January 2008 Archives

update on dog/family integration

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So far, so good. I completely misspoke when I said that Gerald wouldn't want the dog in our bedroom, and he set me straight after he saw my post :) So last night we had her sleep in the crate in our room, and it was a big improvement. She settled right down and slept all night, and didn't make any noises at all. We let her out when we got up a little before 7, and I took her outside so she could do "her business". Taking her out was a lot less fun today, with the 24 degree temperatures and 40mph winds, so she won't get the same long walks today that she got yesterday.

We also took her last night to get groomed at PetSmart, where they did a great job and she came out looking sleek and beautiful. She had no problem with the people there, but she barked like crazy at all of the other dogs she saw (which she also did when I took her on a long walk around our neighborhood). I know that aggression towards other dogs is a breed characteristic of chows, but I'm hoping with some obedience training we can reduce the extent to which she acts on it.

On the obedience front, I'm leaning towards having someone come to our house, even though it will be much more expensive than going to a class. Local group classes run about $100 for 8 weeks, the shelter we got her from gives us a discounted rate of $60 for 6 weeks but is a 30 min drive away, and the best deal I've seen for private training is a $199 for 4 sessions package. There are several big advantages to the private training, though. First, it means she won't be surrounded by other dogs when we start out...it was really stressful for me dealing with her barking and lunging yesterday. Second, it allows everyone in the family to participate, so we're all on the same page when it comes to interacting with her. And third, we can work around our upcoming travel schedule...none of the group classes start for at least two weeks, and I'll be out of town for GDC in late February, and then our Bahamas cruise the first week of March.

Unfortunately, we didn't plan on that additional expense, particularly right before we take an expensive family vacation, so we may have to wait to do the whole obedience training process until we get back in March. We'll see.

Meanwhile, she's definitely bonding with the family, and is affectionate, playful, and intelligent. I'm quite sure we got a dog that's a good match for the family, but it will take a little time and patience for her to learn all the house rules.

Many thanks to those of you who've weighed in with public and private comments. It helps a lot to have advice from people who've been there and done that!

and the winner is...



After visiting with both of the dogs today at the shelter, it was clear that Missey was a lot more standoffish, and that Morgan had far less of the chow tendency towards aloofness. So we signed the papers, paid the fee, and brought her home!

She's adapting really well so far. She seems fully housebroken, which is a relief. And she's allowed us to put her in the crate, although when I try to go upstairs with her in it she cries and barks a little. (She's hardly barked at all other than that, even when the doorbell rang.)

She's very affectionate, and seems to have accepted that we're the dominant ones around here, not her.

My only concern at this point is about sleeping arrangements. All the doggie guide books and websites suggest that having her sleep in our room is the best thing, since dogs are pack animals and like to sleep near their "pack." But I don't think that's an ideal solution for us from a marital stability standpoint. That's part of why I'm still sitting here on the couch even though I'm exhausted. I'm worried that if I leave her crated downstairs all night by herself (which "the experts" advise against) that she'll whine and bark and be miserable. However, I don't seem to ahve a better alternative at the moment, other than bringing her (with or without the crate) up into our bedroom, and I really don't want to do that.

Honestly, I think a new baby was easier in some ways--with those I was able to rely on instincts as much as guidebooks. With a dog, I'm really flying blind so far as instincts are concerned!

I'll post pictures tomorrow (I took some tonight, but haven't pulled them off the camera yet).

decisions, decisions


We've decided, after much family discussion, to adopt a dog, which is a pretty big deal!

Today Erin and Alex and I went to two animal shelters. Our original plan was to look at a pug that was at the downtown shelter, but it had just been adopted. So we headed out to the much larger suburban shelter, Lollypop Farm, to see what was there.

We looked at all the dogs, and picked three to visit with while we were there. Of those three, we narrowed it down to two. And that's where we're stuck--we liked them both, a lot, and couldn't decide. The "adoption counselor" at the shelter suggested that we sleep on it and come back tomorrow, so that's what we decided to do.

