Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The vet gave us a special shampoo to help the itch feel better. So this morning it was bath time. Baths aren't the end of the world or anything. I don't know why so many dogs hate them - I think they're kinda fun. My human lets me play with rubber duckies and when it's all over, I get a few cookies to reward my good bath behavior. What's there to hate about that??
Awhile ago I wrote a post on how to make baths more dog-friendly. If bath time at your house is a nightmare, give my suggestions a try. I promise they won't make it any worse!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Party at Jack and Vegas' house!
Forget bugs and tents. Who cares about going to some lake when the alternative is spending an entire weekend with our Labrador friends! They live by the beach in a great big house with a yard and everything. Even Dutch liked the sound of that. He LOVES the Labs so much that he wants to be one. I've even heard him tell other dogs he's part Lab, but he's not. He just likes to swim like one.
I really like the Labs because they're super fun. And a little crazy. Not in a bad way - they just do things I'd never even think of doing (like jumping off a big cliff). My human says it's not because they're crazy, it's just that Labs are wired differently than Pugs. She says Labs were originally designed to retrieve ducks - which means they've got lots of energy and like to swim and sprint and launch off things. Pugs were made to hang out with their humans, which means I'm supposed to be good at sitting around.
But who wants to sit around when you can play Labrador?? I can't always keep up with Jack & Vegas, but I do have fun trying.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Mostly because of the hat. It's a little bit like one of those head-cones they make you wear after you get parts removed (and it's shiny). I had to wear one of those head-cones for an entire WEEK once and didn't enjoy a single minute of it. So when my human put the shiny hat on me, I figured I'd have to wear it for a long time too. Just thinking about that made me never want to have another birthday again!
Thank god the shiny hat was just for today's picture. And once you get past the hat part, birthday's aren't so bad. I got to eat a great big dog cookie for breakfast and brother Dutch says I'll probably get a new toy or something before the day's over. He's had 5 birthdays, so I guess he knows what he's talking about. My friend google said birthdays can also come with singing (eeek), cake (YES!), presents (toys?).... and wrinkles.
I was born with wrinkles and am not sure if there's room for any new ones, but I'll take some cake. There's always room for more cake.
Destination: Lake Tahoe.
I'm not sure where Lake Tahoe is and I've never been camping before but I'm really excited about our trip. My Labrador friends Jack and Vegas are coming along too and they're suuuuper-excited about sleeping under the stars and swimming in a great big lake. Not so much excitement from brother Dutch. Apparently he HATES camping. Says he'd rather stay home with the loud music than sleep in a tent with bugs and dirt (especially the dirt).
Not sure about tents or bugs, but the Labs always say more dirt = more fun so we should have a good time.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Well. Missy Too might not be a pug, but she is a clone. Now, I'm not 100% sure what a clone is, exactly. But from what I understand, a clone is like an exact copy of something else. Sort of like an identical twin, but more complicated to make. So instead of being born like a regular puppy, Missy was recreated in a laboratory from leftover parts. Or something like that.
Anyway. I guess being a clone makes Missy Too pretty special, but she seemed like a regular dog to me. My friend Google said it took 10 years, two countries and millions of dollars to successfully clone the original Missy. So far, a total of four identical "new" Missies have been created. Can you imagine what it'd be like if there were four of you??
I've only met one of the cloned Missies, but Google says two of the others also live nearby. Sometimes they get together to play, so maybe I'll eventually meet all three. I'm just dying to know if cloned butts all smell the same. I asked my human AND google, but neither had an answer.
(you can read more about Missy here)
Monday, June 22, 2009
Good Photo Rule #2: Get down!
Have you ever stood on a chair to take a picture of a human friend? Probably not, huh? Well, try to imagine what that picture would look like. Instead of your friend's smiling face, you'd get a nice shot of the top of their head. Who wants to see that??
