Thursday, February 28, 2008

Toilet Paper

Other than my hard drive and operating system being wiped clean by an errant piece of software, my mother-in-law getting her knee replaced and my brother and his family coming to town for an interview it was shaping up to be a pretty tame week. So yesterday I was busy finishing the cottage spring cleaning and patting my self on the back for getting it all done when my phone rang. It was Kathy, and with just a few words that included--"I dropped Russ getting him out of the crate and he won't walk on his front foot", I dropped everything, jumped in the truck and headed to town.

In route, I made frantic calls because our vet had a death in the family and wasn't available. Thanks to Cindy and Kerri who were calm and pointed me toward others. Fast forward, 60 mins and 3 x-rays and I hear the pitter patter of my little Russ' feet. I think he is walking, no sounds like running--sure enough he had a miraculous recovery and did a celebratory lap or two in the back room of the vets office. So we got instructions about keeping him quiet (vet said good luck), NSAIDS for 4 days, gave them a check for an undislosed amount and off we go to the airport to pick up my brother and company.

So by this morning I am feeling pretty good about keeping him reasonably quiet. So when it was go outside, and I heard the phone ring, I ask myselft "How much trouble can he get into while I answer the phone"? Well turns out not too much trouble--just create a big mess with a triple role of toilet paper. Where he got the roll is beyond me but he had a hay day--paper strewn all over, ripped up, shredded......all in about 3 minutes! He is back in his crate.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vacuum Cleaner

My brother and his family are arriving for a visit, and his wife is allergic to my cats, so they will be staying at our cottage. Great alternative right? Except for the fact that it has to be turned back into a home rather than an outpost. So Russ and I gathered supplies and headed back to the cottage with the intent of giving it a good "spring cleaning".

The vacuum cleaner is an essential tool in the "spring cleaning" arsenal and Russ thinks about as much of the vacuum cleaner as he does the Spot Bot. A first spot of the evil vacuum cleaner, he set off the alarm--"Danger Danger Will Robinson". When this failed to make me put away the devil machine, he tried herding it. This trick failed to bring about the desired action of throwing the vacuum cleaner in the garbage. However, it did make running the thing interesting, and we aren't talking about the fact that while trying to avoid vacuuming up the Corgi, I ended up in a pile on the living room floor.

He bid his retreat. Could he look more pathetic?

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Am A Big Dog

Russ here. I want everyone to know I am a Big Dog. I like big bones, not the stupid little bones Mom says are my size. I collect big bones and chew big bones. I am a BIG DOG!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Russ has a definite thing for the dishwasher. If you aren't careful he starts with licking the silverware, then the front half rack of plates, and then he proceeds to pull the bottom rack out and finish the job by standing in the body of the darn thing. Knowing this we have developed careful attention and supervision to dishwasher loading etiquette.

Last night, when he didn't think anyone was watching, he made a run for the silverware, and I grabbed the camera. Russ knows he is not supposed to lick anything from the dishwasher, so as soon as the camera flashed, he knew he was busted. He jumped back, and proceeded with an attempt at plausible deniability even though he got caught "red tongued". He gives me this look and starts barking, "oh no it wasn't me, it was my evil twin". You know my evil twin Mom, Grandma calls him "ROSARIO".

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Skitch is our 2yr old domestic short hair cat whom I just happen to adore. He is our only cat that is completely unpulsed by Russ, and truth be told he enjoys getting the poor devil in trouble.

Last night I heard Kathy say "Russ!" and as usual my response was "What". Then I heard some mumbling about a business card holder from India she had received at an environmental conference. I walked into the family room to survey the damage and asked, "How did he get it"? We both said in unison--"Skitch". Sure enough Skitch had struck again, he waits until Russ is nearby and then knocks something to the floor just to see the dog run off with it so we watch very carefully. But sometimes chaos reigns and we miss the event and something gets chewed, broken or mutilated, as is the case of the Indian business card holder. Oops, looks like I am in the market for a new business card holder for Kathy.

