Brinley: 22 Weeks

Hello fellow bloggers!

My oh my does time fly.. It’s like I blinked and my summer is nearly over with, and I have a 5 1/2 month old trotting beside me and hogging my bed. I’ve been so wrapped up in life since July hit that I feel as though my mind is just now catching up to reality.

Mason has started his new job at Procter & Gamble. He hates the 50 minute commute but loves the people he works with. He’s still applying and interviewing for new jobs since this job isn’t as many hours as he’d like and it doesn’t offer any benefits unfortunately.. He’s been living down in Kettering for about three weeks now without Brinley and I. It’s been hard honestly- I’m sure more so for him than us (meaning Brinley and I). Mason has never been “on his own”. College sure- but he was always a 20 minute drive from home and had friend connections. It’s literally his first time cooking for himself and spending time alone. He seems to be doing alright, but I know he can’t wait until August 20th (after Brin gets neutered- yikes!) when Brinley and I head down there for good. For now, it’s weekend visits and phone calls.

We’ve had a series of bad luck, as I’ve been calling it. Friday the 31st, Mason hit a deer in his brand new car… On top of that, we had just went hiking the night before, and he left his wallet in MY car by mistake, and I was 40 minutes from where he was by the time the troopers showed up. Everything ended up alright, but that doesn’t take away the pain and anxiety of the hundred frantic phone calls we made back and forth before then. The following day, August 1st, was our five year dating anniversary (whoo!).

I, of course, wanted to spend my morning with my two boys, Mason and Brinley, hiking the trails near Mason’s family home. We turned around three times after leaving the driveway because we’d forgotten things. Mason was driving my car, having tried to leave twice before, we headed down the same road towards the trails. Brinley was on my lap, and Mason and I were having a conversation about getting him a doggy seat belt since we take him in the car so often and an accident could happen any minute leaving him in danger of being injured. At that exact moment, we came over the crest of a tiny hill, and a deer, gunning full blast, flew in front of my car and BAM. TWO DAYS IN A ROW HITTING DEER. I thought Mason was going to lose his mind. We were all okay, thank God, but my car was not. $2,897 later, the damages are fixed… ouch. Mason’s car is still waiting to be fixed. Let’s hope the price is lower on his vehicle..

The deer that collided with each of our cars were “two strikes”, and the universe must have decided that it was only fair to stay true to the old saying that everything comes in threes. I got down to our apartment in Kettering on Thursday night last week, having taken off Friday at work, just to find out at 11:30 at night as we were crawling into our brand new bed that the roof had leaked ALL DAY and completely drenched the mattress. I almost lost my mind at that point. I’ve been dealing with the apartment complex and my insurance guys all week trying to sort that mess out. Meanwhile, poor Mason has been sleeping on the couch..

Aside from all the surprises and our wallets being completely drained, I’m happy to say that Brinley has been wonderful.

He’s five and a half months old now, and just as ornery as ever. He’s been losing teeth left and right, and I’ve been a little bummed because he’s nearly swallowed every last one of them. I ended up getting a hold of his very last front tooth (a canine) because, while we were playing, I accidentally squeezed his head against my arm and the couch while sitting on the floor with him and knocked it out. WHOOPS! I felt horrible of course, but it was an honest accident. Losing teeth grosses me out if you want to know the truth, so the fact that I knocked it out made my stomach a little queasy. I was thrilled to have salvaged one of his puppy teeth though (as ridiculous and crazy as that sounds)! I have an entire scrapbook for him, and like a first child almost, I want to write down and keep everything. This week I’ve actually found two more of his back teeth which really surprises me since he’s usually keen on swallowing everything and anything on the floor. They must have come out without him noticing while we were playing tug with one of his elongated stuffed toys.

I also had to break down and buy him a larger collar (which about broke my heart because I want my baby to stay a baby forever haha). I’m glad that I did though since the puppy collar not only couldn’t expand any longer, but the new collar suits his neck much better. I didn’t realize how out of place his tiny collar was until putting a larger one on him. He looks rather handsome if I do say so myself!

As far as his behavior goes, I’ve created a swimming monster. I’ve transformed him into a regular water dog. I wanted so much for him to swim and to love water that I’ve made every effort this summer to introduce him into the water and get him comfortable. He’s now at the point where he will not only retrieve in the water (throwing sticks, balls, etc. into the water and him bringing them back), I can’t keep him out of it! Mason’s family home has a creek that runs through the property, and it never fails that as soon as I open the door to let Brinley out, he’s in the deep end of the creek going for a swim and chasing floating leaves.. As happy and pleased as I am to see that he loves the water and wants to swim, opening the door to a stinky, wet puppy every day is not what I would call amusing.

