Tag Archives: Mia

Mixed bag

A bunch of different items for today:

1)Last year I talked about my battle with Canada Thistle and it is even worse so far this year. Like close to pushing me over the edge worse.

canada thistle

That ornamental grass above is in danger of being fully enveloped by these bully weeds. Just yanking them out of the ground hoping to get the entire root system has not worked.

Here’s my plan (which was really the original plan last year) going forward.


2)My latest Social Media obsession is Snapchat. I’m still trying to grasp how to utilize it for gardening and plant purposes but I will get there. Take a deep breath and give it a whirl won’t you? And if you do, add this wanna-be-15-year-old-who-looks-more-and-more-like-a-43-year-old-every-day.



3)Within the next week or so, I will be fortunate enough to trial an “automower” from Husqvarna. Much more to come on this one and yes, it is a robotic lawn mower. How cool is that?

4)Have I mentioned just how over the top pumped I am for my three Andropogon ‘Red October’? And they all just emerged within the past few days.



5)Mia is still kind of awesome …


… and spoiled





Learning to love a small dog

So I’m watching “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” a few weeks back and I’m about to have a panic attack. I shit you not.

In case you’ve never seen this 2008 classic (wink), it is about a bunch of talking Chihuahuas and some sort of need to rescue one of the dogs in Mexico or something. And there is a lot of George Lopez talking. That’s all you need to know. It is utterly awful and annoying, especially if you’re like me and hate talking animals or talking babies.

More on that in a bit.

As you may already know, we adopted a puppy back in December. Mia is now about 5 months old and we are all in love. We have no clue what breed(s) she is and have heard everything from Dachshund to Terrier to Mountain Dog. Who knows? We’re considering running a DNA test to get a definitive answer but truth is we don’t care at this point.

When we got Mia, she weighed 3.5 lbs.

mia 5

While she was this fragile little thing, we knew in time she would grow to be a nice and healthy and at least average sized dog. Right? I will always remember our Puppy Kindergarten trainer’s words when she first met Mia “She’s going to be a small one, huh?” What? How does she know this already? How small are we talking? We are not small dog people. What did we get ourselves into?

About a week or so after that, we had a friend over to the house to meet Mia for the first time. After the requisite “She is adorable” and “What a cute little thing”, the next words out of her mouth made me fall to my knees and weep, “She might be a “Chiweenie“. Come again? What exactly is that?


Oh OK, that isn’t terrifying or anything, a mix of a Chihuahua and a Dachshund. Could this be true? I spent every waking second checking out Mia’s ears to see if they were transforming.


I didn’t sign off on this. Are we going to carry her around in one of those large purses too? Is she going to wear a dress? Listen, I’m not a fan of cats and will never comprehend their “way”, but I may be more willing to care for a cat than this bizarro hybrid we acquired.

So when my daughter puts on “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” that was the last straw. I don’t know this world and don’t want to get to know it. I want my Labrador Retriever back. I get big dogs and I like big dogs.

Spoiler alert: As the weeks have rolled on, as have the visits to the vet, Mia continues to put on the pounds and as of yesterday, she is up to 18 lbs. That alone puts to bed the possibility of the horrid Chiweenie. She is small but tall, and has very long legs. I’m still rooting for an eventual 25 lbs but if we don’t get there, I’ll be OK with it. I’ve managed to adapt to the concept of the smaller dog, the lap dog if you will. Here’s our lap dog’s current routine:

  • Wake up between 6:00 and 6:15
  • Bathroom trip outside where she does “both” consistently
  • Wolf down the breakfast kibble
  • After the last kibble is downed, Mia races upstairs and jumps into our bed
  • Once in our bed, she greets Jodi with 8-10 licks and then climbs under all of the blankets and goes back to sleep at the foot of our bed
  • I get back in bed and fall back to sleep until 7:00
  • Jodi gets up for work
  • At 7:00 I make coffee and Mia trails Jodi wherever she goes and even partakes in some in some coconut oil
  • At 7:15 I place Mia in Jack’s bed so she can wake him up
  • At 7:25 I place Mia in Jamie’s bed so she can wake her up
  • By 7:30 Mia has put a smile on all of our faces

This is our new normal. And it ain’t so bad.

mia 2

And I should mention she is rather intelligent.

Time to sit back and enjoy the ride from here.


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.