Boring Home Videos

I remember years ago a friend showing me a video of their toddler getting a bath.  It was about 30 minutes of water, splashing, water, and then more splashing.  I thought to myself, “well this is quite boring”, while saying out loud, “how cute!..”  And of course, “videos” back in the day were quite blurry and low quality even when one would spring the extra buck or so for the “HQ” 60 minute video tape.

So with that mindset established this post is my daddy dog-owner version of a boring home video.  The good news is that these videos are comprised of less than one minute, slightly better quality than tape thanks to Mr. Jobs, and you’re not trapped in a living room in front of the TV with your friend asking, “hey – want see some videos of my kid?”

Kali had a recent unexpected visit from a couple of my friend’s dogs Jaynee (Piper’s sister) and Sadie.  This visit was much to Kali and Smokey’s surprise (how would they know, right?) and I was pleasantly surprised to see what good hosts they were.  After a couple of minutes of barking, posturing, and butt smelling the four of them got along swimmingly spending a couple of hours romping in the yard and exploring the house.

Kali doesn’t get a lot of doggie play time and now that she’s much more comfortable around other dogs I’m trying to find opportunities for her build on her socialization skills. So like any proud dad I diligently recorded a few moments of play time for posterity but mostly because it’s a lot easier these days to pull out a iPhone instead of a 20 pound VHS video camera who’s battery was usually dead when you needed it the most!

Roll tape….

Oh, and feel free to say in thinly veiled sarcasm, “how cute, wow, my dog never does that, your dog is the only dog to ever get a bath run around and play.   Don’t worry – you won’t hurt our feelings.

 

Are you ready to rumble?…

Although the two week sleep-over came to and end yesterday Kali has pretty much been sleeping since Piper left.

It was great having Pipes ‘O Peace” hang out with us for the past two weeks.  Kali had a lot of fun and was far more active than she usually is.  Kali proved to us, as we knew in our hearts,  that she can be a great companion and housemate for any dog given a little time to realize that dog is not a threat but actually a friend.

[Cue Randy Newman’s ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me]

As the days passed Piper became increasingly confident and comfortable in her new temporary surroundings taking lots of time to explore the house and yard on her own.  It was great fun watching Kali and Piper wrestle even if at times Kali was a reluctant participant.  With Kali at six years old and Piper at one there is quite an energy gap especially when considering Kali’s ultra laid back temperament and Piper’s tireless demeanor typical of her Australian Shepherd breed.

Piper was ready to rumble at moments notice.  If Piper was like the late wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, then Kali was like Mohammed Ali (the greatest boxer of all time).  Ali would use his famous “rope-a-dope” technique designed to get his opponent to punch themselves out while he rested along the ropes and covered his face and body with his arms.  Sorry for the mixed analogy of wrestling and Boxing but hopefully you get the picture.  When Kali had enough she would let Piper know by using her own version of rope-a-dope leveraging her weight advantage to hold Piper down with her legs and body or let Piper run circles around her while she remained in one place watching and resting.  Eventually there would be enough hair flying around the room that Holly or I would ring the figurative bell and send them to their respective corners until the next round.  Which of course never began too soon for Piper.

Rope-a-dope with Ali covering up while he let's George Forman punch himself out

Rope-a-dope with Ali covering up while he let’s George Forman punch himself out

Kali, Holly, and I took an extra long walk this morning and as much as Kali seemed to enjoy having a canine companion the past two weeks she seemed to appreciate her time alone with us.  It reminded me of kids having a cousin or best friend over for several days and how old toys and games seemed new again and how everything that was normal was all of a sudden special because of sharing it with someone who isn’t around too often.  But then when that cousin or close friend went home it felt good to get back to “normal” and now you appreciated the routine that just a couple of weeks ago seemed boring.

It was a great two weeks and of course I took a gazillion photos of Piper and Kali.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Piper Day 1 a little shy and apprehensive ran onto the couch to get away from Kali

Hanging out along the creek trail

Hanging out along the creek trail

Temporary office staff

Temporary office staff

Are you ready to rumble?...

Are you ready to rumble?…

Nap Time

Nap Time (take your corners)

But wait there’s more…  Piper is due back this afternoon because Steph and Dillip need to pick up her crate.  And when Piper comes in the house I won’t be surprised to hear her say, “Hey Kali, ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE??….”.  And as pooped out as Kali may be I’m pretty sure she’ll be ready to answer the bell.

Piper

As expected Kali and Piper quickly established territories, roles, and generally worked things out. My prediction of kissy-face by the end of the first day fell a little short but they were co-existing nicely, mostly calm and relaxed, both seemingly comfortable with the situation.

What’s a Piper?

