Wednesday, January 30, 2013


While I was writing Monday's post about having Norman with us for a year now, I was trying to remember what it was like when he first came home. This of course led me to check out old photos and videos. The pictures I've looked at a thousand times and nothing was new, but I did come across some videos that I haven't watched in a long time. The first one was so amusing to me because while Kaya was being pretty tolerant, you could tell she was a bit annoyed to have a puppy in her face while she was chewing her antler. I took this video on Norman's second night with us...

I love Norman's process of trying to get her attention and how quickly he gave up. This next video I took a week later and it looks like Kaya gave up pretty dang quick on trying to keep him away from her bone. I don't remember ever correcting her on this issue so she must have figured it out on her own.

The next video is just hilarious because Norman had not yet figured out how to get up on the couch and Kaya looks like she is totally showing off that she is up there watching tv without him.

The last one is just hilarious puppy and crazy cat shenanigans:)

Related Posts:
Norman's Adoption Story
Puppy 101: How to Hold a Bone
Wordless Wednesday: Can I Haz It Plz??

Monday, January 28, 2013


Last week I had an early appointment in a town about 20 minutes away. I do whenever I go someplace new, I looked on the map for the biggest green space nearby and then asked Google if it's dog-friendly. Luckily there was a huge open space just a couple minutes from where I had to go and Yelpers said it was great for off leash dogs! It was a foggy morning which made for some awesome photos...

As usual, I had trouble narrowing down my photo selection for the blog:/

At 1200 acres, it is safe to say we only covered a tiny portion of the park in 2 hours!

I usually hate mornings but I was so glad we were up early to enjoy the fog. It had started to burn off by the time we left and it definitely looked less enchanting.

Related Posts:
Family Outing!
Our Snow-Cation!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


It seems like a lifetime ago that I brought Norman home though it has only been one year. Watching him sleep cuddled up to Kaya in the back of the car all the way home, it seemed impossible that he wasn't there all along. I couldn't be more grateful that this perfect little puppy came into our lives and not a moment too soon. I truly believe he saved me and Kaya.

Getting Norman was probably one of the stupidest decisions I have ever made. But it turned out to be one of the best. I say it was stupid because I live in a studio apartment with little income and most of all because Kaya was at her worst. She would leap and pounce off every person she met, she would pull my arm out of the socket when I walked her as she whined, yelped and howled so loud that people would stare at us everywhere we went. She'd get into arguments with other dogs at the dog park, she had terrible recall when I'd let her off leash on hikes, she was getting possessive of toys, she'd dominate any play session, she'd make a beeline towards trouble and would generally annoy the crap out of every dog she met, mostly by sticking her tongue in their mouth repeatedly and not stop for anything or she'd try relentlessly to steal their toy and then run away from me when I'd try to get it back. It would take me up to half an hour to leash her in a small fenced in dog park. She'd run in place on the slippery floors at pet stores and drag the table away if I tried to sit outside with her at coffee shops. At home she was my easy going girl, never hyper or destructive, she loved to cuddle and hang out with the cats, but if someone came over, she'd be a full-fledged hooligan and I dreaded taking her out in public.

And so I doubled my training efforts, restricted her freedoms, stopped going to the dog park and googled advice for hours every night. But nothing was working. I couldn't get her to engage or respond to me, we were both frustrated. On many occasions, I'd come home in tears and wondered if she was the wrong dog for me and if she would be happier with someone else. So for my sanity and hers, like any irrational person would do in that situation, I decided to get another dog. Not just any dog. I needed a dog that would indulge Kaya in her games, but not instigate or elevate them. I needed a dog that would follow my lead and not hers. I needed a dog that would not mind when she'd lick, steal, tackle and chase them. I needed a dog that would not mind having its space invaded for every second of the day and night. And for myself, I needed a somewhat-calm dog, one that was easy-going, would listen to commands, that I could take anywhere and would ease my mind at the end of the day.

In a million years, I never dreamed I would end up with a dog who fit the bill as well as Norman. And I couldn't have imagined how instantly the change in Kaya's behavior would be. She learned to share her toys and let him have his turn, she learned to stick with us off leash, she became much calmer and less intense with other dogs and people, she had a constant cuddle-partner and play-mate in one. And I, had my night-in-shining-armor dog that I could always count on. And so Kaya became that rad older sister that any kid would want. She shows him all the coolest places to investigate on our hikes, she cuddles him when he's cold, she grabs a toy and entices him to play with her and now that her recall far surpasses his, I can call her name and expect him to come jogging along behind her. He gave me the greatest gift by helping me form the bond with Kaya that I always wanted.

