One Year Old
Our furry babe recently celebrated his first birthday:
How bittersweet for us! Ha! No, it was as anticlimactic as you would think a dog’s birthday would be. We got him a special treat at a local pet store and sang him Happy Birthday. That’s it.
Yummy dried duck back
Mason’s been with us for 10 months now since we took him home at 8 weeks and I wanted to provide an update on the good and the not-as-good of owning a dog. 99.9% of the time, Mason’s such a joy. He’s so smart. You can read about his tricks here. He’s such a lover. He loves to snuggle. He’ll lay his head on our feet in the family room while he takes a nap. He’ll jump up on the couch and curl up beside us. (Yes, we went back on our no furniture rule. Mason’s too cute to resist and at 31 pounds, he’s small enough to share a cushion with.)
Whenever Adam and I hug, one of us will instantly feel Mason’s front feet on our hips. He has to get in on the affection. He refuses to be left out. He brings a toy to the door every time we come home. He loves sticks, squirrels, people, cheese, bacon, walks, other dogs, puddles, digging holes, and sleeping under the bed.
Mason went under the knife for his ahem at the end of January.
At the vet’s office that morning, he marked the examining room wall. I think he was trying to have the last word. Little did he know that Dr. Moire had the last word… Poor guy. He was so funny that first night at home before the drugs wore off and he was getting used to the cone. He kept running into things and then he would just stand still in a spot for a long time because it wasn’t worth it to try to go anywhere. Mason would hang his furry head in shame and get the bottom of the cone stuck in the floor and he couldn’t move forward. So funny, but so sad. He was back to his normal self within a few days. We left him at home without the cone on the fifth day after surgery since he wasn’t disturbing his incision. I, like the worrisome mother I am, rushed home around lunch time to make sure he hadn’t ripped open his stitches. Of course he left the stitches alone, but this is what I found instead:
Yikes. Our counter surfer. We line up recyclables on the counter near our back door to take out to our bin in the garage. Mason’s never disturbed these items before, but there’s a first time for everything. What you don’t see in this picture is that he managed to get an empty beer bottle off of the counter without breaking it and he carried it across the kitchen to his bed. Boozehound Mason. He loves surfing! So far he’s snatched the top off a blueberry muffin hot out of the pan,
a bag of onion rolls (he ate all 4!),
a landscaping plan, a greeting card, a wicker placement,
and 2 aluminum cans. Needless to say, we cannot leave anything on the counter within his reach. Our fruit basket has been relegated to the dining room table where he cannot go. No paper is safe. We even push back the utensil caddy and the TV remote.
Now I love my little guy; that should be obvious based on all the pictures I post of him on this blog and Instagram. Apologies in advance for how obnoxious I’ll be when I have a human child. I love my little fur ball, but fur is what he’s got a lot of. The labra/golden doodle fans either don’t stress this enough or puppy love impaired my judgment, but fleece-coated doodles are HIGH MAIN.TEN.ANCE.
Granted, Mason is going through coat transition which happens to labradoodles and golden doodles between 8 and 12 months. Their adult coats grow in underneath their puppy coats and since they’re minimal shedders, they mat A LOT. Mason’s fur has also been pretty long because up until a few weeks ago I could not find a groomer we liked – yes, we. Mason had a horrific experience at our previous groomer: they plucked his ear hair against my wishes and he got a nasty double ear infection. He also had bad razor burn on his man parts (this is when he still had them.) It was infuriating.
Because of that awful experience, I did not take him back to a groomer until a few weeks ago.
With his long hair, I have to brush him for 1 and a half to 2 hours every weekend. In between weekends, I check for mats and use a comb to break them up and comb them out. It’s not enjoyable for either one of us. We’ve had to do some serious tolerance work when it comes to brushing and bathing thanks to the grooming salon from hell. Mason’s come a long way. I’m pretty proud of him though he could still do better. I say all this not to discourage anyone from getting a doodle, but to educate you on a major con of the breed. I wouldn’t trade Mason for anything. He’s so smart, has an amazing personality, has the softest fur, and is the cutest dog ever. His positive traits more than make up for the diva-level pampering he requires. The coat maintenance has started to subside after about 12 weeks – the grooming he received a few weeks ago really helped. But it was a chore there for awhile. If you’re considering getting a doodle, you need to realistically ask yourself if you’re willing to devote the time necessary to groom them. It doesn’t take near as long if you choose to cut them back shorter, but you’ll still have to brush them every week during their transition no matter the coat length.
In our house, I am the dog brusher. I enlist Adam’s help sometimes to hold Mason or distract him with a treat. Lately, Mason’s been good enough that I can handle him on my own. Adam isn’t going to take the initiative to give Mason a brush out. Never gonna happen. Just like I’m never going to crawl under my car one day and change the oil. This is life. Wife brush dog. Husband change oil. Also, when Mason’s fur is longer, he’s like a breathing feather duster. He goes outside, collects leaves and debris, and comes back in and dumps it all on our floor. With a shorter coat, he has less material to trap things and he is not matting as much. Thank goodness!
If that’s my biggest gripe about labradoodles, I think that’s pretty amazing. Plus, his fur is incredibly soft and his coat is this beautiful apricot with highlights and low lights. Mason is so darn loyal and happy-go-lucky and cute. There’s no aggression, no eliminating in the house, no health problems, no anxiety issues. He’s a pretty amazing dog. So on that note, here are the…
Top 20 things we love about Mason:
20. He’s oh-so-soft
19. He looks like a teddy bear, muppet, baby Chewbacca all in one
18. He loves everyone and every dog
17. He’s eager to please
16. His love for cheese
15. He can catch an object in the air or on the bounce
14. He knows when people are upset and wants to comfort them.
13. He recognizes our cars by sight and sound and will run to the door when he sees them out the front window
12. He greets us with a toy and growls/howls to get you to play with him while it’s in his mouth
11. He is FANTASTIC in the car, with the windows down or up, through drive-thrus, on long trips, etc. He is so good!
10. He poops in the ivy or brush. Be jealous. We never have to worry about walking on it.
9. Ice is a favorite treat of his. We like this because ice is free.
8. Watching him play in his plastic pool in the summer time is like watching the happiest little kid.
7. He loves to cuddle with us in bed in the morning after he’s peacefully slept underneath it all night.
6. When he wants something, he paws the air. We didn’t teach that.
5. He is so great with children and the elderly.
4. He puts up minimal fuss during grooming and teeth brushing sessions.
3. He doesn’t want to leave our sides.
2. He’s a cuddle-bug in bed in the morning.
1. He forces us to stop and enjoy the simple things: the joy of a car ride,
the beauty of the outdoors,
the fun of running around the backyard.