Monday, December 20, 2010

A Trail of Bread Crumbs.

It amazes me how Earl's personality traits grow. For the first year and a bit that we had Earl, he was not much of a leaner. He would stand in front of you to get petted, and when you stopped petting he would switch so you could pet the other side. Now however, Earl seems to have skipped right past the whole leaning thing and gone right to hip-checking. Now when Earl wants to get petted, he walks up to you, then does a 180 turn and throws a pretty good hip check... just to get some attention.

Another quirk Earl has is taking his kibble from his dish in the kitchen, and one kibble at a time... bringing it into the living room. The coming back for another. And then another trip back. Who knows... maybe he is worried about getting lost? (Sometimes, the single kibble doesnt make it all the way to the living room, Earl eats it, and has to return to the kitchen yet again.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


It's been a while since the last Earl post, so since a picture is worth a thousand words I figured a moving picture must be worth 10,000... so here is a video of Earl doing some rooing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Basement

Since my daughter has gone back to school I have decided to reclaim the basement. Once again it will become my domain, where I can sit back and watch some football, hockey and movies. For the summer, and for the two years previous to that there has always been one of my kids using the rec room as their HUGE bedroom. Well, I am taking it back.

It has been a two weeks process of reclamation. One evening while my wife and I were working in the basement, Earl was whining at the top of the basement stairs, wanting to come down. So far he has ventured as far as two paws on the first step... and occassionally one paw on the second step, but that is as far as he will go. I don't blame him... I wouldn't want to be on my hands and knee crawling headfirst down the basement stairs.

My wife urged me to help him down, so after much coaxing... I finally picked him up and carried him down the stairs. All 73 pounds of him. He took the carrying well... was as rigid as a board, but did not act skittish about his trek downstairs.

Earl spent a lot of time running around the rec room and exploring all the other rooms down there... and finally christened the carpet where it meets the bottom of the stairs. Gonna have to get him out of that habit.

By the end of the evening Earl and I had made it up and down the stairs three times. Now, Earl isn't a lightweight... and I have bad knees... the day after carrying Earl I didnt feel too bad... but the second day post Earl.. wow... was I sore!!!

We will look into a runner for the stairs and will work on getting Earl up and down the stairs. It will take some time as they are pretty steep, but I am sure the runner will help.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bath Time!

Not far from us is a car wash that has bays where you wand wash your car... not one of those new-fangled drive through car washes where you get to sit inside. At this particular carwash there is a separate room for a doggie wash with an area to shower your dog and an area to dry your faithful companion. We have taken Earl there once before and he did fine. This time however we decided not to venture out, and for the first time, we showered him at home.

To start... Earl did not even want to enter the bathroom. And to be honest... the bathroom is very small, so with my wife already in the room... and then trying to get Earl in there... no wonder he was nervous.

In the end... I lifted Earl (all 73.1 lbs) into the bathtub. He was shaking but not once did he try to bolt out of the tub.

Like a trooper Earl stood and allowed himself to be scrubbed and buffed with nice warm water... and not once did his legs give out on him.

After the shower and some toweling off Earl scampered into the living room where he rubbed himself along the front of both the love seat and sofa to further dry himself.... he was so excited it was like he was a puppy!

After Earl settled down, he was rewarded by being snuggled in MY bathrobe!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Curious Earl.

While going through a local household accessory store I couldn't believe my eyes! There... peeking from the top shelf of one of the display racks... a greyhound statue! Now, I did not go out looking for this particular accessory, but since I am refurnishing our rec room, I thought this would be the perfect addition. Who knew I was such a decorating genius?

We had the statue sitting on the kitchen table when we first got it home. Later in the evening Earl meandered into the kitchen and the statue immediately caught his attention.

Earl did not know what to make of this addition to the household. He cocked his head curiously... walked back and forth to take a look from a different angle... then at one point placed his paws on the table to get a closer look.

After we took the statue down from the table we placed it in the living room... and Earl sniffed all around it... ever so curious. Later, when we were away from the living room and just Earl and the statue together... we suddenly heard little "chirps" from Earl... which we have never heard before. We think maybe he was talking to the statue.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Not My Good Hat!!!

Earl seems to have gone into super-collector mode lately. His latest find was a straw Corona cowboy hat I picked up in Mexico last year as a souvenir of a cruise my wife and I went on.

Earl had previously made off with the hat when it was sitting on my office desk. I managed to retrieve it from him but he had already done some damage to it. The video illustrates Earl showing off his fine voice when I was wearing the hat... before I finally relented and let him play with it.

