Tag Archive | shelter dogs

Oy, that dog!

Okay, so let’s get back to Duncan. My not-so-little terror. The one who was leaving messes in the house when we first got him about three months ago. Want to know the good news? Of course: no more accidents! After about a month, he got used to holding it and it’s not an issue. Hooray!

Want to know the bad news? He eats things. First it was little things, like paper we left on the kitchen table. He chewed up the remote, but that only cost $20 to replace, no biggie. Grace had left a hole in our leather couch back when she was going through her destructive phase, and he discovered that and thought it was fun to pull stuffing out and make the hole bigger. When we covered up that hole, he made two new ones. When we covered the couches with scat mats to keep him off the couch, he made a hole in the arm of the couch. He discovered tasty things like the corners of our wooden chairs, or the wooden railing, or the corners of the TV stand. He pulled several books off shelves and ate them one very bad day, after which we closed the doors to the sitting room where the books are located.

Every time something happened, we talked about our options. For a while, we tried to cope by limiting what we left within reach. When it was obvious that wasn’t the solution, I tried playing with him more in the morning, giving him more time outside before I left, giving him extra toys, saving toys only for when we were gone. We subscribed to BarkBox, and our first box was fantastic. We talked about closing them in with doors, but didn’t want to run the risk of them scratching the vintage pocket doors. We talked about gates and crates. I don’t like the idea of crates, no matter how many times people tell me the dogs like it. Personally, I think they get used it, and maybe they like it for short durations and/or when they’re stressed or scared, but you’ll never convince me that a dog actually enjoys being in a crate for 6-8 hours. (Please don’t try. It won’t work.) So in my mind, that’s a last resort. But friends, we’re almost there.

I recently decorated for Christmas, and put out my large Santa collection on the sideboard. (You can see it here.) I thought for sure it was high enough and far back enough that Duncan wouldn’t be able to get to it.

I was wrong. The next day, a bad day, Duncan got into the Santas and destroyed three of them. Thankfully, they were not my favorites and didn’t hold great sentimental value. But it was enough for us to know we needed to be doing more, that our morning play sessions in the yard weren’t enough for him, and we decided to add more activity. One day the husband took him running before work, one day he went to doggy day care, and the next day I took him for a walk in the morning. That day, after his walk, after the previous day at day care, he got back into one of the couch holes, chewed up a reusable grocery bag, and destroyed a small box of post-its. He may still need a lot of activity, but clearly the activity alone isn’t enough to curb his destructive tendencies. And, get this, we just got new couches, because I couldn’t live with the old couches anymore. I mean, these holes were BIG. And looking at them every day was so depressing. (I know it sounds crazy. But in my defense, we ordered them when it looked like the scat mats were going to keep him away from the couches completely.)

So now we have gates, and the dogs get to stay in the kitchen while we’re gone. Friday was the first day we tried it all day. I latched the gates, put the scat mats in front of the gates, and also closed the doors to the living room. Even if they get past the gates, they can’t get to the couches. The husband is afraid Duncan will still be destructive, just in a smaller area. That is a valid concern, and if we see signs of that, then the crate will be next. But I couldn’t do the crate without knowing I’d tried everything else first, especially since I can’t afford five days a week of doggy daycare. Anyway, so far, so good. They were still safely in the kitchen when the kids got home from school, and nothing was destroyed. And we’ve done it again for shorter periods since then, and it seems to be working. (Knocking on wood and crossing fingers here!)

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Sorry, Duncan moves a lot, so he’s blurry. Yeah, he’s a handful. He’s now a whopping 90 pounds of muscle, orneriness, and sweetness. I can’t help it; I still love the big old blockhead. Grace chewed things up for a good two and a half years, just on a smaller scale, so I’m holding on to the hope that he’ll grow out of most of this eventually. If we have to do the crate, I will do it knowing that it’s what’s allowing us to keep him in our home, rather than taking him back to the shelter. That’s not an option for us. So I can get him a super big crate, and fill it with a blanket (that he’ll tear up, which is why I’ll get it from the thrift store) and toys (that he’ll probably destroy) and he will be safe and my house will be safe and maybe we can all live happily ever after.

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Pupdate: Duncan

Do you remember that I adopted a new dog?? Well, I know you’re probably itching for an update (haha probably not but I’m going to blab about him anyway) so here goes: he’s awesome!

