March 30, 2009


If you think the economy's going to the dogs, then you need The WoofGang's Guide to Understanding the News.

as-set (noun): A useful and desirable thing; your dog. Related forms toxic asset: the thing that leaves your dog's behind; the aftereffect of consumption; Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP): walking your dog.

bail-out; bail out (noun; verb): To skip walking your dog when the weather stinks.

budg-et (verb): To kick your dog off the couch.

class en-vy (noun): One dog eyeing another dog's bone.

ec-o-nom-ic down-turn (noun): Your checking account balance after a vet visit.

free mar-ket (verb): Unrestrained feeding from an open food source.

Gross Do-mes-tic Prod-uct (proper noun): See asset, toxic.

re-fi (verb): What you do to afford your dog.

stim-u-lus pack-age (noun): The UPS deliveryman who rings your doorbell.

stim-u-lus roll-out (noun): See photo above.

tax hike (noun): Walking your dog until you drop.

tel-e-promp-ter (noun): Dog barking on TV. Variation Doorbell ringing on TV.

The Fed chair-man (proper noun): The gatekeeper of the treat jar.

waste-ful spend-ing (noun): Obedience classes.

wealth trans-fer (noun): A vet visit.

March 27, 2009

To All the Dogs We've Loved Before

Not a doggy day goes by that I don't remember our former "Woofgang" pack members who await us in heaven (yes, I believe all good dogs go to heaven). Beau, our rescue dog, who started it all. He lived to be 14 and died at home in our kitchen, in my arms. And Buddy, our beautiful black Lab, whom we tearfully, agonizingly, had to put down at the age of 12. We were so torn up after this loss, we waited two years for our hearts to heal.

But then, finally, I just couldn't resist poking around the Internet, searching for breeders who specialized in the "English Lab" or "Bench Lab" style dogs. I discovered Plumtree Labs, a breeder about an hour away from us.

When we visited to view some available pups ("just for a look"), we learned of a connection between Buddy and their latest litter (Buddy's sire is Boomer's great-grandfather), and the deal was sealed. In a heartbeat, we just knew Boomer was the dog for us.

So Beau and Buddy, we will always love and miss you. But we celebrate all you were as we love and care for these other great dogs who follow in your pawprints--Boomer and Daisy.

Tell us about the dogs who have tugged at your heartstrings, the ones you hope you see one day in heaven!

March 25, 2009

Two Dog Night, Too Dog Tired!

I don't wear a watch much anymore, at least not during the day. But with the new puppy in the house, I've been wearing one more often than not while sleeping. I have this perverse curiosity to know what time I'm dragging my sleeping body out of bed in the middle of the night.

My Timex has a light (or as the Timex people call it, an electroluminesence system). That's how I know Boomer started doing his heavy breathing exercises at 1:06 a.m. last night. Trust me, at that hour, it's very easy to deploy Strategy Number 1 for nighttime dog management: Ignore it, and hope it goes away.

At 1:24 a.m., I was looking for Strategy Number 2: Ignore it, and hope your wife hears it and does something about it.

At 1:36 a.m., I got up. By that time, Boomer was jumping from the bed to the floor and back, Daisy was whimpering, and my dear wife was successfully employing Strategy Number 3: Sleep if you can, fake it if you can't. Throwing on a pair of pants and already muddy shoes, I took Boomer and Daisy out. Let's just say both dogs needed the relief opportunity I provided--and leave it at that.

Ten minutes later, we were back in bed. Till 2:34 a.m. That's when Boomer began Round Two, breathing heavily and jumping off and on the bed. I was out of strategies, Jane was still employing Strategy Number 3, and this time, Daisy was sleeping. Booms went out by himself on his second "business trip" of the night.

Jane reminded me I shouldn't have given the dogs a chance to lick clean a plate of meat juice last night. What, and miss all this late-night action?

By 5:55 a.m., when the alarm went off, Boomer was already insisting on going out yet again. This was my first success of the night, and Strategy Number 4: In that special tone of voice, say to your wife, "It's your turn," then throw the covers over your head and revert to Strategy Number 3.

March 24, 2009

2 More "Rich's Oh-ohs"

Thanks for two more questions you never want people to ask you about your dog:

1. Is he a house dog?

2. Will he outgrow that?

Please keep 'em coming!

