Sunday, September 16, 2007

Endless Summer

... If only that were the case. Tinker and Virginia certainly wouldn't mind an endless summer, especially if it meant getting to go to the beach every day. The dynamic duo had a terrific time on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a very dog-friendly area.

As usual, Tinker spent most of his time on full alert, sniffing for any other dogs in the vicinity. When he'd see a new dog, he completely lost his mind- screeching, barking, begging to play with them. Now keep in mind that 90% of the dogs down there are off-leash, but Beagles should NEVER be off-leash. (Yes, I know there are people that may disagree, but once they pick up a scent, Beagles have their own built-in getaway car.)

Virginia, meanwhile, loves to find a spot and plop down with a "snoof"- exhaling away the sand from her nose as she lands. She does pop up when Tinker "sounds the alarm" that another dog is nearby, and then she begins to unleash her deep, throaty protective bark. This began, on vacations pre-Tinker, back in Cape Cod in 2000-2001. We had never seen her react like that before. But she is our beach blanket security guard and she does a fine job. When the "threat" passes we tell her to "stand down".

Both dogs love bananas, and we generally share pieces with them as we eat them. A bite for us, a piece for each of them, and so on. Well on vacation, my brother, sister, and Dad were all there, meaning lots more banana for the Beags. In fact, their "granddogpa" is referred to as "Bananaman" and they recognize exactly who we're referring to when we use that phrase.

During nighttime TV watching Virginia enjoyed her time curling up on one of the couches, while Tinker hunkered down along the side of the couch on a crate pad. Occasionally we would put their bed behind the couch and one or both dogs would curl up inside.

As you may recall, to decrease the chances of him blowing another disc, we don't allow Tinker to go up and down the stairs; so we carry him. Thankfully, he's only about 21.5 pounds and is built kind of like a cat, but it still can get tiresome hoofing it up and down the stairs while carrying him to take him out. It's especially tough in the large houses of the Outer Banks where we spend most of our time on the 3rd floor. But this house had an elevator...woo hoo...good stuff.

The elevator had a sliding inner fan door and each level had an outer door, which is built like an ordinary interior door. Each and every time Tinker went into the elevator, he would tip his head from side to side (like Nipper, the RCA dog), as he stared at the door, wondering what that noise was on the other side. Of course none of us thought to film it. Maybe next year.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Down the Shore

Those of us who live in New Jersey use the phrase "going down the shore" to refer to beach visits. Well Virginia and Tinker are headed to the North Carolina shore for a week of fun on the beach. This is Virginia's 6th trip (2 to Cape Code plus 4 in NC) and Tinker's 2nd. They'll tell you all about when they get home. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2007


April is a very big month in our household for a number of reasons. Two of them are 7- and 8-years old. April 20 was Virginia's 7th Gotcha Day and today, April 29, is Tinker's 3rd Gotcha Day. For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase, "Gotcha Day", it is the anniversary of when you adopt your rescue dog.Virginia was a birthday present for Caron back in 2000. It’s really hard to top a present once you’ve gotten, "the best birthday present ever". Tinker came along in 2004 when we were looking for a pal who would help Virginia with her separation anxiety. Tinker's zaniness has been the perfect complement to Virginia's laid back (except when left alone) style.

He is the Yin to her Yang.

Virginia was very timid when we first got her, especially with other dogs.She was shy with people, but quicker to warm up to them than she was with her own species.

Tinker, on the other hand, was Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky right from the start.If he were a person (which is not to say there aren't times when we could swear he is), he would be the type to go up to anyone, introduce himself, ask how the wife and kids are, and say, "Damn glad to meet you!".

Virginia is a model citizen in the car. She chews a treat-filled marrow bone, and then nods off for the duration of the ride. Tinker chews his treat-filled marrow bone for about 2 seconds, then will squeak, whine, squeal, and chirp like a bird. You might say he's not fond of being in the car. He gets all excited about the prospect of getting in the car, but the actual being in the car is not so hot.

On the other hand, Virginia does not like being left alone in the house. She will bark, sometimes constantly, until we get home. Her separation anxiety hasn't gotten worse with time, but hasn't gotten a whole lot better either. She will go for stretches where she is not bad if we are out for the same time period on a regular basis (she’ll get used to a 9-5 work routine), but then she'll stress if we go out at another time.

