Category Archives: Pets

Let’s Get Caught Up

Not a whole lot has happened since our trip to Mexico. Amidst the transition to my new full-time job, decompressing after our trip, watching House of Cards season 3 {honestly, we watched it fast so we could be done with it…}, enjoying the ah-mazing weather and trying to get into a new routine I neglected to keep up with our blog. So, let’s catch up!

{The weather was nice enough to warrant an early-season opening of the Bottlehouse patio! We indulged this past weekend.}

{The weather was nice enough to warrant an early-season opening of the Bottlehouse patio! We indulged this past weekend.}

The weekend before last was awesome – we had a great time reconnecting with some friends through a night out in Ballard, a trendy neighborhood in Seattle, and then drinking wine in Woodinville on Saturday.

{We went out in Ballard with four other couples and had an awesome time! Mary, Ian, Ryan, Alex and I shared this weird lava punch bowl - it arrived to us on fire!}

{We went out in Ballard with four other couples and had an awesome time! Mary, Ian, Ryan, Alex and I shared this weird lava punch bowl – it arrived to us on fire!}

{Dog park days are back!}

{Dog park days are back!}

{The girls enjoying a very sunny, warm afternoon drinking wine together}

{The girls enjoying a very sunny, warm afternoon drinking wine together – Trish, me, Mary and Carrie}

{so thankful for these beauties! what an awesome day we had in Woodinville!}

{so thankful for these beauties! what an awesome day we had in Woodinville!}

This past weekend was more leisurely, but we headed up to Stevens Pass for what we expect to be our final ski day in Washington. It was around 50 degrees on the mountain and in the mid-60s in Seattle, so the conditions were spring-like. We met up with our friends Carrie, Patrick, Chris and Diane, all of whom are fantastic skiers. I love spring skiing – it’s such a fun, low-key and relaxed day on the slopes, and that is exactly what we had!

{Carrie and me stopping for a quick pic}

{Carrie and me stopping for a quick pic}

{ski buddies!}

{ski buddies!}

Last night we brushed off the dust and cobwebs from the grill and officially started our grilling season. Our cat and dog were ecstatic. Henry cat kept running in and out of the grill cover and Jackson tried to eat everything involved with the grill. I think this means spring has truly come early and we are going to really need to stock up on charcoal.

{This guy is so loving the time he has been spending outside!}

{This guy is so loving the time he has been spending outside!}

Along the lines of our backyard, we are trying to decide what to do back there. Initially we had discussed hiring someone to do an overhaul. At this junction we are not interested in the investment it would take to complete that project, particularly because we have realized that Jackson is the culprit and he’s not going anywhere, so it makes us nervous that if we fork over all of this money for a complete renovation back there, that he might just wreck it next winter and we’ll be back where we started, but several thousand dollars poorer.

{Henry running along the fence while Jackson follows along from inside the backyard.}

{Henry running along the fence while Jackson follows along from inside the backyard.}

{Maybe someday we'll have a nice, big yard for this guy to play in.}

{Maybe someday we’ll have a nice, big yard for this guy to play in.}

So, right now, the popular idea on the table is literally just to throw some grass seed back there, keep the dog out of the backyard for a month and water like crazy to see if we can build up the grass again. Another idea is to do the work ourselves and build out our patio and either lay sod or grow seed and do some additional landscaping. I have a feeling we’ll go for the former.

{Henry cat is loving being back outside - he mainly hangs out in our yard and has been a real trooper through his recovery.}

{Henry cat is loving being back outside – he mainly hangs out in our yard and has been a real trooper through his recovery.}

For this week, we are enjoying the weather and getting ready for one final ski trip. Our summer plans are really starting to take shape, so those will need some finessing. We made a big spring cleaning list, along with some projects to tackle after our trip. Otherwise, we’re just taking things a day at a time and enjoying a more calm schedule.

 

Henry’s Big Adventure

Henry had a big adventure in the neighbor’s garage where he spent 11 days. One of the roommates who lives in the home two houses down from us had noticed our “lost cat” signs all over our street and then on Thursday night last week he heard meows coming from the garage. Sure enough, there was our Henry cat. Cameron grabbed him and carried him to our house and somehow Henry didn’t fight him.

