Tuesday, July 30, 2013

No Fair for Luna

New Jersey has been experiencing another July with record heat.  During the week of my county's 4-H Fair, we were just melting.  We were in the high 90's for most of the week which made set up, working the Fair, and clean up miserable (and dangerous).  We took good care of our volunteers and animals by making sure everyone rested during the heat of the day, drank plenty of water, and used ice packs on their necks and wrists to keep cool.  In the end, everyone stayed happy and no one suffered from heat stroke so I consider this year's 4-H Fair a success.

So what did all this weather have to do with Luna?  Because of the extreme heat, Luna spent more than her fair share of days at home in the crate.  It was just too risky to have her come with me to the Fair.  She was not a happy camper after almost a month of being "ignored".  She stopped eating the treats we left for her to keep herself occupied and started avoiding the crate when it was time for us to leave.  

By the time the Fair got started, she was losing her mind each time I prepared to walk out the door.  She would jump up and down around me as I put on my shoes.  She would tug at any article of clothing and throw her stuffed animals in the air.  She would run to the door, spin around, and start barking.  She was a mad woman!

It got to the point where Mike had to hold her back as I walked out.  Talk about heartbreaking!  She reminded me of any little kid who is upset by their parent leaving. I could just see her crying, "Don't leave, Mom! I want to go with you!"  As if Fair time wasn't hard enough, I've got my dog making me feel terrible for leaving her at home.

The weather has become a lot more tolerable over the last few days so we have been taking Luna on as many adventures as possible to make up for her miserable weeks in the crate.  Stay tuned for pictures!

Friday, July 12, 2013


A while ago I talked about how Luna has discovered the fun of playing tug with her toys.  She has definitely improved over the last few months.  When I take her outside to run off her zoomies I try to take one of her toys with us so we can play tug.  If I forget, she is obviously upset with me because she will look for something to tug on me.  Having the toy on hand focuses her energy and leaves me without fear of her chomping on my hand by accident.

What I'm really impressed about is how focused she can be on tugging.  She will clamp down on the toy and refuse to let go.  I pull her in all directions including running with the toy so she has to follow, but she never lets go.  I'm pleased that she has figured out that the game works best when she is actively holding onto the toy instead of letting go right away.  At this time, she does not tug back if I stop moving the toy.  I don't know if she understands this part of the game or if she just prefers to have me do all the tugging.

Crocodile grip on the penguin.

It's hard to take pictures and play tug at the same time.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fireman's Carnival

Despite the hot weather, Mike and I have been taking Luna on as many adventures as possible.  During the last weekend in June, the local fire department's carnival was being held and we decided to check it out.  The carnival happens to be located in the same park as my county's 4-H Fair so I was especially curious to see what the township lets the fire department get away with when they would typically attack us for the same issues.  It turns out, there are a lot of discrepancies between what 4-H is allowed to do and what the fire department is allowed to do.

But I digress.  

We were surprised to find that Luna was the ONLY dog in the park.  I guess most people come without dogs so they can enjoy the rides and eat in the food tent.  Mike and I weren't interested in either so we just strolled around and took note of differences between this carnival and the 4-H Fair.  
Luna at the carnival.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Luna was not overly nervous around the loud rides and games.  She was also very calm walking through the crowds with everyone shouting, "Look a dog! Aww. What a cute dog!".  Sometimes I forget how lucky we are that Luna is this calm in crazy situations.  I guess when you've lived through the 4-H Fair you can handle just about anything.

Monday, July 8, 2013

4th of July Festivities

The 4th of July is a major holiday for my family.  Our lake neighborhood throws a huge party that we are very involved in and my friend, Marine, hosts a pool party that we always attend.  This means that Luna gets left at home for most of the weekend.  We know it's not fun for her, but it keeps her safe and out of trouble.

While she didn't get to come to the lake party (not an ideal location for dogs) she did join us for the pool party.  Luna did great visiting with all the guests, exploring the fenced back yard, and staying cool under the trees.  I did get her to stick her feet in the water to help cool her off, but she wasn't interested in swimming and I wasn't interested in teaching her.  She did enjoy watching the pool cleaner travel back and forth on the bottom of the pool.  A few times I was a little worried she might try to jump in, but she stayed on the edge and just watched with her ears up.

After the pool party, we brought Luna home, fed her, and then left her in the crate while we went to see fireworks with Mike's family.  We have never exposed Luna to fireworks.  We can't see how she would get any enjoyment out of being in a strange environment with loud explosions overhead.  For her safety and our sanity we always leave her at home when we are going to watch fireworks.

