Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Dachshund Who (Almost) Stole Christmas

Godiva’s favorite thing in the whole wide world is to take stuff that she is not allowed to have, and get chased around the house until she has to give it up.  She likes that better than chewing human hands.  She likes that better than eating bird poop or mesquite pods. She even likes that better than yummies.  Now, I know that we are not supposed to chase her and pry the stolen object from her mouth – we are supposed to provide an alternative, wait for her to drop the stolen goods, and praise the daylight out of her – but since she also likes to chew, she is just as happy chewing the stolen item as she is chewing our approved alternative.  Her favorite things to steal are socks, slippers, shoes, blankets, dryer sheets, and towels.  Any laundry really will do.

(Side Note: One Sunday Godiva was a little tired or under the weather.  I had my laundry on a pile on the bed and was putting stuff away.  Godiva slowly climbed the stairs to the bed, walked over to the laundry pile, dug around, found a sock, and began very slowly pulling it out.  All the while she was looking at me like, “Daddy, look, I’m stealing your sock.  Please stop me, because I don’t have the energy to run around with it.  But if you are going to leave a pile of laundry within reach, I have to do what I have to do.”  She repeated this three times until I had everything put away.)

So, it was with great trepidation that Couper/Godiva’s Mommy and I brought out the Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving.  We have had our bouts with Couper and Christmas decorations in the past.  We have two footless gingerbread men ornaments to remind us.  With Godiva’s energy and passion for mischief, we were sure that we would be rescuing her from under a fallen tree at some point.

Since penning Godiva in the kitchen for the month of December was not an option, though it was discussed, we had to have a plan.  We decided to spray her with the water bottle if she even went near the tree.  That seemed to work.  She is at the point now that whenever she wanders that way, a stern, “Godiva! No!”, causes her to scurry away.  So far we have no ornaments lost and the tree skirt is right where it is supposed to be.

We were less attentive to other Christmas items, and Godiva has taken full advantage.  We have a tall thin glass table that backs up to one of our sofas.  During the year, we have a few picture frames on it (yes, with pictures in them, possibly of people we know or relatives, not just the picture included with the frame – I don’t really know).  Since this faces out to our front door, it is a great place to put Christmas decorations.  Couper/Godiva’s Mommy put a set of eight hand-sized stuffed bears on the table sitting against the back of the sofa.  Seemed like a good place for them.  Godiva sure liked it.  Anytime she got more than three seconds unattended in the living room, she jumped on the sofa, stood on her hind legs to peer over the sofa, picked out a bear (any bear is fine with her), jumped down off the sofa, and was off to the races.  One day, knowing that she was going to attempt this upon letting her out to the living room, I stood in front of the table, looking stern, arms crossed, as a deterrent.  She hopped up in front of me and grabbed a bear before I could say anything.  She is that quick (and/or I am that slow).  And stealing is only half the fun.  Catching her is a challenge if Couper/Godiva’s Mommy and I can double team her, and almost impossible alone.  I try to recruit Couper, but unless she has stolen one of his toys, he isn’t interested.

And the bears are only part of it.  She takes stuff from the coffee table and will hop up on any chair if there is something worth taking.  We have a cabinet a few feet behind our other sofa, where we have many other decorations and stuffed animals. Godiva climbs to the back of that sofa and stretches as far off the back as she can as she plots how she can make the three foot jump to get to those treasures.  Thankfully, she has yet to figure out how to do that.  December is less than half over though.

So after a few weeks, we gave up and moved the bears to higher ground (the table she was plotting leaping onto – maybe not our best idea, she had the taste of bear and wanted more).  We also made sure to have our spray bottle handy to try to deter any other mischief. 

It took us until right before Christmas to brave putting presents under the tree (procrastination in shopping and wrapping helped as well).  Gift bag tissues would be enough to make Godiva forget all about little stuffed bears.  She never really got the chance.  At that point, we were able to keep her penned in the kitchen or heavily guarded near the living room.  Couper blew his one chance for freedom when he ripped apart gift bag tissue when left alone – the penalty: three days of close company with his little sister.

December is almost over now, and we will soon be putting away the decorations.  For the puppies, it can’t happen soon enough.  They will finally get another 11 months of freedom.  Godiva will have to settle for stealing socks instead of bears.

Belated Merry Christmas from the Poop!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pilgrim or Indian?

I have a theory about Thanksgiving.  Every Thanksgiving people make the conscious or sub-conscious decision to be either a Pilgrim or an Indian.  A Pilgrim is defined as wearing dark colors, like, say black.  An Indian is defined by wearing bright colors, say red or yellow.  Being that it is my theory, I make the conscious decision to be a Pilgrim.  It is just easier for me to wear black (no buckles on my hat, though.  I have to draw the line somewhere).  Despite telling Couper/Godiva's Mommy about this every year, she forgets and usually makes the sub-conscious decision to be an Indian.  Now that you know about this theory, you have no excuse but to make a conscious decision on Thanksgiving morning.  Sorry, it is the price of knowledge.

What does this have to do with our puppies?  Let's illustrate the theory:



As always, we implore you, please do not let your Little Buddies dress up like turkeys this week.  It may look cute, but it could be very hazardous to their health.

At this time of year, I always remember what my Uncle George always said: "May your Thanksgiving be full of Butterball turkeys and devoid of jive turkeys." Makes you think about what's important, doesn't it?

Happy Thanksgiving from the Poop.

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's a Thin Line Between Being an Angel and a Devil

One minute you think you are an angel (or a devil)...

