End of My Rope

I regret this morning. I regret not catching Clara soon enough. I regret dumping water on my dogs. I regret causing them any discomfort.

I regret ever bringing Nia into this house.

Back in December, Nia decided that she hates Clara. I hoped that it would go away with time, but it hasn’t. Things have escalated to the point that Clara no longer is defensive; she’s offensive; attacking Nia before Nia has a chance to attack her. Most of the time it is nothing serious, but sometimes it is.

This morning wasn’t serious, but it made me wonder. Will I ever have the peaceful house that I used to? Does the fact that I’m no longer on my depression/bipolar medicine have any bearing on my dogs’ behavior? Does Nia have a neurological issue which accounts for her constant pacing?

When Nia came to live with me, I realized that she had a bunch of restless energy. She was possessive of toys (something I’ve since worked with her on), she peed whenever someone wanted to pet her (yet another thing I’ve worked with her on), and she paces, never settling down; never relaxing.

She feels the need to keep moving. She doesn’t like being in laps. Human beings are just creatures that make her life easier. They throw the ball and feed her, but other than that Nia has no use for people. She constantly chews; toys stand no chance against her and if she can’t destroy a toy, she won’t have anything to do with it. She also doesn’t like if anyone else has a toy. She’ll gather all of the toys in one spot and lay on them, keeping everyone away from the toys.

As I write this, I’m beginning to wonder if Nia suffers from OCD. That might explain some of her behavior. That might even explain all of her behavior, except why she doesn’t like Clara, unless Clara did something to Nia.

Sigh.

I don’t want to get rid of Nia. I’m her third home. I know why her second home had to get rid of her, but I’m beginning to wonder if her behavior is why Nia was rehomed the first time. I don’t want to give up on Nia, but I have to ask myself, where do I draw the line? This morning’s fight didn’t even result in anything bad. It was actually more noise than anything else.

New action plan(s). 1) Determine if Nia has OCD or not. If she doesn’t, then we’ll go from there. If she does, determine what needs to be done. 2) Instead of keeping the girls in a rotation (Nia inside, Clara outside and reverse) put them in crates and keep them with me rewarding them when they’re quiet and being nice to each other. 3) Now that the weather is getting warmer, start taking them for walks/runs together. Preferably runs because that would keep them from fighting. 4) Resume Mommy-Puppy time where each dog gets undivided attention from me for about fifteen or twenty minutes.

Let’s see…this is the middle of February, I’ll give this until April 1 to see if there are any positive results. Who knows, maybe it was just a weather related thing and now that we’re having 60, 70, and 80 degree weather things might mellow out on their own. Wish me luck.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions, please let me know. I need all the help I can get. Also, if you’ve had this problem before, tell me about it.

Until next time please lay down…you’re making me nervous.

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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.


The Good Dog

A couple of my friends dropped in on me while I was out. Well they hadn’t arrived, but were on their way. I was about a half block away from my house when one texted me and asked me if they could go in. I told them that my front door was locked. I almost suggested that they go in through the back door because I keep that door unlocked as Buddy is in the backyard and I know that he’ll protect his back yard.

I didn’t get to tell them this on the phone because I pulled into my driveway. I did tell them in person that I sometimes leave my backdoor unlocked, but Buddy is back there. One friend said that he wasn’t scared. The other friend is petrified of Buddy after he tormented her the last time she was here. I explained to my male friend that while Buddy is sweet when I’m around, chances of him being kind to someone when I’m not around is slim. After all, the Chow Chow’s original purpose was an all-purpose dog, including protection. I know for a fact that Buddy wouldn’t let another person in this house if I didn’t give the approval.

My male friend still didn’t seem phased. Maybe one day he’ll just have to learn. Of course by that time I’ll probably lock the back door and it has nothing to do with me being afraid that people will get in the house. My back door doesn’t always latch and I fear that the dogs will one day push on the back door and it will pop open meaning that I’ll have six rambunctious dogs running through my two-story house. I don’t even want to imagine the trouble they’d get into.

