Sunday, December 30, 2007

Guard Dog

Lizzy showed a different side of her personality today. We were at the park and she started barking and acting a little defensive. She seldom barks unless she sees another dog she wants to meet and occasionally when she gets woken up by a loud noise. But today she woke up every other dog in the area with her barking. And I could not see what had her riled up. The only thing in that area was a snowman. As we crossed the park to check out what had her going, it became clear that the object of her concern was snowman . It was not a great snowman, about 3 feet tall and very thin, but a snowman. Once Lizzy got a chance to smell it, she was fine and we went along smelling another area. The strange thing about the whole incident was that we were at the park yesterday afternoon and the the snowman never bothered her. But today was a different matter.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


We had an ice storm last week. Luckily it wasn't a bad one. The second wave mostly missed us but what we had was bad enough for me. It brought up my concern of walking Lizzy since I hate walking on ice. Sad to say I took the easy way out. For several days, I just put her out in the back yard to do her business when we were home. I still had to walk her at work but sidewalks were clear there. Of course, she jumped the fence several times. But she came home within 20 or 30 minutes.
But she finds the piles of ice and sleet left by the plows fascinating. She will sniff on one area for minutes, maybe paw the ice and then jump around excited. Then it is off the the next section of the pile. She is slipping and sliding but it does not seem to bother her if there is a good scent to follow.
The new issue is at work. She has decided to nap on the sofa/futon. Even with the extra padding under the carpet, the floor can be cold but the sofa is not. But I only find her lying there, never getting on it. I think this is going to be a hard habit to break her of.
Next step is to figure out how to contain her during tax season with lots of people coming in and out. Right now the concern is her getting out the door. Actually, my clients are more concerned than I am. I know she is greeting them at the door to start the smelling process. I am thinking a tether to the back desk when things get crazy. Mostly, I'll play it by ear.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Catch up with Taxdog

The summer has been quiet so I haven't had much to write about Lizzy. Our biggest problem is schedule.
While I was directing a show (The Odd Couple), our schedule was fairly set. Up and to the park by 7:45am. Then to the office. Another walk after the mail came. Then she took a long nap followed by another walk. At 5pm, we would walk again and I would take her home. When I got back from rehearsal, the last walk of the day. Even after the show closed, our schedule stayed about the same even though I was generally home in the evening with her.
But the end of daylight saving time messed her up and she is still not totally liking the new routine. The morning isn't too bad. For a few days, her walk was moved up and and quickie walk was added in the morning. The problem is in the afternoon. At 4pm (the DST 5pm), she is ready to go home. It doesn't help that her view is completely blocked by cars going to the gym across the street and the papergirl generally doesn't make it before we leave. So she is bored. She really liked everyone coming in during the extension rush so I don't think tax season will be a problem. And by then I should have her accepting staying later.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Taxdog Problem

The problem is not with Lizzy, it is a client (and possibly others).
This guy showed up with receipts for me to look. He wants to know if it will be worth it to itemize. Of course, he's bored on a day off and I can't get rid of him. Lizzy had greeted him as usual and I had gotten her back under the desk when a new target arrived and then a 2nd. I thought he had left while I helped the new people, but he was still there petting Lizzy when I got done. I called Lizzy to come back to me and he stopped her from coming. He told me it was okay, she was not bothering him so she could stay there. Here I am, trying to train her to greet and then come back to me, and this bozo wants to play. I finally got Lizzy back to me but he was still hard to get out the door.
Why do people think it is okay to counter a Mom or Dad? Not just dogs but with kids too. I have seen parents trying to discipline their kids (not beat or abuse) and some joker actually encourages the child to misbehave because the child is not bothering them. And this are the people who would, if the child even slightly bothered them, complain how badly disciplined children are today.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ignored a Client

Lizzy actually ignored a client today. He came in, she acknowledged him and then went to lay down under the table. No sniffing or bothering him. When he left, she checked out where he sat then went back to her hidy hole.
She has been a good sport about how her schedule has been torn to shreds. Since it is finally acting like summer, we have been staying later here (no AC at home). She has also decided she likes going outside at night. It's cooler. Since the backyard is fenced in, I know she is safe until she wants to come in. The challenge will be in a few weeks when rehearsals start and I leave her alone for several hours at a time 3 days a week.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bald TaxDog