...the next minute the roles reverse.

Yes, we did go to Petsmart today to buy the puppies outfits. We were tired of the court jester collar that Couper has worn the last 4 years. Besides we "needed" an outfit for Godiva. Thankfully the Halloween outfits were marked half off already. They needed the space for their Christmas displays which now only take up 30% of the store.

But that is not the worst part. Not even close. See, we also bought a Halloween costume for our lifesize dachshund figurine (yes, we have one of those - doesn't everybody?). She stood guard by the door...

I have this uneasy feeling that the CEO of Petsmart has us tracked electronically and anytime we walk into one of his stores, he has his butler bring him a lobster and a bottle of Dom Perignon.

Happy Halloweiner from the Poop.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Make A Run For The Border

One of the advantages of having dachshunds is that they cannot reach any food in the kitchen that we don’t drop on the floor. My sister has labs and if food isn’t put on the back edge of the counter or the very middle of her island, it is in serious danger. Try as he may, and he does, Couper cannot jump up to our counter or island to snatch the leftover chicken. We know that he is not adverse to taking a sip of beer or milk when he can get it off the coffee table.

Our weak link is the kitchen table. The dogs cannot reach the kitchen table on their own, of course, but the chairs are certainly doable and they could reach from there. To our knowledge, they have never tried this. We like to think it is because our puppies are well behaved and would never go somewhere they knew they didn’t belong. More likely it is because the chairs are swivel chairs and they somehow decided that the dangers of jumping on them outweigh the rewards of what is on the table.

Until recently.

A day before Couper’s sixth birthday, Couper’s Mommy brought home a taco and a bean burrito from Taco Bell for lunch. She sat down at the kitchen table and had just finished her taco, when she got a call. She left the table for only a minute to look something up on the computer. When she returned, she found Couper, back paws on the chair, front paws on the table, helping himself to the remnants of her taco; some lettuce, some sour cream, some taco sauce, maybe some meat – the normal outflow from a Taco Bell taco. Upon seeing this, Couper’s Mommy shooed him off the chair. The bean burrito sat there untouched.

It is impossible to tell what got into Couper's head. Maybe he had been planning this for years and with the wisdom and athleticism of turning six, finally figured out how to get onto the swivel chair without killing himself. Maybe he has practiced jumping on the chair before, without our noticing. Maybe the lure of Taco Bell was just too much and he went for it.

However, if you work in the Taco Bell marketing department two things should be apparent:
  • Now that Chihuahuas have gone big time with a movie and all, maybe it is time for a dachshund to be the spokesdog of Taco Bell. Couper is available and his salary demands are reasonable.
  • Bean burritos must be awful. That a hungry dog, taking a chance on injuring himself and getting in big trouble, would rather eat taco remnants than a full bean burrito is not a good sign. Your only hope is that my Little Buddy is his Big Buddy’s Little Buddy. I wouldn’t eat a bean burrito on a bet. Maybe he hopped up there and asked himself, “What would my Big Buddy do?” (If Couper does get the Taco Bell spokesgig, we will spin this differently – “Taco Bell: Our taco fixins are great”. “Taco Bell: Bean burritos; door stops or caulk – you decide”.)
In the end, even though Couper has had tummy troubles lately, he did not get the runs from his little adventure. We have learned that we have to pay more attention to what we leave on the kitchen table, especially since we have since replaced our swiveling kitchen chairs with much more dachshund-jumping-friendly four legged chairs. Finally, we learned that bean burritos are safe around dachshunds and likely deadly for anybody else. I’ll take the chalupa.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fixed??? I Didn’t Even Know She Was Broken

Godiva got spayed last Wednesday. We knew this day was coming from the day we got her. All along I figured it was no big deal; that when the day came, we would just take her to the vet, get it done, and go on with life. I figured it would be easy for me because Godiva is a female dog. I would not have the cringing that a male has when a male dog gets fixed.

It turned out to not be that easy.

We got Couper at 11 months. One of his two previous owners had the good grace to have him fixed. Never having had a dog prior to Couper, I have not had to deal with this issue until now.

My first shock about all this is how young puppies can be when they get fixed. I never really thought about this before. Godiva just turned six months old. If you apply the 7:1 dog to human years ratio, she is 3 and a half in human years. Maybe it is just me, but 3 and a half seems a bit young to be worrying about reproductive issues. It was only a couple of months ago she started walking without falling down. It seems like a day and a half ago.

I also began thinking that maybe Godiva should have puppies. She is a beautiful dog and apparently has some championship lineage. Every once in a while when she sits, her posture and attitude looks like a show dog (this may only be through a daddy’s eyes, I have no idea what makes up a show dog – I assume not biting the judge’s fingers would be one criteria). We are way too lazy busy to show her, but maybe somebody who got her offspring could. She has papers (not AKC, as they do not recognize piebalds), maybe it could happen. At the very least, she would have tremendously cute puppies.

Finally, this is major surgery. I don’t want to go into details, but it certainly is not “snip snip”, like with a male dog (cringe). The old joke, “What’s the definition of minor surgery? Surgery that happens to other people”, also applies to other people’s dogs.

However, after doing research, spaying seems like a good idea:

Females also tend to be better pets if they do not experience oestrus every six-to-nine months. Heat cycles bring hormonal changes that can lead to personality changes, and oestrus females must be confined to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Repeated heat cycles may subject the reproductive system to uterine and mammary cancers as they age. Some bitches experience false pregnancies that can be a bother to deal with and uterine infections that can be fatal.