But I've seen lots of people take dog pictures from way up at human level. Uhm, hello! Not bending down to photograph a dog is pretty much the same as getting up on a chair to photograph a human. If you stay at human-level and just aim your camera down at us, you'll usually get a nice picture of our head, back, maybe a tail. And who wants to see that when you can look at a cute face??
Don't get me wrong, there are times when an upright, human-level picture is totally cute. Y'know, like when your dog friend is looking up at you with those eye that say Oh human, I love you! (or, is that cookie in your hand for me??). But most of the time, getting down to dog-level will create a much more engaging scene.
PS: don't forget to send us some of your new & improved pictures!
Sorry, I guess sometimes I get a little distracted. Ok, a lot distracted. Especially by fun stuff like this Bento thing! At the moment, it tops the list of best toys ever**. The magic of the Bento is difficult to explain. It's chewy (but not edible) on the outside and hard (but edible) in the middle. From what I've tasted, the edible middle-bit is incredibly yummy. To actually ingest the yummy part though, you first have to remove it. I still haven't figured out how to do that.
I can't believe what I'm about to say... but even though I don't know how to actually eat the yummy Bento, it's really fun to try (and I've tried - trust me, I've tried!). My human likes the Bento because it keeps me and brother Dutch busy for hours without upsetting our stomachs (Dutch) or making us (me) fat.
-- Summary --
Entertainment value: 4 paws
Tastiness: 4 paws
Duration of play: + an hour (or until it gets stuck under the couch)
Durability: not indestructible but seems pretty tough
Value? (my human made me put this): Might seem a bit pricey for such a little toy, but I think it's a good investment. Bento comes with one yummy middle that lasts a long time (and can be replaced for about $3/two pack).
** as always, this list is subject to change minute by minute
Friday, June 19, 2009
Dogs live in the ‘now’ so the whole concept of waiting can be hard for us to grasp. I'll explain how to teach your dog to wait but only if you promise promise promise to be a patient teacher.
OK. First, you have to understand the difference between "wait" and "stay". Wait means "Freeze! don't move a muscle til I say so" and stay means "Stay right where you are while I leave your side and go somewhere else". A lot of dogs have trouble with stay because we really like to be close to our humans. Wait isn't so bad though.
The fastest/easiest way to introduce “wait” is by the tone of your voice. Second to rewards (especially cookies!), tone of voice is one of the best tools in dog training. It works like this: your voice is like a traffic light. Low, serious voices are red lights. They tell your dog to stop. High-pitched, happy voices are green lights. They say all systems go.
So imagine you want your dog to come to a stop before crossing the street. When you get to the curb, say “Wait” in a serious tone. Your dog will probably pause and look up at you to figure out what the problem is. You've given him a red light. As soon as he pauses, bring on the happy voice to let him know that standing still is a go. Make it a really happy green light! As long as he's standing still, he gets the happy voice. If he starts to move forward again, give him the red light by saying “NO. WAIT.” in a more serious tone. Repeat the process in very small doses til he catches on.
Once your dog's mastered standing still for a second or two, give an enthusiastic "Okay!" (green light!) as you take a step forward. This tells your dog its OK to move again. "Wait” should always be followed by a release like “Okay", signalling it's OK to proceed. Again, repeat the process in very small doses til he catches on. Once he's grasped the concept, introduce "wait" in other situations (mealtimes, leaving the house, getting out of the car)
Once your dog understands "wait", the cue can be used in a million and one different ways.
- red light/green light
- to be patient
- teach in baby steps
- practice practice practice
Thursday, June 18, 2009
When I first moved to San Francisco, I wasn't so sure about the whole city thing. It was a lot noisier than the farm where I grew up, there were fewer animals to chase and I had to wear a leash just to walk down the street. Brother Dutch said he didn't like the city at first either, that it can take awhile to get used to it.
