Tara at 16.5 weeks!

Tara weighed in at 26.4 lbs at the vet this week when we had our second round of boosters. We’ve posted some 16 & 17 week photos. Enjoy!Here is my “Five Things To Love About Tara”1. Her eyes — Each day her eyes seem to look more and more like Cadi…

Tara weighed in at 26.4 lbs at the vet this week when we had our second round of boosters. We’ve posted some 16 & 17 week photos. Enjoy!

Here is my “Five Things To Love About Tara”

1. Her eyes — Each day her eyes seem to look more and more like Cadi’s (Cadi is her mom). And I have to say Cadi has the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen on a berner.
2. She doesn’t lick our face, but she does do this adorable thing where she “noses” us very gently with her soft wet nose. It’s too sweet for words. Is that a ‘berner thing?’
3. Her hair — I love her fuzzy puppy hair, and right now she is developing some 1920’s flapper-style waves on her back. I love it! I’ve seen the afro that eventually shows up on the older pups and I cannot wait for that phase!
4. Her big beautiful paws — I love to touch them, although I admit I am just partial to paws in general. But her paws are so big and soft and many of them still pink. And I love how big they are in proportion to the rest of her skinny body.
5. Her blaze — It’s like a lightning bolt, and right now I’m reading Harry Potter and love the character Rogue from the X-Men, and she totally reminds me of them and their magical powers. Maybe we should change her name to Rogue . . . Hmmm. 🙂

Ok, I couldn’t write just five, so here’s a few more . . .

6. Her personality — Tara is sweet and also smart and has a strong personality. She is definitely carving out a unique space for herself within our family and really teaching us how to be big dog owners.
7. Tara has a zest for life and is always willing to try new things, new environments, and meeting new people. I know she might go through a fear stage at some point, but right now she is rearing to go at all times! She’s even willing to try peeing in icy rain . . . 🙂
8. She makes us laugh out loud, a lot! She still has a bit of a clumsy puppy walk and gets really exhuberant about her recall and just today Sam called “Tara come!” and she was standing in front of the couch and he was sitting at his desk behind the couch. And instead of going around the couch she got so excited she went over the couch (although did not jump off the back) and got right up next to him.
9. Tara loves to sleep with all four paws in the air, and it is hysterical. She is really into comfort, and she doesn’t mind getting into whatever position gleans the most comfort no matter what it looks like.








Adventures of Kiko the Pug and His Furry Friends 2009-03-14 15:49:00

Tara chillin’ with toys and Kiko at about 15 weeks. Tara likes to burrow and snuggle, and she also likes to get in Kiko’s bed with him. We caught a few glimpses of this on camera. Tara is NOT fond of the camera, however. I think she does not like the f…









Tara chillin’ with toys and Kiko at about 15 weeks. Tara likes to burrow and snuggle, and she also likes to get in Kiko’s bed with him. We caught a few glimpses of this on camera. Tara is NOT fond of the camera, however. I think she does not like the flash. When she sees the camera coming she often tries to attack it and I get a nice photo of the inside of her mouth.

Lastly, there are a few shots of Kiko in a deep sleep with a caption “Puppies wear me out!” and Tara totally passed out on the floor after a vigorous play session!

Adventures of Kiko the Pug and His Furry Friends 2009-03-14 15:44:00

Here are some photos of Tara at 14-15 weeks of age. These last few weeks she has grown a lot! We are visiting Meadowbrook Park that day and she had a blast meeting new people and other dogs!







Here are some photos of Tara at 14-15 weeks of age. These last few weeks she has grown a lot! We are visiting Meadowbrook Park that day and she had a blast meeting new people and other dogs!

Adventures of Kiko the Pug and His Furry Friends 2009-03-14 15:20:00

Ok, ok, I’ve been remiss at starting this blog for Tara and Kiko. Well, here goes nothin.’ We brought Tara home on January 16th at 8 weeks old. She is now 16 weeks old and counting! I am going to post some photos from 8 weeks until about 14 weeks, to g…





















Ok, ok, I’ve been remiss at starting this blog for Tara and Kiko. Well, here goes nothin.’ We brought Tara home on January 16th at 8 weeks old. She is now 16 weeks old and counting! I am going to post some photos from 8 weeks until about 14 weeks, to get you started in seeing her development. Please note that the earliest photos start right above this paragraph, and then her photos get older as you move up.

Green Tara… aka the Puppy post!

Originally published at Kickin’ the new Kuh-nowledge. You can comment here or there.

It’s been quite some time since the old man in our house, Mr. Bentley, passed away.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I missed him as much as I did (even though he was really a momma’s boy).

