Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thank you Tex!

hello tex this is biggie. my mommy said i could use the computer for a littlw hile to say hi. i love you and i miss you already. THANK YOU for the red jolly ball it is almost as big as my frien the giant chicken and i love it almost as much as i love my giant chicken and my mommy and daddy. mybee if you are really really good for your mommy and daddy they will get you a giant chicken too. my mommy sez its not in the orvis catalog anymore - they only have the littler rooster squeak toys that are pretty good too - but maybe if you call them they will have it. i have a little rooster at my house in vermont and we play hide and seek with it and it squeaks. maybe if you come to vermont to play we can play it together.

are you tired at all today? i am still wiped out and i had a lot of fun and each time we go outside now i look for you and i am sad you are not there. so then i lie down on the sidewalk because that makes mommy pay attention to me. she says things like "stinky" and "bath" and "dirty" but i dont care because then she pets me so i know shes not really mad at me. i have her trained.

my daddys coming home tonight yippee!! mommy says we can go have dinner outside somewhere i like that because people come pay attention to me and pet me and that is fun.

hector at the butcher asked if we had fun playing together and i told him yes. maybe my mommy will get you a treat from hector next time we play. i tried to play with a maltese doggy but he didnt know how to play and i even tried making a play bow and then lying down on the sidewalk to show him im just a baby so he wont be so scared but he still just barked at me and ran away. i coulda chomped him in one bite but i didnt so he should know i just wanted to play.

i fell asleep during dinner last night i was so tired. it was lots of fun to chase you and bite your tail and your feet but next time if your going to hump me maybe dont do it at my head. and if your gonna keep trying to sit on me maybe dont eat so much because your getting heavy. im going to grow more bigger teeth so i can chomp your tail better next time. heh heh

p.s. its okay if Sara and Krissy want to sit on me though. i like cuddling with them.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Puppy Chaos

This blog has often sounded like Biggie is the perfect puppy, but that's usually because I'm only in the mood to write about him when he's being sweet. When he's being naughty, I don't have time to sit at the computer and write because I'm chasing him/cleaning up mess/exhausted.

Yesterday was probably the most chaotic day ever. P-Daddy has been out of town all week, and the apartment has slowly gotten more and more disorganized. Being a single pup-mom has meant that by the end of this week, it was all I could do to make sure I made it to work, that Biggie and I both ate, and got some sleep in the meantime. Yesterday was The Perfect Storm.

The day started out innocuously enough. I had scheduled a delivery of chicken quarters and other groceries (mostly Biggie food) to arrive 6:30-8am so I could make it to the office in time to catch Bruce Springsteen performing at Rockefeller Plaza. So I got up at 6 and started the whole walking/feeding/watering process early, all the while waiting for Fresh Direct. They get there a little after 8 while I'm walking Biggie, so I just have the guy leave 40 lbs of raw chicken (and assorted other stuff) inside the door, because Biggie is tangling me up with the leash as he tries to smell the Fresh Direct guy, and the Fresh Direct guy is doing everything he can to get away from Biggie.

As I'm unpacking the food, I get a call from our dog walker (who is great with Biggie) that he is rescuing pit bull puppies in the Bronx and the van to pick up the puppies (who will otherwise be euthanized) was supposed to get there at 9 and now it's not getting there until 2. So he isn't going to be able to make it back to walk Biggie at 1 like he usually does. Fine, I say, if the van gets there at 2 maybe he can get back to the city by 3 to walk him. At 2:30 he calls me in the office to say he isn't going to be able to walk Biggie. So I race home, bringing work to do "from home" (as if!), getting back at 3:30 pm to walk him. (Amazingly, Biggie held it for 7-1/2 hours, a new record for him.)

Our dog walker also walks Biggie's girlfriend, Zola. Zola's parents are also lawyers and at 4pm her mom calls me frantically from DC asking if I could take Zola out too. Which I do, and Biggie and Zola play in our apartment for a while, until Zola jumps on our couch while Biggie was chasing her (NO dogs are allowed on the furniture). So then I put them in the exercise pen, where they play nicely for about 10 minutes, until Zola discovers the raw turkey wing bone and a rawhide, and then she realizes she can hoard all of Biggie's toys, eventually growling at him when he tried to take one of his own toys to play with.

So maybe a change of scene would be good. I take them to Zola's apartment to play, which they happily did. Zola shared her water bowl with Biggie and they chased each other around for a while until I put Zola back in her crate and took Biggie home - off lead, which was a BIG mistake because as soon as I walked away from their door Biggie peed in the carpeted hallway outside their apartment door!

