It is not a problem if you can solve it with a check…

Vivian is now six months old.  She is a big girl; almost as tall as Ike and my guess is about 40 lbs, although Greg thinks more in the 45 range.  She is all muscle and still a flying machine!   She currently looks like a small bear cub; which is cute, but I long to see that pretty poodle face.   Every weekend I get out the clippers, get out the treats and start the process of trying to clip Viv.  I just can’t do it.  She is unhappy, I am unhappy, she is frustrated, I am frustrated and we stop.

  There is a reason I am not one of those “breeder, owner, handlers” you see at Westminster; I just don’t have the patience.  I am actually friends with at least one “breeder, owner, handler” and I think  not only am I not patient enough, I am just too lazy to do that.  Poodle hair is a full-time job…and  I don’t do human hair why would I do poodle hair?   So where am I going with all this? 

 Well my original decision to groom this puppy all by myself has changed; Vivian is going to the groomer!  Yes, if I can have my reoccurring moments of hair styling bliss, so can she.  She deserves a professional “do” and to look like the poodle of excellent breeding that she is.  So off to the groomer we go!  Luckily there is a very good groomer just 2 and a half hours away, who has standard poodle experience!  She groomed Anna a few times, and her business partner has standard poodles.  She assures me that she hasn’t met a puppy she can’t groom and I am going to believe her.  She even works on Saturdays so we don’t have to take a day off.

  The other good news is that we have a new car with great gas mileage so the road trip won’t hurt too much, and while Vivi gets groomed we can shop and have lunch and make a day of it.  As I write this I hear my poodle friends saying “tsk, tsk Peggy you are fully capable of grooming your own dog” and my big city friends saying ” A road trip to Bemidji is fun?” and my local friends saying “Lucky you, they have a Target in Bemidji!”   Which just goes to show you that I am very blessed to have such a diverse group of friends.  

Poodle plus Groomer plus willing husband driver plus cash; problem solved! Pictures to follow….

Snow, snuggling and Thanksgiving

Vivian has discovered snow!  She seems to like the cold stuff, if the white muzzle she sports everytime she comes in the house is any indication!  Unlike when Ike was a young one, she has not discovered a puppy appetite for “Poopsicles”, which makes me very happy!  

One of the reasons I decided to get Vivian this summer, even though I thought it was a bit soon after Anna had died, was that I did not want to be training a wee one in the snow.  This past week has shown me that it was a wise decision.  Viv enjoys being out in our fenced yard by herself and will entertain herself while Ike and I stay warm inside.  Right after work, while the sun is still out we take a walk or four around the house and play fetch….which right now is a game where Peggy throws the ball/rope contraption; Vivi runs after said contraption; Vivi runs back to Peggy without contraption; Peggy walks to contraption and we start all over again.  I need to google, “teaching a dog to fetch” as Viv certainly does not have the concept figured out.  When Viv gets tired of me throwing the contraption she graps it and runs around the house as fast as she can go, with of course the requisite jump over the straw pile.  She does love to jump!

Vivian turned six months old this week and has decided that she is a lap dog.  She does not care if you are at the computer, watching TV, reading a book or eating dinner.  If she is in the mood she will jump on your lap!  I guess we need to work on “being invited to snuggle” versus, “come on up whenever you feel like it!”  There is still so much to learn when you are just six months old.

This week she will learn about Thanksgiving with a house full of new  humans to meet and win over.  I like to think that she is thankful for getting us as her very own people.  I know I am thankful for all the poodles who have been in my life, my two golden boys, and this new little puppy girl.   And I am thankful for Greg, who loves me and loves our dogs.

By Leaps and Bounds!

Air Vivian

I am fascinated by the sport of Agility for dogs.  I love to watch you tube videos of dogs competing and am excited when I run across agility shows on TV.   I have poodle friends who compete and I especially love watching their videos and hearing about their poodle antics.   As I have said before poodles are smart and can learn a lot; but they also have free will and a lot of it!  My favorite video was one a poodle list friend put together of all the times her poodle decided to not follow her directions and just take another route.  I think the music she had with it was “Girls just want to have fun” or something to that effect.   I think I liked it because her poodle just looked so joyous and all you could do was laugh.  Agility is tough competition, but everyone always looks like first and foremost they are having fun.  We live too far north for Vivian to train for agility.  I would probably have to travel over two hours to find a club for classes, so we just do our own version of  Northwoods agility.   Last week Greg finished putting the flax straw over the pump and sewer system.  For the uninformed, it can get to minus 40 degrees here in the winter and we have to do some extra insulating of things so they don’t freeze.   The straw is about 2 feet wide and about a foot and a half tall.   The other day I was on one side of the straw and Vivian was playing with Ike on the other.   I called for Viv to come with me on my walk and she began to run, taking the straw pile with ease, toes pointed and ears streaming behind her and continued on to serpentine through the pine trees, before jumping the ditch and sticking the landing at the front door.   Last night we continued to hone her skills with yet another game of fishing for monkeys.   As you can see, she is earning her new nickname, Air Vivian!

