Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gabe does Stairs!

When Gabe joined our family, our household was a little different. My mom and dad were still with us. They lived on the main floor of the house; I lived upstairs, in an apartment my parents fashioned out of the four bedrooms that were originally up there.

Gabe had no problem coming up the stairs to visit me, but he absolutely refused to come down on his own. I tried it all. I left him up there for hours by himself. I left him up there and fried bacon on my mom and dad's stove and then sat at the bottom of the stairs eating the bacon while Gabe looked down at me. I put a piggy puff on each riser, hoping he would follow them down.  Another day, I did the same with caramel corn.  (Neither were foods I would normally share with him.)  I put his leash on and tried to walk him down, hoping it would give him a sense of added security. When Gabe was two, I took a vacation; while I was away, my dad tried to train Gabe too. Nada.

At the time my dad passed away, Gabe weighed over 60 pounds. I carried 60 pounds of dog down the stairs several times a day. Worse, for some reason Gabe feels the need to kick off once we hit the bottom riser, as if he's diving to safety. I had numerous bruises and even more scratches.
When Gabe was 3, we finally moved downstairs for good. I rented out my old apartment and became a (much!) younger version of Mrs. Roper. Gabe rarely had a reason to go upstairs over the next few years. Whew!

About a month ago, I was installing a window air conditioner upstairs. My current tenant is pretty awesome. The dogs love him and he loves them back. Gabe and Arch came with me for the install. When I was finished, I gathered up my tools and told the tenant I would come back for Gabe, since he couldn't go down on his own. The tenant said, "No, I'm sure he went down already."

I peered down the stairwell and sure enough, there was my big galoofus, at the bottom of the stairs! Sadly, though, I missed him in action.

This week, a new fridge was delivered for the apartment. The tenant was at work, and asked me to oversee the delivery. After the delivery guys left, I let Gabe and Arch upstairs so that they could sniff all the new smells the delivery guys brought in. And before I knew it, I actually saw Gaberushka hoofing it down the stairs. Ahhh! I ran and grabbed my camera, and made him come back up, so I could capture this Kodak moment.

Honestly, I think it's the dogpark. I think Gabe's gotten so much confidence from the new dogpark experiences that it's carried over.  You'll notice though, that he hugs the wall pretty tightly on his way down.  He's pretty smart, my boy.

Yay Gabe-o!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Birthdayversary Archie!

My Boo celebrated 4 years as a member of our pack today.  He was found as a stray, and is one of the rescues rehomed by Beagle Paws.  No one is sure of his exact birthday.  He was about a year old when he came to live with us; so we designated his arrival date as his birthday.  It's a special day for us.

So special in fact, that we wear party hats.  I was thrilled to find these Snoopy party hats on eBay.  Gabe was not so thrilled.

But hey, he knows resistance is futile, so he went along with the ride for a little while.  I got a couple of decent party hat shots:

Besides wearing hats, on special days like this we do things that doggies love best.  And just by chance, napping and eating are high on my list of likes too.  We had a nice leisurely morning (avec nap).  Stew fresh from the oven for lunch.  In the afternoon, we went to the dog park, but I sadly didn't think of taking my camera.  This dog park visit was memorable because we were out there in the rain.  Archie is scared of thunder, so when the first rain drop hits, he usually seeks shelter.  We did take refuge in the van for the heaviest part of the storm, but were back out in the park while it was still sprinkling. 

We had our usual special day entree - bbq steak.  Just to try to keep things healthful, I followed the home cooked idea of 40% protein; 30% carbs; 30% vegetables.

The steak went over well.

The peas, not so much.

However, after Gabe licked his bowl clean, he came along and graciously helped Archie out.  I still regret not naming Gabe "Hoover."

After supper, we partook in some ball playing.  In general, I think Gabe is more expressive than Arch.  However, get the ball out, and Arch goes to town.

"Just try to get it away from me!  Just try!  I dare you!"

"But if you insist on waving that camera around, sure, I'll pose for a picture or two."

"Okay, enough with the camera.  Please play, now.  Pleasssssse!!"

The crowning "event" of the night was to be the presentation of two very special bones.  The boys get a lot of chewies (Texas Toothpicks, beef pizzles), but rarely an actual bone.  Gabe got down to business lickedty split.

Arch, well Arch was not as interested in chewing on his bone as he was in burying it.

All in all, a lovely birthdayversary!  But, please pass the cookies.