Liebster Award

Liebster Award

I was nominated by Jenny at Cello’s Corner for the Liebster Award – thanks Jenny! Cello’s Corner is a blog about Jenny’s two German Shorthairs, Cello and Hooch. These two lucky pups spend their days camping, hiking, dock diving and hanging out at dog-friendly wineries. Bailey and Cello were dock-diving buddies and hopefully Piper will get to meet both of Jenny’s dogs in the coming year.

As part of accepting the Liebster Award I get to answer 11 questions. I love that these are dog-related questions because (in case you didn’t notice) I LOVE writing about dogs! Without further ado, here we go…

1. Most bloggers have a moment where they say to themselves, “I need to tell the world about this!” What was that moment for you?

Well, the moment that comes to mind actually has nothing to do with dogs. It’s when Matt and I made Shrimp Scampi for the first time. Dinner was SO delicious that I had to share the recipe IMMEDIATELY. Here’s a link to that post if you’re in the mood for a really yummy pasta dish: Shrimp Scampi. We had it again last week!

2. What is the craziest thing you have ever done with your dog(s).

Hmm, does driving 30+ hours from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin and back with only 2 hour break count? Because that was pretty crazy! Matt and I did this in order to bring Piper home from her breeder back in October.

PIper slept through most of the 15 hour ride home.

PIper slept through most of the 15 hour ride home.

3. More and more establishments are starting to become pet-friendly. What are your thoughts on this policy? And do you hope that it becomes more of the “standard” in the future?

I’m all for pet-friendly places but hope that dog owners will use common sense when deciding to bring the dog along. Dogs should be under control and on a leash. Also, owners should always, ALWAYS clean up after their dogs! I am a major dog lover but I still absolutely hate it when I see dog poop on the grass medians in the parking lot outside a pet store or other pet-friendly establishment. Come on, people!

4. Have you have taken your dog to a dog-friendly winery/bar/restaurant/attraction? If so, what was your favorite place, and why?

No, but a dog friendly winery sounds like my kind of place! Grace Winery, the vineyard where Matt and I got married, hosts dog-friendly outdoor tastings on Sunday afternoons so maybe Piper will get to experience that in the Spring.

5. What is your favorite game to play with your dog?

We like to play around with wobble discs, cardboard boxes, and other random objects to encourage Piper’s balance, hind leg awareness and general interaction/attention skills. Here’s a collage of her on wobbly inflated discs when she was 12 weeks old:

Wobble Pup

6. Does your dog sleep in bed with you?

Nope! Piper sleeps in her crate right now and when she’s old enough she’ll graduate up to a dog bed in our bedroom. Bailey (pictured below) wasn’t allowed to sleep on our bed either, except if we were traveling and staying at a pet-friendly hotel. Then we made a special exception and she got to snuggle on the bed with us. 😊

How Bailey prefers to spend her time inside.

7. What is the silliest thing you have ever seen your dog do?

Piper is full of quirky, funny, amazing puppy antics! The silliest thing that comes to mind was a few months ago when she accidentally peed on the kitchen floor, then galloped through her pee puddle, slipped on it, and totally wiped out, skidding several feet across the kitchen floor. It was messy but boy was it funny.

8. Does your dog participate in any organized activity, competition, or sport?

For now Piper is just in obedience training mode. She completed puppy class and I really need to call What a Good Dog to schedule her next round of classes. I never remember to do that during business hours though… maybe this post will remind me tomorrow!

9. What type of training [treats] do you use with your dog?

I’m adding “treats” to this question since I already covered some training above. Piper’s favorite training treats are (in order): Bil-Jac’s Gooberlicious peanut treats (aka Little Goobers), string cheese, Zuke’s rabbit-flavored mini-naturals, and Zuke’s jerky.

Treats

Treat time!

10. How many dogs total do you have? Have you ever thought about adding another to the pack?

Just one! Maybe we’ll get Piper a friend in the future but we’re good for now.

11. Do you carry a first aid kit with you when traveling with your dog? If so, what do you think are the most important items you have in your kit?

We used to travel with a camping-style human first aid kit that included gauze, aspirin and Benadryl (all things that a dog might need too). We haven’t brought the kit along lately but I figure that we’re usually never more than a short drive away from a pharmacy or some other store where we could buy supplies in an emergency.

