This Dog Is Driving Me Nuts

This dog is driving me nuts!

As a parent of three now grown children I can tell you first that these statements are true:

Child one: “I’ follow the rules”.  

Child two: “I’m the reason for the rules”.

Child three: “The rules don’t apply to me”.

And so it seems with dogs too….

Kali is the oldest and fur-baby number one.  From day one she did was asked of her, never complained and was happy to comply.   Kloe is fur-baby number two.  Kloe was the reason for certain changes and routine in the pack as she was growing up.  Now at almost three years of age she is very much a rule follower herself but wasn’t always that way and she was definitely the reason certain controls and limits had to be put in place.

And then there is fur-baby number three: Koda.

Sigh…

At eight months old Koda is a natural at living up to the child number three statement.  The statement oozes from every single one of her 48 pounds.  Her breath in the cold frosty air whispers the statement.   Somewhere there are tee-shirts with the child number three statement on the back with a picture of Koda on the front.  Double sigh…

Koda’s tenacity, confidence, and strong will is something to behold.  I really do admire it and am so glad Koda is who she is.   Is her tenacity challenging?  Yes.  Does her strong will try my patience?   Hourly.   Can I channel her strong will into positives that will make her a tremendous adult dog.  I hope so.   Can I leverage the combination of all three to reverse the effects if global warming?   Maybe.  Ok probably not  but that is the power of Koda.

Potential song lyrics for Koda’s enshrinement into the Child Number Three Hall of Fame:

“And I love her” – Lennon and McCartney

“That’s the power of love” – Huey Lewis

“This dog is driving me nuts” – Michael Morales

Crazy, nuts, bananas – whatever.  But also, crazy with love.  Crazy with the optimism a puppy brings to one’s every day life.   Crazy fun to see her play with abandonment.

But yeah, this dog is driving me nuts!

 

 

 

Meal time used to be real simple

Meal time used to be real simple.  Kali and Kloe each ate dry food for both breakfast and dinner.  Initially Kloe got high protein puppy food and was on a slightly different dry mix than Kali.   But eventually when Kloe got old enough they were on the same food.  Back in the day meal time inventory check:  two dogs, two bowls, one dry food bucket, one food.  Simple! Scoop scoop wham bam thank you dad.

Meal time used to be real simple.

Over the past year Holly and I introduced raw meat into Kali and Kloe’s diet.  We’re fortunate to have good friends who own a pet shop and are quite informed and knowledgable about canine nutrition.  Owners Dee and George made suggestions for the raw meat and over the first couple of months we experimented with different types, varying portions, etc.   Wanting to still provide good grains to the girl’s diet, and after a few calculations to consider caloric content of the dry, the raw, and each dog’s weight, we landed on a regimen of dry in the morning and raw in the evening.  The raw meat is sold frozen and we buy it in quantities of 25 one pound flat pieces.   Every two days we would put two one pound portions in the refrigerator to thaw for two day’s of meals.   So, still not too bad, right?   Not as simple as two dogs, two bowls, one dry food bucket, one food but definitely worth the extra meal planning and preparation to yield a healthier diet for the girls.  Plus, they absolutely love the raw meat it keeps their weight down.  And did I mention they love it?

When Koda arrived three months ago we put her on the same dry food that Kloe and Kali eat but the large breed puppy version that is high on protein.  Then about a month ago we began giving Koda a portion of raw meat with her dinner.  She too is crazy for “the raw”.  So let’s do a another meal time inventory check at this juncture: three dogs, three bowls, two dry food buckets, two dry foods, and varying portions of raw at dinner.   And as the old television commercials for kitchen gadgets used to say, “But wait – there’s more…”

Kali is slightly overweight and we wanted to reduce her caloric intake so we introduced some variations for her.  For breakfast she gets half a cup of dry food and half a cup of scrambled egg whites.  For dinner she gets a portion of raw meat and a half cup of salt free canned green beans.   It’s getting complicated isn’t it.

Real time meal time inventory check:  three dogs, two dry food buckets, two dry foods, three bowls, varying portions of raw at dinner, scrambled eggs in the morning, canned green beens in the evenings.   Based on our highly scientific caloric calculations dog size,  age, and overall weight management goals the dry food and raw portions are different for all three pups but at least the eggs whites and green beans are the same portions for Kali.  Hurray for small victories!

