My Dog | Somewhere in Middle America

I had to let Briscoe off his leash in the backyard this morning so that he could play in the snow. (Yes, I take him potty on a leash in our fenced-in backyard because he still hasn’t mastered the “Come!” command and is easily distracted by all of the squirrels and bunnies. I am also convinced he will escape through the slots of the fence or underneath.)  He wore his navy sweater to keep warm and to remain visible.

I thought I had lost my little white dog for good Sunday night.

J and I were dining at our friends’ house when Briscoe and his gal pal, Lola, escaped from the backyard. By the time we noticed that their gate had been left opened by the lawn guy, the dogs were out of sight.

My friend stayed inside to keep her eye on her sleeping baby while her husband, J and I pulled on our shoes and ran out the door after the dogs. As I took a right at the end of their driveway, a desperate cry escaped my throat and worry thoughts flooded my mind.

Oh my god, my dog is missing.

What if I can’t find him?

He is so fast.

He could be anywhere.

And it’s dark outside.

He can run forever without being seen.

What if he gets hit by a car?

I might never see him again.

I started running down the street yelling for him and Lola. Sadly out of shape, my chest hurt from inhaling the cold air while screaming his name and moving at top speed.

At the end of the seemingly never-ending block, down the hill, I thought I spotted the two dogs. It turns out it was just Briscoe and a fire hydrant; Lola was on the other side of the street already making her way back home. (Thank goodness she can’t stand being apart from her parents and knows her way home, as she wasn’t wearing her collar or ID tags.)

“I see them! I see them!” I called back to the guys. Pointing to my left I yelled, “There’s Lola! Grab Lola!”

I ran past another house. “Briscoe, come!” I cried, and I was really crying at this point. My fear was that he would see me running, think we were playing and run off in the opposite direction.

“Briscoe, come!” He picked up his head and looked at me. A moment later he ran towards me. I reached down to scoop him up, but he flew past me to J, who was several yards behind. Remarkably, Briscoe came to a stop in front of J’s feet, and my husband picked him up, unsure whether to scold him for escaping or to praise him for coming back.

As I type this story, a day and a half after it happened, I still get choked up when I think about what could have happened. I have to remind myself that the worst, thankfully, did not happen, although you can be sure that I will always double check the gates when I let Briscoe out in anybody’s backyard.

I think Briscoe knows that something upsetting happened because he’s been extra cuddly and loving since. My new plan is to smother him with affection so that he never wants to be apart from me again.

Check me out over on Elizabeth Anne Designs Living, where I’m talking about Briscoe’s–I mean, my–favorite new pet accessories. Be sure to leave a comment (here or there) and be part of the conversation!

My childhood dog, a Bichon Frise named Timmy (short for Princess Tiara’s Tiny Tim*), loved to chew pig ears and cattle hooves. When we first got Briscoe, I asked the vet about those, um, delicacies, and he told us not to let Briscoe have them… but I can’t remember why. So occasionally I’ll give B a flat rawhide strip because those seem safe, but he eats them up pretty quickly. There have got to be other varieties of bones he can gnaw on for longer.

Do you let your dog chew on bones? What type do you give your pup? Specifically, I’m wondering if rawhide bones or the hollow ones filled with peanut butter or “meat” are safe.

I also think it’s about time Briscoe got a new collar. Unlike some of his furry friends, he wears his 24-7, and it’s getting a bit grungy. Plus, with Fall around the corner (yes, I’m dreaming about cooler weather already), his “wardrobe” could use a change.

I’d love to get him a fun collar from a local designer or Etsy seller; the ones they have at Petco are pretty blah. Any recommendations?

* Timmy was already named when he picked him up from the breeder. His parents were show dogs (his mom was Princess Tiara) and he was the runt of the litter, hence the name Princess Tiara’s Tiny Tim.

I’m a bad fur-mommy. I’ve forced my pup to poop in the house the past two days because it’s just too cold outside to take him on a proper walk. Yes, I could let him romp around the backyard unattended (after all, that is why we built the fence), but a) I’m too paranoid (He’s white, just like the snow. What if I lose him?) and b) it’s too frigid for him to be out for an extended period. Just minutes into our morning excursion he was hunched over and shivering. I even had him bundled up in a fleece jacket. If he didn’t like the snow so much maybe he’d do his business quickly, but he loves to jump on top of the snow banks and crawl through the white powder. In Briscoe’s mind, snow is for playing, not for pooping.

We have a white hydrangea tree in the backyard. I don’t know much about plants, flowers or gardening, but I do know that what we have growing back there is indeed a hydrangea tree. Google told me so.

I haven’t been taking very many photographs lately, and I miss it. So, with nothing else on my afternoon agenda, I walked around the tree with my camera, happily shooting away. I would love to take a photography class to get better at my craft. (That feels funny, calling it my craft. But I don’t paint or draw or sew or design, so photography is the only craft I’ve got. Oh, and knitting. I knit a bit, too.)

Briscoe watched me from the back door, wondering why he couldn’t come outside and play along side me. Soon, pup, we’ll have a fence back there, and you can romp around to your heart’s delight!

Briscoe discovered a new little friend the other night in the backyard–a small bunny who was not afraid to get close to our back door. Our fiesty dog was so excited he almost scratched his way through the glass, but his mania didn’t scare away his new bunny friend. In fact, before we knew it, two more rabbits appeared in the backyard. They were multiplying before our eyes!

Unfortunately, Pet Airways doesn’t fly through the Omaha airport, but if it did, I would definitely consider using it for Briscoe. He’s just a tad too tall now to fit comfortably under the seat in front of us, and I can’t fathom crating him up and sticking him in the luggage compartment. I know that people do travel with their pets that way all the time, but I would spend the entire flight worrying about my baby boy.

How do you travel with your pet?

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What’s on your agenda for the holiday weekend? Tonight’s plans include a stop at Long Dog Fat Cat‘s Grand Opening event: Artwalk With Your Dog. LDFC is a new store that sells natural and organic pet food and supplies. We first learned about them at Spring Bark in the Park, where they were raffling off mega squeak wiener dog toys, and guess who won one? Nope, not Briscoe, but his friend Plato! Way to go, Plato!

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Lately, I’ve been taking a lot of naps. I love napping. Curling up on the couch with a book or magazine, cozy under a warm blanket, while the air conditioner blows a cool breeze, is my idea of total relaxation. Eventually my eyes will start to get heavy, and I’ll lose my place in what I’m reading as I drift off into blissful sleep.

While it’s hard for nine-to-fivers to take a cat, erm, dog nap during the days, weekend naps can be just as restorative. Do you take advantage of napping in your spare time?