Category Archives: Dogs

Nia, pt 2

On the fourth of this month, I took Clara and Nia for a walk, hoping that a pack walk would clear the tension. Hey, I’m not 100% for Cesar Millan, but some of his tactics work. The pack walked helped Nia and Luna. Why wouldn’t it help Clara and Nia.

I kept them from fighting, most of the time. Sometimes, they even walked side by side and didn’t even cast a glance at each other. I’d correct Nia when she thought about biting Clara’s backside. It was going smoothly. Once at the park, I realized that Clara shook anytime Nia was near her. I also noticed that Nia waited until Clara’s back was turned before thinking about attacking. That’s why Clara attacked Nia sometimes, to keep from being bitten from behind. Nia couldn’t take Clara head on and went the coward’s route.

We walked home. The girls got into a fight. I just ran them. They couldn’t fight and keep up at the same time. Then I saw them, two men close to my age getting out of a car. One asked me if they were Shih Tzu; asked me if I had puppies. I said “no,” but turned aside to talk to them. During the course of the conversation, I explained that I was looking for a new home for Nia. It just popped out.

He was more than happy to take the dog. If only he could convince the mom. She declined at first, but relented. The family had Shih Tzu in the past and apparently Nia looked like one that a family member had. The mom said  she’d give it a week. I went home with Clara.

Nia escaped two or three times that day, there were small gaps in the fence that looked impossible for any dog larger than a Chihuahua to get through, but Nia got through, and came back to my house. The new owner was distraught. I explained to him that the same thing happened to me when I first got Nia. I told him to give her time. By the next day they were bonded and he thanked me for giving him the dog.

I found out that his mom fell in love with her. His mom works at night and sleeps during the day. Nia sleeps with her. It was perfect, except Nia kept escaping and coming back here to make sure I didn’t forget about her. It had become a game. I think we got the escaping problem under control.

Nia is a different dog there than she was here and at her former house. Here (and at her former home), she paced the house, looking to get into trouble; to get to one of the other dogs. He told me she doesn’t pace much at their house. That was when it was confirmed that Nia needed to be an only dog. Or at least an only female dog.

I feel guilty on so many levels. I feel guilty that I had to get rid of Nia. I feel guilty because I didn’t realize that Nia had special needs (and might have a touch of OCD).

At the same time, I am so glad that Nia found a place where she can be the center of attention and not feel like she’s competing with another dog. Plus, she lives down the street, so I get to see her quite often. I’m glad that Clara has gone back to her easy-going self. I’m glad that both dogs are happy. because that’s what I really wanted in the end.

So, now I have five dogs again. My house is quiet; the tension is gone. Everything has gone back to normal or as normal as a multi-dog household can be. I can’t complain…

So until next time, listen to your heart, snooze all day in that patch of sunshine.

 


Nia, pt 1

A week ago yesterday, I woke up and prayed for one of two things: either for my dogs to start getting along or for Nia to find a new home. A couple hours later I was leaving Nia in the care of a kind twenty-something young man and his mom. They said they’d give it a week. Yesterday he confirmed: Nia is his dog.

She lives in a home with no other dogs and is doted on. If I could have chosen a perfect home for Nia, this is what this home would look like. Granted, there have been hiccups over the past week and I wasn’t sure if they would want to keep her and I think he was afraid that I would take Nia back.

Here’s how the whole story happened.

I thought keeping Nia and Clara separate would help things, but it only escalated. Nia got to the point that if she was inside and Clara outside (or vice versa), her only objective was to find Clara and attack. Out of defense (and later I realized fear) Clara would attack first in order to keep Nia from attacking her from behind. Sometimes blood was shed. Most of the time it was just a lot of noise. All of the time there was stress.

Why this started, I don’t know. Nia and Clara used to be friends, cuddling together when it was cold, playing together, etc. Then we hit the week where it was constantly 9 degrees and sometime during that week Nia decided she hated Clara. At first it was just to get attention (i.e. they only squabbled when I was around), then it turned to full-blown war. Luna, having experienced Nia’s wrath in the past, sided with Nia and the two of them would gang up on Clara every chance they got. Buddy, my blessed baby boy, often helped me separate the girls, sometimes grabbing Nia by the tail and dragging her outside for a timeout while I put Clara in a timeout.

I employed every tactic I knew how and even researched on how to stop this. All the while tension simmer just below the surface. Oddly enough, the times that should have been most stressful–dinner time–was the most relaxed time of the day. For ten blissful minutes, the girls forgot about their war and ate. I was hopeful. I mean, if mealtime is peaceful, then this could be fixed.

One day–I don’t recall how long ago–after Nia couldn’t get to Clara, she tried to pick a fight with Molly. I realized that there was something wrong with Nia.

I wanted to fix her. I wanted to fix her; I wanted to fix this…no one else. I wasn’t giving up MY dog. She was mine. I spent the last year getting her to the point where people could pet her and she wouldn’t pee on the floor. I spent the last year teaching her how to share her toys. I had put in all that work. I wasn’t getting rid of my dog.