I still think leashes are kinda degrading, but I totally love city-life now. For one, there are lots of people and I love people. Can't get enough of them. There's plenty of stuff to chase and even more stuff to eat. No one on the farm ever left half-eaten food lying around, but our local park is full of tasty snacks. Just this morning I found half a muffin and a container of Thai food. Yum!
The best part about living here in the city is all the different things you can do. Ok, maybe the free food is the BEST part... but where else can you play with cows one day and run on the beach the next? I'm definitely 100% city pug now! My human says most cities don't have cows and an ocean, but as long as we live in one that does, I'm happy.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Anyway. I was super-excited to see my cow friends again, but they weren't really in the mood to play. The big ones just stood there and mooooed at me. My human said something about babies? Dunno. At least they stood still long enough to have their picture taken. Come to think of it, I've never really seen a cow move very fast. That's what makes them so much fun to chase!
It felt so good to be back in action. To my pug friends who are having surgery soon (Rosie! Ody!) -- try not to worry. By the time the head-cone comes off, you'll be good as new (give or take some spare parts).
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I got to play around on a practice course while my human took pictures of my friend Miley the spotted puppy. Woo-hoo! Obstacles are FUN. See that thing I'm standing on? It was taller than my human and she's really tall. I could see all sorts of stuff from way up there. Everyone was worried I might jump because I kept looking at the ground, but I was just checking stuff out. I really just didn't want to come down and go back to being short.
I didn't get a chance to play around with the hoops and jumps, but I did try running up and down the see-saw thing. Once. Didn't like that so much - I wasn't expecting the down part. Someone should have warned me about that ahead of time.
My human said I can try agility for real when I get a little older. I don't want to wait, but guess there's other stuff I can do in the meantime. I'm getting older every day, so I shouldn't have to wait too long... right?
Oh yeah, here's a picture of Miley the spotted puppy. Take a good look at her now, because she won't stay this small for long. Last time I saw her, I was the big one. Now I'm the shrimp. Again.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Today I just have the best picture EVER of my friend Pinky. If this doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.
PS: To Rosie and any others about to undergo part removal... Pinky had her girl parts taken out a few weeks ago, and as you can see, is doing just fine!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Well, today I'm back up on my box and have a favor to ask. Remember in that post about my cousin Sophie, how I said rescues are really overwhelmed right now? Well, I just found out that our local pug rescue (Pug PROS) has been working overtime and has lots of big medical bills to pay. So to raise money they're doing I'm calling a "trash for cash" drive. Ok, it's not trash exactly (more like old cell phones and empty ink cartridges) but they're basically collecting things you don't need and recycling them to raise money for the pugs.
We all know I'm a huuuuge recycling fan, so I just love the idea of turning old junk into cash for needy pugs. Besides, what else are you ever going to do with an old cell phone? My human looked through a special drawer in her office and found 3 old phones she didn't even know were in there. When the printer runs dry, we'll be mailing in our empty inks.
Which brings us to the favor.... Can y'all check your junk drawers for old cell phones and save your printer's empty ink cartridges? Please donate whatever you find to the pugs:
PO Box 5094
Concord, CA. 94524
Oh. And just in case you're not familiar with the rescue scene, my human says these groups are mostly unpaid volunteers who have regular full-time jobs and dogs and families of their own to take care of. And unlike shelters and humane societies who receive government funding and support, rescues have to raise their own money.
Groups charge an adoption fee to offset costs and keep the rescue effort alive. These fees also go towards things like medical bills. Trouble is, some dogs get rescued because their original humans couldn't (or wouldn't) pay to treat an illness. And some of these dogs are VERY expensive to fix. Like thousands of dollars expensive. I suck at math, but even I can see how hard it must be to make the numbers add up right. Luckily, rescue groups care more about dogs than math so they figure out a way to make things better.
Please do what you can to help them!
PS: If you're a rescue group, think about doing your own "trash for cash" drive. Visit the EcoPhones website to see how it works (it looks really easy!). My human says she'll even design a poster to help your group promote the fundraiser. Just email us (the address is in my profile).
