Traveling Dog Lady: Saturday baby steps

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Saturday baby steps

In my quest to further my dogs' socialization, and get over my paralyzing fears and phobias, I did two things today with the pups.

First, I took the twins to Petco.  They did not go inside with me (despite my feeling terribly guilty about the sign Petco has posted on their building -- "Don't leave your pet in a hot car") -- it was not hot out, I went when they first opened and it was actually so cold I needed to put on the heat in the car whilst driving.  So anyway, I brought them to Petco's parking lot!  I had to buy bulk dog and cat food because Petco is not nearby -- nothing is nearby, we live in the middle of nowhere.  So I needed to push a cart, bring it back to the store after loading the car, etc.  It would have been impossible to bring both dogs inside the store AND get all that stuff, all by myself.  My guys are reactive dogs, and of course they went ballistic with each dog they saw entering the store (I was only inside for 5 minutes, I ran as fast as I could, I know exactly where all the items are; and no one else was in line because it was so early).  I left the sunroof and all four windows open about 4 inches.  There isn't a lot of crime around here so it's pretty safe, and like I said it was chilly this morning.  Anyhow, I got all my stuff, threw it in the car and we left.  The only mistake I made was buying my coffee before going to Petco and leaving the coffee in the cup holder.  When one-legged (ha ha) Cooper reacted to a dog in the parking lot, he mashed my coffee cup with his one front leg and coffee spilled all over the console and into the cup holders and I had to drive home with an empty coffee cup, no coffee to sip on, and no towels for clean-up.  Note to self:  keep a roll of paper towels, or a hand towel, in the car from now on!

I'm toying with the idea of bringing them (or maybe just one of them) to Petco again tomorrow, not buying anything, and just bringing them inside.  We shall see if I have the courage and bravery!

When we got home, it was time to take Hobie down his new ramp and for a little walk.  If you follow me on Facebook, you may know that Hobie has not been out of his five-foot world (i.e., he has been indoors!) for about two weeks.  His rear legs have been giving out on him.  He has a herniated disk in his spine, and his legs become partially paralyzed from time to time.  It's pretty awful to watch him going through this.  He is on medication.  It's one of these situations where he has good days, bad days, good moments and bad moments.  We are taking things one minute at a time.

He flatly refuses (to his credit) to use stairs, and has been using our deck as his "bathroom" since Gil left on an extended trip two weeks ago.  So, I bought a ramp and put it on the front steps.  He doesn't like using it, but I am able to lift him onto it and then guide him down, and back up, so it's good.  I can't carry him up and down the stairs because of my own back problems, and there is no stairless exit from our house.

Hobie and I went for a nice walk today, to the neighbors on our left (The Browns ha ha I think that is funny because our other dog is Charlie Brown), and then over to our old house to the right.  We lived in this other house across the street for years, and I finally got sick of living like "campers" (it's an extremely small house, like 500 square feet, maybe less, with a 5-gallon hot water tank, pipes that always froze, and a myriad of problems  -- imagine we lived there with seven cats and a black Lab!?). We bought the house across the street, where we currently live, about 18 years ago, but we still own the old house, and rent it out to our dear friend/colleague/cousin, Kent.  So, Hobie and I went over to the old house which happens to be on the pond; Hobie dipped his feet in the pond (brrrrr!).  I cleaned out some debris from the pond (two pieces of plywood, a cigarette lighter, and ewww a dead fish).

Wait a minute!  He used the stairs!

On our way back, Kent opened up the door to say hello, and Hobie decided that was his invitation to take a little pause (paws!).  This is a variation on Hobie's standard "theme".  Ever since he was a little puppy, and I was thinking about this, and I truly believe it is every walk we have ever, ever taken... Hobie hates going home.  He will simply lie down and refuse to go home!  Often, he will do this far, far away from home, so I have no choice but to sit down beside him until he's ready.  He won't budge, not even for a treat.  Over the years, I have had postal workers and police officers help me by coaxing him with cookies, have had people stop in their cars asking if he needs assistance, have had people point and laugh or ask what the heck is going on, friends have offered us rides,... you name it.  When he was really little, I would carry him home!  Sometimes, here on the lake, I will just go home and he'll follow me a half hour later!  Sometimes, I'd drop the leash and walk ahead of him and he'd reluctantly follow (but that generally never really worked and I'd end up going back to sit with him!)  So, today's walk was no exception... Hobie walked into Kent's house/our old house (using the stairs hmmmmm) and plopped himself down in front of the open front door!  I should point out that Hobie never lived in that house, but has spent a lot of time there visiting the various tenants, of which there have been several, so he certainly considers it part of his territory.

I ran across the street and got my iPhone so I could take some pictures, and here they are.

P.S.  I had to carry him down Kent's stairs when we left!

Our dead-end dirt road.  Very safe for our pets.
All the neighbors have dogs and cats too, it's one big happy family! 

This photo is nearly identical (I did it on purpose) to a picture  I took of Hobie on the same section of road when he was just  6 months old.  I need to find the photo and I'll post them both here side-by-side tomorrow.  When he was a young pup he used to run off a lot and I would freak out.  That day, when he was 6 months old, I took a photo of him running back home, into my arms LOL  Now, he's the best dog in the world and can walk off leash with no problems.

Update!  Later on, I took Charlie for a walk on-leash.  We went up the same dirt road (of course, we have to, there's no other way outta here!) and then onto the main road.  This is where I start to panic as he lunges at cars.  Three cars went by us and he didn't lunge at them!  But that's because I maneuvered him slightly back from the side of the road.  I still half-panicked and turned around and took him to the lake and then went home... but hey, it's progress!  Baby steps!  Tomorrow, maybe we'll go 5 feet farther.  The only other problem was... when we got back there was a dead squirrel in the yard.  I assume one of the cats killed it.  Grrrrr.  Charlie is obsessed with squirrels.  He "trees" them.  It's quite remarkable to watch.  He has never gotten close enough to one to hurt it or anything.  In fact, I think the squirrels play with him -- they sort of have an understanding.  So, one of the cats got the tame squirrel when we weren't looking.  Darned cats!

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