But no one was happy, least of all Clara and Nia. The tension did something to them. It changed them. These were not my dogs and I realized that something had to give. So that’s what led me to pray that day. My dogs weren’t happy and that made me sad.

 


He Chose Me

THanks to his sisters, Buddy has developed a warped sense of humor when it comes to bedtime. After watching the girls refuse to come in at night, Buddy felt like he needed to put his own spin to the bedtime reluctance ritual and turned it into playtime.

He’ll start out on the porch and then run into the yard trying to get me to chase him. Not a problem on warm nights. Cold nights are a different story and require me to don appropriate attire. I know I didn’t/don’t have to indulge in this behavior, but there’s something fun and special about chasing a bear-like creature around the backyard.

He’s developed an arsenal of tricks when playing keep away. His favorite is to dash away when he hears the neighbor’s dogs barking. I feel like the dogs have this all planned out. You might think that I’m reading too much into it, but it never fails that one of the dogs will bark right when I’m about to grab Buddy’s collar. coincidence? I think not. I think they plot it the entire day.

A few days ago, it looked like history was about to repeat itself. It was a chilly night, too cold for a short-sleeved shirt, but too warm to expend the energy to go inside and get a jacket. I got all of the girls in the house and only Buddy remained. I crouched on the patio and inched my way toward Buddy, calling his name quietly.

Then it happened. One of Buddy’s friends barked. Buddy looked at the back of the yard. I knew I had lost and was ready to accept defeat. Either I was going to have to wait him out or go inside, get a jacket, and run him down.

The dog barked a second time and Buddy ran…

Toward me.

He allowed me to grab his collar and we went inside.

That was when I realized that over the past seven months my bond with Buddy has strengthened.

He chose me over his playmate.

He chose me over a game.

He chose me.

It was and still is a wonderful feeling.

Until next time, hug your bears and hug your dogs and if your dog is a bear or your bear is a dog hug it too.


Night of the Wild [Laughter]

Have you ever watched a horror film that by the end of it you’re rooting for the serial killer, alien, mutant, etc.? I’m not necessarily a horror movie fan, per se, but I do enjoy a good creature feature…and also a good laugh.

While browsing Netflix, I ran across a horror film titled Night of the Wild, I suppose it is a play on London’s Call of the Wild. In the movie there is a meteor shower that drops green meteorites to earth causing all of the dogs in the surrounding area to become feral. The main characters of the film are Roz, Sara (her stepmom), Roz’s little sister, and her dad. Another important character is Shep, Roz’s dog. At the beginning, Roz and Sara don’t get along–typical stepparent/stepchild relationship…or lack thereof.

Roz goes on a camping trip with two of her friends. While out there a pack of wild dogs kills her two friends. Roz returns home in a panic. Shep, who for some odd reason didn’t change, goes with her.

What follows is a hour of gore, people screaming, and people acting stupid. Apparently the meteor also changed the chemistry makeup of human beings making them stupider and more prone to make bad decisions. Even the cats knew to hang out in a tree! I don’t want to say much more so as not to spoil the movie…not that anything I say could spoil the movie anymore than it spoiled itself.

At the beginning of the gore-fest–which was pretty laughable–I said that I would forgive every thing wrong in the movie if there was a Shih Tzu in it. Unfortunately, there were no Shih Tzu, not that the camera stayed on any one dog or person for very long. However, a couple of Maltese and a little Yorkie named Coconut proved that small dogs have killer instincts too.

Needless to say, I laughed throughout most of the movie while noticing all of the continuity errors there were. Spoiler alert! The entire movie was one big continuity error with bad actors. End spoiler alert.

The dogs were fantastic actors and actresses. Most of them seemed well-trained or at least had some basic training. Some of the dogs had even gone through Protection Training judging by the grab to the arms and nothing else.

As for the cast of little or unknown actors and actresses, they really shouldn’t quit their day jobs and if acting is their day job…uh they probably should either get a new profession or get some acting classes.

The one thing that I did like about the movie is also the one thing that I hated about the movie: the reason for the dogs changing is never explained. I like how the movie began with the meteor shower and the dogs automatically starting to act weird. However, by them not explaining how and why the dogs were affected, it doesn’t explain why Shep retained his domesticated traits. It does say that Shep is an old dog who was deaf (a fact that is forgotten shortly after), so maybe that was it. Either have all of the dogs change and don’t explain anything or explain why the dogs are changing thereby explaining why Shep is the only exception.

This is one of those movies that when I watch them, I think “I could write a better story than this” and I’ve been saying that more and more often these days.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “don’t watch this film.” In fact, I think every dog lover/person who is more dog than they are human should watch this oddly satisfying film filled with stuffed dogs, fake blood, Halloween decorations (it’s not a Halloween film, but the props sure are), people without common sense, and CGI dogs that look a lot like the dogs from Sims 3.

Anyway, that is all I have to say about the film. If you are bored, check it out and let me know what you thought of it.

Until next time…the wild is calling you, are you going to answer?


Pup Resolutions

Happy New Year!!!!

