Gonzo’s favorite things: big brothers

In case it hasn’t been totally clear from reading our blog over the past few weeks, Gonzo absolutely adores his big brother. He follows Chick around everywhere and is always trying to play with him and snuggle on him. He hits Chick over the head with toys trying to entice him to play chase, and regularly sits down directly on top of a sleeping Chick as though it were the only seat in the house, even when it’s super hot and snuggling makes no sense. Lately, he has taken to imitation as his favorite way to flatter his big foster brother. Sometimes we come into a room to find them sleeping in the exact same pose, like this.

The way in which little Mr. Ears has bonded with Chick has made us pretty sure that whoever adopts him will have to have another dog to keep him company, or at least a few kids in the 6+ age range. He really thrives off company more than your average dog.

For more info about adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or through Partnership for Animal Welfare.

Advertisements

how to make a doubledog sleeping bag

By request, I’m posting an explanation of how to make a dog sleeping bag similar to the one Mr. Gonzo Bunny-Ears and Chick have been modeling over the past few weeks, especially here.

The final dimensions of our bag are 35 inches deep by 31 inches wide. I wanted a bag that was small enough to be cozy but big enough that Chick could get in and turn fully around so his face could point outward, and this seemed like the right size. Turns out it’s the perfect size for Chick, but also the perfect size for 50 pound Chick and 35 pound Gonzo.

The dimensions of the fabric that I’ve listed are estimates – I don’t think I measured when I first put this bag together, and if I did, I definitely didn’t write the measurements down.

I sewed this using a regular low-end sewing machine, though it would have been much easier (read: fewer jams) if I had a heavy-duty machine. It would also be possible to sew this by hand, of course, though it would take more time and patience.

A final note: I am not an experienced seamstress and in fact I have only sewn a few things in my life, which explains the lack of actual sewing terminology below. Hopefully this is easy to follow anyway.

MATERIALS:

Red fleece. 40”x70”. I used the most heavy-duty fleece I could find.

Beige fleece. 40×70”. For the inside of the bag, I opted for the kind of fleece that resembles lambsfleece.

Quilt filling or egg crate mattress topper: 36×30”. I used quilt filler and actually had to sew it to the fleece, but if I did it again I would use the egg crate mattress pad and simply make a pouch for it just like the instructions below show.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place red fleece and beige fleece on top of each other with the right sides facing. Sew around the to long sides and one short side using a double straight stitch, about an inch in from the edges.

Turn right side out, so the seams are hidden. Place the foam or filler on top of the fleece, arranging it about two inches from the unsewn edge. Mark the fabric about 1-2 inches from the other side of the foam or filler, and sew with a double straight stitch. Slide the foam or filler in to the slot you have made for it.

Fold the sleeping so that the short sides are aligned, with the inside out (red fabric should be on the inside).  Sew with a double-straight stitch or hand-finish to bind the two edges together.

Turn your bag inside out, and enjoy!!

smells like springtime

Well, springtime is officially here. Mr. Gonzo Bunny-Ears doesn’t mind cold weather, but he really loves when it’s warm and sunny out. On days like this Sunday, when it was in the high 60s and sunny, he spent the day lounging and running around on the deck and in the yard, taking in the sights and smells of springtime. Even when he’s inside, he likes to sit right by the screen door and gently sniff the air when the breeze wafts in. Bonus points if he gets to sit right next to his big brother during the lookout.

For more info about adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or through Partnership for Animal Welfare.

a tongue-bath standoff

Gonzo and Chick decided that they each needed a bath, but they both hate the bathtub. So they had the brilliant idea of giving each other a bath instead. A tongue bath.

For more info about adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or through Partnership for Animal Welfare.

ISO companionship for Junior

When Gonzo Bunny-Ears first came into our home, it seemed to us that he was very mellow, very flexible, and could fit well into any number of forever-home situations. This is still true. But, as time goes on, we are gaining some more insights into the kind of family that would make Mr. Ears happiest.

What is so clear, and yet we didn’t notice it before, is that Gonzo really thrives on companionship. Really thrives. All dogs are social animals, yes,  but Gonzo seems to need companionship more than others. For example. When he is with our dear Chick, he is a totally different dog than when he is alone. He is more mellow, more affectionate, more obedient, and seemingly happier. When Chick is not around, Gonzo is always on the move, looking for an activity. Very industrious. It’s adorable, but sometimes we wonder if he is feeling stressed. Once Chick enters the picture, Gonzo’s nervous energy dissolves, and he becomes like putty.

We don’t know where his forever-home will be or what his future family will be like, but we sure hope that he gets to enjoy the company of another critter, or at least a home-a-lot human.

For more info about adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or through Partnership for Animal Welfare.

on dog puzzles and the greatest dog trainer that ever was.

Mr. Gonzo Bunny-Ears has really taken to eating his kibble and snacks out of dog puzzles. We have been feeding our own Chick in this manner for years so to us it’s second nature, but often we get questions from bloggers about the types of puzzles we use, how we use them, when, etc.

Shortly after we adopted Chick as a young chap of two or three, he developed pretty severe separation all kinds of anxiety. He would pace nervously when we were getting ready to leave. Decorate the house with the garbage while we were gone. Refuse to eat for days during car trips. Never let us out of his sight when we were home. So, we went to a trainer. A first class, badass trainer.

