Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘poodle


Unseasonably warm weather for WINTER!

Yes, when these pics were taken it was technically still winter. The tail-end mind you, but still winter!!! WOW!

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What Canadian summer would be complete without at least one trip to the lake? (Or more if you’re lucky.) Cottage life seems to be a regular occurrence for Canadians in the hot summer heat, or even the summer rain. It’s not quite roughing it like camping, but still more rustic than home living and replete with a lakeside view, perhaps even an outhouse, some lazy dock fishing and the occasional swim to the island or across the lake, or whatever the challenge of the lake may be. (I think next summer, Eliot and I are planning to swim the perimeter of my parents’ lake. This year we did the length – which is a feet in itself seeing as we’d only ever done the width before. But, I digress…) Canadian summers seem to equal lakeside beers with friends and family, late nights roasting marshmallows by the campfire and the odd run in with the elusive wildlife that calls the surrounding area home.

This summer Niko had a lot of fun chillin’ at his pals’ cottage for a few days in August. And what cottage experience would be complete without the added company of two dogs and a cat? Yes, a dog seems to be the quintessential addition to any cottage: I mean how could you survive a lakeside summer without being sprinkled on an hourly basis by the wriggly shake of a wet poodle or some other mutt who has just come out of the water? And don’t they always seem to be drawn to the dry sunbathers when they seek release those thousands of water molecules? Anyway, Niko had a great time hanging with his older buds and even had a few quiet moments of hand holding with one of them. Though, as you can see by the ensuing pout of the girl who didn’t get his hand, two girls and one guy don’t always make for a happy mix. Better for them to learn this life lesson young though, right?

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I’ve written before about how our standard poodle Frasier shows his love and affection for Baby Niko. From my perspective this love usually comes in the form of some sort of slobbery kiss on Niko’s face or neck, (or it could just be Frasier’s way of cleaning up any leftover morsels from lunch). Either way, Frasier has proven to be both gentle and patient with our Little Man. Niko has always shown interest in this big fur ball, but it wasn’t until this week that he actually displayed (or is it that I just finally clued in to his signals?) genuine affection toward our huge pooch.

Whenever Frasier shows up, after being in another room, or after Niko’s nap, Niko greets him with a huge smile and will inevitably reach out to “pet” him. He just loves to see Frasier and “gently” (we’re working on the gentle part – and that’s where Frasier’s patience is evident and appreciated) pet his fur. It’s so cute to see. Niko’s whole face lights up when Frasier saunters in. So, despite my qualms about integrating puppy and baby, all seems to be going better than I hoped for!


Things that don’t mix well: one tennis ball, two people (me and Niko), and three dogs (Frasier, Jupiter and Percy). You’d think that swimming in the lake and sitting on the dock on a sunny day at my parents’ cottage would be a recipe for fun, and for the most part it was. Niko had his first ever dip into a lake and although it was still a touch cold and I only went in to my knees, he seemed to do relatively well with the whole experience. It must be all the swimming lessons he took this past winter.

Anyway, we were alone at the cottage, waiting for my parents to get there. Lena‘s Grandparents have a cottage next to us and they were up, but when we headed to the dock there was not a soul in site, not even a furry one, well, except for Frasier. Anyway, after our swim Niko and I lay out a towel and just sat around for all of about thirty seconds. Basically we were like a magnet for the two other pooches that belong to Lena’s grandparents. One of the doggies came with a ball and all of sudden Niko and I were surrounded by three big dogs. The ball was dropped and proceeded to bounce about a foot from where we were sitting. This proved to be too much temptation for the three furry beasts and they all scrambled to get their teeth on the tennis ball, which also prompted a bout of snarling, growling, snapping, baring of teeth and even got Little Niko knocked over on his back.

Now in general, Frasier loves dogs. But seeing as he’s a timid pooch and depending on the personalities of the other dogs he encounters, he can end up being cowed. In most cases I do what I can to protect him, but in this case, when we were confined by the limited space of the dock, and Niko was knocked down I had to focus my attention solely on my baby, and couldn’t put an ounce of help out there for my pooch. So with my maternal instincts in full swing, I planted my feet firmly in a wide stance, bent over, hip checked the snarling dogs out of the way, swooped up my baby and got the heck out of there. Leaving the three furry guys to fend for themselves, which in the end worked out just fine. Although, Frasier’s confidence did seem a bit damaged, but I’m sure he’ll get over it.

PS – Niko was just fine too.

Note: I will add an actual picture of the weekend, once I find my camera cable, which is still MIA since the move.

Update (July 6): I found my camera cable. 🙂 The pic below is post dock trauma and as you can see the Little Man seems to have recovered quite well and is enjoying the company of Gramma and Grandad.