Liz was ready for a new dog a lot sooner than I was.  She was looking at rescue groups and searching for breeds long before I was ready to even think about it.  Something inside her just knew that our lives needed another furball running around the house.

Me, on the other hand…  I was perpetually on the fence.  Liz would show me some breed and I would always find something wrong with it.  Or I would say something vague and unhelpful like…  “too small” or “too big” or I would point to dogs I knew Liz didn’t like and say things like…  “Oh this breed is really awesome, let’s get that one.”

In general, I simply wasn’t prepared for a dog.  I was stressed out at work, and the economic downturn made me wonder if I would be working at all.  The winter had forced me back to driving, not to mention the cold itself which sucks no matter how you slice it.  Finally, the reality of living two lives (one in Chicago and one in Champaign) was dragging into its third year.

In the meantime, as I was stewing in my juices…  Liz was learning about breeds.  She studied Keeshonds, Irish Wolf Hounds, Akitas, Brussels Griffon and a few others.  We even went to a couple of dog shows.   One breed stood out above all the others throughout this process:  Bernese Mountain Dog.

The funny thing about the Bernese Mountain dog…  was that Liz had found a breed I couldn’t find something wrong with.  Sure… they’re big, but they’re not too big.  They have incredibly gentle temperaments.  Sure they shed a lot, but so do pugs (though not as much due to the size difference of course).  So, I was basically stuck with saying stuff like…  maybe next summer or after we leave Champaign-Urbana.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.  Or I would point to the economic downturn and say something like… dogs cost money.

By this point Liz had joined us in a Bernese Mountain Dog rescue group…  and we had an opportunity to foster Carly, a wonderfully sweet 7 year old that was eventually adopted by a family in New Jersey.  I think that experience really cemented it for Liz, and I could feel the ice in my personal stress pond starting to melt a little.

Liz then started contacting breeders.  It wasn’t that we would have been less happy adopting a full grown dog, but Liz wanted the puppy experience.  It’s possible that some kind of biological clock was ticking, but I think part of it too is that Liz wants a dog she can train for therapy work… and that’s much harder to find in a rescue dog.

Anyway, she talked to a few breeders, and finally settled on one in Salt Lake City.  Coincidence or convergence…  either way, we had a chance to see the breeder, Mary-Ann Bowman, when we visited SLC last fall.  You can check out her blog at… http://www.kaibabbmd.blogspot.com/.

I think that by now you know what this is building up to.  Mary-Ann’s beautiful Berner, Cadi, had a litter soon after we visited SLC.  There were 8 puppies…  4 boys and 4 girls.  As the puppies were growing, Mary-Ann posted pictures and stories, and Liz would show me the photos every day. Over the course of eight weeks, I started getting a bit more excited about the idea of getting a puppy.  At some point I started checking the blog on my own without Liz’s prompting.  I mean… once you start seeing the pictures, how can you resist?

One interesting tidbit about this particular litter of puppies…  Even though Liz had expressed an interest with the breeder, we weren’t entirely sure that we were going to get one of the puppies.  You see, there were several people interested in this litter.  I’m glad we made a connection with Mary-Ann on our visit to SLC.  I’m fairly certain that’s what put us over the top in Mary-Ann’s eyes.

OK…  I think you’ve suffered through enough of my crappy writing.  Without further ado, I am proud and happy to introduce to you all…  Kaibab’s Green Tara, aka Tara, our new puppy.  She is named after Green Tara, the buddhist goddess of compassion.  So…  after all my griping, guess who named the dog.  That’s right.. me.  Liz was right.  It was time for a new puppy.

And now… what you’ve all been waiting for…  PUPPY PICTURES!!!!

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Pug Partay!!

Since Kiko was very little, we have been taking him to pug parties. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a subculture of people who own pugs and feel compelled to get 30-40 of them (or sometimes in exponentially larger groups) together in one house f…









Since Kiko was very little, we have been taking him to pug parties. Yes, you read that correctly. There is a subculture of people who own pugs and feel compelled to get 30-40 of them (or sometimes in exponentially larger groups) together in one house for an afternoon of butt-sniffing, snorting, sneezing, and meandering around in one big swarm. They are like bees in movement, when together in large groups. I still remember his first pug party, when he was about 16 or 17 weeks old. We dropped him into the crowd of pugs and he was off, tail wagging, sniffing everybody’s booty, and having a grand ole’ time. Since then we have actually held our own pug party, for Kiko’s first birthday party. In attendance were 23 pugs, two bulldogs, and a chihuahua (although I believe the chihuahua was more of a blouse accessory than another birthday party participant). We had a doggy birthday cake made of carob and other dog-friendly ingredients, and there were lots of happy pugs running, jumping, and rolling around in our backyard for a few hours.