We certainly do not want our little puppy having personality changes due to going into heat every six months. It sounds like PMS on steroids. We sure don’t need any more of that around the house. (Couper’s Mommy just hit me. I’m lucky it wasn’t her oestrus, it could have been much much worse).

(Completely unrelated side note:

With today’s overuse of the word, one sometimes forgets that a female dog is called a bitch. When I first read this article, I snickered, “Huh huh, he said ‘bitch’”. I actually looked to see if the article was written by 50 Cent. But once I got used to the fact that the author was using the word in its proper context, it reminded me of one of my favorite Simpsons scenes:

The family is driving home from church/Sunday School:
Marge: So, what did you children learn about today?
Bart: Hell.
Homer: Bart!
Bart: But that's what we learned about. I sure as HELL can't tell you we learned about HELL unless I say HELL, can't I?
Homer: Well, the lad has a point.
Bart: Hell, yes!
Marge: Bart!
Bart: [singing] Hell, Hell, Hell, Hell, ...
Marge: Bart, you're no longer in Sunday School. Don't swear.
Yes, I use any excuse I can to throw in gratuitous Simpsons quotes).

I also love this quote from another spaying information site:
Veterinary medical scientists are working to develop a "pill" or some other convenient method of birth control for pets. There are now several medications on the market that can be used temporarily to keep an animal out of heat.

At present, other than confining your animal, the sure way to keep your pet from mating is to have it surgically neutered.

Our little Godiva barely listens to us when we tell her not to chew the furniture, or our socks, or rip apart baskets, she sure isn’t going to listen to us if we sit down and have a little talk about the birds and the bees; especially if she is in heat. So in the end, for your dog, sex education and birth control do not work; it is the permanent chastity belt or puppies.

So in the end, even though I was a little sad about it, I accepted that having the surgery is best for Godiva (and for us - we're not only too lazy to show dogs, we are too lazy to breed them as well). The surgery went well and she recovered quickly. So, for all you male dogs out there, our little girl is officially off the market. Go howl elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Couper!!!

The Poop wishes its inspiration and founder, Couper, a very happy sixth birthday!!!

How do we celebrate Couper’s birthday?

We play, and have presents, and eat yummies, and have special dinner, and have cake, and have a parade…

Pretty much the same things we do every day, except there’s cake.

Some people have a birthday weekend. If you are lucky, you may have a birthday week. Since Couper’s birthday is the first day of the month, Couper gets a whole birthday month. If it were up to me, he would have a whole birthday year. Nobody deserves it more.

Happy Birthday from Big Buddy, Couper's Mommy, and Godiva!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Couper Celebrates 5 Years in Our Household…Godiva Celebrates 6 Months on Earth.

It is the ultimate irony that the reason we do not write more about our dachshunds is that we spend all our waking, non-working hours chasing dachshunds (some of our sleeping, non-working hours as well).  It is difficult to sit down and write when you are constantly interrupted by getting a toy out of whatever jam it was put in, or saving a blanket from sure destruction, or wondering if endless floor sniffing is curiosity or potty time.  And that is our “good” dog; the one who graduated kindergarten.  The puppy is constant mischief.

So time has passed and we neglected to mark two very important dates (Neglected is probably the wrong word.  Kind of like saying that the people of Houston neglected to mow their lawns last week.  They would have, but they were busy saving themselves and their houses.  And, yes, I am comparing Couper and Godiva to a hurricane).

On September 6, Couper celebrated his 5th anniversary in our household.  On September 6, 2003, Couper’s Mommy-to-be got a phone call from a colleague saying, “Take this dog or he’s going to the pound” (someday I am going to write this story in full…I may need to sedate the dogs for a weekend).  It hasn’t always been easy, but he has been our Little Buddy ever since. We often wonder what would have happened had they taken Couper (then named Frank) to the pound.  He is the cutest damn thing, but also the barkiest.  We assume that the Humane Society workers would have figured out that playing is the key to his happiness and would have given potential adopters a toy to calm him.  However, with a room full of barking dogs, who knows.  So, every year in and around his adoption anniversary, we make a donation in Couper’s honor to the local Humane Society. (At right, the earliest digital photo we have of Couper.  Why didn't we have a digital camera back then???).

It is hard to imagine that Couper has been with us for five years, but on the other hand, it is hard to remember what life was like before he arrived.  I think we had a lot less dachshund stuff. And squeaky toys.  And dog beds.  And dog treats.  For a free dog, he sure has been expensive. 

On September 11, Godiva celebrated her 6 month birthday (Like they always say, you can't pick your half-birthday; Couper's is April 1).  Rumor has it that Godiva was scheduled to be born on St.
Patrick’s Day, but on March 11th her birth mommy said, “What is this thing constantly nipping at my insides?!?” and demanded to have labor induced.  Godiva has grown a lot in the 4 and a half months we have had her.  She is almost Couper’s size.  Growing up is another matter.  She is still all puppy – and all dachshund.  She is getting better with her potties, but if she is not making mischief right now, give her a second or two.  And now with her increased size and strength, she is nearly impossible to catch without help.  With some luck, we may be able to snare the sock or shoe she is running around with. (At right, Godiva with her litter-mate sister).

So, happy anniversary Couper and happy half-birthday Godiva.  Maybe next year, you will give me the time to write these up when they happen.  I won’t count on it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Labor Day From The Poop

Whether your labor is digging

or just playing ball

relax and have a happy and safe Labor Day!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Going For Gold

America is caught up in Olympic fever. How do I know that? TV ratings? Public opinion polls? Nope. Our local NBC affiliate keeps telling us so. I see no reason for them to lie to us, so it must be true. As with all fevers, I have prescribed myself bed rest and plenty of fluids.