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And that’s it! Thank you again to Jenny from Cello’s Corner for nominating me. It’s nice to have an excuse to share more about Piper (not that I need one!).

Rather than nominating specific blogs, I’d like to welcome my readers to answer any one of the questions above in the comments. If you don’t have a dog that’s fine… tell me about your cat, goldfish, (child?) etc. Have your pets done something sillier than wipe out on the kitchen floor in their own pee? 😉

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5 Months Old

01 beautiful little Piper

Piper is 5 months old today!  As I type this she’s stretched out on the couch, sleeping soundly with her head resting on Matt’s leg and her left ear flipped inside out.  Piper is the sweetest, most affectionate pup ever!

02 Piper's 5 month mug shot

Matt and I spent last week in Las Vegas on a work trip.  Piper got to stay with her best buddy Hershey at my mom’s house (thanks, Mom and Rob!) and she had a fantastic time.  Piper has approximately one million percent more energy than Hershey and she happily funnels this excess into constantly pestering her chocolate lab friend.  Luckily Hershey is extremely tolerant of Piper and gently puts up with all of her puppy antics.

03 'what puppy antics??'

“What puppy antics???!”

After a week of fun with Hershey Piper was still very excited when Matt and I returned home on Saturday morning.  She wiggled and wagged and snorted at us before happily curling up between us on the couch.  Piper then snoozed for hours which was good because we were really tired from our red-eye flight!!

04 little piper

After two days at home Piper still seems extra laid back but I think she’s secretly just saving up her energy for the snow storm we’re supposed to get tomorrow…  I’m sure that more snow puppy photos will be coming soon! 😃

Snow Puppy

As I type this my little Piper pup is on the couch next to me, exhausted from today’s hiking adventures.  She is sleeping on her back with her hind legs splayed open (she’s not the most ladylike puppy I’ve ever met!) and her breathing sounds like something between a snort and a snore.  She’s been sleeping this way for at least an hour – a long time for a nap in Piper’s world! – so I’m taking advantage of this afternoon lull to do a quick photo post!

3331 Piper

Last Tuesday we got about an inch of snow in eastern Pennsylvania and I snapped some photos of Piper playing in the back yard on my lunch break.  Piper seemed totally undeterred by the sub-freezing temperatures and had a blast romping around in the snow, chasing sticks and snatching up the occasional mouthful of snow… she loves this weather!!

We’ve had Piper for 11 weeks now.  Only 11 weeks!!!  It seems like she’s been a part of our family for MUCH longer than that!  Matt and I are having a blast with her and I can’t wait to see what the next 11 weeks bring!!  😄

Rainy Day Piper

For the past few days a cloudy, gloomy weather system has been stalled over the east coast.  It rained all day yesterday which meant that we had to tire Piper out indoors rather than in our soggy, muddy back yard.  I took the opportunity to take a few indoor shots of Piper with my 50mm lens.

Rainy Day Piper

As part of Operation Exhaust the Puppy Matt and I introduced Piper to our second floor great room which has a big area rug and lots of natural light.  Pipe typically slips and slides all over the tile floors downstairs so I think she really enjoyed the traction she was able to get on the upstairs rug.  She transformed into a wild little maniac, diving into Bailey’s old toy bin to rummage around for the absolute noisiest, most annoying squeaky toy, then zooming back and forth across the room with it at breakneck speed.  She’d then grow bored of that particular toy and go back to the bottomless bin for another squeaker and repeat the whole process over again.  (Luckily Bailey had a ridiculous number of toys so Piper will be able to keep unearthing new toys for the foreseeable future!)

Here are a few of my favorite pics from yesterday.  Keep in mind that Piper was only stopping for 2-3 second increments before zooming off to the other end of the room… that’s why she looks so devilish in a few of these!  🙂

Piper with the green squeaker

Piper whiskers

The Piper and the hedgehog

Piper

Who, me??