I love each day with Norman. I love his endless cuddles, his bemused looks, I love how he wiggles with glee when I talk to him, I love his cat-like kisses and I love how pleased he gets over the little things like a random toy he might find on a walk.

I often get compliments on Norman's great manners and calm demeanor. When people tell me I've done a great job with him, I always admit I had nothing to do with it. He is not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to new tricks or his crappy recall, but he knows exactly how to act around any person, dog or other animal. He'll sit like a statue when a tiny baby comes crawling up to him, he'll calmly approach a nervous dog, turning himself into their new best friend in an instant, he'll turn his head and walk away at the first sign of aggression, he'll lie patiently as Gina nurses from his lips and he'll follow her around for hours as she explores the yard and if he spots a stranger sitting for a rest, he plants himself next to them, gives them a kiss and acts like he's known them for years.

I've confidently handed the other end of his leash over to tiny children, my elderly grandparents, first time dog walkers and those who have an admitted fear of pit bulls. He'll stand easily by their side and follow wherever they lead him. I always tell him he is the nicest guy I know.

But more than any of that, he is our best friend and I hope he is in my life for a long as dogily possible:)

Related Posts:
Norman's Adoption Story
Norman is Now a Certified Therapy Dog!

Kaya's Adoption Story

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Well...this picture is really terrible, but it makes me laugh. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought I adopted a Shar Pei puppy instead of a pittie!

Norman had way too much skin for his head when he was a puppy. Did anyone else's dog look like this when they were young?

Related Posts:
Wordless Wednesday: Can I Haz It Plz??
Puppy 101: How to Hold a Bone
Norman's Adoption Story

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Related Posts:
Wordless Wednesday: Running in the Rain
Wordless Wednesday: Go Get It
Kaya's Magic Ball


Kaya's adoption was very deliberate, as opposed to Norman's which was a bit more should I, shouldn't I? After 6 years of living abroad and a year of staying with family and friends, I had finally signed a lease on an apartment of my own. My only criteria for my new place was for it to not be in the hood, not crazy expensive and pet-friendly with no BS breed or size restrictions. So before I had even packed my bags to move out of my friends' place, I was on the internet, hunting for the perfect dog. My only criteria for my future pup was pit or pit-mix and I was hoping to find a golden brindle after falling for one on a rescue site who had already been adopted.

So I laid on my little pull-out chair-bed and stared at my laptop screen, checking and rechecking Petfinder, Craigslist and all the local rescue sites. Finally, I came across an ad on CL posted by the San Francisco shelter with 2 brindle pittie sister puppies. I liked both of them, but was really drawn to Kaya (then Daisy). Was it that mischievous twinkle in her eye?

I had planned to be at the shelter by opening time the next morning, but my friends had made breakfast and I felt too guilty not to spend time with them since they were already bummed that I was moving out. I also didn't have the balls to tell them I was adopting a dog yet, in fear that they would suggest I get more settled first. It turned out to be really stupid that I held back because they were thrilled when I finally told them!

Anyways, I finally made it to the shelter several hours after they opened and of course, I was panicking that my adorable puppy had already been snatched up. But they told me to walk through the kennels and the two puppies were in the third kennel down the first hall. I was thrilled when I saw them because while her sister was leaping up and down against the fence with glee, Kaya was on her bed, happily chewing on a toy. In my mind, I thought this must mean that she would be the calmer of the two, but in reality it might have just been a coincidence of who was where when I walked up.

I'm not really calm...I promise it's a front.

They let me play with her in a little room. She spent the whole time climbing on me, trying to bite my earrings and necklace off, gnawing on her info sheet, jumping on the bench and table, trying to chew my purse and giving me scrappy puppy kisses. None of it mattered. Truth be told, I was sold the second I laid eyes on her.

I was eager to adopt her right then and there, but they insisted on doing a home check because she was a pit mix. However, they did not want to drive across the bay to Oakland so they agreed to let me video my yard to show that it had a secure fence. By then I did not have enough time to get home and back before closing, but with another hour 'til they shut, I was so worried someone else would swoop in and get her. I asked if I could pay to put a hold on her, but they said no.

Who wouldn't want to swoop in and adopt her first?

I barely got any sleep that night. I was able to waste a lot of time looking up female dog names online. I decided on the name Blaze because she looked like a little fireball and she had a white blaze down her face like a horse, but my friends thought it was too masculine. I finally decided to scroll through my iTunes for inspiration and scanned past the Bob Marley song, Kaya. I thought it would be the perfect name and hoped she would be cool and calm like the song suggests...oh well!


