Monday, September 29, 2008

A Substitute for Children?

On Friday, hubby asked me if he thought our dogs were our attempt at filling a void in our life. We do not have any human babies but both want one or two. So far, no luck.

I answered yes. I do think that the dogs fill a void.

Cute Face

He got mad. :)

I was just being honest though. Having four dogs is wonderful and fun and never dull. But would we have four dogs if we had a kid? Probably not. We might have two…MAYBE 3. But four? Ouch. Adding a kid into the mix would make it more painful and difficult and stressful.

We’re still trying for a non-furry two legged kiddo, even with four dogs. We’ll make due and the dogs won’t get the short end of the stick. They are our babies, after all.

But for the moment, they are filling that void. I get to shower my love and attention on them… okay mostly Trooper but I do love them all.

Instead of soccer practice or T-ball games, I take Trooper to agility twice a week. No little kiddo pictures at my desk at work … it’s me and Trooper or our “family portrait” of hubby, me, Quinn, and Kodiak from a couple years ago.

I’m not sure why it upset hubby to think that the dogs are filling a void in our life. I don’t think our family is complete yet and that’s just how I feel. Will I love our dogs any less when a human kid comes along? Of course not. I want to pass on our love for animals to any rug rat we have.

I know that people think we’re a little nuts with our four dogs and all the attention they get. My mom says that when we have “real” kids that our dogs won’t get as much attention. Hubby and I both think she is wrong.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Digging to China

Trooper and Timber seem to be getting along better, though not perfectly. Sunday morning before Agility they were outside together … and a little too quiet. I was trying to get ready (breakfast and all that) and by the time I went outside to check on them I knew I was too late.

Apparently the two boys thought it was a good idea to try their best to dig to China!!!

I am not lying when I say that one of their holes was a good two feet deep. I swear I could hire them out as excavators! The little twits.

Who Me? Cause Trouble?

The good news is that it seemed to be a tandem thing - their two holes are side by side. Isn’t that sweet? *insert eye roll here*

Timber is doing really good, destruction aside (did I mention the digital camera cable torn to shreds? and the poor defenseless Kleenex box?). I took him outside last night and worked on some basic commands. I think we need more tempting treats for him though because the little nuggets I was using weren’t really inspiring him. He can sit on command very well but going down is another story. He would just look at me or try to lick my hand when I tried to coax him down.

“Leave it” though he learned super quick. With practice I’m guessing he’ll be as good as the other dogs in no time. I held out my palm with treats, said “leave it” and when he tried to take them closed my fist. After only one or two times of this he stopped trying to take the treats and the third or forth time was actually looking AT me which is exactly what I want. He’s such a good boy!

Feeding times are becoming less chaotic too. He isn’t like Bullet who tried to steal Trooper’s food at every chance. He actually just sits there calmly watching…while the other three monsters jump and dance like clowns. We’re at a point where I can *almost* walk away from his dish - at least he’s not diving for it the second I put it on the floor now.

As I sat at my laptop last night, all four dogs were soundly snoozing on the floor around me. A good dog is a sleepy dog!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Brotherly Love

The zoo is finding a routine, for the most part. Timber and Trooper have really started to bond and play and enjoy each other. There have been some fairly large … we’ll call them “broo ha has” over toys and such but otherwise lots of rough housing and hanging out together.

Resting Together

Which is nice for Kodiak who is not much of a rough-houser. He prefers to watch … or he’ll act like he’s going to play and then run away and hide behind mommy or daddy. hahahaha He’s so cute.

So while Kodiak and Quinn are at the groomers today, Trooper and Timber stay home with mommy and daddy. It’s so great to have a younger dog for Trooper to play with…though Timber really does have more energy. I expect he’ll calm down a bit as he gets older. He is, after all, still a puppy.

Walking on a leash is still a challenge. Hubby is such a softy that he tends to let Timber walk ahead and pull, when he needs to keep him right close to his hip and keep the leash tight … it’s one of those special leashes that when he stops pulling it loosens up but when he pulls it gets really really tight. I hate it but it’s the same kind that Caesar of Dog Whisperer fame uses.

Even Trooper isn’t an angel on the leash. I had to take him DOWN on our Monday evening walk. I mean, full wrestle to the ground in the dirt take down. One of the neighbor dogs is unfriendly and his owner/walker person (a high school boy) was not keeping him under control. I had Trooper in a sit stay but he was still focused on Bear (the other dog) and he finally lunged (not a happy, let’s play lunge) so I had to take him down and get him on his back. He did NOT want to concede, but he did. Because he knows that I am his alpha mommy. Of course we both were covered in beauty bark. Oy.

