Archive for June 2012


June 21, 2012

While there are endless puppy toys for sale out there, some of the best ones are everyday items from your own home.

Cookie scales the climbing wall to get to her homemade milk-jug toy.

For example, empty gallon-size milk/drink plastic jugs!  Above is an action shot of Sophia and Atticus playing with Cookie.  As they dangled a plastic milk jug on a string, Cookie scaled the rock wall in pursuit.  A solid half hour of fun, a lot for  a puppy!   Our dog trainer, Sarah Hodgson, told us early on that puppies love to play with empty plastic bottles, which they can scoot after across the floor, or play fetch with, or crunch or bat…bearing in mind you must keep an eye on the condition of the bottle and discard it when it becomes punctured.  (FYI: you really have to keep an eye on ALL doggie toys and bones to make sure they remain in good condition and are still safe in condition & size to chew.)  When we first started playing “skitterpins,” as Sarah calls it, with Cookie we used 12-oz water bottles.  When she was very small I used to like that she chewed on these, as they made lots of noise, and no matter what I was doing I could hear where she was in the house and what she was up to. (Those were the days before gates, friends.)  That game was a big hit, so we quickly move up to gallon-sized milk jugs – more bang for playtime and stronger plastic.  Right now in my back yard, there are 3 of them, very chewed up and dirty, and each dangling from a long string we drag around and hurtle through the air for her.  For added puppy bliss, you can place peanut butter around the rim of the bottle opening…but that’s just the cherry on the sundae of excellent play.  (Just so you know, puppies like ANYTHING better if it comes with peanut butter.)  Really these jugs are substitutes for sheep and they bring out the herding dog in Cookie.  In the spirit of the Aussie’s love of chasing sheep, I made an indoor toy for Cookie using a long pillowcase, which I stuffed with newspaper, knotted the end of, and attached it to a string.  This is Cookie’s indoor sheep for rainy days – it is fun for her to leap on (the paper makes a crinkly sound when she does) and she can drag and pull it around the house.  We can toss it or drag it on a string during playtime.  And when playtime is over, it makes a great pillow for a nap.  Hammocks are also great too! 

Cookie rests after a workout with Sophia

Don’t forget in this very hot weather to give your dog PLENTY of water and ice!   Warm & Fuzzy regards, Diana


Happy Father’s Day!

June 17, 2012

Wishing all the Dads out there a wonderful and relaxing day!

Morning Mahem!

June 14, 2012

When Cookie wakes up in the morning, the action starts…

Playing “hockey” with tupperware is a great way to start the day!

After some peaceful minutes of good morning pets & cuddles, and a rapid breakfast, our puppy is ready to play and for our undivided attention.  We, on the other hand, are still groggily waking up and need to tend to the morning business of putting breakfast on the table, making coffee, packing lunches, getting dressed, and dealing with all the forgotten details of the night before that now need immediate attention: “Can you sign this?” or “You need to read this!” or “Where is my (fill in the blank)?”  Throughout it all, Cookie barks, nudges, and nips for our attention.  She watches and waits for that moment when we are not looking and leaps for the breakfast table, sometimes making off gleefully with a muffin.  If S’More Cat pops into the kitchen from the cat door leading to the basement stairs, Cookie chases her up onto the couches and barks, causing S’More to mew loudly as if to say, “Save me!!!”  Observing all this from her perch on top of her cage, the bird may decide to chime in, “barking” back at Cookie or imitating Cookie’s squeaky toys loudly.  If she gets really excited she’ll fly a bit and land somewhere that requires an immediate rescue from the puppy (merely curious, but potentially harmful) or the cat (curious and definitely harmful) or both. Meanwhile, I scramble to get lunches ready Cookie gazes imploringly and whines as I spread peanut butter on sandwiches.    Yesterday morning, I went to the front door to bring in our milk delivery, and Cookie spied two dachshunds going for a walk, and bolted out the front door like a shot.  I ran out to the street and called Cookie to come back, to no avail – she was having a blast running circles around the confused dogs, herding them and acting like she had not “heard” me.  So out into the street I went, in a wacky pajama combination no less, to get her.  I ended up just grabbing her in a mad lunge.  As I carried her to our back yard and the “pen of shame” as my daughter Sophia calls it – a de-facto doggie playpen we have in our yard, a safe place to hold her for a few minutes – she licked my face with joy, and I tried very hard not to smile, and to remind myself that Rome, and obedient dogs, were not built in a day.  In fact, my husband and I were expressly warned by one breeder we spoke to when we were seeking a puppy that mornings would be very challenging with an Aussie – and they were certainly right.  People-centered and empathetic creatures that they are, they long for your attention and affection especially in the morning, after being separated from you during the long night.  But then, just when it feels like the chaos will never end, it becomes time to walk our kids to school, and everything changes: Cookie is on her leash and walking happily amongst us all.  The crossing guard calls to her her warmly, the kids pet her and give her love as they walk by, there are fellow dog friends to greet, people smile as they pass by in their cars.  And in those moments, all that early-AM craziness melts away, and I just love this little dog walking by my side.  After we drop off the kids, we walk for awhile, and then close our outing by going up a hill that leads to our house.  By the time we are back home, Cookie is ready for a nap, and I’m just getting started with another full, and furry, day.  Warm & Fuzzy’s, Diana  


June 7, 2012

While I am the NEWEST pet, I am not the ONLY pet in my family…

Me and my “sister” Swallablu

In fact, I have three “sister” pets – all girls – and all either white or silver-ish, with spots of different colors.  Both of these facts are just coincidence, my Daddy and Mommy say.  My “oldest” sister is Soldie – she’s a goldfish who is silver with a red cap on her head – she lives upstairs in Atticus’ room and I don’t get to see her much, since I can only go upstairs with close supervision.  

