The problem with going to bed early: you wake up early.
I'm sitting in the dark, tiptoeing around the apartment so as to not creak any floorboards. We don't want to wake the puppies.
I have two rat terriers--an unfortunate name for a cute dog, basically the same thing as a Jack Russell, but with a more-pointy snout. Super cute, they are. They're currently gated into my bathroom, where they are snoozing atop a pile of towels and assorted soft things.
They showed up at the shelter a little skinny, so before they get "fixed" they need to build up a little chunk. And no one turns out a fat puppy quite like me, thankyouverymuch. I feed them constantly. It's how Italian families show love, they feed feed feeeeeeeeeeed you.
Am I turning into this guy who writes stories about dogs? Not really, but humor me just for now.
The female is big and thick and VERY bossy. We've already had a conversation about her attitude, and how she needs to stop biting her brother's ear. The male, God bless, is a wimpy tiny little thing, who whines constantly and prefers not to walk if he can be carried instead. He could stick up for himself when his sister uses him as a chew toy, he just chooses not to. I call him Nancy Boy. Presumably his real owners will choose a different name.
I think I am becoming that guy who tells dog stories. I stayed home last night to watch TV and chase them around the apartment. For hours we did this.
Nancy Boy has an odd gait to his walk; that could be why he wants to be carried (although I don't think so, I think he's just lazy). I don't know if he has some sort of issue in his joints, or if I hurt him one of the past 20 times I stepped on him. Not that I can help that; whenever I stand still, he walks over and sits on my foot. So these calamities are inevitable. And although I now know he's there and I catch myself before stepping down, just touching him with my foot makes him wail in terror. Such a drama queen. His sister just huffs in disgust. One would think he would sit ANYWHERE ELSE in the room, but no. He'd rather put himself directly in harm's way, so he had something to complain about later. Crunch.
The little ones are stirring--and with rat terriers, their waking hours are spent destroying everything in sight, so I must save my shower curtain before they tear it down.
It was raining when we left. And it was very early. It was a dreary morning.
We had very sleepy faces.
But a ride in the car perks up everybody after a few minutes.
At times things got out of hand, with frolicking puppies romping around as I drove in the express lane on I-95, steering with my knee.
But we made it safe and sound.
When we pulled into the parking lot, however, things got very quiet.
Normally they jump around to get out of the car and sniff exciting new things. But not today.
They knew something was up.
Did they know we were back at the shelter? I don't think so, they couldn't see yet when I took them home, I don't think they'd recognize the building. Perhaps they understood my face was sad.
So we sat in the parking lot for a few more minutes, in the quiet, one last time. Puppies sitting still, looking up.
Will they be happy? I'll never know. I hope so.
Will their new owners know they don't need a leash, and they follow when they go on walks? Will their new owners know they like to run in the ocean? Perhaps at their new home, there will also be a plentiful supply of sand crabs to bark at and chase. If not, terrorizing the neighborhood cat is also good.
I have raised more puppies in the past few months than most people will raise in their lives. And what do I do to calm my nerves when it's 3 in the morning and the puppies are keeping me awake by crying? I think about the blog post I'll write to make it all worthwhile. I'm doing it for you, Cyberspace.
This isn't terribly entertaining, it's just pointers.
Scenario: 1: Puppy pees on floor. 2: Having caught puppy in the act, slowly but firmly grab puppy and point at the pee. Say "No" a few times. "Bad dog." 3: Immediately bring puppy into bathroom lined with newspaper, where she should pee.
Result: 1: Puppy again pees on floor. 2: Puppy then runs into bathroom lined with paper. 3: Puppy has learned to go into bathroom after she pees.
Is her name really going to be Lambchop? Perhaps. I'll stick with it for now.
She sleeps a lot.
We had a rough couple of days; little Lambchop was entirely too young to be taken from her mother, not to mention taken from all her brothers and sisters. So she cried, non-stop, with every breath accompanied by a whimper or a moan. When I turned out the lights to leave, it was a full-on yelp of fear. When I came back home after going for lunch, I could hear her howling downstairs by the front door. It was terrible. She would eat, but not drink; I had to shoot water in her mouth with an eyedropper.