A Visit To The Airport

Today my daughter went back to school in Toronto. She insisted that Earl see her off at the airport. So along with her overweight suitcases we also packed Earl in the van. While dogs are allowed in the airport, they are not allowed upstairs in the waiting area, only downstairs where the luggage carousels and ticket agents are located.

It was down here that we sat and enjoyed our morning coffee while travellers oooo-ed and awwww-ed over Earl. One ticket agent finally made her way over to us and we thought she was going to tell us that only small dogs were allowed in the airport. Instead, she said that she had watched us walk by her three times and had to come over and see Earl up close.

It was pretty much a non-stop procession of people coming to visit Earl. One little girl... not quite two years old, actually walked right up to Earl and planted a kiss right on his nose. Good thing Earl is so easy going and takes all the attention in stride.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Trip To The Vet

Last year when I brought Earl to the vet for his first time it was a new experience for me. I selected the veterinarian out of convenience (their office was a two minute drive from work). Earl had two visits to that particular vet, and I just didn't feel comfortable with the care he received. There was nothing bad about the care, just nothing special. And if I felt uncomfortable, I am sure earl felt the same way as he is probably more sensitive than I am.

This week I took Earl to a different vet, one recommended by a girl I work with. The difference was night and day. Whereas the vet last year had me hoist Earl up onto the exam table, this veterinarian got down on the floor and ran her hands all over him, checking him out thoroughly. He received two shots and did not even flinch. The vet was enamoured with Earl and told me about how when she received her training in animal acupuncture and chiropractic, they practiced on greyhounds because of their muscle definition. She also commented on how stoic the hounds were. She said they could do almost whatever they needed to do with the dogs and they never reacted negatively because they were so used to be handled.

Earl's weight last year after his second visit to the vet was 73.1 lbs. This year... 13 months later... 73 lbs. Looks like he has found his natural weight. I should be so lucky.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another day at work.

Ever since Earl chose us, I have been bringing Earl to work. A few months ago my boss got a dog and started bringing "Apollo" to work. The dogs get along wonderfully, fortunately. Here is an example of some of their playtime activities first thing in the morning.

Running Circles!

Not sure if I have started a bad habit with Earl or if we are just bonding even more LOL. The other evening I was having a nice evening enjoying Earl's company, so when bed time came... I brought his bed into our bedroom and plopped on the floor next to my side of the bed. Earl and I both enjoyed a good nights sleep. The next night, after watching some TV, it seemed Earl was zonked out on his bed, this time in the middle of the living room. I turned off the lights and made my way to bed... but only seconds after climbing into bed I could hear the tap-tap-tap of Earl's nails on the floor as he followed me into the bedroom. I am such a pushover that when he looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes I went and grabbed his bed and put it next to me again. We have done this for a few nights now... uh oh....

Meanwhile... last weekend the weather was very beautiful and we were out puttering in the backyard, with some help from Earl. Here is a little video of Earl's activity level that day. My apologies for the quality of the video, it was shot with an inexpensive digital camera (not even a video camera).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gay Paris.

I came. I saw. I peed on it. No big deal.

Kiss This!

Unfortunately Earl couldn't hang out at the Simmons house too long. Apparently Gene was getting jealous and was feeling a bit threatened. It seems Earl's tongue is longer.

Around The W-earl-D / Hollywood

Trying to steal the limelight from Brangelina... who wanted to adopt Earl (naturally). Too bad for them he is already taken!

Around The W-earl-D / Washington, DC

So it has been quite some time since my last post... but as you can see... Earl is doing well... and in fact, has been quite the tourist. Hitting nation capitals and hobknobbing with some pretty impressive people!

Monday, June 28, 2010

And they're off!

Dug up this old video of Earl racing. Of course I found one that he won.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

1 Year Later

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Earl's GOTCHA DAY. It has been a great year with the dog my wife refers to as "the most wonderful dog in the world". Since that is a mouthful, we have wisely chosen to continue calling him Earl.


In honour of my birthday, last weekend, my daughter decided to make Earl a superhero cape. I am not quite sure how I benefitted from this... since my powers continue to remain non-super. To celebrate my birthday we flew to Toronto to see the EAGLES in concert at the SkyDome. Great concert! Instead of Earl going to a kennel we opted to have a girl I work with look after him, which definitely seemed to suit Earl much better. She even continued his routine of bringing him to work each day. I think he enjoyed the routine so much that he wasn't too concerned by our absence.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


A few weeks ago I was out walking Earl while on my lunch break. As we were strollling along the sidewalk a woman got out of her SUV to say she just had to come see Earl. After some conversation I learned that her husband had spotted Earl and I out for a walk a couple weeks earlier... then this particular day, her son had seen us out and about and had called her (Debbie) at work to give her our exact location. She left work and tracked us down and explained that their family had adopted a greyhound from GRA Canada in January.