March 23, 2009

Rich's List of Oh-ohs

Here, according to Rich, is a list of questions you NEVER want people to ask about your dog:

1. Did he just eat what I think he ate? (Or: What's that he's got in his mouth?)

2. Does he always do that?

3. Was he like that when you got him?

4. Whose dog is this?

5. Will it ever go away?

6. Is he like that at home?

7. Did you meet both parents before you got him?

Misery loves company, so please add to our list. We'll be waiting to hear from you!

Walking on the Wild Side

Jane: "You know, it would really be easier if we both walked the dogs this morning. It goes much faster," Rich said.

I felt a twinge of guilt as I lay groggily in bed. My husband was already up and dressed, ready to venture forth on this rainy, dark Monday morning with Boomer and Daisy in tow.

Lately Rich had been taking Boomer, our full-grown Lab, on walks with Daisy, our pup, while I lounged in bed. But two dogs and one owner literally makes for a walk on the wild side. There are serious risks to this suburban safari: You could be yanked in two different directions; knocked off your feet; or strangled in the act of detangling leashes from body parts and pets. Sigh. Rich was right. I needed to get moving, no matter how inviting bed remained.

A few minutes later, I stumbled out into the morning, a cap concealing my bedhead, and guided Daisy from the neighbor's newspaper (which she tried to to shake to death). At 5:45 a.m., it's a little difficult for a foggy brain to grasp the wonder of these canine companions.

But as my husband and I ambled along in silence (after all, I hadn't even had coffee), I remembered why Rich and I are in this thing together--there's nothing more fun than taking a walk with your dog(s). Maybe it's the fresh air and the beauty of nature, or the joy of seeing dogs revel in discovery, or the opportunity to connect with your spouse. But in the end--even at the crack of dawn--the experience can't be beat. Owning a dog--or two, or three--is work, but the perks are great!

What do you love most about walking your dog?

March 22, 2009

The Puppy Blues

A week ago, a friend asked us about life with our new pup, Daisy. I laughingly replied I felt trapped. "I'm watching Daisy like a hawk so she'll 'potty outside,' but it's been horrible because of our muddy backyard!" I explained. Our friend's wife is a professional dog walker, and they've have had several Labs, so he understood. He smiled and replied, "Oh, yes, those puppy blues."

Of course I'd heard of baby blues. But I'd never ever heard anyone hang a name on the entrapment that accompanies a puppy's arrival. I'd gotten spoiled with our 2-year-old guy, Boomer, a reliable, laid-back Lab if there ever was one. While I knew how much work a pup requires during the first several weeks, I'd forgotten how small my world would feel during that time.

So I've been dealing with a case of puppy blues. But as the daylight hours lengthen (and Daisy's bladder capacity increases), I find the blues displaced by tremendous delight in my dogs and a renewed sense of freedom--even if it's only incremental. At least I now feel I can sneak away while Daisy's crated to rejoin the land of the living and attend book club or breakfast with a friend. Hurrah!

Have you ever experienced the "puppy blues," and if so, how did you handle them?

March 21, 2009

Welcome to The WoofGang

The idea for this dog blog came to me (Jane) early Saturday morning, as I wrangled two eager canines out to our fenced yard to do their business. As they sniffed and circled, searching for just the right spot, I dashed into our laundry room to fill their food bowls, knowing that within minutes two expectant faces would be staring at me from the sliding glass door. I needed to prepare for the feeding frenzy to come. And feeding frenzy's a great way to describe it.

That's because
four weeks ago, my husband, Rich, and I added a new member to our gang of three, which includes our two-year-old black Labrador retriever Boomer. We'd decided Boomer needed canine companionship, and my birthday was rapidly approaching. Because Rich couldn't think of any present to give me except the gift of a lovable yellow Lab girl pup, Daisy entered our lives at eight weeks of age, and now things in our household will never be the same.

This morning, as I guarded Daisy's puppy chow from Boomer, and Boomer's kibble from Daisy (anyone who owns Labs knows they have voracious appetites), it came to me: We four now comprise a "woof gang" (apologies to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart).

So welcome to our blog, The Woofgang. Rich and I plan to write about the joys and challenges of having two great dogs in our lives, and to post everyday pictures of our "four pack." But there's always room for more. Join our Woofgang by sending us your thoughts and photos. We'll look forward to connecting with you in the days to come!

With woofs and wags,
Rich, Jane, Boomer and Daisy


"Daisy, are they clean yet?"

Happiness Is . . .

Happiness Is . . .
a warm puppy named Daisy!