A carpet, a puppy, a boss and a small bladder

Last week, I was home because of President’s Day.  Jackie, however, did not receive the day off.  Before she left for work that morning, we agreed that I would take Diesel to visit her at the office.  Everyone had been following Diesel’s growth and they were eager to see him first-hand.  Looking at 2-D pictures on a website, however artfully designed, is just not the same as holding a squirming and happy puppy in “real life”.

Diesel’s trip to the office was uneventful, as I securely seat belted him in using his harness.  He didn’t like not being able to run around, but eventually he relaxed and enjoyed the ride without too much complaint.

Diesel's harness looks similar to this one. Except much smaller. And, he doesn't look like an Oscar Meyer wiener.

As soon as he appeared in the doorway, you could hear the “Ooh’s and Ah’s” beginning to rise from all areas within the office.  Jackie’s co-workers briefly stopped what they were doing to investigate this welcomed intruder into their environment.  Diesel was in what is probably the puppy version of heaven – being passed around from person to person and receiving nothing but praise, love and as many gentle pats to his head as he could stand!

Diesel likes to be held!

With justifiable pride, Jackie took Diesel into her boss’ office.  As the Chair of a large and busy department within the University, Dr. R. couldn’t take too much time out of her day to meet with a Yorkie puppy, but she did pause long enough to hold him and remark on his general “adorableness”!  Diesel seemed to have the same effect on the employees as he did on its leaders – they all loved him!

Then, a suggestion was made to put Diesel down and let him run around a bit, perhaps as a way to burn off some of his excess energy.  The details are vague at this point… was it my idea, Jackie’s or Dr. R.’s?  Did I get approval to put him down or did I just assume it would be OK?  Did I realize that a puppy’s bladder is small… tiny, in fact?

The answers to these questions remain unanswered, but the facts in this case are not in dispute.  Diesel was placed on the carpeted floor.  He ran back and forth between our legs for about two minutes.  He ran close to me, and then he paused.  His hind end lowered to the floor and… he pee’d.  Not much, but enough that there was a quarter sized damp area on Dr. R.’s carpet.  Now one of the most powerful persons on campus had puppy piddle on her carpet.

The staff acted fast.  Someone handed me some napkins to mop up the stain.  A smart and enterprising work study rapidly emerged with some type of cleaner and paper towels to remove any traces of the offending fluid.  After a few minutes, the floor was quickly returned to like-new status.

Members of the Hazmat team respond to the puppy piddle problem

Dr. R. handled the situation with great poise, charm and a lot of laughter, but still… having one’s puppy pee on the boss’ floor is not exactly the way the scenario played out in our heads as Jackie and I planned Diesel’s trip that morning.  Soon thereafter, we said our goodbyes to the staff, put on Diesel’s harness and headed back to the car for the ride home.

Almost as soon as the car door shut, Diesel went to sleep.  He was tired out from all of the running, the hugs, the kisses and the attention… but he certainly wasn’t tired from his one-time, potty on the boss’ carpet, faux pas.  He never gave that second thought!


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Crash and Burn: How a simple electronic device can totally ruin your weekend!

As the primary consumer of my spare time and major contributor to my aggravation, the hard disk crash I experienced on Friday has completely re-arranged my life this weekend.  What was to be a relaxing weekend catching up on work around the house and/or watching a few good shows, has devolved into time spent in my office, bent over a keyboard and glaring at a monitor that is bereft of good news.

This issue is a bad hard drive.  Bad as in kaput.  Gone.  Dead.  Without troubling you with the gory details, it appears Windows Vista is corrupted beyond repair, or so says the recovery repair CD.  I am not sure what happened.  Maybe there was a physical error on the drive, which then corrupted the files or I somehow corrupted the files in such a way that recovery was impossible.  All I know is that I have errors on my drive and an unusable system.

I’m anxious about getting my computer up and running because we wanted to get out some exciting news – our Yorkie puppy, Diesel,

Yes, I know I'm cute... now put down the camera and take me outside already!

has been adopted and will be going to a great home in March.  Of course getting that information out was impossible because I can’t get to the software to make the modifications to our website!  Fortunately, I could borrow a computer and reach our blog.  At least we have some tie still to the outside world.  (Of course, if the worst of my problems are defined by how difficult it is to access my HTML editor, I guess I’m doing OK!)

Our main computer is still under repair as we speak.  I’m reinstalling Windows and then will start the lengthy task of reloading all of the software programs, files and settings that I had prior to the crash.  One BIG lesson learned – get a second hard drive and automatically backup your data.