Since moving to Illinois, we have not found another pug party group like the ones we were involved in, in Orlando. It seemed people just aren’t as weird here I guess, or at least weird people don’t congregate together as much. That was until I stumbled upon the Pug Crawl of Chicago. It’s exactly what you’re thinking it is . . . a pub crawl, but with people and their pugs. For the last two years Sam and I have been trying to go, but it always seems to fall around the time I have to study for midterm exams. Then, this fall it finally fell on a weekend we could get up to Chicago. So we packed Kiko and all his paraphenalia into the Honda Element and drove ourselves towards Pug Fantasyland. When we got there, there were over 200 pugs in this one establishment and it was hysterical. Pugs were dressed up, in strollers, with party hats on, and hanging out in every corner of the place. We had a good time that day, and Kiko was zonked out at the end. I’m including some pictures of the party, and then pictures of Kiko passed out on the ride home. I think he slept for two days after that party. 😉

An older dog can, maybe, possibly, learn new tricks

Kiko the seven-year-old wonder pug is finally starting some obedience training at home with the help of an Ian Dunbar DVD. As Sam and I are hoping and planning for a puppy next year, we figure Kiko should be at least somewhat of a role model for good b…


Kiko the seven-year-old wonder pug is finally starting some obedience training at home with the help of an Ian Dunbar DVD. As Sam and I are hoping and planning for a puppy next year, we figure Kiko should be at least somewhat of a role model for good behavior. So each day after breakfast, on our walks, and after dinner, we practice some obedience training. Kiko learned how to “sit” at a very young age, but we did not further his training much, and we have often used the word “No” to signal for him to do something else instead of using the positive training methods we are learning now from Ian Dunbar. In the last few weeks Kiko has learned to “lay down,” “stay,” and he has also learned the term “off” for when we want him to get away from something. Kiko is VERY food-motivated, so it makes training easy with treats. However, I know that as soon as the treats are taken away, the obedience stops. Kiko will just look at me with his head cocked to the side and a quizzical look on his face as if to say, “But you forgot the treat mommy. I’ll wait here until you go get it and then I’ll do what you want me to do.” 😉 Clever one he is. I am hoping that, with time, he will learn to do what I am asking without treats, but I imagine it might take a bit longer than puppy training since he’s had seven years to perfect non-obedience training.

We are also working on “heel” but that seems to be hit and miss. He gets distracted when we walk past his food bowl or if we walk into the kitchen he is soon off sniffing and scavenging for food. Ahhhh, dog training is hard work! For now, enjoy a recent photo of Kiko doing what he does best . . . snoozing in his bed with his stuffed animals, Cow and Frog.

And Now a Little History . . . Bringing Home Baby Kiko

Seven years ago Sam and I set out on a hunt for pug breeders in central Florida, where we lived at the time. At that time the internet was not much of an accessible route to find information about dog breeds or breeders, so we did things the old fashio…


Seven years ago Sam and I set out on a hunt for pug breeders in central Florida, where we lived at the time. At that time the internet was not much of an accessible route to find information about dog breeds or breeders, so we did things the old fashioned way — we called people on the phone. We went through the Florida pug association and rescue and talked to several people about pugs before we got to a breeder near Gainesville named Glinda Weathers. Glinda had a reputation in the pug breeding circles for breeding healthy and beautiful pugs, and I remember talking with her on the phone for almost two hours the first time we spoke. It felt like a good connection, and I asked some questions about health, the parents of the litter, and temperament. Of course at that time I did not know all of the things that I know now to ask a breeder, but I thought I was doing pretty well and was proud of myself for asking about eye problems and breathing problems! I felt like a pro then, but looking back I know I was such a novice at this stuff. So, we thought Glinda was a good choice for us, and she had come recommended by several others in the state pug clubs.

Kiko was born on June 21st, 2001, and he came to us at 12 weeks old. Glinda kept all her puppies for 12 weeks and actually began potty training and crate training them before they went to their new homes. I remember her also saying it was important for her to get 2 rounds of shots in before sending them off to their new homes. I got to meet baby Kiko once when he was around 7-8 weeks old and then drove back up towards Glinda’s place to pick him up at 12 weeks. Oh god he was SO adorable. Baby Kiko was the most adorable pug puppy I’ve ever seen!! Now I know that Sam and I are a bit biased, but we would get stopped regularly by other people who would “ooh” and “ahh” over him. He was so little at 12 weeks that I used to carry him on my arm into stores and he would just sleep there the whole time I would shop. Sam and I bought a baby sling for him and he would ride in that, too. Although we got many looks from human baby parents when they saw that in our sling was a puppy and not a baby.

