Monday, March 30, 2009

Working: Dockside Ambassador

Walking along the New River in Fort Lauderale, Madison spends a good bit of time as Dockside Ambassador. She meets a lot of the dogs visiting aboard sailboats and yachts. These dogs all have really interesting jobs. They have lots of stories to tell and they usually make friends pretty quickly.

Like Buster, who Madison made friends with today. Buster is a sea-going Airedale. How cool is that? Buster takes care of his people aboard the motor yacht, "Pointless," which is registered in Les Cheneaux Islands, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Can you imagine how many sea-hours he logs?
They were all the way down here, in South Florida, for a five day visit. They docked along the Riverwalk right by our condo.

Boat-dogs have to be pretty versatile. They usually wear a life vest, or stay on a tether or even in their kennel when they are out to sea. They have to be sure of foot, too, so that they don't slip around the deck.
They are guard dogs and companions and in charge of lots of things, like watching the weather and making sure that sharks stay off the boat and in the water. They have to be well-behaved in a small space, and get along without complaining in strange places. And know when NOT to jump off. They have to have FOUR sea-legs!

Most Gigantic Tennis Ball

Madison with Keileigh (Irish Setter), Lexic (Golden Retriever) and Jogi (Gorgeous Black Rescue). Thank you, Peter. That was fun!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Smell the Flowers

Welcome spring. All the rain is reinvigorating our tropical paradise.

Today the clouds are fighting with the sun. Spring-breakers are spending more time in the bars than on the beach. Tomorrow we have a forecast for thunderstorms all day.

The rainy season is beginning. H-Mom needs to find her yellow slicker. Foul weather gear is a necessity for both boaters and Floridians.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Long of leg

Tuesday, we went en famille to visit Madison's breeder. Madison was put in her place -- troublesome teenager -- by her mother, Ariel, and played with the sweetest little girl puppy, Happy, from the new litter.

Cynthia said that Madison looks beautiful, but perhaps a little "hocky," which I reported to our doggy-type friends the next morning at the dog park.

Not "hawky," "hocky" I had to clarify. No, not like a giant bird. Conjuring images of pork products. Miss Piggy.

"That must be the thighs, like she has 'thunder thighs,'" someone observed. We all stared with a mixture of appreciation and confusion at Madison's muscular upper legs. She looks like an athlete. There was mention of women who play sports. Swimmers' shoulders. Sprinters' thighs.

"Yes, her butt is getting big," was one comment.

But, no, "hocky," would be large or long in the hock, which is basically the calf, or the lower portion of the leg. Not "calf," as in beasts that need to be tended and herded. Calf. The lower leg, not the thigh.

As in, you have "cankles." Or "those aren't calves, they are steers." Chortle.

Nick the Rottweiler is still staring at her admiration. "Great gams," he may be thinking. Those are real calves, great stems. Not hocky in his view.

Sigh. Madison is depressed today. She is moping. This will pass.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Just an easy hop

Madison can now jump into the back of the Explorer. This is wonderful, because at 60+ pounds, H-Mom was beginning to have a difficult time finding an easy place to grab the girl, and an even more difficult time hoisting her into the car in a fashion that was not awkward or ridiculous looking. The valets were starting to snicker.

All sense of decorum flew out the window as soon as H-Mom and Madison started the WWF posturing to get into the car.

But now.

Madison has discovered how wonderful it is to hop up. And she is becoming a "stealth jumper." And she quickly and very very quietly makes herself comfortable. The bed. The sofa. That's a lot of dog to move "off." And she allows herself to be removed very reluctantly.

That's a space-hogger, and even in a big bed, a really big, luxurious Stearns & Foster, three would be a crowd.

Although the teen-human points out that there is only one PERSON in her bed, and therefore room for a dog.

And about the sofas. The Man-Dad points out that those two leather sofas have been a comfortable snuggling zone for three black labradors and a citified coonhound, so why not a giant, well-groomed, family-loving, showgirl?

So we have a compromise: Madison will be allowed on the sofas, but not the bed.

And Madison adds a P.S.


And H-Mom adds a P.S.S.

Man. These stink to high-heaven. Worse than gym socks. Worse than work boots. If you are eating these, you are definately NOT getting on the bed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What kind of dog are you?

There is an interesting list of dog breeds, sorted from 1 to 5, with 5 being recommended for Novice Owners.

Madison is a 1. In a very cool group of dogs for "experienced handlers," and the good company of Akitas, Malamutes and Mastiffs. Among others.

Is she a tough dog to handle? Well ... H-mom is very lucky to be able to spend almost every hour of every day working with her, or knowing that Madison is with the teen-human or Man-dad. And Madison got a great start, with a veteran breeder, a very sweet mother and incredible socialization as a puppy.

But she is mouthy. She is quite a handful. And sassy. And very smart. And she really can cop an attitude.

We are living with two mantras:
  1. NILIF (nothing in life is free)
  2. A tired dog is a happy dog
So ... yes, H-Mom would agree that a Giant is a very challenging puppy. Someone warned that right around 3 years old, they turn into a$$holes (her word not ours!) for about six months. And if you get through it, they are a dream.