In my last post I wrote about our friends Stephanie and Dillip who would be on vacation for two weeks.  Holly and I offered to take care of their one year-old Australian Shepherd, Piper, while they were gone.  Even with Kali’s anxiety around other dogs I was confident that she would adjust and quickly accept – perhaps even enjoy – having Piper around for a couple of weeks.

Piper

Piper

Steph and Dillip dropped off Piper with the car seat, crib, diaper bag, doctor’s phone numbers, and blankie (their going to make great parents!…) and were off to the airport for India via Dubai.  Holly and I decided to stay a lot closer to home and went to the backyard to hang out with Kali and Piper.

The two meet and greet “play” dates for Kali and Piper we had over the past couple of weeks definately made a difference.  Even though Kali was not totally on board with things yet I could tell that she was familiar enough with Piper to know 1) she wasn’t a threat and that 2) that she wasn’t going to go away.  So after a couple of minutes of posturing and barking – much like she did at the start of their meet and greets – Kali settled down at my feet and watched as Piper began to explore the yard.  There were a few more intermittent barks especially when Piper picked up a few of Kali’s toys but overall it was pretty non-evenful as hoped and we went about our day.

Inside the house Kali would give Piper an occasional face-woof if Piper got too close.  So Piper was very reserved at first and found safe haven underneath the dining room table.  Then she discovered the toy box.

It was fun to watch Kali watching Piper pulling out toy after toy and taking them to her new den underneath the table.  At one point Kali had enough, got up and took a toy from Piper, which prompted Piper to try to get it back from Kali, which led to running and barking in the house, which led to me  pushing them out into the yard, which led to more running and – wait for it – Kali playing with Piper.

I finally got my kid to go under the Gymboree parachute!   I realized I had a BIG smile on my face as I watched Kali chase after Piper with a playful bark. It was a “I’m bigger than you and and older and I’m gonna prove it to you” bark. Then Piper would stop, hunker down, pop up and begin chasing (herding?) Kali barking, “Yeah, but I’m way faster than you are, and I’m younger, and I can do this for hours.”  When Kali got tired and seemed to lose interest in the game Piper would go nip her in the butt and the game would start over again.  Very cool for this Dad to see his girl having fun whether she wanted to or not.  🙂    Yes, I realize this is normal behavior for most dogs so what’s the big deal, right?

Well, this IS a big deal for Kali.  OK…this is a big deal for ME.  And while I know it’s not supposed to be about me, this time it is.

So after almost 24 hours so far so good.  I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks with these Aussie and Taiwanese “Gal-Pals”.

Gal Pals

The Aussie and Taiwaneese  “Gal-Pals”

New Playmate for Kali

Kali’s getting a “playmate” for a couple of weeks.  Piper is an Australian Shepherd about a year old with similar anxiety issues as Kali has when around other dogs.  Hmmm, this could be a disaster in the making…  But I think it will be fine.

Piper’s mom Stephanie, is a beautiful young lady in her twenties who we’ve had the pleasure of watching grow up since she was five years old.  Her parents are some of our dearest friends.  Stephanie recently married Dillip, a fine young man, who we’ve come to know over the past year since they were married. When we learned Steph and Dillip were traveling to India for a vacation and that Piper would be staying at different places while they were gone we immediately volunteered to take her for the entire two weeks. Besides offering some stability for Piper we thought it would be good for Kali, who misses Smokey since he and my daughter moved out, to hang out with another dog for a while.  Based on our experience with how quickly Kali and Smokey adapted we are confident that the same will happen with Piper within a couple of days.

Over the past week or so we’ve had Piper over for “meet and greets” a couple of times.  Both visits lasted about an hour.  The first visit  was fairly intense and a little stressful on both dogs.  Lots of teeth gnashing, Kali barking, and Piper taking coverage under chairs in the back yard.  The second visit was a lot calmer and both dogs settled down quickly and were mostly willing to co-habitate while keeping their distance as the four of us observed sitting in the yard with them.  Kali even laid down next to Piper at one point for a few moments and seemed to relax.

Piper arrives on Saturday and will be with us for two weeks.  She is crate trained, respectful of the indoors, and very smart.  She loves to play fetch so I’m hoping to do this a lot and who knows, maybe Kali will catch on to the concept of me throwing a a ball and her running to get it and bring it back to me…  Holly and I, as are Steph and Dillip, are optimistic that both dogs will do well and have an enriching experience.  I’ve predicted that by the end of day one I’ll be texting Steph and Dillip with pictures of Kali and Piper playing kissy-face or at the least laying down and relaxing  peacefully with each other.

Stay tuned for regular updates, pictures, and assessments of what I hope is not just dog-sitting but a great experience for my Golden Kali.