Tag Archives: Casey

Puppy Kindergarten

Last night was our third session of Puppy Kindergarten with our new pup Mia.

puppy kindergarten

If the criteria for success is to have the most social, most distracted and most self choking puppy due to an irresistible urge to jump on every dog, then we are totally killing it. If not, then we have a long ways to go.

The truth is, Mia is so overly loving of all dogs and all human beings that she cannot contain herself. If that means she will struggle to graduate from Puppy Kindergarten, so be it. We’re confident we will get there with our little rescue.

But it definitely wasn’t that way the first go round with our first dog, Casey.

Before we proceed, kindly answer the multiple choice question below:


When we attended puppy kindergarten with our first dog, Casey, which of the following occurred?

A. We were given a passing grade when all of us knew she wasn’t even close to passing.

B. During the final “challenge”, rather than walk through the maze of cones that lead to a fake front door and fake UPS delivery man, Casey stole one of the cones, ran off with it and proceeded to chow down on it at the feet of one of the other puppy owners.

C. I passionately said the following after our final class “You are such an embarrassment to us, get in the car.”

D. An annoying Jack Russell Terrier humped Casey during every free second of class and I was seconds within challenging his oblivious owner to a fight.

E. All of the Above


As you might have already suspected, if you responded with “E“, you totally nailed it.

Not one of my proudest moments.

When we got Casey back in 1999, we had yet to have children, so she was our first “baby”.

puppy kindergarten

And we treated her exactly like you would your first child. We were the prototypical helicopter parents. The two of us would hover over Casey day and night and attempt to analyze her every move.

Why does she keep scratching herself? F’n fleas, isn’t it? 

Why is she attacking our feet? That is part of a deep psychological disorder, I know it. 

Why won’t she look us straight in the eye? She has issues with authority already. How will she deal in the real world?

And our true final grade at Puppy Kindergarten did nothing to allay our fears.


But I clearly remember one weekday evening back in early 2000 when we made the turn towards Rational Town. Dinners were always a challenge as Casey would harass us to no end looking for a bite of our Red Beans and Rice. If we put her in her crate, she would rattle the cage to such an obnoxious level that we couldn’t handle it. So we would eat and deal with the lab clawing at our lap. One night, however, my wife forcefully ordered Casey to “lay down” and she friggin did it. And stayed there throughout dinner. Life as we knew it was back. The light at the end of the tunnel appeared.

And looking back, dealing with a puppy was the ultimate in prep for having a child. By the time Jack rolled around in 2002, we understood sleep deprivation. We welcomed the inability to not be able to leave the house. We knew that naps were a must if we wanted to survive that day. In fact, we quickly learned that it may be more difficult to tend to a young puppy than an infant because the infant doesn’t chew on the table legs and most importantly, isn’t the least bit mobile.

Quick aside #1: One memorable helicoptering moment with Jack. On day #2 of him being home from the hospital, we went (yes “we”) to change his diaper and were horrified to see that he had “discarded” what looked like rubber pellets. In a moment of terror, we got out our baby books and did a quick search online for “baby pooping little rubber balls”. We found nothing and feared the worst. Turns out his sopping wet diaper had broken open and the gel balls inside made their way into, well, you know where. Jack – I apologize if you are reading this and promise no one in school will find out. End of aside.        

By the time Jamie arrived in 2005, we were baby veterans. While I am proud of how attentive we were, we did hand over our helicopter parenting badges. Sicknesses were not the end of the world. Multiple wake-up calls in the middle of the night were chalked up to being temporary. And once we knew how to properly deploy our man-to-man defense in order to cater to simultaneous needs of both children, we were all set. After a rambunctious puppy and one newborn, we could have handled anything.

And now that applies to our little Mia.

Quick aside #2: How great is the name Mia for a rescue dog? Missing In Action. Big thanks to Deb B. for the heads up on that one.

We’ve been through this Puppy Kindergarten once before and instead of stressing over Mia’s inability to listen or her knack for peeing upon greeting new dogs/people, we are taking it in stride. During our first go round we were so consumed with Casey’s performance that we failed to listen to so much that the instructor had to offer. Now, we are absorbing each lesson, more concerned with learning and taking that knowledge home with us.

She will learn to walk off leash and come to us whenever we call her name.

She will learn that biting/heavy nipping doesn’t fly.

She will drop my shoe on command.

And most importantly to us, we will enjoying the hell out of this puppy phase and will not wish it away.

puppy kindergarten        





New puppy observations

Yes, it’s only been 4 days with the new puppy, but she has already made quite the impression. Girlfriend loves to love on the whole family but when that snarky side emerges, watch out. The perfect recipe for a dog.

With that in mind, here are ten observations I’ve already made thanks to little ‘ol Mia:

Sleep deprivation will make you do strange things. I remember when we got our first puppy, Casey, back in 1999. We had been married for less than 3 years and only had responsibility for ourselves. When the dog came along, we quickly learned the concept of sleep deprivation. Hosing down the crate outside at 2:00 AM, baths in the sink at all hours of the night, walking the dog barefoot at 3:00 AM all over town in a state of semi consciousness and my ultimate fave, caring for the dog and then showering for work only to realize it was still 2:00 AM.

