Up Close & Personal: Mr. K

Recently, I sat down with Mr. K for a one-on-one interview so his new friends and followers could learn a little more about him. Spoiler alert: this is one cheeky Scottie!

Tell me about yourself, Mr. K.

Well, I'm five years old. Soon to be six. I like long walks, tons of play time and finding ways to make my Scottie Mom and Dad laugh since they're pretty cool people. I've lived with Scottie Mom for over two years now and it's been the best. My last hoomans kept me tied up in the yard all the time and that was no fun. I didn't like their other dogs very much anyway so I guess it was a good thing they gave me up. I was worried and very sad though, for a while, that I wouldn't find a new home. Scottie Mom found me and took me home just 17 days after I went to the shelter.

And what did you think when you got to Scottie Mom's home?

I was all better the minute you put a leash on me and let me join you in your car. Remember? I sat in your lap and looked out the window the whole ride home. I wanted to drive at one point and you wouldn't let me. Our first home together was nice, too. Lots of stairs! I'm glad I learned how to jump the gate in the kitchen though. I strongly believe every Scottie should roam free at night and when they're hoomans not home. Glad we could compromise on that. Made it easier for me to chase my tennis ball down those lovely stairs while you were gone.

But you were always by the door whenever I got home.

Right. Yeah, I didn't like you going to work. Most of the time, I would bring my toy down the stairs and curl up in a ball, waiting for you to reopen that door. A few times, I called after you but I don't think you heard.

In your own opinion, what's your most likeable trait?

Loyalty. I protect my people. But I'm not so ruff around the edges that I don't have a soft side. Nothing beats cuddle times and I think hoomans like that I'll sit with them and watch TV or roll over for a belly rub as soon as someone pets me.

You don't seem to like a lot of other dogs. What gives?

I don't like dogs smaller than me. Especially white ones. Or big dogs that don't think I can't hold my own. Just because I'm a Scottie doesn't mean I can't put up a fight. Watch me!

Ok, calm down, Mr. K. Let's talk about something else. What makes you happiest?

Squeaky tennis balls! By the way, is there one here? I haven't found one in a while.


Why not?

Because you destroy them too quickly now.


So, now squeaky tennis ball toys are for special occasions. Don't you like your other toys?

Of course I do but there's always room for more toys. Especially tennis balls. I like squeaky toys and that fleece ball tug toy, too. That one's tough. I shake it with all my force, bite down hard and I still can't get it to break. Just wait. That toy will be defeated if it is the last thing I do!

I believe you. Tell me, Mr. K:  what's the answer to achieving world peace?

Getting rid of all the evil cats in the world. Man, they freak me out. Give me the shakes every time I see one of those creepy crawlers. I can't believe three of them are always at my Grandmadre's house. I've got to destroy them to keep her (and us!)safe.

I don't think Grandmadre would appreciate that. Anything else?

Yes, the vaccuum cleaners need to go, too. They growl too much and they're always eating things. They certainly don't do much for world peace. They're loud and disruptive.

How do you feel about Scottie Dad's rules, like not letting you in the bed?

I don't take it personal. It's annoying I can't cuddle with my Scottie Mom but I recognize he's just jealous of my good looks. He knows if I was there, I'd steal his girl's attention from him even more than I already do.

And what about Aunt Heidi? What do you think of her rules?

What rules? Aunt Heidi lets me do whatever I want and she's got good reason. Life's more fun that way. Plus, she always has fun stuff laying around to get into. This one time, I found a blue chew toy on her desk in the office, an oatmeal scented treat in her bath tub and a box of cookies on the coffee table. I wanted to eat them all but the blue chew toy was too tough and the oatmeal treat tasted funny. The cookies were GREAT though.

Ok, wrapping up. What's your favorite memory and why?

After I got sick, I had to be on a moist food-only diet. Let me tell you...that was heavenly! We should bring that diet back every week, especially now that I'm healthy and can better appreciate the taste!

