Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rainy day

I could probably write several long chapters about how much I don't like winter and how much I despise walking in the rain. But I'll stop and quietly dream about the warm summer days.

Our dogs seem to take after us and avoid the rain as much as they can.

Jake goes out of his way to hide inside the house when we ask him to go for a potty break outside. It's just too bad that he's so big and we always find him. We keep repeating "Jake, go outside!" and he keeps avoiding his obligation. He goes outside and makes a quick u-turn when he realizes it's cold and wet.

Abbey tolerates the rain, when we put a rain coat on her. While Pete goes for the more dramatic approach. He won't step a foot in the water, he looks like a leaping frog jumping over the puddles on our walks. And when it rains he drags his heals and squints his little eyes.

Today the weather has been crazy, one minute sunny the next minute heavy rain. While I was walking Oliver, he couldn't care less about the rain and was very optimistic about seeing squirrels. While I was trying to be optimistic about having one walk without the rain today.

On my second walk, we almost made it home dry. If only Pete was walking a little bit faster. He seems to slow down when you dress him up.

When we were five minutes away for home, the sky turned black...I didn't need to see a forecast to know that it was going to be heavy rain again. Sure enough! Within a couple of minutes we were soaking wet, Pete looked like a drown rat and didn't want to walk. I had to pick him up and Abbey was glad to speed up.

While I was getting grumpy about the rain, I looked at the Pete in my arms. Water was running off his face and looked like he just had a bath. I noticed he was paddling with his front paws. Poor guy probably thought he was in the water and had to swim to get home. Oh yes, it's always a good storm when your dog has to paddle home :)

You can visit our Facebook page for more photos:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Cheer ♥♥♥

Even though we're not very big on Christmas decorations at home, we look forward to walking through our neighborhood to checking out the Christmas lights. We live close to Willow Glen and they're very festive and big on the Christmas Cheer.

I've been planning on expanding my daily walks to explore downtown San Jose. I used to look at the Christmas decorations from the light rail when I was passing through, but never had the chance to see them close up. They have the most beautiful Christmas in the Park decoration. 

I only wished I had checked if dogs were allowed to walk through the park. I just assumed that since it's in the public place and they don't have any restriction in this park normally that we would be okay. Sadly they had signs on every corner and entrance to the park 'no dogs allowed', so we were peering in from the outskirts of the park and making a googly eyes at the beautiful decoration.

I didn't think the dogs would get kick out of this, but it's something that I wanted to see and visit for many years. But usually when I'm done walking dogs, I don't feel like going out for another walk by myself. Today I walked close 10 miles (between all of our dogs), but it was worth it. Pete and Abbey had a great time watching all the Christmas decoration, it was Christmas Cheer overload - moving decorations, music and lights. I think Abbey would have loved to take the Clockmakers Shop home, she stood there watching in amazement. She still gets mesmerized when she hears a rooster and she loves bubbles, so you can imagine her surprise when she saw her two favorite things all at once.

I thought we would have a quiet afternoon browsing downtown San Jose, I forgot about the little kids that don't yet go to school. So we had to negotiate lots people who wanted to check out the Christmas decorations also. Abbey and Pete don't know how to act casual and lay low...when I asked Abbey and Pete to sit in front of the big Christmas tree to have their photo taken; Pete thought the ground was too cold to sit on so perched himself on top of Abbey. People thought it was adorable and wanted to take photos of them and meet them. 

They loved all the attention :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

All grown up

It's been almost three years since we adopted Abbey from the San Martin Animal Shelter. Abbey our first dog has given us a great learning opportunity in to what it's like to own and care for a dog. I still can't believe we didn't return her back to the shelter. She was too smart, even at four months old, and knew how to manipulate us from the day one we got her home. 

You can read about her first year with us at this blog 'One year since we adopted Abbey...the first six months'. We'll be forever in debt to Our Pack, they helped us so much in our first year with Abbey, including weekly training classes, socialization for Abbey, and tips on how to raise her to be a good dog. Not that Abbey was ever a bad dog, but we did a great job spoiling her and as every spoiled child she behaved like a brat. We had to learn how to give her tough love, and teach her that nothing in life is for free. She had to sit and wait for something instead of grabbing it from our hands or sit and wait to be invited to sit with us on a sofa instead of just jumping all over us and pulling on our clothes (fun times!).

Our second year with Abbey became even more fun when we adopted Jake. We found Jake residing at the Hayward Animal Shelter. We had a blast watching these two crazy teenagers falling in love and bonding with each other. You can read more about Jake's adoption at  And than there was Jake..... It was almost like they had an inside joke and they would spontaneously goof around together.

