Saturday, February 25, 2012

Honoring Josh

You won't be hearing much from us for another week or so for many reasons, some of which are exciting (well, for me anyway!) and some of which look a bit like this:

Don't worry, he's still just black and white, I banished him from the room as soon as I opened the paint can!

However, I did want to make sure that all the Chicagoans added a date to their diary. One Tail at a Time and Alive Rescue will be going to Animal Welfare League's intake facility on March 18th to rescue as many dogs as possible in honor of Joshua Bouton. Prior to the rescue, there's going to be a party to raise funds and you're all invited!

Thursday, March 15, 7pm
Delilah's, 2771 N Lincoln Ave

I'll share more details as everything is finalized (including special guests, maybe even a certain 2-legged pitbull?). If you can't come but would still like to contribute, you can donate here and here. Just add a note to say that it's for the Big Pull.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not a water dog

The weather in Chicago continues to be gorgeous so the little waterways at the park aren't frozen as usual. Billy dipped his paws into one of them and then remembered that he's not terribly keen on getting wet. When given half the chance, he likes to do zoomie butt-tucks to recover from the shock of getting wet (after baths, after rainy walks...). Unfortunately, on the end of a leash there wasn't much scope to zoom but he gave it a good try and whirled round and round in circles until we were both dizzy and sat down in the warm sunshine to recover.

He might be pretending to be all calm and serene but you can see his ear is still flopped over from his exertions.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Stuffy Bones

I loved seeing the photos of Maize and Lucy Lou enjoying their blog-birthday bones last week.

It was purely coincidence that both prizes went to tan, pittie girls, I promise, and not to do with Billy trying to woo his "type"! When I pulled Emily's comment out of the virtual hat, I decided that foster Lucy-Lou needed a much bigger stuffy than the two I'd made so I pulled out some more material and ran up an extra-large one, just for her. I sent the two minis for Pug & Maize to share and added some of Billy's handmade treats to both packages.

We're swooning over adoptable Lucy-Lou around here. Isn't she a beauty? If you think she might be the girl for you, email for more information.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A chilly walk

This easy winter has turned me into a bit of a wimp so when the temperature dropped to 16F on Saturday I wasn't in the mood for much of a walk. I needed some kind of goal if I was going to do more than walk Billy round the block for 10 minutes so we headed off to the next section of the Bloomingdale Trail.

Halfway there I realized that not only would all the art in the area we were headed to be in shadow, but that Bill and I were going to have a particularly chilly walk if we didn't get to the sunny side of the street. To keep from turning around and heading straight back to the warm couch I decided we'd try to find a mural I keep spotting from the train, walking in the sunshine as much as we could along the way.

I clearly miscalculated the angle of the sun as the weasels and their accompanying mural were also in shadow!

However, most of our walk was in the bright sunshine and I managed to strip off my top layer of mittens long enough to snap a few photos of the art we found along the way.

Usually he doesn't notice the winter weather much (unless it's rainy) but it was definitely cold enough for me to bundle up Billy in his coat and scarf.

You can tell he's just not impressed by having to wear the same old Petco coat he's had since he first arrived. He gets pretty jealous of the fancy duds the other dogs sport on sociabulls walks. Unfortunately for Billy's style aspirations, it does the job just fine for now and if momma can't afford new clothes, he isn't getting any either.

All in all, we managed to have a brisk trot around the neighborhood for an hour or so, at which point I no longer felt guilty about returning to my warm apartment and tackling a pile of sewing. What helps you to go that (literal) extra mile when you're just not in the mood for a walk?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Treats for my Valentine

Valentine's Dog Cookies

I couldn't let Valentine's Day pass without some tasty treats for the puppy-love of my life. If you want to whip up a tasty batch for your guy or gal, here's the recipe I used:

2 1/2 cups of flour (I used a mix of spelt and rice flour)
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
2 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
Sprinkle of ground cinnamon (yeah, I'm a bit approximate about my baking sometimes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Whip the eggs, mix in pumpkin and peanut butter
Add flour and cinnamon
Roll out dough (be generous with the flour if your mix is sticky) and cut with your favorite cookie cutter
Bake on cookie tray until they start to turn golden

I used a variety of thicknesses and cookie cutter sizes so I can't tell you how long it will take to bake them. Just keep an eye on it and I'd suggest keeping the thickness less than 1/2 inch so that they turn crispy all the way through without getting burned on the outside.

