Well, we’ve had our cuties for a bit over a year now. And while they’ve been exhausting at times, and still don’t love going outside when it’s cold, it’s been pretty great. I figured I’d share a few photos today, while I think about how lucky we are to have them.

Happy looking up at the camera, suspiciously, from the background. Kiki in the foreground looking at... who knows what.

These two wholly have my heart. Well, ok. Not wholly. They share it.

Bill and Kiki in the car.

Kiki just loves the car. She’d climb into complete strangers’ cars if we’d let her. (And we did, twice. And she did. both times.) She also loves her walks (video link).

She’s also a little neurotic, which is not great. She does a bit of guarding food and toys from Bill and me (more him than me, but both of us). We’ve brought in Katrin from Plucky Puppy on the advice of a canine scientist friend on Twitter who asked several people she trusts. And after one session, I’m so very pleased. This is going to get better.

Kiki has such piercing eyes. And a ridiculous underbite. Here she is in my hallway, I suspect begging.

Part of how she’s going to get better is training, and a lot of it. But part of it is also just stimulating her mind more. I’ve known this was necessary, but have been worried due to the food guarding. After talking to Katrin, today she got her first crack at her “new” puzzle treat dispenser. I’ve actually had it for her for a month, but wanted to have the expert in before risking Happy’s little nose.

It turns out, it would have been no risk. Katrin helped me understand that, after interacting with the two. And sure enough, no risk. But I’m glad I got a fairly simple puzzle. It’s going to take Kiki awhile to even consider trying to learn it. She ignored roast chicken today in there. But that was also after quite a long walk, so who knows if it was just that.

Then there’s Happy.

Happy, looking up at the camera, wearing a blue hoodie with an outline of Oregon with a heart in it.

He’s basically chill. He’d like us to feed him, scratch his itchy back, and then leave him the hell alone. But even though he’s the grumpiest dog, he’s also the happiest dog.

He gets cold, though. And so this year Bill and I, partially on the recommendation of my friend Virginia, bought him the adorable hoodie you see above and below.

Happy looking away from the camera in his blue Oregon heart hoodie. It shows it off better.

He pretty much hates putting the sweater on and off, but today it was clear having it on allowed him to be better off on longer walks. So he’s basically screwed in terms of his wants. Little dogs need to stay warm!

He was diagnosed about a month ago with a degenerative spinal disorder, so that was pretty terrible. The bad news is he was in really rough shape, and while the pain and swelling got better, the damage never will. The good news is that it’s possible to prevent further damage by being very careful with allowing him to jump around. Which, frankly, he’s an old dog who doesn’t want to do that much, so it’s pretty easy to be as careful as necessary.

I am sad to think about the fact that they’re old dogs. But they are; they’re both around eight years old. For a rottweiler (the breed I grew up with), that’s about the life expectancy (sadly). For smaller dogs, like these two, they have a number of years ahead of them still (we hope), but they’re decidedly slower than the likely were four years ago. It’s not necessarily easy to get either of them fired up.

Still, one thing that gets both of them jazzed is parking garages.

Kiki and Happy trying to enter a parking garage, with a number of cars in the background. Why? Who knows.


They love them. They always try to go in any parking garage we pass. It’s so very strange.

Kiki in the background, contemplating (I presume) which car to attempt to get into. Happy in the foreground walking back toward me and shaking off.

I rarely allow them to wander into one, as it’s just hard to be sure they won’t dart under a car’s wheels. I hate that. But, that said, life is risky anyway; Kiki nearly got hit by a car while not in a parking garage twice on this walk. People just not paying attention, and living in a city means more chances to encounter those people in cars.

So I guess I don’t mind letting her run around on a garage’s sidewalk.

Kiki running toward the camera on a parking garage sidewalk.

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