Puppy Bowl X is Almost Here!

Super Bowl XLVIII is mere weeks away…but, with NFL playoff games in full swing, we still aren’t sure who will be taking the field in the big game.

The players for the 10th annual Puppy Bowl, though, have been announced.  If you have not watched a Puppy Bowl – what’s wrong with you?  Here are pictures of a few of this year’s players.  I dare you not to watch after seeing these heart-melting faces!

Aurora the Dalmatian from Spotted Dog Dalmatian Rescue

Aurora a Dalmatian from Spotted Dog Dalmatian Rescue

 

Bach a Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle Mix from Friends of Pep Rescue

Bach a Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle Mix from Friends of Pep Rescue

 

Brody an American Eskimo from Green Dogs Unleashed

Brody an American Eskimo from Green Dogs Unleashed

 

Lily a Bassett Hound from  Tri State Bassett Hound Rescue

Lily a Basset Hound from Tri State Basset Hound Rescue

 

Check out the complete, official line up here.  Kickoff is at 3 PM on Super Bowl Sunday (February 2 for all those non-football watcher out there.)  If you have never seen it.I’m not sure you can quite understand the level of cuteness that is achieved.  

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Wags & Whiskers Wednesday (#39)

Happy middle of the week at the end of the month!

I feel like all I do these days is prepare prepare baby boy’s room, prepare my dogs for the life changes they will be facing soon, prepare my business for the upcoming months. Oh yeah, and somehow attempt to prepare myself!!

I’ve come to believe that dogs and puppies really are the best way to prepare yourself for a baby. Now, now…I know what all you moms and dads out there are thinking. (Probably something along the lines of “Hahahahahaha!!”). But hear me out. A puppy (or new dog) is this little living creature you bring into your home who you must protect. They need constant supervision, they can’t tell time (as in – knowing when sleeping time is!), and they don’t understand proper potty etiquette. And while I’ve heard crate training your newborn is frowned upon…I think we can all agree that all this boils down to one thing – patience. Patience born out of love.

That’s just one more reason I’m thankful for the dogs in my life!

I’m also thankful for adorable dog pictures!!! They seem to de-stress me like nothing else! (Along with cute dog videos…did y’all see this?).

Our pictures this week were submitted by our Twitter friend Clay over at Cool Dude Air Conditioning (@TheCoolDudeAC)  Here are two of their FOUR rescue pups.  (Looks like they enjoy pool time!)  Check out their blog at www.cooldudeac.com…and make sure to give them a call if you you’re here in Houston and find yourself with a busted AC or heater.  Who wouldn’t want to support a dog rescuin’, dog lovin’ company!?

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Lily!

 

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Lily & Ally

Wags & Whiskers Wednesday (#38) – Special Announcement!

Happy day before Valentine’s Day!

This is an exciting (and scary and a bit sad) time over here at Wags & Whiskers.  My husband and I will be welcoming a new addition to the family soon…and this time I don’t mean 4 legged.  I’m pregnant!  Obviously, it goes without saying this is this is a joyous time for me…just as I’m sure it is equally obvious as to why I am scared out of my mind.   I say it is a bit sad because (at least for a few months) I will be forced pull back from the business and essentially stop working.  Years ago, when working meant sitting in front of a computer, behind a desk, next to a constantly ringing phone…months off from work (even when that meant facing a screaming baby) would have seemed like a dream.  Now, work is something completely different.  Work is something I love.  Work is dogs.

Not to say that I shouldn’t put family first.  When Baby Boy arrives, I’m sure my perspective on work (heck, on life!) will change dramatically.  But I can’t imagine my life without caring for dogs.  Clients – daily walk service will be suspended as of March 31, 2013.  Pet sitting will continue as long as I am able (I am due at the beginning of May.)  Please contact me as early as possible to book pet sitting services.  Regular clients should have already received written notification, but please email me with any questions or concerns – jessica@wagsandwhiskershouston.com

And what of my own dogs?  Amigo is relatively new to the family – but as an attention hog and professional lap warmer, I think the adjustment might be a bit hard on him.  Then there is Buffy.  Buffy…my “first born”, my constant companion, my coworker.  Buffy seems forever adaptable. Both my husband and I are sure that our baby boy and Buffy will become the best of friends.  Buffy has been my savior through my pregnancy thus far – knowing when I need a shoulder to cry on, when to take her brother in the other room to play so I can get some alone time, and when to simply sit by my feet to let me know I’m not alone in this.  (Not to discount my amazing husband…but unfortunately he does have a job!)  The wonderful thing about love is we have an infinite amount to give – and I don’t think Baby Boy will diminish the love I have for my four-legged kids.  