I’m happy to say that his patience has gotten a lot better over the last month or so. Brinley and I took a trip to The Ohio State Fair this past weekend, and he did incredible. He had to stay in one spot in the dairy barn at my mom’s string (a string is what we call the cattle we have there to show), and he did so well. He laid down without a peep and was so good when kids and people wanted to come up and pet him. He still gets, what I like to call, the wigglies when he’s excited, but all in all, he didn’t jump on anyone or nip anyone. That doesn’t mean he didn’t try to get his little mouth on anyone..

 The mouthing is slowing down, but it’s definitely not 100% yet. He’s also the most stubborn little puppy I know. He could be trotting away from me towards another dog or person and stop to look at me when I call for him, but he will usually keep going anyways. That’s honestly the only thing that really frustrates me at this point. He’s otherwise a very easy puppy, but when he gets his mind on something, he chooses not to listen. I’ve got an assortment of long training leashes that I’ve been using to try to practice with him. I’m not sure what else to do really?? I just have been in situations a few times where we’ll be the only ones in the park, and he stays right with me, but if another person enters the park, I immediately lose his attention. I get nervous right away that he’s going to beam over there like a flash, and I’m more afraid that whoever or whatever he goes for some day won’t be dog friendly- or even worse, that he’ll try to cross a road some day. That’s another thing I really, really want to work on is having him sit and wait at road crossings.. Will I ever get there?? Idk.. but that doesn’t mean that I won’t try.

This weekend is actually quite exciting for us! It will not only be my 23rd birthday on Friday, but Dog Day at the pool I work for is this Sunday!! I’m much more excited for Dog Day of course, but who can deny a piece of cake (or two) on a birthday once a year?! Dog Day is actually called “Paws In The Park Pawty”, and it’s hosted by our local Humane Society, but we’ve always called them Dog Days for the seven years that I’ve worked this summer job. Even though Brinley can swim, I took the liberty of buying him a life-jacket. He’s never had to swim very long distances, and I’m just not comfortable with the idea that he could be paddling in the middle of the pool and get tired. I am thrilled to have him wear the life-jacket obviously because he looks absolutely adorable. Brinley, on the other hand, flopped down on the ground like a protesting child the first time I tried it on him. I’m hoping he’ll forget all about the jacket when his paws hit the water. I guess I’ll find out on Sunday!

Well, sadly my summer is coming to a close, and I start my three year PhD program on August 31st. I’m going to go ahead and assume that I’m going to feel overwhelmed and very busy, and I may not write posts as often as I’d like; however, I will do my best to keep in touch and write about Brinley as often as I can. In the meantime, I’m sure Brinley will continue to hog the entire bed during afternoon naps and continue to try and try again to sneak a paper towel out of the trash can.. I’ve also recently created an Instagram account (@brinleythedalmatian) that is meant solely for posting pictures of my growing boy if anyone would be interested in keeping in touch with us that way through this next busy school year.

Thanks for reading and all the best,

Kassi and Brinley

Hello And Goodbye July

Wow.. An entire month has gone by, and I am one month closer to officially moving down to Kettering, Ohio. What may not seem like a ‘big move’ to some is a very big move for me- for us. I’m becoming less nervous about living in a new area and more nervous about this PhD program. I’d like to believe that I’m not in over my head. Who am I kidding though, I’m still trying to turn in paperwork and get a checklist done for classes that start on August 31st.

In other news, Mason got offered a position at Proctor and Gamble!!! He’ll be working as an analytical chemist, and I am beyond excited for him. In the last month, his gas tank has fallen out of his ’96 geo prism so a new car was in order (not that his old car was in all too good of shape anyways- it constantly leaked oil..). So, Mason bought a new car! His first car purchase actually, so it was very exciting (and scary). Having this job security was exactly what he needed to feel confident that he made the right decision. Now he will be able to pay his car payment, insurances, rent, and other expenses without worry. I’m really the one who should be rejoicing because I’ve decided to take the semester (or year…) off of work to settle into the program. I already feel like a bum loser just thinking about not working, but the truth of the matter is that I have no idea what I’m getting myself into with this program. I’m just fortunate to have someone who is willing and able to support me and my little puppy until I get it figured out.

