Phoning It In

Susquehanna is hosting eight basketball games this weekend. Yup, eight. We had two last night, four today and two more on Sunday. It’s an annual men’s and women’s tournament and it makes for an ungodly long and tiring weekend. Probably the worst weekend of the year in regards to hours worked. Plus Marty has been gone since Thursday morning (he’s back tonight) so it’s been me and the doggies plus some REALLY awesome dogsitters. Absolutely could not get through this weekend without their help.

Anyway, the gist of my rambling is that I have barely seen the dogs which means I’ve got nothing in regards to new content so I thought I’d take the easy route and fill out a survey I saw on another blog. Enjoy!

What are you into lately?

Crossfit. I’ve become mildly obsessed.

Celeb on Instagram?

Does Magoo count? I say yes.



Not big into cocktails. Just give me wine. But if I had to choose, tequila sunrise. (I actually prefer straight tequila but obviously that’s not a cocktail!).

Food Indulgence?

Chocolate. Duh.

Beauty products?

I was actually REALLY impressed with the Sally Hansen gel nail polish. It doesn’t require an LED light and it truly doesn’t chip.

Way to wind down?

See above – wine, chocolate. Time with the dogs, too, obviously.

Piece of jewelry?

I’m not big into jewelry. I pretty much just wear earrings and a ring. So my favorite piece of jewelry is my mom’s childhood ring. It actually fits me and I wear it a LOT.


It’s That Time of Year Again

I LOVE the holidays. Love them. I love them as much now as I did when I was a kid, albeit in different ways now that I’m an adult (even if I don’t feel like one). One of the only pitfalls is holiday travel. Even without adding dogs into the mix, the travel isn’t easy. It’s two-and-a-half hours from here to to my parents’ house, anywhere from three-and-a-half to four hours from here to Marty’s parents’ house and it’s a good two-and-a-half hours from my parents’ house to Marty’s parents’ house.

Got that?

No matter where we spend Thanksgiving and Christmas Days, we always make sure to visit both families over the course of each holiday weekend. For the first two years it was just Marty and me or just Marty, me and Lucy. Since last year, it’s been Marty, me, Lucy and whatever foster dog we currently have! Last year it was Snowy (now Violet):

Relaxing during Christmas in South Jersey.

Relaxing during Christmas in South Jersey.

The logistics aren’t easy because we have to pack ourselves, dogs, gifts, dog supplies and Marty’s bike (heaven forbid he not travel with his bike). Last year was stressful because Snowy was still only partially housetrained and I was petrified we’d be cleaning up messes left and right. The actual car ride, though, could not have gone better.

They loved each other so much.

They loved each other so much.

And she never even had one accident so it was a highly successful trip!

This year, we have Isaac…



For those who don’t watch or appreciate Modern Family, this is how I envision a three-hour car ride with Lucy and Isaac would go, only inside the car, not on the roof:

modern family

One solution? I drive a CR-V so we could put him the back but I don’t think would go over well because I don’t think he’d take kindly – to put it mildly – to being separated from everyone.

So, we’ll be taking two cars to drive to the same exact places. And then I’ll spend Thanksgiving (and potentially Christmas if we still have the big lug) as one ball of stress as I try to stop Isaac from humping Lucy every chance he gets.

Fun times, for sure.

A No-Update Update

The title of this post really says it all. There aren’t updates of any significance to report. Isaac is still with us and still being Isaac, meaning we spend walks dodging other dogs (and apparently tall black men…he flipped out today on our morning walk. Although maybe he was just protecting me and he’s not really a racist since we were walking down a side street at 6:45 a.m. in the semi-dark – by the way, I’m being sarcastic).

"Just protecting my only source of food!"

“Just protecting my only source of food!”

Anyway, I digress. We’re certainly trying our hardest to find him a home with the “we” being myself and S.N.O.R.T. He’s the group’s featured foster this month so I’m hoping we generate more apps which will only increase our odds of finding him the perfect home.

It’s hard not to discouraged because of the big factors working against him: his age and his incompatibility with other dogs. However, when I look back to our first foster, Cindy (now Nellie), I know Isaac can find his perfect home. Nellie was not young, either, had just gotten over heartworm and lyme treatment, had (has) bad joints and was not spayed. She was a puppy mill survivor who had all the odds stacked against her; a lifetime of abuse and neglect didn’t lend themselves to a long, happy life for her. But we were patient and she found a better home than I could have dreamed and is thriving.

Oh man, I miss her.

Oh man, I miss her.