While Mia has been a decent sleeper so far, I did fall asleep face down in the carpet with my hand stuck in between the grates on her crate last night. What we do …

Witnessing a new puppy brings back floods of memories of our first dog. Our first dog Casey was a senior citizen for what seemed like years, and as she got older it was harder to remember the early years. Watching Mia chew everything in site and play with boundless energy made me miss Casey as a puppy. I hadn’t thought of her in that way for so long but it all came flowing back these past few days. I still miss the hell out of that dog.

new puppy

No matter how many times you tell them, kids just don’t understand what having a new puppy is all about. I threatened the kids with a contract that they would have to sign before we could welcome a dog into our home. In it would be strict guidelines around their responsibilities/chores and acknowledgment that some of their stuff would get ruined along the way. I never followed through with it because I’m an “empty threat parent” but I really wish I did. While they love the dog to pieces, their faces scream “Will life ever get back to normal?” Yes it will my little ones … in like a year or two. This is what dog ownership is all about.

Working from home with a dog is a fun little challenge. Between us, my wife and I work from out of our home 4 out of 5 days each week. That is great for training a new puppy and hilarious to watch the execution of the multi-tasking. I’ve taken to using the top of Mia’s crate as a work station and conference calls with a 3.5 lb dog curled in one arm is a fun new way to chat with your co-workers.

You kind of can’t go anywhere. And that kind of slows you down around pre-holiday time. Although, there is clearly a lesson to be learned here.

We must keep our eyes to the sky when taking the dog outside. I shit you not, the hawks will snatch her up in no time if we’re not looking.


My voice is capable of reaching octaves previously unknown. The kids have stared at me in awe numerous times already with a look that says “Who is that guy?” And while it can’t be proven, I may have uttered the phrase “Who’s daddy’s puppy wuppy?” in a tone that may destroy all that is left of my street cred.

Time management. When that new puppy is down and sleeping, time to grab that to-do list and get to work.

new puppy

Pictures of puppies on Facebook trump everything else. Seriously, if I climbed Mt. Everest while juggling lawn darts, I would get fewer likes than a simple picture of a puppy. And people who gave up Facebook last decade suddenly emerge when puppies are on display.

The rescuing of an animal feels better than I ever imagined. That poor thing was stuck in a shelter in South Carolina. And there are so damn many like her. I just wish I could adopt a bunch of them and let them run free here.



Please say hello to Mia, the newest member of our family.


She is a rescue from North Carolina who made her way up to Pennsylvania this past weekend. We can’t thank the great people of Lulu’s Rescue enough for the entire coordination and unbelievable dedication to these animals. We’ve followed them for years now and always knew they were going to be our source for our next dog.

While we knew we would eventually want another dog (in an ironic and bittersweet twist, we picked her up exactly one year to the day after our Casey had passed) we never imagined it happening this quickly. All it took was one photograph of this little angel and we were in. We saw her on Facebook last Tuesday and made the decision to adopt on Wednesday. Insane move for our not so spontaneous family.

Mia is only 3.5 lbs at 9 weeks old and possibly the smallest dog I’ve ever witnessed live.

mia 5

The kids are still in complete awe of their new sibling and the smiles haven’t left their faces to date.

mia 4

To say this dog is loving doesn’t do her justice.

mia 3

It’s only been two full days, but she has shown an incredible ability to run herself ragged, explore every nook and cranny in the house  and then melt into the arms of the first person who touches her.

mia 6

We feel incredibly blessed to have found her and cannot wait to watch her grow up each and every day.






Thanks Casey

It’s 5:18 AM this morning, Casey is barking at the bottom of the stairs. Yet another wake-up call from our 15 year old labrador retriever. This is much earlier than normal but understandable considering our beloved and elderly dog’s weak bladder.

I climb jump fall out of bed, grab her leash and head outside. As I wait for Casey to take care of business, I am incapable of thought and my eyes may not even be open. All I keep thinking about is returning to my warm bed and maybe another two hours of sleep.

After 5 minutes I realize Casey has no interest in squatting. She is only interested in smelling the deer and rabbits who visited last night. I eventually coerce her into coming back inside so she can enjoy her breakfast but I’m still confused as to why she won’t pee.

I head over to her food bowl and throw in two scoops. But Casey has no interest in eating. That never happens. She has voraciously eaten every meal since 1999. I walk over to her so we can have a chat and then realize what is going on.

My cold and bare feet are drenched.

Now I know why she never did #1 outside.

Son of a …

I grab a bunch of paper towels, some Clorox wipes and begin clean-up time. I am now officially awake for the day.

Ten minutes later and we are as good as new. Casey no longer is worried about the pee barrier to her food bowl and is chowing down. I’m cleaning my feet in the tub. Good times.

Since I am now up for the day, I make a pot of coffee and hop on my laptop. Casey and I catch up on our favorite websites as the sun rises. I love that dog but dammit, I am tired.

Casey then puts her head on my lap indicating she is now in need of pee#2. No problem. I grab the leash again, my heavenly black coffee and we head outside.

And when we do, I see this …































All part of Casey’s plan.