Stevie Wonder, Spin Doctor

Poor Stevie. Doesn’t it seem like every post lately starts with those words? The girl is such a trooper, but she is really hating her e-collar and her restricted exercise routine. I posted a little while back about her great indoor-outdoor personality, but that personality has been slightly challenged by the killer combo of her youth and the doctor’s orders.

It’s not much longer, that Stevie is in spayed dog detention and not allowed to go on runs or chase sticks; we just need to pull through for another week or so. And so, we’re trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

And so, we find ourselves in situations like these: One of us walks into her room to let her out of her crate, and she starts practically bouncing with joy. Her tail is wagging her whole body, and she is so excited that she is letting out little squeaks and whimpers of joy. Her crate is trembling with anticipation. We open the crate — after she sits, of course — and then the true joyful fury is unleashed. Stevie starts bucking like a little bronco, spinning like a top, jumping like a jackrabbit, and panting like . . . panting like . . . like an overexcited dog who has just been let out of her crate.

At this point I should confess: I’m not much of a dog trainer. We do teach basic manners and occasionally a trick, but we will probably never have dogs who can do a whole host of tricks to wow a crowd. Our specialty? Teaching a dog to just be. And yet, Stevie’s condition gave us a gift that we couldn’t resist exploiting. What does the girl do when she’s too excited to contain herself? She turns right. Never left. And so, naturally, we started trying to teach her to put it on cue.

Let’s just say that with all the pent-up energy from no exercise for two weeks, it’s A LOT more of a right-turning-tornado-meets-rodeo than a trick, but still. Pretty cute. If only we could bottle that enthusiasm . . .

stir crazy. and possibly a genius.

Well friends, it’s confirmed. Stevie Wonder has officially gone off the deep end.

Since her spay a week ago we have been working hard to keep her calm. Working. HARD.  Sure, we take her for little walks and give her dog puzzles to solve, but the girl’s attention span is only so long. She is generally a pretty active dog, so she has developed a serious case of restless leg syndrome (foster dad refers to it as “the jimmy legs”). She can regularly be found flopped over onto her back, kicking all four of her legs up into the air like a baby deer, head flailing side to side like a catfish. Initially, we were charmed by it. Who wouldn’t be charmed by it? It’s darn cute. The trouble is — and we figured this out quickly — it’s probably not good for the healing process, since it looks like it puts considerable pressure on her abs. So reluctantly, we’ve had to ask her to stop doing it.

So what has Girl Genius done? Found other ways to entertain herself, of course. We offer you this proof.

In case it’s not clear to you (and it is not clear at all so don’t feel bad), here is a rundown of what Stevie did. First, she pulled the plastic under-bed storage container out from under the bed in her room. She stuck it in that corner there. Next, she grabbed the woven alpaca rug that foster dad’s sister brought him from Peru years ago, and moved it over to the corner too. Then, she pulled the rug on top of the plastic container, like a tablecloth. Or a bedsheet. Then, she triumphantly climbed atop her throne and had herself a little sit.

Needless to say, we are impressed. A little nervous that she is plotting to take over the world, but impressed just the same. And we’ve been feeding her extra tasty treats for good measure — after all, if she does take control, we want to be on her good side.

party clothes

Yesterday you probably asked yourself — what is that gorgeous yellow collar that Stevie-girl is wearing? And that handmade tag, with all its hammered goodness — you want one of your own. Am I right?

Oh wait — what’s that? You didn’t notice? Well don’t worry friends, here’s another look at Stevie in her new outfit. Stunning, right?

Over the past few days, she has had a virtual makeover. Not only did she have a manicure (done by mom), but she got a brand new, handmade collar from Sirius Republic, and a new handmade tag from Poochy Couture.

She feels like a lucky girl, and like the envy of the whole neighborhood. And with an outfit like this, can you blame her?

Can you even stand the cuteness?

Sirius collars are handmade using cotton fabric (many, many patterns to choose from), nylon webbing for strength, and sturdy metal hardware. The fabric is protected with a stain repellant so they can stay clean and fresh longer and get cleaned easily. Stevie’s is a 1.5″ collar, but there are different widths for different dogs. Poochy Couture tags come in different shapes, sizes, and colors too, but are all handcrafted and stamped with love. We are thrilled with both new pieces!

