Tag Archives: Living with dogs

Boring Update

I don’t have much to say, but I knew it was time to write. I’ve been out of it, probably due to being unwell and a touch of depression. However, the biggest problem is I’ve been battling fleas. I’ve been fortunate enough that my infestation hasn’t been as bad as others’ (a neighbor told me that her grandchildren can’t even go in the backyard due to all of the fleas), but it’s annoying.

Good news, I’m on the verge of getting rid of the little vampires from my home once and for all. My intention this year is to keep up with flea treatment even after the fleas are gone, even on into the winter. Make them see that my home is not to be messed with.

Then there’s the mice. Outside of parasites like fleas and tick, I rarely declare war on another living creature, let alone another mammal. I’ve declared war on the mice. They are kind enough not to chew on any wires (knock on wood), but they have been known to make their home in inappropriate places–the shelf that my computer speakers are on and the paper tray of my printer. They climb up my stove and poop on my counters. After evading the live trap that I set out, I realized that the only way to get rid of these nuisances is to kill them. I hate killing mice, but they have driven me to this extreme.

As for the dogs, they’re wonderful. I recently moved Buddy’s crate to the utility room so he can stay in the same room as his sisters and that was the best thing I have ever done for Buddy. Prior to the move, he would wake up early in the morning crying because he was lonely. Now, he and the girls sleep in and I’m the one that has to drag them out of bed rather than the other way around. I’ve also noticed that the girls seem to enjoy him more now.

There’s a wonderful peace that has settled on my little mixed species family. Everything goes smoothly now. I can’t complain. I wouldn’t say my life is perfect in society’s sense, but as far as I’m concerned, my life is fairly perfect right.

Now if only I can rid myself of the fleas and mice…

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. What has everyone else been doing? Hope all is going well with you and yours.

Until next time, knock on some wood for me…

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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.


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.