Luna is my co-pilot

I must confess I’ve always been envious of people whose big dog is hanging its head out a car window with the happy face on and ears blowing in the wind.

Luna rocks her purple harness.

And, equally truthful, I really have no idea how to train a dog to be THAT dog riding in a car, going to Home Depot, doggy daycare or who-knows-where.

There are You Tube videos that offer pointers, but I haven’t watched them.

We didn’t try very hard with the Bichons. They were anxious about so many things. And, what did we know? They rode in crates, they rode on laps. They whined (but didn’t dine) and shook on many drives to the beach. The lap dogs were never going to be the happy face in the breeze.
But what we are learning from Luna is that sometimes you just have to jump into things, like a swimming pool for the first time.

I have learned to utilize her purple harness so that her leash wraps around the headrest and reattaches to the harness with a carabineer. Luna has enough room to put paws on the window, paws on the middle console/my arm or lie down, but in a sudden stop she would never leave the seat to hit the dashboard.

So we took the plunge and drove together. First it was to McDonalds from where our daughter faithfully gets lunch every Saturday and Sunday. A bit nervous at first, Luna was easily distracted by string cheese, a trick we learned from Chris the Trainer from Lucid.

Luna, I guess this is training.

Luna gets her first open window rush.

Then I drove her to Home Depot where we wandered around looking for a spray cleaner. And she was so VERY good on leash, rocking the purple harness.
We have taken a half dozen drives together so far. She’s gone with me to the pet store where we have wandered the aisles smelling bags of food, peoples shoes and (hoping to eat, I mean greet) kittens up for adoption.

Now I’m looking for any excuse to drive somewhere with her. Ultimately, we want to take her to the beach, but that’s a two-hour drive she may not ready to take just yet.

The co-pilot to become a Sea Dog?

How did you train your dog to ride in the car? Click here to write to Scott Wolff. I will update this blog as I receive your comments.

Luna the Waterpoo

Who knew we would have a water dog!

Clearly, Luna the Cockapoo is not Portuguese (Head of Cheese, maybe, given her Wisconsin heritage); however, on a Wikipedia list of so called water dogs (“a type of gundog bred to flush and retrieve game from water”), the Poodle, or Pudelhund as they are called (and used) in Germany, is on the list!

George the Old Man Bichon (who just turned 14) can’t stand to get his paddy paws wet if the backyard grass is damp from rain or a sprinkler. This has been a serious issue with our relationship: sending George outside, only to return and squat on the hardwood floor does nothing to endear (endure?) him to me.

We discovered Luna’s addiction to water first with the water bowl. I have never seen a dog put its paws into the water dish (I’m sure it happens!) I have never seen a dog bob in the water for specs of dirt that came off the aforementioned paws. I have never seen a dog grab a water dish in its mouth and carry it around the room, water flying over our once-nice wooden floors. Very strange!

Later, after turning on the sprinkler, we discovered La Luna lying on a very wet rock, very drenched and happily warmed by the hot day. And now when the sprinkler first comes on, she runs to it to lick at the streams and run beneath. And how she enjoys slurping out of the nightly watering can, (trying) to drench our parched herb garden!

Now there’s pool-a-poo. It’s July in the Pacific Northwest, when temperatures run in the 80s and 90s with very little rain. During a recent string of hot days, we concluded a wading pool would be ideal, but all were long gone from the local big box stores. POOR LUNA! Thank goodness for Amazon Prime. With just a day’s notice and a few inches of water, it was love at first sight: absolutely no hesitation to get in, splash around and even lay down in the pool. Now muddy paws are the order of any given evening, as a lovely mud-roll rounds out the spa treatment.

We can’t wait until the Pacific Northwest rainy season sets in right before Halloween. We’ll have a new problem: muddy paw prints.


The Old Man Bichon and the Pupka

There’s a whole lotta barkin’ goin’ on!

George the Old Man Bichon has had enough. Once king of the (dog) house, he’s now a live squeaky toy for Luna the Cockapoo.

He’s not happy; his anguished looks and frequent yipping when the Lunapoo wants to play (and show domination) make this crystal clear.

He’s probably also not happy about the disparity between dogs right now:

  • Luna toys: 27, George: 3 (that Luna likes to steal).
  • Luna chews: 10, George: 0.
  • Luna treats: “humainly harvested” wild boar, Gearge: “recycled” wild boar (aka backyard poopa-loopas).
  • Luna’s worries: non-existent, George’s anxieties: 100,000.

