Yesterday Greg picked up Anna’s cremains from the Vet clinic.   Hard to believe such a big personality in a small box.  I know it is not her, but glad just the same to have her home.  We buried her next to Jack, under the tree.  I can see our homemade markers from the window over the sink or from my chair in the living room and when we play monkey it is right in front of them.   I thought I would be all broken up again when we buried her and of course I cried; however it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be as I know I did the right thing on June 14th, and again on July 15th when we got Vivian.   You may have noticed I changed tense in that last sentence, and it shows the transition in our lives. Jack was Greg’s dog, Anna was my dog.  We blended our family and now with Ike and Vivian we are just like the movie, “Yours, Mine and Ours”.  

Forever Good Puppies

It is all about Vivian

Vivian and Ike just hanging out

Hard to believe it has been over a week since Vivian came to our house.  She has decided to stay and is taking over every inch of the space.  She has her favorite places to sleep when not in her crate; under Peg or Greg’s chair, in the kitchen next to the food dishes or on Ike’s bed.  However,  her all time favorite place is next to Ike or on top of him if he will allow it.    Her favorite toy continues to be monkey or any toy that Ike is carrying around.  She continues to rock the “sit” command and can do “down” when she feels like it.  My experience with poodles is that they learn really fast, but  can give you some attitude when practicing.  She absolutely understands going outside to potty; just hasn’t quite gotten the signal down yet.  This morning, she found a little space under the fence and flattened herself out like a vole and went right through!  There I was running through the yard after Vivian while she took off for the soybean field.  That was a five AM wake up call I didn’t really need, but wow did Viv look happy with herself once I caught up with her!  Tonight we fix a fence.

New Monkey Games

It has been one week since we went to pick up Vivian.  She is more fun than I could have imagined and Ike continues to step up to the plate in his new big brother role.  He has growled a couple of times when she has stepped out of bounds, but all in all he is incredibly patient with her.   She has the “sit” command down to a science. She is a poodle, so  has figured out that she has to sit for a treat and therefore why not just sit next to the treat jar anytime you pass through the kitchen, just in case?  So yesterday we practiced sitting in the living room, the bedroom, outside, for praise and not just treats.   We have also been working on coming when called.  Pretty good until…there’s a bug, there’s a stick, there’s a toy, there’s a piece of kibble Ike missed, there’s IKE!!!!   Distractions aplenty when you are only 9 weeks old.   Greg came up with the very best “wear out the puppy” game.  He tied Valley Fair Monkey, not to be confused with orange Monkey, to a fishing line and casts monkey out for Ike and Vivian to chase.  In about a half hour last night I took 108 pictures of Monkey Play!  Here is a favorite.

Fishing for Puppies

What is he thinking?

After spending most of yesterday alone with Ike and Vivian I find myself wondering, “What is Ike thinking?”  I have been calling Ike the demonstration dog, as he has patiently gone out each and every time Vivian has, and demonstrates “sit” when getting a treat.  I tried to have him demonstrate the “lay down” command, and then realized we may have failed to teach him that one, as he looked at me quizzically and continued just to sit.  Yesterday was the first day Ike actually seemed happy to have another non-Anna poodle in the house.  He played tug with her, and actually let her lay on top of him; which of course ended as soon as I took out a camera.  The highlight of my morning was when we went out front to chase the ball a bit and Ike actually played chase with Vivian!  Ike smiles when he is happy, really he does!  He wrinkles up his nose and opens his mouth and smiles.  We get the wrinkles when we come home from work and sometimes when we get up in the morning or just appear unexpectedly in a room he is in.  Yesterday Vivian and I got the wrinkles while they were playing chase.  As he zoomed around the yard, cutting in front and behind Viv he was wrinkling all the time.  And in that moment I knew I had done the right thing.  My puppy boy is happy again.

Anna and Ike, July 2008

Shhh, she’s sleeping!