{resting in his basket in the closet - he's got a great view!}

{resting in his basket in the closet – he’s got a great view! this photo was taken on Friday, the morning after he returned – you can see how much weight he lost even in his face.}

Henry came home in good spirits. He lost quite a bit of weight and strength, so he has been spending a lot of time recovering over the past days. He is eating and drinking, purring and rubbing up on everything in the house, especially Jackson. Since his return he has put on a couple pounds and seems to be much more alert and wanting to be in the action, particularly since Sunday.

{these two ALMOST cuddled up next to each other on the bed... we're waiting for that day to come still.}

{these two ALMOST cuddled up next to each other on the bed… we’re waiting for that day to come still.}

He still has a little ways to go before he gets back to normal, but he has made a really remarkable recovery. We are so happy to have our Henry cat home.

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Just for the record, I did speak directly to the guy who owns the house where Henry was trapped and specifically asked him to check his garage to make sure Henry wasn’t in it. It’s been really, REALLY hard not to be mad about this, but we are focusing on what’s important – Henry’s return. We are so thankful that Cameron was keeping an eye out for Henry and was able to hear him making noise. Our neighbors are so kind and have been really supportive during this time. We are happy, though, to get back to normal.

All is Well

After a few weeks of much uncertainty, our life went back to normal again last night when our Henry cat returned home from being trapped in our neighbor’s garage for 11 days. All is well here in our humble little home. The sun is out for a hot minute between the soaking rain showers spreading through the area. Jackson is passed out in his bed next to me and Henry cat is cuddled up down by my feet. I feel a sense of peace that has come over me and our little house. I feel so blessed for the wonderful life we are so fortunate to have.

{cozy kitty!}

{cozy kitty!}

The start of 2015 has been a little bit of a rollercoaster for us. We’ve had so many great things happen, like our ski trip to Utah, spending time with friends, my recent promotion and ultimately, my backcountry ski class, but we’ve also dealt with a few challenges like not knowing Henry’s whereabouts for a week and a half, the lack of a ski season here in Washington, my stress before and during my backcountry ski class and a lot of uncertainty about what was going to happen with my job. It is a relief to have things settle down and get back to the way they should be.

{stress relief found through baking}

{stress relief found through baking}

While we are very blessed and fortunate, Alex and I work very hard in different ways to be able to live the life we do. With that, I am excited to announce that I just received a big promotion in my job. It’s humbling to have been awarded this new position, as the organization I work for completely restructured itself around my capabilities. I am going to be moving from part-time to full-time after we return from our upcoming trip, and that means that I had to resign from my other part-time position as a household manager. I am really looking forward to the new job and the stability that having just one job will afford me. I never really thought of myself as “career-oriented” but I’m quite happy in my job and love the people I work with. It’s a wonderful organization and I get to see kindness and compassion among children and adults every day when I go to work. It’s pretty incredible, actually.

{what our politicians should be living like... the words of an innocent 8 year old are powerful}

{what our politicians should be living like… the words of an innocent 8 year old are powerful}

We’ve got a lot of great things going for us, including a great weekend. We’re just so happy that our Henry cat is home and that things have returned to normalcy around here. Even amidst the challenges there is always room for gratitude.

Missing our Henry Cat

Our Henry cat has been missing for about a week and a half now. We have absolutely no idea where he is or what happened to him. He’s pretty good at being a cat and has sensible street smarts, so we’re hoping that he found his way into a nice house and is waiting for the right time to make his escape.

{Such a chill cat!}

{Such a chill cat!}

Henry cat is so cool and independent and generally keeps to himself, but still, it’s just really quiet and weird around our house without him here. Everytime I look in a spot where he usually hangs out I half expect him to be there.

{Taking charge of the sidewalk in front of our house}

{Taking charge of the sidewalk in front of our house}

I miss having to hide cords {like cell phone chargers} so Henry won’t destroy them, getting up in the middle of the night to get him off the dresser and stop chewing on our picture frames, wiping muddy cat paw prints off the counter {I know, I know}, his little heartbreaking meow demanding to go outside when it’s too late, and most especially his playful energy in the evenings and his furry self cuddled up at the end of our bed at night.