Keeping an eye on me
As is becoming her nighttime routine, Piper is now stretched across my lap, making sure even while sleeping to keep one paw close enough to my keyboard to hit a stray button every now and then.  I love this little pup!  🙂

Piper helping me post

Piper goes Viral after hiking Crum Woods

Holy Cow.  This photo of Piper has received over 23,000 views on Flickr since yesterday morning:

Piper's Famous Photo

I wonder… does having 23,000 views qualify as “going viral”?  It is certainly the most buzz any content that I’ve ever created has garnered in a short period of time!  To her credit, Piper is pretty freakin’ adorable in this photo so I don’t blame those 23,000 people for clicking on her photo.  😉  The full resolution image can be viewed here if you’re interested in seeing it in all its viral glory on Flickr.

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Anyway… I took The Photo while hiking with Pipe and Matt in Crum Woods.  This 220-acre woodland is situated on the western edge of Swarthmore College’s campus in Delaware County, PA.  It features 3.5 miles of hiking trails, fantastic views of Crum Creek, and a giant railroad bridge that carries Septa’s Media/Elwyn line over the creek.

To access the Crum Woods trail we parked on the western (opposite) side of Crum Creek at the Leiper-Smedley trail parking lot off of Avondale Road and walked down Avondale to Yale Ave.  The trails in this southern section of Crum Woods were dotted with tree roots and sloped steeply down to the creek, but the path evened out to a nice walking trail once we made it north of the trailhead by the Swarthmore College fieldhouse.

I love train tracks and bridges, so it’s no surprise that my favorite part of Crum Woods was where the Septa rail line crossed Crum Creek.  Just before reaching the bridge the trail emerged out of the woods into “Crum Meadow,” where Piper licked her first frozen puddle and we had great views of the trestles crossing the creek.  The view from under the bridge was even more impressive and I may have made Matt and Piper wait around for 5-10 minutes just in case a train came along while we were under it.  (Sadly, we did not see a train.)

Leiper-Smedley Trail

After reaching the northern terminus of Crum Woods, we decided to make the hike more interesting by looping back to our car via the paved Leiper-Smedley trail on the other side of the creek.  Unfortunately Crum Woods and Leiper-Smedley are not officially connected on the northern end, so in order to access L-S we had to jog a short stretch of Plush Mill Road and skirt along the shoulder until we reached the trailhead.  We were lucky that Piper was still small enough for Matt to easily carry her during this stretch… this impromptu trail connection would not have been ideal if we had had a larger dog or small children in tow.

Our return trip along the Leiper-Smedley Trail was uneventful and mostly downhill, woohoo!  I’ve run on this trail several times, most recently going UP the trail in the other direction at the Fueled Up and Fired Up 5K in September.  The trail is well marked and has a much less exciting train bridge on it than Crum Woods… but it’s a train bridge nonetheless, so of course I took a picture!!

I definitely enjoyed our Crum Woods hike because I had never been to Crum Woods before, but overall it was a bit of a choppy walk and there are probably better hiking loops in the area.  The southern portion of the trail was a little treacherous and the northern end didn’t technically connect to Leiper-Smedley, but with good hiking shoes and a quick jog up Plush Mill Road we made it work.  Plus, Piper thoroughly enjoyed herself and was very tired afterwards… Mission Accomplished!!!

Piper having fun on the hike

Useful Links:
Crum Woods Web Site
Official Crum Woods Trail Map & Brochure (PDF)
High-res version of Crum Woods Map with our 4 mile hike overlayed (JPG)

Snow Day!

Happy Thanksgiving eve!  It snowed in eastern Pennsylvania today.  The snow might have been less than ideal for people traveling along the I-95 corridor for the holiday, but Matt and I were off from work and had a blast playing with Piper in her first snowstorm.

Little Piper puppy in the snow

Piper took the snow in stride.  She spent the first several minutes trying to eat the mysterious white stuff, then joined Matt for a slippery game of fetch.  I snapped some photos as they played.

After our playtime in the snow we went inside for hot cocoa (for us) and nap time (for Pipe).  So far she’s been great about settling down for quiet snuggle time on the couch while we watch tv (or edit snow day photos).  I’ll have to take a photo of her actually sleeping someday (my mom still doesn’t believe that Piper EVER sits still!) but for now I’ll leave you with this gem.  I love this wacky puppy!

I'm Helping!!!