So what’s happened with us in July?? We’ve completely moved into our apartment! Well, our stuff anyways. That was a hassle all of it’s own as many of you know all too well what struggles come along with moving. We had a lovely surprise after our three hour haul down there- we are on the second story.. We were told that we’d be on the first floor originally, so the surprise upon arrival was not exactly how I wanted to continue my day at that point. There were moments where I truly thought furniture wasn’t going to make it. We laughed once we got it in and said that it wasn’t coming back out with us- it would be a gift to the next occupant because it was so incredibly difficult to get in. Granted, Mason, myself, and my mom were the only ones completing this move. The reason for that is a whole other can of worms..

the four leaf clover I found on our first walk at our new apartment!

My lovely father, and my grandparents on his side for that matter, have stopped speaking with me. It has been incredibly difficult if I’m being honest. Everything about my summer basically has been about trying not to let it bother me when in retrospect I’d been crying over it nearly every night. The real reason for their behavior is quite idiotic if you want to know the truth. To make a long and dramatic story very very condensed, my parents are divorced, my dad cannot stand the sight or thought of my mom, throw in my college graduation where they’d be in the same place at the same time, and you have kaos. My dad acted terribly even the weeks before my graduation, so it came to no surprise when he made a complete ass of himself at my college graduation. It was on Mother’s Day of all days, and he even ruined it for his own mom (my grandma of course). Dad and Grandma were calling me complaining about each other, trying to make me mad at the other for what had happened or not happened- then what do you know, it all gets turned on me, and I’m suddenly the reason for all of their problems. I think the correct words used were, “You love drama, and I realize now that you are the reason for all the problems and conflicts  that have ever been brought up”. There were also a few very unkind names thrown in there that I won’t mention, but in truth, it has been the most unfair and evil thing in a very long time that has happened to me. My dad threw away my Father’s Day card without ever reading it. He refuses to help me, talk to me, be in the same house as me. If I’m coming to visit, he leaves. He’s done a lot of terrible things to me before, but I honestly don’t know if I can forgive him this time when he finally comes around..

Basically July has been hard. Moving, family stress, Mason stressing about finding a job and buying a car, trying to get my checklist done for grad school.. It’s just been a lot. Throw in work related stresses in there and a crazy puppy and I’ve got a broken-out face and a lack of sleep.

Now that I’ve bored you with a few bits of what’s been consuming my month, I’ll jump to the real reason why you’re probably all here: Brinley- who is 19 weeks as of today!

I’m going to be honest, I have been slacking. We haven’t even attempted any new tricks, which to be honest, probably doesn’t matter all that much. It just bothers me to think of how much he could know by now. Not that I believe that learning tricks is an important part of being a good dog because I don’t. I simply think that it challenges him in a positive way, and it allows him to learn and grow mentally. We have been working on our walks A LOT. He’s always been good on a leash, but he still has moments where he isn’t focused and walks ahead of me. I’m a strong believer in having a dog walking at my side or just behind me. I refuse to have a dog who pulls my arm off every time we go for a walk. My long term goal with him would be to have him walking at my side with and without a leash.. God speed.

Brinley has recently taken an interest in chasing birds, squirrels, bunnies, and really any small creature that he can see outside.. It isn’t all too surprising that he wants to do this. I just thought I got lucky for a while since it took him so long to pick up this habit of his. It’s all fine and dandy if he wants to try to chase them out in the country where we have 10 acres for him to run to his little heart’s desire, but this week I’m house sitting in a very uptight and close neighborhood. Chasing little creatures means that he’s running through other people’s yards and out of my sight which I am not comfortable or happy with.. He’s in a stage where if he has his eye on something, he can’t hear me. He gets the wiggles and starts trotting away. His “come” recall has gotten so much better, but throw in a new person, dog, or animal and he’s gone. My only saving grace this week house sitting has been a 30 foot training leash. I put the loop at the end around my ankle, shackle style, and water flowers and do the chores outside with him tied to me. That way, I can move between the front and back yard and he can’t run away or get into trouble. I literally just haul him around with me which is kind of embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as chasing after him through the neighborhood screaming his name.

I’ve also been trying to work with his socialization a lot this month. We’ve went to visit my best friend from high school, Shannon, to have a play date with her family dog Marley. He wasn’t very much taller than Brinley, but he out-weighed him ten fold. Marley was a good play partner, but would truck Brinley over pretty easily. Luckily, Brinley didn’t mind being run over all too much. He would bounce right back up and chase after Marley every time. We also went to visit my grandparents and their dog Shep, an Australian Shepherd. Shep didn’t take to him at first. Brinley of course had no idea that Shep didn’t want to play. He took his growls and nips as play invites and would run circles around Shep. After a while, Shep did warm up to him and ran with him in their large yard. My grandparents were happy I brought him along since they admitted not socializing Shep the way he should have been. Having a naive puppy around was a good start for Shep since it’s hard to “hurt Brin’s feelings” (if that makes any sense at all). We also went to visit another high school friend of mine for the first time in a long time. It was sort of a surprise once Brin and I got there. I knew she had a boxer and a husky, but the surprise was that she also had two other chow mixes at her house at the time so it was an all out dog party at her place. Brinley was slightly overwhelemed at first because all four of the other dogs were very high energy and rambunctious. They sort of swarmed. My friend and I let them one by one meet with Brinley to slow them down a bit at first, but it didn’t really slow them down at all. After the initial greetings and checking each other out, all the dogs ran around together and wrestled the entire day away. Needless to say, he slept very, very well those nights after his play dates. Brinley doesn’t know when to stop when he’s playing with another pup.

