Tag Archives: Dog Ownership

Guilt and Severed Ties

Sometimes I feel guilty for some of the stupidest reasons.

Today I feel guilty for leaving my dogs outside. It’s a pretty day–not too hot and not too cold. The sun is warm and the patio is shady. Needless to say it is a lot nicer outside than it is inside, so I put the dogs outside and I feel guilty.

Stupid huh?

I remind myself that they’d just be in the way while I clean the house. I tell myself that it’s just an excuse. That my dogs need to be in the house because that’s what a good dog owner is supposed to do. Never mind the fact that most of the dogs prefer to be outside rather than inside.

I’ll get over it.

Now onto a more serious issue. Nia.

Nia is thriving at her new home and when I sent her there I thought I’d never see her again. Unfortunately, I see her more often than I thought I would. I realize I said “unfortunately.” It wasn’t unfortunate until a couple of weeks ago.

Nia’s new owner has a tendency to give Nia more freedom than she really should have. I’ve told him time and time again that until she listens to him that he shouldn’t allow her to be off leash when he’s busy working on his truck. He doesn’t listen and sometimes, while he’s distracted, she’ll wander into the road, or onto other people’s properties, or on up to my house.

One particular day I decided to walk Buddy and Molly to the park. We enjoyed a revival and eventually walked back home. I decided that I’d walk the other three so they could get some exercise too. On our way home, we met up with Nia who tried to follow us home and ignored her owner when he called her back. Eventually she went back when she realized that we weren’t going anywhere. We went home and I decided not to walk the other three because Nia was on the loose.

Clara has gotten a bit chubby and needs regular walks and I figured that Nia was back home. So, against my better judgement, I leashed up Haley, Luna, and Clara and we left the house going toward the park. Nia was there and headed straight for Clara, attacking her. Luna, who will do whatever Nia does, also attacked Clara. I screamed for my neighbor, for Nia’s owner, but no one was around. I had to deal with these dogs by myself. I carried Nia while handling the leashes of Luna and Clara. Haley refused to go back to the house and I didn’t have enough hands to grab her too.

I put Luna and Clara in the house while leaving Nia outside. I put them in the backyard and Haley and I took Nia home. By this point in time, I was angry and frustrated. I didn’t blame Nia, but her owner. I put Nia in the backyard and told her owner that he needed to watch her closer because she attacked Clara. He apologized and as I walked home I regretted giving her to him rather than finding her a home far, far away from my house.

Clara, Luna, and Haley did end up getting their walk. We walked a different way and it was a relaxing walk. Luna and Clara were friends again. They walked beside each other, backing each other up when they “need” to bark at another dog, or cat, or squirrel.

I used to worry about Nia. I felt guilty about giving her away, telling myself that I didn’t try hard enough; that all they needed was time apart. That day I realized that Nia and Clara were never going to be friends again and that I had done the right thing by finding her a new home.

As much as I am annoyed at Nia’s owner and his lax dog ownership methods, Nia is genuinely happy at her current home. She’s put on weight and the wild look in her eyes is gone. She loves being held; she loves being with her people. She fills a need that they have and they fill a need that she has. It’s not the home that I think she should be in, but it’s the home that she needs and I realize that is a lot more important than my opinion.

Now if only he would learn to keep an eye on her and to close the gates after he’s finished mowing the lawn.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to the last couple months. School’s out and I finally have some time to write. Oh and I realized that I will have had Buddy exactly a year on June 1. I might take him to PetSmart and let him pick out a toy on that day…we’ll see though.

Until next time, keep an eye on your owners. They might stray too far away from you.


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.


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?