Trooper has gotten more and more … I don’t want to say aggressive … but assertive maybe. He didn’t used to be so willing to fight another dog but has started to be “protective” when around me. It started before we got Bullet as a foster so it was around that same time. I’m not sure if it’s just him getting older or what.

Thankfully he is realizing that Timber is here to stay and that it is okay if mommy and daddy give Timber love too. :)

What's Out There?

It’s so fun to watch them together. I love having 4 dogs. They all have SUCH amazingly different personalities. Each one is such a blessing to our lives. I’m just thankful that Timber is such a wonderful dog.

I Love My Papa

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

One of the reasons I was excited about getting a new, young dog was because I wanted someone to play with Trooper. He is only two and playing with Quinn and Kodiak isn’t enough for him. My excitement was dampened as Timber fixated on Kodiak. Thankfully that fixation has dulled though he still really really likes Kodiak. :)

The one thing I did not really expect was a negative reaction on Trooper’s part. He did SO good with our foster dog Bullet. Though she was a female so maybe that is part of the difference.

Last night as I brushed my teeth I thought I heard growling. Kodiak was in the living room. Quinnie was curled on her bed and Timber was right next to me. I knew Trooper was under the bed so I couldn’t understand why he would be growling. No one was near him or bothering him.

But you know why I think he was growling? Because Timber was next to me…his mommy. I got down on my hands and knees and sure enough - Trooper was growling at Timber. :( With no provocation. I disciplined him (telling him No and putting my hand over his muzzle) each time he started growling and after awhile he relaxed a bit. Timber had followed me over to the bed and crouched down with me - his head toward Trooper. Of course Trooper didn’t like that but I ignored Timber and just pet Trooper.

I am hoping that over time Trooper will get over his jealousy and realize that he can share with Timber the same way he shares with Kodiak and Quinn. He is no threatened by them and there’s no reason to be threatened by Timber. I asked hubby if he was still giving attention to Trooper and he said yes.

Tonight is more mommy and Trooper time at agility. It’s so fun and healthy for us both.

Anyone have any advice for handling sibling rivalry? Hubby says that they are playing together - I just don’t see it apparently because they do it while I’m at work. Or is it because Trooper is being protective of me (he really is “my” baby…he loves papa but I’m his alpha for sure).

Tug of War

At least they will play together. We just have to make sure to supervise until we know they are the best of friends. =)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's a Zoo Here!

Holy cow! Remind me why I wanted to have FOUR dogs? *grin*

Just kidding. All things considered the new puppy has joined his pack *fairly* smoothly…though there are some bumps that we need to work through.

First of all, he has not eaten since he got here. We’ve figured out (we think) that he doesn’t know what dog food is and was probably fed table scraps. I tested this theory by seeing if he’d take a *SMALL* piece of Dorito and sure enough he gobbled it up. Then we tested him last night with a piece of hotdog (we were trying to get him in his crate…another issue) and he ate that too. So I think our theory is right.

However this morning as the other dogs were gobbling down their food I had tried a little bit of Kodiak’s food in a bowl (Kodiak and Quinn get Solid Gold Holistique for lower activity dogs) and he ate some of it. It was funny though - he’d take a few pieces in his mouth and spit them out. And then try again. And spit them out. hahaha I was cracking up and Trooper was loving the scraps. Finally he ate about 1/4 of a cup or less. *sigh* I won’t get worried yet. I know that he’s gone through a lot and is still getting his bearings.

Another issue is his absolute total OBSESSION with poor Kodiak. He will NOT leave him alone. He’s been trying to establish his dominance since he arrived and found quickly that he could not do so with Quinn or Trooper. So Kodiak has been trying to show his dominance but he has a very hard time with his poor back legs. There have been several scuffles and some crying but no blood so far. Honestly we don’t break them up unless they are pretty serious and so far so good. There was ONE serious fight over a toy with Trooper but I broke that one up.

So do I let the new dog try to dominate Kodiak? And let Kodiak deal with it himself? Or do I try to stop him from establishing that dominance? I’m not sure which is the best option. Because right now we are trying to keep him from humping but it’s CONSTANT. It would be funny if Kodiak weren’t in such a delicate state.

Third issue is the name…for over 24 hours we just made kissy noises and said ‘new doggy’. LOL

*** drumroll please ***

His new name is … TIMBER.

Hubby, mother in law, and I were sitting around throwing out names and all of a sudden hubby said “what about Timber?” And we all just knew. That was it! We went through SO many names but none of them felt right until Timber. With his coloring and his long legs and his personality it just felt perfect.

