Monthly Archives: March 2013

Pet Parenthood

My husband wants a ferret. He’s not getting a ferret. Why? For six reasons: 1) Unfixed Calico Persian who is in heat right now (he claims he’s getting her fixed soon); 2) Fixed teenage Tabby who we’re catsitting while her owner is away at school, she’ll probably be with us until he graduates; 3) 8 week old Calico kitten, need I say more?; 4) 2 year old Blue Heeler; 5) 3 year old Shih Tzu; 6) 4 month old Shih Tzu. Top those reasons off with us having a small house–it’s even smaller with the animals–and him working 10-12 hours a day meaning I’m the primary caregiver of the animals, I’ve put my foot down. No ferret. Now I  need to tell him that…again.

I’ve raised puppies and kittens before, and I didn’t think that adding a puppy and kitten would make a big difference. I mean, what’s one more dog and cat? There is a big difference between now and then. I forgot that puppies and kittens need constant supervision. Fortunately I have two older dogs who are more than willing to supervise the puppy, but the kitten is a different story and with her ability to disappear in a split second, I’m not always able to keep up with her (translation: I don’t want to chase a kitten around the house).

I don’t mean to sound like I’m bitter or overwhelmed. I really enjoy having the animals around. I guess sometimes I wish that there was someone else here to hang out with. Another pair of eyes when a kitten is around is very helpful. Perhaps I need to go out and make friends. Who knows, maybe I’ll make a friend if/when I begin working at Petsmart.

I have learned a lot from interacting with the animals, especially the dogs. I thought I knew a lot about dog behavior and perhaps compared to the average person I do know a lot, but I’ve realized that I know very little about dog behavior. Like yesterday, Shelby (Blue Heeler) got onto Molly (Shih Tzu puppy) for something. Molly screamed bloody-murder and I got onto Shelby. A little while later I looked the information and what I found made me feel so guilty. When an older dog disciplines a younger dog, one isn’t supposed to interfere with it unless the puppy’s life is threatened–which is extremely rare. The puppy makes it sound like the older dog is killing it, but most of the time the older dog just rolled the puppy over on its back. Basically the advice was that the puppy needs to learn to respect the older dog(s). So now I know that though I need to monitor to make sure Shelby isn’t hurting Molly, but I need to allow Shelby to discipline Molly because that’s the way she’ll learn the rules.

As for the kitten, well we’re working on using the litterbox consistently and not our blankets on the bed. We’re slowly getting there, but we’ve learned that until she uses the litterbox consistently, she needs to be put in the carrier at night rather than sleeping with us (she’s had several accidents where she confused the blankets with litter).

Holly (Persian) sometimes drives me nuts, especially when she’s in heat. She fancies herself the queen of the house. She has no qualms about eating the other animals’ food whether it is one of the cats or one of the dogs. I can’t leave dog food bags out or she’ll tear into them and eat the food. Sometimes I want to slap that smug Persian look off her face. Despite our love-hate relationship, I usually pet her whenever our paths cross. If she rolls on her back, I’ll rub her tummy. I’ll sometimes brush her if I don’t have anything else to do. What can I say? She’s adorable.

As for Muddy (Tabby), she is cool. She’s a true cat. She does her own thing and doesn’t care about what anyone else is doing. With the exception of her jumping on my dresser, Muddy and I get along quite well. She likes to jump in my lap and go to sleep. I don’t mind…much. The only problem is she’s heavy and likes to apply all of her weight on my bladder or hip.

Shelby is my Houdini dog and has the ability to squeeze out of her crate. After she got out and tore up the carpet in our spare bedroom (I refuse to believe she has separation anxiety even though her behavior says differently) I’ve learned to wire the cage door shut. I have learned that if I wear her out, I have no problems out of her. I’ll make sure that when I get my work schedule, I take her for a run before going to work. 

I think I’ve rambled on enough about living with my animals. It’s an adventure. I wouldn’t change anything, except the age of the kitten. I sure wish she were a couple months older. Other than that, I really enjoy being a pet parent to six animals. It can be chaotic, frustrating, and noisy, but I have to say the rewards–good and bad–are endless.

Look for my Pet Parent memoir within the next few years because I’m positive that I’m going to write one.

Until next time…purr like someone is petting you and drool like no one is watching.

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Confession: We Have the Potential for Becoming Animal Hoarders

Yikes,

Right now living with us are two dogs and two cats soon to be three dogs and three cats. I’m the one who likes the dogs and my husband is the one who likes cats. Together we are two people who will probably be on TV one day for animal hoarding.

On our way to the animal shelter my husband and I talked about this. He said that neither one of us had a terrible experience to make us become “hoarders.” Though I’ve never had a traumatic childhood experience, dogs have always been there for me. They help me get out of bed when I’m having a major depression episode. They chill with me since now I’ve become a temporary house wife…and so on.

Honestly, I feel that if we’re able to afford these two new additions (which we are, I’ve already figured them into our budget) then I don’t think we’re animal hoarders yet. Besides, the city we live in has pet limits within the city limits and we’re not going to go over the limit…by much. 🙂

On a lighter note, my shy Blue Heeler had a breakthrough today. She and my Shih Tzu almost played today. She’s never even attempted to play with one of my other dogs before today. It was cute watching them play bow to each other…then they became dignified again and went about their business.