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I really only use plastic bags for one thing (um, you know - poop) so making that change was pretty easy. I just asked my human to start using bio-degradable poop bags. "But I already recycle old plastic bags from the grocery store to pick up your, uh, stuff. Isn't that enough?", she said. I wasn't sure, so we checked with Google and the answer was a great big Noooo! Google says reusing plastic bags is a great idea, but not if they still end up in the trash. Plastic in landfills doesn't go away - one look at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch shows that.
At first my human wasn't a fan of the biodegradable bags (said they were "scary flimsy!") but then she found Mutt Mitts and swears she'll never make a poop-tomb again. A lot of city parks use the Mitts - make friends with your local parks department and you may be able to buy in bulk for less money. With this one simple change, we'll keep almost 2,000 plastic bags a year out of the dumps.
So that leaves #2: encouraging others. Which means it's your turn to do something. Just one thing, even if it's a little tiny one. If you need some more ideas, here's another list of 50 ways to be greener. Once you've mastered one change, pick another. Pretty soon, we'll all be saving the earth without even trying!
Remember: what happens on earth, stays on earth.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Moose was HUGE.
Dutch says Moose isn't really a pug, he's a mastiff. But I think he's just saying that because the thought of a ginormous pug totally freaks him out. Because I swear, looking at Moose was like looking in a mirror. Which I guess isn't too far form the truth - my friend Google says we're kinda related. Pugs like me descended from mastiffs like Moose. Hard to believe, huh?
Anyway. Even though I'm supposed to be "resting" for another few days, I couldn't resist playing with Moose the giant pug. I was a little nervous as first (the guy's tongue was as big as my head) but he was actually intimidated by me. Imagine that!
There weren't any camera crews around to record us in action, but it went something like this video: Angel Mastiff vs Devil Pug.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I've seen everything there is to watch on Animal Planet at LEAST three times. The Nature's Greatest Events series is really really cool, but once you know who gets eaten and who doesn't there isn't much point to watching it again. And I'm not very good with the remote so I didn't get very far trying to find something else to watch. Only made it to the next channel and some show for humans called Jon and Kate Plus 8 screaming kids. Or something like that.
My human must have sensed my distress and asked if I'd be interested in watching The Fish instead. "The Fish?", I asked. Yup. She was talking about The Fish. The one that lives high up on a shelf in her office, far far away from me. The one I've been dying to meet (and barking at) for months now. Of course I would like to eat - I mean, meet him.
Then came a new list of things I wasn't allowed to do:
- drink from the fishbowl
- knock the fishbowl over
- eat, or in any way harm, The Fish
Monday, June 8, 2009
Last week when they took out my boy parts, they also took out a tooth. Guess it should've fallen out on its own but didn't (apparently this happens sometimes). Anyway, the vet said my other teeth looked good and gave my human a long lecture about keeping them that way. That's when the brushing started up again.
You can probably tell from my pictures that I'm a pretty cooperative pug. I've worn running shoes, bunny ears, fake mohawks, and a mexican hat for nothing more than a few Cheerios. Baths, nail trims, eye drops - no problem. But tooth brushing? Even with the "poultry flavor" toothpaste? No way. I'm just really self-conscious about my crooked teeth. They look like something out of Jaws, it's embarrassing! My human says all pugs have screwy teeth because we have just as many teeth as other dogs (42!) but not as much space to fit them into. Without a snout, our teeth have no choice but to be all crowded together - and that makes it easy for bacteria to growcause problems.
Whatever. I still hate people messing around in my mouth.
Of course I said "Heck no!" to all of them. But my human held her ground and since she's in charge of food around here, we came to an agreement: no more brushes and a tastier toothpaste. Now she uses gauze with peanut butter paste and I'm OK with that. Don't love it, but it's not so bad. I even get a few Cheerios when it's over.
If you've never tried to clean your dog's teeth (or have tried and failed) here are some tips and a really good video to get you started. Good luck!