We're now into our third year with Abbey and Jake, we've watched them grow older and mature into a well behaved dogs. We wanted to keep socializing our dogs with other dogs and also help other dogs to find a home. So we started to foster dogs for Our Pack. Fostering, gives us an opportunity to socialize Abbey and Jake with a new dog every few months. Our dogs have welcomed every foster that has come through our house, they've shown them how to have a good time and how to live within our house, including where to sleep, what do you with toys, what you can chew on and how to play with other dogs. Over the last year we've fostered four or possibly five dogs if you include Petey, who we adopted after a few weeks of fostering :o). 

Maddie -Penny - Chevy

Penny, Chevy and Lenny all came from Our Pack. We love fostering for Our Pack as they know our dogs really well and always make sure every foster dog will fit into our family. We also love that whenever we come across a new behavior we can always call Our Pack and ask for help or guidance. We learn so much from each foster dog and are getting more experienced as a dog owners. At the same time Abbey, Jake and Petey get a new buddy to play with. 

Leonard (Lenny) and Petey
The last three years have been a blast and we're so thankful to Our Pack for their support.  

Thank you Our Pack for having our backs and teaching us to be the responsible dog owners. 

Our Pack dogs by Alzbeta&Nigel
Our Pack Fans, a photo by Alzbeta&Nigel on Flickr.
For more adventures about dogs you can visit 'Sharing a Life' on Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

You never know what you'll find standing below the higway

Whenever we drive home on the I-280 I always admire this house located just below the highway on Lincoln Avenue. It looks a picture perfect house with white picket fence and beautiful garden. I found myself dreaming, trying to imagine what the area used to look like before they built the highway and the recycling center across the street. It must have had a great view at one time, possible overlooking a farm or an orchard.

I tried walking there once or twice in the past with our dogs and all I remember that right after this beautiful house there's another house with two large dogs that would bark at us profusely as we approached their house through a wired fence. So we didn't spend much time hanging around.

Roberto-Sunol Adobe historical landmark # 898 from 1836

Today we deviated from our usual morning walk. As I wanted to withdraw some money from an ATM machine. I then made my to to downtown Willow Glen, on the way, I stumbled upon my favorite white house, we stood there for a while admiring the house. I then noticed a memorial plaque which explained the history of the house. 

"This historic adobe was built in 1836 by a native Californian, Roberto Balermino, on Rancho de los Coches, which was officially granted to him by Governor Micheltorena in 1844. The one-story dwelling was enlarged in 1847 by the new owner, Antonio Suñol, the second story and balcony were added in 1853 by Captain Stefano Splivalo. " 

It's quite an interesting discovery as this house is a historical landmark from 1836, #898: Roberto-Sunol Adobe. For more details about the Roberto-Sunol Adobe you can visit this website:

It's hard to believe that in 1853 somebody purchased the house and 55 acres for mere $3000. I'm glad that the city decided against demolishing this historical landmark and build the highway around it. Today the building serves as Law Offices.

After our mini adventure we walked through downtown Willow Glen stopping at our local coffee shop on the way home. Lenny and Petey enjoy hanging outside the coffee shop and love the all the attention that they receive from people passing by. It only takes a couple of minutes for them to settle down and find their comfortable spot. We don't pick Petey up he has to make do, just like our other dogs. Although, he usually takes advantage of the other big dog and sleeps on their back...not a daft dog ;o)

One compliment caught me off guard, when a ladies voice said 'What well behaved dogs these are!' and then I turned around I saw a policewoman in uniform. I stuttered a reply: 'Yes, they're.' I'm a dork around cops and always get nervous; even though I've never been arrested or even inside a police station.

What a fun day; I can't wait to see what else we come across on our daily walks through our neighborhood.

Arrivederci, until our next adventure...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Everybody is called Pete

When we bought the baby gates we really liked the cat door and thought it would be useful for our cats. Except our dogs were able to wiggle their way threw, that was back in December 2010. I guess we didn't realize that there's a weight limit 55lbs and over ;o)

Lenny is around 20 months old and is not as wide as Abbey, so he can still make it through. Last time we weight him, he was 51.5 lbs.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Urban walk downtown Willow Glen

A sculpture called Portal in Bramhall Park by Keith Bush by Alzbeta&Nigel

Lenny's favorite walk is downtown Willow Glen, where he gets to meet lots of new friends.