Ok, Lizzy is not bald but from the way she has been shedding I am amazed that she isn't. With it getting hotter she had decided to get cooler by getting rid of part of her undercoat. While she is loosing top coat too it is nothing like the chucks that are coming out from underneath. You can see the light clumps peeking out of her dark fur. Then she shakes like she is wet and the fur literally flies. Brushing helps and Lizzy seems to like being brushed but I can't follow her with a brush waiting to see the first appearance of the offending clumps. I have to get some work done.
The blond fur really shows up on my dark office carpet too. My new exercise is picking up the larger chunks of fur. It would also help to find a paint roller type holder for the sticky lint tape to help with quick pickups. Ideally, a Romba vacuum would be the best solution but those are not cheap. I guess I'll have to stay with picking up the chunks, sweeping with a broom then running the vacuum until this shed is finished.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Last night was interesting. In fact, the last few weeks have been interesting. South Central Kansas has had much more rain than usual. While it has kept the temperatures down, there has been flooding and crop problems. And since this is Kansas, the rain has come in the form of thunderstorms. Thunder is a noise Lizzy does not like. It doesn't have to be loud or sharp, a distant roar is enough. Nor does she like the sound of fireworks. And last night she had both at the same time. Just as the city fireworks started the thunder started. Luckily the rain held off until after the fireworks were done. It wouldn't be a problem if she just hid. No she paces, then hides for a minute, then comes to me wanting petted, then she paces again. She reminded me of an old cartoon of an expectant father who had worn a knee deep trench in the labor waiting room floor with his pacing. So last night she went from her place in the window, to me, then she circled to the fireplace (maybe sitting for a minute), then through the bottom level of an end table to her closet after circling the coffee table a couple of times. Then she comes back to me and starts the process over. It is exhausting to watch her. And if it starts in the middle of the night, she will let me know. I'm from Kansas, I can sleep through a thunderstorm but not with Lizzy. At office she found a hidy hole under a peninsula I have attached to my desk. The only problem is the way in is behind my computer tower. I am waiting for the day her in/out routine knocks something loose.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Lizzy is working out well. She is a very calm, friendly animal who wants to meet everyone. The big problem at the office is getting her away from clients. She loves to smell them. And true to her Chow blood (independent), she has selective hearing (and eating/playing). She can't hear me call her away from someone she wants to meet but she can hear me shake the box of treats. Her independence has made outfitting her more expensive than I expected.
There is a Tractor Supply commercial I see from time to time. A daughter has just been give a puppy and her father is outlining all the purchases they have made for the puppy; food, bedding, toys, leash, treats, etc. Then he quotes his father, "There is no such thing as a free puppy." Let me say that adopting an adult dog is not cheap either.
Lizzy is old enough to know what food and treats she will eat. After the first week, I got her the mildest food I could at the grocery store to stop the throwing up. It would be several days before I could get to a pet store. Lucky she liked the Benefil and the throwing up stopped. But that left me with a bag and 1/2 of regular Science Diet she won't touch. I thought it was just the flavor and tried the lamb/rice-nope. In fact, she does not like their treats (left from Mo) either. The only good thing is that the food and treats she does like are moderately priced. But then there are toys. Lizzy does not play with her toys. With the exception of her Kongs (if they have food). The only thing I have seen her really want to play with is my lambswool duster. I have 3 crates (2 sizes) she doesn't use. The office bed has been used a few times but not the one at home. And she has eaten through an inch wide cotton web leash. She wasn't tied up so I can only assume that she had drug it through something tasty. And don't get me started on vet bills; shots, fleas, heartworm.
I knew that I would spend money on Lizzy. Especially since I have to have things for both the house and office. I just wish I did have so much unused sitting around. A trip to the shelter with the extras is in order.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Difference!

Sorry, still no new pictures. I am in a melodrama that is opening on Thursday. Once that is done, I will have time to take, and if necessary, Photoshop some new pictures.
Lizzy is settling into the office routine quite well. She has decided that the area under my desk is her favorite place to sleep and she has her outdoor spots picked out. I still keep he on her lease at the office since she loves greeting people who come in but then she won't leave them alone. Lizzy is an attention hound. Very little barking and no growling. What a nice change.
Training will start next week. No fancy tricks. I need her to sit and stay and come. And how do you teach a dog to play with a ball or rope toy? That is the next challenge.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Please meet Lizzy, the new Taxdog. She is a 4 year old lab/chow mix. The the chow is very predominate in her tongue and coat. She is very friendly with people and other animals. But, I have not yet seen her around little children so until then I can't totally relax.
She had her first visit to my vet today. Not too bad. I knew that the shelter had treated her for worms and she needed the second half of that. A slight ear infection and of course flea treatments. The big problem is a mild case of Heartworms. I will start her on preventative. Dr. Grimes thinks that should work because of the how mild the problem is. The full treatment is expensive and hard on the dog (it contains arsenic). The preventative takes longer but should work for Lizzy.
Better pictures soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Tax Dog?

