Category Archives: Standard Poodle

The Adventures of Winston, our rescue Standard Poodle, although there is very little that’s “standard” about him…

Winston and The New Neighbors

Autumn is one of Winston’s favorite times of the year.

He enjoys a good romp about in camouflage and thinks it’s great fun to lose himself in a field of dried grasses and leaves.

But that’s not the only reason.

Once the field across from us has been harvested for the final time of the summer, a rancher brings his Big Black Cows* (this is the technical term for the breed) to graze on the grassy gleanings for a few weeks.

Winston is curious about those cows, and apparently, they feel the same way about him. Fortunately, there is a good-enough old fence that keeps the cows on their side of the deal.

What keeps Winston on his side of the road is the fact that he’s not allowed to cross the street without holding an adult’s hand. (That, and the very effective “awareness collar” we use to keep his silly puppy bones off the road and in one piece. There has never been an animal yet that has LESS native car sense than Mr. iGreet-UPS-With-Vigor.)

There is much that Winston does not know about cows, so every morning he heads out to the end of our driveway to see what else he can learn by frank and focused observation.

What Winston learned this fall about cows:

1) They eat pretty much all day long.
2) When they aren’t eating, they wander back and forth along the fence line in single-file.

There were other things that could have been learned about cows, but these transcended Rick’s ability to translate into terms a 15-month old neutered male puppy could wind in.

Not that he wasn’t keen to get his head around the concept.

Witness the power of the canine redirect.
When the conversation had gone about as far as it was going to go in that particular direction, a brisk “Hey, Winnie! Get your slobber ball!!” was as good an answer to a mystery of life as a bone.

*I love making stuff up about life in the country, and as there is so much that I don’t know, this provides me with hours of free entertainment. For instance, since I haven’t been able to inquire in person yet, I have made up my own explanation for why one of our neighbors thinks it’s a good idea to drive huge wagon load after wagon load of still-steaming cow poop past our house. It’s a two-part hypothesis.

1) Someone who owns cows does not care to have the poop stay where it lay.
2) Someone else needs the poop for something (methane revenue? fertilizer? cow-poop statuary?) and doesn’t object to the odor.

Living in the country is more complicated for some of us than for others.

Noah and Winston

See how adorable I am? Peaceful… calm… patient?

Look at me… the jumbo lamby-kins on the right. I have that lovely Doris Day vaseline-on-the-lens glow, don’t I?

Ignore the little dude with the four teeth and fresh green apple.
Yeah, okay… he IS a hunky punkin. Waddever. His greatest asset, as far as I can figure it out, is that he generally has some leftover yummy organic something or other out in plain sight on his person.

Can I have a lick?
Because I think I’d like apple juice, if someone would just give me a chance.

TOES! Such beautiful tootsies, and sometimes one discovers a morsel or two tucked away there, too. I think he stashes them for a snack later in the day, just in case.

In addition to being tasty, the kid’s an okay dancer.
You just have to get him started, and before you can holler “Buddha Baby!”…

… he’s hokey-pokeying like Michael Jackson himself.

I do enjoy his company, though. My size sometimes intimidates old ladies and little kids, but this one has some street mojo going on. He knows a serious “bring it!” attitude can compensate for a lot of weight difference.
Plus, he’s got a wooden train piece, and he’s not afraid to use it.

This is a lot easier to pull off, of course, when you have reliable air cover.

Ha! Did you see that? I scooped the vanilla yogurt puff crumb right offa there in the millisecond she was pulling his sleeve up.
Frankly, I can’t taste the difference between the organic and the conventional ones, myself.

In truth, he’s as much interested in my body parts as I am in his.
This is understandable.

I have very beautiful body parts.

I’ve heard it said that Payback’s a bitch. I had always understood it as commentary about some dog’s mother.
I have a different take on it now.

Well, here’s another thought to tuck into your little daily blue bag of happiness:
“He who licks last licks longest.”

Something New Everywhere You Look

There has been much activity on the north porch this week.

Every room at the Robin Inn has been occupied by busy mamas-to-be.

There’s the fresh green of new grass exploding in the east and west yards…

… and freshly cleaned windows out of which to see it.

There has also been a fresh layer of snow.

This is Idaho. This is how a week in spring rolls here. Now you see ’em…

… now you don’t.

Most of the local residents find the return of the snow a little disheartening…

… while others still retain a wild enthusiasm for the stuff.

Seriously… wild. Winnie ADORES a good romp in fresh snow, even, apparently, in the middle of May.

And look what flowed out of Rick this afternoon. There are new surges of creativity and talent…

… and a new opportunity unfolding that we find VERY exciting.

Stand by…

The Adventures of Snow Monkey

We’ve finally figured out the practical advantage of Winnie’s soft curly hair.

Aside from the fact that it doesn’t shed, is wonderful to the touch, and is relatively easy to comb burrs out of, he was going to need a shearling parka.

Winne LOVES the snow and spends as much time as he can cultivating that “sugar-frosted puppy” look.

Apparently, one of the most fun parts of wearing confectioners sugar is how easily it can be removed when the time comes. It appears that the trick is to start the shimmy from the front…

… and let the ripple effect work its magic towards the rear of the enterprise.

The technique is almost 100% effective.


Excuse me. I must go hose down the camera lens now.

What’s In A Name?

It turns out there’s a lot.

Remember how we gave such great thought to what we should name this little pootz before he came to us?

In their helpful book, “The Art of Raising a Puppy,” the monks of New Skete Monastery devote a full five paragraphs on the serious undertaking of naming your puppy, thus our grave deliberations in the weeks prior to picking up poocher from the rescue saints.