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Being so independent, Henry cat doesn’t care to be held or cuddled but we were really making some progress in getting him to let us pick him up and hold him for around 15 seconds as long as he was looking out the window. He and Jackson have become buddies lately – we go on “family” walks together with Henry – I always stay on our block when Henry wants to come along. I can still see and feel his presence everywhere.

{We hope you come home soon Henry cat!}

{We hope you come home soon Henry cat!}

The first few days were the hardest. At around day five we realized that there was only so much we could do. Right now we’re just wracking our brains trying to put the zero clues we have to good use and figure out where our sweet cat is. It’s been pretty taxing and extremely maddening. We’ve run through the gamut of emotions on this one – I suppose they call that the grieving process. I think we’re both more at ease now and just so, so, so hopeful that he will come home soon.

{Taking a walk with Henry and Jackson}

{Taking a walk with Henry and Jackson}

We’ve canvassed the neighborhood, hung “lost cat” signs on telephone poles, posted “missing cat” notes in our Nextdoor Madrona page and Craigslist, I called the company that Henry’s microchip is through to report him as missing, we get emails every day from the shelters with photos of all of the cats they have… One person emailed us from Craigslist with a HUGE list of suggestions – everything from what we’ve done to hiring a bloodhound to mixing our urine with water and making a trail outside that leads to our house so that Henry can follow it home if he was lost {we haven’t done that one yet!}. And if you’re curious what to say to someone whose pet is missing, you do not say “I hope he comes home” you say “I hope he comes home soon.”

{Between Henry and Jackson, every time I do laundry or make the bed I can count on one of them to show up and keep me company.}

{Between Henry and Jackson, every time I do laundry or make the bed I can count on one of them to show up and keep me company.}

Our neighbors have been really supportive and helpful. They have been emailing and texting to see if we’ve found Henry or asking us before even saying “hi” when we see them on the sidewalk. One neighbor even offered to send an email to the uber exclusive “Madrona Mom’s” group on our behalf to ask people to keep their eyes out for him. Sure glad we passed out Christmas cookies to all of our neighbors this year!

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It’s really hard just not knowing anything about his whereabouts. He really could be anywhere. We are so hopeful, still, that one of the next 4,293,401 times we go check the front porch that he’ll just be sitting there pawing at the window wanting to come in. We just hope that is sooner rather than later because we really miss our Henry cat!

{So playful!}

{So playful!}

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A Jackson Update

We have come a very, very long way with Jackson since this time last year. By November 2013 our wildebeest dropped out of puppy class, was always near us or on top of our feet, weighed 55 pounds, was 6 months old, didn’t have the slightest interest in playing fetch or with tennis balls, was the biggest cuddle bug ever, and loved to challenge us in any way he could.

{Full-grown and ready to play ball!}

{Full-grown and ready to play ball!}

Today, Jackson is a year and a half, weighs 80 pounds, is always near us or on top of our feet, is absolutely completely obsessed with any type of ball and/or playing fetch, is the biggest cuddle bug ever, loves to challenge us in any way he possibly can and has a mind of his own.

{I'm fairly certain he thinks that if he can't see me that I can't see him...}

{I’m fairly certain he thinks that if he can’t see me that I can’t see him…}

So, as you can see, not much has changed! In reality, there really is a lot that is different about Jackson and his behavior these days. He has gotten into a pretty good routine, though he still has bursts of uncontrollable energy and moments where he is so obsessed with a ball, squirrel or other dog/inanimate object that he can’t focus.

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For the most part, he is a darn cute furry bundle of love who just wants to play ball and hang out with his humans.

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Exercise is the key component to Jackson’s success and good mood {therefore our good mood too}. Right now our routine consists of taking Jackson for a 3ish mile run or playing fetch at the park with him each morning (plus a 20 minute walk to and from the park), then mid-afternoon or early evening I take Jackson for a shorter training walk, do some training at home, then we play ball in the backyard or basement.

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When Alex gets home he plays ball in the backyard with Jackson and usually ends up wrestling and playing ball in the basement with him later in the evening before they curl up into a ball of dog/man cuddles if we watch a show.

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Our amazing dog trainer, Katie, recently paid us a visit to check in on us and Jackson and give us some updated tips for our defiant pooch. We were very excited for her to see all of the progress Jackson had made since she last saw him in early May.