Lenny is always confident that people will fall in love with him and want to pet him. I must admit that he really is very good at stopping people in his way. When he sees somebody that he'd like to meet, he 
tries his best to walk towards them or he just sits down and waits for them to come to him. At times we have to make sure he doesn't apply this technique to bicyclist coming our way or unsuspecting people that could trip over him. But nine out of ten times this works great for Lenny; people are happy to say hi to him.

Today when we were walking by local gym, he used his charm on the whole gym staff and they all came outside to pet this handsome boy. He was a happy camper going from one person to the next. At the same time Petey was trying his best to avoid being stepped on by Lenny; it's hard to be so little sometime when your buddy is an elephant ;o)

Both Abbey and Lenny are shameless flirts and love to meet people, they're great at starting conversations with random strangers. They would be perfect for a single gal, looking for a new guy or the other way round ;o). Good thing is that Lenny is available for adoption from Our Pack and you can have your own flirty dog to walk downtown and meet new people. Lenny is the perfect companion if you just want to browse downtown or sit outside a coffee shop and just watch the world go by.

Recently, we've noticed several new shops opening in the downtown area of Willow Glen, this includes a new chocolate shop, the "Crepevine", "The Table" restaurant, and a new Unleashed by Petco. It's awesome to see the town buzzing with new businesses this year. 

We also noticed an upcoming event Taste For Trees, Willow Glen Wine Walk 2012

A little further on and we saw an artist working on his mural,we stopped and admired his work for a while. I can't wait to see it finished, it's going to be beautiful.

There's a surprise behind each corner of Willow Glen. For more adventures of our dogs, you can check our facebook page.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Finders, keepers

DSCN0097 by Alzbeta&Nigel
DSCN0097, a photo by Alzbeta&Nigel on Flickr.
Our foster dog Leonard, is very easy going and fun loving dog. He finds joy in simplest things and is always happy to share with our dogs.

Lenny loves laundry days, all of the sudden the ordinary cloth or sock become a great tag toy. I don't ever remember Abbey or Jake ever having such an imaginative mind as Lenny. 

Penny, one of our previous foster dogs, used to collect shoes.

DSCN6670 by Alzbeta&Nigel
DSCN6670, a photo by Alzbeta&Nigel on Flickr.

Living with dogs, we had to learn to put things away and out of their reach. So I guess we should thank them helping us go minimalist in our house.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lenny hiking with HikeABull at the Palo Alto Baylands

Palo Alto Baylands was just as exciting for Lenny as his first time there. Lenny had so much fun watching the ducks and geese and tracking various scents...well mainly duck poop.  When I asked Lenny if he was snacking on the way; he gave me the most innocent look ;o)

Being the beginner HikeABull member, Lenny was feeling a little bit like Goldilocks. He was trying to find his spot in the pack. Middle wasn't quite right, at the back it was too lonely and at the front of the pack it was just right.

We love HikeABull structure, there's no dog to dog meeting during the hike. It helps to teach our dogs boundaries. They're learning to stay calm around other dogs and that they don't need to play every time they see another dog.

When we came home, Lenny found the nearest bed and fell asleep for the rest of the evening. The hike wasn't long or difficult but there was lots of stimulation. I'm sure he was still dreaming about his duck friends - he sounded like a water cooler dispenser (barking in his dream) and his feet were twitching.

HikeABull @ Palo Alto Baylands by Alzbeta&Nigel

If somebody is interested, Lenny is single handsome dog and is available for adoption from Our Pack, Inc. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Snuggle buddies

Snuggle buddies by Alzbeta&Nigel
Snuggle buddies, a photo by Alzbeta&Nigel on Flickr.
It looks like our foster dog Lenny is adjusting great to our house routine.

In the morning we go for a nice long walk stroll around our neighborhood. After everybody finished their walks, we let all the dogs out in the garden for the play time. Make their breakfast, congratulate ourselves on job well done and watch the dogs lounging around taking their naps.

Lenny or Petey are usually the last one to give up on the fun time and cruise around the living room bagging Jake and Abbey for one more play. I love to watch their crazy stuff, muzzle punch the other dog and run away, in hope that they will motivate them to play. The other favorite game is, I got your foot what you gone do about it.  And all of the sudden they realize they're tired and crush wherever they're.

I remember the time when Abbey and Jake the young snappers and in threw lots of wild parties in our house. We used to wonder if they would ever stop playing. These day they play a little bit and sleep a lot.  It's amazing how changes in to two years.

For more information about our foster dog Leonard, visit Our Pack website.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cowboy Petey walking with Leonard

Petey and Lenny make an interesting pair walking in our neighborhood. Quite often I see people smiling at them and giving them compliments.