When we moved all of our stuff into the new apartment in Kettering, Brinley got to meet three of our new neighbor’s dogs, and they all got along very well too- What a relief! Get this- All three dogs we met were male, and their names were Zeus, Apollo, and Dakota. Very strong names.. Poor Brinley, his name doesn’t fit in at all. Whoops!

Mason and I got a little zealous while we were in Kettering the weekend we moved in and took Brinley to a dog park near by. We felt so guilty having him in the car for so long and then trapped inside for most of the day that we wanted to give him free rein to run. We have never been to a dog park before. The idea of a dog park is wonderful, but the actual dog park is not for us after that day. Everything was great when we got there. All the dogs were super friendly, and Brinley did introductions with them extremely well. I was so proud of him.. He didn’t try to jump on any of them and really just minded his own business. Mason wanted to walk him around the area so I stood with another lady and her dog. Mason got to the middle of the park and was just standing there with Brin while he sniffed around. Out of no where, this black female german shepherd came barreling at Brinley. She came from Mason’s back so he never saw her coming.. She literally ran Brinley down and slammed him on the ground with her front paws and mouth. I almost had a heart attack. The owner did absolutely nothing. I was the one who ran over and chased her off. Luckily Brinley wasn’t hurt, but he was very fearful of everyone in the park after that. That same dog tried to come after him again a few minutes later. I don’t know what it was about her, but she wanted to beat him down. I’m still pissed. It was a very frustrating situation. Mainly because the owner was a pompous ass. I just couldn’t live with myself if Brinley would ever get hurt in a situation like that. A situation that I chose to put him in. We learned our lesson. No dog parks. Ever.

We went to get ice cream after because we were all so frazzled.

I’ve also been focusing on bringing Brinley to a lot of different places. He’s come with me to work a few time to check on the pools as I am the summer aquatics director for the city. He did pretty good there  the last few times we’ve gone. He just gets very excited to have so many squealing girls around him all at once. One thing I will say though is that he is leery of wet kids. When the kids jump out of the pool to come pet him, they might as well be little aliens to him. He backs up and sits on my feet. So we’ve been taking it slow- not allowing them to pet him but just stand or crouch near him until he warms up enough to go to them.

We’ve also gone fishing A LOT this month. Mason and I have taken Brinley to a bunch of different ponds. He loves the water. There hasn’t been a single time that he hasn’t gotten in. Although he doesn’t jump in and swim- he’ll just walk in as far as he can touch. I’m not going to push him through the process of swimming, but I’d like to see him swim and enjoy swimming some day. The pond that we visited most recently was absolutely beautiful. It nearly overlooked an amish field and scenery that was to die for..

Although house sitting has been a little bit of a pain in some areas, it’s given me a lot of time to spend with Brinley. The house is a five minute drive from work for me which means I can stop back in throughout the day to take Brinley for walks and play with him. I’m also watching the owner’s dog this week. Brinley loves that of course. The boxer, named Carmen, is an 8 year old rescue dog who is nearly scared of her own shadow. Brinley has really helped me out a ton this week with getting her to come out of her shell a bit and not be so fearful of me. Carmen LOVES his toys. She will take them to her kennel with her at night and sleep with them.. I’m leaving a few of them here for her once we leave. It’s just so sad to me that she has never had a toy to play with. She brightens up so much when you bring them out for her. It’s the least I could do for her after I leave this week. Brinley does drive her a little crazy at times because he’s always looking to play, but she does well with ignoring him and letting him know when she doesn’t want to play which is good for him too.

I hope I haven’t lost you all along the way! I was a little all over the place in this post.. I guess that’s what I get for waiting four weeks to post!!

I’ll leave you with one last picture of my boy.. I did a before and after shot the first night Brinley ever slept in his kennel to last night when he was curled up in the back of his kennel.. 8 weeks to 19 weeks.. Where has time gone?

