Where Has PLF Been!?

Honestly, that’s a really great question. We barely even know! Judging by how many of you nice people liked our Facebook status announcing this post, it seems like you’ve missed us? Have you noticed we’ve been gone?

I guess I sort of felt like I didn’t have enough topics of substance to write about that weren’t just me spewing my opinion at you. And for the instances I did decide I wanted to share my opinion, I wasn’t giving myself enough time to come up with a well constructed post.  My efforts felt incomplete, which I hate! I decided I’d rather give you guys well thought out, interesting posts instead of ones thrown together at the last minute (this is where I don’t tell you that it’s 10:13 pm on Tuesday night so clearly I still haven’t addressed that last point).

In addition to feeling torn about post topics, I have been extra busy – in the best kind of way! I’m falling so in love with life every day here in the city. I’m soaking up the sunshine and warm temps. I’m spending extra time with friends. I’m working late nights at the shelter. I’m filling my weekends up to the brim with new, fun activities. I’m bonding with shelter dogs. I traveled to Mexico for a girl’s weekend. I’m spending afternoons with Paco just because. I’m constantly looking around this beautiful city with stars in my eyes. I’m gaining hours and hours of training experience working with clients, celebrating behavior-related victories every time. I’m taking weekend trips to Deep Creek Lake with my best friends. I’m dogsitting Lady Bug (adopt her!) and enjoying tons of snuggles.  I’m journeying out to the barn to spend time in wide open spaces. I’m finding corners of crowded DC bars to watch the World Cup games in with fellow Americans. I’m stealing gorgeous neighborhood husky puppies and helping their owners get through terrible puppyhood.  I’m learning more about dog behavior every single day. I’m embracing chaotic, fulfilling happiness every single day.

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So, I apologize about being absent from this space. I think about PLF often, and it’s not something I’m ready to move away from yet. I’ll be here for years to come, it just might not be every single Wednesday forever and ever because I want to give you posts worth reading. I am still as thankful as ever to have this blog and to have your attention, especially as I commit my career to helping dogs more and more every day.  Thanks for being the best, ever. See you back here soon? :-)

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Happy Dog, Warm Heart

Few things in this world touch my heart the way Otie does. I’m not sure what it is about him, but his big head and his worried expression have nestled themselves so far into the depths of my soft spots that I think I would do just about anything for him. He is such an anxious and worried dog, and it really breaks my heart to watch him worry about things many other dogs don’t blink an eye at. So when he is with me, I feel like it is my mission to make him comfortable. It is my job to find things that make him happy and let him do them as much as his little heart desires. Or else he makes sad faces like this:

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You might remember the photos from when I borrowed Otis from his dad over Memorial Day Weekend. We went on a grand adventure with our friends Kimmie and Nicky to the Billy Goat Trail along the Potomac River. We had so much fun! It was such a care free day out, and I knew one of those hikes was exactly what Otis needed while he spent the weekend with my parents.

I dropped him off with my parents Thursday evening, so he was very happy to see me Saturday morning. We woke up bright and early to meet with Kim and Nicky before the trails got too crowded. The canal was crowded, but the route we took was actually very empty – which was great for our two cautious dogs! It was a fun, confidence-building walk. I love seeing both dogs so relaxed.

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I knew he was feeling good because he went into the water all on his own. Nicky was chasing after a treat and forgot about it, and Otis went right in! I turned around and he was on his way in, no encouragement needed. It was a moment of bravery for Mr. Otie.

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He had such a good time and was totally wiped out afterwards. What a fun way to kick off our weekend! Did anyone else spend fun time outdoors as the summer winds down?

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Otis & Other Dogs: It Continues

I’ve discussed Otis’ feelings towards other dogs on a few occasions. I’ve basically spelled out how he is fine with dogs on walks and such, but he can’t live with them because of how submissive he is. He ends up miserable and hides his life away – or at least that was his behavior at his last home. It was understandable considering he was living with a dominant female who bullied him around a lot.

This whole time I’ve had Otis I’ve kept him kind of sheltered from other dogs. Not totally intentionally – it’s mostly just been because I don’t have many easily accessible friends with dogs (Bella moved away). I know he’s great with other dogs on walks and such, but his thoughts on off-leash dogs stayed unknown until the perfect opportunity came up: Monster.

You all met Monster in Tuesday’s post about the pool party. Monster is owned by my friend Nevie. She recently became fully responsible for him when she moved out of her parents house and into her own apartment. She is quickly learning what it’s like when your dog isn’t perfect – including when they’re nippy, they resource guard, they don’t like strangers, etc. She is doing a remarkable job tackling this training on her own (with the help, of course, of our favorite doggy genius in Texas), and I definitely recommend heading over to From The Pits to read about how Nevie is handling Monster’s difficult behavior.

While Monster might be working on some of his manners with humans, he gets along very well with other dogs. I knew that whatever dog could bring out the best side of Otis would have to be calm, laid back, and not super dominant. That was Monster.

At the beginning of their play date, neither pup paid much attention to the other. It was total indifference. Even when one mama would have treats, they acted like the other didn’t exist.

I was pretty satisfied with this, even though they weren’t BFFs. Otis was relaxed and tolerant around Monster – what more could I ask for? That is when the magic happened…

Otis and Monster began tearing around the yard like it was the best thing they had ever done. In between taking pictures (because obviously I had to capture the moment) all I could do was jump up and down and squeal. “He likes him! He really, really likes him!” Yes, watching Otis & Monster play instantly brought out my inner pre-teen. What can I say? It was a really exciting breakthrough.

You can tell Otis was having fun because his zoomie-eye came out. I think Monster enjoyed it too, even though Otis used his size to his advantage (brat). Just kidding, they really got along wonderfully. I’m excited at the prospect of more off-leash play dates with the appropriate doggy friends!

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his Adopt Me page to learn more about him and how to get in touch.



Puppy Pool Party!

It’s been SO HOT these past few days, and Otis and I started going a little stir crazy in our house in our efforts to stay cool. I decided we were going to brave the outdoors the only way possible: getting wet!

I went out and got Otis a baby pool in hopes that the end result would be him lounging around in it and me joining him with a book and a cold beer. I thought he would love it since he loves the creek so much, but it turns out I was wrong. He didn’t love it, especially at first – but after a while he didn’t hate it either.

He thought of it as more of an over-sized water bowl, so I decided to hop in and show him what the deal was. He was, of course, much happier with me in there with him.

This is the best part… we had friends over to play in the pool with us!

That adorable little Cocker Spaniel is my friend’s dog, Monster – more about him and his relationship with Otis later this week. Monster and Otis were equally unimpressed by the baby pool, despite their similar love for water. It was pretty comical trying to convince them both it was a good idea to get in and roll around so we could take adorable photos they could cool off.  Eventually there was some success, but it wasn’t much and it certainly wasn’t long lived.

Despite the lack of enthusiasm, everyone had a great time. The pool will be in my backyard all summer, and I don’t doubt that there will be a few more Puppy Pool Parties in our future. That’s what summer’s for, right?

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his Adopt Me page to learn more about him and how to get in touch.