We have a lot of work to do with our new boy. He can’t walk on a leash to save his life and that’s one of those areas that I’m really bad at training. Trooper now seems a little more cuddly so I think it’s a little bit of jealousy. He never likes to snuggle on the bed but he was doing that last night. LOL

I think that Timber will calm down eventually. Right now he seems like a crazy out of control animal. =) But we know that this is all so foreign to him…the freedom, the kindness, the doggy companions. It’s all new.

Oh…and the panting. Boy he has a bigger tongue than Trooper does!!! And he has been panting like a fiend. I’m not sure if it’s partly stress or from all his excitement but I hope it’s a temporary thing because the super heavy breathing kind of worries me.

Right now he’s laying at my feet and earlier he finally took an interest in a bone. =) Normal doggy here we come!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Another Chance at a Happy Life

He is ours. :)

New Doggy

I fought for him yesterday. I called the pound at 9:05 a.m. I got there at 11:30. Apparently at 9:35 a.m. another couple adopted him.

Oh boy. I was floored. However the lady said she tried her best to talk them out of it. They have never had a Malamute before and they didn’t have any other dogs. I was so concerned. Then I mentioned the abuse and the lady said she was going to call the couple and try to again convince them to adopt a different dog.

She asked me to go visit with the dog again because it had to be done in private. So I was back in the kennels, tears streaming down my face, not able to imagine him with someone else. He was meant to be part of our pack!


I went back to the main counter and she was just finishing up the call…and they agreed to look at a different dog!!! I was SOOOO happy.

He gets neutered today and I pick him up after work tomorrow. I’m excited but a little nervous. He was a total marshmallow at the pound, but he was also very stressed. He was with another dog in the kennel and totally ignored it (an adorable little puppy jumping all over him) so that’s a good sign to me that he is okay with other dogs. We’ll see how he reacts when Quinnie barks at him (as I know she will).

He is most likely not potty trained. He did not have shelter outside and I think that is where he slept. :( It’s going to be a whole new life for him…he has no idea how spoiled he will be. His old life will hopefully seem like a bad dream.

He’s going to have a playmate in Trooper, a “mama” in Quinn, a big brother in Kodiak, and of course his new “hooman” parents. He’s going to have soft cushy beds (or our bed if he wants to cuddle). He’s going to have enough food so he grows big and strong (he looks pretty thin). And bones to chew on. He’ll never be beat with a rake or shot with a BB gun again. And he’ll get proper training…proving that he is not “untrainable” as the a-hole former owner said.

I love all my dogs, obviously. But he already has a special place in my heart. I believe that adopted dogs appreciate (in their own doggy way) their new lives … especially when they’ve been abused … so much. He was so eager to get love and attention. I can’t wait to bring him home!

Oh…and we have no name for him yet. Feel free to offer your suggestions. Though it is up to hubby this time (I named Trooper so it’s his turn) so I’ll have to pass on the suggestions. lol

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Life Saved

My coworker called me yesterday from home (she was still on vacation) to tell me that her next door neighbor’s dog had been taken away!!!


So now I’m itching for the humane society to open so I can call and find out if they brought him in and if he’s available to visit.

He’s one year old and a Husky / Alaskan Malamute mix named Rambo. He’d fit into our pack perfectly!!! The animal control lady told my coworker that he was very friendly and just wanted to play. Well, DUH.

Apparently the A-hole neighbor told animal control that the dog was untrainable.


That seriously made me curse. NO dog is untrainable with enough patience, time, and love. As the owner (wait…maybe they own me) of two Siberian Huskies and a Malamute I can attest that these dogs are very much trainable. Are they stubborn? Oh heck yes. Are they incredibly smart? Absolutely. That is a dangerous combination.

Apparently this loser was trying to keep the dog in a small corner of the yard with gravel and NO shelter! What the freaking hell? (excuse my language…but I’m actually editing what I’d LIKE to say.) My coworker said that she told another neighbor to keep an eye out on the guy while they were on vacation. This neighbor saw the guy squirting the dog with a water pistol. Not the biggest deal of course - except the dog was trapped and could not get away from the spray and he wasn’t even being punished for anything. The guy was just spraying the dog for NO REASON!!!

I’ll be headed to the shelter soon. :) I have to meet Rambo, take some photos, and talk to hubby about whether he can join our pack. Trooper would love to have a new puppy to play with now that Bullet is gone.

I think that Huskies and Malamutes are like potato chips. You can never have just one!