*******

Yesterday, while out with Clara, I talked to my neighbor and his friend. We got onto the subject of whether a Chow would kill a Pit or the other way around. My neighbor vouched for the Pit and I agreed, and not because Pits have lock-jaws. It’s just the purpose of the breeds.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Pits and I don’t believe that Pits are killers. I am a strong believer that it is how a dog is raised that truly makes a dog’s personality. However, I am also a strong believer that the selection of certain traits can and does play a role as well.

Anyway, what made me decide that a Pit could kill a Chow is simply due to what each breed’s original purpose. Pits, being Terriers, were bred to hunt and kill vermin. This trait can be seen in any terrier from the Airedale to the Yorkie. You then take that instinct and teach it what to hunt and that dog will hunt it.

Chows being guardians will only attack if they have to and kill if it is needed. Otherwise, if they can get their point through with a nasty look or a growl, then no need to fight.

So you have two dogs that have two different purposes. Mix that with the fact that I’ve heard stories about my neighbor’s Pits (some are described as mean, they’re not socialized, they don’t get regular exercise, and so on). With volatile conditions such as those, a Chow, a socialized Pit, a small dog, etc really doesn’t stand a chance.

Mind you, I’ve never met these dogs. They don’t/can’t walk their dogs for…reasons. I’ve heard stories of one of their unneutered males attacking another male and sending it to the vet and while the family was gone, that same male attacked and killed the puppies of that other male and I think even harmed the mother dog. Yesterday they also talked about giving up one of their females because she was mean and the guy who took in that female also had to get rid of her due to that. They didn’t speak with regret, but more like awe; like they found it amusing that she was aggressive.

The female dog of the household is pregnant again. She had puppies earlier this summer and now more puppies are due. Apparently they had a difficult time getting rid of the last litter, now they have another litter to deal with. My neighbor described her as a “ho.” Really?

It’s none of my business. They’re his dogs, not mine. Still, I worry about the dogs. I worry about what’s going on behind those doors. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. I’ve been wrong before. I hope I’m wrong now.

Until next time, keep socializing.


Buddy’s Thoughts

I wrote this short piece while waiting for a friend of mine to pick me up. Buddy was inside barking at me. He hates when he’s left behind. Anyway, I wrote this from Buddy’s point of view.

I don’t want you leaving without me.

I cannot protect you if we’re apart.

What if something happens to you?

I know how much you rely on me;

On my strength.

I know how much it hurts for you to leave me.

I know how happy you are when you return.

I can feel it in your touch.

I can smell it on your skin.

The outside world scares you.

Let me go with you.

No one will hurt you with me around.

You and I are one.

Never leave me because I will never leave you…

Unless I see a squirrel then all bets are off.

 

Until next time, keep the squirrels out of your yard and your humans in.


Awaking from Hibernation

Hey Everyone. I know it has been a while. Last month my seizures started up again and I had to get back on seizure medication. If you haven’t been on seizure medicine, it makes you sleepy until your body gets used to it. Basically, last month when I wasn’t in class I was sleeping, ie I slept the month of September away.

Other than a couple seizures, everything has been going very well. Class is fun. This past week we’ve been working on logos for our businesses. I’ve learned how to draw and redraw using Adobe Illustrator. I try to challenge myself by making the things I draw and the things I redraw more and more complicated. My only wish was that I had the money to get Illustrator on my computer at home. Unfortunately, hospital bills are the priority. However, I only have 8-12 months left on the various bills so that’s exciting.

As for the pups, they’ve never been better. I think Buddy is enjoying this cooler weather. The girls don’t seem to mind it either. That is except Haley, but she’s a momma’s baby and knows that if she shivers I’ll take pity on her and bring her inside. Spoiled brat.