So I called the gentleman who found the dogs, asked him if he had any more, and he provided me with a companion: her sister, who is even fatter if that's possible. She's black and white, and strongly resembles a St. Bernard. I will post photos when I take them. The result: crying ceased immediately, and they now alternately lick each others' faces and gnaw on each others' tails.
As of now, the plan is to adopt out the black and white sister. She will be snatched up immediately, there's no need for me to keep both puppies. And little Lambchop doesn't really care who she plays with; the neighbor's fully-grown (and utterly terrifying) Doberman Pinscher is just as much her best friend when he's around, as the sister puppy when there's no one else to romp with. It should be noted Lambchop is afraid of nothing—case in point, the Doberman, a sleek and shiny killing machine that tiptoes around the puppy whenever they're both outside. It's the cutest thing ever. And Lambchop jumps all over him and gives him kisses.
To replace the missing sister, I think I'll adopt an old dog from the shelter, who may not have as much of a chance to make it out. Something to teach the little one where to pee, how to properly drink out of the bowl, how to be a dog.
This is, of course, if I do keep her. I may not. Her life won't necessarily be happiest with me...there are lots of families with yards who would want her. So we'll see.
Saturday morning, and it's cloudy. Sleepy-gray morning. The clouds match Gorgeous the Cat, who is several shades of gray and silver with just a touch of white, all long-haired and fluffy and luminescent. Although the clouds don't sit on my hands when I try to type, so therein lies a major difference.
We are all piled up on the bed today—unseasonably cold temps have swept through Florida, dipping into the 50's. It's not a big deal, except for the facts that (a) my apartment does not have a heater, and I refuse to die by fire-from-electric-appliance in the middle of the night so I plug nothing in; and (b) I have only one blanket. So there is a patchwork of beach towels spread across my slumber vessel, as I try not to move too much and expose a hole. I could buy a blanket but I never get around to it.
Who is in the bed, you ask? There is the aforementioned Gorgeous the Cat, who sends her best. There is also a very cute puppy, a foster-care subject on loan from the Humane Society until her runny nose clears up (it's almost all better), a condition which is a sad by-product of the puppy mill from where she originated. Said puppy is determined to befriend Gorgeous, but the cat is not prone to associating with creatures who chomp everything in sight, including their own tails. Please, there are social standings to maintain. She doesn't normally sleep in the bed, but these are desperate times. I'm freezing. So the puppy is at the foot of the bed, out of clawing-reach of the cat and warming the humans' feet.
Humans', as in plural? What's this? Then there is a certain Latin gentleman who has snuck into the country, legally but temporarily. Lawyers are working on the situation; we worry not about what the future brings. Right now it's one day at a time. And we have more pressing issues: for instance, he is hogging the towel I stole from...well, I can't tell you that. I'll be arrested, for grand larceny and harboring the illegal alien who is lying beneath it. Just kidding, he's not illegal. BUT THE TOWEL IS.
Shh, stop accusing me of being a thief. It's still early. Go back to sleep.
The Blue Heeler, hiding in my bag. She's such a cool dog. Apparently these dogs have tons of energy, but so far she just hangs out and follows me around. We went to the beach, and took her a little while to figure out you're not supposed to eat the sand, but after that initial misstep she was happy to lounge amongst the grassy dunes and chill. The only times she cries/barks are when (a) I am walking 'round my apartment without shoes, and she attempts to conquer my toes, and (b) at 3 AM when she wants to get into the bed, since Gorgeous won't spoon with her. Her snout is already a little darker, like she stuck her snout in a pile of charcoal dust, and she has a patch of charcoal under her chin. They grow up so fast.
She is a Blue Heeler, a.k.a. an Australian Cattle Dog, rescued from a puppy mill in Alabama and shipped down to Fort Lauderdale with appx. 30 other fellow prisoners. Blue Heelers are one of the most intelligent breeds, they are very loyal, but they can be somewhat bossy if they get the chance. Big families may bring a Blue Heeler into the house, so the dog can run laps around the kids and nip at their heels if they stray from the yard.