A number of our friends also have handmade tags and several also have Sirius Republic collars, including beautiful Great Dane Darwin, and charming fellow pitties Miss M and Mr B.

Thanks for the beautiful wares, Sirius and Poochy. You’ve made Stevie Wonder feel like the pampered superstar that she deserves to be!

Doctor’s orders

It’s been five days since Stevie was spayed, and she’s ready to party. Unfortunately, the Doc said she’s not allowed yet.

So this is where she’d like to be:

And this is where she is:

She’s only restricted for another few days, but I promised her I’d ask: any tips on how to keep our poor Stevie Wonder busy and tired, without letting her run and frolick and play?

Baltimore Pit Bull Day

We hope you don’t mind this break from your regularly scheduled Stevie Wonder programming — we wanted to dedicate one post to yesterday’s Neighborhood Pit Bull Day in Baltimore, where I had the great pleasure of photographing more than 100 pit bulls and their owners. I also got to meet two of our long-time blog readers, which was especially thrilling.

The event was put on by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and BARCS, and had a great showing — more than 130 dogs were registered at the event. Dogs and owners came for the dog-related info — including “ask the trainer” and “ask the vet” booths and a Best Friends info booth, and for goodies — including free dog food, snacks, and squeaky toys. But even though many people came for the booty, I think the most valuable part of the event was the health and safety-related features that people got to explore just by being there. A vet booth was on site to microchip dogs and hand out vouchers for free vaccines and free spay/neuters, and people could trade old or low-quality gear in for new, properly-fitted collars, harnesses, and leashes.  I loved seeing all the dogs trotting around the park in their new collars, snacking on ice cubes and organic doggie treats, and hearing the owners talking excitedly about going to get their dog vaccinated or neutered, or finally getting to talk to a trainer about how to deal with a particular issue.

For me, the photo booth was especially fun, of course. I got to meet more than 100 dogs and their families. It was so beautiful, seeing how people of all stripes love their dogs and how proud they were to have their photo taken together as a family. Baltimore is an amazingly diverse city of incredibly warm people, and I felt lucky to get to interact with so many of them — and their gorgeous animals — at the event.

To close, a collection of portraits from our booth.

Stevie’s summer vacation, part 2

Hey guys, it’s me! Stevie Wonder!

I’m still pretty drowsy and icky from my spay surgery yesterday, but I promised I would tell you about my swimming on the vacation I took my foster parents on over July 4 weekend, so here I am! If you missed the first part of our adventure, you can read about it here.

So. The swimming. Mom and dad weren’t so sure that I would be a good swimmer and I know I can get a little scared in new places, so they thought it would be best if I had a swimming jacket to keep me nice and cozy and safe. I think they were worried about me trying to jump out of the boat when it started to go vroom vroom and drive fast as the wind, but I just wanted to lay on the bottom wrapped around mom’s legs. That’s the safest place to be, after all. Anyhow, I love my swimming jacket! I can swim without it too, but I’m so skinny that sometimes my back half kind of sinks, and it makes it a lot harder. So I just kept it on!

First I started out by just deathing some sticks on shore. They seemed very threatening and I wanted to keep my mom and dad safe, since they are so nice and they don’t seem to understand the danger of sticks. Here’s a picture of me deathing one. Death to stick!!

But then my dad — he’s so silly — picked up another dangerous stick! I was so worried that he was going to get bitten by it, so I knew that I had to death that one too. Here I am trying to death the one that he was holding, silly dad:

So THEN, things got even crazier. Dad took the rogue stick, and threw it straight into the water! I couldn’t believe it! So what was a girl to do? I had to go get the stick and death it once and for all, so that it couldn’t hurt me or my people. And so without any hesitation, like the brave hero that I am, I bounded into the water after the stick, like this:

Well it sure was risky going out into that water after the stick, but it payed off. Turns out the stick didn’t want to hurt us after all, it just wanted to play! And it also turns out that I am a most bodacious swimmer! Here’s a video of me swimming:

After I took a little catnap I got to swim again, only this time, a tennis ball was playing with me. I gotta tell you, that tennis ball sure can fly, but once it gets into the water it is SO lazy. I caught it every time. It’s almost like it didn’t even try to get away!

And after all that swimming and swimming and swimming, I was dog-gone pooped!