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When a Yorkie’s heart eclipses that of man

Carson is our oldest Yorkshire Terrier.  He was purchased as a companion dog from a local

Carson is wondering when I will take him back inside and out of the snow!

breeder and has more than lived up to that companion adjective in the short time he has lived with us.   He is always at our side – looking to play, looking to be held or simply looking for our approval.  He is our first Yorkie and will always have a special place in our family and our life.

Romeo became part of our family about a year later.  He was to lead our breeding program, having come to us from a champion breeder and possessed with a style and swagger that can only be ascribed to an alpha male.

Carson, we assumed, would not take issue with the new male in our home.  We also assumed Romeo would not take issue with Carson as a potential competitor for the attention of our females or as the male head of the household because Carson was neutered.  We were wrong on both assumptions.

Romeo is playfully attacking Roxie. We wish he would be as playful with Carson

Over time, the two males began to snarl and fight with each other.  It seemed to my wife and I that they think they have to do battle with each other to gain our attention.  I will give you an example of this strange behavior.  The other day I was quietly sitting on the couch with Carson watching “The Office”.  Suddenly, Romeo jumped up on the couch and lay as close as he could get against my right leg.  Carson picked his head up from my left side and began to growl.  The intensity of his growl grew until Romeo stood up and growled right back.  Carson then lunged toward Romeo and they harmlessly locked on to each other’s coats, all the while still growling and snarling at each other.  It took me a few moments to untangle them and calm them down.  Then, just like a referee in a boxing ring, I sent each dog to a different corner of the room as a “time out”.

That wasn’t the only time they have fought.  Suffice it to say, the two males (one neutered and one not) have frequent moments where they are not shining examples of Yorkie love and tenderness.  It is because of this on-going struggle that a recent situation caused us to not only re-evaluate their relationship but also tugged firmly on our family’s heart strings.

Carson became ill.  It was a simple case of an upset digestive track.  He was lethargic, not eating and was just not acting like his normal, happy-go-lucky self.  At one point, Carson simply lay down on the floor, not interested in joining the others as they played and ran out the doggie door to go outside.

What is remarkable in this story is what happens next.  Obviously sensing something was very wrong with Carson, Romeo gallantly came to his aid.  Rather than choosing to fight with or even playfully snapping at Carson, Romeo did not make any aggressive moves, nor did he try to impose his “Alpha Dog” status on him.  Instead, he lay down tenderly next to Carson as if to comfort him through his illness.  Romeo also heroically stood guard by Carson’s side and ensured the other dogs didn’t get to close and bother Carson as he tried to recover.  He did this for hours until Carson began to feel stronger and started interacting normally with our other Yorkies.

It is hard to imagine how a small Yorkie can exhibit such concern and care for another of their kind when those wonderful attributes are frequently missing from their masters and owners.

We will keep you posted if this becomes a true and lasting peace treaty, or if all we witnessed was a temporary cease fire.


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Diesel explores the great outdoors – our front yard!

It was just that type of day – relatively warm, sunny and somehow very inviting despite it still being February.  We just had to get outside and enjoy the weather.  It isn’t often that you get conditions like this in the middle of winter, so we decided to take our newest puppy, Diesel, outside to play.  It was really his first time outside, and his initial hesitation was quickly overcome by joy as he began to run around tirelessly in our front yard!

Diesel is just about ready to go outside, but has to pause for a final picture!

This doesn't look like my playpen!

"I think I like this outdoors thing!"

What could this hard, yet seemingly man-made object be?

It did prove slightly difficult to balance running after him and taking pictures and videos as he romped happily in our yard’s dormant grass.  Sometimes, he would pause to inspect and chew on a few fallen leaves, but he seemed to find them most unpalatable.  He also would run about 25 feet from us, look back and seem a bit startled that he got so far away.

We dressed him up in a small sweater complete with a red, winter scarf to make sure he didn’t get too cool during his playtime.  He seemed warm enough, never once shivering or giving any indication he didn’t like the early-springlike temperatures or having to wear little Yorkie outfits!

After many, many pictures, a brief attempt to teach him how to fetch, and the realization that he may not tire of this before we had to eat dinner, we reluctantly scooped him back up and took him inside.

Why do we need to go inside??

