Welcome Oliver!

 This has been a very exciting and joyous week for us. We have adopted a new pup, Oliver Raylan Standard. He’s a rescue dog from Mexico, but has been living in Washington the last few months. When we met him, there was a click. He was pretty calm for being somewhere around the six month mark and just seemed like he would fit in perfectly with Bleu. So far we’ve been right.

 They became friends almost instantly. One little bark and some sniffs, followed by a walk. Oliver spent most of the walk in the grass, as he didn’t like sidewalks. We had that corrected by the end of the next walk. Bleu has been a great little big brother. He has been a rock for timid little Oliver and has shown him that stairs and doors are no big deal. We are still working on elevators a.k.a. The Devil’s Box.

 It also helps that I am able to take him to work with me. There are so many dogs and people that he has no choice but to socialize, which he loves doing for the most part. There are still just a few hang ups, like when multiple big dogs get in his face. Although that greatly improved today as he wrestled with a rottie, a doberman, and a burmese. No fear, just the joy of being a dog.

  Now he has so much confidence that, tonight when I was making dinner, I had to take three different shoes away from him. Thankfully they were my running shoes which are super bright and easy to spot. So as he came bucking down the hallway like a bronco with a disco on face, I was able to see them and take them away. I eventually gave in and put all the shoes in the closet.

 So we have a few things to work on, but we love him and he loves us back. He is fitting in really well and Bleu likes having a companion, even though he has to share attention.

 

Happy 10 Years of Bleu

That little guy pictured above moved in with us ten years ago today. We already had our big boy Jacoby, but we felt like he needed a companion. I don’t think we could have found a better one, than little Bleu. They were inseparable throughout the rest of Jake’s life. They were best friends. They were brothers.

When we got Bleu he was so tiny he could easily fit in both hands and have room to spare. The size of the world seemed overwhelming to him. As if he were thinking “There is too much grass in the world! It’s going to take me days to walk from A to B. He also got car sick on the drive home and puked on my wife.

As the years went on he got bigger and more confident. He learned a lot about being a dog from his big brother Jake. To the point that he seems to have become a big dog in a little dog body. Running off leash, playing fetch, and chewing on bones are in his wheelhouse. However, he never fell in love with swimming. He would much rather just sit on the beach and bask. Which seems like it might be difficult to do on this overcast Canada Day morning.

Goodbye Jacoby

Four weeks ago today our dog, Jacoby, passed away. It has taken me nearly that long to start writing something, anything. I just couldn’t think about him much without missing him so terribly that it becomes debilitating. I still can’t, but I feel that he deserves to have something written about him.

He was a legendary dog who came into my life when I needed him the most. My previous dog had just passed away and I was going through the death throes of a terrible relationship. When I found Jake, he was two months old and in pound with the rest of his litter, so I guess we both needed each other pretty badly.

A year after I got him, he and I moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. Well, to be honest I came up about a month and half before him. Which is the longest he and I had ever been separated. My parents brought him up later, I can still remember when I got off the bus and crossed the street. My dad had brought Jake to come see me, but they were still half a block away. I could hear Jake’s whines and barks as he recognized me. He was pulling so hard my dad had to let him go. Of course he came running right to me and jumped on me very hard. Repeatedly.

That was Jake’s custom greeting. Rocketing into you as hard as he could. Leaving bruises and scratches. Tearing and puncturing clothing. Just jumping, again and again and again. There was nothing to be done. Turning around only meant your defenses were down. Throwing your knees up only egged him on. That is how he greeted us his entire life. Although he did finally become acceptably gentle sometime when he was about nine years old.

In October of 2005, my future wife moved in with me. We always joked – at least I think it was a joke – that Jacoby was the deal sealer. That I had coaxed her into hanging out with us, but Jake was the reason why she stayed. Either way, he loved her and after I came home and she told me she had made him scrambled eggs, I knew we were meant to be.

We had to move to another apartment the following February, just a block away from the previous place. It wasn’t as nice, but it allowed two dogs. At least we think it did. Thinking back, we are pretty certain that we just figured since the property managers didn’t seem to care about the place, we felt like we could get away with two dogs. We got Bleu on Canada Day of 2006. Jake’s world changed forever. Rarely were these two guys ever separated. Jake seemed to teach Bleu almost everything he knew about being a big dog and Bleu was an apt pupil. Other than swimming, Bleu and Jake shared the same interests. Chewing, trails, eating. Bleu was little and could have been a real weenie, but Jake made sure he was awesome.