Meal time used to be real simple.   But are my girls healthier and happier? Yes.  Is it worth the planning and coordination and calamity amusement of three dogs squirming at your feet during preparation?  Absolutely!

The pace of the meal

Kali and Kloe used to finish their meals at almost exactly the same time even though Kloe’s portions were bigger. Now with Koda who has relatively large portions and eats a little slower (thank you puzzle bowls),  and the variation of portions and content,  they all finish their meals at different times.  Kloe is always finished first.  Koda is second, and Kali – who has the smallest portions – finishes last.  Sometimes by a good 5 minutes after the other two.   What Golden Retriever doesn’t love food, right?  But Kali takes it to the extreme.  Kali worships her food.   To watch her eat with the deliberation and devotion one might think that meal time is a spiritual experience for her.

Before Koda, when Kali and Kloe finished at the same time, it was amusing to watch them in unison like synchronized eaters move to the other’s empty bowl and lick around the edges and grooves of the puzzle bowls.  Now that finishing times are staggered Kloe typically walks off and asks to go outside having her sisters behind to finish up.  Kloe finishes next and it’s endearing to watch her watch Kali finish.  As Kali methodically addresses the meat and green beans that remain in the bowl Koda stands or lays nearby showing respect and does not try to steal any of the food.  But she’s not shy about getting her face right next to the Kali’s bowl.

And Kali just keeps eating seemingly in food bliss methodically conducting her business while her baby sister watches.

 

Leader Of Our Pack

For two and a half years Kloe was the “baby”.   The youngest of two pups in the house.  As  she grew from 16 to 80 pounds she remained the baby in the overall pecking order of the pack.  Kali welcomed and embraced Kloe from the start and played a big role in Kloe’s successful assimilation into the pack.  Kloe looked up to her big sister and would run to her when scared, cuddle with her when sleepy or cold, and was always subservient to her Kali, although Kali only showed love and never any attempt to dominate or control Kloe.

Golden’s Retriever’s are a breed that retain a puppy-like personality for a long time.  Many never totally lose the playful and whimsical demeanor that puppies exhibit.     With the recent arrival of the new “baby” Koda it’s been interesting to watch Kloe quickly evolve into a more senior member of the pack.  An adult member of the pack.  In fact Kloe has become the protector of the Golden K Pack.

Besides there being a puppy in the house there is another dynamic that is contributing to this emerging maturity in Kloe.   Kali, once very vibrant and alert, is aging.   At nine and a half she sleeps most of the day and has lost some of her vibrance.  The sparkle in her eyes is fading. She walks slower often needing to be coaxed along the way when out for our short excursions.

Although there has never been an true four-legged alpha in our pack if there was one Kloe would be it.   Kali is old and slowing.  Koda is young and immature. At 80 pounds Kloe is large for a Female Golden retriever.  She is bigger, stronger, faster, more alert, and has keener senses than Kali and Koda.  It seems to me that she instinctively realizes this especially now within the context of living with a smaller puppy and a weaker senior. This is not to say that Kloe does, or has any interest in, physically dominating either of her sisters. Although she does seem to take some pleasure of throwing Koda down on the ground or wrapping her entire jaw around Koda’s head when Koda doesn’t get “the message” that enough is enough…  But that’s another subject and post about “Kloe the Teacher” for another day.

So now Kloe is the protector.   Where Kali once took the lead in calling out perceived danger or intruders Kloe takes the lead.   I see Kloe alert and viggilent at times outside while her sisters sleep in the sun.  If there’s a need to sound the alarm she does so and leads the charge running while her muscles ripple through her body like a thoroughbred horse.  Kali hangs back offering high pitched barks of encouragement and Koda bounces along side of Kloe trying keep up not really knowing what’s happening or where they’re going.

Maybe it’s just me projecting but in Kloe I see a more mature and wiser dog.  Kloe will always have a fun and spirited side to her.  She will always go to Kloeville; that figurative place when she lies on her back and stares up at nothing in particular.  She will always throw her shoulder on the ground and wriggle her way between my legs with her butt up in the air and then roll on her back and push off with her legs doing her version of the doggie-back-stroke.  But there has been a change.