So, before the fever breaks, I thought it would be fun, and completely original, to figure out in which Olympic events Couper and Godiva could compete, you know, if they weren’t dogs.

Let’s break down their athletic scouting report:

Both: As dachshunds they are short legged, low to the ground and diggers by nature (though only Godiva shows any actual interest in digging). They have strong upper bodies and are surprisingly fast. They have no hands/fingers.

Couper: Much stronger than Godiva and faster than her in a straight line (especially when chasing a ball). Has back issues, which could limit his strength and endurance. Great ball catching and control skills, though he is reluctant to pass at times. Is advancing in athletic age, but his lifetime of playing experience makes him a smart competitor.

Young and small. Tireless. Fearless. Very inexperienced. Has not yet learned ball skills. Just recently learned to walk without falling down. Fast, especially when cornering. Loves to bite things. Has not yet reached her athletic peak.


We can eliminate a lot of events right off the bat:

Their lack of hands and fingers really eliminates a lot of events. Handball by definition is clearly out. They cannot pick up or use racquets, paddles, guns, bows, epees, foils, sabres, bats, oars, poles, batons, javelins, discuses, shot puts, sticks, or barbells.

Even though catching is discouraged in volleyball, their lack of height and short limbs become real disadvantages. Same problem for boxing; opponents may not be able to catch them, but they have no reach to hit back at all.

We know all about Air Bud’s exploits in basketball, but that was against kids, not NBA/WNBA caliber players. Anyhow, Couper and Godiva are even shorter than Air Bud, a definite problem. Even though Snoopy pioneered playing shortstop using only his mouth, something I truly believe Couper could match, this is Cuba and Japan we are playing, not Peppermint Patty and Marcie. You have to be able to hit at this level.

They are way too short to ride a bike. They cannot ride a horse, though that would be cute. They do not sail, though maybe they could sit at the bow and sniff out whales.

Swimming is going to be difficult. Couper has been in a real pool and can comfortably swim about the length of you to your computer screen. Anything more risks drowning. If there was a 50mm freestyle event, he would have a shot. A 50cm freestyle event might be trouble. Godiva loves water, but so far she has only stepped foot in a baby pool and her water bowl.

Godiva is about the actual size and weight of female gymnasts, but really the only tumbling she does is more accurately called falling down.

You can also forget them pairing up in anything containing the words “doubles” or “synchronized”. I can barely get them to sit together for a decent picture, let alone work together as a tightly coordinated team.

Soccer: Someday I am going to write the story of how we got Couper and we will all learn that Couper’s soccer skills are what allowed him to join the family. He has only gotten better in the years since. His ability to control the ball with his nose and chest are amazing. He also can turn with the ball at almost full speed. His anguished grunts while dribbling are going to keep away all but the bravest defenders. Yes, technically when he hits the ball with his shoulder, that is a hands ball violation, but a little creative refereeing in soccer seems to happen from time to time. And yes, he is short and possibly limited in situations like corner kicks, but you wouldn’t want to be jumping when a little dachshund could potentially undercut you. “Hey Beckham, watch out below. Wouldn’t want you to fall on that pretty-boy face of yours.”

Rowing: We already covered his limitation in holding an oar, however he potentially could be good at being the guy in the front of the boat who screams (barks) at the rowers (I am sure there are rowing terms for “guy in the front of the boat”, boat, oar, scream, and rowers, but do we really care?). Put Couper in a boat facing a bunch of people, and he will undoubtedly bark. It may not be in rhythm and the boat may wind up going in circles, but it is the chance you take. The other problem is he may start barking at the competitors’ boats. Or birds. Or fans. But bark he will.

200m dash, maybe 400m dash if she has the stamina: Her speed and ability to corner make these events perfect for Godiva. It would be much better if the corners were not so far apart. She would really excel in something along the lines of short track speed skating on dry land – lap after lap of tightly cornered mayhem.

Springboard Diving: She gets no height and has little grace, but she really likes diving into water, be it in pools or drinking bowls. The event organizers would just need a big net to fish her out of the pool after each dive.

Alternate 2:
Wrestling: Watching Godiva take down Couper, who is definitely outside her weight class, is impressive. We would have to find out which of Greco-Roman or Freestyle allows biting (one would suspect Freestyle, no?), as that is one of her biggest weapons. Maybe she just forgets the Olympics and turns pro as biting is no doubt encouraged in the WWE.

So watch out world. Couper and Godiva are getting ready for London in 2012. It's just as well that they wait four years. I do not think that London will have to put out an edict to stop putting dog on the menu. Though what is in Shepard's Pie is anybody's guess.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Couper/Godiva's Mommy!!!

Today is Couper and Godiva's Mommy's birthday. Shown above are Couper and Godiva staring lovingly at their mommy. Making its Poop debut is the top inner half of Couper/Godiva's Mommy's right foot. It was the only photo we got legal authorization to run.

Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, The Poop was able to obtain this transcript of Couper/Godiva's Mommy in fourth grade show and tell:

Teacher: Waaa Waa Waaa Wa Waaa Waaaaa
Couper/Godiva's Mommy: When I grow up, I want to have two dachshunds. Maybe someday, part of my right foot will be famous on the internet. The end.
Teacher: Waaa Waa Waaa Wa Waaa Waaaaa

Happy Birthday to Couper/Godiva's Mommy! We are proud to help make all of her dreams come true!