Both of these dogs have been a huge part of our lives. When I proposed to my wife, they were not only present, they were part of the question. I said that “Jake and I were wondering if she and Bleu wanted to make it official.” They were both at our wedding too. We always joked that they needed to take back their tuxes or that they were born ready for our wedding.

Jake was such a huge part of all three of our lives. Each one of us is struggling to get by without him. We can tell when Bleu kind of forgets for a minute. He will be really excited as we come in the door from a walk and then, he will just mope and lay where Jake used to lay. My wife and I catch ourselves doing and saying things that we have said for years. Only to pause for a moment while the realization washes over us and the tears come.

We loved Jake so very much, for so very long. He loved us right back. We will alway remember, just a few days before he passed, how he rallied. It was a Thursday and my wife went for a run on the trail and I walked the boys behind her. I let them off leash a little soon and Jake caught sight of her and he just ran! He wasn’t listening to me. His only thought was to get to his mom. It was so good to see him gallop, he hadn’t moved like that in so long. In some way, I guess we should have figured that could have been his last hurrah.

The next day he was tired, but in good spirits. On Saturday though, we were both really starting tell that he wasn’t feeling better. On Sunday morning he woke up and climbed into bed with us. This was something else he hadn’t done in awhile, even though we had pulled the box spring out so the bed was no higher than our couch. He crawled up between us and rolled over on his back wanting a belly rub. It was weird, but I knew it was coming then.

Later on that day we made the call to our vet and I left a tearful and whispery message on the machine. That night we pulled our pillows, blankets, and all the dog beds into the living room. All four of us slept nearby. Sometimes he slept on the couch with my wife. Other times he was down on the rug with me. At one point I moved my hand and touched his soft fur and then realized that he and Bleu were lying right by each other.

In the morning, I made the call again because I wanted to make sure they had gotten the message. He was no longer comfortable and we knew we were just delaying the inevitable. Then we just spent our last few hours together. I pretty much cried all day and kept hugging him. I was dreading what was happening. I couldn’t believe that the time had come. The time that had always felt so far away that it seemed like it couldn’t happen.

All four us waited for the elevator and when the door opened a guy that I’ve never seen before was on it. My wife and I stifled the tears as we got on. Jacoby, in his most truest form walked up to the guy and said hi. Even at this moment in his life he was still trying to make friends and grow the pack.

When we got to the car, he didn’t have the strength to get in. He did let me pick him up, which was something he hadn’t let me do in ten years. There was the overwhelming nostalgia as I held him in my arms. I kissed his head repeatedly and told him how much I loved him and how I had been so lucky to find him that day. Then I gently laid him down in the back seat.

I have had such a difficult time seeing the screen for the last few paragraphs. I don’t even know if I am going to proofread them. What I do know is I am going to skip ahead.

When we picked up his ashes my wife and walked up the street, eyes misty. As we waited to cross the street we both whispered to each other and placed our foreheads together. Then I felt a gentle touch on my arm and a woman gestured to the bag that we both held in clasped hands. She said that she was sorry for our loss and that she had recently lost a pet as well. We thanked her and said that we were sorry for her loss too. As soon as we got in the car the tears broke out. Somehow I choked out “Classic Jacoby, still meeting people at the crosswalk.” We both smiled and cried some more.

He was a great dog who touched many people’s lives. He made a lot of friends. He turned some people into dog lovers. Even people who don’t care much for dogs, seemed to like Jake. He was a dog’s dog. A dog in the truest sense of the word. He was our best friend. He never had any other plans than to simply be with us. He, was our biggest fan.

Jacoby

Usually I like to write posts that are kind of jokey. Other times I like to grump about something that is making me grumpy. This is going to be something different. I started writing this the night we received the bad news. News concerning that big guy pictured up there. For those of you who don’t know him, his name is Jacoby. For those that do know him you may not know that his full name is Jacoby Edison Standard. He is a great dog!

I met him when he was barely two months old and I was hungover. He was at the humane society with his last remaining litter mate. All the rest had already been adopted. His brother was at the front and Jake was at the back. His flashy white socks and Sylvester the cat tail caught my attention. Just in case I hadn’t noticed him though, he puppy pranced toward the gate, trampling over his mate in the process. I remember saying something like, “Well you are cute! Are you a boy or a girl?” I know he didn’t understand me, but on cue he stood on his hind legs, showed me his junk, and proceeded to fall backward, landing on his sibling. I knew I had to have that dog!

I mentioned I was hungover. That is because five days earlier I had to put down my previous dog, Vinny. A dog that I had grown up with. A cute fluffy cocker spaniel that I loved to pieces. I was a freaking mess without a dog. I mean, it was bad. The bouncer at the bar I frequented told me about a litter of puppies that had just been dropped off at the pound. Which, while a great lead, didn’t stop me from getting hammered that night.