Any May-to-September romance idea between George and Luna was doomed before arrival; George is no Hugh Hefner. When George was a young squire, he couldn’t wait until spring when he would try to dominate and inseminate Lily, our First Bichon. Now, In the immortal words of Mick Jagger, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” The mounter has become the mountee, and we’re not talking Canadians.

As mentioned in an earlier post, we have come to realize, 14 years too late, that George was probably bred for shows and is most happy being on a lap. Luna is anything but a lap dog. Sure, she sits with us on the sofa in the evenings after she has run her brains out. Sure, she’s under someone’s chair at dinner. But velcro she is not.

And now…she is the Alpha. Good luck, George! Karma is a female dog named Luna!

CoCo and the Pupka

There’s a whole lotta hissin’ goin’ on round here!

CoCo at the baby gate.

CoCo, our bombastic Bombay cat, who we sometimes call Co2, has been sounding as if she has a gas leak whenever Luna the Cockapoo gets too close or escapes the kitchen baby gate we forgot to close. Hissssssssssss.

George, the Old Man Bichon, couldn’t be happier: either he’s smiling, thinking the cat is getting her just desserts after all the years of “Whackapoodle” or just thinking, ‘glad it’s not me.’ Luna has been harassing George a bit lately.

Surprisingly, despite a size advantage (CoCo’s 17 lbs to Luna’s 11 lbs.), the dog frightens CoCo. When a passage is available, you can be sure Luna will run to the living room. If CoCo is hanging out, much kitty kursing will go on before the cat runs off and the game is on.

CoCo now hangs out upstairs and Luna runs around unawares.

CoCo – Luna détente.

Funny thing, CoCo was a rescue cat seven years ago and initially lived with big dogs. We have always thought she thinks herself a dog, stomping around the house in the most un-kitty-like fashion. Much like “Skippy Jon Jones,” a fictional Siamese who imagines himself a Chihuahua, CoCo’s imagination doesn’t match her reality— or frailty.

Some day they may be best buds, but right now they are best enemies in the truest “Tom-and-Jerry” sense.

One of our puppy books suggests “the key (to pet family introductions) is to slowly allow the two animals to be comfortable with each other.” Truth be told, CoCo will come up to the gate to sniff Luna. CoCo will also patrol around puppy territory when Luna is temporarily in her pen and/or asleep there.

Coco and Luna: not yet best buds.

We are getting to know Luna’s rhythms: happy-go-lucky in the morning, siesta in the afternoon, extended greetings and a full dinner, then ZOOM! the energy burst kicks in. Cat and dog introductions would make better sense during the down times, but right now CoCo is just too exciting and new to Luna.

We could still consider a Swiss boarding school for learning proper introductions, but Luna doesn’t have all her shots yet and Coco flunked crate class.

Calla lilies are a no-no

Uh-oh, what’s this?? Which dog threw up the Milk Bone treat?

And so began a frantic, all-hands effort to keep Luna the Cockapoo safe in the backyard.

George, the Old Man Bichon, was never one to take any interest in the shrubs. He was less interested in the grass after a rain, preferring to relieve himself indoors, which is very problematic here in Oregon to say the least.

Luna destroys another day lily.

Luna has taken a great liking to lying on several day lilies; at last count there are (were) nearly a dozen day lilies that have thrived for five or more years in our backyard. She thinks chewing the stalks of bear’s breeches is great fun as well. But when she started taking notice of the calla lilies we had planted earlier this spring, we started to distract her.

When she first came home, our daughter who has a personal fear that foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) near the garden are poisonous to her, pointed out a Google search that indicated foxgloves are a toxic plant to dogs. Luna’s care became a tool to dispense with the foxgloves, also planted last year and which were thriving. I moved them.

But we’re also wanting Luna (and our daughter!) to be on her own; independence was a trait we thought we observed in Luna when we were researching Cockapoos (see my earlier blog, “Breeding the right ingredients.”)

Despite our best intentions and during a brief period unsupervised, we found calla lily blooms on the patio that had been Luna-tized. And then there was the half digested Milk Bone next to the calla lily. That and a slightly lethargic dog made us take notice. The vet, with whom we are now on a first name basis, was duly alerted. Many frantic hourly texts and calls later, Luna was very much alive and wanting to play ball.

Luna’s favorite dead lily bed.

Once again, out came the Google searches. Yes, calla lilies are harmful. A brief memorial was held for dead flowers; Luna the most beloved lingered nearby. The surviving calla lilies took new residence in the front yard. So did the azaleas. Now there are moon-sized craters where landscaping once thrived.

Further searches uncovered a longer list of toxic landscaping, care of the ASPCA (click here to read the list). Our daughter is on red alert.

Our backyard may never be the same…