Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pickle Sitting

It's about time we returned the favor.  After multiple Harry-sittings acquiesced by my sister, the foo and I took it upon ourselves to do the same with Harry's newest fur-cousin, Pickle.  As Pickle is only six months old and only in his forever home for two months, he was a bit shaky when we picked him up.  A few belly rubs, lots of hugs and kisses, and a house tour lightened him up.

During his week-long stay, Pickle got a little broken in.  His shrieking yelp responses to slight noises outside our city condo decreased over time and he walked outside with more confidence each day.  Being a city dog is a tough attitude to succumb to and unlike Harry, Pickle wouldn't settle for peeing on anything other than plush grass (aside from plush carpets).  It was funny to watch the two of them walk together:  Harry with an intense determined stride and Pickle keeping up with quick feet.  On their leashed walks, Pickle would sometimes run underneath Harry giving the city of Philadelphia an amusing show of a harried sweating woman (me) untangling two excited and oblivious dogs.

We did experience some puppy behavior the first day which resulted in social media dog shaming.  Pickle seems to suffer from anxiety when left alone and during his first four hours of unsupervised crate time he managed to dig a hole directly through our carpet.  He was eerily silent as I opened the door to his destruction, as if he knew he had done something bad.  We ended up tossing the rug and replacing it with a rubber mat so Pickle couldn't do the same on hardwood.  I imagine he could dig his way to China with those thick front paws of his.

Speaking of front paws, I decided that these were Pickle's most endearing feature.  Soft but thick, unlike his rear paws which are akin to a typical toy size dog, Pickle's fat puppy paws were my favorite part of him.  They seemed like they belonged to a bigger dog.  Pickle was happy to have me obsess over them.

Having a small dog is nice in that you can easily take them wherever you want to go.  Though we didn't get a chance to dine out with Pickle, he hopped in the car with us for a few errands - something that we generally leave Harry out of.  The scary part of having a small dog is constantly worrying about stepping on them and stressing about them falling down the stairs.  Pickle's famous paws often slipped on our hardwood stairs but he usually caught himself before sliding all the way down.  Pickle's long body slides and rolls while his little feet scramble.  It sounds so horrible, but since he was safe it was kind of funny to watch him excitedly get himself together.

Pickle and Harry got along quite nicely.  Harry forgets how small Pickle is sometimes and how one swipe of his paw can take Pickle down, so we had to supervise their playtime.  The two of them would play with their toys separately or engage in some sort of tag.  If we had more room in our place I think the game would've gotten extremely intense.  On Saturday, we took the two of them to the Schuylkill Banks dog park.  Pickle had never been, but after spending a little while in the small dogs park he was introduced to the big dogs park and shown around by Harry.

Despite their normal jolliness with each other, Pickle and Harry suffered one disagreement over a bone.  Bone time was meant to be a let's relax and get our aggression out on this rawhide type hour.  Unfortunately it turned into no sharing no caring hour.  A few snarls and a scary bark led us to a separation for the rest of the evening.  Pickle held a grudge that night and wouldn't let Harry into our room without freaking out.  Apparently dog memory doesn't necessarily last 20 minutes.  
This didn't happen after the bone fight...
Now that Pickle has happily returned to his family, Harry's been sleeping.  He's literally been groggy and sleepy for two days.  I expect he'll be back to normal tomorrow, but for now he's enjoying some peace and quiet before he starts missing his cousin.  It was fun being a Mom to two dogs for a week, but I think that we're ok having an only child for now.  That's the nice thing about nieces and nephews - you enjoy them and then you give them back!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pet Friendly Portland

The past three weeks have felt increasingly crazy.  Wedding planning, house hunting, and general life make for a stressed out soul.  We did manage to fit a vacation in, cramming a West coast adventure into less than a week.  Our recent trip to Portland and Seattle fit the criteria of our "Cities of America Tour" and it was a great time to experience spring in the West.

First off, Portland is a supremely dog friendly city.  It was the first place I've been where a majority of lodging was advertising pet friendly.  The foo and I are super users of the website AirBnB for our vacations and most hosts had a house dog or were open to you bringing yours for the stay.  If flying wasn't so traumatic, we'd have loved to bring Harry with us!

The city itself is very walkable but if you're not into walking, Portland boasts one of the easiest public transit systems around.  They weren't advertised pet-friendly but there were certainly transit dog sightings on our short stay.  Portland is also integrated with public parks and surrounded by the ethereal view of Mt. Hood.  A stroll through Washington Park is perfectly ok to do with your dog beside you, and in May the rose gardens (which are huge and free by the way) are in bloom.  Forest Park is another free dog friendly adventure and a must see in the Western city.  

My compulsion to visit Portland was driven by the fact that the city is home to 53 individual brewers operating 73 breweries in the metro area alone.  I am a big fan of beer, and a big fan of dogs (obviously) and there's a brewery in Portland that combines both:  Lucky Lab Brewery.  While you taste all of their craft beers on tap, your dog can play outside on the canine patio with other brew loving pooches.
Photo courtesy Neighborhood Notes
One of the most memorable sights on our trip was the Columbia River Gorge.  That area of Portland itself is home to 90+ waterfalls, 77 of which are on Oregon's coast, the rest on Washington.  Of these the biggest one of all is famous Multnomah Falls, the third highest year round waterfall in the world at a drop of 627 feet.  The Gorge is surrounded by a public "highway" which feels more like a country road.  You can spend the day biking, hiking, or driving from waterfall to waterfall and of course, you're welcome to bring your dog.   

All in all, if you're thinking of vacationing with your pet via a road trip, Portland is a great place to spend a few days!