Tinker is perfectly fine if left alone.It's a rare occasion where one would be left without the other.If we leave for a short period of time, Tinker is not crated, but the stairs are gated off since he is not allowed to do them since his back injury. For longer periods of time, Tinker is crated and the gates are left down so Virginia can have free reign.

The first rule of the household for Tinker, without question, is whatever Virginia is doing, he wants to be doing, too. Tinker follows her around, sometimes being the bratty little brother (endlessly licking her mouth, ears, face, nose, etc.), but mostly he just wants to be near her. When we first got Tink, both dogs slept in their own doggy beds. But Tinker began to crawl into Virginia’s bed to snuggle with her. Eventually we bought them a bed that's probably big enough for a Golden Retriever. And even though there is plenty of room in the bed, there are many winter nights when we have to move Tinker, because he has basically laid down right on top of her (Mr. No Personal Space).

Having a second dog definitely took some getting used to. It's not simply a matter of doing everything times two. I was even concerned that Virginia would be receiving less attention (we definitely project our own feelings on dogs sometimes) with another dog around. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Now it’s difficult to remember the time before Tinker came along.Now we have two times the entertainment, fun, nuttiness, and general Beagle kookiness. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Anniversary Waltz

Today marks a very special day in the life of one Tinker the Beagle/JRT aka Dude. It's the 2nd anniversary of the surgery that would help restore Tinker's ability to walk. He continues to amaze us not only with with his recovery, but his spirit and playful nature.

Every morning starts out the same way. Virginia decides it's time to get up, and Tinker follows. He first runs to one side of our bed for some loving. As you pet him he curls into an elongated letter "C". He will eventually run to the other side of the bed for equal time. If you're not paying attention, he'll make sure you are by standing on his back legs and grabbing the top of the bed with his front paws in attempt to hoist himself up (which we don't allow). Meantime, she hops up on the bed for a minute or two of early morning hugs.

Then it's time for morning calisthenics. She stretches then he stretches. She shakes out then he does the same. He worships the ground she sneezes on. Then they dance and prance and squeak to let us know it's time to go downstairs and begin the day.

Once the gate in our doorway is removed, Virginia will run down the stairs and one of us will carry Tinker down. While Virginia will hang out on the couch, futon, or on the floor by the glass sliders, Tink will settle down in a dog bed, on a crate pad, or with Virginia in the window.

Once he gets antsy - slang for he really has to go - he'll begin to lick Virginia's ears, nose, eyes, etc., to the point of annoyance. Not necessarily Virginia's, but it makes us nuts after a while.

After both dogs have gone for a walk and done their business, breakfast is prepared. Tinker, as you may have seen in the post titled "The Hunger" below, appears to lose his mind while he waits. Actually his focus is never stronger. He cannot be dissuaded, assuaged, or distracted (where's a thesaurus when you need one?) from his focus on whomever is readying his food.

Once breakfast is over, the dynamic duo settles down for some serious treat eating (rubber saucers, marrow bones, kongs). The remainder of the day is made up of trips outside, sleeping, and eating. The post-dinner scenario looks pretty much the same way. The final snack of the evening is indeed quite a treat. If I haven't been followed into the kitchen already, it won't take long for both Beags to get there once they hear the lid come off the cookie jar (which has a Beagle on it of course). Tinker will knock down anything that gets in his way to be first in line. Then the fun begins.

VA and Tink each get an Old Mother Hubbard mini-bone treat. Virginia gently and politely takes hers from you, but you had better use an open hand with Tinker or you may lose a finger. Also, if you aren't quick enough in dispensing of said treat, Tinker will hop up and down on his right front foot, which will at some point end up on top of your foot, and will swat at you with his left front paw. It is never not funny.

The night ends with Virginia zooming up the stairs and flying into bed, while one of us carries Tinker up the stairs. He quickly joins VA, sometimes getting in some final ear licks of the day and sometimes laying practically right on top of her because he is our "no personal space" boy- before they both snuggle down for the night, . We wouldn't have it any other way :)





Sunday, February 11, 2007

They Say It's Your Birthday... Happy Birthday to you!!! Happy 7th birthday to our little dude, Tinker. They grow up so fast..sniff sniff. Tinker will be celebrating his birthday by sharing some peanut butter with his big sister, Virginia. That will be preceded and followed with several naps - in his dog bed, on the floor by the window, on the crate pads, and anywhere else he deems fit.

Of course no day would be complete without 2-3 rounds of licking the inside of Virginia's ears, the bridge of her nose, and her eyelids.