So there I was in the visitation room with a nameless dog. We played and tussled. Then he curled up in my lap and took a nap. I was sold and so was he. Eighty bucks and a legally binding promise to get him neutered and we were in my truck. By the time we had driven home, I had decided on a name, Jacoby. Yes, it was inspired by Dr. Lawrence Jacoby, but only because I liked the name.

We were pretty much inseparable, except when I had to go to class or work. I showed him the ropes and he ran with it from there. He loved hanging out with my friends and going with me to adjust the kilns. I found out that he thoroughly enjoyed chewing on stuff and swimming. Long walks were totally in his wheelhouse. Crates, his mortal enemy. He has always been a dog’s dog.

It was those skills and more that he imparted on his brother from another mother, Bleu. Bleu showed up when Jake was two. After one little scuff that left Bleu screaming and Jake in the dog house, they have been best friends. Bleu has never been too far from Jake. We even think that Bleu started carrying his tail the same way as Jake, just to match. Bleu always wanted to be like Jake, eat the same food as Jake, chew like Jake. They look so much alike that we still get asked if they are a mom and puppy. Yes, it is rare now that they are twelve and ten, but it did happen in 2015.

That is why our hearts were breaking when they walked Jake away for the ultrasound. Bleu just laid in our laps morose and making a low moaning sound. His breath changed to short little bursts. We knew he would do that, which is why we had taken him with us so he wouldn’t be at the apartment by himself. We knew he would just lie on the cold, hard floor by the door, which isn’t him.

Right now we don’t know the full prognosis. We just know that one of the hardest times in a pet owner’s life has announced that it will be intruding. For those of you haven’t already called your special someone over or picked them up and put them directly on your lap, what are you waiting for? Go pet them! For those of you who don’t have a special someone, what are you waiting for? Go get one! We are aching, but the only reason this moment is so terrible, is because all the other moments have been so great.

How I Vaccuum The Effin’ Car

My wife and I recently went on vacation with the dogs. Five nights in a cabin at the end of the continent, in a little town called Ucluelet. For the few of you who haven’t heard of it yet have been to Tofino, just turn left instead of right at the ocean.

Five nights means six days. Six days of wet, salty dogs. Ocean water. Sand. Mud. Not only were they covered in all of that, they ingested it as well. So of course they puked and all that. Sure we quickly bathed them each and everyday with shampoo and the cold water from the hose while they danced and spun at the end of their leashes like a schizophrenic bouncy balloon things. Remember those? Then they would run in and lay by the fire all night.

No matter what, they were just never fully clean. Rain would fall from the sky everyday and make sure they would get a little bit of tacky dirt or sand stuck to them. There was a seemingly never ending supply of new and gross things to eat or lick.

By the end they smelled and had to spend five hours in the car on the way back. Once we had gotten home and I had taken the seat cover out, I realized how dirty the car was. It smelled like wet dog. There was sand, fur, and slobber everywhere. “I looked to the sky and screamed why do I even bother with the cover!”

I had no other choice. I took that filthy car to the car wash. I was fully prepared. I had a pocket full of toonies. I backed into that stall and made sure that vacuum cleaner was fully functioning. I opted for the automated mat wash. Every little scrap of litter had been picked up. It was go time!

Instant action as the coins hit the bottom. I flew into the car! Scrambling, inhaling crap from every crack and crevice of the not so offensive front seat. Then it was time for the back seat. I was taken aback for a moment. Some may have thought we had scooped sand into the car. Others may have thought we had shaved a dog in the back seat. It looked and smelled horrible. Then I remembered my precious time ticking lower and lower.

I started out hunched over and ended up eventually crawling to the other side. Moving as quickly as I could. All that precious time and money. Ticking away. Evaporating. In the heat of that moment I felt like I was in one of those Daniel Craig James Bond fight scenes. Two people scrambling so violently that the viewer can’t tell if they are both really good at fighting or have no idea what they are doing.

I am apparently more of the latter. The hose was stuck on something and I yanked. At this time I realized the hose was underneath me. Not pinned underneath me, but loose underneath me. Painfully it arced up right into my crotch and delivered a light tap. Through squinted eyes and pinched lips I kept vaccuuming. Time was money.

Once the worst of the back seat was over with I started doing the shampooing and adding the scents. That part was pretty uneventful. Lots of shampoo and a mixture of new car and vanilla scents. I only really wanted to talk about the part where I felt like James Bond and got cracked in the no-no’s.