Lee Mannix had a way with dogs. He was one of those people who can just communicate with them, and they with him. His craft was not teaching dogs “sit” or “shake” but rather teaching owners how to understand and interact with their dogs to prevent, treat, and manage problem behaviors. And his creativity seemed limitless. Some of the tips and tricks he came up with to help us deal with silly problems – like Chick pulling dish rags off their hooks – not only worked flawlessly, but boggled the mind. The human mind, that is. Lee left this world about a year ago, but his personality, his methods, and his lessons live on. For a longer account of the magic of Lee, read here.

But I digress. The first thing Lee asked of us was to stop feeding Chick food in a bowl. Ever. From that day forward, he was to eat only through training (kibble as reward), or in various mentally challenging games (kibble as problem solving goal). The idea was, that if meals are no longer predictable and punctual and effort-free, the dog will become more “willing to please” the owner, knowing that he’d better watch carefully lest the puzzle come soon. It also helped keep the dog busy for a while, so that we could hand him a snack, leave, and he would be so busy working on it that he wouldn’t remember to get worked up and anxious.  So we went from two meals a day, in a bowl, to five or six meals a day, in all different ways.

The simplest, and perhaps our favorite method to date for its sheer convenience and free-ness, is the Gatorade bottle. Take the plastic ring and the label off, wash and dry, shake a little kibble in, and hand it to the dog. A beginner dog may take 30 minutes to get the kibble out, trying to get at it with his tongue or his claws. A veteran only needs a few minutes. As a bonus, the dog eats more slowly than from a bowl, aiding in digestion and reducing gas.

Our second favorite is the grandfather of all dog puzzles, the kong. The easiest way to kong a dog is simply to scoop some kibble in, and seal the opening with something sticky – some peanut butter or cheese whiz works well. But this is too easy for our little geniuses.

To make a kong more difficult, we started to put a little peanut butter, yogurt, or cheese at the bottom of the kong, add the kibble, then seal the top. This way, dog has to extract the very end of the goodies with his tongue. For our geniuses? Still too easy. The next phase was mixing the kibble with yogurt or runny peanut butter in a bowl, and then stuffing the kong. The whole mixture is sticky and wet, so it takes a lot more tongue action to finish the work. This is challenging enough for Gonzo; it takes him about 20 minutes to finish one of these. For Chick, though, we have to take it to the next level: the freezer. Once frozen solid, it takes even an advanced chewer a while to get all the goodies out.  Our normal filler for these kongs is a combination of kibble, peanut butter, raw veggies, cheese, and leftovers – whatever we have that is dog-friendly and not likely to be otherwise eaten.

We usee many other food-dispensing devices and toys also, as Gonzo is modeling here. But the two originals, the ones shown to us by Lee, will always remain our favorites.

For more info about adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or through Partnership for Animal Welfare.

Gonzo the Tourist, part II

When we first decided to skip the regular rescue show at the PetSmart and go touristing downtown, we felt a little guilty. How are we to get Gonzo Bunny-Ears adopted if we don’t give him any exposure? And yet, the cherry blossoms were calling. The weather oracle said it was going to be in the 60s and sunny, and the blossoms were at their peak. We decided we deserved it. To make ourselves feel less bad, I brought a bunch of Gonzo’s business cards (with our blog URL and the rescue’s info), decked him out in our cute “adopt me” vest, and loaded two dogs into the car.

Well, we need not have worried. Mr. Gonzo Bunny Ears and brother Sir Loverboy Chick were such a hit that people were literally stopping us every ten steps to ask about them. Everybody loved Mr. Ears in his vest, and a few people even wanted to adopt Sir Chick! The two dogs were petted by hundreds of hands, kissed by dozens of faces, and got to lick drool and baby food off the little fingers of several babies. Several people took photos of the dogs — sometimes with their children, sometimes all on their own. We were showered with compliments about our handsome and well-behaved dogs, and handed out business cards to a bunch of interested families. It was a blast!

In between the photo ops and meet-and-greets with new friends, we showed Mr. Ears the sights. There were some oddities that Gonzo found very curious, like this pink princess in a giant dress:

"Dad, what the heck is that about?"

And this weeping willow that was tickling Gonzo’s butt when it swayed in the wind, making him very nervous:

But mostly, we took in the classics. The National Mall, the Washington Monument, some climbing of cherry trees in bloom, admiring the flora, and the Lincoln Memorial.

grass smells like yum.

"part bunnyrabbit, dad, not part cat. sheesh!"

 

"i dont know what those are, but i hope they don't bite..."

noncooperative family portrait after a long day

 

Gonzo and Chick were both so pooped by the end of our visit that they both actually layed down in the middle of the grass, amidst the crowds. This is otherwise unheard of for Mr. Ears, who only sleeps in dog beds and laps.

 

too pooped to poop.

 

Our visit to the heart of our nation’s fair capital made such an impression on Gonzo, that he has made a very important decision about his life. A decision that he will share with you all tomorrow.

For more info about adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or through Partnership for Animal Welfare.

 

%d bloggers like this: