Tag Archives: pet parenthood

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.


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.

 


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.


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.