Monday, July 14, 2008

TV Review – Greatest American Dog

Occasionally here at the Poop, we review TV shows so that you have time to walk your little buddies. (Why aren’t we walking our little buddies? It is 110 degrees outside. They will be walked again in October.) Today’s show: Greatest American Dog which premiered Thursday on CBS (check local listings for the time and channel in your area).

The first big problem with Greatest American Dog is the title. Twelve dogs, along with their owners, were selected to compete in Greatest American Dog, and not one of them is my dog.

You: Yeah, you’re right, they didn’t select my dog.
Me: No, not your dog, my dog.
You: Yeah, my dog.
Me: No, when I said “my dog”, I meant my “my dog”, not your “my dog”.
You: No, you said “my dog”. My dog is “my dog”.
Me: “My dog” is my dog. I wrote it.
You: Well now I am reading it and “my dog” is my dog.
Me: My dog is Couper. He should be the Greatest American Dog!
You: No! My dog is (whoever) . He/she is the Greatest American Dog!!
Me: You’re a moron!
You: Yeah, you’re a moron!

And so it goes. The point is everybody thinks his/her dog is the Greatest American Dog. If you
don’t, your dog should be taken away from you, you do not deserve one. (For the record, Godiva will qualify for Greatest American Dog when she stops pooping in the house and chewing my hand – don’t take her away!). The show really should be called Greatest American Dog of These Twelve or Second Greatest American Dog, After Yours (Mine).

The second big problem with Greatest American Dog is the dogs. Among the twelve contestants, there are no dachshunds. What, were they afraid that the most aggressive breed of dog would beat down the other dogs? If nothing else, that would make the show more interesting. And as we ramble on, you will see that this show needs all the interesting it can find.

The show starts with us meeting the contestants and their owners. I refuse to learn any of the names of the owners, names of the dogs, or the breeds of the dogs because I don’t care (this is the same attitude I took for the shows Friends, Starsky and Hutch, and Kate and Alley – why bother learning the characters names). We learn why each of the owners thinks that his or her dog is America’s Greatest. Most of them talked about bonding or being family or being a best friend or knowing a trick. Only one came to the table with the dog doing something heroic (saving his wife’s life). Worse yet, almost all of the dogs owned by women, and a couple owned by men, were dressed in people clothes. One woman (name definitely not to be learned) makes sure that her dog wears an outfit to match hers every day. We then see a shot of her at her sewing machine making that dog’s clothes for the day. Maybe what makes that dog special is that he is keeping his owner out of the psychiatric ward. At the very least the dog is keeping her off the streets and in the sewing room.

The dogs and the owners arrive in the classic one-by-one reality show style at the K-9 mansion where they will be staying together during the competition. The mansion is the most impressive
part of the show. First off it is huge. It makes the old Clampett mansion on the Beverly Hillbillies look like it belongs in East LA (the Compton Clampetts???). It has a giant yard where the bushes are all cut to look like dogs or fire hydrants. The inside is filled with dog furniture and people furniture that looks like dog furniture (a dog bone coffee table). As I told Couper/Godiva’s Mommy that someday we should have a house like that, the excitement of dreaming of a mansion like that, and the fear that I would actually have it decorated that way left her speechless.

The first competition for Greatest American Dog was musical chairs. Same game you played at your 5th birthday party, but the dogs were ushered along by their owners and had to sit on a platform. You could tell that even the producers found this boring when after the second round they started removing two platforms each time. I am looking forward to next week, where maybe the dogs will play Duck Duck Goose. This week’s winner (dog and owner unknown) got to stay in the Doggie Suite, which is a giant room even more obnoxiously dog themed. He also got to pick someone (dog and owner unknown) to stay in the Dog House (big dog house with sleeping bags) out in the yard.

In the elimination competition the dogs/owners formed groups of four to put on a doggie/human talent show. I won’t even attempt to describe the shows. My time would be better spent looking up a more powerful word for god-awful. Unfortunately, I am too lazy to do that, so god-awful it shall be.

The talent show was judged by three people who I don’t know and I don’t care to remember. As
decreed by the Treaty of Paris at the end of the American Revolution, one of the judges was British. I believe the treaty, signed in 1783, looked like this:

Article 1: His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.

Articles 2-10: Blah, blah, blah (paraphrasing)

Article 11: In all future United States national competitions, at least one of the three judges must be a British subject. Said judge(s) will be deemed the “nasty judge(s)” and shall have jurisdiction to demean and humiliate the American competitors regardless of any current or future rule of law.

I am not saying that the British judge on Greatest American Dog was any Simon, hell, I refuse to
even remember her name, but there was a lot to criticize anyhow. By the way, does it bother anybody else that America’s Got Talent has two British judges (or that the third is Hasslehoff?). Is this some kind of loophole in the Treaty of Paris that is keeping “America’s greatest talent competition” tied to British interests?

Back to Greatest American Dog, it turns out that the judges have the power to vote off one contestant. This may have been the most disappointing part of the show for me. I was really hoping that we, the American people would get to choose the Greatest American Dog. Isn’t that what this country was founded on? Do I have to quote the Constitution now? Besides, I was hoping for a way that I could write-in (call-in???) our dog, Couper, and make this competition live-up to its name. I guess that isn’t going to happen. The dream is over. The bad guys and dogs win. See if I vote for anything the rest of the year. Anyhow, the anonymous judges voted off the anonymous owner (well deserved) and his anonymous dog (victim of circumstance - I think they actually voted off the owner). The losers took a lap around the stage and left our lives forever.

