits - real, not artificial)

Preheat oven to 425. Spray 2 9-inch quiche pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Prepare the corn bread batter according to package directions. Pour half into each of the prepared pans. Mix veggies together and spread over batter. Sprinkle with bacon bits. Using a spatula, gently press bacon bits into the mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Do not overcook.
Leftover quiche can be frozen.

Don't forget to enjoy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Trying Times

This morning was challenging for myself and the Mister.

And it was all my fault. Full disclosure.

I am currently a full-time student and I'm working about 25 hours a week. When I get home I am exhausted on so many levels. I will admit that I haven't been up to lots of games or the longer walks that the Mister loves so much.

He has been a pretty good sport about it overall, but this morning he had had enough of being ignored. There was barking and pouncing, and kamikaze kisses. All I wanted was to stretch out on the couch and veg until it was time to leave for class. All of a sudden, 10 pounds of Mister landed on my stomach and knocked the air out of me. I'm sorry to say that harsh words were said, and my sad little Mister retreated to his pile of blankets.

I felt like the world's worst doggie Mama. So I grabbed a doll and a successful game of fetch followed. It's hard to remember sometimes that even a little guy needs a certain amount of exercise to maintain his equilibrium and good spirits. And you know, I felt better and more energized after the game as well.

Thank you Mister for your forgiving nature. You are always my teacher in this regard. I am a little kinder and more patient with the world because of the gift of your unconditional love.

Now I'm off to class with a clearer conscience. And I know a certain little Mister who will be getting some extra treats and snuggles tonight.

The Flying Mister

I started flying with the Mister about two years ago. Here he is happily post-flight with my Grandpa Durham.

What an ordeal that first trip was. Holiday travel is hard on anyone, and it was especially hard on a little guy who had to stay in his carrier for hours.

By the way – parents – your running, yelling children don’t just annoy people. They traumatized my baby, and the airline agent was not very nice to us.

People always have questions when I tell them that I fly with my dog. I’m no expert, but here’s what I’ve learned.

I fly Southwest (despite their occasional bad judgment when it comes to customer service) because of the still-free baggage. So, that is where my little bit of know-how comes from.

Here is a link to Southwest's pet policies.

¨ It costs $75.00 each way for your pet’s ticket Occasionally, his ticket costs more than mine

¨ You cannot buy your pet’s ticket online. You have to go to the ticket counter, so allow for that extra time.

¨ You don’t have to send your baby through the x-ray conveyor. (seriously, why do people ask that question?) You take them out of their carrier and carry them through them with you.

¨ They have to ride under the seat in front of you. It’s hard sometimes, but those are the rules.

¨ DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG SEDATIVES! You could be compromising their health, especially with cabin pressure changes.

¨ Make sure that they do their business before you get in the line for ticketed passengers. Unfortunately, most airports were designed pre-9/11. No green spaces for our canine loved ones. It’s a pain to take them back out. Plan ahead.

That’s all for now. Happy traveling.

Christmas Goodies.

Of course, Christmas is an exciting time - Santa Paws making his naughty/nice list, tiny stocking full of rawhides. You know.

This year I was determined to finally get the Mister something he’s needed for a while – a toy box. I don’t know why such a simple purchase should have waited for so long. I just wanted to get something fun as well as sturdy and right-sized for a little guy.

I found that perfect container at…drumroll please…the Container Store.

There it was – in the closet section – a folding cube with a puppy face on the front.

He LOVES it! I mean, he doesn’t put the toys in the box. But, taking them out is his new favorite game. Now if I could just turn that game in the other direction…

And yes, he did get a lovely assortment of dolls, balls and rawhides to fill his new puppy toy box.

This is the only time of the year that I buy him larger dolls. He can eviscerate a a stuffed toy in about five minutes flat. He just isn’t satisfied until that squeaker is history. And he’s so proud of himself. Still, we stick with the cheapies for normal, everyday play.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Lone Wolf

If you think that the Mister is any less feisty with those of his own kind – think again.

I live in a dog-heavy, dog-friendly neighborhood. This makes for some interesting times when I’m out with the Mister. You know how they say that people start to look like their pets? Well, I have a pet that acts like his human.

I could happily be a hermit, if I could find a cave with hardwood floors and good Thai take-out nearby. And fair trade coffee within walking distance. Okay, I could never really be a hermit, but still I could do without being a neighbor. I don't mind having neighbors, as long as they don't go all Mr. Rogers on me, "Will you be my neighbor? Won't you be my neighbor?" No! Now, I have a dog who is as anti-social as I am.

This is how the Mister deals with his own kind.

Just ahead of us are two golden retrievers.

Rockhudson is an enthusiastic p-logger, but shares my aversion to fraternization with his own kind. The Retrievers are too large to navigate around, so I scoop up my little bundle of joy. The owner of the Goldens says, "It's okay, they're good dogs." "Well, he's not."

This scene is re-enacted several times over the course of our thirty minute walk. Charlie and Abby the Cocker Spaniels next door, Don Juan the Shih Tzu, and Tank the French Bulldog are all the recipients of stern warnings to mind their own business by my snarling darling.

I’d love to say that the Mister has overcome his lone wolf act in the time that I’ve had him, but this is still a daily challenge. Still, I’d rather have the Feisty Mister than no Mister at all.

How the Mister Got His Name

With a super cool name like Rockhudson, why would my dog need a nickname like the Feisty Mister?
Although he’s a very good boy these days, our first few weeks together were challenging - especially during walks. The Mister feels that our walks should be private time for Mon and Mister. Following is a transcript of an average walk with the Mister in the early days. Enjoy.

"Is Chihuahua?” asks the grizzled gentleman whose ankle Rockhudson is eyeing with evil purpose. "Yeah, he's a Chihuahua," I say flatly. "Aye Chihuahua! Ha. Ha. Ha." He actually makes the 'ha ha' sounds when he laughs and I respond in kind, "Yeah, ha, ha." Rockhudson is no more a fan of trite than I am and suddenly transforms into a snarling frenzy, trying to get at the offending ankle belonging to the offensive man. "Ha, ha. He like me." "Right." “Have a nice day," I add grudgingly as I pull the dog in the opposite direction, hoping to finish our walk in peace. Unfortunately, it's frying pan to fire, as a morning jogger crosses our path. Rockhudson firmly believes that all humans should move at a moderate pace, so he lunges at the unsuspecting jogger who stumbles to the side as I chuckle apologetically and mumble, "Sorry, he's not a big fan of exercise," or something equally lame.

As we approach the corner of Sheridan and Thorndale, a CTA bus passes us in one direction, while a motorcycle approaches from the other, in violation of yet another firmly held Chihuahua conviction that people should not travel on anything with wheels. As he rages at my feet, I feel like I am flying a kite on the ground, the winds of Rockhudson's doggy neuroses pulling me this way and that.
We are almost home when Rockhudson discovers an amorphous stain on the sidewalk. He throws himself to the ground, rubbing his body over the stain in the throes of doggy ecstasy. I glance up to find a family of three walking toward us, laughing and speaking words I cannot understand. I can only nod and chuckle sheepishly, sidling off the sidewalk like a silent movie clown, dragging my undulating bundle of fur behind me. Finally, we reach the front door of our building and go inside.