The toolbox doesn’t gather dust

Some people remodel houses for fun. Some people remodel houses to make money. Some people remodel because of a natural disaster. We remodel because our dog makes us.

A few years ago we had to replace our living room curtain rod, curtains, and removed blinds because our big boy thought he saw an intruder in our yard. He also gnawed on the doorknob and tore out a window screen

Our next project, thanks to Haas, is changing the trim around our back door. After all, if you can’t turn the doorknob with your teeth to get out, the next logical step is just to try and rip the whole door out of the wall, right?

Open this door, too, Mom. I need tools for the renovations.

He’s a good boy, truly. Haas just really had to go outside. It’s too bad the kid doing virtual schooling didn’t notice Haas wanting to go out. Must be some really good headphones.

Any recommendations for a new door with a pet flap big enough for a mini horse?

What’s one little letter?

There are 23 1/2 days of school left for this year. Mentally and emotionally, the kids are done and I am done. We will power through and finish writing papers (and grading), presentations (and grading), final novel projects (and grading) and all of the clean-up that goes with this time of year. There is a light at the end of the tunnel but it won’t be bright enough for another week or so for the kids to get their rears in gear.

The kids will make it. I will make it. Eventually, Percy and I will be full time training students.

We are going to spring for a private lesson or two, and go to every group class we can sneak into before the trainers catch on that we are repeats. I think we can wear disguises and use some of Percy’s nicknames.

On Tuesday nights, I will wear contacts and a ball cap. I’ll let Percy roll in the dirt so he looks part black lab and part dust bunny. I will refer to him as Linus.

Percy almost always carries a blanket around, so we call him Linus. He answers to everything.

For the Wednesday afternoon class, I will wear one of Oldest Child’s cosplay wigs and put Percy in an argyle sweater. He will be Perseus the dignified.

For our typical Saturday class, I can wear my glasses and Percy can get a bath before hand so he is going as himself. Maybe in his way our geriatric-sloth-like progress can become more middle-aged-turtle.

I did see some of this progress over the weekend. The boys shared a banana and I was lazy and put the peel on an end table. Drake decided he was still hungry and entered stealth mode to hide on the couch and enjoy his contrabanana contraband.

Since I have long conversations with/at the boys, I was explaining while I headed to the kitchen that they had consumed enough of a snack and didn’t need a banana peel. At “peel,” Percy ran to my left side and walked right next to me. He even sat when I stopped. It took the entire trip to the kitchen before I realized Percy wasn’t after the peel. Percy heard “heel” and was actually doing it!

I’m going to put a banana in my treat bag for class this week. Heel/Peel…whatever works.

This action, while a wonderful victory, confirmed my strong suspicion that I am the hold up on training, not my slobbery sweetheart. Those extra lessons are actually for me. Bring on doggy summer school where I don’t have to be the one grading!

Maybe I should learn to meditate.

Every job has benefits and drawbacks. April, for teachers, is one of those drawback times. The kids are done (mentally) and getting them through testing season requires super hero stamina. Add in the sudden realization that we have a large, year-long, project due and if kids don’t start turning in work they will get to spend not just 47 minutes each day with me but allllll day long for 2-4 weeks of summer school and people start to get irritable.

In my infinite wisdom/stupidity, I do the year-long project with my kids. This year, the project revolves around Percy. I have the rough draft of the paper done but I need to finish the project presentation. My original plan had been to have Percy all trained and ready to bring to school. That ain’t happenin’ so now I get to figure out how to make a video.

Percy has improved tremendously but he is still a wild man. He’s handsome, loving, and maybe 1/4 tamed. He also tends to be a bad influence on the other two. That happy face, according to online articles, should be lowering my blood pressure and making my stress vanish. I think the jury is still out on that one.  The study and article authors probably don’t have giant dogs who tore up a window screen, ate a crepe myrtle bush, uses a log for fetch, or left a paw print like this on a front door when someone knocked.

Did you know you can bulk buy magic erasers?

One of Haas’s favorite outside toys

Haas knocked on the back door and we didn’t get there fast enough.

Actually… the list of current things that drive me nuts about my trio of terror was a bit hard to come up with. Yes, prying a paint pen out of the shark-pig’s mouth can cause a jolt of fear (poison!) and going after the suspicious item you caught from the corner of your eye disappearing into Haas’s mouth is disgusting, the sweet moments outweigh the infuriating. I tell myself that it’s like exercise to emotionally swing back and forth in this manner.

