Tag Archives: Poodle

We Have Holidays for Everything … Even a Day to Dress Up Our Pets

I’m not even kidding.

Is it animal abuse, or just an excuse to give your pet a killer outfit?

Tomorrow (January 14) happens to be National Dress Your Pet Up Day. No, Simon is not getting a new outfit.

Why not? Because he is an animal, and the only animal I know of that’s actually comfortable in clothing is Winnie the Pooh, and that’s only because he isn’t wearing pants.

I did a little bit of digging to find out how one may dress his or her pet for this national holiday.

An eHow article gives tips on how to celebrate the holiday cheaply. The author’s first suggestion is to drape the dog in a pillow case. He could look like a cowboy or a princess or like he’s wearing a toga or a cape.

Continue celebrating by giving your pet a treat and a new toy, which should be more like a token or apology for putting your pet through so much torment and embarrassment.

I don’t mean to be a hater here, people, and I like the enthusiasm, but let’s give our pets a break in 2010 and not dress them up. How about giving them some extra love instead.

However, if you absolutely need to participate, why not dress little Sparky in a snazzy new bandana, or get your boy Buster a shiny new collar.

I was thinking something like this:

Simon with bandanasimon poodle

See? Cute. Simple. Comfortable.

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Filed under Austin, Crazy Ideas Unrelated to Austin, Poodles

Sit, Lay Down, and Be Quiet: Teaching Poodle to Obey

Poodle is learning to be more obedient. However, I don’t necessarily think we have a disobedient poodle. In fact, most of the time he does what I want even before I have a chance to say it out loud. So he’s more like a mind-reading poodle. For example, I don’t have to tell him to eat because he is all over the dog bowl when I serve him, I don’t have to say “outside” because he is already halfway out the door when I am in the middle of opening it, and I don’t have to ask for hugs and kisses when I get home because he’s already in attack, scratch, and slobber mode when I walk through the door.

It’s all very loving and I don’t think Simon has actually hurt anyone or anything during his extreme fits of excitement, but others may think differently and we want our poodle to be as sweet and tolerable as possible.

I must say, Simon is looking pretty sweet and tolerable in this photo.

I must say, Simon is looking pretty sweet and tolerable in this photo.

Last week we began a six-week puppy obedience training course at Buddy’s Chance off North Lamar Blvd. Two experienced dog trainers and enthusiasts run the place and do a great job offering a variety of classes for dogs with all kinds of issues like separation anxiety, littermate issues, aggression, and food guarding. Read more about the types of training classes.

Our class consists of five puppies and their owners: a mix from the shelter, a mini dachshund, a maltese, an Airedale terrier, and Simon. All the dogs are sweet, but I sort of favor the Airedale terrier named Abby because she’s the sweetest and prettiest thing next to Simon.

The session begins with 10 minutes of puppy play, which looks more like a game of cowboys and Indians between Simon and the large mix while the Airedale terrier prances around aimlessly and the maltese and dachshund quiver furiously under their owners’ chairs until the madness stops. With about 20 to 25 minutes left in the class, we manage to quickly and efficiently cover the “sit” and “here” commands. This involves a lot of treats and patience, but it’s pretty easy to get your dog to do what you want when you have delicious chicken-flavored bits or string cheese particles as bait.

As a first-time pet owner, obedience training has taught me a lot, like not to coddle and pet a puppy when he is jumping and licking all over you. I can’t help that I love the excited panting and squealing when a new person gives the pup attention. It would take me two hands to count the number of times the lead trainer told me not to pet one of the dogs during the training exercises. “I can’t help it if they like me!” I kept repeating back at her. I guess it is just as much human training as it is for puppies.

We spend the week after each class doing homework. This involves going through each of the exercises every day and introducing our pets to 15 new people a week. So I literally started taking Simon everywhere to interact with folks: the video store, to get ice cream – almost anywhere I could wiggle him into we went. All in all, my poodle gets around Austin.

Simon looks pretty handsome in his signature pose.