Lucy, meanwhile, is still putting up with Isaac’s bouts of completely unwanted affection. She’s being a trooper, that’s for sure, but we definitely need to find Isaac a forever home soon so Lucy can go back to peace and quiet, at least until we foster again. :-)

I was able to take her with me to my Crossfit box last Friday for a nutrition lecture (for humans, not dogs!). It was an informal event and because all I do is talk about my dogs, everyone there knows about Lucy anyway so she was made more than welcome! She was hilarious with her butt-wiggling, bone-chewing and general cuteness :-) I’m trying to take her more places by herself so she can get away from Isaac on occasion!

Crossfit doggie!

Crossfit doggie!

At this point, it sure looks like we’ll still have two dogs for the holidays, or at least for Thanksgiving, which means it will take a great deal of planning to make that trip feasible and not a complete disaster.

“I Get To”

I really don’t talk publicly about some of the deeper issues with which I’ve dealt over the past…10 years? (Wow, hard to believe it’s been that long). I suffered from an eating disorder and anxiety/depression and to a certain extent still do. These issues are almost always under control now but they’re issues I always fear will return. There are some days I forget what it was like to live through that and other days where I feel exactly how I felt for all those years. But as the years have passed, I’m not really afraid or embarrassed to talk about these issues; I don’t go around speaking unprompted about them, but they’re not things I hide anymore.

Anyway, one thing that gets me to readjust my thinking on those “my life s*cks” days is to repeat the simple phrase, “I get to.” I was thinking about it today while I was home for lunch break and walked in to this sweet mush of a face:


Instead of letting every negative thought cross my mind – like “Lucy will take forever to do her business” or “Isaac is going to pee on every single bush on our walk and I’ll barely have to eat lunch” – I think to myself, “I get to.” I get to come home every single day for lunch. I get to take care of these two doggies that I love. I get to come home to them every night. I get to take them for walks. I get to exercise. I get to go to work. Those are all things not everyone gets to do.

A quick change of words from “I have to” to “I get to” shifts everything. Things seem less like a burden and more like a privilege when you phrase it this way.

I’m not a patient person by nature but this phrase also helps to calm me down when I’m about to lose it. It’s become particularly helpful since I got dogs because, even though I love them, they do routinely  test my patience.

I have no idea where this post really came from as it’s not directly bulldog-related but maybe it can help someone having a rough time of it.

“Screw You”

That’s pretty much what Isaac said to me yesterday.

Ok, so I know I’m going to scare S.N.O.R.T. with this story but all is well that ends well!

Yesterday I had no plans after work and I realized Lucy needed her nails filed down at Petsmart so I figured after I fed Lucy and Isaac dinner, I’d take Lucy over to Petsmart. I fed the dogs, leashed up Lucy, nudged her out the door and quickly blocked the door to keep Isaac inside. Yeah, well, that plan failed because Isaac pushed his large noggin right past my legs and made a mad dash into the karate school parking lot in front of our apartment.

Uh oh.

(A key point to the story – there was a man sitting in his pickup truck, presumably killing time until karate lessons were over).

As Isaac made a mad dash through the parking lot, I shouted his name and he turned around. That’s when he looked me dead in the eyes, silently said “screw you,” turned around and continued on his merry way. Yes, screw me indeed.



The man in the pickup truck watched the whole thing unravel and tried to coax Isaac over to him but Isaac was having none of that.

Isaac proceeded to cross the street (heart attack #1) and run right down the sidewalk (at least he was on the sidewalk?) on what is one of our normal walking routes. All while taking pee breaks. Priorities, I suppose.

Keep in mind, though, Lucy was with me as she was already out on the porch ready for her car ride when Isaac dashed past us. I also had my purse with me and heels on since I had just gotten home from work. So I literally dragged Lucy through the parking lot, trying to keep Isaac in eye sight. Several times Lucy stopped dead in her tracks (remember, she hates walks so asking her to run was asking the impossible) but I had no choice but continue dragging her along. I thought for sure her dinner was going to make a reappearance with all her running.

Isaac turned the corner toward Dominos (smart dog) and a busy Market Street (dumb dog and heart attack #2). However, at that moment, the guy in the pickup truck turned the corner. He had hopped back in his car and followed us!! Isaac was busy peeing on a lamp post when the guy stopped his truck on the side of the road. Now Isaac was in a dilemma. He clearly had no desire to come back with me but he LOVES cars. And strangers, apparently, because he went over to the guy and hopped right into the driver’s seat.

The man drove back to our apartment and when I finally got back with Lucy still in tow, there was Isaac, happy as a clam in the back seat of the truck, grinning at me from between the front seats.

