Lisa Solomon is a super-talented artist and designer who also runs a business with partner Candice Gold called MODIFY/d where they use old clothing discards and make them into dog beds and pillows. She also owns rescue dogs, and we love that! I asked her to share more about the two furry “kids” in her life.
Names? Mildred and Tonka
Nicknames? Mildred: aka Millie, dred-ful, fart-knocker, sweet potato ? she doesn?t have as many since we haven?t had her for so long. Tonka: aka the biscuit, sea biscuit, tonka wonka, captain bunkenstein, the captain, little one, bunny boy, tonk
Ages? Millie is 1 and Tonka is 11, maybe 12?
Breeds? Pit bull and French Bulldog
What?s ?The Scoop?? (i.e., how did they come about living with you?) Both our dogs are rescues. Tonka was given to someone the hubby used to work with. Her boyfriend wanted a big dog and so they kept him in a crate most of the day in a garage. He is SUPER incredibly social and this did not suit him at all! He had diarrhea constantly… Poor thing. He is also the sole surviving member of his litter… the woman who bred him put all his siblings to sleep because one of them went down with a spinal issue. That fact makes me shudder!
We rescued Millie from San Francisco Animal Control. We recently lost our 16 year old Pit Bull Garbo and put the word out that we were going to be in the market for another dog soon. As these things always work hubby got emails immediately that there was a pit bull at SFAC that we had to get. Pit bulls have some pretty serious obstacles to overcome in the reputation department, and I think they are a breed that needs knowledgeable (perhaps even more experienced) owners. After meeting her and jumping through all the hoops (yard check, family meet and greet, testing her reaction to cats) we thought she?d be a good addition to our family, and she has been. It?s been so long since we?ve had puppy energy in the house ? so different than old dogs that want to snooze all the time.
Favorite toys? Tonka is ABOVE toys. Seriously he would sometimes chase a tennis ball when he was a pup, but he would much rather be snoring or sitting in a lap than playing with a ?stupid? toy. Every once and awhile he gets totally hyped up and runs around and wants to chase you and for you to chase him. We call this the bunny run because he looks like one while he does it.
Millie?s fave has to be the Kong. Actually what she really wants are my daughter?s stuffed animals, in particular, this one brown bear. But those are off limits, so the Kong it is. She also likes rope toys and practically anything that we give her, but being the breed she is ? she quickly tears toys apart and we have to take them away. She?s also a fan of the plan old STICK (which is cheap and easy).
Favorite food? Tonka will seriously devour ANYTHING that a human might consume. You think I?m joking, but we tested this out. He will eat tomatoes (likes to steal them from the garden). Lettuce (even RAW w/out any sauce), carrots, pomegranate seeds will get snapped up. He even will eat wasabi. Yup. And if you give him a bit of it ? he?ll smack his lips and get this look on his face like OH JEEZ, but if you offer him more he?ll eat it!
Millie is a bit more discerning, but… She goes insane for these fast food-like bacon treats. She also will go nuts for sardines (this sounds weird, but the dog trainer of our manners class insisted that sardines are huge treats to dogs. She uses them for recall training and Millie will attest they are YUMMY).
Favorite places to sleep? Is there any OTHER place to sleep than a lap, the couch, or mama and dad?s bed? OK – occasionally a dog bed if the others are unavailable. Outside in the sun is also good. Maybe I should give them one of the cashmere beds I make with MODify/d? Hmmmm…..
Weirdest quirks? Tonka drools. He?s had numerous surgeries on his ears (knocking on wood) due to a series of infections lodged right near his brain. One of them damaged his facial nerve on one side so he doesn?t have as much control over his lips/drool. Our daughter loves to point out ? “Tonka has a looooogie!”
Millie is scared silly if you blow into a bottle making that weird hollow sound ? you know what I?m talking about right? She?ll slink out of the room looking petrified (scary Pit Bull).
Pet peeves? Tonka HATES his nails getting trimmed. It?s insane. He also in general just thinks that he should get whatever he wants. I mean how can you resist him right?
Millie gets really annoyed with her own tail and will chase and bite it.
Best tricks? Tonka?s best trick is snoring. He can do it REALLY loudly. Oh ? that?s not a trick? Um. He?ll do shake for a treat, although it can quickly become “hey hey I?m scratching you for that treat you have in your hand.”
Millie will wait in a down stay until you tell her it?s OK to eat her food. She?ll also shake. I was trying to teach her to stand on her hind legs and twirl around, but we realized that has to wait until she learns it?s NEVER OK to jump on people.
Gear? Tonka sports an Oakland As collar. Millie uses an easy walk harness and a Boston Red Socks collar (hubby is a fan of both teams). I dream of getting them really beautiful collars and leashes, but practicality always winds out. I have to say ? I?m kind of a fan of the Boots and Barkley stuff that Target has. Cute and useful and reasonably priced because you know the second you put on that fancy dog collar they are going to go and roll in the mud.
If your dogs were another animal what animal would that be? Tonka would want to be something tough (but really he?s kind of a wimp) – so what would that be? Maybe a baby bear? Or something that snores/snorts, so a piglet?
Millie: something curious and cautious and sweet (and secretly tough) – maybe an antelope or buffalo?
You mentioned that one of your dogs has a sight issue. What can you recommend to other pet owners who have dogs with a similar issue? Our old pit bull Garbo had a sight issue. She had Uveitis which led to glaucoma and then eventually the removal of one her eyes when she went blind (the glaucoma was painful so it was kinder to remove the eye). She was amazingly adaptable and didn?t really miss a beat. She definitely bumped into more stuff ? especially in the beginning (she would sometimes turn her head on her blind side right into the coffee table with a loud THUMP), but she never let it get to her.
Tonka actually has an ?issue? too. He?s deaf from all the surgeries he?s had – the last round of them removed his ear canals (literally his ears don?t have any holes into his head). He?s adapted really well too. We stomp the floor to get his attention — he can feel that — and you can wave to him to get him to come most of the time (he wasn?t stellar at recall prior to being deaf – in a way I think he?s actually better now… you just have to be sure he?s looking at you). Occasionally he?ll bark at weird shadows moving since he can?t rely on his hearing to alert him, but otherwise he?s pretty much the same. It?s amazing because you realize how good dogs are at reading body language – he?s comprehending and reacting to so much that we do and say even though he can?t actually hear us. And he likes when you talk to him, even though you are just a talking head. He?ll stare at you and cock his head while you do it.
Thanks Lisa, Mildred and Tonka!