That makes a giant batch so if you're just feeding one pup I'd half the recipe.

Valentine's Dog Cookies

Monday, February 13, 2012

Goodbye Josh

Within three minutes of meeting him, I knew what kind of a man Josh was. Billy adored him instantly. The sound of his voice at the front door could raise Billy from the deepest sleep. He would throw himself across the sidewalk to slobber all over Josh if we met in the street. No dog, no human could hold Billy's interest if Josh came through the door when we were visiting downstairs.

Josh, you were the guy who would jump into Lake Michigan in January to raise money for homeless dogs, who would help to rescue a stinky, starved little pittie from a drunken, abusive man. You were the guy who enjoyed the kind of Billy greeting that only the biggest heart could tolerate. I will remember you as I last saw you, accepting the love you inspired from a black and white blur who hurled himself down the stairs to greet you.

Joshua Bouton (1984 - 2012)

Josh's family, friends and the wonderful girl who loved him are hurting more than words can say right now. Please keep them in your thoughts and in your hearts.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Letter to Nala Bean

Dear Nala Bean,

Didn't I tell you this morning, when you didn't want to get out of bed, that today was going to be a special day? You tried very hard to convince Bilbo and I to snuggle back under the covers - the Yorkie kisses attack you launched on us both was a smart tactical move.

This afternoon you didn't think much of my plan to have a nice long walk. You weren't impressed when I revealed that it was important for you to stretch your legs before we took a little ride. When I said that the three of us should have a good walk together you and Billy both tried to persuade me to hide inside until the cold white stuff stopped blowing in your faces. But we couldn't wait until tomorrow and you both enjoyed your ramble in the end.

You were pretty darn brave on your first bus ride and even the noisy El train didn't scare you. Is this the same little lady who was terrified by stairs when she first arrived? The journey was worth it when you met the lovely people at the other end. I know you thought that home was with Billy and I, but such a special girl deserves a lot more love. You clearly caught on quickly to the advantages of multiple laps as you clambered between each of them, making sure everyone knew what a sweetheart you are. Your new friend Boo was excited to welcome you into her house and she showed you some of her best play moves. I know you love your big foster brother but it's a whole lot easier to give doggy kisses when you don't have to wait for your friend to lie down so you can reach. You took full advantage of that!

Try to be on your very best behavior for the next two weeks. Be a good girl for Boo. She'd like to be your sister and teach you how her people helped her to be less scared of the world. Don't worry, if you two decide you don't want to be buddies Billy and I will be here for you. I have a sneaking suspicion that you won't need us though.

That doesn't mean we won't miss you. I've said many times that the hardest foster to let go would be the one that Billy loved as much as me. He's always been a good foster brother but you were the first girl that he developed a soft spot for. When I got home tonight he stood in the corner where the crates stand and barked at me, wanting to know where I'd hidden you and why I wasn't letting you out to play. I know I pretended that it wasn't a big deal when I left you in the nice big house but the emptiness of your carrier hurt. On the way home I had to fill it with that special grape juice and chocolate that I never let you taste.

You see Bean, there are a lot more girls like you waiting for their first experience of a warm, soft bed. I know there are hungry, scared, sick little ladies who still need our help. How can I convince others that they can foster too if I don't keep opening my heart and my home? I know you're going to be safe and happy so tonight I'll shed some tears but soon Billy and I have to be ready for the next girl who needs us.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Scruffy dog and stuffy dog

Despite a little trimming (I couldn't get her medicine around her giant whiskers!), Nala still has a pretty wild fraggle hair do.

Even so, I found it a little cheeky when one of the folks in my neighborhood asked if I'd found her on the street. I mean, she's had a couple of baths and a brush!

Although we're getting lots of wiggly bottom and even a couple of playbows out of the wee lass, she's still working out what is involved in this "play" lark. Billy is failing in his big brother duties and instead of showing her what toys are for, he wandered off with her stuffed cow and has made it all his own.