Grace, Duncan, Jack

I mean, he’s also kind of a butthead at times (he likes to push the other dogs out of the way to get attention) but he balances it out pretty well. He loves attention, loves pets and belly rubs, loves to flop on top of me when I go to bed at night and snore away. He doesn’t chew things up (although he did try to bite my Wonder Woman shawl while I was working on it last weekend. We had a serious conversation after that incident. I think he understood the gravity of the situation and it has not happened again).He loves to play fetch, is the only dog to play with a ball, and he gets my dignified lazy pup Jack out roughhousing and wrestling. And when Jack is tired of it, Duncan moves on to Grace, who is delighted to have someone who will run around and around and around the back yard with her. As I mentioned before, he’s had a bit of a potty issue, leaving us a puddle when we’re gone all day at work/school. I really don’t want to kennel him for a variety of reasons, so we’ve been working with it and hoping it’s partly because he’s adjusting to living with us and partly because he is still a little young. We’ve had a few dry days, so I’m encouraged that we’re at least moving in the right direction. And I am encouraged for another reason too. When we adopted him, he had a small wart on his muzzle, and they said they hadn’t tried to remove it because he was recovering from kennel cough. The wart kept growing, and tiny ones popped up around it, and he had this really gross, bulbous growth. It didn’t seem to bother him at all, but then the more he played with the other dogs, and the bigger it got, it started getting…slightly injured. We took him to the vet and found out he has papilloma virus, similar to what humans get, but the dog version can’t be passed to humans. It’s apparently more common in young dogs, often regresses on his own, and surgery wasn’t really recommended. Okay, fine, we could wait it out. Well, the dogs kept playing, and the wart got injured again, and looked really red and painful, even though he was acting fine. Back to the vet, who said they could remove the warts, but it wasn’t hurting anything as it was. Okay, fine, we’ll give it a few more days and see what happens. That was about a week ago, and it’s gotten so much better! The main wart is much smaller, the tiny ones are almost gone, and the one on his paw is much smaller! I hate to be superficial, but he really is so much cuter without a large wart on the side of his face. And I am loving having three dogs. Yeah, we get more dirt and dog hair on the floors. Yeah, we’re spending more on food. But every day I come home to these three happy pups and my stress disappears. We sit out in the backyard and I love to watch them frolic. I come out of the bathroom and there are three smiling doggos waiting for me. (Yeah, that one’s a little weird, but still cute.) They’re noisy and messy and there’s always at least one dog underfoot…and I love it.

But three is my limit, I’m pretty sure.

Birthday Fun

I love birthdays, don’t you? You get to celebrate with people you love, and eat yummy food, and sometimes you get fun presents too! I celebrated a few days early this weekend with my family and enjoyed being around three little kids again. (I also enjoyed it when they left and my house was quiet again, haha!) We grilled burgers and drank margaritas and ate cake and played with puppers and it was overall a perfectly lovely party. Duncan was quite a gentleman: quiet, well-behaved, and tolerant of the kids’ attention. Grace was the naughty one, stealing a bun from a plate left too close to the edge of the table! As for the presents, I consider myself a lucky girl:

The pens are Pilot Metropolitan Pop fountain pens and they’re super cute and super fun to write with. The yarn is CASHMERE, friends. Yes, CASHMERE. I will probably cast on with it today simply because I can’t wait to knit with cashmere. And I finally got some of the color-coded cords, which I’ve been coveting for ages. Hooray, lucky me!

It’s been a nice weekend with the new pupper too. Duncan is settling in wonderfully. All three dogs get along and play well together. Duncan is still more selfish about getting attention, but the other two are sharing nicely. He loves to cuddle, loves the couches, and really loves beds.

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So I consider myself pretty lucky with that too. In fact, Duncan might be the best present of all!

Jack’s Gotcha Day

No knitting photos today: I didn’t make enough progress on anything yesterday. So instead I’ll share some dog photos, because dogs. Yesterday was Jack’s Gotcha day: two years since we adopted him from Wayside Waifs, one of the local animal shelters. He’s been a treat since day one.

He is my baby, my constant companion, my protector. He is absolutely the perfect dog for me. I could add a ton more cute photos but you’ve seen most of them.

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If you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family, PLEASE check your local animals shelters first! You’ll adopt a pet that’s already spayed or neutered, up to date on vaccinations, and assessed for behavioral issues. There are truly amazing animals there, both mixed-breed and full-breed, and they’re all looking for their forever family. Here are a few choices for the KCMO metro area:

Captain Jack Update: Pictures of a Puppy

I’m in a bit of a funk this morning, so I’m going to look at cute puppy pictures and share some with you. Captain Jack is 7 months old now. He’s gained around 10 pounds since we got him from the shelter two months ago, which makes him about 52 pounds. He’s muscular and strong, with these broad shoulders and a thick neck, but he’s also got the sweetest face and disposition.

Balancing on boards from deck demolition

Balancing on boards from deck demolition

He loves to play in his pool, but since our yard is in a state of upheaval right now (deck demolition prior to patio construction. We are in mud pit phase) I haven’t been filling it lately. He doesn’t care. He’ll play with it empty too.

"You can't see me!"

“You can’t see me!”

"BOO!"

“BOO!”

And when it rains, he has his own pool!IMG_4755

Like most dogs, he loves his walks, but it took a while to build up his stamina. For a long time, he’d plop down in some shady grass and just look at me. We thought he’d end up being like Ferdinand the bull.

"Yeah, I'm happy here."

“Yeah, I’m happy here.”

Now he can go and go and go, and I come home from walks sweaty and tired and he’s like, OK! LET’S PLAY BALL NOW! But he can sleep with the best of them too, and he ends up in the funniest positions. IMG_4671 IMG_4674IMG_4704IMG_4892

Recently we discovered he has allergies, and he ended up with an ear infection that broke one of his ears. No, it wasn’t really broken, but it was floppy and flat.IMG_4795Oops, there’s my foot. Sorry about that. Anyway, the puppy was still cute but I like him better with matching ears. We got him started on allergy meds and ear drops, and the ear stayed floppy. I was afraid it was permanent. Then one morning I got up and bam! Perky-eared puppy! IMG_4901And we’re all still glad that even as he’s growing, he hasn’t lost our favorite pose: the full sprawl. IMG_4911He’s smart enough to learn quickly and wants to please us enough to obey our commands. We’ve had two training classes and he’s learned a lot already. The only thing keeping him from being the perfect dog is that he goes nuts when people come over. It doesn’t matter if he’s met them before or not. He gets all protective and barks and barks and barks. That part sucks, and I’m hoping we can get him through it so we can have people over more easily. He’s just darn cute and lovable, and brings a lot of joy to our house.

*Sighh* I feel better now. I’m going to take my puppy for a walk and enjoy the morning.