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That said, we are always in favor of getting more ideas of things to do with him to keep him behaving nicely and to calm down his crazies. Katie’s biggest suggestion for us is to just be consistent and maintain the rules, as he is in another period of “testing us” right now. I feel like that’s just his life, though. Good parenting practice!

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We are really looking forward to ski season with Jack man! He is such a snow dog and is so in his element as he is bounding through the snowdrifts, running back and forth as we throw ice chunks for him to catch. We are also very much looking forward to Jackson calming down a bit. He is such a goober, but we are so, so, so, so lucky and thankful that he is our crazy pup.

{No, Jackson is not aloud on the sofa!}

{No, Jackson is not allowed on the sofa!}

{Nor is he aloud on the bed!! Jackson waits until I get up in the morning and then jumps in bed with Alex because he knows Alex won't throw him off the bed... Stinker! He sure has us trained...}

{Nor is he allowed on the bed!! Jackson waits until I get up in the morning and then jumps in bed with Alex because he knows Alex won’t throw him off the bed… Stinker! He sure has us trained…}

The Happenings

While this last week has been busy with random activities, mainly planning for winter, it has been so nice and quiet. Does that even make sense? Well, we’ve just had a lot of little stuff keeping us busy.

{Henry loves our new doormat!}

{Henry loves our new doormat!}

Our weekend was superb. My Fridays are finally starting to be “normal” {for me} so this past week I volunteered at the elementary school then ran a bunch of errands. I picked up some fun stuff for our house {and my closet}, and thanks to a very disgruntled employee at the ski shop, we got our skis tuned for free! I had dropped off three of our pairs of skis a few weeks ago to get tuned for the impending ski season and when I picked them up on Friday the employee was so annoyed with the computer system that he said “here… you can just have them… let me help you out to your car.” Ummm okay, not going to argue with that, thanks for saving us over $200!

Alex and his friend Nigel took a quick 25-mile bike ride after work on Friday then came and hung out in the kitchen while I whipped up some curry for our dinner. I had never made curry before and had been wanting to try it for quite a while and I am so glad I did! It was one of my most proud accomplishments in the kitchen. Curry isn’t hard to make, per se, but it requires a lot of ingredients that are unfamiliar to me, lots of prep and a whole lot of love. And boy was it a success!

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Saturday was uber relaxing. One thing I got while I was out and about on Friday was a bunch of new blankets for our beds {think mid-layer blankets} and the one I got for our bed is basically like a sweater blanket. Needless to say, we did not want to get out of bed on Saturday morning! Eventually we did and had a great walk with Jackson, followed by a delicious breakfast of apple spice waffles. We got some stuff done around the house before Carrie and her mom stopped by for a quick visit.

{Henry is such a good supervisor!}

{Henry is such a good supervisor!}

Saturday evening we had dinner reservations at Crush, a restaurant in the Madison Valley, the neighborhood next to ours, that we wanted to go to. I’m not sure if this is a trend across the country, but in a lot of Seattle restaurants they have tasting menus that allow you to taste a variety of dishes. I personally love these because I am the one who always wants to try a bite of whatever anyone else gets, just to try something new. We were under false thinking that Restaurant Week extended into the weekend {oops!} but we were happy to be trying a new restaurant. We ordered a bottle of wine and several different tastes. We had a great time and enjoyed the food, but ultimately left with much to be desired. It’s so unfortunate to go out to a very expensive restaurant and be underwhelmed with the food and service and overwhelmed by the exorbitant cost of the meal.

Sunday, again, was super relaxing. Alex took Jackson for a run in the morning while I whipped up a yummy breakfast scramble and apple chips for a snack, then we got a few things done around the house before our dog trainer came for a quick session with Jackson. We spent the afternoon and sitting in front of the fire reading and chatting.

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It’s back to work for both of us now! I have been really busy with work the last several weeks. I think next week things will finally start to slow down, but in the meantime, I am attending a conference this week, which is taking me out of my office and out of the schools. It’s kind of a nice change of pace, but holy cow is it exhausting to sit and listen to someone all day! That said, I wanted to share a part of a student enrollment form I received that states that someone’s child is allergic to ebola. I mean, really!? I literally laughed out loud…

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Keeping up with the Allens

Well, it’s officially fall here in Seattle. The leaves have finally started to turn. Seattleites have begun to retreat under their hoods. The days are growing so short. The rain is kind of back. And I am feeling busier than a one-armed paper hanger.