The next morning I went to my new place to video the fence. I was relieved that they weren't coming to do a home check because I thought they might be concerned about the apartment being empty apart from an airbed and a pile of clothes! Then I immediately became worried because part of the fence was only 3 feet high due to the elevated deck, though there was a 10 foot drop on the other side. I took the video and held my breath.

Fence...what fence? I'm happy right here...

So I was on my way to the shelter and of course there was traffic which was pushing me past their opening time. I even got on the phone to tell them I was coming for her and of course I did not get through to anyone. When I came in, they seemed surprised that I followed through and came back so quickly. I nervously showed them the video, but everything went well and she was mine! I remember when they asked me if I wanted to change her name for the paperwork and when I said Kaya out loud to them, it really dawned on me that this was actually happening. The only bummer was that I had to wait a few days for her to be spayed, but I played with her in the little room again and she nearly ate her adoption papers!

The first picture I ever took of Kaya.
Sweet freedom!

When I came back to get her, I still remember someone saying to me, "Are you ready for this?" And in my mind I thought, can it really be that hard? And we walked out the door. I put her on the passenger seat of my car and by the time I was sitting in the driver's seat, she was on my lap with her head resting on my shoulder. I pulled away and she gave me a kiss. It was like a scene from a movie!

But the magical moment quickly ended. When we were only a couple blocks away, she scrambled off my lap. I was a bit disspointed but then she puked all over the gear shift and e-brake. Oops. She relocated to the floor in the back and I think she threw up again before we got home:( But there we were. All I had was a (smelly) car, an almost empty apartment and a dog. And it was perfect.

I later found this facebook album with her and her sister. There were several commenters including the woman who rescued the litter, her foster momma and volunteers. One guy wrote, "This is a super smart little dog." Another volunteer wrote, "I took these two beautiful girls out yesterday. They are SO sweet. They are little shy for a little bit, especially when you separate them, but quickly warm up." Uh...what? I never saw an ounce of shyness in her! Her foster wrote, "These two pups are adorable, fun, affectionate girls." It turns out that Kaya's sister was adopted soon after and her 2 brothers that I never met were adopted even before the sisters were!

Related Posts:
Kaya: aka Pretty Little Baby
Norman's Adoption Story
Gina: aka Sweet Baby G, Squeaker, G Kitty

Sunday, January 20, 2013


We had to take advantage of some awesomely warm winter temps this weekend and headed to the coast with my brother and cousin Motlie!

This is what happens post chuck-it throw...

Look at those pittie butts in action!

And this is how Norman congratulates Kaya when she returns with the ball...

Gimme dat!

Norman was a little bummed out because he really wanted to wrestle with Motlie, but she has a new found obsession with the chuck-it. Not the ball...just the chuck-it...

He finally gave up on the girls and made up a game where he would walk into the water and then pretend to be startled when it would catch him...

Captions for this photo are as follows...

Motlie: Come'on chuck-it...make my day!
Norman: Hi! I I don't know why, but I'm having fun:p
Kaya: Got my ball, got my ball, gotmyball, gotmyball ya! gotmyball!

Eventually Norman decided to just sit and watch the surfers...

Oh! I forgot to mention, he also got the chance to kiss several of them so he was fulfilled after all:) Hopefully we'll get to play at the beach again soon...

After all that fun, we went to sit at the bar with the dogs, got some cocktails and watched the sunset...

Talk about dog friendly...they even had a dog menu!

What a fun day...was anyone tired on the way home? Yes...there was lots of backseat cudding:)

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I guess the Hollywood award season is aligned with some sort of blog award season...or is it just a coincidence? Either way, we are delighted that My Mini Pet Pig has nominated us for another award! We do love reading about what the star of the blog, Cocco, is getting into grinds, banana peals, corn cobs, trash cans, oh my! And did I mention he is a cuddling piggy?

Golly...we're awfully thankful for all our awards this season.

Rules for the award:

1. Provide a link and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
2. Answer 10 questions.
3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read.
4. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know that they have been nominated.
5. Include the award logo within your blog post

Here are the 10 questions:
  1. What is your favorite color? blue
  2. Your favorite animal? dog!
  3. Your favorite non-alcoholic drinks? chai tea or iced green tea/lemonade
  4. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook...unless I want to know what my favorite celebrities had for breakfast.
  5. Your favorite pattern? brindle;)
  6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? Giving, unless I've bought myself a present, haha.
  7. Your favorite number? 18
  8. Your favorite day of the week? Friday...most everyone is in a good mood, but nothing is too crowded yet:)
  9. Your favorite flower? Gerbera Daisy
  10. What is your passion? pit bulls and the internet...weird combo, I know.
Here are my nominees:

One Blue Dog
A Peace-a-Bull Assembly
Married with Dawgs
Dog is God in Reverse
The Rufus Way
Adventures of a Dog Mom
That Touch of Pit
Mr. and Mrs. Nola Kisses
It All Started with a Pit Bull

Thanks again for the award, My Mini Pet Pig!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I would like to thank the amazing mini pig, Coccolino and his human, Katie from My Mini Pet Pig for nominating us for the Very Inspiring Blogger award!