I have never had a baby; but I am pretty sure there is a reason younger women than I have babies!  As I write this, I am  just worn out and it is only 7 AM!  I should lay back down and rest, as Vivian is in her crate and Ike asleep on his bed;  but I am forcing myself to stay awake  because I will have to return to work where nap taking at your desk is frowned upon.   Must get use to the new schedule, although right now who is determining the schedule is yet to be resolved.   Viv and Ike spent yesterday getting to know one another and Ike seems, if not enamoured of her, to at least tolerate her.  Sometimes he even looks happy to have her around to play with!  I think that when she gets bigger and can get as good as she gives, he will find her more fun.    He is definitely enjoying having me running around the front yard multiple times a day.  I start running, he chases, Vivian follows, they both pass me and then turn around and look at me with facial expressions that either say, “Hurry up” or “Gee, I hope she doesn’t have a heart attack!”.   I will admit, running around the yard with dogs is way more fun then the exercise bicycle in the family room!  So we begin day 4, Vivian style…I better go take a shower while she is still sleeping!

Monkey Thief Vivian


It has been confirmed, Anna did teach Ike how to share his toys; but he isn’t quite as good about sharing his dad!  Greg, Ike and I left at 11 AM yesterday to pick up Vivian in Nisswa MN.  Her breeder met us there, so by the time we got there at 4 PM, little Viv had been traveling for a good three hours.  We made the exchange in the parking lot of a restaurant; one puppy and one bag full of “puppy stuff”.  Viv and I sat in the back seat, and Ike rode shotgun up front with Monkey.   She was an awesome traveler and we made great time going home.  Ike pretty much ignored her all the way home, only occasionally looking over the seat to see if she really was still there.   Once home though he warmed up to her and graciously showed her the backyard.  She knew immediately what to do!  After exploring the house she and Ike headed outside to chase some balls, pull on mom’s pants leg, drink out of the hose and roll in the grass.  A good time was had by all.   Back inside, Ike discovered Vivian’s new elephant and Vivian discovered Monkey.  Vivian also discovered Ike’s tail and we discovered that Ike can actually get mad; she won’t be chomping on that tail again any time soon.    After a long hard day of travel and learning the ropes in her new home, she slept through the night, cozy and safe in her new crate.

Ike’s toys

Ike and his Winnie

Ike has been the lucky little bro of Anna for three years.  Over those years various gifts have been given to both of them.  Anna would receive the gift, appropriately prance around with it in her mouth, wag her tail and lay down.  After that show of thanks the gift, unless it was a bone, became Ike’s.  He has a fox, two monkeys, a bear and more pillows than one dog really needs.  He also has four tennis balls; at least that is how many are visible, I didn’t count the outside balls or the under the couch balls.   As I have previously said, Anna was good at sharing.  As I write this Ike is walking around with Monkey in his mouth, just in case some notorious monkey thief comes into the house and tries to grab him!  Little does he know that in about six hours there will be a little monkey stealer here permanently.   I will be interested to see  if  Anna taught him anything about sharing; or hiding things where a little puppy can’t reach! 

One month and a new beginning

Anna and Peggy, July 4, 2000

A month ago today my beautiful standard poodle Anna died. She had spent 15 and a half years with me; through job changes, unemployment (which frankly she adored, me not so much) and the big move to the little town in the Northwoods. She personally approved Greg as a beau, and I know thought we waited entirely too long to get married and live together. When Ike came into our lives 3 years ago, she took it upon herself to train him…potty training, garbage man barking and how to be a world-class couch potato. He misses her, as do I.  I really thought that I could be a one dog family but Ike is very much his daddy’s boy and I am very much lonely for a four-legged friend that prefers to stay with me when the boys go out to do “man’s work”. I know Anna would approve of a new companion for me. She wasn’t the jealous type; always graciously letting Ike get ahead of her to go through the door, or get the petting. The only thing she wouldn’t share was her ice cream! Tomorrow we get Vivian…and she will have the advantage that Anna did not; a house in the country, a human dad, a four-legged brother, a mom who doesn’t travel, a Nana next door, and everything Anna taught me about love and being open to what it will bring you. I love and miss you Anna girl.