Both of them flirt with people shamelessly and love all the attention. Even our short walks end up longer with all the stops :)

Leonard is available for adoption from Our Pack


5370672016_71493db65e_b by Alzbeta&Nigel
5370672016_71493db65e_b, a photo by Alzbeta&Nigel on Flickr.

Forever Sweethearts, Abbey & Jake... Testing Flickr blogger sharing

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Coming out the closet...

Most of my friends know about my addiction to the dog collars, but I've always kept it a secret exactly how many collars our dogs have. 

It all started when we adopted Abbey. We searched all the pet stores and dog boutiques in our area and every city we visited. We wanted a cute collar that would reflect our pup's personality and was also practical. Abbey always was and still is a bubbly girl who loves to meet people, but often she would blend in the crowd with her black coat.

When we found the first martingale collar that wasn't boring, we were excited and happy for Abbey to have something cute. The downside of Abbey being a short hair dog, is that the collar was rough on her skin and over the time it was leaving marks on her neck.

By chance we saw Sirius Republic commenting on Our Pack Facebook post. We followed Sirius Republic to their facebook website, we were pleasantly surprised by Jennifer's hard work and her beautiful collars. 

We love red on Abbey and we fell in love with the Sirius Republic Red Leopard print collar. Abbey was a star in her collar and got noticed by people. She was like a walking advertisement Sirius Republic collars. Soon lots of our buddies from training class and friends discovered what beautiful collar Jennifer makes. Good word spreads fast ;-)

As Abbey was growing up and we adopted our second dog, we soon purchased our second batch of collars. Abbey and Jake had matching Red and Blue Leopard collars.

I was always amazed by the quality and durability of these collars, our dogs put them to the test when they were young.

The only thing that would make these collars perfect, if they repel the mud these guys like to roll in. I'd also like a sofa that would be slobber day in the future perhaps ;o)

Blue Paisley and Purple Bloom collars

When we bought Abbey and jake their first leather collar by Paco. We matched it with the Sirius Republic collar. As we were worried if they pulled on the leather collar, they would stretch them out of shape.

1" chain martingale 

Jennifer was very kind and let us choose a fabric for our dogs' collar so we would have one of a kind collars. My advice is, never go shopping for fabric with your friends. You'll always buy more than you need. 

When we ordered  a custom collars for each of our own dogs, we also had a custom made collar for our foster dog. It was embroided  with "Adopt Me" to let people know our handsome foster dog was available for adoption on our daily walks.

We've since used the "Adopt Me" collars on our other foster dogs. I only wished we didn't make it light blue as it's hard to keep clean.

It would be hard to say which one is my favorite collar. But I like the collar which was made in support of our favorite dog rescue, Our Pack. I like their slogan "Don't Judge Learn". Many people are intimidated by Jake's look and his size. But he's the gentlest boy I know, it's so easy to hurt his feeling and his favorite thing is to be a lap dog. 

These is our latest addition to our collection. Little bit of tropical print for our laid back pack. Aloha!

It's coming close to three years since we started shopping with Sirius Republic and we couldn't be a happier. 

We still have all the collars that we've purchased over the years, some are looking worn and used but still as strong as they were when we received them. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our Weekend Adventures...

I love weekends, but they go by way to quickly for my liking. Weekends give both of us some time to hang out with our dogs together. Normally I'm home alone with the dogs while Nigel is working. Saturday morning is usually taken up by hiking with HikeABull or close friends. Sunday is training day with "Our Pack" . Although Jake and Abbey are well trained you can never get enough training or break the consistency. The other aspect of taking the dogs to training is that we get to meet and hangout with an awesome group of people, who have helped with our development to become responsible dog owners.

HikeABull at Joseph D. Grant County Park
It's through the Our Pack training group that we first learned that there were local dog hiking groups, later on we joined the HikeABull group. We started hiking when Abbey was around six months old. At this time Abbey was a rambunctious puppy, full of life and ready to play with any dog or person. Abbey couldn't resist meeting other dogs. Hiking within a group provided an environment in which Abbey could learn that it was okay to be around other dogs without the need to meet all of them. 

Exploratory hike at Loch Lomond Recreation  Area
Unfortunately, not long after we started hiking, Abbey suffered a knee injury that stopped us hiking with the group for several months. Abbey did eventually recover from her injury, which allowed us to start hiking again. During the time we weren't able to hike with adopted Jake.