The rules of the Very Inspiring Blogger award go like this:
  1. Link back to the person who nominated you
  2. Post the award image on your page
  3. Tell seven random facts about yourself
  4. Nominate fifteen other blogs

Seven random facts about myself/my dogs:
  1. Norman is my first male dog...why did I wait so long?!
  2. When I was a kid/teen I had many pets. I had fish, frogs, seahorses, bunnies, a snake, a horse, a couple hamsters, a few mice and a ferret. I could not handle feeding the snake live mice so I brought him to a reptile place where they would re-home him. I came home with a feeder a pet!
  3. I'm going to be an aunt for the first time in less than 2 months!
  4. I get bored very easily. I can't just watch tv, I have to be on the internet at the same time(with minor exceptions). If I'm doing stuff around the house, I usually have tv, podcast or music on to entertain me. And I always to listen to my ipod if I'm out with the dogs by myself.
  5. Kaya & Norman are the first dogs I have had(or even been around) who like kitties and live with them. It's no wonder I'm always taking so many pictures!
  6. Norman always gets up first(he lets me know he has to go out by licking my face), he goes potty and comes back to bed, then Gina usually wants to go out, then I get up and eventually Kaya. For having more energy than any one of us, she loves to sleep in:) 
  7. I love driving. I always offer to drive if I'm going somewhere with friends and family. I've gotten too many speeding tickets in the past so I try to keep it to 5 over(ok maybe 10...I am only human).

Now for my fifteen nominees(in no particular order):

The Rufus Way
Adventures of a Dog Mom
A Peace-a-Bull Assembly
Life in 2-Player Mode
One Blue Dog
Kate with a Camera
Our Waldo Bungie 
Rescued Insanity
Married with Dawgs
Dog is God in Reverse
My Life with Flyball Dogs
Couches for Breakfast
Pocket Pittie in the City
My Imperfect Dog

If you haven't peeked at My Mini Pet Pig yet, you are missing out!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Between Christmas and New Years we got to spend a few days at Lake Tahoe which meant snow, cuddling family, snow, neighborhood dog friends, swimming(*gasp*) and more snow!

The first day was so sunny and nice. We had to go straight to the beach(now covered in snow)!

Their favorite activity quickly became finding the tennis ball in the snow. Kaya would toss the ball herself, just so she could dig for it again:)

And they really enjoyed checking out this snow tunnel on the dock.

There were a couple snowy days so Kaya & Norman got to wear their new coats! My sister-in-law helped me pick them out. She said they were "slimming" and since she is a NY fashionista so I believe her, though I'm not sure if Kaya & Norman are concerned about their We went on a walk and she got some cool pictures with her "real" camera:)

I don't think mile-a-minute Kaya cares about the cold or the snow, but I'm pretty sure Norman was appreciative of the added warmth.

The next day some of their neighborhood buds were out to play. They were so excited!

Ellie, Berta & Rose were up for some play time, but so much for the group photo:/

The sky looked so cool!

And there was some essential cuddling at night. The only problem was that my sister-in-law is pregnant and Norman wanted to lie right on top of her:/

Norman got to show off his cuddling skills to my brother and sister-in-law:)

Our last day was beautiful also. We went back to the beach for a final romp. Though the temps were somewhere around freezing, crazy Kaya insisted on going for a swim. She was convinced that an object floating out in the water was her ball(which was actually buried in the snow somewhere). I didn't get a picture, but she swam all the way out to the buoys:/

And of course, I made them pause for a photo shoot.

And Kaya always has to be first...

We had an interesting encounter with a family and their 2 dogs. They headed down to the beach while we were playing and the little boy said, "uh oh dad, it's a pit bull." And to my surprise the dad said, "I'm sure they would not be allowed off leash if they were aggressive. A dog is only as bad as its owner." Then he was delighted to let Norman run around and play with his little dogs, who were actually pretty darn rude, but Norman was enamored none-the-less.

I did not want to leave:( Something tells me the dogs didn't either!

Some neighborhood favorites. This tree always looks like it's about to fall...

We found a message in the snow.

Which gave me the inspiration for their new year's message.

Hopefully we'll be back sooner than later:) Have you been enjoying the snow this year?

No...let's stay:(