We are wondering. What number are you? Does it ring correct?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dancing is highly recommended.

Because, look! It rained. And it's still raining! And it's supposed to rain all week.

Who cares if it's wet. And even the grass is swimming. We'll go to the dog park any way, and dance in the downpour.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rain Dance

It has been brutally dry in South Florida. We are now in the midst of drought conditions, with warnings about wild fires and water conservation. South Florida has not had this kind of a dry spell since 1932.

On the morning news, residents are cautioned not to pull off the road onto areas of dry grass, lest a hot exhaust pipe set everything ablaze.

The palm trees are still green. And they offer a bit of shade.

There are patches of green around the heads of the underground water systems. Nice for nosing around.

Even a very short walk makes the fountains look more appealing than usual.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Full Moon Morning

Last night the moon was small, bright and full over our building. The sky was very dark, and the decorative uplighting along the Riverwalk brick path made the fig-wrapped trees look eerily possessed.

This morning, the moon was a huge glowing orb in the western sky. Madison spent her morning workout at a dog park in Plantation, a good bit further from home than our usual hangout. The park is called "Happy Tails Park," and it is beautiful, with a huge grassy lawn and lovely backyard type trees. It is more "suburban" than our regular park, which is more wild and forest preserve-like in feeling.

H-Mom can't quite shake the "cemetery" kind of feeling that the huge gates and memorials and sign stones empart. But Madison loves it there. It's kind of cool, too, that there is a separate fenced and locked area for the training of police canines. They workout there in the evenings, which would be really interesting to watch.

"Bark Park" as Snyder Park is being resodded and is closed for two weeks. No one is complaining, because the park has become not much more than a huge dust bowl. Still, we are all challenged to find an alternate outlet for dogs in need of leg-stretching, all-out rough-housing play time.

It was interesting to watch Madison make her way with a new group of dogs. She took on the role of puppy, bowing and strenuously wagging her little stump of a tail with the sheepish cower of a youngster.

This morning, she was more in the mode of a "regular" already running to the gate like the appointed official greeting committee.

Madison also seems to garnering an inordinate amount of attention from the male dogs. We know she is a natural beauty, but H-Mom is going to do some googling about first heat. Madison is quite the lover-girl and she is more than pleased to roll on her back and submit to attention. H-Mom is feeling like a helicopter parent, admonishing giggling dog owners to "keep your dog from HUMPING my puppy ..."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Giant and Mini

They seemed to know that they were cousins of a sort. The two schnauzers had an instant affinity for each other. And they lost no time in showing off together, too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

bavarian princess

H-Mom and Man-Dad met for lunch this week, and brought Madison along so that she could meet Dani, who Mad-Dad discovered is the mom of Diesel, a male Giant Schnauzer from the same breeder.

Dani is so cool. She said Madison looks just like Diesel but much smaller. And she had a gift for Madison - a blue and white bandana with the Bavarian coat of arms. The bandana was sent to Dani by her mother who lives in Germany.

"A Bavarian bandana for a Bavarian dog," she said.

true colors thursday - YELLOW!

In recognition of True Colors Thursday - YELLOW!, H-Mom started routing through the bins in the gallery, looking for a really good yellow. A dynamic yellow. A truly happy, uplifting yellow. Sunny or golden, it didn't matter.

Which involved pulling out multiple canvases, hefting some big frames around and finding Madison's comb and brush. A proper photo shoot.

Hide Me.

Yes, I agree it's predominantly YELLOW.

Is this all necessary? At this moment why do I feel like a prop
and not the center of attention?

(Monique Laxer, "Golden Sensation," Mixed Media, 40" x 30")

That's way enough. I'm out of here.
(What an unfortunate photograph. Again,
do not say anything about the size of the BUTT.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I think my butt gettin big!

So, if you've been following Madison's weight gain chart, you might have noticed that she lagged for a few weeks, which might have been the result of being off her food for a couple days and fighting an eye infection. She was just out of sorts.

The outcome was that her vet gave orders for H-Mom to increase her food from 1-1/2 cups of Wellness/Canidae mix in the morning and again in the evening, to a full 2 cups twice a day. Not only is she growing fast, but she gets a great deal more rigorous exercise than most dogs, and absolutely more than most condo-dogs.

With the exception of a few 'slow' days, Madison has been eating every last kibble. Of course, in a very lady-like manner. No scarfing, snarfing or chowing down. Just quietly, kibble by kibble. And still enjoying liberal snacks - biscuits, dried sweet potato wrapped with duck, blueberry crunchies, a fresh beef marrow bone every few days and a sprinkling of ZEN dog treats.

And now she seems to be growing in front of everyone's eyes.

And MADISON wants to know, "Do you think my BUTT looks big?"

And how come H-Mom keeps humming the Nelly song, "It's gettin hot in here ..."

How inappropriate. Talk about making a girl paranoid. Or something. Now she is talking about having Madison audition for a part in the following music video: the "big butt" part. They could cast a Giant Schnauzer to dance in front of a mirror, suspiciously eying the offending body part.

musings on a giant schnauzer in a little MEDIUM LARGE package