So, I hate to keep wishing my weeks away, but it’s Friday!! Yay! So happy for that.
Last weekend, Chance started limping. We don’t know what happened that would have caused it. (Except he runs at full speed until he’s about 2 inches from something when he puts on the breaks, sometimes sliding to a stop.) He had no visible cuts or anything, so it’s been concerning. When Barley started limping, it ended up being a torn ACL, which was a very involved and expensive surgery. Both times.
We finally got Chance into the vet today, and thankfully, it appears to be a pulled muscle or something equally mild. We need to keep him from doing too much running and jumping and it should heal on its own. Whew! It’s so difficult with pets that don’t wince or whine or give any indication they’re in pain, but you know they are. Poor pup.
I’m not a morning person. I know some folks who are up at 4 or 5 working already, but when I’m up that early, it’s to use the bathroom and hop back into bed so I can get maybe another hour of sleep before the alarm. Unfortunately for me, I’m usually doing that about every day.
When we got our dogs as puppies, we decided they wouldn’t be on the sofa or on the bed. To compensate we spent way too much on fancy dog beds before we learned the error of our ways. We weren’t strong enough to withstand puppy eyes. It wasn’t long before the dogs got free access to the furniture. However, we still only allowed them to be in bed with us in the mornings.
It started with them being invited up once we woke and we’d lounge together for a while. Soon they’d come stand by my side of the bed just before our normal time to wake up. These days, Barley arrives anytime between 4 and 5, but usually after my bathroom visit and just as I’m falling back asleep.
Most dogs would probably just jump into bed. Ours do during the day. But when we’re sleeping, they wait to be invited. And they wait by my side of the bed. And paw the side. Once I tap the blanket, Chance will spring into bed. Barley, however, is a different story. When I tap the blanket, he paws again. I have to tap and tap and tap in a variety of areas so he’s really sure it’s ok. Then I have to tell him to come up. And still he paces and sometimes surfs around the bed like a shark. Then he’ll butt himself into the bed a few times. I’ll tell him again to come up. So he’ll leave the room. By this time, I’m usually completely awake and wishing I were a morning person. After coming back and bumping into the bed a few more times, Barley will finally jump up—and take my leg space.
That was the routine this morning. Once Barley settled in and I moved to accommodate him, Chance showed up and jumped in on the other side of me, pinning me in my blanket like a mummy.
I don’t think I’ll ever be a morning person. I mean, after all that, I fell back asleep for about 20 mins today. Our ungodly early morning routine sometimes drives me nuts. Trying to continue sleeping with two 70-pound dogs sandwiching me isn’t always possible let alone comfortable. But I’m still thankful for these two crazy dogs.
As part of a Christmas gift, someone gave me a box of these inspirational cards. I flip through them every once in a while and this one stood out to me because I feel like I had a moment like this today.
Our two dogs are a lot like small children in the house. They get bored periodically and start getting snippy with each other or with us. They drag their toys around the living room and fight over the same bones. Usually around late afternoon, I can tell that they need to release some energy. Mind you, they have a doggie door and a large, fenced back yard which they run out into throughout the day, mostly to bark at some poor neighbor trying to walk past our fence. Yet they still seem to need some interaction. Probably because we aren’t walking them around the neighborhood during the winter like we do during the warmer months.
So I started going out into the back yard with them. It’s amazing how excited they get when they see me grab my snow boots. They have complete and total access to the backyard 24/7, but for some reason, they love it when I (or we) go out with them. Usually, it prompts them to start a game of chase where they run after each other around the yard. And sometimes, like today, we just walk to the back fence and stand under the trees together.
I’m sure our neighbors think we’re weird, but I don’t care. Most days it helps the dogs lounge easier all evening, having worn themselves out a bit. And it makes me feel good to know how much they love it.
Today, as I stood in the backyard with my pups, we all looked up at the trees and breathed in the cool, fresh air when it started softly snowing. I looked back at our house, and I thought, I’m really happy to be in this moment. Like the saying on the card, I felt truly grateful for what I have.