It seems to me that Kloe now realizes that her stature in the pack is different.  She realizes that there are two weaker members of the pack that make her stand out physically and in some ways mentally.  Kloe relates to Holly and I in different ways now that Koda is here.  If Kloe observes Koda doing something that is not allowed Kloe looks to Holly or I to correct her.  As much as Koda tries to engage Kali in play Kali has no interest in rough housing with her and if engaged tries to get out of the fray.  Recently I watched that dynamic unfold when Kali became annoyed after Koda ran to her and jumped on her head trying to play.  Kloe came running over put herself between Koda and Kali and wrapped her jaw around Koda’s leg to move her way from Kali as if to say, “leave it”.

In some ways it’s sad to see my “little” baby Kloe grow up into adult hood.  But it’s also warming and makes me proud to watch that 16 pound nine-week old pup we brought home two and a half years ago mature into a fine young lady.  And  lately I’m sure I see something different in Kloe’s eyes. I see less wonderment of the world around her and more of a familiarity with that world and her role in it as a leader of our pack.

 

Kloe Gotcha Day #2

How embarrassing!   I thought Kloe’s Gotcha Day was on May 9th but it is actually on May 7th – today.   Thank goodness for Facebook who reminded me this morning by showing me my post from last year. As if Kloe would know or even knows what the heck a Gotcha Day is.  But I know what it is and I’l always remember the day we brought her home from Lodi, CA where we picked her up.

She rode home to Livermore on Holly’s lap squirming a little bit but only because she wanted to play and  cuddle.   We arrived home to introduce her to Kali, her new big sissy and soon to be surrogate mother.   Kali, true to herself, barked when Kloe entered the house as if to say, “No!  I’ve been very happy here having mom and dad to myself for the past two years and I don’t need the competition of a incredibly cute puppy.   So you, missy can just go back where you came from.”

Within an hour Kloe won over Kali’s heart and they were playing and cuddling.  Kloe wanted to be wherever Kali was.   At times coaxing Kali to play tug-o-war and Kali was so respectful and cognizant that Kloe was a wee 15 pounds so taking it easy on her.  At other times when Kali was sleeping Kloe would lay on top of Kali or find a way to spoon.  Kali was so tolerant and such good big sissy.

Two weeks later we packed up 23 years of Livermore, put Kali and Kloe in the back seat of my truck and drove to our new home in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.  Kloe wasn’t in Suburbia long enough to get used to that so our five acres in the middle of the foothills was just another step in her brief two month life.

Fast forward two years and Kloe is a true mountain girl chasing squirrels and jack rabbits, co-existing with the black tailed deer and – being the chewer she is – loving the lifetime supply of twigs and sticks that are at her disposal.

That little 15 pound pup we brought home two years ago has grown up into a beautiful 80 pound young lady who brings endless and ongoing love and joy into our lives.

Happy Gotcha Day Kloe.  You are my sweetie girl.  You are a great companion,  You are a fantastic listener.  You are unconditional love in it’s truest form.  For that and for you I am so grateful.

Kloe:  then and now

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Tolerance, Indifference, or Love?

Tolerance, indifference, or love?

I think it started out as tolerance: “Dad says I have to be nice to this puppy.”   It evolved to tolerance:  “I guess she’s not so bad and is nice to have a a pal at nap time.”  But over time, make no mistake, it turned into love.  A love that as an upright I may never fully understand but in my heart I know it is a love as strong as I have for my closest family members.

18 months ago Kloe was nine weeks old when we brought her home.   From that first day Kali consistently obliged and acquiesced to this little 15 pound whippersnapper as though it was one of her own pups and not just a step sister.   Kloe regularly sought out Kali and found a spot next to Kali that was comfortable for herself even if it was not comfortable for her big sister.

Kloe:  I want to be where you are big sis!   Kali:  Zzzz…

 

 

So it’s warming and gratifying to me that although her “little” sister Kloe is now 80 pounds and outweighs Kali by 20 pounds nothing has changed.

So tolerance, indifference, or love?   I know it’s love.

