Saturday, December 19, 2009


Last week when we woke up our whole house and yard were covered with snow. This is California and things like this aren't supposed to happen here. Benny and Beatrix had fun tasting the white stuff.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Can Do A Trick!

As an addition to his regular obedience training, I decided to teach Benny some tricks. In less that 10 minutes, I taught both Benny and Beatrix to shake a paw. Encouraged by my success, I went to Amazon to look for books about teaching dogs tricks. I now have my book with 101 tricks to teach. Many require much more ability and athleticism on my part than the dog's. We'll start slowly. Watch for more!

Monday, November 2, 2009


You wouldn't think that the life of a 9 month old puppy would be so busy that he wouldn't have time to blog, but it's true. I never have a spare moment what with walks, classes, visiting friends, going to work, chewing up things, teasing Beatrix, chewing up more things, and now this. I'm a cover boy! I'd better learn to write in case I have to do autographs.

Every year the Irish Terrier Club of Northern California prints a calender with local dogs as the stars. Much to my amazement, I was selected as this year's cover dog. Never mind the cute kids, it's me, the one in the center, who you should all be looking at.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Benny By The Bay

Benny has reached the big 3 - 0. No, not years, pounds. Maybe he'll start to fill out soon. Everything about him is long. His body reminds me of one of those extra long buses that have sort of an accordion pleat in the middle so they can turn. He continues to be a very cute but not a very typical looking Irish Terrier.

To celebrate my recent birthday (which in dog years would be an unfathomable number), Benny, Kathleen (human daughter), and I set off to introduce Benny to Pt. Isabel. I think it's the largest dog park in California. What makes Pt. Isabel so unique is that it sits right on San Francisco Bay so the views of SF and the bay are incredible. There is an inlet right through the middle of the park where dogs who wish can swim and play in the water. Benny was fascinated by the water, but in true Irish tradition, he would have none of it. Mud was fine but water - no way!

On any day there may be hundreds of dogs at Pt. Isabel. Benny was a bit overwhelmed at first but quickly decided that this place was o.k. He would run off, turn around to look for us, and then do his best to find us. Except for one rather amorous Schnauzer who wouldn't leave Benny alone, the boy had a great time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

After graduating from puppy class, Benny has had lots of free time this summer. He's flushed a rat out of a bush and he's kept busy in other ways too. He's perfected his digging skills and has also developed a special talent for sliting open stuffed animals to remove the stuffing and squeekers. He likes to eat the stuffing as if it were cotton candy. My long fingers really come in handy as I reach down his throat to retrieve hunks of stuffing. We've made frequent trips to the local pet stores searching for safe things to keep that little mouth busy. A friend gave me an antler and it has proven to be a great chew toy. Benny has barely dented it after many happy hours of chewing.

Benny also comes to work with me where he plays with his friend Daffodil, a golden retriever who is almost the same age. He loves his morning walk and I've found that if we've done at least 2 miles, Benny is willing to rest for a good part of the morning after we're home. I get a chance to get lots done and everyone is happy !

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Benny and I have been lax about new postings because we've been so busy working on training. On Monday night, Benny graduated from his puppy class. He did such a good job and was always a joy to bring to class. We had some very difficult dogs in the class. Some were aggressive, several barked constantly, and some were just guilty of having terrible handlers. Right after we got our certificates, one of the dogs got loose from her owner and headed straight for Benny in full attack mode. I quickly reeled in his leash, she caught her dog, and Benny just brushed her off and came to me with a big tail wag. He can sit, down, sort of heel, stand for examination, go through a tunnel, sit while being petted (with help), go over a jump and come to me. His biggest problem now and I'm sure in future classes, will be to keep focused on what he's doing. Benny loves to sniff the floor so I have to work constantly on keeping his head up off the ground. The rest of August is vacation month but in September it will be back to school for Mr. Benny.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New Picture of My Sister Gemma

Well, good looks certainly run in the family!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Benny Just Says No To Country

In his earlier days, Benny was always a great little car traveler. Recently he has begun drooling like a running faucet as soon as he gets into his crate in the car. First I thought it was just normal puppy carsickness, but it was erratic, sometimes he was fine. I wondered what could be different in the car? Was it after eating? before eating? when Beatrix was with us? when Beatrix wasn't with us? Daytime? Nighttime? Window open? Windows closed? A/C on or off? Radio on or off? Kind of music?!!!! My usual choice for car entertainment is classical music but recently my ears have been craving good old country music. I just can't get enough of the stuff and have been playing it non stop whenever I'm driving. Well Benny has demonstrated in no uncertain terms that he's had it with George and Travis and Brad and Willie and all the rest of those guys. Maybe they remind him too much of his beginnings in Arkansas. From now on, whenever Benny is a passenger it will be classical only.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Benny's First Day of School

On Monday night Benny attended his first official dog training class. He was probably the youngest dog there and he was definitely one of the better behaved students. There were about 14 sets of dogs and handlers as well as the instructor and her assistants. Most of the people brought along family members so there was lots of activity with people and dogs. The students included at least one very aggressive dog who was only 7 months old, one dog who barked continuously, one dog who was afraid of everything, and several dogs who were just acting like they had way too much energy. Benny managed to stay pretty well focused on me and on his "good boy"treats.