A New Leash on Life

I never dreamed of the day I'd be able to walk both dogs on one leash. Mr. K is known to be a bit unpredictable on walks, darting here or there after a cockroach or a floating leaf, even zig-zagging from one side of the walkway to another so he can make sure all 'his' territories are marked. Over the last year or so, I've noticed he's calmed down a bit (unless other dogs are around) and my little pups are now labeled as "twins" by neighbors as they are notorious for walking side-by-side wherever we go these days. And so, I figured now was as good a time as ever to try this new leash out.

At first, using the new leash was unnerving. I worried if Mr. K darted after something if it would hurt Heather. Turns out, even if he tries, he doesn't go very far. Heather is a very sturdy girl and she's not likely to go anywhere she doesn't want to. Nine times out of ten, when Mr. K acts up, she digs her heels into the ground and stares him down until he gets the message, calms down and waits for her to decide to join him (or not!). If I had known Heather could be so helpful in taming the wild beast of a Scottie that Mr. K can be on a walk, I would have done this sooner!

Just two or three weeks in, I can say this new leash has definitely made all the difference in life. No longer am I juggling two leashes (and switching them round and round to accomodate every move the Scotties make), poo bags and an access card to let us back into the building and in the elevator. Now it's just the one leash, leaving my free hand to reach for the access card as needed or to scoop up Mr. K when he gets a little testy and feels like challenging another dog. The only problems (although humorous ones!) I've encountered are watching the two walk on either side of the ottoman morning after morning, forgetting they are now tied together and can't go very far apart. The second is watching Scottie Grandmadre scowl now that she can't have Heather to herself when we visit and go for walks. The way I see it, though, grandparents aren't supposed to play favorites anyway. Equal belly rubs and treats for all!

The One that (Almost) Got Away

Years ago, I went on a leadership retreat. It was a short trip, just one overnight stay and two days worth of lectures. We were assigned random roommates, with people we had never met before and so, needless to say, bringing the Scotties along on this adventure wasn't an option.

Lectures lasted until after 10 p.m. on that first night. We got a short break around 8:30 p.m., at which time I switched on my phone and stepped outside to find reception. There was a message from Scottie Dad, letting me know that my darling little Heather had darted out of the apartment when he opened the door as he was coming home from work around 6 p.m. We had only had her five months at this point and up until then, we hadn't had a single problem. I wondered why she waited until I was away to try anything and what had happened to make her want to run away.

The story, as Scottie Dad recalls it, starts when he was fumbling for his keys to let himself into the old apartment. He dropped them on the floor and had to try again. His theory is that the noise the keys hitting the ground made might have startled her if she was sitting close to the door. What happens next, happened so fast I am eternally grateful Scottie Dad was a soccer player throughout college, as I am certain I never would have been able to catch her myself. He opens the door and there she goes, running out into the hallway. He sees Mr. K, too, who actually stayed put and retreated further into the apart when he realized something wasn't right. Scottie Dad dropped his stuff on the floor and ran after Heather, who was running so fast, she managed to plow into the door at the end of the hall and open it, setting her free to the world.

And so she ran, down three flights of stairs with Scottie Dad on her trail...just barely. Once on the ground, she took off again - this time into the parking lot. As you might expect, it's after 6 p.m., a time when most people are coming home from work, leaving Scottie Dad to stand in the middle of the road and signal the cars to stop so Heather wouldn't get hurt and so he could safely chase after her. He says that she got pretty close to the fence and, if she had gone through that, there is a very good chance we wouldn't have Heather with us today.

Lucky for us, this story has a happy ending but it didn't come without a cost. You see, when Scottie Dad finally caught up to Heather, he had no choice but to grab her by the collar, which startled her even more and caused her to turn around and snap at him. Up until this point, I had sworn I brought Heather into my life for Scottie Dad as they both were so easy going and happy, not to mention they clearly shared a special bond since they hit it off the moment they met. From that day forward, Heather and Scottie Dad's relationship has never been the same. She began bowing submissively when she saw him coming and in time, this evolved into submissive urination.