All of which brings us to two crucial questions:

Could our dog (our “our dog” – Couper) actually win Greatest American Dog? Probably not. There is no way he would have made it through the first round of musical chairs. He would have had no interest in sitting on a platform when there were other dogs and people to bark at. And neither of us would have been good at the talent show, unless we could integrate him wildly knocking a soccer ball around (maybe that would impress the British judge?). In the end though, we know he is the Greatest American Dog. Why? It says so, right here on the internet.

Will we watch? Probably. We do like dogs and it has the added benefit of us thinking (knowing) our dogs (not your dogs) are better than those dogs. Hopefully though the producers will work the eliminations like they did the musical chairs and start getting rid of multiple dogs at a time. I am not sure I can take 10 more weeks of this.

On a much more positive note, and because this post is nowhere near long enough, there is a show that is fun for dog owners. It is called The Baby Borrowers (Wednesday, NBC – check local listings). The premise is great. They take teen couples who are thinking about having babies, move them into houses on a cul-de-sac, and give them babies. Not sacks of flour posing as babies. Actual human babies.

Now, the producers of this show go to great lengths to keep the show from crossing that fine line from edutainment to child abuse. The babies’ parents are allowed to monitor everything from another house and there is an in-house nanny who can act in case of emergencies – say if the teens put the baby in the dryer or something. However, as a new puppy owners, we wonder why they would go through the troubles and potential lawsuits when they could just go to the pound and get the teen couples a puppy – better yet, a dachshund puppy. Want the teens to experience screaming in the middle of the night? Check. Peeing and pooping anytime anyplace? Check. Teething? Check. Running around with no particular place to go? Check. Trying to get it to eat? Check.

I guess it is more powerful to show the teens with an actual baby and NBC has the power and money to make all parties “disappear” if a disaster happens (evidence? When’s the last time you saw Martha Stewart?). However, if an institution with a little less money, say, a high school, wanted to prove to potential parents that babies are difficult, they could go the puppy route. Last I checked, puppies poop and scream more than bags of flour.

The best part about the Baby Borrowers for us is that Godiva had her best night in the house
when we watched the show. We teamed up to watch her every move and kept her out of mischief. When she started sniffing, we scooped her up and hustled her outside to go potty. We made sure she did not torment Couper (or vice versa) too much. It was as if we were being challenged by the teens on the show and we made sure to outdo them. On the other hand, when we watched Greatest American Dog, Godiva peed twice in the house. Maybe she didn’t like not being in the competition either.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

That’s Right, We Bad!

Hey, you, walking down the street. See this dachshund over here? His name is Couper. You best stay away from him, ‘cause if you look at him wrong, he will kill you five times before you hit the ground. Is that a Rottweiler you are walking with? So what. See this other dachshund? Her name is Godiva. She has chunks of dogs like him in her stool.

Yup, we’ve adopted a new attitude here at the Poop. Seems that a study found that dachshunds are the most aggressive breed of dog. Other dachshund outlets are outraged at the news. Not here at the Poop. We are embracing our new #1 status.

Take that Pit Bulls. Go cower in a corner somewhere. Better yet, go in the kitchen and bake us a pie!

The study was done by the University of Pennsylvania and can be accessed for a fee. Thankfully, our friends at Discovery have summarized it for us. I will summarize the summarization:

Chihuahuas and Dachshunds scored higher than average for aggression directed to both humans and dogs, putting them towards the top of the list.
"There is some evidence that smaller breeds are more often the targets of aggression by other dogs," she added, "and small breeds, particularly Dachshunds, are more prone to injury due to rough handling by children, so this form of aggression among small breeds may be a learned response due to negative past experiences."

Of our two dachshunds, Couper does kind of fit the aggressive description. He is extremely protective and possibly would bite a person or dog thinking he was protecting his Mommy or Big Buddy. On the few opportunities he has had to be close enough to bite someone while being protective, he never has. And despite taking on bigger dogs in barking contests, he makes sure to hurry along on our walk the second he thinks the big dog may actually be heading towards him. On the other hand, he has lightly bitten both his mommy and me once. On each occasion it was when we were reaching for him when he was in a confined space and he was scared. It was stupid on our part and he reacted like a dog would.

Couper of course loses all aggression if you just hand him a toy. He goes from aggressive to pest ("Throw it again. Throw it again!!!"). I am not sure where that falls in the study.

Though Godiva likes to nibble on us and Couper, she is very good with other people and dogs. She has been great in Petsmart and was great when manhandled by her little human nieces (can little nieces manhandle? Kid handle? Let’s just say Godiva was not handled with kid gloves). Hopefully she is going to grow out of her nibbling stage (soon please!). At this point in her young life she is scared of her own shadow and of loud noises. One such noise is Couper’s barking. Rather than join in with him, she runs away. Hopefully she keeps a little of that. At this point aggression is not our biggest worry with her.

As far as other dachshunds we know, none is aggressive. In fact Couper and Godiva’s cousin Frankie is the mellowest dog I ever met. All he wants out of life is for his belly to be rubbed – all the time. When you stop rubbing his belly, he looks at you sadly, tries to get the rubbing going again, and failing that, falls asleep. If he weren’t almost 30 pounds, I would question if he had ever bitten his dinner, let alone a person or dog.