A weekend at the kennel

Vivian and Ike headed to the Red Woof Boarding Kennel on Thursday morning.  I can only imagine the conversation:

Ike:  “Oh no, Greg has a suitcase too!”

Viv: “OH NO?  What does that mean?”

Ike:  “Means they are both leaving. When Peg packs, she is usually going away for work, or to visit her Mom, but if they both pack they are leaving us.”

Viv:  “Why would the want to leave us?  We are precious and fun and good exercise.”

Ike: “Apparently sometimes a Mom and a Dad need to go away for some alone time…let’s hope it is a quick trip this time.  Once they left Anna and me for 10 days!”

Viv: “I will just run and not get in the car and they won’t be able to leave!”

Ike: “Been there, tried it, doesn’t work.  But you can give it a go if you want.”

Viv: “So who all will be at this Woof place?”

Ike:  “Jenine, she is the house-mother and a nice lady.  I am her favorite, don’t forget it.”

Viv:  “Anyone else?”

Ike: ” There will be other dogs.  Probably none that look like you; once in a while there will be one that looks like me.  Some will be mutts…but Mom is more politically correct so she calls them Mixed Breeds.  Lots of black labs; they are crazy but harmless.  Look out of the ankle biters; for the most part Jenine doesn’t let us out with them, I think it is for our own protection.”

Viv:  “Will the others talk to us?”

Ike:  “Oh yea, some of them incessantly.  You are going to hear some crude language, but don’t start using it at home or you will get in trouble.  Don’t worry, I will protect you.  Since I am fixed I can go outside with you and I will be sure to tell those other bitches to back off of my little sis.”

Viv:  “OK, I will count on you, but I am still going to try that not getting in the car trick.”

Ike: ” Sure Viv, try that.  Like Adam and Eve’s dog didn’t try that trick when they left her at the Apple Orchard Boarding Facility and Doggy Day Care.  We have all tried it, and it never works.  Save your energy because trust me, when they get back we have about a week of them sucking up to us.  It will all be good.”

Letting go

Waiting for the next game to begin

Last week I left Vivian for the first time overnight.  It was just one night and she was with Greg and Ike, so hardly alone, but still it was hard.  I thought she would miss me terribly, but apparently that was not the case.   Greg and Ike are great entertainment and the recliner has plenty of room for an 18 week old puppy and her very favorite human dad.   According to Greg she got a major case of the “zoomies” which for the uninformed is a case of monster running and jumping from room to room and chair to sofa to other chair for a period of time.  The zoomies are hysterical to watch and appear to be in response to different stimuli, such as a bath or maybe having Mom gone?  She greeted me happily when I got home and proceeded to jump on me and nip at me in an effort, I assume, to see if the rules that had been enforced before I left were still in play….and they are.   Her newest trick is putting her paws on the table and taking things off the table…yep, another poodle counter surfer is born.  Just when you think you have the little rascal trained she comes up with something new!  This week she has a couple of vacation days with Dad and we are going to start working on “stay” which is a concept she doesn’t seem to get.  On Thursday she heads to the Red Woof Inn with Ike for a weekend of fun and frolic with favorite Red Woof house-mother Jenine!  We shall see how her first introduction to the boarding kennel goes.  She continues to be an adorable and frisky puppy….all 27 lbs of her!

Poodle People, Cookieman and Bitlit

If I could just get out there, I know I could catch it!

I think poodle people are a unique bunch.    I  am on a google group for poodle people or people who own poodles, or breed poodles or show poodles or just plain love poodles.  Some of my poodle list friends I have “known” for over 13 years and when they leave the group,  I miss them.  The group is less active now then it use to be as I think more people use facebook or other social media rather than the old fashioned email lists.   I sometimes miss the old group, because the debates that occurred were always interesting and often hilarious.    “Feed raw or not?” was one that came around quite often and always spurred passion.  I fell squarely in the not category, this former home economics teacher is wildly afraid of raw chicken, but never got in the middle of that one.  In fact most debates I stayed out of, since as the lowly owner of one pet poodle I could not speak definitively on anything other than poodles are smart and really cute.  Since everyone on the list agrees with that I can’t get any real debates going.  I once met up with one of my poodle friends in Washington DC for dinner.  My husband was my beau at the time and he wasn’t entirely thrilled that I was going to meet a man I met on the internet called “Cookieman”!  It was of course ok, I knew he was bringing Mrs. Cookieman and I knew virtually hundreds of people who knew Cookieman. We talked poodles, they brought cookies, and the only thing better would have been if the Cookieman poodles had come along! 

