August 14, 2012

Basil, You're 2 (or are you 14?)!

Saturday was Basil's 2nd birthday so today we wanted to share the details from all the birthday festivities and just have a chance to talk about our favorite furry guy. We calculate his birthday by the day he was actually born, not the anniversary of when we brought him home to live with us — that celebration will come in November.

We'll never forget the day we drove 2 hours to pick him up on a Virginia farm and fell in love with his long ears.

If it hadn't been for Tim's realistic rationale, we would have left with both of these little weims that day — we actually still joke about what it would have been like if we'd gotten both Basil and his brother on that fall day just under 2 years ago (his brother is pictured above left, who we would have named Sage). Find lots more puppy pics from the day we got Basil and the full background story of how we decided to get a dog and found him in his 1st Birthday blog post.

Since his 1st birthday, we've gotten to do so many things and learn so much from Basil — along with seeing many more firsts of his own. You may recall just a few of the fun memories we've made with him over the past year:
  • We got to take Basil on his first trip to the beach and watch him run in the sand and play in the surf. More on that and a video here.
  • We laugh all the time at how hilariously stressed he can get about certain toys. Video here.
  • I thought I might lose him in his wild run with the horses at my aunt's farm — though he probably had the time of his life. Details here.
  • Santa remembered Basil during our first Christmas in our new home — Basil had been asking us how Santa would know we had moved. Details here.
  • He played in the first snow we had in our new house. Video here.
  • He's made lots of new puppy friends over the past year, including Yeager and Ladybug.
  • His mug has been captured forever in ink in this family portrait we had made.
  • We've learned to make several natural dog treats he's enjoyed, including recipes for apple treats, carrot & banana treats, sweet potato chews, and homemade frosty paws. Oh, and fruit leather, which we didn't intend as a dog treat, but turned into a great one!
  • On a sadder note, we nursed him through a scary bout of kennel cough several months back, where he's literally been the sickest we've ever seen him. What was so scary was the fact he'd already been regularly vaccinated for bordetella and still got it. We learned a lot about his symptoms of sickness and what to watch for in the future.
  • He made it bravely through the craziest of summer weather we've had here in Virginia — including torrential rains and even tornadoes. Watch him barely flinch in the thunder and lightening in this video.
  • Probably our proudest moment as a family with Basil over the past year has been our ability to overcome his severe case of separation anxiety. It's the one thing that caused all of us the most stress and we finally feel like we can say our methods for leaving Basil at home alone (for short periods of time) have been working beautifully. Details for what's been working for us in this post. This isn't to say we are perfect, we're definitely a work in progress and every so often come home to something that looks a little like this, though more often than not, we find that he appears annoyed that we've woken him from a big puppy slumber on the couch he's not allowed on unless we are gone when we get back home. This makes us happier than we know how to describe.
Throughout this past year in particular, Tim and I have really found that good rhythm we'd always wanted with Basil. We've worked hard to really learn all of his nuances and he has also learned our little quirks as crazy as that may sound — it's almost like we've come to learn and understand each-other in way that really works for us as a unit. Tim and I find ourselves talking more and more about how much easier having Basil has become now that we are out of the first full year of puppiness and just getting used to all the hurdles we needed to learn about and power through — for example, his separation anxiety and how to make long term care/overnight plans when we leave for extended vacations. I feel like we've gotten to that honeymoon phase with Basil where we're also talking more and more about getting another dog — but don't worry, we don't have plans to actually get one anytime in the near future.

For Basil's 2nd birthday on Saturday, he slept in and woke up to a special breakfast with cooked eggs on top, then we headed to the market where he loves to meet and sniff new-to-him dogs. While there, his "gran" bought him a bag full of his favorite homemade lamb treats:

Once back home, he was surprised to find his brand new kitchen mat waiting for him:

We decided since he was turning 2, he deserved a "big boy bed" in the kitchen — plus, the previous one we had was getting really old, worn, ripped up and tired. It was also a tad too small for him to really stretch out on anymore now that he's full grown.

Here's a shot of the old mat — he had dragged it into the family room from the kitchen and put it on top of his bed in there to chill out on for the day (I'm not joking):

I actually felt guilty getting rid of his old bed, thinking it was like his security blanket — after getting rid of it I thought how I should have cut off a few pieces and made a toy or something else from it, but oh well. That may have been going a little off the deep end too, right?

Basil settled into his new kitchen bed just fine and it suits his size much better now — all previous guilty thoughts of losing his baby bed disappeared when he did this:

After a long puppy nap in the kitchen and then another one in the family room, we decided to wake him up by singing happy birthday and giving him his other present for the day:

We'd bought this giant piece of a shed elk antler (knowing how much he loves antlers — more on that here) and had been excitedly waiting to give it to him for his birthday:

 Basil waking up from a nap to us singing "Happy Birthday"

 Basil sleepily getting snuggles and stretching while he sniffs his birthday present

He sniffed it gently for a while, then after realizing this giant antler truly belonged to him, he jumped up and carried it all over the house, then settled down to gnaw on it the rest of the afternoon and evening — no joke.