Simon looks pretty handsome in his signature pose.

That face makes me melt.

That face makes me melt.

This week we are working on “down” and “don’t run after people when they walk away from you.” Can you whittle that down to a one-word command for me? Thanks.

Share your puppy training stories with me. The more people I know who’ve gone through this same kind of thing, the merrier I will be.

Buddy’s Chance
5501 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 636-3793

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Filed under Austin, Poodles

We’re Always Happy When It Rains

It’s true. Texas has some of the most unpredictable weather known to mankind. Actually, the weatherman can predict the random cold fronts, the sudden spurts of ice and freezing rain, oh, and the hail in the spring/almost summertime. But where is this stuff coming from? It’s completely bizarre how we will be enduring months of 95+ degree days and then bam! Three solid days of rain and flash flood warnings. Maybe it’s like this in all major cities, where the unpredictable happens and then the entire population can’t seem to get over how their town has craaaazy weather patterns.

Whatever the real story is, no one can deny that for last 10 months, Texas has been under the worst drought in 50 years. Record-high heat and record-low rainfall have caused losses of more than $3.5 billion in crops and livestock and some hardcore water restrictions all over the state. Last month, the City of Austin entered Stage 2 water restrictions with a list of serious no-no’s.

Just to summarize:
1. You can water your lawn once per week, but you can water by hand or bucket anytime
2. You can wash your car on certain days and at certain times with a hand-held bucket or a shut-off nozzle on a hose
3. You may not conduct or participate in a charity car wash
4. You cannot add water to your fancy indoor or outdoor fountains
5. No automatic fill valves are allowed for pools or ponds
6. A restaurant may not serve water to a customer unless requested by the customer

Whoa. At least we still have the option to order water. But the whole thing is just sad – burnt ears of corn, dying daisies, keeled over cattle, and the fact that the USDA designated 70 Texas counties as primary natural disaster areas due to severe drought.

That’s why weekends like this, when the forecast predicts an 100 percent chance of rain and flash flood warnings, people are joyous and up in arms that it may actually rain enough for things to grow around here.

I’m not much for growing things. I’ve killed plenty of house and office plants, even an Eggling or two. But I can see how the rain transforms the sodden Earth and the things that grow naturally in our background. The ground isn’t just brown dirt anymore. The rain has made cute, little blades of grass and even a few mushroom caps start to sprout from the belly of our yard. And every time the rain stops, the sky looks and the air feels just slightly sweeter.

Green grass grows.

Green grass grows.

Flower attacked by rain.

Flower attacked by rain.

Poodles are supposed to like the rain. Not this one.

Poodles are supposed to like the rain. Not this one.

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Filed under Austin, Poodles, Uncategorized

Vacation Recap Part 3: I will miss you, Philly

I feel like I met my match in Philadelphia, or one of my many matches. I fall in love with a lot of places, usually because of the food, culture, things to do, places to see, friendly dogs, and then the people. I like to think that I’m a people person, so when I feel accepted into a new group or community I just smile with delight and fall in love with everyone, unless you are a mean cheese steak vendor. Then we have issues.

Big Friendly Dog on South Street

We met this insanely huge dog and her owners on South Street. She was a real sweetie.

Lindsay and I spent the last day of our trip trying to forget that I’d be going back to Austin and she back to State College the next day. We tried to fill our brains with as much historical knowledge about the city and our Founding Fathers as possible in attempts to forget about the separation that would soon ensue. But we felt we needed to fill our stomachs first.

We found an adorable little bistro called FARMiCiA in Old City. It was glorious watching all the little couples eating their omelets and drinking their perfect Sunday brunch Bloody Marys. We sat by the bar and pondered over the menu for a while. It was full of wholesome, local, and organic ingredients with a variety of sweet and savory breakfast items like grilled brie and assorted cheeses as appetizers; pancakes, grilled cheese, and paninis as griddle dishes; and various omeletes, frittatas, and eggs benedict options for breakfast-like items.