For the next few months, you might see more blog posts on kids and dogs….and how to prepare everyone for such a life changing event.  I would truly welcome any personal advice, any books to read, or any articles/websites/resources to help me and my family. I have been able to find very little so far…but I know you, you fabulous blog reader you, have the knowledge and experience to guide me into this new phase of my life.

So today’s Wags & Whiskers pics are all courtesy of my own two pups.  I want to celebrate all they have done for me in the past….all they do to support me now…and all they will do for my family in the future.

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Buffy

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Amigo

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Sibling Love!

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Sorry, Mom & Dad, no room!

He’s a Real Dandie! – The Dandie Dinmont

Dandie Dinmont

The Dandie Dinmont

This week marked a special occasion in my family – my mom and dad got a new PUPPY!  I was shocked to hear that this new addition would be joining the fam…not because they aren’t dog lovers, but because I didn’t know they were interested in doing the puppy thing (again.)  Little did I know about my dad’s dream: being the proud father of a Dandie Dinmont.

While I never claim to be an expert when it comes to dog breeds, I can honestly say that (until two days ago) I had never come into contact with a Dandie Dinmont.  I probably wouldn’t have even heard of the breed if it wasn’t for my dad’s beloved Pepper – his “once-in-a-lifetime” dog.  Even then, all my Dandie knowledge was Pepper-specific, other than the fact that they were hard to come by.  After years of searching for the perfect Dandie Dinmont, my dad found his pup…but I was still clueless about the breed.

Dandie Dinmonts are terriers from Scotland who look suspiciously like dachshunds to me (long bodies, short legs.) In fact, it is suspected that certain Dandie-Dinmont-Terrierlines did interbreed with dachshunds at one time or another.  The Dandies unique characteristics are (1) the “top knot” (or “poof” as my mom eloquently puts it) on the top of their head along with (2) their hind legs – which are significantly longer than their front legs (quite adorable!) They are only found in two colors: pepper (dark black to light gray…and I’m assuming where Pepper got his name) or mustard (a reddish brown…but really almost white.)  They rarely weigh more than 25 pounds and are only about 8-11 inches high.

I was surprised to read numerous sources described this breed’s temperament as “tough”…it looks like such a little fluffy dog!  They are terriers, though…and terriers that were meant to hunt badgers and otters.  Dandies are intelligent, fond of children, and relatively easy to train.  They are adaptable – meaning they will be happy in an apartment or a house with a big back yard (though be mindful of their proficiency in digging!)  These little guys are great family dogs.

The most interesting thing I found about the Dandie Dinmont has nothing to do with the dog itself, but rather with where the breed got its name.  Originally they were known as Catcleugh or Hindlee terriers (or often just pepper or mustard terriers depending on their color).  Dandie Dinmont is actually a character in Guy Mannering, a novel by Sir Walter Scott.  The fictional Dandie Dinmont, a “jolly farmer”  was thought to be based on the real life James Davidson – who claimed that all Dandies were descendants of who of his own two dogs and is therefore credited with being the father of the modern Dandie Dinmont breed.  I just love the fact that this dog is named after a character in a book!

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The Newest Member of the Family (many more pictures to come!)

The thing about Dandie Dinmonts….they are incredibly rare!  In the United States, less than 100 new Dandie pups are registered each year.  That’s crazy!

My mom and dad’s pup came with the name Dakota, but we will have to see if that sticks.  Even at only 4 months old, his expressive eyes and scruffy “beard” make him look so wise…I think he needs a dignified name befitting his gentlemanly qualities.  Only time will tell exactly how he will fit into the family (long haired dachshund Scarlett is the current queen of the castle), but after only a few hours with this little guy, I’m a Dandie Dinmont fan for life!

Wags & Whiskers Wednesday (#28) – Puppy Edition

Happy half way through your week!