{It took me SEVERAL tries, but I finally picked a new rain coat (well, two)!}

{It took me SEVERAL tries, but I finally picked a new rain coat (well, two) and maybe a new pair of black flats, too!}

The last week has been fairly low-key in some respects, but crazy in others. We are adjusting to my new work schedule. My main job is managing an after school tutoring program, which just started up again last week, so I am now out of the house from mid-afternoon until at least 6:00. Once or twice a week I do a Pilates class at 6:00, which means if I go straight from work to Pilates I won’t get home until just after 7. The new schedule will be just fine, but it’s requiring a bit of finesse in terms of managing our pup and his high energy level, as well as figuring out how dinner is going to end up on the table.

{Crock pot recipes will be my best friend!}

{Crock pot recipes will be my best friend!}

We have been re-focusing on Jackson’s training as of late. Our dog trainer is coming back for a check in soon, thankfully, because we have a rebellious teenager on our hands! With the major change in daylight these days and my schedule change we have made some big modifications in our daily schedule with keeping J man exercised.

{Case in point...}

{Case in point… bras are not dog pillows and people beds, in this house anyway, do not equal dog beds!}

Speaking of exercise, our day today started out with a nice run. It was great until we arrived home and as I was unlocking the door Alex asked what was on my leg, only to discover that Jackson had previously bitten at least 10 holes in the bum of my running tights. I have no idea how I didn’t realize this when I was putting them on or running in them, especially because the holes are a decent size, but yeah, sorry to anyone who was behind me on the sidewalk today!

In other news, last week I went to the eye doctor regarding my lazy eye and headaches. I had a terrible experience with the doctor and have sworn off Swedish Medical Center for good. But, the good news is based on me being my own doctor {I just told the DF what to do} my eyes are doing a lot better {not 100%} and I will be the proud owner of some new specs any day now…

We are gearing up for a big Octoberfest celebration this weekend! Can’t wait for pretzels, sausage, chilly fall temps, Ryan’s sauerbraten and a great weekend with our friends. Stay tuned for highlights!

Mid-Week Ramblings

Happy hump day! This week has gone by so fast I was sure it was only Tuesday when I woke up this morning. I feel like a broken record continuously saying “it’s another busy week in the Allen household” but that is what it is!

{my newest fave!}

{my newest fave!}

I started my new barre class yesterday and have my second session tomorrow. I’ll be interested to see how I like it after a few more sessions. Mary would be happy to hear that so far I prefer Pilates to the barre, but I could be convinced otherwise. I had a 30-minute Pilates session last week and was about 10 times more sore after that class (for four days!) than I am after the barre class.

The barre class involves a lot of continuous repetitions with weights and mini-squats and other such motions and left me feeling sweaty, winded and quite literally a bit hunched over, whereas I leave Pilates feeling light, refreshed and taller. Pilates has been the only form of exercise that I have seen the definition in my arms and abs that I can see right now. I will say that I am really excited for the barre class to get me ready for ski season, though!

I have the goofiest dog ever.

I have the goofiest dog ever.

Alex spent last weekend in Chicago at his cousin Bryan’s bachelor party. It sounds like the boys had a great time! They stayed in a bachelor suite across the street from Wrigley Field. This place sounds absolutely perfect for a bachelor party. The apartment has a bar in it, plus a pool table, shuffleboard, darts, a urinal and a rooftop deck with commercial grills and bleachers! We can’t wait to celebrate Bryan and Sarah’s wedding this weekend!

My swimming buddy!

My swimming buddy!

While Alex was away I worked my little fingers to the bone around our house. I had a massive to-do list of random projects and I was able to complete many of them. My biggest accomplishment from the last week has been completely re-decorating our guest room. I can’t wait to share pictures once everything arrives and gets all set up. I will; however, share a picture of my cousin and his beautiful bride, with whom I was lucky enough to have dinner on Friday night.