Although that is a "typical" dog. This one, well...she was the runt of her litter, and she was getting
jostled around quite a bit by the other puppies, and she seems a tad
She sits in corners, wedged snout-in, and naps all day. She is scared of all things noisy, fast-moving, and otherwise threatening. I turned on the vaccum cleaner yesterday and she hasn't been the same since. She used to sit between my ankles, until I accidentally stepped on her, and now she is terrified of my feet. And she is rendered helpless by the dark; apparently she is about 6 weeks old, and her eyes haven't developed enough. So when we go outside at night, as I walk through the grass, she follows until I cross a shadow. And she stops at the edge of said shadow, she looks around, and she cries. Must not touch the shadow.
Today we made progress: she ventured into the shadow of a tree, but became disoriented and panicked; when I walked up to her, she had turned herself around so she didn't see me, and when I scooped her into my hand she SCREAMED in terror as I picked her up. The neighbors thought I was beating her, casting me accusory looks from their porch. They already think I am a child molester—random gay man, skulking about with collections of puppies, it looks odd in this age of sexual predator media hysteria. The puppy crying in the shadows did not help.
So after the threatening-shadow escapade, I carried her home; but on the landing outside my door, I put her down to let her walk inside. The door creaks on a spring, so when I opened it, there was the customary croaking sound. Forget it. No dice, dog is not coming near it. So I propped it open, and let her sniff her way in. Eventually she daintily tiptoed along, paw by pay, sniffing for danger and looking left and right. And just as she rounded the corner, Gorgeous the Cat was sitting there, and hissed right in her face. As T.L. would say, "Is no nice, baby, is no nice."
The dog is now hiding behind the couch.
I can't imagine how she would handle a herd of cattle in Australia. Poor dear.
Gorgeous the Cat is up on a ledge, away from the annoying puppies, sleeping.
TL is on the bed, not sleeping, but pretending to be sleeping.
Very peaceful, quiet. Shh.
Today is the last day everyone will be together. The dogs must go back to the Humane Society this afternoon. The pups will be "fixed" tomorrow, and promptly be adopted out...most likely, separately.
Mom dog, well... with her pendulous mammary glands, a product of her overbreeding, she is somewhat less-desirable a candidate for adoption. But the Humane Society has faith in her, considering her unusual-for-a-cocker-spaniel mellow temperment. I just hope she doesn't get nervous in the kennel and act crazy, and mess up her chances to get out of there. I am tempted to stand in the kennels with them, so I could explain how things really are when people walk by. And explain how she doesn't like to be by the edge of the curb, close to the cars, when she goes on walks. And explain she prefers for her canned food to be chopped up in her bowl, she doesn't know what to do with chunks when they're too big.
So we're postponing the inevitable. And we're sleeping.
Usually the puppies snooze whilst lying on top of mom somehow; perhaps on her belly, other times on her leg. Now the puppies are on the bed, and mom has a little time to herself. Every mom needs a break now and then. Although she'll come sniffing on the edge of the bed in a little while, she doesn't like to be away from them for too long.
We tried to separate them last night, so they could get used to sleeping alone. But when I woke up this morning, Mom dog had shoved the makeshift blockade (made with heavy suitcases) out of the way, and found her brood. And they were all curled up in a corner together.
I'm pretty sure I'll be able to hear them whining when I go to bed tonight.
Please make the lambs stop screaming.
Mom dog and I went to the dog park today, one last time. She doesn't run around with the other dogs, she sticks by my feet. Although she does wander off to greet the other humans, who of course dish out dollops of ear scratching and various physical affections. She gets her fill, and then she comes back.
There is a chance these dogs will go to a family who will love her for a week, then decide a dog is too much of a hassle, and then they'll just be stuck outside, in the heat, bored. Maybe it will be worse. I'll never know.
So we sat at the park, in the shade of a tree. Rules at the Humane Society are very strict: never, ever follow up on the fate of the dogs. About 50% of the time, it's not a happy ending. Although with rehabilitated dogs like these, chances are almost certain they'll find a home, somewhere. Hence they put much energy into the fostering program.
Still, I worry.
As soon as I stopped typing, the male puppy (the blond one) woke up, blinked his drowsy little eyes, and gave me a little lick on my hand. And then he walked a few steps away and proceeded to pee all over my bed. TL and I just sat there and watched him do it.
It took a little sting out of giving him back. Sayonara, canine creature.