15 Weeks: Update

Brinley is 15 weeks old as of today. I can hardly believe that he’ll be four months old next week. Where has time gone?! Although it makes me sad that he won’t be a tiny puppy for long, it’s so exciting to watch him grow and mature. Mason and I are both hoping that he’ll grow into a big, beautiful dog. Regardless of what is his end weight or height, I couldn’t be happier with his temperament. He’s definitely pushed me a few times, testing his boundaries, but overall he’s been a great puppy.

Update number one: We are officially done potty training!!! PRAISE. He’s been accident free for the last several days, but I didn’t want to jinx it by posting too soon. It makes me so happy to see him sitting at the door waiting to be let out. He lets out a little bark after he sits to alert us that he needs out (which he came up with on his own but it works great!).

Update number two: The puppy play biting is at a minimum now. He is far less mouthy, and he doesn’t go for our arms or clothing anymore while he’s playing. He will still put his mouth on me from time to time, don’t get me wrong, but he doesn’t leave marks or hurt me anymore. That’s the important part.

Update number three: He’s still a paper towel thief.. If there is a paper towel in his reach, he will have it in his mouth. He loves them. He likes chewing and ripping them apart. We’re just lucky that he drops them when we ask and doesn’t run away with them the way I had worried he would.

Update number four: We went to the vet’s today for his last booster shot and his rabies shot, and the vet again said how wonderful he was and what a good temperament he had. If there’s anything that can put a smile on my face and brighten my day, it’s to hear that other people, especially our vet, think that we have a good dog. They recommended to continue socializing with everyone that we possibly could to get him used to all kinds of people and pets. I will do my best!

Update number five: He weighs 26.0 lbs! At 15 weeks old, I’m very impressed with that.

Update number six: Our old farm dog Lola is tormented by Brinley.. We’ve corrected every time we’ve caught him in the act, but that’s not to say that he’s not done it while we haven’t been around or not looking. He humps Lola.. It drives me crazy. I understand that he does that because he is trying to assert his dominance, but I won’t stand for that. I try not to let it get to me, but it really gets my blood boiling.

Update number seven: We are on a new food now. Nothing against Purina, but it was not sitting well with him. He never had normal poops, and he would go multiple times for one poop. I’m talking about poop, then walk a few feet, then poop again. I did a lot of research, and In the end, I went with Nature’s Recipe. It actually smells good?! After about the fourth day on it, his poops look normal! And no more multiple poops.. Okay, enough of that..

Update number eight: He is actually choosing to go in his kennel now!! I’ve watched him choose to sleep in his kennel three times this week! I know that may sound silly, but to me, that’s very exciting because that means that he’s comfortable being in there. I wasn’t sure if he’d ever get to the point where the kennel was a positive thing. It’s never really been a negative, but I could tell that he’d rather sleep on my bed instead. Last night he actually jumped off my bed and went in his kennel to sleep. Wonderfullllll!


8 weeks to 14 weeks old


15 weeks old

We are preparing for our first weekend of Fourth Of July festivals and fireworks! I bought Brin the cutest American Flag bandana for the parade! I’ll be sure to post a few pictures of our weekend :)

Kassi and Brinley

First Reunion: Brinley and Chip

As many of you may know already, Brinley was reunited with one of his brothers this past weekend. To say that I was excited is an understatement. I have been curious about Brinley’s siblings since the moment I brought him home actually. I’m incredibly interested in how the different litter mates would compare in both size and personality. Of course, I have no clue where Brinley’s other three brothers or sister are at this time.. The only reason why and how I know where one of Brinley’s litter mates are is because I directed this person to where I had got him from, and we’ve stayed in contact. I don’t want to over step my boundaries, but I really wish that I could find out where the other siblings from his litter went.. Even if not to visit, I would love to see pictures of them as they grow. If anyone has read any of my previous posts, Brinley was my first pick of the whole litter, but Mason had his eye set on another male. I’m curious to see how the two boys stack up now that we are nearly a WEEK away from them being four months old.


Friend, Lynn, stealing cuddles from Brinley on our visit to her Columbus apartment

To set a few things straight, the brother that I am speaking of is named Chip. He is a liver-spotted male from Brinley’s litter. There were five boys, two liver-spotted and three black and whites, and one black and white female. I came to know Chip’s now owner the day before I graduated from Ohio State. I was taking Brinley out to potty while we were at my apartment in Columbus that weekend for graduation. Across the street from my apartment, there was a house with five boys sitting on the roof. Almost as soon as we hit the grass of my yard, one of the five boys was trotting across the street to come greet us. He was a year younger than I was, and a skater-boy pothead to say the least.. I feel guilty replaying this moment back in my head because I was trying everything to escape a conversation with this kid. He sat down in my yard and began playing with Brin. He told me about how much he loved dalmatians and has always wanted one etc. etc… He asked me where I got Brinley from, and I told him vaguely that he was from up north from an Amishman. He kept prying for more information until he got the breeder’s name and number out of me. I didn’t think he was serious for one, and I remember thinking to myself that he would be a terrible dog owner anyways.  But, what do you know, he ended up buying one of the last two puppies my breeder had, and the rest is history. We’ve sent pictures almost daily, and have asked each other questions along the way if anything has come up with our boys. Harmless enough, right?