(Back down to our apartment, put Biggie in the exercise pen alone, back UP to Zola's apt, clean the floor, back down...)

After doing a few hours of work, I decided that Biggie needed a bath since he was having a reunion with his littermate, Tex, the next day. He was so dirty that the first scoops of water rinsing his back ran down our white tub in dark gray streams. He was very well-behaved for his bath, letting me was his face and standing patiently. His fur is getting curlier - it looks like fusilli pasta even when wet now!

I also tried cleaning his ears with this solution you drip into them. Well, he dind't like that ONE bit. When I finally got him out of the tub, which was basicallly helping him jump out, he fell on his face and then I tried the blow drier. He didn't like that either, and yipped at it. I used some treats and tried just getting him comfortable with it. Finally I gave up. He then proceeded to do donuts around our apartment, running at top speed. And he's usually so good about letting me touch his ears but after the ear solution he was having none of it! I'd get him over, get him in a sit/stay, and as soon as I so much as touched the outside of his ear he'd run away and run from one end of the apartment to the other, doing laps at top speed. Until he stopped at the flokati rug in the TV area that he's turned into his den. I think he likes it because it reminds him of snuggling with mom. Well this time he went to the flokati and started peeing on it, which he hasn't done in weeks. :(

To sum up:

6am wakeup
+40 lbs of chicken
+1 missing dog walker
+2 rescued pit bulls
+2 indoor accidents
+1 crazy wet puppy with 2 dirty ears
=1 tired mommy

Oh yeah, and I missed Bruce anyway!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bend It Like Tex, um...

ok, I deserve to be PUNished for that. But the goal of this post was to assist Tex, Biggie's brother, in getting some play:

Isn't it funny how we get our dogs involved in "our" sports? P-Daddy and I named Biggie after a water polo legend and spent much time this summer getting him to swim. Tex's dad is, not surprisingly, a soccer player. Here is Tex in his first game:

Q: What happens when Tex dribbles in the house on his birthday?
A: He gets a yellow card.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pups and Circumstance

Biggie and his classmates graduated from Puppy Class today. For our last class we reviewed some of the basic skills we need to reinforce and build on, and we also had a couple of puppy contests and each demonstrated a skill or trick. All of the puppies graduated with style, and I'm a little sad the class is over (though I don't miss running from the office at 5:45pm to gather our stuff, do a quick change and shlep down to class). Of course I barely caught any people names but I know all the puppies:

Amos the Golden Retriever
Fanny the French Bulldog
Ruby the Mixed Breed
Yemi the Mini-Shar Pei
and, of course, Biggie the Kuvasz

I could fill the whole blog with stories about each of these adorable puppies - all of whom have interesting and funny personalities - but here's a few Biggie-centered highlights from today's competition:

snout-to-snout, 1 on 1 races for puppies to run across the room and touch their owner's hand for a treat. Biggie first squared off against Fanny, and it wasn't really a fair competition, since Biggie's legs are about four times longer than Fanny's. Even so, it was closer than I thought it would be, and I was surprised that Biggie even came in my direction, since most of the time he is busy licking the floor or lying on it. If Biggie had to start from a lying position or even a sit, I'm not sure he would have made it. Instead, he even found time to bump Fanny off course due to his high play/prey drive.

in the next round, he didn't fare so well. He was up against Ruby. Biggie has a special place in his heart for Ruby because she looks and acts a lot like Zola, his #1 girl. Ruby is also super-smart, super-fast, and super-focused. Puppy after my own heart, when Biggie saw he was a little behind her in the race, he tried to chase her and push her out of the way (when all else fails, try to trip up the competition) but Ruby was undeterred, and she nosed him out.

Ultimate winner? It was Ruby or Amos, I think.

all the puppies were unbelievably cute here. Amos stole Biggie's thunder and executed a flawless roll-over. This was what we had planned to do, too, but Amos was so good at it that we knew we were beat here. Biggie was having trouble focusing, so we switched gears and Biggie did a down-stay where I ran around him and jumped over him.

single elimination, last pup sitting (or down) wins. I knew Biggie had an edge here - he has the patience of a ... an ... ? Kuvasz? Or maybe he's just a potato. Amazingly enough, he actually kept and held eye contact with me longer during his stays than when we were practicing "look." I don't know the exact stay-by-stay because we were to keep pups on stay and hold our hands behind our backs when we weren't treating them, and I ended up having my back to the whole room. We were in the ZONE, just me and Biggie, looking at each other and smiling.