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Have you ever tried and tried and tried to teach your dog a trick only to have him repeatedly do it the wrong way? Or not even a trick necessarily, but just basic commands: sit, stay, come, fetch, etc. I’ve always wanted a dog who would fetch a ball and bring it back. With Frasier we are pretty lucky: he can be off leash, stays pretty close by and (usually) comes when we call him. And, he loves to chase balls; it’s bringing them back, that’s not down to perfection. More often than not, he’ll chase the ball like crazy, pick it up when he gets to it and then just drop it where he is and continue on, which ultimately turns me into the fetcher.

But today, yes today, today something magical happened. He returned the ball, very close to me. Well, three times very close to me and twice in the bush near by. But still, this is a big improvement on his track record. And what was the secret to our success? Dog biscuits? No. My command of the dog? No. Pure luck? I don’t think so. It was the Little Niko Man! Yup, the three of us headed to the park and I lay out a blanket in the shade, for Niko with some toys for him to play with. Seeing as Little N was on the ground, I really couldn’t go after the dog to get the ball back, so I just stayed put and this is how it worked. Picture Frasier running full blast toward the ball and then running (almost) full blast back with it. And oh oh, heading straight for the baby! Hope this turns out OK. But then he just dropped the ball at the edge of the blanket and waited for me to throw it again. It was one of those times I wished I had my camera but didn’t. Maybe I’ll stage the shot again later, and insert the picture after the fact. I was so impressed with Frasier, and with Niko, who turned out to be the dark horse, my very own miniature Dog Whisperer.


Well after riding the emotional roller coaster they call real estate, it seems that our ride has come to a stop and despite a few (OK, OK, a lot of) queasy stomachs along the way, we survived, in tact, and are now preparing to move to our new house! Yes, our place is SOLD: courtesy of our real estate prowess (we sold privately), and we have bought our new home and move in in about two weeks!!! A few weeks ago, I described what we wanted in a new home, and for the most part we got it. After looking at many, many places, I realized and had to accept that we couldn’t get everything we wanted (in our price range); but what we did end up buying we are very happy with! Actually it has everything on my wish list except for a fenced yard, and it’s pretty much move-in ready except for some tightening up here and there and a roof that needs to be replaced.  There are even a few bonuses to the place: hello (two-piece) en suite and hello walk-in closet!

Overall, it’s been such a fast process, although at times it felt agonizingly slow. We’ve definitely learned a lot about real estate, all the while testing our nerves, which my sister Carolyn has now aptly classified mine as made of steel (and in the real estate business I think that’s a good thing). However, even though she says they’re made of steel, that was really just a facade and mostly I felt like a jellyfish the whole time. But alas, all is done, and we are on the move and so looking forward to moving in to our new place with the Little N Man and Frasier!

Note: I have set a goal for myself to pack a few boxes a day until we actually move. These pics show my attempt to start on the boxes and my two little helpers, which needless to say are also keeping me busy!

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This weekend we experienced our first family road trip: Borys, Niko, Frasier and I hit the road toward Southern Ontario. As we made the trek (a welcomed distraction from all our real estate debacles) I kept having flashbacks of how I’d spent the May long weekend in years past. Moving to Ottawa I discovered that the Victoria Day holiday, affectionately nicknamed May 2-4 where I’m from, is not nearly as celebrated in the city as it is in the small town (and others like it) that I grew up in. In my experiences, each year May 2-4 was a big deal: whether it was time spent with family or friends, it usually involved camping, lots of food, laughs and maybe a few cold ones as well.

Anyway, as I reflected on these memories during the long (made extra long with a dog and baby on board) ride to see my sis and her fam, I couldn’t help but notice how times have changed. In a great way, mind you, but this May 2-4 rang in differently than most of the ones I remembered. The main reason for heading to Southern Ontario was to celebrate our niece’s First Communion: Claire had been preparing for quite some time and today was the big day. There was a lovely lunch at their place prior to the service and then off to the church, where Niko continually whined (but who could blame him, church coincided perfectly with nap time) until Borys and I decided to take him out of his misery and bring him back to my sister’s place for a nap, and now as I type, I can just hear him gurgling to himself in the other room: OK baby, it’s time for sleep!

Anyway, traveling such a distance with Niko and Frasier, actually wasn’t that bad. The most challenging part has been keeping Frasier under wraps at my sister’s house. He’s had his share of misadventures already and we’ve only been here for half of our full stay! Hopefully we can keep him in line until it’s time for us to hit the pavement again. The highlight of Frasier’s stay happened today, when Reuban (my sister’s dog) escaped out the front door. We were all out front coaxing him back and unbeknownst to us, Frasier was watching the action through a second floor screen window. So amidst the commotion of the elusive Reuban we heard a strange noise coming from above, and looked up only to see sweet Frasier up in the window sill clawing through the screen! Who knows what he would have done if he actually made a hole big enough for his whole body?! I ran upstairs, but it was too late, the screen had been ruined! Yikes! Let’s just hope that was the climax of his misbehaviour. And eventually, Reuban did come back.

All in all it’s been a great visit! Two huge dogs, four “mature” adults, and four little cuzzies + one on the way! Yup, Marion and JP are expecting their fourth bundle of joy this coming December! What great news!


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