Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

No More Doggie Pedicures October 8, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 9:12 pm
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Matt and I learned a valuable lesson this weekend with our black lab, Porter. Until our dog is comfortable with us touching his paws we will not attempt to trim his nails. We’ve tried to use a dremel to file his nails but he is not a fan of the noise or the vibration from the tool. So, we thought we would try using nail clippers.

Our first challenge was to get Porter in a position where Matt and I could hold him securely while Matt attempted to trim the nail. The first one went perfectly. We used a few of his favorite treats to focus Porter’s attention off of Matt. On the second nail, Porter shifted and Matt accidentally cut a little too far and Porter started bleeding.

Catching a few rays on the dock

Porter catching a few rays on the dock this past summer

Very quickly Matt and I divided up responsibilities. He was hold Porter with a paper towel around the wound and I called our 24-hour vet hospital. The receptionist recommended that we use flour to stop the bleeding. I would have never thought to use flour! I put about ¼ cup in an ice cream dish so we could dip Porter’s paw into it. Amazingly the bleeding stopped…for a few hours.

I took Porter on a short walk while we were visiting my parents and his wound managed to open up. Once we were in the house I noticed little drops of blood on the hardwood floors and on the carpets. We tried using flour again, but it wasn’t working so we headed off to the vet.

We walked in and within a few minutes were taken to an exam room. The vet technician cleaned up Porter’s paw and put on styptic powder/quick dry powder on the wound at no charge. Did I mention I love our vet hospital? She recommended that if we’re going to continue to try and clip Porter’s nails we should pick up our own styptic powder. And if we want, we can always have vet technicians cut Porter’s nails during his annual visits. For now, the later option is definitely our choice. Though, we did pick up some styptic powder just in case.

Having a dog is full of adventures and life lessons. This weekend I learned that if you don’t have styptic powder or quick dry powder, use flour to stop the bleeding of a small cut on an animal. Hopefully next weekend doesn’t include another trip to the vet!


Obedience Class for Three Please May 21, 2014

Last week Porter had his first obedience class. Porter is enrolled in an “adolescent manners” class at Wiggles and Wags located in Lombard.

This is Porter's excited face about dog training

This is Porter’s excited face about dog training

We choose Wiggles and Wags because we have similar styles of training with positive reinforcement and they are all about helping your dog succeed.

Here is my take on dog obedience training…it’s pretty much the prelude for when we have kids in preschool. Will my dog behave with other dogs, will he listen to me, will he try to nibble on someone or will he destroy my backpack while trying to find his treats. (Yes I can pretty much envision my future children doing all of the above.)

Luckily at our first class he didn’t do any of those. However he barked and barked and barked. To keep him semi-occupied, the instructor recommended giving him lots of treats and working on “sit” during the instructions so I and everyone else could hear. With that trick set we moved forward relatively smoothly throughout the rest of class.

Matt and I have done a lot of basic training with Porter immediately after we got him from PAWS. He knows wait, sit, down and paw so far. In class though we hit a few hiccups when I introduced a variations of known commands but after a while Porter caught on.

The worst was near the end of the class. With fifteen minutes to go, Porter was clearly letting everyone know he was done, especially me. He was a little antsy and wanted to play with all the dogs and meet the other owners. But I was glad he made it through even if it was hard. What boosted our confidence, or at least mine was the instructor sent a lovely encouraging email the next day. The instructor gave us our homework and helpful video links to reinforce what we reviewed in class.

Ensuring that Porter knows commands and listens to me or Matt in a variety of situations is a our goal.  We’ve got six more to go so there is lots of learning left for both Porter as well as Matt and I.


Things I Never Knew About Owning a Large Dog March 19, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 6:50 pm
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My big dog, Porter
Photo courtsey of Redwall Photography

Porter is adjusting very well to his new home. However, he’s not the only one learning to adjust. Growing up, my family always had dogs, but they tended to be of the smaller variety, specifically miniature schnauzers. I think the largest schnauzer we ever had was about 25 pounds. Porter currently weighs about 54 pounds and is a little underweight. So I better start getting used to that weight and height difference soon!

Here’s a little top 10 list of things I didn’t know about big dogs.

1. They still think they’re lap dogs even though clearly 50+ pounds does not mean you are ok to sit on my lap.

2. They walk you or will try to dislocate your shoulder if they see a squirrel. (Don’t worry, we’re working on this and making really good progress!)