Fast forward a few hours, and my beautiful puppy redeemed himself. This past Thursday I got hit with a freight train sized virus, and it has laid me low. Last night I was struggling to breath and get comfortable (read Ice) in bed, and my beloved Russ snuggled up next to me and was glued. Through all the position changes, coughing spells, need for water, and all other manner of movement he stayed right next to me. It was in the dark of night that I once again saw that beneath his puppy capers lies the heart and soul of a therapy dog. In my mind, his slate is clean.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Here's the scene--it is barely dawn and Russ announced that he had to go outside "right now"! So I stumble out of bed, pull my boots on, find a coat, hat and mittens and proceed out the front door with my tethered dog. Whoosh, I am overtaken by a blast of cold air, but Russ assures me the trip is necessary. I notice that it has snowed again and groan. I stepped off the porch and bam I am laying on the ground looking like a bad yard sale. Then I remember the ice under the snow.

While I am laying on the ground assessing whether I have broken anything or just wounded my pride, wondering and hoping that noone has seen me splayed out in the front yard, I realize that Russ is standing on top of me. He is squarely looking me in the eyes with an attitude of "okay enough already I have needs--Get Up"! I assure him that no progress in upright movement can take place until he gets off me.

Sorry no pictures of the yard sale, just a few of Russ frolicing on the frozen tundra we call the cottage yard, and the cold snowy view of the Mississippi River from the front yard.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Miami Anyone

This crazy cold weather is driving everyone nuts, especially Russ. Russ is an active, need to be outdoors dog. He enjoys long walks, running in the yard, visiting stores, and schools. Indoor activities like chasing cats, tug of war and a game we call Corgi laps are okay if they are just fillers between romps in the great outdoors. But with all of this ridiculously freezing cold weather, even Russ does not want to be out long. So what does this produce--a squirrely Corgi.

Last night at conformation class, he galloped, spun, barked, and jumped. Truth be told he did everything but gait! The instructor commented that he had figured out the difference between a class and a show. Ya think!

Today at obedience class, he decided to comment on the state of world affairs during his sit/stay exercise. Yep he barked non stop while waiting to be released from the stay command.

He went shopping in the show bag. He kept prancing into the kitchen carrying show leads, squeacky toys, and treats. But the capper for the day was when he laid next to my keyboard and asked me how to spell Miami! ( I picked the keyboard sense tempting fate again.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Coming Home

Have I mentioned that when my little Russ gets home from a show (or a conformation class) he's a little full of himself? Well if I haven't let me tell you he is!

We weathered rough snow packed roads with heavy winds to make it home to the rest of our family last night, and Russ pranced in the house all puffed up to announce he that "his kingship" was home. Within 30 seconds, he came prancing around the corner with a half eaten cord hanging out of his mouth. I swear that dog has a stash because we immediately told him drop it and then tried to determine its origin, and truth be told we have no idea from whince it hails.

So then after some wine and chit chat with my beloved to relax my weary road tested bones it was time to hit the hay. Well Russ had other ideas because it seems he wanted to party. The great Corgi chase began as all obedience training flew out the window! (I am happy to report that by dawns early break his obedience training memory has returned but yesh what a night)

Well during the ignoring period last night he managed to unpack my purse. I think he was looking for my credit card. Speaking of unpacking, as I was unloading one of the bags, I heard a funny noise. First I must digress with the foundation, out of all the toys he has his favorite right now is a plastic water bottle. He carries it, throws it, chases it and generally frolics with this stupid water bottle. When I was packing Friday, I told him he couldn't take the water bottle to the show. At the time he seemed to accept my verdict, but sure enough at the bottom of the bag I found his water bottle! Of course he was sitting there waiting for me to give it back--maybe later!

Well he's is trying to get the Corgi in the wine cooler to play with him, I should probably tell him its his reflection.

Just another day with my beloved pal!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Word from Russ

Russ here. I heard about this blog thing and wanted to share my side of the story.

Woke up at 6:30 and laid on Mom’s back. I can’t understand why she said she couldn’t take me out until I got off. By the way, we are at our cottage, something about frozen pipes and money. I like the cottage but wish the cats were here. The cats are fun.

We had breakfast. I like my sister Sara’s food better than mine. We went outside, man is it cold. Mom sure likes these flying things called eagles. She keeps counting them and I don’t get it.

7:30 the baby came. I like the baby but I can’t understand why they tell me “leave it” when I am kissing him.