All I know is that it came down to Biggie and Ruby. I snuck a glance at Ruby, she was sitting pretty, all perky and alert. Biggie chose to lie down and he even had a distraction in his poo-bag-dispenser on the end of his leash. We were down to one or two one-minute stays with no treats, and on a total of a few minutes of stay, when the humans gave up and declared it a tie. Biggie and Ruby both won a "Tennis Tail" toy, which Biggie loves for the squeaker and the plush furry tail part. I should have named Biggie "Inertia."

Katrina demonstrated some tricks with her pup, Stella (?) who is barely 2. Biggie watched attentively and started to yip a little. I think he wanted to be part of the fun, or be the center of attention, or maybe he just wanted to play with Stella. I tend to think Biggie might like agility (not because he's fast at *anything*: even as a puppy, if he has a choice between walking and running, he will walk, unless it's to get chased in the dog run), but because I think he'd like the obstacle course just to do it. In his own sweet time, of course.

Well, that's something to think about for another time.

Biggie sends slobbery kisses to Katrina and to his puppy friends, and hopes they stay in touch for more play time.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Biggie in Vermont, Part 1

Biggie made some new friends at Candelero's in Manchester tonight. They said goodbye to their dog on Tuesday, so Biggie sends some hugs and condolences. Turns out they live near the Casablanca-bred kuvasz in Brookyln, so they know the breed. But they've never seen a kuvasz pup... Maybe we'd get a chance to see a Brynjulf-baby after all.

Anyway, for Biggie's new friends, whose names we didn't catch, here are some extra pictures of kuvasz puppiness, and some words from Eugene O'Neill, more eloquent than I could ever say myself - but they were given to us from some dear friends when we lost Boo, and they comforted us tremendously. I hope they do the same for you:


I, SILVERDENE EMBLEM O'NEILL (familiarly known to my family, friends, and acquaintances as Blemie), because the burden of my years and infirmities is heavy upon me, and I realize the end of my life is near, do hereby bury my last will and testament in the mind of my Master. He will not know it is there until after I am dead. Then, remembering me in his loneliness, he will suddenly know of this testament, and I ask him then to inscribe it as a memorial to me.

I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their days hoarding property. They do not ruin their sleep worrying about how to keep the objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value I have to bequeath except my love and my faith. These I leave to all those who have loved me, to my Master and Mistress, who I know will mourn me most, to Freeman who has been so good to me, to Cyn and Roy and Willie and Naomi and -- But if I should list all those who have loved me, it would force my Master to write a book. Perhaps it is vain of me to boast when I am so near death, which returns all beasts and vanities to dust, but I have always been an extremely lovable dog.

I ask my Master and Mistress to remember me always, but not to grieve for me too long. In my life I have tried to be a comfort to them in time of sorrow, and a reason for added joy in their happiness. It is painful for me to think that even in death I should cause them pain. Let them remember that while no dog has ever had a happier life (and this I owe to their love and care for me), now that I have grown blind and deaf and lame, and even my sense of smell fails me so that a rabbit could be right under my nose and I might not know, my pride has sunk to a sick, bewildered humiliation. I feel life is taunting me with having over-lingered my welcome. It is time I said good-bye, before I become too sick a burden on myself and on those who love me. It will be sorrow to leave them, but not a sorrow to die. Dogs do not fear death as men do. We accept it as part of life, not as something alien and terrible which destroys life. What may come after death, who knows? I would like to believe with those of my fellow Dalmatians who are devout Mohammedans, that there is a Paradise where one is always young and full-bladdered; where all the day one dillies and dallies with an amorous multitude of houris, beautifully spotted; where jack rabbits that run fast but not too fast (like the houris) are as the sands of the desert; where each blissful hour is mealtime; where in long evenings there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning, and one curls oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave days on earth, and the love of one's Master and Mistress.

I am afraid this is too much for even such a dog as I am to expect. But peace, at least, is certain. Peace and long rest for weary old heart and head and limbs, and eternal sleep in the earth I have loved so well. Perhaps, after all, this is best.