Not my shining moment, nor Isaac’s, although I’m sure he’d disagree. I swear I’m not an irresponsible pet owner; I take Lucy out every day without him sneaking out the door. I guess he just really wanted to go on a car ride with us.

Without going into details, the night spiraled downward from there (freshly-cleaned socks that fell into the dogs’ water bowl, a brand new skirt shrunken in the dryer…I could go on).

Isaac simultaneously makes me so angry and so happy. It’s a special gift he has.

PS – Happy Halloween! Here’s the doggies’ treat for the day!


Crusader Carvings

Sunday was the annual “Crusader Carvings” event at our university. The event is put on by our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and it’s free and open to the public. Kids can come and carve pumpkins, have their faces painted, play games on the football field, etc.

I obviously don’t have kids so I was there for work purposes – taking photos for our website, social media, etc. I decided to bring Isaac with me since he has energy to spare; Marty came a bit later with Lucy. Of course, Lucy and Isaac got their share of face time. :-)

What a stud.

What a stud.

Isaac was obsessed with the cars that were lined up for “Trunk Trick or Treating.” He is so, so obsessed with cars and I spent the majority of the time making sure he didn’t jump in every single car. Fortunately for my arms, one of our athletes  has bulldogs of her own and obviously took a liking to Isaac so she walked him around for a good chunk of the time.

Yeah, he liked the attention just a little bit.

Yeah, he liked the attention just a little bit.

SO happy!

SO happy!


She could be a model.

She could be a model.

Judgy Wudgy

A lighthearted title, a not-so-lighthearted post. This subject has been bothering me a while and I realized since it was troubling me and has been for a while, why not blog about it.

It’s clearly no secret Isaac does not like other dogs. I thank my lucky stars every day that he’s not mean to Lucy because when Isaac meets any other dog, he is downright nasty. I’m talking snarling, snapping and I’m sure if I weren’t able to hold him back, biting.

He's so sweet most of the time. And handsome.

He’s so sweet most of the time. And handsome.

So what, besides the obvious of Isaac’s behavior, is actually bothering me? The judging.

Isaac needs his daily walks because he has so much energy. But on said walks, we obviously occasionally run into other dogs and it causes me a ton of stress and yes, embarrassment. I feel as if everyone judges me for my dog’s bad – and scary – behavior. I want to scream, “he came to me this way!”

Is that selfish? I don’t know, maybe. But I’m also defending Isaac. Something happened that made him mean to other dogs; no dog is born this way. Maybe it was just the fact that he was attacked as a puppy. I don’t know. But it’s hard to explain to random strangers within the five seconds we cross paths that he’s a foster, that he’s been this way since we got him, that he got attacked as a puppy, etc.; all the people care about is potential danger to their dogs, which I get, I really do.

What sparked this post? Today on our walk I saw a black lab walking towards us. We were on the main street of our town with no way to cross to the other side during “rush hour” traffic (in quotes because Central PA doesn’t have real rush hour) so I knew I had to brace myself for a nasty confrontation. When this dog and his family got within five feet, I quickly said, “he doesn’t like other dogs.”

To which the mother said “oh great” right before Isaac proceeded to lunge and snarl at the other dog, practically taking a bite out of his neck.

The “oh great” comment is what got to me. I understand it; I don’t know what other reaction she should have had. But I felt as if I were being blamed and judged for Isaac’s behavior when in reality, I don’t know even who to blame! If I knew why he behaved the way he did maybe I could solve it.

There’s no real point to this post, just a need to vent. And express my sadness that whatever Isaac experienced before we got him made him angry at, and maybe even scared of, other dogs. All my other fosters I’ve been able to “fix.” There is no “fix” for Isaac right now, just continued love.

An obvious question to address, though, is whether we ever feel unsafe around Isaac. The answer? Never. Never ever. I can lay on him, hug him, kiss him, pet him, clean his ears, etc. and he has never once made a mean move toward myself, Marty or any other person. So I know his temperament is kind, there’s just something in him that is set off my other dogs.

Oh, poor Isaac. :-(

Fall Photo Shoot

Isaac still isn’t getting any adoption applications, or at least none that are viable (i.e. no other dogs in the house). S.N.O.R.T. knows photos and social media are the number one way to drum up attention for a foster so today after work, I lugged my camera around on our walk so I could get some good pictures of him.

"Lug that camera around a little faster, mom."

“Lug that camera around a little faster, mom.”

