Golden Retriever Versus the Balloon

Today Bender was being his angelic little self – bounding from the windowsill, to the couch, to his bed, throwing his rawhide around the house like there was no way it could scratch our floors, and whining as he did these things. It’s my fault. I didn’t walk him and Leo has been gone all day. So he’s been bored. But I’ve got a lot of work on my plate this week, plus the six inches of snow outside really makes me want to hunker down under a comforter and avoid the outdoors. So I kept telling myself I’d walk him soon, or that he’d finally fall asleep.

As Bender ran inside for the millionth time, the heat came on and the balloons we have leftover from a birthday moved. It was slight but it caught his eye and gave me an idea. Bender was terrified of balloons when he was a puppy. I figured I should see if he was clinging to the fear now that he is older and wiser.

ballons adn bender

“Bender weighs his options now that the dreaded balloons have captured his food dish…in the end he decides the threat is too great and, embarrassingly, retreats” – September 2013

I cut one down and tied it to his collar. He was still terrified. I had just gotten it double knotted when he took off at a run out the dog door, balloon hot on his tail. After realizing that the balloon would not give up its chase Bender summoned his courage and decided to face his fears. The next twenty minutes were priceless.

Bender the golden retriever jumps for the balloon Bender the golden retriever gives the balloon a dirty look Bender the golden retriever stares longingly at the balloon the balloon attempts to cross the fence and Bender hops up to chase it IMG_20140128_112548 IMG_20140128_112601 IMG_20140128_112604 IMG_20140128_112607 IMG_20140128_112617 IMG_20140128_112623 IMG_20140128_112643

Dogs will be Dogs

I love how Bender just instinctually knows how to be a dog. I don’t mean like he wags his tail when he’s happy and barks at strangers and wants to murder every moving thing that crosses his path (toys, spiders, squirrels, hummingbirds) although those things actually also fascinate me. It’s that he loves the things dogs are supposed to love. It’s one of those instances where all the stereotypes are true.

Bender, 10 week old golden retriever puppy, sleeps on his back

Show me a puppy that doesn’t sleep in the least comfortable position ever.

The first time he stuck his head out the car window you would have thought I’d presented him with a big slab of steak that he was allowed to eat off my plate while getting a tummy rub. His tail was wagging so hard that his butt was basically bending him in half. He almost fell off the car seat. His first few car trips were not so great, he either barfed or sat there whining until it was over. Then he discovered the window. It was a real game changer.

Bender, golden retriever puppy, in a harness with his paws on the window sill looking out the car window

Don’t worry, he’s got a makeshift doggy seatbelt. And we have accident health insurance for all dogs riding in our cars.

In other dogs will be dogs news, we started taking him for walks to the park now that he’s got most of his shots. Across the street from our house is dog’s best inanimate friend. A fire hydrant. He loves it so much. I’m kind of sad it isn’t bright red. At the beginning of a walk we leave the front door, he trots around the front yard for a second, chomps on a dead hydrangea flower for good measure, and then out of the corner of his eye he sees the hydrant and all distractions are forgotten. He bolts. (Waits for me to tell him it’s safe to cross the street like a good puppy) and then accosts the hydrant for a few minutes. He loves going for walks but I think if I let him, he’d just hang out at the hydrant all day. The layers of dog pee that have built up over the years on that thing are just too tantalizing.

bender sits next to a light green fire hydrant looking at it lovingly

Oh fire hydrant, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

And then yesterday he discovered bones and his little life was complete. Bender has a best friend, a mini australian shepherd named Leo who lives next door. Lucky for Leo the fence between our yard and his is only about three and a half feet tall. It took Leo about a week to master the art of jumping it, if I’m ever quick enough to get a photo of it I’ll put it up. Anyway, so now Leo visits pretty much all day, he’s a little older than Bender and every day Bender gets a little bigger than Leo. This seems to have cultivated a sort of napoleonic complex in young Leo’s head.  Because, like a bully, he has started stealing Bender’s toys. He hops over the fence, grabs a toy and then bolts back over while we scold him and Bender wags his tail. He drops his prize on his side of the fence and then comes back over to play with Bender who, naturally, has no idea what has just happened to him. Every week I cross the fence (less gracefully than Leo) and retrieve five or six toys for an ecstatic Bender. Leo watches and plots his revenge which lately, has been the decision to only poop in our yard. He literally jumps over, does his business and then goes home. Our neighbors haven’t used a pooper scooper in weeks.

Bender lying next to his best buddy Leo, a mini Australian shepherd

Leo and Bender are BFFs

But I digress. A few days ago Leo must have been feeling very gregarious, or Bender must have let slip that he’s never gotten a bone to chew on, because Leo went home, picked up a huge femur bone and brought it over for Bender to check out. It was a very friendly move by the bully/bestfriend. Bender was stoked. He never chews on anything for long, but he went at that bone for like an hour.

bender chews on a bone

mmmmm tastes like deer leg

Bender chews on his bone and Leo sits in the background making sure Bender's doing it right...

Leo’s in the background making sure Bender’s doing it right…

Until of course Napoleon the Bully Next Door decided Bender was done, distracted him, stole back his bone and went home. Bender sat at the fence staring longingly late into the night. So now I’ll go ahead and spend a few hours scouring Amazon or the dirty empty shelves at Marshall’s till I find one good enough for Bender to call his own. Which, naturally, Leo will promptly steal.

P.S. You can follow Leo on Instagram too! @gordievantuna

Drinking from the hose

I just feel like there’s nothing cuter that a dog drinking from a hose. Puppy drinking from a garden hose, water sprays everywhere Bender's golden retriever face is soaking wet and drops of water still drip from a faucet above hima large drop of water hangs off bender the golden retrievers nose, he has just been drinking from the still running hose Bender laps up water coming from a hose

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