Kloe:  Hey Kali, c’mon, wake up and wrestle with me!   Kali:  Zzzzz

 

 

 

Kloe

The inspiration for this blog has always been Kali.  The story of a boy – a very OLD boy – and his dog.  The story of Kali’s life and that “boy” since she landed at SFO from Taiwan three and a half years ago. It was and is Kali’s new life in America and subsequently after the move to the Sierra Nevada Foothills, Kali’s new life in the Mountains.

Since then Kloe joined the pack and although the blog’s name will always be Golden Kali, Kloe has also become part of the fabric of our pack.  It is Kloe who will carry the legacy of Golden Kali, who is seven years her senior, into the future.

So it is with that in mind that I post these few pictures, some of my favorites, of our 80 pound puppy we call Kloe who inspires me just as much as Kali.

Sharing

When you’re two dogs living in the same house there are a lot of things you have to share.  You have to share mom and dad, treats, toys, and sometimes the same bed.  I’ve always been very proud of Kali, and especially of Kloe who is still a puppy, for doing very well with sharing without fighting; well sometimes tug of war but mostly with toys are rarely with mom and dad.

One of the things I respect is when our pups have a meal or a special treat like a bully stick.  I don’t take it for granted that they will share it or that I can simply walk over and take it away.  I can take it away and I make a point, again especially with Kloe,  to occasionally pick up her bowl in the middle of a meal and then immediately give it back.  Kloe trusts me and I can’t imagine she would ever become aggressive with me when taking away her bowl or a toy.   But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect that she is an animal with instincts.  Oh yeah and large sharp teeth.

I don’t give the pups bully sticks very often.  Those are usually reserved for special occasions or what I call Rainy Day Recess.  Calling this Rainy Day Recess is an artifact of Holly having taught pre-school for over 20 years.  It’s those days when the dogs can’t outside because it’s raining and they’ve got a lot of energy to burn of with little room to do it in – kind of like pre-schoolers on a rainy day…

So earlier this week when we had some rain I declared Rainy Day Recess and pulled out a couple of bully sticks.  The girls really love this treat and if they had more cognitive thinking skills they would probably wish every day was raining.  I handed them the sticks and Kali and Kloe went to their respective corners of the living room and began chewing.  They looked a lot like I do with a real big piece of beef jerky trying to soften it up and get it into my body as fast as possible.  Because, well because I love beef jerky.

I made a point – a couple of times – to go to each one of them individually and ask them to “leave it” and let me take the bully stick.  They are clearly more reluctant to give up the bully stick than a bowl of regular meal food but they do.  I give it right back to them all the while praising them for “leaving it”.  With a pat and sometimes a kiss on top of their heads I let them know that I approve of them giving up this treasured treat but that I will give it back.  It’s a good relationship, as most good relationships are, built on trust.

So I’m accustomed to the pups not having any food aggression of any sort.  But when it comes to meal time, although they eat next to one another with bowls only inches away, it would only be expected that one or them to get a little testy if the other placed their mouth near her bowl.  Kali and Kloe eat meals at the same time right next to each other.  Although they get different size portions (Kloe gets more because she is still growing) they usually finish up about the same time.  You’d think that Kloe would take longer because she get’s more food but sometimes she finishes fist.  I noticed this the other night and I was a little surprised when I saw Kloe move over to Kali’s bowl while Kali was still eating.  There had been one incident when Kloe was only nine weeks old and tried to take some food out of Kali’s dish while Kali was eating.  With a low growl and quick nip to Kloe’s ear Kali delivered a message and lesson to Kloe that I thought would last a lifetime.

So on this night when Kloe put her snout into Kali’s dish I thought, “uh-oh” Kali’s not going to like this.  I was waiting for Kali to take an aggressive move and put Kloe in her place.  But no.  Instead she kept eating and allowed Kloe to help finish off the few morsels that remained in her bowl.

Wow!  My Golden Kali set such a great example that transcends pets.  If only we as people could exhibit as much tolerance and sharing as she has this world would have to be a better place.  Right?

So thank you my Golden Kali for teaching me yet another lesson in a series of so many since you rescued me.

This is how they usually start out – side by side.

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But to finish like this was rather remarkable!

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