Missey.jpgMissey is a chow/akita mix, who's about 3 years old. She's really sweet-tempered and mellow, and has the softest coat I've ever felt on a dog. The only problem with her is that she has a fractured rear leg that didn't heal perfectly, and until we talk to the vet at the shelter tomorrow we don't know how much long-term trouble that could potentially cause for her. It doesn't seem to bother her at all...she trotted around the big visiting room with no limp or sign of discomfort, but the shelter would require us to consult with the vet first.

Morgan.jpgMorgan is a chow/shepherd mix who's about 2 years old. She's a little more energetic and playful than Missey, but not excessively so. She liked playing fetch with a tennis ball, and understood the sit command (which was very encouraging).

So, we'll go back tomorrow, with Lane (and possibly Gerald) along to make the final decision. I'm excited. :)

one big happy family

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There's an oft-quoted saying that academic politics are so vicious because the stakes are so low. (I've most often heard it attributed to Kissinger, but this response on Ask Metafilter provides a much better history of the aphorism.)

This morning in the shower, as I was pondering my election to RIT's senate for a third three-year term (not consecutive, thank goodness...I had a several-year respite), I came up with a very different assessment of why the politics on university campuses can be so bitter and personal. It's not, I think that the stakes are so small. It's more that the faculty at a university are, more often than not, in it for life. Tenure gives us job security, yes, but it also turns the university into a very large and often dysfunctional family.

We worry about the small details of day to day life in the university because most of us know this is where we'll be until the end of our professional lives. We've seen how supposedly minute changes in policies can result in long-term and significant impact to our day-to-day lives. Do we overreact to many of these small issues? Absolutely. The same way that many of us overreact to things that our family members do.

The reason I'm willing to go back to the senate for another three years of (often hellish) bi-weekly meetings is that this is my home, and much as I may not enjoy the maintenance of these academic family ties, I know that I'm worse off if we as a faculty neglect them.

So, no, I don't think I'm crazy for going back for more. And I continue to believe that shared governance is only as useful as the energy that all the participants are willing to put into it.

loving las vegas


Gerald and I got back yesterday from our three-day trip to Vegas, and we had a fabulous time. We saw two Cirque du Soleil shows (Love, which was the reason we went, and Zumanity, which I enjoyed but not as much as Love). We also did lots of sightseeing, and played a lot of penny slots. I didn't use my computer for most of the trip, except to download photos from my camera. Still recovering from jetlag, but remembered I'd promised to post more this year :)

Photos on Flickr.

corporations bicker, and everybody loses


I got an iPod Touch for Christmas, which was really exciting, because I love watching TV shows on my iPod (especially when I travel). But then I went to the iTunes music store to download the TV shows I wanted--specifically Project Runway, Top Chef, and Battlestar Galactica. Much to my surprise, none of them were there. Since I've downloaded those shows in the past, I was confused...until I did a little research, and discovered that the spat between NBC and Apple had resulted not just in NBC network shows being pulled from the store, but also all of the Bravo and SciFi Channel shows being yanked as well.

That sucks.

My iPod Touch is still great for mobile web browsing (when there's a wifi network around), and for music. But the thing I most wanted to use it for, watching TV shows, is no longer easily done.

The irony of all this is that I'll probably start downloading those shows using BitTorrent, and getting them for free--when I was completely willing to pay a reasonable price for them. So everybody loses here. It's ridiculous.

my year in cities


Steven Johnson has picked up on Jason Kottke's theme of listing all the cities visited in the previous year. Here's mine:

Colorado Springs, CO
Washington, DC*
Buffalo, NY*
Winnipeg, MB
Montreal, QB
Seattle, WA
Irvine, CA
San Francisco, CA
Madison, WI
Chicago, IL
Monterey, CA

Not as much travel as many years, but more than I realized until I compiled the list. :)

This year will start out with pleasure travel instead of business, since my Christmas gift to Gerald was tickets to see the Cirque du Soleil Love show in Vegas. We leave here on the 10th, get back on the 14th. We'll be staying at the MIrage, which is where the show is performed. I'm looking forward to the show, to the nickel slots, and to the opportunities to take photographs.



For 2008, I resolve to write more. Blog posts. Grant applications. Research articles. My writing skills are atrophying from lack of use, and that's got to change.

There are other things I hope to do this year, but I'm keeping the "resolution" to just one thing, and something that I know is doable. Anything else will be gravy :)

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2007 is the previous archive.

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