All in all, we think Diesel really enjoyed his adventure.  Once back safely inside, he ate heartily and slept very well!  I think he is looking forward his next foray outdoors.  Maybe that will be tomorrow, although it may also be his first introduction to snow.  It is expected to storm tonight, so in a matter of few days, he may experience both the highs and lows of February weather in Virginia!

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Yorkie Escape

Roxie made a dash for freedom today. Her chosen method of escape did not rival the originality of Escape from Alcatraz, nor was it as exciting. She simply used the more obvious method – run out the front door at the same time as one of the kids tries to go out.

Bad Dog

How Roxie probably feels when staying inside the house

She didn’t stop to sniff the bushes in our front yard, nor investigate the grass or even stop to piddle near the mailbox. No, she ran…. and ran. 1/3 of a mile later or so our son finally catches up with her near our community’s swimming pool.  Fortunately, it was him that chased her down instead of me.  I probably would have been out of breath and had to stop after I made it past my next door neighbor’s mailbox!

Why did she escape?  What made her leave the warmth and comfort of our living room?  It was the age old enemy of the dog…. a cat!  Roxie was bound and determined to chase down this evil intruder and let it know once and for all who is boss of this side of our street.  Her plan, however, got a bit confused as she continued to run… and run…. well after the cat had already escaped up a nearby tree.


An artists rendition of what a cat actually looks like through the eyes of our Yorkies!

What has Roxie learned?  That when a teenager opens a door to exit, but first pauses briefly to check in the mirror if the hair is still doing what it is supposed to do, this short amount of time is just enough to allow her to dash out into the yard and into the great unknown.  She also learned that our son can run pretty fast.  What did the cat learn?  A quick dash up a tree equals safety and another chance to taunt Roxie again tomorrow!


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Muddy Dogs

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Virginia. The weather began to warm, the snow and ice has almost completely melted and I even heard a bird or two sing in the woods towards the back of our house.  Our dogs loved it!  All throughout the day, you could constantly hear the sound of our doggie door open and close as our adult Yorkies ran outside to play and bark at approaching squirrels.  And bark at our neighbors.  And bark at the birds.  And bark at… well nothing, frankly!

But the melting snow and the warm weather caused our backyard to swell with water.  It pooled in places and caused the lawn to feel like I was walking on a waterlogged sponge.  The dogs didn’t care one bit.  The continued to run and play as they normally do, oblivious to the wet conditions.

However, they often run along the same track around the perimeter of our fence (over and over again).  This repetitious path caused them to quickly create a deep, mud trail.  Romeo seemed perfectly content to live with a hair/mud ration of about 60%/40%.  Jinx followed right along, but being that she is a bit higher off the ground than he, was spared from dragging most of her body hair through the muddy terrain.  Roxie frequently returns from her time outside with feet and underbelly covered in mud and water.  Pixie is barely heavy enough to sink a toenail into the ground and she doesn’t like running the same NASCAR track as the others, so she remained clean.  Finally, there is Carson.  He prefers not to be wet at all.  In fact, he rarely leaves the comfort of our deck so his coat remained pretty clean.

We were busy this weekend, so only Romeo got a full bath treatment.  He’s resigned himself to relax now as he endures the cycle of lather, rinse and repeat. He seems to pick up energy when the towel comes out, perhaps because he senses that the end to his torment is rapidly approaching!

Most of the others will be bathed later this evening.  Of course, all of this effort will be for naught after their next extended outing into our wet and soggy backyard!  Keeping them, and our home, clean is a never ending process but one which is soon forgotten the next time one of them paws at us to pick up and hold them for awhile!


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The Bark Blog bursts onto the Yorkie Blogosphere!

Hello and Welcome to The Bark Blog! This is our first post and we are pretty excited to be able to write about our wonderful and sometimes heartbreaking experiences with raising, breeding and loving our Yorkshire Terriers!

Our objective with this blog is to give our readers a detailed look at the daily life and times of a family in the Northern Virginia area that happens to own and raise Yorkies.  We won’t just bore you with tales of potty training accidents (although they do occur) or which chair now has a leg that looks a bit “chewed”, but plan on offering up to our readers information that we feel will be invaluable to Yorkie owners.  Look for interesting, informative and hopefully entertaining articles on grooming, training, feeding, etc. in upcoming posts.  We’ll also link The Bark Blog to other sites and informational articles in an effort to give you all of the data, analysis, and information you need to raise happy and healthy Yorkies!

Please bookmark us, visit us frequently, comment and enjoy!  Feedback is always welcome!

Jackie & Brian

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