A mighty giant

in a tiny package.

Well it appears that winter has finally decided to exit stage left here in ye’ ol’ Nebraska.

The claps and cheers at the local university baseball games can finally be heard in full force, fans being able to leave the thermal gloves and knitted scarves at home when they flock to the ball parks.

The temperature topped 70, causing us all to dig through last years shorts and shimmy into a pair, daring to expose our neighbors to our winter paleness while we steal those first few rays.

And it’s the type of weather that sparks all humans, whether hard-core athletes or couch loving potatoes, to strap on some shoes and hit the trails.

Now while those trails and roadways get backed with runners, bikes, and strollers, another breeds squeaks in its four paws, adding to the congestion.   The dog.

I love dogs and I love people who take out their dogs on runs with them.  When I go out for a run, I used to be jealous of those out with their jogging companions, wishing I had a four-legged friend I could take out with me, especially on my early morning runs.  Unfortunately, when you’re a woman and  you run alone at 5 am, there are times that you feel uncomfortable and desire a furry protector.

Almost three years ago, we added a furry member to our family.  The kids had been asking forever, begging to be loyal and responsible dog owners.  Santa finally caved and deposited a cute little, Yorkie-Poo, Maddie, into our home.  Why a Yorkie-Poo you ask?  Well, the answer is two-fold.  Paige has a dog allergy, any puppy we were given need to be non-shedding.  Secondly, I’m not a big dog person.  Just thinking about 87 pounds of slobbering, shedding dog sends my OCD into a tailspin.  In my eyes, dogs should be fluffy, soft, little and cute.  It should be able to fit under my arm, in a purse, or curl up in my lap.  (Ok, mock me now.  I’m woman enough to handle it.)  I do draw the line at clothes.  You should not dress your dog….except on Halloween…. and during football season…. and, screw it.  I dress my dog sometimes too.

Anyway, back to the nice weather.  Maddie LOVES to go for walks.  And when I say loves, that’s an understatement.  We cannot even say the word ‘walk’ in our house.  We have to spell it, because, if you say it, you had better be prepared to grab the lease and the poop bag right then and there.  When you do walk her, she pulls you, going full throttle at the end of her leash the whole time.  She comes home still hyped, still leaping up to your waist, still looking for you to throw her ball.  Seriously, how much energy does this dog have?

Too bad I can’t take her on a run.

Or can I.

I don’t know where the unwritten rule about what type of dog you can take on a run came from, but today, I remembered that my dad didn’t call me his ‘little trendsetter’ for no reason and set out to re-align the universe.

I laced up my shoes, strapped on my music, and asked the spunkiest Yorkie-Poo on the block if she wanted to go on a run.  Want to guess what she said?

She took off like a dart, practically dragging me off the driveway and up the first hill, proving she was up for the challenge.  The only thing Maddie might love more than being out on her leash…. is peeing.  She is forever at the door, scratching to be let out.  She will go out, come in, then go right back out again.  Apparently, I have the cutest puppy with the smallest bladder.  That, and the largest ‘little dog’ syndrome, so she must spread her scent wherever she goes.  Our run started out like this.  Mad dash at puppy full speed, nearly choking herself trying to make the leash longer.  Squat in grass.  Be passed by Kerry. Give up squat to pass Kerry and take the lead back.  Repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat.

About twenty minutes (yes, I said 20 minutes) into our run, Maddie started running at my side, matching me stride for stride, no longer trying to drag me.  I thought, maybe, just maybe, this was it.  I had found the point at which one can tire out a Yorkie-Poo.  Then she started running behind me.  Crap, I’m about to break my puppy.  I’m going to have to carry her all the way back home.  You know what looks sillier than running with a Yorkie-Poo… running while carrying a Yorkie-Poo.  Well, my fears were completely unfounded.  As it happens, my puppy was nowhere near spent, there just happened to be a runner approaching me from behind and Maddie morphed into protector mode.  I stepped to the side to let the runner pass.  Maddie again took off at full speed.

We hit the half way point and pulled a U-turn, heading for home.  She didn’t let up the whole way back.  I was in awe.  At any moment, I expected her to throw in the figurative towel, to sit down and refuse to lift one more paw.  But it never happened.