Hiking with a group of well managed dogs is so beneficial to Jake and Abbey. For Abbey it allows her to further develop her manners around other dogs. She's so much better these days then when we first started hiking, she no longer tries to rush up to the other dogs. Although, she still tries to steal the occasional sniff and kiss from dogs that walk along side her. Jake lacks confidence but in a pack he's the most confident, happy dog around. He loves walking with other dogs but unlike Abbey is less inclined to meet and greet them. While walking with the group he holds his head high and proud.

HikeABull at Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve
After regularly attending hikes organized by Lark for several months, we felt the need to pay something forward for the work that Lark had been doing for quite some time and so offered our services as hike organizers. We've been organizing hikes now for around nine months without too many problems. The biggest problem we face is Jake and Abbey are so tightly bonded that it's sometime hard for us to be separated in the group. When we're out hiking with HikeABull, we like to have an organizer at the front and back to ensure all members return safely. If Jake and Abbey go out sight they will either start pulling towards each other to catch up or simple put the brakes on so the other one can catch up.

Exploratory hike at Mt. Madonna
Another difficulty is making hikes enjoyable and interesting. We don't like to use the same hikes repeatedly, so we're also on the lookout for new places to go. Tracy, the forth HikeABull organizer has a great knowledge of the county and national parks and is an excellent map reader. Frequently, the organizers together with a small group of members will go out mid week searching for new hikes that would be suitable for a larger group. Sometimes the exploratory hikes are successful and other times they're not. We have to take quite a few things in to account when searching for new hikes, including, difficulty, parking, making sure dogs are permitted and that the park is strictly on-leash only. We also need to think about how busy the trails will be at the weekend and whether we're going to be sharing the trail with mountain bikers or horse riders.

Exploratory hike Butano State Park
All in all HikeABull has been unbelievable helpful in both Abbey's and Jake's development. We've also used HikeABull to help with our foster dogs as it's an excellent way to socialize dogs in a safe and friendly environment. We have such an amazing group of people within HikeABull that the hikes are always over way too soon.

~Nigel and Alzbeta

Abbey and Kelly on their exploratory hike at Almaden QuickSilver County Park. We found a secret trail .

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Introducing Penny Foster Dog

This post is a little overdue, but we thought it was about time that we introduced our latest foster dog 'Penny' foster dog.

Penny was originally called Breeze, but as she was starting out a new life with us we gave her a new name. And going with our tradition of using our favorite TV characters as inspiration, we came up with Penny who appears on 'The Big Bang Theory'.

Since Penny arrived she's been attending the Our Pack training class, her she is today in front of Chubby, and Harley (a Pug and French Bulldog).

Penny has also started hiking with us and HikeABull, her she is with Abbey on an Elderbull walk.

Although Penny is much happier chilling out in the garden on a warm day with her foster brother and sister.

Penny is a city girl and likes nothing better than to stroll down the high street window shopping, and hanging out at coffee shops.

And what could be better after all that walking (and sleeping)....a personal cat massage...

You can check out all the adventures Penny has on her very own Facebook page

If anyone out there is interested in giving Penny a permanent home she is available from Our Pack Inc. 

American Shelter Dog

When we're out walking, most people call our dogs pit bulls. I don't mind them being called pit bulls, however, I no longer find this an accurate description. To me, the two dogs above are very different, in both appearance and temperament. Abbey (the black dog on the right) is tall and leggy (confident yet very excitable) and Jake (the dog on the left) is shorter and has a more stocky build (he's also very shy of strangers). 

Earlier this year, we performed DNA testing on our two dogs. When Jake's DNA results came back we were pretty excited and were pleased that we got at least one of his breeds right - American Staffordshire Terrier. His second breed is American Bulldog.

Jake's DNA results

When Abbey's DNA results arrived, you could say we were a little surprised. We thought she was a American Pit Bull Terrier mix. So when we looked at her DNA, we couldn't believe our eyes! I could believe she had some Doberman Pinscher in her as she has long legs, sleek body and long nose. But I failed to see Cocker Spaniel in her at all.

Abbey's DNA

It is said that only a small percentage, about 5 or 10% accounts for their look. You could chose to believe the DNA result or not. But Abbey's DNA results show that it's extremely difficult to guess the breed based on looks alone. I looked at Abbey's DNA and thought to myself, eight breeds! What kind of the dog are you? Are you a Doberman or Cocker Spaniel? In the end I came back to the same conclusion as before, she's a good dog.

Even though I have a rough idea of the breeds that make up Jake and Abbey, I'm still aware that in public they'll be judged simply by their looks and not whether their a good dog or bad dog. So whenever we're out in public we always make sure our dogs are well behaved in public.