This week, I’ve had puppies on the brain.  I think a lot of it has to do with Petfinder.  As I have mentioned before, I am addicted to the internet…and I have yet to find anything more enjoyable on the world wide web than looking at pictures of dogs.  My husband and I have been toying with the idea of adding another dog to our family,  so finally my hours on Petfinder make sense.  (We are not going to get a puppy…but it doesn’t hurt anyone to look.)

To educate yourself on puppies (who doesn’t want to know more about them!) make sure to check out our post How Puppies Are Made.

And now, be prepared for cuteness overload:

 

 

How Puppies Are Made

FACT: Puppies are cute.

Other than that, what do you actually know about how those oversized paws and fragrant kisses came into being?

After doing some research and asking around, I found only one thing certain in the realm of canine reproduction – nothing is certain.  (Isn’t it the same with us humans?!)  Facts vary from breed to breed….and often from expert to expert.  So let’s just go over some basics…

Dogs reach sexual maturity (by scientific definition “when an organism can reproduce”) when they are anywhere from 6-18 months old.  This age will depend on gender and on the size of the breed.  Female dogs will then go into “heat” approximately twice a year.  “Heat” is the layman’s term for the proestrus and estrus stage in the reproductive cycle, and it is commonly used to define the time a four-legged gal can get pregnant.  Again, the amount of time a dog is in heat depends greatly on the breed, but usually last from 12-24 days.

First signs that your dog is preggers include decreased appetite, decreased activity, nipple growth, and basically any behavior that changes suddenly or seems abnormal.  A dog’s pregnancy last (again…on average!) 63 days.  A litter usually consists of 6 pups (with smaller breeds having less puppies.)  I did come across a statement that I hadn’t heard before in researching this article – “A general rule of thumb is that a mammal will produce half as many offspring as the number of teats on the mother.”  (Has anyone else heard that before….is that a general rule?)  The largest litter ever official recorded was 24.  24!!!!!  A Neopolitan Bull Mastiff by the name of Tia has that honor – one she surly worked hard for!

An interesting fact about female dogs is that they never go into doggy menopause.  This means that once male and female dogs hit their six month birthday – they will continue to be able to have pups through their senior years.

And that interesting fact leads right into spaying and neutering.  I assume that if you love your dog so much you are reading dog blogs – you don’t need a lecture on sterilizing your dog (or cat!)  Now that you are educated on the time frame of puppy reproduction, though, I am going to arm you with a startling statistic – ONE un-spayed dog and her descendents can produce 67,000 puppies in 6 years.  (Read it again to let it fully sink in.)  I love puppies as much as the next guy…but let’s make sure we have homes for all of them before we encourage our furbabies to have furbabies of their own.

My favorite fact about puppies, though, is that EVERYONE loves them.  Their cuteness somehow transcends…and I wouldn’t want to live in a world without them.

Wags & Whiskers Wednesday (#4)

Happy Birthday, Dad!  (And a very merry un-birthday to everyone else!)

If you know anything about me or have read any previous posts on this blog (which I sincerely hope you have!), you know I love my job.  One of the many things I love about it is that clients often become friends and friends often become clients.  With clients, it seems to be a bit backwards the way our friendship evolves: First, I get a key to their house and come by when they are not home.  Next, I am responsible for the happiness and well-being of their beloved dog or cat.  Then, we start chatting and realize we have tons in common and get along quite well.  Not exactly the social norm, but I have been pleasantly surprised by how many friendships I have been lucky enough to start that way.

Friends becoming clients – now that’s the best!  All of my friends pretty much know I live dogs – 24/7.  If it’s not the hilariously disgusting story (“…there was pee EVERYWHERE!”), it’s probably what I just read online (“…did you see the story about that shelter??”) or the photo that I took earlier that day (“…she was wearing a RAINCOAT today!  Look!”)  In other words…they know I’ll take excellent care of their pup.  I myself feel extra warm and fuzzy when I get their pup’s tail waggin’ – it makes me happy to bring joy to what my friend loves most.

Enter Sweet Dee, one of my dear friend’s pup.  This dog has got some personality!  I love all my four-legged clients, but this gal is something special.  I take Sweet Dee’s happiness very seriously, as I see how happy she makes everyone around her.  But you don’t want to hear about how adorable she is….you want to SEE the cuteness:

If you want your pup’s pic on our blog – email blog@wagsandwhiskershouston.com.