Mom filled the water bowl again, boy do I like playing in the water bowl. Why does she keep telling me no when I just want to play. She muttered something about it being genetic and I get it from my grandfather. If he likes water as much as I do maybe we could play sometime.

I played with the baby’s toys, Mom said no. So I waited until she was busy with the baby and took her shoe. When she found me, she kept muttering something about her favorite Teva water shoes. I didn’t get it.

Long morning so I took a nap for an hour or so. Baby was sleeping too so Mom worked on her computer. She kept muttering about the keyboard. I don’t get it—the thing still works.

Baby woke up so I did too. Oh time for lunch, I love baby food. Mom said no, so I waited until she left the room to clean the baby’s face and finished off the carrots and chicken. I do love baby food, but vanilla custard is my favorite.

Mom made some noise about putting me in my crate because I was being a pest but I knew it was just noise because she doesn’t have my crate here. She did lock me in the bathroom yesterday while the vet was here. It was something about drawing blood, thyroid and me being a pest. I didn’t get it I was just trying to free Sara.

Mom keeps saying leave it whenever I get near the baby’s toys. Jesh is she being strict.

The baby took my bone, but Mom finally told him no! I won the bone.

We went outside again. It was not as cold. Mom didn’t think it was funny when I wrapped her up in the leash. She muttered something about breaking a bone.

Stole Mom’s slipper but she caught me this time. Darn.

Mom also didn’t think it was funny when I stole the baby’s diaper. Funny she didn’t think much of that trick on Monday either.

Mom said it was time to work on obedience training. She is absolutely obsessed with this sit/ stay stuff. She said we were going to learn a fun trick called “shake”. As long as there are treats involved—I’m in.

I got some good barking in. There are lots of dangerous thing on the canal—geese and ducks mostly. Mom says “no barking” Russ.
Mom put the stuffing back in my toy when I just took it out. How rude.

Got to run, Mom just filled the water bowl again…

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Water Water Every Where

Well I thought that it was possible that the day would end without a Russ caper, but alas it was not the case. We braved the frigid weather to attend a conformation class, and when we returned Russ was quite full of himself. First he decided he didn't like where the water dish was located and promptly dumped the bowl. I refilled it and put a towel under it just in case he decided to do it again. Sure enough he picked it up and flung the dish and its contents all over the kitchen. So I refilled it again but this time I decided to watch him and correct him if he started to spill it again. Of course he came back and tried to tip it with his paw, and I said "no" so he turned around and kicked it over with his back feet! For those of you keeping score that's Russ 5, me 2.

After I agreed to turn on the Westminster show, he agreed to stop soaking the floor.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Virtually Indestructible Keyboard

The last time the pipes froze at our cottage Russ ate several keys on my laptop, so upon the recommendation of my sister's boyfriend,Jordan, I bought a Virtually Indestructible Keyboard. Turns out they weren't kidding about the Virtually part, because Russ never met a keyboard he couldn't beat. So I have been very careful putting my laptop up and out of reach, but it appears Russ understands that those cords connected to the keyboard are important too! Yep you guessed it--he bite through the cord. Sigh, I just ordered another Virtually Indestructible Keyboard.


It has been 2 weeks since I had the baby last, so he and Russ spent the entire morning getting reacquainted with each other and the rules. Now I do not think that I am unreasonable with boundaries and rules but I can assure you that Russ and Baby Josh think so. Here's a sample of how the morning went... "Josh that's the dog's bone, Russ leave it (fill in any baby toy), Russ drop it--usually the baby's pacifier" When Russ wasn't chewing the baby's pacifier while the baby was chewing his bone, Russ was trying to herd the baby. Three times, yep count them 3 times Russ pulled the britches off Baby Josh. Then of course there was the whole diaper incident--Russ came in for the steal when I was distracted putting pants back on the baby. Of course we had the resulting run/chase through the house to get the ill gotten gain back. Oh and did I happen to mention that my little darling Russ likes baby food---especially vanilla yogurt. So by noon I needed a break and a squirt bottle, so I turned on PBS--Teletubbies. Wouldn't you know it they were showing agility dog training? Russ loved it and do did Baby Josh. Finally a moment to put my feet up!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Grandma's Little Helper

After a good long walk, Russ came home to find that Grandma needed some help in the kitchen. That dog will try to herd anything that moves!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cardi Cabin Fever

Can a Corgi get cabin fever? I'm here to tell you--Yes!