I fought with myself for five minutes before I ordered the brioche French toast with peach compote. Lindsay’s dish was another piece of perfection, the vegan and salty kind: scrambled tofu and vegan chorizo sausage on top of a vegan sopapilla with refried black beans and avocado salsa. I stuck with black coffee because I don’t particularly care for Bloody Marys, but Lindsay had to try one and her only complaint was that it wasn’t spicy enough. But I don’t know how she does it. Vegetables processed into liquid and then mixed with pepper and alcohol just does not sound appealing to me.

FARMiCiA decor consisted of cute Granny Apples.

FARMiCiA decor consisted of cute Granny Smith apples.

Brioche french toast with peach compote. Mmm yea.

Brioche French toast with peach compote. Mmm yea.

After a successful brunch, we made our way to one of the biggest attractions in the city, the Liberty Bell. I can hear bells ringing as I type. Also, it was a lot smaller than anticipated and the entire experience was kind of like a joke because there were hoards of people surrounding the bell trying to have family members or whoever take a photo of them in front of the side with the crack. It seemed silly. I walked the circumference and that was about it. Then we walked by a few more historical sites like the first insurance building, but I think I was more interested in the architecture and the cute cobblestone roads.

The last item on our list was visiting South Street, which is like the hip, bohemian part of town with vintage shops and stellar murals in the alleyways. It reminded me a lot of The Haight in San Francisco, California, and flooded with tourists on the weekends.  The best cheese steak place in Philly is supposed to be on South Street, Jim’s Steaks, and I think word gets around because the line was out the door. We didn’t even stop because enough of our new local friends had already told us that the place was overrated, but maybe they are just bitter because it’s always too packed with tourists to eat there themselves. I pryed for more cheese steak recommendations, but no one seemed completely satisfied with the cheese steak vendors around town. One place had weird bread while another place didn’t use enough cheese, etc. I ended up trying a place called Tony Jr’s because it was nearby and I needed to eat, and because I am a meat eater again I wanted to take full advantage of the authentic Philly cheese steak. All in all, I was disappointed. I had a regular cheese steak with grilled onions and sharp provolone and it was too dry. Big hairy cheese steak vendor skimped on the cheese and I became sad. Most people say to get the famous Cheese Whiz, this disgusting processed cheese goo made by Kraft. Blah, don’t do it.

Waiting outside Jim's Steaks ... we decided to leave after seeing the line inside

Waiting outside Jim's Steaks ... we decided to leave after seeing the line inside

For our final evening rendezvous in Philadelphia, we drank $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon and ended up at a local club called Fast Cheap & Out of Control. We were told Sunday nights at FC&OOC used to be cool, but now not so much, with random ‘80s and new wave music and a sad go-go dancer. She was sad and there weren’t many people there, but we ended up having a lot of fun! Our new Philly friends danced with us and felt embarrassed with us, but it was a damn good time. Six hours later I was back on a plane to Austin to reunite with Kyle and my poodle.

Kyle and Poodle

Kyle and Poodle

Right before I got on the airplane I wrote a message to Philadelphia through a little Facebook update. It was something along the lines of, “Dear Philly, This was fun. Let’s do it again sometime. Love, Jen.”

FARMiCiA
15 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627-6274

Liberty Bell Center
526 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Tony Jr’s
118 S 18th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 568-4630

Fast Cheap & Out of Control
613 S. 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

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Filed under Austin, Food, Poodles, Travel

Puppy’s First Haircut (and more)

I can’t believe it actually happened … Simon got groomed today for the very first time. My sweet, small, puffy poodle has been deflated into a regular-looking squeamish little thing. We kept his head fluffy, though; we were going for that canine Fozzie the Bear sort of look. I was a bit sad at first about the whole ordeal, but I had been keeping him fluffy for selfish reasons, mostly because I like how he doesn’t look like a dolled-up poodle with all that hair, his hair is just so soft, and I kind of like it when it starts to dread up. But Simon doesn’t really care about all that. He was actually drowning in all that hot fur. He just wants to cool off in this summer heat, so that means shaving him down to a wee little thing. Sigh.

But the good thing is that he looks amazingly adorable now. Kyle met a really kind and experienced vet tech when we took him in for his booster shots last weekend. She is a really sweet woman who goes by the name of C.C. and loves dogs and riding Harleys. We also really like her because she automatically fell in love with Simon and his unique markings. She told Kyle all about the 20 years she spent as a groomer and a vet tech, so we decided to take Simon to see her for a haircut and all the other things puppies get when they get groomed. It wasn’t too dramatic, trying to part with all of the hair, but I just kept telling myself that he will love me for this. I dropped him off and when I returned two and a half hours later I could have sworn I had a new puppy. She kept his soft fur about an inch off his skin and only shaved his nose and around his eyes, so now we can actually see that he has eyes. And, boy, are his eyes big! So round and angelic. But no more dreads and no more ear and paw hair. C.C. is a genius.

Check out some “before” shots of Simon.

DSCN1258

Simon "After" Shot

I still can’t believe that we made it home with such a wonderful dog.

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Filed under Poodles

A Girl and Her Blog

Today I begin my blog called Bird Fly Good. You can find a short explanation as to why I chose to name my blog Bird Fly Good in the About Bird Fly Good section. (Are you tired of saying that yet?) If you are absolutely dying to know the full story of the name, don’t worry; I’m saving that for a future blog post.

But I would like to give an overall welcome to my blog and thanks for taking the time to read my blog. This is something I have been wanting to start for a long time and I have finally gotten the itch and urge to just write. The topics on this blog range from all spectrums. When I actually started my WordPress account, I thought this would be a travel or poetry or food blog. Now, four months later, I’ve decided start a blog about all three and then some. I like writing about all sorts of experiences and I’m using this channel to dive a little deeper into some of these topics and share a little bit about what I’ve learned, hopefully in a humorous and entertaining way.

Some recurring themes you might encounter in my future blog posts:

  1. My new puppy, Simon: My boyfriend and partner, Kyle, surprised me with a puppy for my birthday this year. Simon is a sweet and loving miniature poodle. He is a parti poodle, meaning his coat is pure white and with deep black spots. He has the sweetest face and I am sure he will be a popular topic for future posts because this is the first creature I have ever cared and been responsible for. Plus, he is a puppy and puppies always makes for interesting stories that have to be told.
  2. Food: Food and cooking in general are two topics that I have finally learned to appreciate within the last two to three years. Throughout college I bounced from omnivore to pescatarian to lacto-ovo-vegetarian and back again. I have returned to eating meat in all forms with the exception of beef and pork, but the idea of veganism and raw food diets continue to fascinate me. And as for cooking, I have never been able to do much of it … until now! I love baking: cookies, cakes, and pastries (oh, my!) It has definitely become a wonderful hobby and I think my experiences cooking, hopefully all positive, will become topics of future posts. Just think … tantalizing words about lemon butter cookies, banana peanut butter cupcakes, and bread. In the event that I don’t feel like writing about cooking, there is always Miles of Chocolate.
  3. Music: I live in a land of music. Not just because I live in Austin, the music capital of the world and home to the largest music, film, and interactive conference in the world, South by Southwest, but because I am a general fan of music and my boyfriend is the bass player in three very active local bands. We go to shows a lot and we often have an interesting time. So, these posts should be pretty interesting too.
  4. Places: Do you care about where I go on a daily basis? Probably not, but if I particularly love or hate a place, whether it be a restaurant, park, party, or store, I will probably find the urge to write about it. If you work for or own an institution that could be defined by the last few items mentioned, don’t worry, I rarely hate places, and if I do it’s for good reason in my opinion. I will never bash a place just for kicks.

That seems like a pretty hefty list to start. I also look forward to posting photos and videos any chance I get. And your comments are always appreciated.

Just to get things started, here is a photo of Simon:

Simon

Simon

and another:

Simon loves close ups

Simon loves close ups

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Filed under Austin, Food, Movies, Poodles