One last request I earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say, "When Blemie dies we must never have another dog. I love him so much I could never love another one." Now I would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again. What I would like to feel is that, having once had me in the family, now she cannot live without a dog! I have never had a narrow jealous spirit. I have always held that most dogs are good (and one cat, the black one I have permitted to share the living room rug during the evenings, whose affection I have tolerated in a kindly spirit, and in rare sentimental moods, even reciprocated a trifle). Some dogs, of course, are better than others. Dalmatians, naturally, as everyone knows, are best. So I suggest a Dalmatian as my successor. He can hardly be as well bred or as well mannered or as distinguished and handsome as I was in my prime. My Master and Mistress must not ask the impossible. But he will do his best, I am sure, and even his inevitable defects will help by comparison to keep my memory green. To him I bequeath my collar and leash and my overcoat and raincoat, made to order in 1929 at Hermes in Paris. He can never wear them with the distinction I did, walking around the Place Vendome, or later along Park Avenue, all eyes fixed on me in admiration; but again I am sure he will do his utmost not to appear a mere gauche provincial dog. Here on the ranch, he may prove himself quite worthy of comparison, in some respects. He will, I presume, come closer to jack rabbits than I have been able to in recent years. And for all his faults, I hereby wish him the happiness I know will be his in my old home.

One last word of farewell, Dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: "Here lies one who loved us and whom we loved." No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail.

Frankenpuppy, Part 2

Biggie ate a whole chicken today. All that was left was a 2" section of thigh bone, mostly sucked of marrow, and 2 indistinguishable pieces of bone each about 1.5" long. He also had 2 chicken livers, broccoli, and an egg. And he's still the lightest of his brothers. (My guess is that at 4 months he hasn't broken 50 lbs - he maybe around 47 or 48.) Yikes.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stinky Puppy

The timing of the Daily Puppy was pretty ironic. It came out on the day of our 2nd-to-last puppy class, and so proud Mom that I am, I sent it to the rest of the class. I wanted them to see that Biggie is a white dog, and that he has positions other than lying on his side snoozing through class. Of course, Biggie decided to be the biggest dunce ever in that class! When he wasn't napping, he had the attention span of a flea and spent much of the class sniffing for treats that had been ground into the floor in previous classes. He ignored his stuffed chew toy (the toy that is supposed to keep him quiet) and kept making eyes at his friend Amos.

To add insult to irony, in the last 2 days he has gotten supremely stinky. I'm talking residue-on-your-hands, stink-up-the-apartment stinky. He smells like a homeless man. Time for a bath tonight because P-Daddy doesn't want him stinking up the new car on our drive to Vermont. The smell reached a peak last night - I came home from work and thought he'd pooped in his crate or something. But no, it was just one dirty puppy in there. It didn't help that I then took him to the dog run for an hour where he got slobbered on, rolled on the ground, got slobbered on, rolled on he ground (repeat ad infintum). We had people dinner at an outdoor restaurant, where he was a very good - but very stinky - boy. By the time we got home it was 11pm and he still hadn't had dinner. He ate his 1-1/2 turkey wings and veggie mix, we went out for a walk (where he guarded me a bit), and then he came in and threw up. This is the 2nd time he's ever vomited, and both times it's been after a night of too much activity and he's eating dinner way too late. We're going to have to go back to enforcing the pre- and post-dinner rests to reduce chances of bloat. :(

By the time stinky puppy went back into his stinky crate at was 1 am. P-Daddy and I have a date to clean the stinker tonight.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cover Puppy

Breaking news... Biggie will be the Daily Puppy for September 18, 2007!

Biggie the Kuvasz

Unsolicited Advice Column

People in NYC are not shy. They will not hesitate to stop you to give you unsolicited advice about how to train your pup. Here is a smattering of the weirdest advice we've gotten. Please feel free to send in your questions, and Biggie will try to find an answer from the bizarre people who stop to talk to him. Can't guarantee that any of the answers are right, but they will be weird:*

***Puppy nipping and teething:***
"If he bites you, bite him back; I did that with my puppy. Just a nip on the nose will do. He licked my face all the time too. I licked him back." Ewww!
"He's doing that because he had a taste of meat. Don't give him any meat or anything that tastes like meat." I guess that raw diet isn't so hot after all.

***Teaching your dog not to run away/reliable recall:***
"Tie a little bell to his collar. Then when he runs too far away [off leash] he will hear the bell and it will annoy him and it will remind him to come back." And you found this worked after you lost the other 14 dogs?