As you can imagine, this has been very stressful and frustrating for Scottie Dad, who feels he did nothing but do his best to get her safe at home again. Every day, he calls her over, says hello and sings her silly little songs that used to make her dance (seriously). It's taken a while but we've gotten their relationship restored to the point where Heather dances again when he calls her over, shaking her behind so fast Scottie Dad has nicknamed her Shakira. Sometimes, instead of being completely happy and playful, Heather pees while she's dancing with Scottie Dad, leaving him with a mess to clean up and leaving me with a very unhappy Scottie Dad...

How to Spot a Scottie Mom

The Scottie Mom community, really and truly, is unlike any other. While Scottie Moms (and Dads) might appear to be few and far between like the Scottie dogs themselves in today's society, the characteristics that make them are more similar than one would think. Below is a list of characteristics I think nearly every Scottie Mom can relate to that tends to make us stick out a bit. How many of these characteristics apply to the Scottie Mom in your life?

10. Check a Scottie Mom's iPhone, computer desktop, social media profiles and refrigerator door...they all have photos of Scottie dogs, don't they?

9. Scottie Moms find random ways to connect the conversation - no matter the topic - to Scotties.

8. When you invite her to go somewhere, particularly on a vacation, a Scottie Mom automatically exclaims how her Scottish Terriers would LOVE to go there and you immediately know you've invited some canine companions to the aforementioned outing.

7. If you do manage to get her out of the house without the dogs, a Scottie Mom begins talking about how guilty she feels or how she misses her Scottie(s) within the hour. Or, she starts recounting Scottie tales you've heard a million times already.

6. She sends Happy Holiday photo cards...from her Scottie dogs.

5. The frames on a Scottie Mom's desk at the office and the majority of those hanging around her house aren't of the human kids, but her Scottie kids.

4. A Scottie Mom stops frequently on shopping trips because she is cooing over something that: 1) is perfect for her Scottie dog; 2) would look cute/funny on her Scottie dog; 3) has a Scottie dog on it; or 4) looks like it might have a Scottie dog on it, but doesn't.

3. You find an abundance of Scottie stuff around her house, be it Scottie trinkets on the coffee table, Scottie embroidered towels or the iced tea she just offered you...in a Scottie patterned glass.

2. When she walks with her Scottie(s), a Scottie Mom possesses the same proud, regal manner and air of royalty about her as the dogs do (until she has to pick up the poo).

1. The dead giveaway: she is compassionate, fearless, fun-loving (even a little mischievous), loyal and selective when it comes to choosing her friends...just like her Scottie companion(s).

For Scotties' Sake!

I may have saved a dog's life today. On the flip side, I probably made one dog owner very upset. But, the way I see things, this was something that just had to be done for there is never a time in my mind when it is okay to leave your four-legged friend in a hot car on an August afternoon.

My name is Heather, and I do NOT approve of furry friends being left alone in hot cars.
Rewind the clock to 5:30 p.m. eastern time. I arrive at my favorite grocery store, intent on purchasing a few snacks. I park, step out of my car and am instantly greeted by a happy face with a hanging tongue out the passenger window of a silver Acura MDX. Startled, I take a step closer to examine my new friend and find he is all alone in the car, windows cracked just enough for him to fit part of his mouth and dangle his tongue out the window. He looks to be one of those big, super hairy shepherd kinds. I am outraged.

Ordinarily, I would have picked up my phone then and there but as luck would have it, my phone was dead. I memorized the license plate and model of the car while I waited a few minutes by my new friend's side, hoping his owner would return soon. I felt appreciative it wasn't as hot as August days typically are in Atlanta, but I know that poor guy must have been hot seeing how that darling, not-so-little tongue was dangling. That's when I made the snap decision to dart into the store quickly, find someone who could call for help and return to my new friend.