This kid, Jesse, who owns Chip, has proven my judgement on his ability to care for a puppy to be true. Although I will say that I have right to say who should and shouldn’t have a dog. To each their own on what they would like to do- I’m simply thinking in terms of the puppy’s best interest.. To begin, we were supposed to meet at 7:30 pm on Friday night at my friend’s apartment (the sassy dog expert one from my last post), and he doesn’t show up until nearly 10:45 pm. I was pretty frustrated at that point because I tried to tell him more than once that it was a little late, and I needed to get some sleep. Regardless, Jesse and one of his skater friends showed up on my friend’s doorstep with CASES of beer in hand and a cooler full of snacks. But don’t worry, Jesse made sure to let me know that his friend was on probation so they wouldn’t be smoking… *good to know*

Let me just set the scene a little more by telling you how I first saw them coming over-

I went outside with Brinley to go potty because he had given me the signal that it was time to go out. We walk out to the back part of the apartment complex my friend lives at, and Brinley did his business. As we are walking towards the front of the apartment complex on our way back to my friend’s door, I hear this voice calling out, “CHIP…CHIIIIIIIIIIIP….CHIP!”. Obviously I knew who that was. With Brin at my side on a leash, we ran to the front yard area, and I could see two boys running down the side walk screaming after the puppy (who was not on a leash obviously). That was strike one for me. To not have your 3 month old puppy on a lease in the middle of a busy city IN THE DARK is absolutely idiotic. Chip could have been run over in a second. I started looking around in a bit of a panic not knowing what to do since Chip was literally in the road at this point. I got the idea to use Brinley as a lure since Chip had not yet realized that we were there. I told Brin to ‘speak’ a few times, and what do you know, Chip came running over.


They were a bit surprised to see each other

Brinley and Chip's first meeting since 8 weeks

Brinley and Chip’s first meeting since being 8 weeks old

We took the puppies inside and the craziness began! They wrestled and played for the entire 40 minutes that Jesse and his friend stayed over. I was pretty nervous at first because Brinley looked like he was being much too rough. He immediately took the top position in the tussle and was quite a bit stronger than Chip. My worst fear was that Brinley would take it too far and hurt Chip somehow, but that didn’t happen thankfully. I kept breaking up their wrestling thinking that I was saving Chip from Brinley, but as soon as I would grab Brin and hold him, Chip would lunge and jump right onto him continuing what they had going on before. The easiest way to describe Chip’s role in the playing would be a limp noodle.. As soon as Brinley would put a paw on him, he would flop on the ground. Brinley plays with two of Mason’s sister’s dogs quite often, but not play like that. He likes to run after the dogs or be chased by them. Still, the behavior I saw with putting his paws on Chip’s back was very familiar because that’s what he’s done to the dogs he’s played with in the past. Is that normal?? I’m worried that he’s a very dominant male and will get himself into trouble by acting that way. Jesse was definitely concerned. Although he didn’t vocalize it, he frequently broke up their wrestling and tried to get Chip distracted with something else.

That’s another thing.. Whenever Jesse wanted Chip to come, he wouldn’t use the command ‘come’. He would say, “Chip, treat? treat? Chip, treat?”, and it annoyed the crap out of me. What in the world.. Here I am, trying not be be judged for my training choices with Brinley, and I’m upset about Jesse’s methods for calling his puppy. It just seemed ridiculous to me that he would say ‘treat’ to get Chip to come. Not only that, Chip was visibly sunburned. Although you can’t tell in the photos, you could definitely tell in person that he was pink from overexposure. Jesse said that he apparently went boating with Chip and didn’t think about him getting burnt. Oh, Jesse also mentioned how much Chip loves beer… Um, excuse me, what?! I hate when my nephew drops a chip on the ground and Brinley eats it. I couldn’t imagine literally giving my puppy beer. It’s extremely ignorant and irresponsible in my opinion. By the end of the short time we had together, I felt thoroughly bad for Chip that he had such a bone-head for an owner. On top of it all, Jesse took Chip out at least three more times without a leash on and was running after him yelling his name in less than 15 seconds. I’m also a little annoyed that Jesse fed Chip ALL of the treats I had packed Brinley for the weekend. He literally reached in MY BAG and took out the treats I had brought (which weren’t many- just enough to have as back up in the car or for a treat in his kennel at night), and he gave every last one of them to Chip WITHOUT asking. Talk about wanting to lose my mind. Not only that, he left an absolute mess for my friend and I to clean up with four half drank beers, a container of nasty leftovers, and wrappers everywhere. How in the hell did he make such a mess in that short amount of time?! He also left his wallet and tried to get ME to drive it back to him. Spoiled rich kid syndrome. That’s what I’m attributing it to. Oh, and the drugs.