We rounded the last corner and caught sight of the house.  She did it!  She made it the whole run.  Hot Dog!  No, seriously, she was hot, thirsty, and panting like crazy.  I rewarded my superstar runner with a puppy treat and giant bowl of cool water.  She eat, drank, and crashed.  Literally.

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Remember the Tootsie Roll commercial…’How many licks does it take to get the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?’  I still don’t know that, but I now know how many miles it takes to tire out a Yorkie-Poo… 4 1/2.

If only it lasted.

Later in the day, IP made the mistake of saying the “W” word.

Guess who made a B-line to the door…..

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She didn’t stand a chance

Three days and six hours.  That’s how long we made it before we had a Christmas gift casualty.

We all knew it was bound to happen.  Every parent out there knows that, despite all the saving and planning that goes into Christmas, one of your little darlings is going to break one of their brand new presents before the week is over.  The Soby family clock stopped at 3 days and 6 hours.

Now, why am I handling this so well you ask?  Well, because the culprit here is my furry four-legged child, and I’m only out about eight dollars.

This is Lampchop.  She is a cute little dog toy I found for our Yorkie-Poo, Maddie, as a Christmas present.

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Maddie was so excited to open Lampchop.  She ripped her out of the box and drug her directly to the living room.  We laughed and smiled at her enthusiasm.  It’s always nice to see that your gift was a hit!

Well today, as I was in the middle of a Downton Abbey marathon (I started watching the other day and I’m HOOKED.  I’m knee-deep in Season 2 as I type.), I looked up and found this.

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Just look at the guilty look on her adorable little face!

Bad News:  The stuffing did not survive her destructive ways.  I used to wonder why they sold stuffing-less dogs toys.  I now have my answer.

Good News:  Lampchop will not need to join a gym this year, she is starting 2013 as a new, slimmed down version of herself!

Anywhere you can pee, I can pee better…

I have the world’s cutest Yorkie-Poo, Maddie.  No, seriously, I do.  What, don’t believe me?  Well look at this face…

See!

A couple of times a year, my parents will go out of town and bring their Miniature Schnauzer, Otis, over to my house to hang out with Maddie while they are gone.

Maddie has a problem.  She has to pee on every scent she smells.  Taking walks with her is a chore.  When Otis visits, potty breaks become an interesting round robin.

Hmmm.  I like this scent.  I will pee here.

Oh, you peed here?  I will pee here too.

This looks like a good spot.

Yes!  You are correct!  I love this place too!

It’s like they are in some secret competition where the only real winner is the grass…

Houdini

We have a little Yorkie-Poo (Yes, I have a ‘designer’ dog.  Please feel free to throw your insults now.  Done?  Cool!)  named Maddie, but this last week, she seems more like Houdini.

Yorkies’ are smart dogs, very smart.  She understands words and phrases you say to her.  She knows your schedule and what to expect when. Best of all, she’s fiercely protective of the members of the family.  Despite the fact she weighs only eight pounds and her mouth barely fits around a tennis ball, she has the bark of a Pit Bull and thinks she can take on the world if need be to protect her family.

Maddie has learned that at mealtimes, we will not feed her from the table or pet her.  But what she hasn’t given up on is the off-chance that we might play with her.  At first, she would drop a ball at someone’s feet, sit back, and give them, literally, her puppy dog eyes, hoping they would give in.

When that didn’t work, she began pushing her ball under the buffet and then barking at us to rescue her ball, hoping, again, that once we rescued it, we would throw it for her.  What she didn’t bank on was us being smart enough to watch her push her ball under and not fall for her ploy.

One night, after standing at the buffet, barking, and no ball being rescued, Maddie decided to rescue that ball herself.  But there was one little condition she didn’t factor in….. getting back out.

Good Luck Houdini!

P.S.  No puppies were injured in the making of this blog.

P.P.S.  Maddie did figure her way back out from under the buffet and has made a new game of it.

P.P.P.S.  Unfortunately, she has not yet remember to push the ball back out when she goes in after it!