Strangely the reaction that we get from people when we walk our dachshund(s) isn’t that they are aggressive, it is that they are funny. “Look at the wiener dog!” “Wow, he’s a feisty little one, isn’t he cute, ha ha ha!!!” I understand it to a certain degree. I forget how small Couper is sometimes. One day I was driving home and saw Couper’s Mommy walking Couper. I was amazed from a different perspective not only how small he is but how fast his little legs pump to keep up on a walk. I kind of cracked up, just like people passing us in a car often do. One day I was walking Couper and we were coming up on a house where a dad was throwing a football with his kid. I was using my best Kindergarten training to keep Couper in line. We were about a house away from them when the father saw us and started laughing. He said to his son, “Hey, look, a wiener dog” and kept laughing. As we got to the house, he asked, “How old is your wiener dog?” I replied, “Five.” He said, “Really, five?” and started laughing again. To this day, I have no idea what his problem was. Maybe it was a Butthead moment (huh huh, he’s walking his wiener), but he really did not look the type. All I know was to him, Couper and I were hilarious. (I found it funny his 10 year old son couldn’t catch a pass; I stayed silent).

That was then. Now we have a new attitude:

What do you mean I'm funny? What do you mean; you mean the way I walk? What? Funny how? You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little (bleep)ed up maybe, but I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to (bleep)in' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny? No, no, I don't know, you said it. How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the (bleep) am I funny, what the (bleep) is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny!

So the next time you see a dachshund, you better show some respect. Now that we have gotten to number 1, we have no intentions of giving it up.

Hey, next door neighbors with one dachshund. Nice try, but our two will destroy your one not to mention your retriever and your puggle. You other next door neighbors with no dachshunds? You better run while you have the chance. We are now the dominant force on the block. In fact, we might get one more dachshund and rule the neighborhood. Maybe another after that and take over the nation. Five, and we could rule the world!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July From The Poop

Happy Fourth of July from the Poop!

Yes, Couper and Godiva, in the picture above, are looking at the flag, not begging for a yummy.

The Poop's Fourth of July tip:

If you are grilling today and maybe have had a Sam Adams or two and you pick up a hot dog that has legs, stop before you put it on the grill, it may be your dachshund. If it is not your dachshund, you either have a bad hot dog or have had a few too many Sam Adams.

Also, the Poop wishes our friends north of the border a belated Happy Canada Day. Unlike the US, Canada did not have the cajones to rid themselves of Great Britain once and for all on Canada Day as we did on Independence day, however, we honor Canada today for their fine contributions of hockey, beer, the McKenzie Brothers, and Pamela Anderson. (What, you thought you were getting a Pam Anderson picture?)

Party on North America!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Godiva - I'm a Big Girl Now

The first and third photos are Godiva in the beginning of May - the second and fourth at the end of June. There is no doubt she is still a puppy, but she has really grown in the last 8 weeks. The stubby little puppy snout has grown out along with the rest of her. She is now 15 weeks old and 7.5 pounds. She has gained a pound and a half every three weeks. At this rate she will be a Great Dane by Thanksgiving (don't hold me to the math).

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Couper and Godiva: One Month Or So Later

Sorry for the lack of posts. We have been exhausted. Couper/Godiva’s Mommy used to go to the puppy store and pine for all the puppies. Now she goes just to warn people to look past the cuteness and envision the hard work and lack of sleep. She is a week or two of sleepless nights away from standing outside the puppy store wearing a sandwich board that reads, “The End is Near!”

Godiva is getting better at sleeping. She does not wake up screaming every hour to hour and a half like she did the first week or two. Sometimes, if we wear her out enough, she even sleeps through the night. But usually there is screaming once, maybe twice, during the night. Not to mention the knack of wanting to get up a half hour before our alarms go off. We have tried a couple of things to get her to sleep. The biggest was having her sleep a soft kennel in the bedroom to make her feel more like part of the family. In actuality what this accomplished is moving her screaming closer to the rest of the family. This may not have been my best idea. As mentioned the only effective way to get her to sleep is to wear her out. Having her run around and not nap is the best option.


When Godiva is sleeping, she is not biting. And when she is awake, all she does is bite. And getting bitten gets old very quickly. We understand she is teething. We have bought numerous toys, nylabones, and chew sticks to help her along. However, given the choice between, say, a rope, and the hand that gives her the rope, she wants to chew the hand every time. I guess I would too. Even though I know where my hand has been (and it isn’t good), I really have no interest in chewing a rope either. However, I seem to remember an old saying about biting the hand that feeds you. I think the saying advised against it. The strangest part is that the hands that feed her are the only human hands she seems to want to bite. She doesn’t bite the vet or the nurses at the vet. She doesn’t bite the kids who want to pet her when we go for walks (by the way, she is the Anti-Couper on walks, she loves attention while Couper goes crazy-go-nuts and has to be pulled away). She doesn’t nibble on guests to the house. Nope, she likes to eat her mommy and me. We have tried all the prescribed methods. Give her something she is allowed to chew; ignore her when she bites, act like it hurts and scream “Ow!!!” (Sometimes acting is not necessary, it really does hurt. Her little teeth are getting big). None of them have completely worked, but she is slowly getting a slightly better.