I try not to have New Year’s resolutions, per se. Or at least I don’t call them that. I call them goals. Though I have several for myself–mostly writing and scrapbooking goals–I also have some for the pups.

One of them is spending more time with each individual. I always treat my girls as a pack; what one does the others also do (other than baths, I can’t handle bathing more than one at a time). This year I want to interact with them on a one-on-one basis; which is easier said than done. My girls are so bonded with each other that if one of them is by herself, she stays by my bedroom door until she’s allowed to go back with them. Go figure. I guess I need to be a more interesting pack member.

Another goal is each dog will learn two new tricks this year. Everyone knows basic obedience, despite the fact that they like to pretend they don’t. However, I want to teach some silly tricks just for the fun of it. Because they’re so chatty, Nia and Luna will learn speak and I’ll probably do agility with them. Also with Nia, since she’s so toy driven, I want to teach her at least ten different toys. I want to teach Clara roll over and maybe play dead or shake. Molly might learn shake and sit up pretty (something she does from time to time, but not on command). I don’t know what to teach Haley. I’ll have to think about it.

I also want to get my dogs so trained that I can get a picture of all five of them sitting still. That’s going to take awhile.

I have some weight goals for Clara, Nia, and Haley. Clara needs to loose and keep off 3 pounds. She’s eleven pounds, but due to her size she needs to be about 8. I’ve been cutting back on her food, but she always finds something to eat whether it is edible or not. Nia and Haley need to gain weight. Haley needs to be around fourteen pounds and Nia around sixteen; both are around ten or eleven.

Lastly, and the most important, I want to make it through 2016 without adopting another dog. That doesn’t include inheriting dogs. It just means that I will not pursue an addition to the family canine wise. Rats are a different story.

Well those are my dog related resolutions (goals). Do you or your pets have resolutions for this year? If so, let me know in the comments.

Fun fact: The study of dogs is Cynology. I found that out a couple days ago.

Anyway, until next time if your human wants to exercise more, make sure to help them by stealing things and making them chase you. Good human!


Nia

Some of my favorite stories can be found in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, specifically those relating to dogs. Obviously. In fact these days I prefer reading books about dogs to fiction books. That’s not always the case, though. I have phases.

Most of the time my phase is triggered by the adoption of a new family member which happened three weeks ago. Yes, that means I have five dogs.

Maybe a new blog title is in order…

I wasn’t looking for another dog per se. I did, and still do, want to adopt a senior dog. Since local animal shelters are stingy with their senior Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apso, it is rare that one that is in their care actually goes up for adoption. I think they go to rescues or something, but still…

So I decided to browse Craigslist.

Don’t judge.

I often browse CL. Not for anything in particular, or at all. I just like to look at the books section; the furniture to see if there is something I can’t live without; if there are any garage sales in my area; and so on. Granted, most of the time I browse the pets section, rarely to look for an animal, but rather looking at the pictures or getting story ideas.

So, that’s what I was doing that day…casually browsing, looking at pictures, cooing over cute animals…typical animal lover activities. All the while I was watching Youtube videos.

Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso ads are especially interesting to me. So when I saw a Shih Tzu available for adoption in a city half an hour from me, I was intrigued. She was a cute black and white Shih Tzu, more black than white. I toyed with the idea; told myself to walk away from it; I didn’t need another dog.

So I texted her and asked her about the dog’s age (not sure but a little older), her adoption fee ($40), and when would be a good time to pick her up (now).

I dropped everything I was doing, ran downstairs, grabbed my keys, jumped in my car, hit the ATM, and went to get her.

The owner was a nice soon-to-be-single mother of four. I felt a kinship with her as I also am soon-to-be single. She explained her situation and introduced me to Maybelline. I asked about the dog’s age: 3. That was about five years younger than I wanted, but and adult at least. After talking to the owner for a little bit, I picked up Maybelline and went home.

Back at home, introductions went smoothly. Mostly. Luna and Molly welcomed her with open paws. Haley was interested all of a couple minutes and then she ignored her. For Clara, it was dislike at first sight. Clara hates additions to the family, so when a new dog comes into the house—guest or otherwise—she avoids that dog until she warms up to it. That usually takes about a week—sometimes more. I knew she’d come around though.

Quickly the name Maybelline became a name I abhorred. There’s nothing wrong with the name per se, but there are too many syllables. I searched for a new name, calling her Mischkin in the mean time.

Nia. The name came to me a couple days later. She’s named after the Greek actress Nia. She answers to it.

So here I am with five little dogs. I thought it was a compulsion that I needed to control, but I realized that I had grown up with multiple dogs (about four or five at a time) and that had become the norm for me.

I try to tell myself that Nia will be the last one for a long while (unless I move to the country then all bets are off), but you never know. Someone may give me a Shih Tzu. Emphasis on the word GIVE and you’ll know because I’ll report that I have six dogs.

Six dogs? Yikes! That’s even a lot for me, a self-proclaimed dog hoarder.

So…until next time remember if your human being comes home with another dog ignore it and maybe it will go away. If not, team up and drive the human so crazy that he or she will think twice before adding a new member to the family.