Rant over… All that aside, Brinley had a great time, and it made me happy to see him play with his brother. In case anyone was wondering, Brinley was the bigger of the two with a longer and taller body. He also had a better shape to him overall whereas Chip was more of a rectangle shape? I’m going to blame that on all of the beer and Cheezits Jesse mentioned he gave him daily..

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Of course, Jesse and I agreed to try to get the boys together more often. It makes it a little more difficult to do seeing how we live about three hours apart, and I’m not exactly dealing with the most responsible human being on the planet.. I know I should enroll Brin in puppy classes so he can have more puppy play in his life. I just wish I could find a group of dog lovers to get together with so that I wouldn’t have to feel like I’m out stalking people and their dogs so Brinley can be socialized.. Any ideas??

Love always,

Kassi and Brinley

My Rainy Week With Brin

I’m struggling. The weather has been my enemy the last three-four days. It’s been smoldering hot outside. The humidity alone makes me want to crawl into a dark, underground place to seek refuge. During the day, it’s miserable, and at night, it pours rain.

The reason behind my grief about the weather is because I’m starting to feel guilty that I haven’t done anything real exciting with Brinley. I was taking him to the park, on hiking trails, and on long walks/jogs every day. Now I’m a loser dog mom because I can’t even stick my head outside without wanting to cringe. Sure I can play games of tug and work on his obedience etc., but that doesn’t get the energy out. This puppy needs exercise. On the days I go to work for more than a few hours, he especially needs to release that pent up energy..

On top of my puppy energy crisis, it has been a mud pit outside which means every time my little indian goes outside, he comes back with mud up to his belly. Before I talk about bath time, can I also just say that Brinley does not appreciate going potty in the rain? He will run to a far corner of the house where he is out of my sight line to piddle in the house before he would try going to the door to go out like he usually does.. It frustrates me to no end because, at this point, he knows that he’s supposed to go potty outside. I literally will walk him out with an umbrella when it’s pouring so he will go potty, and he is still resilient to go. Times like these have me thinking to myself, “how are we going to make it in the city this fall when I have to have you on a lease every time you get let out to potty??”. Brin not only likes to take his time when he’s trying to go, he likes to be far away from me. Given our big yard, he acts as if he wants his privacy and will scout a good spot that’s away from where I’m standing waiting for him. I have a feeling that he’s going to be a sad little puppy when he has to be leased to go potty.

When it comes to giving Brin a bath, it’s gotten a LOT easier. He used to shake the whole time, but as the weeks have passed, that has subsided. I’m lucky to have a bath tub with a sliding door on it (I’d never thought I’d say that until now). It comes in handy during Brinley’s baths because I can plop him in the tub and shut him and myself in. I don’t fill the tub anymore. I’ve found that it’s just a waste of my time. Instead, I just take down the shower head (also lucky that it isn’t built in) and give him a quick shower before I soap him. The whole bath experience is pretty peaceful. He is very compliant and doesn’t try to escape. He doesn’t try to bite my hands or the shower head. He actually doesn’t even give me the big sad eyes like my border collie Molly used to. It was her signature “I’m sorry for everything I’ve ever done, can I get out now” look. Once I get Brinley out of the tub, it’s a different story. He acts as if he’s just escaped death and has endless amounts of energy to expend on celebrating his victory. I wish towel drying him were as easy as the bath itself is. I keep the bathroom door shut so he can’t escape, but even the door doesn’t slow this pup down. He RUNS the length of the bathroom, jumping and carrying on like a crazy. I try to snatch him with the towel as he runs (and slides) by me, soaking the bathroom floor, and me, with water. He growls and grumbles when I finally get a hold of him, and he tries to mangle the towel. Luckily for me, he has short hair, and it doesn’t take much to get him semi-dried off. That being said, it doesn’t matter how much I think I’ve dried his paws, it’s like a slip-n-slide once I open the bathroom door. He runs the length of the tile-floored finished basement, and in his excitement, he slips and flops all over the place. It makes me cringe because I’m fearful that he’ll actually hurt himself one of these days. Little goober..