Friday, June 5, 2009
Sophie was one of 61 pugs rescued from a puppy factory in Missouri. Growing up at the factory, she lived in a cage all the time. She had no human of her own. No dog friends. No parks to play in. No nothing. She just made puppies. And when the puppy factory decided to stop making puppies, Sophie and all the other pugs were going to be put to sleep...FOREVER!
Luckily, a rescue group called ForgottenK9s stepped in. They drove alllll the way from Georgia to Missouri, saved the pugs, then drove through the night to an adoption fair in New Jersey (I've never been any of these places, but my human says that's a whole lot of driving). All the adoptable pugs found homes right away - including Sophie. Lots of the pugs had medical problems and needed some serious TLC; ForgottenK9s gave them temporary homes and took care of them all.
I'm trying not to spend so much time "up on my soapbox" (as my human calls it whenever I start ranting about stuff) but a lot of people don't realize how many dogs there are in rescues & shelters. Most end up there because of *human* circumstances, through no fault of their own and are absolutely perfect. Rescues are especially full right now because of the economy (this goes for ALL dog breeds, not just the puggies). So if you're thinking about adding a dog to your life, consider adoption! If a new dog isn't in your future, maybe give some thought to fostering for a local rescue?
Anyway. It's been three months since her rescue and Sophie is totally digging her new & improved life. She loves hanging out in the garden and snuggling on the couch with her human. Oh, and she's really grateful for little things too - like having a soft bed and clean food bowl.
According to Sophie's human, life has gotten better for everyone. "Both our lives are happier now that we have each other."
Thursday, June 4, 2009
We've gotten a bunch of emails lately asking about the kind of camera I use. In case you're now wondering too --- I've got a few. But almost every picture on Daily Puglet was taken with a basic old point & shoot. I won't lie, there are definitely benefits to using the nice, super-fancy equipment. But you CAN take really nice pictures without it. I promise. Good photography is as much about the camera as what you do with it.
No matter what camera you have or what you want to photograph, there are simple things you can to do get better pictures. Today I'll share one of the easiest. This works with all pictures, but I'll make it Pug-specific.
Good Photo Rule #1: Fill the frame with your subject
Unless a background or setting adds something to a picture, don't let it dominate your image. Instead, make your Pug the main attraction. What does this mean? It means if I included half my living room in today's photo, you'd be looking at a picture of plants and windows and furniture and bookshelves and dog toys... and a cute little Puglet sleeping on my laptop.
No matter how cute a sleeping Puglet may be, he'd have a hard time grabbing your attention in a visual sea of "stuff". The resulting photo would be pretty boring. By 'filling the frame" with the image of Puglet sleeping on my laptop, I've made him the center of attention (as all Pugs like to be).
So how do I do it? Get close to your Pug. Then, get closer. Trust me on this. Just be sure to turn off your flash *first* (and get your Pug to a place where there's a lot of light). Also, be aware of one thing: every camera's lens has limits and you can only get so close before things get fuzzy (out of focus). The mysterious line between fuzzy and sharp varies by camera/lens, so check your manual for something called a "minimum focus distance" and don't get any closer than that. If you hate reading manuals as much as I do, start at a distance of 1 - 2 feet from your Pug. If your pictures turn out fuzzy, move a little farther away and try again. Repeat until things look nice and sharp.
There are times - especially with point & shoots - that a camera's "normal" focusing distance can't get you close enough. Today's photo is a perfect example: Puglet's comfy spot on my lap was way too close for my camera to focus on. At times like this, the Macro setting is your friend. Macro is my friend A LOT.
Macro?? Don't worry, your camera knows what it is. To unleash the magic of Macro, just switch your camera to the "scene" or mode for taking pictures of flowers (some cameras just have little icon that looks like a tulip). A lot of people don't realize you can use the "flower" mode to take really great pictures of dogs. Or kids. Or just about anything.
