Traveling Dog Lady: February 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Oh my Dog!!  I either have forgotten how much work goes into raising a puppy, or I never had one challenge me quite like this before.  I do remember Hobie, who came to us at 4 months of age, would challenge me.  One time, he backed me into a corner in the living room barking, and barking, and charging at me.  That lasted about 30 seconds, as I quickly decided then and there that I had to take charge.  I grabbed hold of his collar under his chin area and held on until he stopped barking and trying to wriggle free.  Hobie was a little scary back then, but he never tried that again.  He would tear my sweatshirt sleeves to smithereens.  He would tear anything and everything to smithereens, now that I think about it.  One day, I came home to find an entire box of tissues, strewn about the house in teeny-tiny little pieces.  He never ate anything, just tore it up, as if to "kill" it.  Shoes, how many shoes lost their lives to the jaws of Hobie?  Another time, I came home from work, and Hobie had torn up an entire hard-cover book that we had borrowed from somebody.  Thankfully, it was a new release, so I was able to get to the store and get a replacement.  He tore that book, hard cover and all, into a zillion teeny-tiny pieces.  He didn't eat any of it, just tore it up.  And another time, I came home from work, and he was inside, barking and barking.  When I went into the house, he kept barking and barking.  Come to find out, he had knocked over a lamp (probably chasing a cat) and the lamp had stayed on.  The lightbulb rested against the carpet and burned a hole in the rug and was starting to burn the hardwood floor underneath.  There were no flames, just a lot of heat.  If I had worked an extra hour or half hour that day, who knows what would have happened.  Ok, crate-training was not popular 12 years ago, and I've never used crates with any of my 7 dogs -- but this WOULD be a good argument for crate training.

Hector, on the other hand, who we had from age 7 or 8 weeks -- I can barely remember his puppyhood, except that he was adorable and wonderful.  It seemed to me he was immediately housebroken and he just learned everything from Hobie who was a year old by then.  I quite honestly have been wracking my brain, and I can't think of one story where Hector caused any puppy trouble.  He was the best dog in the whole world, from day one, and I'm not just saying that out of respect for the dead.  He truly was a one-of-a-kind dog.

Years earlier, Timba came to me fully trained and at an adolescent age of about a year old, more or less.  She was the most well-behaved, loyal beast I've ever known in my entire life.  I didn't have possession of her as a puppy, but I knew her since she was 8 weeks old.  Once I acquired Timba as payment of an $800 debt owed by a dear friend who simply couldn't pay me back ("How 'bout if I take Timba instead?"  I offered, and he agreed -- I got the better end of that deal.).  She was, arguably, my best, best friend EVER, attached to me like glue, she went everywhere with me, and was so well behaved she was "like a person" -- people said.

Onward and upward!  We introduce Charlie Brown.  As I write this, I have just spent the last FOUR HOURS in a futile attempt to burn off this puppy's energy (he's sleeping now at the foot of the desk.  I'm exhausted.  This goes on every morning, and then I still have to go to work!).  He's 12 weeks old (yesterday) and what a handful!  He not only picks up anything and everything in his mouth, but he EATS and swallows it!  Never had THAT problem before.  He is not yet housebroken, but we are 65% there.  Each day gets a little better.  He had been somehow reverse housebroken, would be outside for ages and then come indoors and pee and poop on the paper in the kitchen.  That was bad enough, but then Daddy got the brilliant idea to get mad at him whenever he did his business in the kitchen on the paper.  Rather than getting the hint that he's supposed to go outside, Charlie Brown now pees on the carpeting instead of the hard kitchen floor with newspaper.  ARGH!!  He is scared to death of the collar and leash, or anything I try to do with my hands, touching his head or neck area.  I had "vowed" that my next dog was going to let me trim his nails, I seriously doubt that's gonna happen!  He needs to chew, chew, chew incessantly.  I've bought lots of toys and chewy treats -- he bores of them rather easily.  Since he isn't housebroken, and will eat anything within reach, I can't leave him at home alone (even with Hobie) so I take him everywhere.  Be careful what you wish for!

Charlie was neutered at about 7 weeks.  I've heard good and bad opinions about this.  My other two dogs were never neutered (I also vowed I'd never do THAT again -- talk about being "shunned" by the general dog-loving public!  And my dogs are more well-behaved than most neutered dogs I've met over the last 12 years, but that's another story!).  So, Charlie is neutered, then why, oh why, Mr. Dog, does he hump my leg, and Hobie?  My other dogs, intact their whole lives, and shunned for it, never humped ANYTHING or ANYONE!!!  Hey, at least I'll be able to take Charlie to dog parks and doggie daycare ha ha ha.  Humans sure are funny.