When I got to the counter and explained the situation, the customer service rep gave me a sort of blank stare, like she could not believe I was making such a ridiculous suggestion. All I wanted was for someone to put in a call to animal control so that I could go back and keep an eye on my panting friend in the SUV. She pointed to a police officer and I thanked her, walked over and explained the situation to him. The officer said he was aware of the dog in the car, had someone in the lot watching over him and was giving the person a few minutes to get back before he took action. Feeling comforted, I went to grab a few things and sure enough, it was less than two minutes later, the officer found me and told me that they had watched the owner get back in the car and drive away.

Relief overcame me and I proceeded to the check out. Bag in hand, I walk out to my car when I started slowing, disbelief taking over. The vehicle parked next to mine was still there and I didn't have to get very close to see the fluffy face that had now moved into the trunk of the SUV staring back at me. I turned, darted back in the store and found the officer chatting on a cell phone. I interrupted him and told him the SUV I reported (dog included) was still there. He said, "Huh. There must have been two." He followed me out to the car, where he stood stupified for a good five minutes before he finally said he'd make an overhead announcement. I told him that I would stay with the dog until I knew the dog was really safe this time.

And so, there I sat. Waiting for his owner to come back. And come back, she eventually did. By my estimation, she must have heard that announcement and flew out of the store as if not to get caught because when she returned, she didn't appear to have a bag in hand and she practically jumped into her car. I started walking around the front of the SUV to talk to the woman when she looked at me and took off, speeding out of the parking lot, just like that. All in all, I would guess that poor guy had been there upwards of 30 minutes, for I was there for at least 20.

It is because of incidents like these that I would like to share PETA's tips of what to do when you see a pup left alone in a car, even with the windows cracked: 1) Take down the car's color, make, model and license plate; 2) Have the owner of the nearby buildings paged or call the local humane authorities or police; 3) Have someone keep an eye on the dog. Do not leave the scene until the situation is resolved. Truthfully, knowing now that the officer had identified a different dog and was misinformed that my new friend was safe and the situation handled, I feel guilty for feeling confident enough that the situation was being resolved. Lucky for my conscience and my new friend, it all turned out all right in the end but, as you know, such is not always the case.

Stay cool and stay safe out there, my furry friends!

Smells Begone...really?

Smells Begone

When Heather and Mr. K's Grandmadre visited a few weekends ago, we stopped in at Bed, Bath & Beyond and scored a bunch of gifts to bring home to my precious pups. One gift, I purchased specifically for Scottie Dad - a pet odor absorber called Smells Begone, in the hopes it would get rid of whatever phantom doggie smell he always complains of.

Let me start by explaining fairly that it is nearly impossible for me to smell the things Scottie Dad does since I haven't really had a working sense of smell since the age of six. Seriously. Doctors tell me the sense was likely killed off years ago due to allergies and later on, nasal polyps. This is both a blessing and a curse - there aren't a lot of smells I get to experience, no matter if it is a yummy aroma when cooking or an awful stench when Heather or Mr. K has an accident. Eight to nine times out of 10, I won't smell it.

That being said, I refuse to believe that with our cleaning habits and dog bathing schedule, the doggie smell is always that bad. I'm never afraid to poll my close friends and family when they visit. They know I possess an inability to smell the roses and they know I wouldn't like my place smelling like dog, so I trust they're honest. Scottie Dad admits he is particularly sensitive when it comes to smells of any kind plus, the fact he has never been a big dog person doesn't really help things, either. This is why I've learned to take the complaints with a grain of salt - I'm half convinced Scottie Dad experiences a phantom doggie smell sometimes as a result of his subconscious knowing he lives with dogs now and therefore, things should be smelly.

Alas, this doesn't mean I don't aim to please. I bathe the dogs more frequently now that Scottie Dad is a part of our lives. I also wash the couch cushions and any other surface the dogs may sit on about once a month. Before Scottie Dad came, I can think of one or two instances that I washed the couch cushions in the course of a year or more. Luckily, this Rooms To Go set has held up beautifully and can withstand the frequent washing without fading or thinning out (yet). And so, when I came across Smells Begone I figured, what could it hurt? It was cheap enough (approx. $15 for a two-pack) so on the very good chance it didn't work, it wasn't like I was breaking budget here. The product had great reviews online, too - so I felt pretty optimistic about this one.