3. A fifteen month old puppy is pretty much a full grown dog.

4. Their poop is quite the dollop and definitely not the Daisy kind.

5. They are tall enough to scope out what’s for dinner on the table just by lifting their head.

6. Tail = weapon of mass destruction. Wagging of a tail may take out glass or remote or other objects on coffee tables.

7. When they jump up and stand on two legs, they are almost as tall as you.

8. They are an excellent portable full body heater in bed.

9.. Their treats are almost as big as a regular size candy bar.

10. Because of their height, you don’t have to bend down to pet your dog.

We’ll see what else I keep discovering as we move onto week 2 of having a dog.


Almost Dog Time! January 15, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 9:10 am
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Last week I sent Matt a calendar request. He normally gets a few during the week from me –  some to spend time with family and friends, and other reminders for church events, doctor appointments and all of that fun stuff. But this was no ordinary calendar request, it was an extra special save the date, or at least “this chunk of time.”

Ever since we got engaged, we had been talking about getting a dog after the wedding. After we got married, we said we would get a dog when the house was organized. Over the last few months we have made big strides in unpacking, organizing and buying lots of storage bins. Thanks Target! With Christmas now over and all decorations are stored away, we realized the house is ready for a dog!

Now we are on the research phase. Where do we get a dog? Due to our current lifestyle of both working full-time, we are looking to adopt an adult dog. Down the road we would love to get a puppy, but right now neither of us have the time to dedicate to a young pup. After talking to friends, co-workers and researching adoption options online, we settled on PAWS Chicago.

We loved how they give dogs personality ratings that help you identify the best dog for you. But beyond that, there are quite a few perks are included with the fur ball.  PAWS microchips the dog, spay/neuter the dog, give age appropriate vaccines, give you support throughout the dog’s lifetime and offer a lifetime guarantee if something happens to you or you can no longer take care of your pet. Plus they reimburse you $75 if you get your dog trained post adoption.

Our next question is what type of dog do we want? We’ve narrowed it down to male, at least one year old, basic training complete, good with other dogs, large build such as a retriever, husky, Shepard, lab, or mix/mutt.

So what’s left? A few trips to the library to pick up a few training books and Target to pick up bowls, leashes, leads and probably a lot more stuff. But it’s an exciting time to be planning. Any recommendation on dog training books or products that you love or couldn’t live without for large dogs please share!

Oh, and the calendar request is for a date in mid-March. Sorry you’ll have to wait about a month for an update. But don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted of our first trip down to PAWS and whether or not we come home with a new fur ball. And yes, there will be pictures, lots of pictures.

Also if you haven’t checked out the 2014 Puppy Bowl Lineup, you need to. Mostly so you don’t miss adorable puppies like Parker here. Check out the ful list of cuteness in a nifty Mashable article.



Crap! November 2, 2010

Filed under: Kate — Uncharted @ 1:26 am
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So this past week, I’ve had a lot happen. I had the opportunity to go on stage at IO theater, to tell the audience and staff about my day and have them reenact my day (hilarious). I also got to travel to San Antonio for a week, where I witnessed someone so drunk she tried to enter “her hotel room” with her driver’s license as the key (and it was the wrong room number). I also ran a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles of pure hell. (I am so sore today that I literally can barely get out of a chair, if I sit).

But despite all of this, I wanted to write about House Hunters. Well that was until my experience this morning.

I woke up, a little later than usual, mostly because of my aching body. I got ready for work, just like normal and then still half asleep, walked to my car to head out to the office. As I sat in my car, settling my things and tuning my radio to my new fave program, Drex in the morning sans Drex, I was overcome with the most pungent and disgusting scent of poop that I have ever smelled.

Panicking, I opened my car door and checked the bottom of my shoes and there was the culprit… a disgusting wad of dog sh*t on my right boot. I then looked at the mat of my car, which was covered with it. Now I was already running late, so I took a deep breath of fresh air, closed my door, cranked up my heat and rolled my windows down all the way as I gagged repeatedly and drove to work.

I am so flippin’ furious at whichever of my kind neighbors was so lazy that they couldn’t bend down to pick up their pooch’s crap. If you don’t want to pick up crap, don’t own a dog! Not only is leaving the poop behind on the street illegal, it also attracts bugs and rats AND MORE IMPORTANTLY… people can step in it and then it stinks up their vehicles.

Needless to say, I have contacted my condo association president and am prepared with catty fliers that I’d like to distribute to my neighborhood asking people to either give away their dogs, or promise to pick up what’s left behind.


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