***And best of all, Barking:***
"If he barks at someone on the street, it's because he thinks you [the pack leader] should be barking at him. So if you bark first then he won't bark." I'll fit right in the neighborhood if I just start randomly barking at people on the street!
[Biggie is barking at 9th Avenue and 34th Street - taxis honking, buses and cars passing at rush hour, and what sounds like 10+ dogs in a 2nd floor apartment barking at him, I step on his leash and ignore him as this man walks up.]
"Do you watch the dog whisperer? You know, Carlos Millan? You have to go, "sh!" to the dog to make them stop. Watch - sh! sh! sh!"
[Biggie ignores the man]
"sh! sh!"
[Biggie continues to ignore the man, but eventually stops barking and sits quietly because he's getting ignored by me.]

*For real training advice, try a puppy class or visit

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy 4 Month Birthday to the Spring Surprises!

As I write this - late Sunday evening - my thoughts are with Mama Clare, who said goodbye today to two more precious boys, Biggie's brothers. Biggie also sends his puppy love to the Brothers Formerly Known as Gold (now Tex) and Purple (now known as ...?), who should be in their forever homes and getting lots of people attention even though they miss their little sister, Spirit, big brother Dani, Mom and Dad, and Mama Clare most of all.

Mama Clare's house must seem unusually quiet with "only" 4 Kuvasz, but there are at least two homes that have a little more noise and movement in them tonight! Biggie played a little too hard in the dog run yesterday and has been limping along, but that doesn't stop him from doing a "new" behavior with his giant stuffed chicken. It's a little disconcerting, really.

Biggie's tips for his brothers in their new homes:

It's ok to be a little lonely the first night and day, and even to cry a little. But stick it out in the crate, it is better than the bed. Or at least, that's what Mommy says.

People are a little harder to understand than puppies, but they give treats!

If you want something and you're not sure how to get it, try sitting.

The clicker is your friend. Good things come when you hear the clicker.

Puppy class is fun. Try it!

Mommy says maybe I can play with my brother(s) when my leg is better.

Orvis is having a sale on stuffed squeaky chickens. I really like those.

On Friday I learned how to open my crate door in both directions (if it's unlocked)!

Good night and sweet dreams, everyone!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Smartest Puppy in the World

Smarter than Mommy, at least, who missed her flight home from Dulles late last night while sitting at her gate waiting to hear the boarding announcement (long story). This is the email I got after I told P-Daddy and Biggie that I wouldn't be home until really really late:

From: "P-Daddy"
Date: 9/8/07 12:19 am
Subj: Hi Mommyu

Hi Mommy, this is Biggy. It sure is hard to ype on daddy's backberry with my paws. I gues they are kinda big-like my name. I miss my Mommy. Daddy and grandma/pa play with me butt they don't give me as much hiugggs as you do. When r u coming home? You will be in my dreams.
Love, biggy not so smalls

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

P-Daddy is in trouble for letting Biggie stay up past his bedtime.

Swimming, at last!

Finally, on an 85+ day at the end of August, Biggie learned to swim. Like his namesake, he has no problems swimming right up to you and just pawing right past or over you.

He was in heaven when he got to wrestle with an Irish setter, chocolate lab, black lab, and 3 other dogs afterwards. Biggie will trick or treat this Halloween as a husky or wolf pup.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Biggie lost 3 teeth yesterday! Two upper incisors and one lower incisor. There is one lower incisor and some premolars just breaking the gums, but on his upper jaw there are just two gummy indentations where his incisors used to be. Nothing feels loose right now.

Biggie is also losing his puppy fur. His adult fur, which is soft by dog standards, feels so rough compared to the downy fluff he is covered in. It's coming in on his forehead (though he still has the "bonnet" on the top of his head), his feet, and his tail and his rump. P-Daddy calls him "Lando Calrissian."

Since P-Daddy's parents are staying with us, Biggie has learned to count to 4. He has adopted them into his "flock." His voice is also changing, and he puts on a deep, adult-sounding bark at perceived threats (usually unfamiliar men when Biggie is out with his flock at night).

Biggie also tried beef ribs last night for the first time. Mmmmm.

Other things Biggie is learning:

Sit and hand target (nose to open palm) for things he wants, including leash and collar on/off and for meals
Climb in and out of the car

One thing this blog and the photos and videos can't convey, however, is what a very sweet boy he is. In addition to his puppy classes, Biggie's next task will be to work on Canine Good Citizen.

SHOUT OUT: Biggie has two lovely and adorable brothers (litter mates) who are looking for forever homes. If you are interested in being loved and monitored by this amazing breed, let me know.