I am excited, there may be a new Tax Dog tomorrow. Her name is Lizzie and she is a Lab/Chow mix. She is a little bigger than I wanted but she seems to meet the rest of my requirements. She is mellow and friendly. There does not seem to a problem getting Lizzie to eat since she looks like she should be on "Lite" food. Her girth is a little deceptive since her coat is that of a chow-very full. I am hoping she will play more too. I am glad that we will have a long weekend to get to know each other. I will have to get a larger crate/kennel and may-be some more/larger toys. But I am not buying anything more until I get her home.
Gizmo is still at the shelter and has been put on the adoption list. It was sad seeing him when I was looking for a new Tax Dog. He recognized me and behaved as if I had just been gone on an errand not abandoned him. But as I moved away from his cage, the whining began. That brought back the guilt. I hope the best for him. If I did not need to bring him the office, he would have been a good pet.

Friday, May 18, 2007


This week has been very quiet without a dog at the office. While it was nice not having to take Mo out for a walk or a potty break, it was very lonesome without him.
He is back up for adoption and I hope he finds a good home.
I am planning on going back out to the shelter this week and start visiting dogs. I was not up to it right after I took Mo back. I didn't even look at for a week. Since I have had the graduation tour going on, I put off looking until my nephews graduations are done. But I have started looking again. One dog I was interested in has come off the list but there are several others. If none of those are a match, then I will keep looking.
What has been frustrating, is the lack of guidance of what questions to ask. Most adoption sites cover what to think about as you decide what you want in a pet. Things like activity level, size, age, do you have a yard, or are there other pets or small children. How do you screen the dog/cat that attracts your eye? You start with the breed characteristics but what is the mix? Which breed is dominant?. The shelter staff can tell you what they have seen but some animals don't show their true colors in that stressful environment. Are they problem eaters and on what schedule do they eat? Do they bark a lot? How are they in a car? Are they really housebroke? What toys do they like (or will they even play with toys)? These were the questions I wish I had had the answers to before I took Mo home.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I've Cried All Afternoon

Right now there is no Taxdog. Mo had to be returned to the shelter. In the last post, I mentioned how he was aggressive. It seemed to be a mix of protective and fearful. But in the last few days the aggression has gotten worse. He has directed a little to me (I tried to move him off the bed) and he has strained to get at anything I talked to. This happened at home or the office. He would get very worked up if someone tried to lean over the office desk to see him.
Today Mo was supposed to get all his shots and a heartworm test. Two weeks ago, he was fine at the vet's office. A little barky at first but calmed down and was greeting the other dogs and people on the way out. He was fine with Cindy and Carol. Today, he wasn't bad until a man came into the waiting room and he started barking, growling and straining on his leash. In the exam room, he was barky at the vet tech but was fine with one of the office cats. That is until I tried to pet the cat and Mo lunged at it and me. Jealousy or protection-I don't know. The behavior continued to get worse when Cindy came in to examine him. He growled and cowered. We discussed his behaviour and what could happen, especially at the office. And we talked about returning him to the shelter.
I still was not convinced when I left the office (no shots or tests - he was too worked up). The more I thought about it the more I realized that I didn't have any option but to take him back. Right now I don't have a lot of people come in but it would take him 3-4 minutes to calm down and stop barking when someone came in or the door blew open. So when I get busy, he would have to stay home for over 12 hours a day. That is not good for a people dog. Exercise is made hard by him wanting to attack everyone he sees on a walk and my yard is not big enough for a lot of running or walking. Gizmo has also not shown a lot of interest in toys or treats. The treat problem (he doesn't like or hides most and he's not good at taking them from my hand) was another big factor. How can I train a dog when I can't use treats as the first reward? I am sure there are trainers out there that might be able to train him, but I can't afford that. I also can't afford a lawsuit if he were to bite someone.
If he had been getting better as he and I bonded, I would have held out hope. But as we became closer, his aggression to others increased and I don't see how that will change with the resources I have available.
Gizmo was in my life less than 3 weeks yet I can't stop crying today. I am sure part of that is guilt. But when he was good, he was a great dog. But when he was not good, he was a dangerous dog. Hopefully, he will find a home soon.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Busy Week

At least for me, Mo spent most of it asleep; either under my desk, on the couch, or on the bed. When he was not sleeping, he would play a little and eat grass.
A serious concern this week, was getting him to eat. He has eaten very little in the last two weeks. He would eat a little of the dry dog food or treats. Mostly, they have to be dropped near him and he will take them where he is comfortable eating them. Even food dropped into his dish is picked up and taken somewhere else. I finally discovered that he like carrots and will eat them easily. I tried water on his dry food. He ate that a little better but plain yogurt on the dry food was ignored. Last night I broke down and gave him some good canned food. That was it. He ate that all up even cleaning his bowl.
He is getting more comfortable at home. He will explore a little in rooms I am not in at the time. But only when I am in the bathroom or asleep. Otherwise, he is sitting next to me or at my feet. He isn't exploring the office much. He pretty much comes in and goes under the desk to his bed.