We've had a lot of snow in the last few days so Russ' conformation classes and obedience classes were all cancelled this week. We told him he was getting some snow days, but let me be clear about Russ and snow days. They don't mix!

It all began yesterday, when he decided that anytime I moved was reason enough to try to herd me by nipping at my heels and biting my calves. I tried to engage him with toys--no go. I tried to work with him on obedience--sit and wait. We had moderate success but no enthusiasm. We tried playing outside, but the snow was too deep and he had to hop in order to move. So he was over the snow too.

Today was even worse. He was driving everyone nuts with his barking, thieving, chewing, and disobedience. Just a few highlights--he destroyed my eyeglasses, dragged fire place wood all over the house, pulled every one of his toys from basket and deposited them in the kitchen. At nearly my wits end, I reached out for advice from his breeder and she diagnosised cabin fever. She said new challenging toys were needed. Great a cure was just ahead.

So Russ got dressed in his Hawkeye collar and lead on and off to PetsMart. He eagerly danced his way into the store, and wound for sound was an understatement. He was jumping, barking, dancing and generally creating chaos in his wake. So I said to myself clearly just a trip to PetsMart was not going to be enough stimulation.

So believe it or not I took him to my hair appointment! My dear stylist welcomed him with open arms and he was an angel. He quietly laid at my feet while I had my hair done. Amazing, could this be the same devilish dog that terrorized our home just a few hours ago.

So with this success under our belts, I called my son's high school to see if we could make a visit toward the end of the school day. He pranced into the school like he owned the place. And then his true talent and spirit began to shine as a classroom full of special children approached him. He let each hold his leash, walk him, pet his ears, and rub his belly. He was gentle, loving and engaging from start to finish.

I am pleased to report that my Corgi isn't crazy, and our plans to work with him to become a certified therapy dog are still intact. But most importantly, I will never let my little buddy get bored again.

As I write he is watching the Eukanuba National Championship dog show. I think he is eagerly awaiting the herding group! Oh my what's next?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Angelic Russ

Russ caught wind of this blog about all of his capers, and he was quite indignant. After much negotiation, I agreed to post pictures of him at his most angelic.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Herding Cats

Last night at dinner, my mother-in-law said you have to write about Russ and Stinky, and then she said it would even be better if you could add audio. So here goes...unfortunately without audio.

The very day Russ entered our home he decided that it was his duty and responsibility to herd the cats. Now I know a thing or two about herding cats after being in board leadership at a Unitarian Universalist congregation, so I wished him best at his endeavors and pretty much kept out of way. Over the ensuing four months, he has accomplished remarkable success with 3 of the 4 feline residents. However, Stinky (wonder where she got her name) remains a problem.

Here's how it goes...Russ rounds up the cats and ensures they are either on chairs under the table or on the ledge of the bay window then he goes for Stinky. All he has to do is approach Stinky and she starts the most God awful yowling, hissing and screeching you have ever heard (wish we had audio), but Russ is undaunted by this display. He keeps nudging and pushing her in a valiant attempt to move her into submission.

Well my ears can take only so much of this howling and I'll yell from the other room Russ that's enough!

This is where my mother-in-law comes in. As she is recounting the number of times this scenerio plays out daily in the house--dozens to be honest, she says "boy is this going to be a problem when my brother Russ comes to visit". Her brother Russ is a mild mannered sweet tempered man who would never warrant me yelling, "Russ that's enough!" Can you just picture this poor man's reaction the first time I yell over the screeching, "Russ that's enough"? It will probably give the fella anxiety attacks.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Spot Bot

The newest addition to our household is a Bissel Spot Bot. I think I vote it the best addition since Russ, but seriously Russ has a very different attitude about this awesome machine. Earlier today, I filled the chamber with cleaning solution, locked it over a lasting Russ stain, turned it on and walked away. Russ immediately sounded his "Red Alert...Danger Danger" alarm, and for what seemed like an eternity (probably less than 2 mins) everyone endured his sense of urgency.