Sorry this is a short post. I’m a bit distracted. We’re watching a youtube video about how to make homemade apple cider. It’s a little late to think about apple cider. For the most part, the days here in central Oklahoma are getting warmer. Of course the evenings are still kind of cool…but I need to finish up my cider pouches before I even begin to decide to make homemade cider…not that I really want to appear that domestic, but it would sure be fun when winter rolls around again. Until then, I think I’ll make some ice tea, or lemonade, or…any other favored summer beverage.


Refereeing the Ref

An English professor once told me that once and Australian Cattle Dog learns the rules of the house s/he reinforces these rules when the other dogs in the household act up. My Blue Heeler-Coonhound mix never enforced the rules. She was more interested in following her nose (which got her into a lot of trouble) or chasing cars (which got her into a whole lot of trouble).

My purebred ACD, on the other hand, makes sure my Rat Terrier and my mom’s Toy Poodle mix mind their manners. She doesn’t mess with my Shih Tzu though. As the queen of the house, my Shih Tzu makes sure my ACD minds her manners.

At first I was afraid when Shelby would pin one of the smaller dogs down. The smaller dog would cry and I’d yell at Shelby who would let the dog up and go about her business. I never saw any aggression when she did this so I was puzzled. Gradually I realized that there was a pattern to this. Whenever the Rat Terrier or Toy Poodle mix got wound up she would pin the “offending” dog down until it calmed down.

Case in point: Yesterday mother and I were working outside. I passed the gate where the dogs were lined up and Ebony, the Poodle mix, began jumping on the fence and barking. When she wants something, Ebony employs an annoying high-pitched bark that goes down into the ears and slaps the eardrums around. It’s painful. Well Ebony started this and Shelby quickly pinned her to the ground and then let her go, not before Ebony let out a squeal. I quickly reassured Mother that Ebony was misbehaving and Shelby was letting Ebony know that.

I’ve been wondering if I should curb Shelby’s habit of refereeing the other dogs. She doesn’t hurt them, and she instantly lets them back up. At one point in time the smaller dogs would act like Shelby was killing them, now they let out a squeak and then return to being annoying. The yelps are always from being caught off guard.

Most people would deem a dog like this aggressive. Strangely enough, any dog that makes another dog yelp is considered a threat. Perhaps this is the reason why I feel I need to correct Shelby despite the fact she is reinforcing our house rules. I don’t want anyone to think that my dog is aggressive and a threat to other dogs.

Part of me says, “Let her be. The smaller dogs may not always listen to the human, but will usually listen to the bigger dog.” The other part of me says, “People will look down on your dog. They will think yours is a threat to their precious pups whose poop doesn’t stink. Don’t take her to the dog park, just let her play with her sisters at home.”

I’m still not sure which path I’m going to take. The refereeing is getting less and less frequent. For the most part, all four of the dogs get along. I guess they’ve learned to accept each one’s quirks. Perhaps I should do that too and not worry too much about what other people think. Besides, I’m not the only person who has a dog that loves to referee other dogs. And thinking about it, a referee isn’t a terrible thing.

Well, I guess I know what path I’m taking.

Until next time…make sure those young whippersnappers are kept in line.


Writer, Stop Fighting Thyself!

I can think of many reasons why I haven’t written anything (blog posts, stories, poems, musings, etc) over the past week and a half. Some of these reasons are even valid: I’ve gotten blood work done, I’ve had shots, I’ve had a pap smear, I’ve had a cold, I’ve become obsessed…er, interested in The Walking Dead, it’s been cold, it’s been very pretty outside, it’s been raining, my husband is at work most of the day, my husband comes home late at night…

That being said, I can’t find a valid reason for not writing, except The Walking Dead. What? That’s not even a valid reason? Surely you jest!

Seriously though, I have no clue why I haven’t been writing. I have a whole lot of uninterrupted time during the day (10-12 hours) and I could get a whole lot of writing done in that time. I guess part of it is I’m still adjusting to being married and being in a new house. I’ve been trying to get the house so that I feel like it is my home and it’s taken me longer than I thought.

But, now that the owners of the second Persian took her back in, I think I’m on my way to getting the house the way it is. My Heeler and Shih Tzu and their crates are going to be in the spare bedroom. That means I don’t have to share my study with a huge dog crate anymore. Perhaps once all of these things are in place, I’ll finally feel at home and I’ll be able to resume my writing again.

Funny thing is, I can’t say I have writer’s block. I have so many stories and blog posts in my head that sometimes I think my head is going to explode and words are going to fly all around. There will be no brain matter because the words would have consumed all of it. Basically, all I need to do is sit down and write.

But my hand won’t pick up a pen.

My fingers won’t type.

My inner critic tells me that everything I write will turn to dust.

My inner coach reminds me that I wrote most of a novel during NaNoWriMo.

My perfectionist nature tells me that if it isn’t going to come out perfect then I shouldn’t write at all.

Translation: I spend more time fighting myself about why I’m writing or not writing, or why I should or should not write than I actually do on writing. Maybe I should write about that.

Oh wait, I already did.

So to my inner critic: Shut up! It’s not going to turn to dust. Go away and leave me alone. I’ll call you when I’m editing my story.

To my inner coach: Thanks for reminding me. Keep reminding me of that. Oh and remind me to finish that NaNoWriMo novel too.

To my perfectionist nature: That’s what editing is for! There is a reason why these things are called “rough draft!” I’m going to tell you the same thing as I told inner critic. Shut up, leave me alone, and I’ll call you when I need you.

 

So, until next time…keep writing and gag and tie your inner critic to a chair!