Her favorite thing to chew is Couper. More than us. More than rugs. More than baskets. Certainly more than ropes. Needless to say, this is not Couper’s favorite thing. He is less tolerant of her biting than we are. This leads to epic battles. She runs up to him and nibbles. He growls, she persists. He nudges her, she persists. He pushes her down, she gets up and (you guessed it) persists. He pushes her down, holds her down, and nibbles back; she surrenders, thinks about it for two seconds, hops back up, charges at him, and nibbles away like nothing happened. She also has a maneuver we like to call the torpedo. Couper will be standing outside minding his own business. Godiva will get into a deep crouch about 10 yards away. All of a sudden she shoots up and sprints towards Couper, barreling into his side at full speed. It reminds me of the old Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom show:
Marlin Perkins: While Jim is out tracking the cheetah as it stalks, lies in wait, sprints, and attacks the wildebeest, I will be back at the camp having a martini and getting a massage from the girls from the local village.
The torpedo used to be cuter when she was littler, but now it makes a sound somewhat like a linebacker hitting a quarterback. Of course after the torpedo hit, wrestling ensues. We are not sure what to make of all of it. Sometimes we think the two of them are playing. Sometimes I think I am on the verge of sharing a cell with Michael Vick. Neither of them has hurt one another, yet. Somewhere between the biting and wrestling, there is a chase, Couper chasing her, or more fun, Godiva chasing him. We know Couper likes chase the puppy, so maybe this is all good. But all through their interactions, Couper is groaning and whining. He otherwise only does that when he sticks his toy somewhere and then can’t get it out. In that case, he is playing, but he also is annoyed.


If he really wanted her to leave him alone he would bark at her. The one thing that Godiva is really afraid of is loud noise. If she is outside and a Harley rumbles by, she stops what she is doing, and bolts for the door. If Couper starts barking at the neighbors, she bolts to the door. Remember the Cosby Show when Rudy and her friends would make a big mess, the chubby kid would take off for the door? That’s Godiva, but on the outside wanting in. And a lot less chubby. Anyhow, if there is one thing that we know Couper can do, it is bark. There have been a couple of occasions when she has been in attack mode where he has gotten pissed off, barked at her, and she backed off. If he really wanted her to leave him alone more often, I can’t believe he has not learned that lesson. Even Couper/Godiva’s Mommy and I have learned to bark loudly at her if we want her to back off.


Couper will bark at Godiva like he means it in two instances. The first is he is playing with a toy (and usually his Big Buddy) and she tries to get the toy. Playing is his number one passion, so this is not surprising. The second, amazingly, is when she tries to steal his food. Couper has always been pretty nonchalant about his food, even though he is fed like a king. He sometimes has gone a day without eating his regular food, though he will eat yummies and is not sick. Godiva on the other hand loves Couper’s food. And it isn’t like she is being fed gruel or worse yet, Krusty Brand Immitation Gruel. We did a lot of research at the dog food store to pick out a puppy food just for her. Because we know she likes Couper’s food, we mix in a couple of nuggets of that along with a tiny amount Couper’s Born to be Wild supplement. So at dinnertime, Couper gets his food first. Instead of dawdling, like he used to do, he digs right in, because Godiva is right there eyeing his bowl. To get her away, we put down her dinner around the corner of the kitchen island from where Couper is. She picks out his food, the Born to be Wild, and some of her food. As soon as she gets tired of what’s left, she decides it is time for more of Couper’s food, from his bowl. She will try to sneak the around the island from his front side, but he will growl her off. Undeterred, she then goes the back way around the island. Couper, being a sloppy eater, will usually have a kernel or two of his food on the ground next to his bowl. If we can’t stop her first (and we do try), she swoops in, picks up the kernel or two from the floor, and takes off to eat them in relative safety back at her bowl. She then tries for round two, but without the food on the ground, Couper will bark her away. In the end, Couper has learned to eat quickly and to guard his bowl, though when he is done and walks away, she swoops in to lick whatever crumbs may be left. At least we know what we will feed Godiva when she grows out of puppy food.


We are still not sure where she will deposit it. Potty training is still a work in progress. Sometimes we think she gets it. She will wait by the door; go out, do business, then want to come in for yummies. Then thirty minutes later, she will pee on the carpet. No indications of wanting to go out. No hour between going. Squat and go. So between random potties and biting Couper, she will get gated off into the tiled kitchen, or the kitchen and the tiled hallway. Because Couper would rather not be bitten, he in effect gets gated off to the rest of the house. This was not exactly what we had in mind, and it confuses Couper and Godiva, but it helps keep our sanity when we cannot watch them both. If Godiva is a good girl, and has done all her potty, and both Couper/Godiva’s Mommy and I are there to even the numbers, we will let her in the living room to run around with Couper. When the biting begins it is back to the kitchen. If the potty signs emerge, we all go outside. It isn’t great, but it is the best that we have figured out so far.


We’re hoping it will all work out. We would not trade Godiva for anything and we have a new appreciation for what a good boy Couper has become. We’ve come a long way since Couper started Kindergarten and even since Godiva joined us seven weeks ago. In time Godiva is going to realize what a good gig she has. And I am sure that in time we will look back on Godiva’s early puppyhood with fondness (that’s why we have the blog, to set the record straight).


And on Daddy's/Big Buddy's Day we got a miracle. They were both good and good to each other. Godiva was a cuddle puppy and Couper was tolerant of his little sister. It was the greatest Daddy's/Big Buddy's day present ever (though the iTunes card and the Dachshund stuff was great). One would hope it would last forever. It lasted until Monday. Miracles are fleeting.

Since this was written, one of Couper/Godiva's Mommy's friend and collegaue saw Couper and Godiva in action. Owning two dachshunds herself, she assured us that their behavior was normal, that they were just playing, and it was all good. We're going to take her word on it. We almost have to.