Unfortunately, it has been weeks since we put the Smells Begone out and when Scottie Grandmadre called to see if we liked it and whether she should get one (she has one dog, three cats), Scottie Dad said this product hasn't made a difference. While certainly a disappointment, I can't say I'm surprised. There are a lot of products out there on the market catering to us animal lovers that turn out to be less than par. In the meantime, I'll stick to freshening up the apartment by dusting the baseboards of the floor with a dryer sheet (a trick stolen from Scottie Grandmadre) and washing the couch cushions every month. And, if any of my new doggie momma (and papa) friends have tips they use to keep the house fresh, feel free to share!

Knock your Socks Off

[caption id="attachment_542" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Mr. K Mr. K's so cool he will knock his own socks off![/caption]

One day, I was roaming the aisles of a pet store when I came across a pair of socks and got inspired. What if I could get Heather and Mr. K to wear them around the house? That way, Scottie Mom and Dad won't be woken up by the sound of click-click-click on the hardwoods as Heather walks around in the early mornings and Mr. K could get the 'zoomies' as often as he pleased without Scottie Mom fretting about what his high speed toy chases will do the beautiful hardwoods.

I left the store with navy blue and white socks for Mr. K and adorable pink ones for Heather. Mr. K was a doll - sitting still on my lap, soaking up the extra attention while I secured his super cool socks. Heather, not so much - in fact, the socks have yet to even come close to going on her feet. Once on the ground, Mr. K didn't seem too bothered by the new paw accessories as he continued to play with his favorite squeak toy of the moment. He ran down the hall, jumped on the couch and even started playing a game of 'evil blanket'...without the blanket!

That's when I realized: Mr. K wasn't just playing, he was tossing and turning with every effort to get his socks off! What a cute guise he pulled off, too. Yes, he was a ball of energy and seemingly excited to keep playing but if I hadn't been paying close attention, Mr. K would have - without a doubt - made those adorable new socks his dinner. Within minutes, Mr. K had wrestled out of the socks just by horsing around...maintaining his own innocence while doing so, too.

You see, Mr. K never once pulled at the socks or even licked them. He staged the whole sock removal operation to make it appear as if it happened by accident and in the name of good, clean fun. So much fun that he would just so happen to knock his own socks off! Looks like this Scottie Mom idea to protect the hardwoods came up a little short...

Save it for a Rainy Day

Leave it to nature to open up the skies and pour rain down on the day Heather and Mr. K were set to go explore! This week, we visited Glamour Paws in Virginia Highlands.

When you walk in, you're greeted by a clean and well-designed retail space on your left and windows showcasing the large, indoor park with synthetic grass on your right. As traditional gender roles might predict, Miss Heather casually strolled toward the retail side to check out the bargains while Mr. K wanted to be in on the action on the other side of the window.

The three of us took a tour of the facility and the pups were given treats. I must say: my second favorite thing at Glamour Paws is the selection of clothing. Heather and Mr. K scored two adorable rain coats to protect them from the dismal weather. For the most part, the clothes available are for smaller pets but I was told more was on the way for larger dogs because, as we all know, they should be afforded the same opportunity to get all dolled up every once in a while, too...

The thing I liked most? The giant, indoor park and cage-free boarding option for small dogs. As a Scottie Mom, I'm not big on boarding pets but Glamout Paws might just change my mind one day. Occasional daycare for socialization purposes I can handle, but overnight stays? Not so much. When I learned about the indoor park, it was the first time I have ever felt I might be okay leaving my precious pups somewhere while I'm away (assuming Mr. K can pass the temperament test!). 

I could go on forever about the indoor park but I'll leave it at this: it's green (literally, and in terms of how it is made); there's a drainage system underneath that cleans itself every few hours; and, it is reasonably priced at $25 per day for daycare or $35 per night for boarding. What's more, dog who board with Glamour Paws will have plenty of mini-bar options to enjoy (with mom's permission and selection, of course) just as you might wherever you are vacationing!