One caveat: Macro is meant for close ups. Once you get close, stay there or things will get fuzzy again.
That's probably waaaay more than enough camera talk for one day. But give it a try and see what happens. Speaking from experience, taking pictures is much more fun when you actually like the pictures you take. Hopefully, today's "lesson" can help with that.
(Send us a picture if it does!)
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
A great big thanks to everyone for being so concerned about me. Makes me feel even special-er than usual... even if I do look like a great big dork with this cone thing on me head.
Head-cone aside, my trip to the vet wasn't that bad. First I got to watch a video of my heart (it looked like a blob, but the doctors didn't seem too worried about that). Then a man in blue pajamas gave me a shot of something and I took a nap. Had some really weird dreams about vacuum cleaners and jellyfish, then woke up to the big smiling face of the blue pajama guy. He seemed really happy to see me and gave me another shot. After that everything just felt.... goooood.
The feeling didn't last, but I'm feeling OK. Not loving this head cone thing, but my human says it's to stop the licking. I tried to tell her I'm not licking - just checking stuff out. But she doesn't believe me. Says I'm a faker.
Uhm. Anyway. I don't really feel any different without my boy parts. Some humans at the park said I'd feel lazy and act like a slug, but I don't think so. Dutch says now that my parts are gone, dogs will stop picking on me for being a boy. Even my friend Google says it's better not to have the parts. Not sure about being a lazy slug, but I do like the sound of not getting beat up.
Parts or no parts, it's good to be home. Thanks for keeping brother Dutch entertained while I was away. He can be kinda needy and I was worried he'd be a little lost without me around.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Don't worry, Pug's OK. I'm just keeping his bed warm til he gets back. He made it through surgery just fine this time and will be home later today. Should be back online tomorrow once the drugs wear off.
Y'know, I never thought I'd say this - but it's been kinda lonely without Pug around. A bit depressing, really. Back when he first came to stay with us, I wasn't 100% in love with the idea. But I figured he'd come and go like the others. I knew the routine: a few weeks of inconvenient sharing, homeless dog gets adopted, and life returns to normal til the next foster comes along. No big deal.
So I let the Pug use my toys. He ate my rubber chicken and stole the flying squirrel. I let him share my bed; he hogged the whole thing and let me sleep on the floor. I waited patiently for him to leave... and he's still here.
But you know what? The little guy's kinda grown on me. Sometimes he can be a real pain in the be-hind, and I hate the way he weasels his way into the middle of EVERYTHING, but life without Pug just isn't the same. Even if it's only for a day.
Uhm, please don't tell him I said that. OK? Thanks.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Y'see, this isn't the first time they've tried to Fix him. And the last time? It went something like this... So, we're on the way to the vet and Puglet asks me, "Wwhat happens when you get Fixed?". And I tell him: they chop off your boy parts. Was just trying to be a good big brother, I swear. I mean, it happens to all of us, right? It's not like I could lie about it. But Pug got alllll freaked out and came up with this crazy plan: to save his boy parts, he'd fake a heart attack. Yup, that's right. A heart attack.
I'm a little fuzzy on exactly where Pug's genius idea went bad (he doesn't like to talk about it) but at some point between being shaved and the actual surgery, the fake heart attack became real. And he died. He didn't stay dead (obviously) but the vet said it took about three minutes to bring him back. And when he came back, things weren't 100% right. Pug couldn't see or hear or walk straight. Made some really scary howling noises too. My human said something about his brain being swollen? Not sure what that's all about, but I guess it shrunk back to normal because he was totally fine after a few days. As normal as a pug can be, anyway.
I don't think Pug will try anything crazy this time, but my human took him to the vet school just in case. The special doctors there will run tests on his heart and he'll have his own anesthesiologist, just like a human would. I love the vets at UC Davis but am still a little nervous after what happened last time. Pug promised he'll be good, but I swear, if he pulls another stupid stunt I'll kill him.