Soldie is actually much smaller in person!

Then there is S’More Cat.  She’s a real glamor-puss as you can see:

Although I try to be good around S’More I really love to chase her…and I can’t always control myself.  Our relationship can only improve as I get older.  And last, but not least, is my bird “sister,” Swallablu, who is Atticus’ special pet.  She’s an Albino Cockatiel.

Swallablu and I get along great, because she loves a lot of noise and a lot of chaos, which I am happy to provide.  Sometimes when I bark she “barks” right back at me, and she does a perfect impression of my squeeky-toys.

So far, there are no pictures of me and my three sisters all together, but we are working on that!  Ruffs, Cookie

Thanks for all the well wishes!

June 7, 2012

Except for my shaved tummy & little spot on my leg, I am recovered from my spay surgery and back to myself!  

And we learned that some of my spots go all the way through!

Morning nap, after a loooong walk….

Laparoscopic Spay

June 6, 2012

Yesterday was a long one for our Cookie-pup, as she underwent her Spay surgery. 

The three months since the above picture of Cookie at 8 weeks old was taken have flown by…and it was hard to believe it was time for Cookie, now 5 months old, to have this important procedure.  While I have no ambitions to become a dog breeder, it was nonetheless a bit sad for me to bring Cookie to the vet yesterday morning.  She is such a beautiful, healthy, strong puppy with the sweetest personality, and really smart to boot…so, knowing that there will never be any little-Cookies in the future felt genuinely like the world was losing something potentially beautiful.  But, for Cookie’s good health, our peace of mind, and our commitment to be responsible pet owners, there was no question that this was the right thing to do.  And so yesterday, Cookie underwent a Laparoscopic Spay.  Using a camera called a Laparoscope, her vet, Dr. Allison Glassman of Roosevelt Veterinary in Brewster, NY was able to perform the surgery with just two very small incisions instead of the traditional long one.  What did the less invasive surgery mean for Cookie?  I dropped her off at 8:30 AM, and picked her up at 3:00 PM and took her home for starters, instead of her needing an overnight stay.  Although she was groggy, she was not in pain, and able to walk up and down a few steps.  What was so sweet was that even in her post-anethesia fog, she was still very aware of us and trying to follow us around, ever our companion.  By early evening she was really perking up, and this morning, save her shaved tummy, was back to her old self: greeting us joyfully, gobbling food, chasing the cat (sigh) and running and playing.  Quite amazing.  Today I am so grateful for the wonderful job Dr. Glassman and everyone at Roosevelt did in caring for Cookie, and for Cookie’s good health, and that we our puppy is back home.  Now as long as Cookie remains healthy, no more vet visits for a year for us.   If you want to learn more about Laparoscopic spays and surgery for your pet, visit or talk to your vet.  Also, check with your vet about the appropriate age to spay or neuter your puppy, as the appropriate age can vary by breed. Warm & Fuzzys, Diana

Why we got an Aussie…

June 2, 2012

It all began at the Westminster Dog Show earlier this year. 

Atticus meets his first Aussie at the Westminster Dog Show

I attended the show with my husband Brian and son Atticus.  Prior to the main judging events in the arena (which are televised each year) there was a Bench Show, where attendees have the opportunity to meet the many, many dogs attending the show and to chat with their breeders.  Atticus and I had the chance to spend some time at the Bench Show.  By the time we got there it was around dinnertime, and a lot of the dogs were asleep in their crates – they had been at the show since early that morning.  We were wandering around, thoroughly enjoying ourselves, when we encountered this magical creature pictured above.  He was absolutely beautiful as you can see, and was showing no signs whatsoever of fatigue unlike most of his canine colleagues around him.  In fact, he was happily posing for pictures with various groups of children waiting for their turn with him.  I watched as he positioned his head just so in between the faces of two kids while their Mom snapped a picture.  This dog was a star, with the most incredible blue “ghost” eyes.  He was also incredibly sweet to Atticus when he approached him, despite his very long day.  I fell in love on the spot.  I turned to the breeder and said to her “This is one special dog!”  She in turn nodded, grinned and replied that he certainly was.  I asked her for the name of the breed – it was quite noisy and I half heard her, so I left the show thinking the dog we met was an Australian Cattle Dog.  But after some further research I figured out it was an Australian Shepherd Dog that had made such a strong impression upon me.  I just couldn’t get that dog out of my head.   That fateful encounter is what started our quest to find just the right family dog for us – and ultimately led us to Cookie.  Warm & Fuzzys & have a great weekend, Diana