Tag Archives: Life with pets

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.


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.


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?


Buddy’s Little Adventure

Yesterday I was bored and wanted to get out of the house so I loaded Buddy in my car and we went to PetSmart. I was apprehensive. Buddy was good in most situations, but I wasn’t sure how he’d handle being with other animals in such a confined place. I kept telling myself to trust my dog. He trusted that I wouldn’t take him anywhere dangerous, so why couldn’t I trust him to behave?

We arrived at PetSmart at the same time a guy arrived with his Great Dane. Though she was huge, I got the impression that she was still young, probably around Buddy’s age. While the guy struggled with walking his dog to the store, I waited and put Buddy in a sit until he calmed down. Only then did we go inside.

I love walking into places with Buddy. There’s a certain awe that happens when he appears. He’s this big, fluffy, teddy bear that no one can resist. To this day I have trouble resisting Buddy even though I live with him.

As we walked down the narrow aisle we walked toward the guy with the Great Dane. He pushed a shopping cart and tried to keep his dog from getting too excited. To keep the two dogs from meeting in an excited state, I did us both a favor and ducked down the leash and collar aisle. Actually, that’s where I needed to be as I wanted to see what size harness to get Buddy. In a few months I plan on teaching Buddy how to pull a wagon and I need to find the right harness for the job.

Buddy sort of allowed me to put the harness on. He made it difficult and made me work for it. The medium harness fit beautiful and I put it away. Two ladies came down the aisle and Buddy had to go greet them. I allowed him and we talked for a little bit about dogs. Then Buddy and I went our way.

The groomers saw Buddy and I talked with them for quite some time. One of the groomers requested that I bring Buddy to her so she could make him look really nice. She gave me the prices: $70-90 depending on the package. A little rich for my blood especially right now. She told me what she’d do to make him look like a bear. Now that she told me, and since I have some of same tools groomers use, I’m going to what she said she was going to do and I don’t have to pay a cent.

If only I had a grooming table though. If only I had a high velocity blow dryer. Oh well, I’ll work with what I have. But I digress.

After paying for three boxes of dog treats, I loaded Buddy up and we went to the dog park. No one was there and I didn’t expect anyone to be. I was glad. That meant that Buddy and I had the park to ourselves. So I let Buddy loose at the park and encouraged him to run and run, and run. He had a lot of fun marking here and there. His tongue hung out the side of his mouth as he ran.

We stayed there about fifteen or twenty minutes and I caught Buddy, led him to the drinking fountain and let him drink. When he was done, we went home. He was exhausted which is how I like my Chow.

At home, he lazed most of the evening. My girls were restless though, probably because of the weather. It took them longer to settle down, but when they did I didn’t hear a peep out of any of the dogs until this morning.

I need to start taking the girls on outings again. I stopped because Luna gets carsick. Once I’ve taught Buddy to pull a wagon, I plan on teaching the girls to ride in it. Wouldn’t that be a sight?

I have to say that Buddy did very well in public. He wanted to play with the other dogs, but he listened to me. He acted very charming. Typical Buddy–ornery when it is just me, but as sweet as he can be when other people are around. That’s my boy!

Until next time, run run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I have four legs and you only have two.


Beware of the Grass Monsters

While pulling weeds, this is what I saw when I turned around.

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