But I wax negative.  It's not all bad, honestly, Charlie Brown is the cutest little bugger I've seen in a long while.  He's almost perfect.  Right now, he's sound asleep and I could just eat him up he's so adorable.  He rides in the car like he has been doing it his entire life.  He's getting pretty good about walking on-leash -- we spent 10 minutes on leash today, walking with Hobie.  Charlie knows sit, lie down and stay.  He gets along great with Hobie and the cats (although Newman is still a little scared).

Hobie and Charlie, sleeping, ahhhh.

Hobie, now 12 years old... well, I am just so proud of Hobie.  This has disrupted our lives, and I feel bad sometimes.  I had decided that I was going to enjoy my time with just one dog, again.  Hobie and I had been together for about 5 or 6 months between Timba's death and the arrival of Hector back in the fall of 2001.  When Hector died so suddenly last fall, I decided I would enjoy some alone time with Hobie again.  We had such a wonderful time these last few months, walking, going places, hanging with the cats, we had a perfect little routine going.  Then, I saw this little dog on the internet, on Facebook, darn he was cute.  What the heck?  I'll fill out an application, never in a million years thinking we'd actually get the dog!  And here we are, just five months after Hector died, and we've got two dogs again.  Hobie, he is the perfect gentleman through all of this.  Sure, he snapped at the little bugger a couple times;  nothing major just an "I'll show you who's boss" type of thing.  Now, the puppy can climb all over him, hump him, sit on his head, and eat food nearby and Hobie tolerates it all.  They shared two perfect car rides together so far, they love to cuddle and snuggle together, and we've only had Charlie in our pack for just over a week.  As I write this, I remember... Timba put up with Hobie in the very same way!  Timba was 17 when we got Hobie, and they lived together for a year.  She helped train him.  Hobie would climb and jump on her:  "Let's play!"  I had to carry Timba up and down stairs, help her out doorways, she was my best friend and I owed her that much, and so much more.  Hobie has turned out to be almost as well-behaved as Timba.  Almost.  Now it's his turn to lie there and roll his eyes and grunt in protest when Charlie yells "Let's play!" in full play-bow.  I dread the time I will have to carry Hobie up, down, and out.  I know it's coming.  I try to make him walk and use the stairs as often as possible, putting off the inevitable.  My head was much less emotional when I was in my 20s and 30s, raising Timba.  I just did it, and didn't think.  Now, I think, I analyze, I worry, and I get emotional.  There has been a lot of death of pets, dear friends and family over these last 10 years -- you can't help but think about it in relation to your aging dog.  I wish I was still in that 20-30 "head" when"just do it" was the motto and I didn't think or feel "bad" like I do now.  I worry that I have ruined Hobie's and Newman's lives with this little terrorist puppy!  But then, one of them will come around and snuggle with him and I think, "Ah, it'll be ok."

Hobie, 12 years, and Charlie 12 weeks.

Charlie, snoozing in the car

Ten days in, and it's going as one might expect.  I had just forgotten how much having a little puppy means sleep deprivation, constant activity -- I mean, when exactly was the last time I sat down?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's a new puppy, Charlie Brown!

What can Brown do for you?!

It's been just 5 months, almost to the day, since we lost our dear, beloved hound dog, Hector and I never in a million years thought we'd add another pooch to our family so soon, but... yesterday I took the afternoon off and drove to New Hampshire and picked up an 11-week-old collie/hound mix named Charlie Brown!  He is pretty cool, just the right energy for us, and I think things are going to work out well.  There have been three small "spats" with Hobie -- totally my fault, dumb human leaving food and toys where they should not be.  And the cats are a little wary, but thankfully he doesn't "charge" them or chase them like Hector did, so I'm sure they'll be fine.  In fact, as I write, both dogs are at my feet and one cat has sidled up under the desk and is lying next to Hobie and keeping a watchful eye on Charlie who is on the other side of the desk!

Although he's just 11 weeks of age, Charlie was rescued from near death, twice.  His mama dog and her litter of 8 puppies was found in an abandoned house which was about to be bulldozed to the ground, in Tennessee.  A well-meaning construction worker brought "Kate Plus 8" to a shelter.  As we know, the majority of shelters in TN are high-kill and so the entire family had run out of time.  There are several rescues here in New England that truck dogs from TN to the northeast, and I worked with one of those rescue organizations to get Charlie Brown.  I never actually knew how rescue organizations work (even though I volunteered for Great Dane Rescue of NE) and this was a very interesting and eye-opening experience for us.  I am proud to have finally adopted my very first rescue dog.  I never knew what people meant when they asked "Is he a rescue?"  and now that I do, I have to say "None of my previous dogs were [literally] rescues"  Though I did "save" a couple from potentially bad situations, it is not the same.  Very educational experience!

I just wanted to share our good news.

Hug your dog :)