Last night, it was about 10 minutes until bed time and my boys put themselves to bed. I could handle starting bedtime early, so I began the nightly routine.

First to bed, Haas gets a scratch on the head every night and praise for going into his crate. He was sitting quietly in the back corner and when I reached in, somehow I fell over, landed on my right knee and skidded to the back wall. There may have been some loud and not quite polite words.

As Haas tilted his head in concern or confusion about why mom was taking up half of his room, I heard the other two bolt from their crates and try to crowd into the still open kennel door.

Fortunately for me, Drake’s wiggly rear kept both him and Percy from being able to enter what they must have thought was one of Haas’s famous house parties. I was stuck since I couldn’t back out of the crate with Percy and Drake in the way. I ordered them “out” and Haas gave a doggy shrug and tried to do what I said. This meant he would have to walk on me to do what he thought he had been told. (The other two seemed to think I was just joshing them.)

After much confusion about who was to “stay” and who was to “go,” my skinned knee and I finally got everyone to bed and situated only to find that Youngest Child (the band-aid addict) had left me with only teeny bandages or some cut-off-a-digit-sized gauze.

Here is where I got some perspective. These three are friendly boys and are only doing what comes naturally. They get tired and fussy with each other just like my students do with each other and their teachers at this time of year. None of us want to do what we are supposed to do, but at the literal end of the day, some of my last thoughts are about my boys, my children, and my kids. I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t love them, terrible or not.  Here’s to the next six weeks of the blood pressure roller coaster.

I am officially THAT dog owner.

These terrors on four feet have had quite the weekend. Between a doggy birthday party, a charity dog walk, training class, two new crates, and today’s grooming session, we are starting off Spring Break with a bang.

Percy turned 1 on Friday so I gave in to temptation and may have gone overboard on a doggy birthday party. Since we tend to adopt rescues, it is rare that we know when the dog is born. (Drake and Haas will have an adoption day party in February so they don’t feel left out)

Peanut butter and carrot pupcakes with bacon sprinkles and some dog safe ice cream.

Oldest Child baked pupcakes and decorated them with peanut butter frosting and bacon sprinkles. Youngest Child picked out dog ice cream and Mom bought party hats and streamers. We even invited one set of grandparents who possibly humored us because there was dinner first. (The rest of the grandparents live too far away and think I may be a trifle puppy obsessed.)

520E92BB-9733-40BA-9F17-4726CB25DD0CPercy loved it! I loved it! The kids laughed. Dad sighed but said the pupcakes weren’t bad. The hats didn’t last but Percy thought they were good fun to carry around.

Then, on Saturday, Percy and I went to a dog walk set up by one of the seniors where I teach. We have this super amazing teacher who set up senior projects that students design to benefit the community, the school, or themselves. This year, one of the students decided to raise money for a local dog rescue. This was Percy’s first venture out into public where many dogs would be present. He was a bit vocal at first but quickly settled down. We were both excited to meet some of the other dogs from my department even if Percy was a little intimidating.



Lavender and Ingrid with Percy wondering why they don’t love him.

Percy thought the best part was when he got to hang out with the girls’ soccer team. They were on their way to a jamboree and were a captive audience to my attention hog. He was shameless. Percy played up the big eyes and held court with about 6 young ladies until it was time for training class.

In class, the excitement caught up with poor Percy’s stomach. Now, in two out of three class periods, they have had to get the mop out for both ends of Percy. I sure hope we keep getting to go back…

On Sunday, Haas and Drake got new crates. Well, to be fair, Haas got a new and bigger crate and Drake got Haas’s hand-me-down crate.  Now my living room looks like the animals broke out of the zoo. The crates take up an entire wall. When the doors are standing wide open, I suspect guests wonder what kind of creatures require cages that large. I try to get the guests out of the way before the stampede toward the food bowls happen. I haven’t lost a guest yet.  Of course, I am a bit of an introvert so there aren’t many guests, but I still stand by my perfect record!

We are starting the week with clean and good smelling boys. My groomer is a super hero and willing to take all three boys at once.  I really don’t tip her enough for making my boys so handsome.

Drake was a bit tired after his first trip to the groomer. 

We wish you a wonderful week with lots of puppy love from our family to yours!