GRA Canada was one of the options I had considered when looking for a greyhound but I did not want to make the 17 hour drive when the time came to get a new family member, which is why I opted for NLGA. It turns out Debbie flew to GRA Canada to pick up Honey. One of the differences between NLGA and GRA Canada is that the dogs from GRA Canada have had no experience with home life... they are straight from the track.

We talked about trying to get together, possibly with some other hounds, and it finally happened this past Sunday. Woohoo!!! As far as we know there are only five greyhounds in Thunder Bay... but we managed to get four of them out for a romp at the dog park.

They all got along famously and everyone loved it when they finally decided to go for a run.

The dogs were Earl, Honey (red, from GRA Canada), Dove (white and brindle, never raced) and Baker (brindle, NLGA)... and Sadie... a whippet who shares the house with Honey.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Week Later

Earl and I managed to avoid another torturous hike this weekend and instead walked partially around Boulevard Lake, a lake in the city here with a 5km (3 miles) walking path around it.

Earlier this week I took Earl to a nearby dog park where he frolicked with the other pups for a short while. When Earl put on his speed show everyone's jaws dropped and there were many comments like "Wow. That is a fast dog." A couple days later we went back and it was fun watching Earl run the perimeter of the dog park, with another dog trying to keep up. Eventually the slower dog tried to "head-em off at the pass" and take a short cut across the dog park... but as the other dog drew near, Earl simply went into overdrive and put on a burst of speed. It was amazing to see.

There has been a new development at work... the boss has introduced another dog into the dog-at-work mix! Apollo, a rescue pup, part husky part ??? started coming to the shop last week. Fortunately Earl thinks having a playmate at work is great! Inclement weather has meant no going to the dog park recently but next time the weather is nice we will take the two dogs for a romp.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Life Insurance

I swear that since it was Mother's Day, my wife was trying to cash in on my life insurance policy today, which would have made for a sizeable gift. After our breakafast of pancakes and strawberries it was off for our hike. OMG what a hike. The hike lasted more than an hour and a half I am sure and had its fair sure of huge hills to climb. Earl was a trooper and chugged along and also enjoyed whenever we would come across some other canine friends on the trail.

My daughter Brianne has returned from school in Toronto and Brianne and Earl are also enjoying each other's company.

Earl was put to work more than once this week (three times actually) when customers came into the workplace and after conducting business wanted to meet Earl. The highlight of the week was when our company had to place an advertisement in the program for the local production of the Shrine Circus. The other graphic designer decided to do a cartoon of Earl... when the Shriners came to our office to look at a proof copy of the the program the wondered who Earl was... "Earl... the Shriners want to meet you!" And off Earl galloped into the front office to meet his latest fans.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's Been Too Long

Wow, has it been a long time since I last posted anything! I guess that's because nothing exciting has been happening! Life with Earl is wonderfully routine with no surprises, just lots of love and fun.

It was interesting to be approached by someone at an area where everyone likes to walk their dogs... "Excuse me... do you have a blog?" It turns out someone who follows one of the blogs I follow (Hi Trang!) is from Thunder Bay and had checked out this blog. The power (or lack of anonymity) of the internet.

In January we were away for 9 days and took Earl to the "Hilton" of kennels here in Thunder Bay. I gave them instructions on Earl's feeding, which is 2 cups of kibble in the morning and 2 cups of kibble in the evening... but I hadn't factored in that Earl would be having so much fun chasing the other dogs around the fenced-in area. After a few days the staff noticed that Earl was dropping weight drastically and started doubling his food intake. When we got back to town and went to pick Earl up, my first reaction was... "OMG... you shrunk my dog!!!" Earl did not look emaciated or anything that drastic... but he did look like he had dropped several pounds (as it turns out... he had dropped about 6 lbs).

Over the course of the next few weeks we managed to get Earl back up to his retirement weight and he eventually seemed to forgive us for leaving him at the kennel. Seriously. I am sure for the first week he was snubbing us.

In February I went to Toronto for a couple days and while away my wife had a photographer-friend take some nice black and white pix of Earl. (Thanks Joe!)

Earl accompanies me to work every day at a local print-shop. The other grahpic designer decided to use Earl as his muse in laying out an ad to go in the Shrine Circus program... the image appearing in the program will be black and white, but I have included a colour version here.