Thursday, May 23, 2013

1 Year Sliderversary

All my life, I wanted a dog. It wasn't until one year ago, when I rescued my 2-year-old chihuahua Slider from the Franklin County Animal Shelter, that my wishes came true. After this past year with the little guy, I can tell you one thing: it was worth the wait!

Slider has truly been this man's best friend. From the moment I rescued him, I knew he and I were a perfect match. As described in my entry recapping my first week with Slider, he was house trained, great in the car (thank goodness, since we travel a lot), and had a fantastic temperment unlike what you hear about most chihuahuas.

He is a great "mascot" for OHventures, as Slider is always up for any adventure. We have participated in three doggy 5K races: Run With The Pack 5K (2012)Defend Your Friend 5K (2012), and Run With The Pack 5K (2013) and we have gone on countless runs together around my neighborhood. I have taken him on "hikes" to places like Cuyahoga Valley National ParkBlackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve, and Inniswood Metro Gardens. We have gone to pet-friendly wineries like Camelot Cellars in the Short North and Perennial Vineyards in Stark County. He also loves running around with other pups at local dog parks such as the Scioto Audubon Metro Park and Wheeler Park Dog ParkHe has even joined me boating at Atwood Lake Park and had a cameo appearance in a Christmas Show at the Akron Civic Theater!

If that wasn't enough, Slider has been pretty spoiled throughout the year. We subscribe to BarkBox (a monthly subscription box that sends dog goods to our front door each month), he often attends Canine Social Club (doggy daycare), gets dressed to the nines for OSU Football days and Halloween (he went as a shark), and even had a shindig at Zoom Room Columbus to celebrate his first year with me and to have an agility class with a bunch of our canine friends (more on that later).

Slider has been described as many things: regal (because of his strong stature), cute (although I prefer the term handsome), a heartthrob (the ladies at his doggy daycare have coined that one), boss (when he unfortunately would bark at some larger dogs at the apartment complex), intelligent (it took me only a couple of hours to teach him what I call the "green bean trick"), well-behaved (he never has to be crated when in my house, as he causes no destruction nor has any accidents), and loyal (he sticks by me and listens so well).

He has won over nearly everyone in my family. My mom always tries to smuggle him at night so he will take naps with her, my dad is Slider's favorite lap to sit on, my grandpa is smitten and is always giving him table scraps on the holidays, and my aunt - lover of all dogs - can't get enough of him. Having a dog has also allowed me to spend more time with friends who also own dogs, as we have doggy play dates at the park or each other's houses. Plus, I have even made NEW friends thanks to Slider, such as my neighbor (and his dogsitter) Joanna, owner of an adorable three-legged beagle.
There have also been some minor hiccups in my first year of doggy ownership. I came to find that Slider had tapeworm when I first got him, since he had fleas when the dog warden captured him as a stray. That was quickly taken care of with some pills, thankfully. He also had a month-long hot spot on his neck that I had to treat with a steroid from the vet. And most recently, Slider's dewclaw broke off while running about at my parent's house, which caused him a great deal of pain, and me a good chunk of cash (pain meds).
All in all, having a dog has changed my world for the better. I can not understand why on Earth anyone would have intentionally let him go, or not tried harder to find him. But all I know, is that the world has worked in a perfect way to create this dynamic duo!

In order to celebrate this illustrious first year with Slider, I went ALL out. I know many people would never be able to understand or wrap their head around why I - or any dog owner - would go to such lengths to have a full fledged birthday party for their dog. But, there is no denying the amazing bond I have with this amazing creature, and I am going to do my best to repay him for all of the joy he has brought to my life. And this involves spoiling him like none other.

Since I do not know - and I will never know - what his actual birthday is, I deemed May 23 (the day I adopted him) as his new unofficial birthday (more accurately, his anniversary).And, I made May 19 (a Sunday) the day of his birthday party, to be held at the local Columbus business Zoom Room, located in the Short North.

The Zoom Room is a doggy "gym" which typically offers dog training, agility classes, open gym sessions, and private parties! The parties are 2 hours in length (Slider's being 4-6 PM), and allow up to 15 doggy friends to come and celebrate. The invite list for Slider''s party consisted of: gooden labradoodle Cali and her owner Ali, chihuahua Max and his owner Ryan, chihuahua Lola and her owner Arielle, golden retriever Maizey and her owners Mark and Ashley, lab mix Levi and his owners Beth and Jim, beagle Moo and his owners Jon and Karen, schnoodle Lilly and her owners Matt and Katie, pug China and her owner Joel, as well as humans Judy and Peter.

The party included a FREE 30-60 minute Agility Class taught by Zoom Room owner and trainer, Kyle. The class involved each dog going up a ramp, through a tunnel, and across a balance beam. They also had 2 separate gym areas for the dogs to freely run around and socialize. Slider was a pro at the agility class, and he ran around the gym chasing balls and barking up a storm as if he knew it was his party.

For the humans, I ordered pizza and brought pop, chips and cookies. To make it Slider-esque, I bought a Crave Case of sliders from White Castle as well! For the dogs, Zoom Room provided mini donuts, and there was a personalized peanut butter flavored cake especially for the pups. I also made gift bags with treats and toys for each guest.

It was a huge success, and everyone had a ball watching our dogs enjoy themselves in this unique setting. It was well worth the price and was the least I could do to express my gratitude for a truly amazing year with Slider. Here is to many, many, many, many more years with my companion and best friend!

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