I'm guessing that he reckons the white and black cow spots destined it for him, so this is what he greets me at the door with when I come home. He even brings it outside when we take Nala for her post-crate potty break.

Monday, February 6, 2012

In Memoriam: Knox

The blogging world is a truly wonderful community, and, like all communities, people with inspiring, larger-than-life characters that everyone comes to love.

As a foster brother, breed ambassador and much-loved family member, Knox, from Pittieful Love, touched many lives and hearts. He burst into his family's life with the typical pittie zest for life and love just two years ago.

Sadly, following a very sudden illness, Knox passed away over the weekend. While the loss of any dog causes terrible heartache, I can not imagine how his family feel at having him taken so prematurely. Rather than commenting on this post, please visit their facebook page and offer them your support and encouragement through this difficult time.

And if you haven't considered it before, consider whether your dog could make as good a blood-donor as this life-saving pup was. I can't imagine a better legacy to his memory.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bloomingdale Trail Murals: Part 2

Here in Chicago we are being absolutely spoiled by this easy winter. Thursday's weather was so beautiful that a quick 20 minute lunchtime walk soon turned into an hour and a half ramble around the neighborhood.

As I'm more familiar with the murals to the east of my street I made a point to start our westward exploration along the Bloomingdale line.

"Mi pasion esta fresca" - Bloomingdale mural

"I stayed in the front yard all my life
I want a peek at the back where it's rough and untended
and hungry weeds grow
a girl gets sick of a rose"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hidden costs of dog ownership

A quick google search will bring up a long list of expenses to take into account when considering adding a dog to the family. But beware, some of those lists might miss some important hidden costs!

1. If you're the kind of person who tends to run late a lot, don't get too attached to your crockery. You might think your empty dinner plate can wait in the sink but don't be surprised if your furry companion is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that every last bit of tasty is extracted (I'm looking at you Rude Dog). Like Billy, your dog may not grasp the fragility of these little slices of yum.

2. When you're embarking on a grand apartment clear-out, be prepared to discover just how much useless equipment your dog has acquired. The head halti will rub his sensitive little jowls and while Pawz dog boots may well have worked spectacularly for every other dog you've ever met, it's fair to assume your pooch will be the single exception and will shred his boots within two walks. At which point, the rest will be tossed into bottom of the dog bin in frustration.

3. You will find a hundred ways to justify the purchase (he'll look less intimidating, I'll use it on fosters to get attention, it's only a couple of bucks...) but the bottom line is, you just know your pooch is going to look adorable in that pirate hat/ scarf/ sweater and there may be no good reason to buy it but you're going to anyway.

4. Do you wear a lot of white? You're going to adopt a black dog. Do you have lot of black in your closet? Well, don't waste your time looking at the others, you're guaranteed to fall in love with a white dog so just narrow down your search straight off the bat. Short hair or long hair, in all probability your dog will shed all over you. At which point you will suddenly realize that your new best friend does not compliment your favorite outfit. Now may be the time to buy a multitude of lint rollers and clothes brushes (and, quite possibly, a new vacuum cleaner). On the other had, you could just go shopping for a whole new set of clothes.

5. In all likelihood, your dog is going to be the cutest in the whole wide world. It will become increasingly important to ensure that EVERYone else knows this. Luckily the internet has provided you with many forums for sharing vast amounts of photographs (I cannot, however, guarantee that your facebook friends will be as appreciative as you expect of 372 different angles of "my dog sleeping". At which point, I advise you to start a blog). Unfortunately as time progresses, your trusty combo of point and shoot camera/iphone will start to seem woefully inadequate and your daydreams will fill with images of fancy gadgets with many lenses and large price tags. Inevitably you will succumb, it's just a question of how long I'm you're going to be able to hold out.

P.S. I am the worst blogger in the world and forgot to tell you all that Emily@Our Waldo Bungie and Froggy won the birthday giveaway! Guys, don't forget to email me your mailing addresses (

P.P.S. Don't forget to like us on Facebook for daily updates if you're missing cute Nala photos!
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