Unlike the craziness of yesterday (I blame the blood moon for all the strange behaviors, including crying and arguing students) today was a bit more mild. I’m thankful for that. I’m also thankful for the DNA results from my puppy. He was described as a pit bull/lab mix at the shelter where I got him, apparently a very common mix. Given the bad rap of pit bulls, I was a bit hesitant to adopt him. So I did some research before I took him home, and found, not surprisingly, how much the traits of pit bulls are exploited by the crappy owners who train them for malicious purposes. Pit bull terriers are extremely loyal to their families and tend to dislike other dogs. Add that to their strength and hence the propensity to train them to fight. In fact, in many articles I read, some of the most common breeds to bite people are small dogs, like the Dachshund, Chihuahua and Jack Russell. I know my parents always warned people that their Chihuahua’s may bite them, so they never let people get too close. Granted, small dogs’ strength isn’t quite the same, but their aggression tends to be downplayed because of their small size. In addition to research, I also had some conversations with other owners and people who work with dogs on a regular basis, which helped alleviate my fears. After all, he’s not a full-on pit, especially given the fact that he has a curly tail, the one thing that’s been the question mark. Even my vet was puzzled by what that would mean for his mutt mix. So, the DNA results confirmed that one of his parents was American Staffordshire Terrier and Labrador Retriever, along with some mixed breeding and his other parent was Boxer along with some mixed breeding. The mixed breeding isn’t guaranteed in the test, but the breed most likely is Shiba Inu, which would account for his curly tail. I’m glad to have my curiosity appeased on that and to know the likelihood of traits Chance has as far as temperament and size. I’ve already begun to see his personality and am glad to see he actually gets along with other dogs as well as people. Maybe the lab is more dominant there. He’s also proven to be quite intelligent, although a bit stubborn. He’s quite a sweetheart though. And as with kids, training is key, regardless of his DNA.
This morning my boyfriend and I went to a couple of animal shelters to look at the dogs available for adoption. He’s in the market for one, although I’ve been considering it myself lately. My kids have bugged me about getting a dog for years. The preference is a Corgi, which I’m not opposed to. However, I cannot justify spending the $800+ to get one when there are so many animals up for adoption at the local shelters. That being said, I’m really still on the fence about getting a dog at all. The time commitment is different from what I have with my cat. He’s mostly content with being left alone, but that really wouldn’t work with a dog. So I’ve been going back and forth on it. Therefore, going to the shelters today was difficult. Our county pound literally looks like an animal prison. Rows of cages back to back in a rather sterile room, no person visible beyond the front glassed-in office where we stopped to get buzzed in to the kennels. And maybe it was simply the fact that I had to stop myself from crying several times, but I didn’t notice any toys or bones or blankets in the cages with the dogs. Just face after little face looking up expectantly as we walked by. Some of the dogs didn’t even bother to get up, some jumped and barked, some just sat with their noses pressed between the bars. It was difficult to look at them knowing that if I was going to adopt, it would only be one. Ultimately, there were a few that stayed on my mind after we left: a 2 year old Jack Russell terrier, a 7 year old Beagle/Boxer mix, and a 5 year old German Shepard mix. And my boyfriend and I both liked a year old Pit Bull with the sweetest face and curious eyes. He’s considering him. After we left the county pound, we checked out an animal sanctuary. What a difference. That place was bustling with people and the animals had blankets and chewing bones and staff coming and going. It still wasn’t fun to see them stuck in cages, but it seemed a much more tolerable atmosphere. And they do an amazing job of using resources such as Facebook to get the animals adopted. Which is why most of the dogs had been adopted; only two were left. I’m grateful today to know that there are dedicated folks out there who help find homes for the adoptable animals and to see the difference that makes. I’m not saying the people from the county pound don’t care, but it sure seems like they could and should do more than they are. Thankfully, the animal sanctuary often takes animals from the county pound. I’m hoping they do soon.