Not wanting to leave Lucy out, I took her outside for a few photos, too. As evidenced by the photos below, you can tell which dog was more cooperative, to say the least.

Manly, even among flowers.

Manly, even among flowers.


Tired but unbelievably happy after our long walk.

Tired but unbelievably happy after our long walk.

And here is where the enthusiasm waned…

Lucy has a...different kind of enthusiasm.

Lucy has a…different kind of enthusiasm.



Happy Fall!

No More Paw Problems

One of the most common search terms used to find my blog is something along the lines of “bulldog itchy red paws.” Nine times out of 10 it directs them to this post. It’s (thankfully) been a very long time since I’ve had to write about paw problems but I thought I’d do a follow-up post of what’s worked for us for those dog owners – bulldog or otherwise – who are struggling with red, itchy paws.

A lovely shade of red/maroon

A lovely shade of red/maroon

For most of her puppyhood and into her second year of life, Lucy literally ate her paws. She was constantly gnawing on them, licking them, etc. And they turned into the lovely picture above; they were dark red and even her toenails were starting to turn red from her saliva (the vet told me that was a common reaction).

I tried all the home remedies I could; I switched food, gave her only filtered water, wiped down her feet every time we came in. I even tried apple cider vinegar spray as that was said to kill the bacteria in her paws. I tried the bitter apple spray meant to keep dogs from chewing on objects they shouldn’t; in this case the object just happened to be her paws.

Absolutely nothing worked.

Embarrassed by her red paws.

Embarrassed by her red paws.

The first time we went to the vet for this specific problem, they gave me anti-fungal wash and steroids to quickly get the itching under control. And it worked…until the steroid dosage ran out and Lucy was right back to where she started – eating her feet and making a mess of our couch in the process, I might.

Back to the vet we went because I couldn’t take her constant licking and gnawing anymore.

The solution we landed on was one I’d been really, really hoping to avoid: allergy meds in the form of Zyrtec. We were also instructed to give her a high dose of fish oil, which I was definitely comfortable with.

So now Lucy gets 10mg of Zyrtec twice a day. Sometimes in the winter I’ll wean her to one and sometimes even none but the minute her symptoms reoccur, she’s right back on the meds.

This was not the route I wanted to go; I didn’t want Lucy on chemicals for the majority of the year. However, my vet said something that really struck home. My vet is highly allergic to dogs and cats…and yet she’s a vet? She takes daily allergy meds because she said that there was something on the market that was safe and could allow her to do what she wants, why wouldn’t she take it? In the case of Lucy, if there was a vet-approved medicine that would alleviate Lucy’s itchies, why wouldn’t I give it to her?

"Yeah, why not?"

“Yeah, why not?”

So today we stick with quality food, fish oil and Zyrtec to keep Lucy itch free.

Hopefully this is helpful for other owners struggling with itchy doggies!

Odds and Ends

I’ve probably used this title for another post but it pretty much sums up what I’m about to write.

Isaac’s bloodwork results came in yesterday and everything was normal! Which is good – really good! – but also kind of mystifying. Seeing as we’re with Isaac every day, it’s hard to tell if his hair is getting better – as in, actually growing back. Well, our vet squashed any glimmer hope I had of improvement by saying his skin looked exactly the same as the pics she snapped at our first visit well over a month ago. Sigh.

With a face like this, who cares about missing fur?

With a face like this, who cares about missing fur?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m relieved his thyroid levels are back to normal. They weren’t that far off normal to begin with, though, and it’s obvious the medication had zero impact on his hair growth, so we can stop giving Isaac the thyroid medication.

The next step? After consulting with a doggie dermatologist, our vet suggested adding a melatonin supplement to his diet. Even though melatonin is used as a sleep aid for humans, when given to dogs it can help with alopecia (hair loss) in addition to acting as a sleep aid. Um, Isaac certainly doesn’t need help sleeping but we’ll give it a whirl and see how he responds both with his energy levels and his hair, or lack thereof.

In other news, Lucy and I attended our final Dog Days of the academic year. It’s obvious we both love going but this year Lucy’s reaction has been particularly memorable. I don’t know if it’s being able to escape from Isaac for a few hours or what, but Lucy just cannot control herself on Dog Days. The minute we get out of the car she goes racing towards the middle of campus where the event is held. She always has her Susquehanna jersey on and she does this awesomely cute little hop/run across the quad. She tugs on the leash the whole way there and run-hops as fast as her short, stubby, jersey-impeded legs will let her.

It’s just fabulous to see her get so excited and we have a great time there. Until next year!


Making friends.

Making friends.