The real issue is the barking and aggression. He will strain the lease and almost choke himself if someone gets too close. He was better on his last walk. He just barked and was easily calmed down. I think the food hiding and aggression are related to the way he was treated previously. If I can get him to understand that he won't be treated like that any more, then I think he will be a good office dog. If not, I will have to work out a way to leave him at home during tax season.

Friday, April 27, 2007


So sweet looking. My problem is that as Mo is becoming more comfortable and secure at the office, he is becoming more defensive. His barking when clients come in and lasts longer. I tried introducing him to a client today and he strained at the lease. I am hoping that socializing him more will help. Yesterday at the vet's, he was very barky and aggressive towards the other dog and people in the waiting room. But he was completely different when he came out of the exam room. Then he was very friendly with the same people he was barking at earlier.

Right now I am playing with a very strange theory. The woman who gave Mo up told the shelter staff he was food agressive. But I have not had a problem with him. And I am still having problems with him not eating out of a dish so he has not been eating that much. So I wonder if he is being territorial because he is hungry and wants to keep others away from his food area. I will try a few things to see if I can assure him that his food is safe.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Grass Hunter

First Vet Visit

Mo had his first vet visit today. Of course, he barked at everything in sight until he came out of the exam room. They he tried to make friends with everyone on the way out. I think it was the treats Cindy and Carol gave him - dehydrated hot dog slices.
He has to go back in two weeks. He has worms. That was no surprise. He took the first half of the meds today but there is still another dose. At that time, he will get his annual shots. The shelter had that his rabies was current until about then.
I did find out a lot about him today. He weights 14.5lb. And the estimate that he is about 2 years old is probably right based on his teeth. All agree that his base terrier is more likely Cairn than Yorkie. He also got his nails clipped and a dose of flea meds. All in all, he handled the trip well.

The next challenge - a separation longer than 2 hours.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sleepy Head

I had planned on changing Gizmo's name to Mo but realized that Mo sounded much too close to No. I have been thinking about Gyro. It is close to his original name and short. But after the past few days, I am seriously thinking about Sleepy.
Gizmo's schedule looks like this right now.
  • 7am - gets off my bed and I get him to go out for a while. I don't think he leaves the back porch since I am not with him.
  • 8am - Leave for the office. He is learning and heads right for the car. Once at the office, he curls up under my desk and sleeps. This is only interrupted by my leaving the desk for a minute (raises head when I leave and when I come back) and if some one comes in (barking (more from the idea that they woke him up)).
  • 11am to 12pm - First walk of about 10 to 15 minutes. Then back to sleep.
  • 1pm to 2pm - Second walk. Then back to sleep.
  • 5pm - Home and play in the back yard for a few minutes. As I relax on the couch, he sleeps. Gizmo is a little more active during this time with some play times and a walk and following me all over the house.
  • 10pm - Bed. For him. I will watch TV or read and he will sleep on my bed.
I wouldn't worry about this too much if he was more active and playing with toys more. I am use to cats sleeping all day but I assumed a dog would be more active.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Not a good picture.

Even with Photoshop, the eyes are a problem. But this is a start.

Tax Dog Welcome

Welcome to Tax Dog!

This blog is to chronicle the adventure of bringing a new dog into the life of a small business owner. Mo (prefered to the Gizmo his previous owner gave him) was adopted from our local animal shelter, the Cowley County Humane Society, on Saturday. His purpose in life is to keep me company at home and the office. He is also going to make me exercise more with walks and play time.
Mo is a terrier mix. And what a mix! The shelter had him as Yorkie mix on the adoption docs but I think his original papers said Carren terrier. He has sharp fox facial features, about 15" tall, and his coat is brown and cream and wiry.
This is his first day at the office and except for a couple of walks, he has spent most of the day under my desk. Since it is Monday, there has been more traffic in than usual. Unfortunately, he is still very protective of himself and barked and growled when they first can in but Mo quieted down after a minute or so. All the time hiding under the desk.

I am not sure what direction this blog will take. But I am sure that it will not be some cutesy POS where everyone pretends the dog is witting the blog. Nor, will Mo be dispensing any tax advice or information. I have another blog for that. Tax Dog will start as my journal of pet ownership and wander where it wants.