   Recently a group member nicknamed Bitlit passed away.  I wonder if she knew how many people she touched with her encouragement, her thoughts and her funny sense of humor?    Bitlit would have been happy that I got Vivian; she would have told me that life goes on and I deserved to have another poodle.  She would have been right, she usually was.


Here I come Mom!

Working on recall has been fun.  I want to be sure that Vivian comes when called every time, as that was an issue that my poodle Anna had.  Anna liked to run and when she was running there was no coming back until she tired out or someone cornered her.  I clearly remember a not so fun run through Shaker Heights Ohio early one morning as Anna checked out the new neighborhood.  Another romp was through the fields at Greg’s house years ago.  Greg was convinced that he and his Golden Retriever Jack, could get Anna to stay with them, and come when called.  So he unleashed her and then proceeded to chase her through the fields before finally trapping her in his mother’s garage, one long farm field away.   I know that it was my fault not working with Anna enough when she was young on recall and I certainly don’t want to make that mistake twice.  That being said, every time we go outside we work on recall.   Viv is doing great, and the first five times she comes to me like a poodle with wings and does her funny little Mary Lou Retton sit right in front of me.  The sixth time?  Well she is a poodle and the sixth time she looks at me with a look that says, “I did it five times, you know I can do it, I am tired and won’t do it again.  Now I am going to go chase this butterfly please leave me alone.”


Aunt Julie's water feature is nicer

This morning on the way out the driveway Greg pointed out a skunk as it made its way under the trees in front of our house.   Yikes, now I have to worry about skunks and Vivian!  Vivian hasn’t met anything she is afraid of yet, so if she sees a skunk I am afraid she will run toward it and while her recall is good for a 15 week old poodle, it is not fool proof by any means.  Luckily our yard is very large; we do have a section fenced in and when we are outside of the fenced area Greg and/or I are always with them and not anywhere near where we saw the skunk as that was close to the road.  Last weekend Viv saw her first deer, as two were in the soybean field and quite close to the house.  She looked rather startled when she barked her baby bark at them and they took off across the field.  Lots of people around here are having bear sightings in their yards, even in town.  It is because it has been so dry and there are no berries for them to eat.  We haven’t seen any out by our house, which is just fine with me.  I don’t need big black bundles of fur; I have Vivian and she is enough.

Recall, grooming and Vivian

I am constantly amazed at how quickly Vivian learns things.  This week she learned recall.  Of course she is not perfect yet, but she does come when called and will also go to Greg when he calls her.  She runs like the devil to get to me and then takes a little “jump” and plop she is sitting in front of me.  What can I say?  This girl likes to stick her landings!   She also learned how to climb on the couch (poor Ike, his safe place is gone) and she finally has the “off” command concept.  So at lunch she ran to me when I called; sat and recieved a  treat.  Ran back to Greg, then turned around and waited for me to call her again.  Poodles are smart.   So now we are going to have to work on coming when called for praise and no treats or at least no treats everytime.   This weekend we are venturing into the grooming arena…tackling my very first puppy nose and paws clip.  We shall see how it goes.   I bought new grooming posts for the table so she won’t be able to get away from me and hurt herself…they are pink; no surprise there.  Well maybe I was a bit surprised that you can buy grooming posts in pink….what isn’t surprising is that I bought them but I had to, they match my pink clippers.  

Drying off on Dad's chair


Little Vivian is teething and therefore has had a tough few nights.  Friday and Saturday nights she has woken up at 3:30 AM and found it hard to go back to sleep.  When Vivian is not sleeping, nobody is sleeping!   When Greg and Ike were up with her, she got to rest on the couch next to Ike and that seemed to calm her down.   While up with me she just wanted to play; I must say Greg is definitely the dog whisperer in our household!   One of my poodle friends, actually a human owner of a poodle not one of the poodles, told me about freezing a wet dishcloth and giving it to the puppy to chew on.   This seemed to work well, except that Ike is convinced it is a “treat” and takes it away from Vivian to chew on himself!  So now I am freezing two dishcloths!  Yesterday Viv slept quite a bit and I found myself waking her up to go outside and play puppy games.  Seems a shame to wake a sleeping puppy, but it worked as last night we were only up once with her.  I am proud to say that she is learning “come” and when I say “kennel up” she runs to her crate in the bedroom, jumps in (literally, this girl has gymnast in her pedigree) and looks at me expectantly.  Crate training is your friend, really. 

I need a trim and a brush out