Going back to Illustrator, I want to get good enough so that I can create my own comic strip or graphic novel type thing. It would be about dogs–naturally. I have a lot of ideas, but I have to get better to materialize these ideas. Maybe by Christmas break…

Fall Break was Thursday and Friday of last week. I hung out with a couple of my friends on Thursday and relaxed on Friday. Today, I’m just watching YouTube videos because I can’t think of anything else I really want to do.

Part of me wants to do a mini album. But about what? This is my problem. I have to thoroughly think a project out before I can start on it. It’s not a bad thing, but sometimes it is annoying. Sometimes I just want to do a random project and have no clue what I’m doing until I’m done. It’s just not in my personality. I need to step out of my creative comfort zone…one day…just not right now.

Well that’s about it. I’ll try to blog more often now that I’m awake more often.

Until next time…don’t let your sleeping owners lie.


Gangs of Dog Lovers

After mentioning that I had Shih Tzu, a classmate said that she didn’t like Shih Tzu as they were too yappy (or something like that). My Shih Tzu are anything, but yappy…that is unless they want something and then they make this annoying sound that is difficult to ignore especially since they can keep this up for at least an hour. I told her that my little dogs weren’t evil, but then she confessed that she simply didn’t like small dogs (with the exception of Jack Russell Terriers and Rat Terriers (she had a mix between these two).

This conversation made me realize that there are approximately four main gangs/classes of dog owners/lovers and it seems like rivalry between the different gangs of dog owners is almost as fierce as the rivalry between dog owners/lovers and cat owners/lovers.

Gang 1: Big dogs only. Nothing smaller than 50 pounds…if that small.

Gang 2: Big dogs, but smaller “non-yappy” dogs such as Jack Russell Terriers and the like are allowed. This gang is possibly a splinter group of Gang 1.

Gang 3: Small dogs only. Nothing larger than a Cocker Spaniel is allowed, but most of these owners/lovers specialize in toy dogs.

Gang 4: All dogs. The members of this gang often have to explain their love for small dogs to Gangs 1 & 2 and their love for large dogs to Gang 3. I used to belong to Gang 3 until I got Buddy. Now I’m happy with my membership in Gang 4.

I’m sure there are other, more specialized gangs, but I don’t know whether to consider them splinter gangs or give them full gang status. What do you think? What gang do you belong to?


Back to School

On the 10th I started classes at our Tech School. I’m taking Graphic Design. Thus far I’ve been enjoying it. The teacher is really sweet and my classmates aren’t too bad. With the exception of the teacher, I’m the oldest in both sections of the class. That being said, most of my classmates are high school students. I’ve gotten to know a few of them and have even befriended one or two. Still, I had been hoping that there would be another person closer to my age in my class.

Oh well…that’s fine. I find hanging out with the younger people refreshing and sometimes even amusing. I had forgotten what it was like answering to your parents 100% of the time; what it was like being punished, having my phone taken away from me (which is something that never happened, but probably because I never used my phone a whole lot except to call my parents).

I find that I prefer being an adult; going to bed when I want to; not having to worry about my parents taking my phone if I text after nine at night or before eight in the morning. I do have to say, being with these kids have made me appreciate being “old.” I would not want to go back in time and be a teenager again. Or even be in my early twenties for that matter.

I know, I’m weird. I’ve always been wired a bit differently. Despite battling with depression, I try to look on the bright side. I guess I do that because if I don’t, I’d probably kill myself.

I go to class all day, with an almost two-hour lunch between the morning session and the afternoon session. I worried about my dogs, but I don’t think they realize that I’m even gone. They spent most of the day outside prior to me going back to school and their schedule hasn’t changed much, if any, since I started.

Since class has started, I might not blog as often. I know, compared to what. It’s not that I have a whole lot of homework, but I sit in front of a huge computer screen all day and I don’t always want to be in front of one all evening as well. But you never know. I might have more to blog about.

Anyway, until next time…old dogs can learn new tricks, so have fun learning.