So now you know the whole story!

he’s got the rhythm, and she’s got the blues

Poor Stevie Wonder endured a major rite of passage yesterday, and became an unreproductive citizen of dog society. She went under the knife at our wonderful new vet’s office for her spay surgery. As of today, Stevie is no longer a part of the cycle of pet overpopulation. Dr. Vergheese said that she had a “very large uterus,” which we didn’t quite know what to make of at first. Do you say “thank you”? Or is another response more appropriate?

Upon talking with him more, we learned that she had had at least one litter of puppies, probably when she was very young. We will never know what happened to our little Stevie-girl’s babies, but we do know that from now on, she is no longer a contributor. She is too woeful to be proud of herself and will never really understand that anything even changed. But we can be proud. And we are. We wrote last fall about why spay/neuter is a no-brainer, so we will spare you the details today, but if you are curious about our thoughts, click here.

Fosterdad brought Stevie-girl home from the vet with the gentle, nurturing touch that makes me fall in love with him again every time I witness it. I came home and found them cuddled up on the bed in Stevie’s room, Ben serenading Stevie on the guitar. He sang her favorite Slaid Cleaves songs, and I could tell that she was content.

Stevie’s summer vacation, part 1

Hey guys, it’s me! Stevie Wonder!

I just had the best weekend with my foster people!

Since they’re so nice and all and they feed me good food and take me for walks and let me chew on their nylabones and throw the ball for me as much as I want, I thought I should give them a real treat for the long weekend. So I took them on a weekend getaway to Smith Mountain Lake, near Blacksburg, VA! I knew they would love it because they like swimming and taking naps and drinking beer, and I know that lakes are good places to do all those things.

You may be wondering: what did we do out there at Smith Mountain Lake all weekend? Well, many of you smarty-pantses already guessed that I got myself all tuckered out by swimming. Which is true. I sure did swim and swim and swim.

But you know what else? I did lots of other stuff too.

I had many epic battles with sticks, in which I deathed them all:

I also did plenty of maxin’ and relaxin’ on the dock:

I got to go fishing– well, sort of. Friends, settle an argument for my mom and dad: does it count as fishing if I catch the fish in the water and bring it ashore, but the fish was already dead when I caught it? Cause I did that. And then I rolled in it!

I got to spend some quality time with the babes:

And the dudes:

I partied pretty hard one day on the boat:

And I even had some time to practice my breakdancing moves:

So you see? I had plenty of reasons to be tuckered out after my vacation, not just the swimming. But I bet you still want to hear about my swimming anyway, right? Don’t worry, I will make mom type to you about it later this week!

Wait, WHAT? You still haven’t “liked” us on facebook? Well how are you gonna get timely updates on how my spay went today, along with lots of extra cute photos and other fun stuff? Hop on over there, buddy!

so, about that “going for a walk” thing . . .

Hi Buddies,

I thought I’d ask everybuddy for some advice, because I’m kinda having a confusingness. See, I reallyreally love my foster dad, and I reallyreallyreally love my foster mom. The problem is, when it’s time to go outside for a walk, I only want to go if foster mom is going too. If it’s just me and dad? ¡No way, Jose! It’s weird, because I love to play with my foster dad and snuggle with him (just look at the photos of him and me goofing off like two peas in a pod, below), but I just don’t want to leave the house with mom left in there all alone (with her Chick). Even if the four of us go together, I get kinda whimpery and baby-like if dad holds my leash and mom isn’t close enough for me to get a quick nuzzle on her leg when I want one. Anybuddy know what to do?

Oh yeah, one more thing. I also love my dog walker, but the last few days I just haven’t wanted to go for a walk with her. I went walking with her for the first couple of weeks with no problems (though I never did go potty cause I was too nervous), but just this week I decided that I’m not leaving the house with her. Today the feeling overcame me so strongly that I didn’t even want to get out of the crate! If she sits on the human bed (that fun colorful one that is in the pictures), I will hop up and talk to her with my tongue and waggle my tail at her, but if it looks like it’s time to go outside, I just jump right back in my crate. Mom says I’m being silly because our dog walker is a super nice lady (I agree) and she is great with dogs (I agree with that, too), but I just can’t help myself.

Any ideas?

XOXO, Stevie Wonder

PS- I want to wish everyone a happy long weekend. I’m going to be trying my hand at swimming! I even got a new life jacket to make it extra safe-like!

Don’t forget to check out our facebook page for even more foster fun:

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