Also – don’t forget to take advantage of our 15% off coupon code at Dog Tuff.  It expires January 31st…so you better hurry!

Wags & Whiskers Wednesday

Happy Middle-Of-The-Week!

This week, I’ve decided to feature one breed who is enjoying increased popularity these days – the bulldog!  These “so ugly they’re cute” dogs seem to stop traffic whenever I have the pleasure of walking them.  I have been spending more and more time with these brachycephalic pups (Do you like how I threw that word in there?  Brachycephalic dogs are dogs that have a compressed upper jaw and a short muzzle – basically a “squished” face. Throw that word into your next dog conversation to sound super smart.) and was slightly surprised at the wide range of personalities.  I was under the impression that bulldogs were, for the most part, lazy.  Not true!  My newest client, Tulip, can literally beat me in a race up the stairs.  Maybe I should start hitting the gym more.

But when you think bulldog, you think THAT FACE!  Oh that smushed in face!!!  So without further ado…..

And now…for the CUTEST PICTURE EVER!!!!

Wags & Whiskers Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!

What a week so far!  I had the pleasure of going to meet a new client last night…only to have someone back into my car while I was meeting the new pup.  (UGH!  They did stop and give me their information, though.  Still, car problems are the worst!)  At least my new clients had an adorable boxer puppy.

On a happier, more exciting note – we here at Wags & Whiskers have fallen in love with Flash Gordon Pet Tags.  So wonderfully unique and run by some great guys.  You should definitely take a second to check out their website.  When you find something you love (and I know you will!) use the coupon code we posted in our blog to get 10% off.  (That’s just for Wags & Whiskers readers and clients…don’t you feel special!)

But enough of all that!  Let’s get to the cute pooches!

We have fallen in love with Flash Gordon (shown here modeling one if his tags.) What a model!

Cotton the Blue Toy Poodle! We had never seen anything like this pooch! Be sure to like her on Facebook and check out her online store….it’s “blue-ti-ful!”

…and speaking of models, Scarlett modeling one of my new doggy knit designs. Hopefully you will see them up soon on Etsy!

My Backseat Driver

When I was 16 all I wanted to do was drive.  I would always take the long way home wherever I was coming from.  I would open all the windows, let my hair down (I rarely let my hair  down around people….literally, not figuratively), and turn my music up way too loud.  There was something so comforting and exhilarating about being behind the wheel of car.  In theory, you could go wherever you want.  In reality, it was the only time when I was completely alone.   I was happiest and most relaxed driving in my hand-me-down silver Oldsmobile.

Then, I got old.  You know how it is: those things that seemed so much fun in your youth become chores.  (Wearing make-up also comes to mind!)  Driving was about traffic and high gas prices; being late because I got lost and wishing I had a  nicer car.  What before had been something that brought me joy now was just getting from Point A to Point B.  I lost a little thing….and isn’t it the little things that make us happy?

Enter Buffy the puppy.  There is no adventure this little lady won’t tackle.  From day one, she has loved the car.  Front seat, back seat, day, night, asleep in the back, alert in the passenger seat – wherever, whenever she is ready to ride.  And so it was Buffy who got me to roll the windows down in my car again.  It was Buffy – ears flapping in the wind – that got me to let my own hair down to tangle in the breeze.  It was seeing the look of pure joy on that gal’s face as we race down back roads that made me recapture that feeling that I had once felt. Calm.  Happy.  Free.

If it is true that a smile is contagious, then our happiness in my car is infectious.  The only way our driving excursions become more enjoyable is when I glance out at the cars we pass.  These distracted, impatient people can’t help but smile themselves when they catch sight of a drool-glazed, panting Buffy.  Her two front paws resting where the window lowers into the door, chest thrust forward to the wind, head held high, ears beating her face…if that doesn’t make the corners of your mouth turn up, I feel for you.

With Buffy’s help, my love of driving has been renewed.  I drive with her everywhere I can.  She knows the word “car”, and just seeing her enthusiasm as she runs and jumps in the backseat is enough to turn any frown of mine upside down.  I’m so happy when I’m driving with her, and when I see that look on her face I know she is happy too.  We are both bringing just a little bit of happiness into each other’s lives.

And isn’t it the little things that make us truly happy?