Here he is an hour after we gave him the antler:

...and after 3 hours:

This antler should last us several weeks, they are awesome chew treats we swear by.

If you couldn't tell already, we're pretty thrilled to have this big guy in our lives — he's brought so much more into our own relationship and absolutely become a member of the family in ways we never thought possible. We joke frequently about how Basil has converted me into a full-blown dog person (something I also thought would never happen) — whenever I am snuggling up to Basil or baby-talking him, Tim will look right at him and say things like "Basil, you know mommy's not a dog person..." — and then I just hug him tighter.

I could go on and on about the background on that, but to keep it simple, I grew up with cats (LOVE cats!) and never really "got" the whole dog thing. Tim grew up with dogs and is actually very allergic to cats so that ruled out even considering a cat when we decided to get a pet together. Once we looked into, researched and narrowed down the type of dogs we both agreed we'd be into to getting, Tim found Basil through photos online and we both fell in love with him on first sight. Ever since we picked him up and brought him home that day, I am the first person to admit how wrong I was about dogs, and how I feel like I've been given the keys to this secret and amazing club I never knew about.

The first moment we brought Basil home — he is looking at me to say "I will make you a dog person."

In short, Basil has more than turned me into a dog person and I am forever thankful.

Happy Birthday Basil, we are so looking forward to the coming years and time we get to spend with you.

And for those of you still hanging in there with us at this point, here's a little photo roundup with some faves of our big guy over the past year:

Bath time!

My trip to college — JMU with Stephanie & Brandon

Always watching over mommy and daddy 
An orchard run
My new collar

Oyster inspection
I do anything daddy does
Beach dog
Testing out daddy's muck boots
Me and my Gran

Our secret: Basil is actually the Editor in Chief of 17Apart

Morning yoga with daddy
Olympic doggie training

I like walking in the fan with mommy

Hey mom, are those for me?

Basil and Hippie play tug of war
My best "devil dog" face

I love fields

Basil meets cat. Cat is boss.

Outright refusal to go in the pool

Testing out stadium chairs on the front porch — always wants to be like daddy

My best beg face

Hiding out at a wedding

Watching the 4th of July fireworks

Faithfully awaiting the arrival of Daddy home from work — my daily routine

Yep, that's our big guy!

Always curious — do you celebrate your pets' birthdays or think it's a little ridiculous? Do you calculate them by actual birth-date or the day you brought them home? We'd love to know how you celebrate with and spoil your special little ones.

P.S. For anyone who caught the photo of Basil practicing morning yoga with Tim — it was the only time Tim has agreed to a shirtless photo here on the blog, which he says you will probably never see again. Haha, he's a good sport.


  1. That might be my favorite post :) So many fun things to read about. We celebrate Reuben's actual birthday but you know Gotcha Day is pretty important too and I remember that date as well :)

    We had a nasty bout of kennel cough with Reuben back in December even though he is/was up to date on all his shots. Scared me silly. Since then I've just started leaving him with friends when we have to be away.

    1. Thanks so much Angie — that kennel cough was no joke, right? Definitely scary, especially since they'd both been vaccinated.

  2. Happy Birthday, Basil! We celebrated Noodle's 2nd bday on July 31st which is the day he was born.

    He is one lucky dog to have you two :)

    Thanks for allowing us to view the yoga is fantastic!

    Mary, I often wonder if I would have been a cat person had I not had a nasty allergy to them. The allergy pretty much guaranteed that I would be a dog person and I'm happy with that :)

    1. Thanks Monica! A belated happy birthday to Noodle! Love that new facebook profile shot of you!

  3. What an adorable pooch. I wonder, is separation anxiety common in weimaraners? Our good friends who lived at our house for about 6 months had one, and he as well had some serious separation issues! Would go crazy whenever he was home alone... Sweet as pie when anyone was around him though!

    1. Yes! This is exactly the same thing we've dealt with and yes weims are per-disposed to it. We knew this going into it but had no idea how bad it might get! We are thrilled to have found a solution.



    1. Haha Liz! Thanks so much, we're also pretty smitten, glad to know we aren't alone!

  5. Happy Birthday Basil! I celebrate my Boxer's birthday as her birthday date, plus 8/14 is her 1/2 birthday also lol. I found your site on a post about doggie treats on Pinterest, glad I did! Great blog =)

    1. Thanks so much Debbie! Happy 1/2 birthday to your Boxer!!

  6. Basil is a great subject, so photogenic! - Kaye


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