Now I had a couple of additional spots to clean and my eardrums were not going to take another Russ assault lying down, so I loaded a squirt bottle and moved the Spot Bot. Sure enough as soon as I turned the machine on Russ came charging in at full tilt. Ha, I was one ahead of him and squirted him right between the ears. Feeling smug I walked away and the barking stopped. However it was way too quiet, so I went back to check on things and Russ was dragging the Spot Bot around the room! Two for for me.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Corgi Capers a Review

Well its Super Bowl Sunday, and everyone in my house is engaged in the game. So I decided to take a few minutes and write a brief review of some of Russ' more notable Corgi Capers.

It all began when we realized he was a Cardi Corgi thief. Bones, toys, sneakers and brand new Sherling slippers—are all capers my little corgi thief has been a party too. He sneaks in, distracts or just waits until chaos reigns and then BAM he goes in for kill. He’s doesn’t seem to be interested in chewing the shoes, slippers or toys only the crafty removal from their rightful owner! Now the bones and dogs toys he removes from Sara’s (the big dog) possession are another story. One of our most common out cries of late is, “the corgi thief has struck again!”

Then came Christmas...We pride ourselves in this house for being great modifiers. We can modify a game, a room, a schedule, toys---you name it and with an kid who’s autistic in the house one gets pretty fast at it. So we thought, hey modifying things for a puppy should be a breeze. I went to take a shower and I always take Russ upstairs with me and put him on the king size bed with some toys and treats. He doesn’t like to jump so him escaping has never been an issue. However he does pride himself in squeezing through the iron bed bars and sitting on the cedar chest. Today without even thinking I left a basket of folded towels next to the chest. He squeezed out to the chest, jumped into the basket of towels and made his escape. Into the forbidden Christmas wrapping room he goes. I came out of the shower, peeked around the corner to check on him, hear rustling from the other room and go to investigate. I find my darling little Russ in a big pile of wrapping paper, boxes, bows, tissue paper and unwrapped presents. In no less than 15 minutes he unwrapped and opened about 15 presents---I think a world record! I am pleased to report I got what I wanted for Christmas!

Our once beautifully decorated tree looked like something from a refugee camp. My mother in law said we should enter it in the Festival of Trees as the “Puppy Proof Tree”. Lights wound up and stuffed to the center, ornaments only covering the top 2/3rd , not a present in sight. Last night the little bugger busted into his stocking—we came into the family room and found him with the entire contents of his stocking laid out on the floor like a yard sale. He has ripped open his new bone, slobbered all over his stuff toy, and started unwrapping the puppy biscuits. The little guy is crazy for Christmas!

Then the dishwasher... I was loading the dishwasher with morning breakfast plates—omelets, toast and fruit remnants. I observe that the baby desperately needs a diaper change, so off to the changing table I go. When I come back what do my wondering eyes behold but Russ camped out in the dishwasher. He has pulled the bottom grate out and jumped into the main part of the dishwasher and is performing his very own version of “how to rinse dishes in four easy licks”. When I finished laughing at him…I thought how did he do that and how am I going to get him out of the dishwasher without skewering him on the bottom rack. Well I ended up taking the top rack out and lifting him out, but meanwhile he finished his “job” and I didn’t need the first rinse, just the high heat washing cycle! That dog cracks me up daily!

Not to be topped...we had the keyboard incident. I was trying to defrost our slop sink drain at our cottage and I heard a very strange noise. I came around the corner to find my beautiful corgi standing with two paws on the lap top keyboard, and key tabs strewn about. Yep my wonderful Russ had taken 6 keys out of my laptop, replied to at least 2 e-mails (encrypted to be sure), and flagged as high priority several sites.

And the latest...lint caper. Okay here’s the backdrop—my mother-in-law Rose took a seminar in green living and came home with lots more ideas about recycling and conserving. Any way one of the ideas was to collect lint from the dryer and empty toilet paper rolls. Then fill the cardboard rolls with the lint and use them for fire starters. So she has been dutifully collecting and today set about to fill the rolls with lint. She left them in a bag by the fire place. Enter Russ who recognized that we were distracted with dinner. He shredded, pulled, spread, and generally made havoc with those lint filled paper rolls. You have never seen so much lint in every imaginable color and shredded cardboard.

Well off to chase the Corgi...he's a little to quiet right now!