As soon as Kiko was able to, we joined a local pug play group called “Pug Central” and began attending the local “Pug Parties” in town. Kiko was an instant hit at the parties, and as soon as he would come into the room of 30 or so pugs, they would all swarm him and chase him around the room, which he just loved!! Those parties were hysterical, because there would be about an hour and a half of snorting, sneezing, chasing, running, climbing, playing, and other crazy pug activities and then all of a sudden just about every pug in the party would pass out and then you knew the party was “over” and everyone would take their sleepy pug home. Kiko would always sleep for about a day after one of his pug parties, they were great!

After about a year with Kiko we had an opportunity to adopt a great rescue pug named Mr. Bentley, and you can read the previous post for Bentley’s story. As Sam has written, Bentley came into our lives like a “tornado,” and him and Kiko were partners in crime for about six years. I think Kiko has missed Bentley and has been lonely since his passing, as I notice he craves a lot more attention and wants to be near us much more often than before, when he could just cuddle with Mr. B.

I am posting a picture of Kiko on the page from when he was a little guy, I think less than a year old . . . Enjoy!

First, A Dedication

This blog is dedicated to Mr. Bentley, our little buddy who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge earlier this year. Thank you, Bentley, for bringing so much joy to our lives for the six lucky years we spent with you. You are loved and missed, and can never …








This blog is dedicated to Mr. Bentley, our little buddy who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge earlier this year. Thank you, Bentley, for bringing so much joy to our lives for the six lucky years we spent with you. You are loved and missed, and can never be replaced.

Here is our youtube video of Mr. B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMWXQnjqre0

And here is the tribute that Sam wrote for Bentley after his passing in April 2008:

When Carol from our pug playgroup sent an e-mail about a pug that needed rescuing, we had no idea what we were getting into. Sure, there was that video that showed a small black dog spinning like a top and barking like a madman. He was a force of nature, a miniature tornado, but we wanted to help. So, with Carol’s assistance we arranged to take Bentley in.

He was a mess. He was already missing several teeth and our vet noted that he needed a few more pulled out. On top of that, it was obvious he had been abused.

The first few months we had him we had to hand feed him because he wouldn’t eat from his bowl at all. He would stare down at his bowl and start growling as though someone was going to come take his food away. It would take us half an hour or more to feed him kibble after kibble in this manner.

After some time, he was finally able to eat food from a bowl, but it was perhaps several months after that when we noticed a change in Bentley. We think it was because of Kiko, our other dog. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. Bentley started playing with toys.

Once he started playing, his real personality came out from under the years of abuse. He greeted us daily with his excited yowl, hopping on his two forepaws, ears flapping up and down.

He’s been with us for nearly six years now. When he first entered into our lives, the vet estimated that Bentley was between eight and 10 years old. So, he was already an older dog, with older dog problems. Those problems were compounded a couple of years ago when Bentley slipped a disc in his back.

It didn’t seem to hinder Bentley much, if at all. Sure, his gait was a little more wobbly, but he was still playing and bounding around as if nothing had happened. Then, the first episode occurred. His hind legs wouldn’t move as if he were paralyzed. Steroid shots seemed to do the trick, and he was back again, bounding around the house as if he owned it.

Unfortunately, as Bentley got older, steroids and anti-inflammatories were no longer enough to stave off the pain. Over the last couple of months, his quality of life deteriorated to the point that we had to keep him in his crate except during meals and bathroom breaks for fear that he would hurt himself trying to run around.

More recently, his pain became even more obvious as he started to scream when his back would spasm suddenly. These screaming sessions could last for quite a while. Finally, last night, as Liz sat with Bentley in the wee hours of the morning working through his latest spasm, the decision was made.

Bentley, Mr. Bentley Fartbottom, Mr. B, B-Dog, Bobo, Bent, Pug2… These were the names we knew him by. We will remember his woo-woo-woo yowl. We will remember his impossibly long tongue that barely fit in his mouth and would often slip out when he was sleeping. We will remember his huge eyes that looked as though he understood our every word. We will remember his wagging tail that greeted us every day. We will remember his barking at anything and everything that moved just as long as it was on the other side of the fence or window, whatever the case may be. We will remember his energetic fetching. We will remember his love of plush toys. We will remember his ear-flapping hop when it was time to eat. We will remember his skittishness around other animals. We will remember his old man noises. We will remember his extremely sharp dew claw. We will remember the clickety-clack noises his claws made on the wood and tile floors. We will remember him sunning himself in the backyard. We will remember his disdain for snow. We will remember his “accidents” on the kitchen floor. We will remember him humping his “brother”, Kiko. We will remember The Spin.

–sam and liz