I’m actually really anxious for this weekend. I’m taking him with me to Ohio State University this weekend so we can meet a good friend of mine there. The only thing that’s making me nervous is that this particular friend thinks that she is the Dog Whisperer. Granted, she’s had dogs her entire life, and she plans on being a dog trainer once she graduates college this winter. It just puts me on high alert because I feel as though she’s constantly going to be judging me on what I’ve accomplished and haven’t accomplished with Brin. I don’t want to speak poorly of her because she’s my friend, I just have different opinions than she does on how I ought to train my dog. That’s all. She’s getting her own puppy after she graduates this winter, and I just don’t want there to be competition. Each dog is unique to their training ability and personality. To each their own with what kind of relationship you want with your dog. I’m simply trying to avoid conflict and my own annoyance with her because Lord knows, I will be annoyed at least a couple times throughout this next year. I’ll just say one more thing, the reason why I feel so strongly that she will be on my nerves and judging my actions as a “dog mom” is because she interrogates me every time I see her. She’ll pound me with constant questions about what I’m feeding him, when I’m feeding him, what hand signals I’m teaching him, how I’m putting him in his kennel, blah blah blah blah blah…. It’s okay to be curious and want to know, but it’s a different story when you’re only asking to be hyper-critical and shove your opinion in there. That’s all. I’m done.

Regardless of what anyone tells me, I’m doing my best. Brinley is not perfect nor will he ever be, and that’s perfectly okay with me. We work on things every day, and he is a happy puppy from what I can tell. That’s what is important to me. He’s happy, and he is learning and growing each day. Period.

What Now?

Brinley is 12 weeks old. I can hardly believe how much he’s grown in the last four weeks.. He’s so very smart (too smart sometimes), and he’s got me scratching my head lately thinking, “what now?”. He’s picked up on way more than I’d ever expected him to. When I gave up my dream to have a border collie, I thought I took the hard road to training, but I’m slowly figuring out that what I had previously thought was all a lie. It has taken him one or two tries at a new trick to pick it up. After four weeks with him, he knows: sit, down, shake, come, kiss, turn, back, heel, follow, weave, stay, and bow. I suppose the next thing we will work on are getting his “sit-stays” and his “down-stays” down packed. I would also like to introduce the “leave it” command this week. Does anyone have any suggestions on what we can work on next??

Along with his ‘trick’ training, we also have meal time down packed. He sits still at a distance while I prepare his food and shake his dish with the food in it, and he looks me right in the eyes as I set his dish on the ground. We wait for a couple seconds, making sure he keeps our eye contact and doesn’t focus on his food, and then we give the okay for him to have it. It’s been a very good exercise for impulse control with him because he LOVES food and really just eating in general. We are up to 3/4 cups each feeding time which happens four times a day at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm.

Brinley is my little energizer bunny. Playing with toys and running around our 2 acre yard (3 acre woods) is just not enough to wear him down anymore. For the past two weeks, I have been taking him on 1-2 mile hikes at least once a day which I thought was A LOT for a little guy his size. I’m realizing more and more that I underestimate his capabilities in more than one aspect. For the last four days, Brinley and I have gone on 3.15 mile walks once a day. Granted, we would jog little stretches of our walks with him because he acted as though he had so much pent up energy he needed to get out, but up until today, I had never gone long jogging distances with him. And why would I?!? He’s a 12 week old puppy for heaven’s sake.. right?? Well, today we did our usual for this week, we walked at a brisk pace on our 3.15 mile route. Except this morning Brin and I decided that we would jog our last mile. I was tired by the time my shoes hit our long driveway! I bent down to unclip his lease and off he went, running full speed down the drive to the other family dogs that were waiting outside the house. What in the world?! HOW does this little thing have that much endurance? My work is cut out for me..

In other news, I’ve adopted a new nickname for Brinley that I’ve used nearly regularly for the last week or so. Don’t ask me why or how it came out of my mouth the first time, but I’ve been calling him different forms of Brin Tin Tin. I personally think it’s cute, and it comes out so easily. The REAL question of the whole matter is, what is his middle name going to be?? I’ve called him Brinley James on accident a few times, but I don’t like the thought of his initials being BJ… Any thoughts?


Fell asleep playing with his new alligator toy


I just can’t get enough


First experience meeting the horses from the pasture we walk past every day! Living in the country is so beautiful.


My gorgeous boy off lease at the park today!


Do you HAVE to go to work today??