And I quoth: “We should select names that speak to a dog as a dog yet respect her own dignity and uniqueness.” They suggest short, two-syllable names that are easy for the pup to understand and for you to pronounce, and are clearly distinguishable from obedience commands. Also, they recommend avoiding “… excessively sweet or joke names totally inappropriate for a dog. Dogs are remarkably intuitive; they sense when they are being made fun of or when they are the objects of suffocating sentimentality.”

All right, then.

Given the breed, we anticipated our standard poodle puppy would, at minimum, grow into a big dog and would need a name that could carry the weight.


At five months, the dog weighs 45 pounds and–surprise!–is chin-level with the bathroom counter while on all fours. Because of Rick’s previous experience with the breed, however, we did have a few expectations beyond bulk.

He would be highly intelligent and constantly attuned to the presence and needs of his people, often going first (if permitted) on border patrol.

He would move through our lives with grace and a confident inquisitiveness…

… yet be companionable…

… good-natured…

… and noble with an air of natural authority.

We named him “Winston.”

And then we watched a few episodes of the TV show, “The Dog Whisperer” with Cesar Millan, noting the sharp hissing “sstt!” noise he makes when rebuking a dog. As in, “Hi there, good buddy WinSSTTon!”

Talk about your mixed messages.

Yup… Every time we called our dog by name, we were accidentally making a noise that, apparently, translates into “BAD DOG!”

Perhaps the monks and Cesar should hang out for an afternoon and share tips before they write their respective next books. Or maybe they could just co-host a TV show called, “The Dog N’ Chanters.”

Anyways, we’ve shifted to “Winnie,” which is more dog-friendly and an actual nick-name for those named “Winston.”

And, as it turns out, it’s perfectly apt for this incredible gift to our family: caught mid-hop, you can clearly see that we’ve been blessed with the living incarnation of the legendary Golden Bear of Kansas, Pooh-style.

A Blog Post Not (Totally) About the Dog

We spent last weekend putting together the final bits and pieces for the first draft of the book we’re co-authoring, “[easyazon-link asin=”B0058DII1M” locale=”us”]Social Media Geek-to-Geek: Practical Insights for Technology Marketers[/easyazon-link].”


We moved the furniture, printed the draft, and literally walked through the pages, looking for the best homes for over a dozen great side-bars we had solicited and received from a bunch of industry pundits and peers. In addition, Rick has done 25 wonderful cartoons on the subject, and we wanted to make sure that they were not only placed appropriately to the text, but also were relatively evenly spaced throughout the book.

As far as writers go, we tend to be somewhat visually-oriented, so this approach seemed to offer the best shot at getting ‘er done.

Do other authors do this?

If they don’t they might want to consider it, as it was not only fun but also gave us a tangible sense of satisfaction at this early stage to see the fruits of our labor in 3D.

Rick and I weren’t the only ones who enjoyed getting “hands on” with the project. It was all going so well until Muzzle Punk woke up from his post-luncheon siesta.

He faked us out on his way back in from a trip to the Potty Patch.

Anybody seen my readers?

Fortunately, we were pretty much done with the exercise by then.

Good thing.

Winnie demonstrates a refined appreciation of ironic humor. This is one of my favorites as well.

And if we end up a bit late on meeting our deadline, will someone please print this out and take it to our publisher?

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Uh Oh…

He’s smart.

He has a thing for car keys.

In truth, we collectively already have experience with an “early driver,” and while they lead to great war stories about just how tough it is to raise little ones… in real time? They’re kind of hair raising.

And deceptively sweet.

Who can blame a little pupper wupper for a minor nibble on the sole of a shoe?

Especially when they are so docile during the introduction of hygiene practices?

Yes, his posture is saying, “Yes, of course… Go right ahead. I understand. Ears need to be cleaned. I’ll just wait here until you’re done, then… pinned down between your knees… shall I?”

However, note the eyes, screaming, “ARE YOU FUDGING KIDDING ME??!!!! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM??!!!!”

And this attitude is just one reason why we’ve been SO BUSY in the last couple of weeks. It was this, and the first draft of the book we need to have finished by Monday.

Questions come naturally to quick, growing learners.

For instance, check the head tilt, suggesting, “Shoes? What shoes? I only see Monkey, Mr. Rooster, and a pair of not-so-well-concealed-slippers…. and, well, yes… I suppose I notice a pair of red suede shoes… sorta….”

Of course, what I SMELL is an entirely different matter.

And who can smell an object to absolute certainty without verifying it via other channels?

Just a sec, please. I’m almost done my completely scientifically objective investigation.


Okay, I’ve got it. It was a red suede Dansko clog, last worn without socks for 10 hours in an under-ventilated corporate office.

Shall I check just once again to be sure?

Dang it. Red shoe gone. Only under-flavored nyla bone left in compensation.

We wants our red shoe back. Please.

And why do they keep looking at the size of my paws? They grow every morning, just like the rest of me.

Wha??? What’s wrong with these people? If I doubled in weight in the three weeks I’ve been here, what do they expect from my feet?!

Sheesh… You’d think they would have figured out the growth/skill acquisition rate earlier in the game, given that we’ve shifted from HER first person perspective to MY first person perspective in the course of one short blog posting.

Okay, let’s all just settle down and admit it: I’m going to be a BIG, SMART, CUTIE-PA-TOOTIE, CURLY HEADED PUNKIN’ DOGGIE FROM HERE FORWARD…

… and won’t that be FUN?!!!!!!