The Well-Equipped Dog

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My puppy and I had the opportunity to vacation in Myrtle Beach this summer.  When packing the car, it occurred to me that for such a small dog, Jellybean sure required a lot of “stuff.”  I rationalized that it was a three-week stay after all, so of course she was going to need a plethora of accoutrements.

This past week we were scheduled to travel to Rockwood School District in Rockwood, PA for an author visit, coincidentally arranged because of a chance meeting at the pool in Myrtle Beach.  It was meant to be; the school librarian and newly published children’s author eager to share her stories.  Since it was nearly a three-hour drive, I determined it would be best to arrive the night prior to the event.  That way, Jellybean and I would be well-rested for our big day at Rockwood Elementary School.  I happened to mention to an acquaintance what a process it was packing not only for me, but also for Jellybean.  I wanted to be sure that she would be comfortable in a different setting.  She looked at me with a raised eyebrow, and said “What are you talking about? When we take our dog with us, we take food, water and bowls for the food and water.”  I thought to myself, “Oh my, what a deprived puppy.”  My little diva requires so much more to ensure that she enjoys the same quality of life no matter where we are.  I guess the phrase “home away from home” would apply here.

Later that day I paged through my notebook to find my list of things to pack for Jellybean.  It included the following:

  • Back pack
  • Food (bagged in individual meals in a snoopy lunch box no less)
  • Food bowl
  • Bottled water
  • Water bowl
  • Insulated water bottle
  • Treats
  • Bone
  • Several toys
  • Doggie blanket
  • Doggie bed
  • Doggie PJ’s
  • Current vaccination record – never leave home without it
  • 2 of each book: Naughty Little Puppy, The Perfect Hiding Place, Sloppy Kisses, signing pen, paw stamp & stamp pad, bags, rack cards & business cards (you just never know when you might run into someone interested in a book)
  • Waste bags
  • Brush
  • Hair bows and bands
  • Doggy toothbrush & doggy toothpaste
  • Paw wet wipes
  • Eye drops (for seasonal allergies)
  • 2 or 3 leashes/collars in colors to match hair bows (one 4 foot leash & Martingale collar to use when visiting)
  • Doggy ball cap/sun visor
  • Hoodie, sweater, or doggy raincoat (if weather report indicates they will be needed)

Reading through the list, I had to chuckle.  Obsessive?  Over the top?  Bordering on crazy?  You got it!  Who knew that owning this adorable little fur ball would result in me becoming one of “those.”  Go ahead, call it what it is.  I’m a crazy dog lady and proud of it!



The Dance

Around and around and around we go

Two steps to the left with your head down low

Now slide to the left and then to the right

Then shimmy, shimmy with all your might

Take two more steps, just little ones though

Then feet apart, plant yourself down low

Now look to the left, and then to the right

Make sure no one is close in sight

Lift your tail, and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze

Could I have some privacy please?

Kick those feet back! Make that grass fly high!

Let the world know that Jellybean has just passed by!

It never fails to amuse me when my puppy does her daily potty dance.  It is such a ritual for a very mundane task.  Every morning and every evening she performs this carefully choreographed dance.  It seems there are several reasons for this, one being that dogs like to inspect the area prior to using it. Since they put themselves in a rather vulnerable position when they potty, they circle around to inspect the area for predators or threats before using the “toilet.”  This was especially important for their ancestors, who grew up in the wild.  They are also checking for smells from any prior visitors to that particular area.  Perhaps an acquaintance may have left a “calling card” for them.  According to the American Kennel club, dogs spin around before taking care of daily business so their bodies are aligned to the north and south of the earth’s axis.  Apparently, they are quite sensitive to the pull of the earth’s magnetic field. Who knew?  Apparently, as the handler, you can speed this process by walking your puppy in a small circle and this will bring on the urge to go.  I actually tried that when Jellybean was a young puppy and we were trying to establish some routines for going outside to potty.  It did not go so well.  Being the playful pup that she is, Jellybean found it amusing.  She thought we were playing and would roll around on the ground with her feet up in the air.  As a result, we take potty walks no matter what the weather.  There is no opening of the door and going out for a quick potty break.  So, the next time you watch in wonder as your dog spins, scoots and slides before taking care of business, understand that it is a very complicated and deeply rooted process at work.