Benny is not the first dog I've trained and I've learned that starting early is really important with Irish Terriers. At this age everything should be fun for handler and dog, the pups should love learning, and you will be surprised how fast they figure out what you want them to do.
I hope all of the siblings are starting classes soon!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Here's Teddy - Benny's brother

Hi everyone,

We finally get to see one of the other siblings. If anyone wants to post a picture of the other two pups and you don't know how, just email them to me and I'll post the pictures for you. If you want to make comments, just sign up for a gmail account, it's simple and painless. If you want to be able to post things, let me know and I'll add your name. Finally, be sure to sign up as a "follower" so you'll get all the new posts. Suzanne

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Benny's Roommates

Benny joined Beatrix, my 8 year old Irish, and Tommy, my 12 year old cat, when he came to live here.Benny is a bit intimidated by Tommy, a tough old earless tomcat, who scratched Benny's ear on their first meeting. Beatrix is another story. Benny adores her and doesn't like to have her out of his sight. She is just wonderful with him, it's like having a live in dog trainer. He loves to drag her around by the skin on her neck and she allows it, only occasionally telling him to back off.

Benny is now 23 pounds, he's lost more teeth, and he's really turning into a good little dog. Sometimes he worries me because he is so laid back. Irish Terriers I've known are never hyper but they do seem to have lots of energy. Benny is pooped after a 2.5 mile walk. He comes home and sleeps for hours. Then he's usually pretty quiet until the "Puppy Wilds" which take place after dinner. I like to leave the family room door open and Benny's favorite game is to race in and out like a mad dog carrying his toys one by one until he has 6 to 8 things out on the grass. He only does this at night. Then he likes to lie out amongst his toys and chew on each one.

What about the siblings? Laid back or wild?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Busy Benny

People always ask me if Irish Terriers dig. Until now I've said, "Well, I've never had a digger, but I've read that they can enjoy digging in the yard." Enter busy Benny, digger extraordinaire.

As if the California drought wasn't enough, it seems that the Irish Terriers in this house have formed a pact to rid the yard of every blade of grass. First, there is the never ending traffic as Irish Terriers who are inside want to go outside and Irish Terriers who are outside want to come inside; then there is the lure of relieving one's doggy self on that nice green stuff. Somehow the grass was holding its own until recently. Now there are small black holes popping up around the yard and there is a small red puppy who often runs into the house with mouthfuls of sod and dirt which he deposits on my woven rug. That activity sets me in motion as I rush in with the vacuum to clean and then I dash outside to spray the hole with Bitter Apple. It seems to work on that hole but boy Benny knows that there is always more territory to excavate.

He's lucky that he is so cute.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Benny's Ear Gluing

Even though Benny has come from humble beginnings and he can never be a famous show dog in Breed Competition, I still want him to look like a proper Irish Terrier. Those cute little folded over ears that give an Irish a particularly wonderful expression do not always develop completely naturally. It's often necessary to glue the ears down to the head so that the fold across the top of the ear is set. Many puppies have what look like beautiful ears and then when they start teething (usually 4 to 7 months), the ears start flying all over the place. Benny just began teething and his ears alternate from flying sideways to hanging down like some kind of hound dog. So I've begun the regimen of ear gluing. I don't think this is too invasive and most dogs tolerate it well, so for me it's not an animal cruelty issue like ear cropping. I use a fabric glue called Tear Mender made by Vala. The Irish Terrier Club of America website has a detailed description of ear gluing if anyone wants more information.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Benny's Progress

As you have probably figured out by now, Benny is the pup I decided to keep. It was never my plan to keep him, I was just fostering him as I have so many dogs before him. Benny's sister, Gemma, flew to California so I could foster her before she went to her permanent home in Seattle. At the last minute, Benny's adoption in Arkansas fell through so I took him too, feeling sure that I could find him a great home. Well, I did!

I gave Benny a name and a birthday, January 19, 2009. I do think he was born a little later than that but January 19 was my Dad's birthday so it's kind of a tribute to him. He would have loved little Benny.

Benny has now lost 4 teeth and has two permanent front teeth coming in. I'm not at all sorry to see those little daggers go. He's had all his vaccines so he can now travel almost everywhere with me. He knows sit, down, he is crate trained, and he is mostly housebroken except for the occasional accident. He chews anything and everything and as of yesterday, he weighs 20.6 pounds.

Benny's Beginnings

Benny and his siblings arrived at an adoption event in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in February,2009. They arrived unceremoniously in a plain brown cardboard box, two girls and two boys. They were advertised as being 5 weeks old but in fact they were probably younger. I've been told that there were five puppies but the owner kept one of them. He also kept their mom.
The pups were taken in by a local group called Paws and Claws, and they went to live in a foster home with Kim and her family.

When they were about 7 to 8 weeks old, they all went to new homes. Since I'm the common link for all of the homes, I thought it would be fun to have a blog where we could all talk about the pups and how they are developing. Since we have no family history, we have only the four homes to report on health and temperament and any other behaviors we notice. We can also share pictures of the little ones to compare looks and size.