We had a great 4th of July weekend and we are proud that Luna did so well at the house.  She will definitely be rewarded for her good behavior.

Friday, July 5, 2013

"Swimming" at the Park

Mansion on top of the hill.
I had a rare weekend off and it was a beautiful day so Luna and I decided to explore the local park that we visited in the winter.  It was unbelievably hot walking out to the creek that runs through the park.  The high humidity made it miserable for both of us.  I was seriously worried about whether Luna would be able to walk that far since it was so hot.  I kept an eye on her panting and kept us in the shade as much as possible.  If needed, I had a bottle of water and a collapsible water bowl in my bag.
Hang in there puppy.
Aside from Luna's experience with hydrotherapy, she hasn't had a lot of experience with water.  I wondered how she would react to wading in the stream.  My last greyhound, Eris, never liked to go further into the water than her wrists.  Even in the most extreme heat, Eris would avoid swimming and prefer to just stick her toes in the water.

Whether due to the extreme heat, her past experience with hydrotherapy, or simply her easy going nature,  Luna walked straight into the water without hesitation and went in until her chest was submerged. She didn't seem at all worried about the uneven bottom with big, slippery rocks.  I was worried about them, though, so I tried to direct her to areas with smaller rocks that she would be less likely to trip over.
Does that feel good puppy?
Oh yes it does!
Enjoying the sandy bank.
Now that is a happy puppy.
After a nice cool down, we followed the stream and found the bridge where the trail goes over the water.  I couldn't help thinking to myself, "Better keep an eye out for trolls."  Luna was curious about my voice echoing off of the sides of the bridge so we played around with the echo for awhile.  It was nice and cool under the bridge.  We wadded in the water there for a long while.
Luna keeps an eye out for trolls.
Nice and shady here.
Is that water feeling good?
Ahhhh!!!! :-)

Eventually, Luna signaled to me that she was ready to head back to the car.  We took a shortcut off the path to keep Luna walking on grass and get to the parking lot faster.  The cicadas were in full force which freaked me out.  I really don't like cicadas and they were everywhere!  The noise was intense, their dead bodies littered the ground, and (worst of all) they kept clumsily flying into me.  Bleh!

Despite the heat, it was a really nice day out with the pup.  I hope to visit the park again before the summer is over, but maybe we'll wait for a cooler day.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gotcha 2!

Can you believe it's already and only been two years since we adopted Luna?  How can time feel like it's passed so quickly and yet it feels like we've had Luna in our lives forever?

Here is a review of Luna's second year with us.
July - Grapehounds Wine Tour, NY
August - Luna doesn't always run when the opportunity arises
September - Greyhound Friends of NJ picnic
October - Luna and the three surviving gourds
November - Just a silly puppy.
December - Luna with her haul of new toys
January - Snowy walks in the neighborhood
February - Snowy hikes at the mansion
March - Luna tolerates foster dog Flying Symphony 
April - Beautiful walks again
May - Luna approves of Mike and me tying the knot
June - Father's Day
It's been another year full of adventures, drama, and love.  Mike and I are looking forward to spending another fantastic year with our favorite (spoiled-rotten) puppy.  Happy Gotcha Day, Luna!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Miss Ernie Visits

For the past week Luna has played hostess to our friend's pug, Miss Ernestine (a.k.a. Ernie).  I've known this pug for a very long time.  Ernie was one of my friends project dogs when we were in 4-H dog club together.  When I was a 4-H dog club leader, Ernie was my go-to dog when I had a club member who needed a calm, well-behaved dog to work with.  Ernie has retired and returned to 4-H more times than I can count.  She officially retired in 2010 after she filled in for club member's aggressive dog at the Fair.  It was obvious that Ernie had reached her limit.
Puggly Wuggly
Ernie and Luna have done well together.  They pretty much ignore each other which works well most of the time.  However, walking them together is next to impossible.  Luna wants to walk fast.  Ernie can barely walk at all.  Luna wants to sniff around.  Ernie wants to go back to the house ASAP.  The morning routine is a little longer since we need to take the dogs out separately, but its the easiest way to keep everyone under control.

Silly pug.
Last week, Ernie went with me to work.  She did fairly well, but I still like taking Luna to work best.  My co-workers loved her and the many noises she makes (constantly).  On our way to and from work, Ernie rode in the back of the Jeep where Luna normally rides.  She was quite the princess to have the whole back to herself.
Jump up there Ernie!

Good job.