Chris & Heidi

Chris & Heidi

I also had a great time taking Jackson for lots of swims and a run one day. He did a great job of keeping me company while Alex was gone. We got a visit on Saturday from Mary and Berkeley and ran up to Bottlehouse to enjoy a glass of wine in the sun, too!

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{hot dogs! … get it?… dogs on a sunny porch…}

It has been quite warm in Seattle the last few weeks. I love the heat but have been lacking motivation in the kitchen. When it’s 87 degrees in my house the last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stove. We’ve been eating a lot of pasta salad {prepared early in the day} and meals on the grill.

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Here are some of our recent favorites {strangely they’re almost all from The Pioneer Woman!}:

 

Summer So Far…

The days have been coming and going so fast lately it’s hard to even recall what we have been up to over the last three weeks since we’ve returned home from our big Euro trip.

{I got an ice cream maker!!}

{I got an ice cream maker!!}

Seattle summers are awesome. We put up with 9 months of rain for 3 months of perfection {shhh… don’t tell anyone! The traffic doesn’t need to get any worse…} and try to enjoy every minute of the sunshine while it sticks around.

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Because it doesn’t really get very hot in Seattle it’s pretty rare to see air conditioning. Our pets have been using the tile floors and the cement to keep cool on the hotter days.

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It seems like I have been extra busy with random little tasks. Here are some things that have been going on lately:

  • I just started a new workout program at the Pilates studio in our neighborhood. My friend Mary finished her Pilates certification so now my classes with her are done, but that leaves me in need of an exercise program! I am taking barre classes and reformer classes and am loving the new studio.
  • We’ve caught the decorating bug and I have been coordinating {read: shopping} a bunch of home decor stuff, painters, tile guys and other tradesmen. It’s the perfect excuse to hang out on Pinterest and Houzz! We hope to “finish” our house {that will really never happen} by the holidays… Stay tuned to keep up with our progress!
  • The berries, stone fruits and tomatoes are so phenomenal right now! I have been taking Jackson down to our neighborhood’s farmer’s market every week that we’ve been home and stockpiling as much produce as I can carry home. I’m going to try to find a good gazpacho recipe for tomorrow’s tomatoes…
  • It’s that time of year again when Jackson and Henry need to go to the vet. I took J in for his rabies and bordatella shots {of course two separate visits}, Henry went in today for his rabies shots, then Jackson goes in tomorrow for his first of two leptosperosis shots. I am always amazed at how often we visit the vet!
  • Alex has been getting back into biking now that his broken wrist and ribs are healed. He is loving it!
  • It’s hard to believe that fall is just around the corner… That means ski season is getting closer! Alex and I are planning on getting new ski gear for the upcoming season so I’ve been doing a lot of shopping and researching, trying to find the best gear.
  • This is really going to be the busiest year we have ever had in terms of trips and travel, not to mention out of town guests, so I am trying to stay ahead of things and plan our trips… Shocking, I know 🙂

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{celebrating Patrick's birthday}

{celebrating Patrick’s birthday}

 

A Jackson Update

We have officially survived a month without our dog trainer. It has been really awesome thinking back to where we were with Jackson on his first birthday and how much things have changed in the 9 weeks since then. Certainly our dog is not perfect but he is so much better behaved. Alex and I have been exchanging a lot of high fives in the last couple of weeks for many small victories.

Our silly dog!

Our silly dog!

We are now well equipped with tricks {and treats!} to keep Jackson in line while we’re on walks. Our walks are substantially shorter now, but they’re more meaningful. Typically we walk up to the park to play ball and that’s how Jackson gets his exercise.

Keeping Jackson well-exercised has been a huge key to his success.

Keeping Jackson well-exercised has been a huge key to his success.

For the most part we can now go outside without Jackson and he will remain calm and collected. This is a huge milestone, as any time we would go out and do yardwork without him he would just cry and bark until we came back inside. Our neighbors love us.

Hanging out together on the porch.

Hanging out together on the porch.

While we have seen major improvements we still have a lot of work to do. Two of the biggest things we are working on are solidifying his ability to walk nicely on a leash, chill out when he is by himself and really just extensions of our biggest victories to date.

Our 80 pound ham!

Our 80 pound ham!

So, overall, we are beyond thrilled with the progress Jackson has made, but he still has a ways to go!