Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dogs! Dogs! DOGS!

Alyssa, the Dog Person of our Family

I'm not really a dog person. You wouldn't know that though if you came to my house. You would be accosted greeted by three rambunctious dogs. They will act as if they haven't had any attention in years! And, if you think simply patting them on the head will get them to move along to something or someone else, you're wrong.  They will climb on you, lick you, bark and circle around you. Maybe that's why I'm not a dog person.

I'm a gardener. And these dogs LOVE my garden. They bring me stems of plants that I've been nurturing, as if I'm going to throw it as a stick for them to chase. They jump into my garden and lay on the warm earth and the plants as well. I raised the beds, put chicken wire around each bed. And while that might have deterred two of them, Gracie can jump like Tigger - straight up in the air and then leaps forward. No chicken wire stops her.  Another reason I'm not really a dog person.

No matter how cute a puppy is, they GROW UP! They need a lot of attention - and they'll get it from you whether you intended to give it or not. When Hank was a puppy, he would run out the front door at lightening speed, cross the street to the park, and race up and down the fence line with dogs that barked on the other side of the fence. One time, Michael was chasing him back home and he ran INTO someone's house - their front door was left open. Michael was about 12 and he just ran in after her. The people were sitting on their couch and looked at him. Panting, Michael told them he was after his dog! They pointed to the kitchen and Michael made the loop in this stranger's house, chasing Hank back out and all the way home.

Buddy with his Christmas bandana 
Buddy had a couple of annoying puppy habits. He would search out all girls' underwear in the house and eat the crotch off. I know. Disgusting. We would find him digging through laundry hampers, dragging them maniacally under the bed.  Luckily, that habit seems to have subsided. He's a little intimidated by Gracie and still poops in the house. She lays by the door, and he just can't bring himself to pass by her. So we often find little "gifts" at the front door, in the bathroom, or in the closet.  Now, Buddy's not a puppy anymore, so I don't know why we can't get past this. I may simply have to try my friend Allison's leash technique - keep him tied to me and then I take him out after eating or every 30 minutes or some insanely dog-focused thing. Did I mention that I'm not a dog person? We only have Buddy because my mom, who thought she wanted two dogs to keep each other company couldn't take care of him AND Pepper, so Buddy came to us.  Sigh.

Gracie, about to lunge at me for the camera!
Glancing down at the coffee table in my little front room, I see that it has been gnawed by...someone. Great. :/  There's still a little fake snow on the floor from when Gracie attacked a big bag of it the other day. She is a Husky, so I find some amusement in the fact that she went for the "snow." I really wish there was a way to hook Gracie up to a ground sled, like they do in off-season Alaska mushing practice. She would love it so much. She just wants to PULLLLL!

Gracie did not share Buddy's underwear obsession. Instead, she liked the insoles of shoes. She would even pull out the fake cushiony Dr. Scholl inserts to get at the REAL insole of the shoe. No shoe is safe. And, when I was told that Huskies do not shed...well, that's simply untrue. My floor looks like tumbleweeds are blowing past. What a mess. And there was the time that Gracie chewed the keys off a open laptop. Just on one side. Luckily, I took typing so I knew where the keys were without the plastic symbol pads. I really should get a picture of that for you! ha!

So this has been our week at the vet. We seem to do it like that...waiting, ignoring cute little reminder cards, then finally we simply have to get in there. The dogs needed baths from our hike this weekend, but especially they needed nail trims. The clicking of claws on the wooden floor sounds like tap dancers - it was driving me nuts! I'm good with most things, but finding that little vein on their nail and not cutting it _ I just can't seem to make myself do that.  So yesterday was Hanks "Bath Package." Not sure what things cost where you live, but here, that's $45. Nails, ears, anal glands, bath and blow dry.  But Buddy's shots were out of date, so we did his annual appointment. Vaccines, heart worm meds for all three, bath package for Buddy and nail trim for Gracie...$255 later - YIKES!  Oh! And because Buddy's a little dog, he evidently is prone to tooth plaque/tartar buildup. They sent home an estimate for dental work - a cleaning, but under sedation - $250 more!  Ummm...Ron doesn't even GO to the dentist. Buddy's teeth will have to wait. At least not 2 weeks before Christmas!  Another reason I'm not a dog person - they're expensive! But they did get some cute Christmas bandanas. The vet techs were very sweet and had all kinds of cute loving comments to tell me about the dogs. They were shocked to get Christmas tips, but they had so clearly enjoyed the dogs and the dogs looked and smelled great! Finally.

Buddy and Hank were found to be on the overweight side....yes, they called them "obese." They have had free range feeding and I'm afraid that's going to have to change. What has been available all day long, is now going to be only available for 30 minutes in the morning and then again in the evening. And, if they just have to eat more, the vet recommends green beans! Yay! something can be done with the leftovers no one ever goes back for.  Although, I found some doggy treat recipes I might try as part of my Cookie Challenge... even though I'm not a dog person.

I'm still a little sad that we don't have Tasha anymore. She was our Great Pyrenees/Anatolian mix from the ranch. Our little suburban postage stamp of a yard was simply not going to suffice for her.  I am so incredibly fortunate to have my friend Laura who is VERY MUCH a Dog Person... and she has acreage in Wimberley. She offered to take Tasha and love her and bring her into their family. We've been out to see her and she is so happy there. Still, I miss her.

Tasha in the Living Room with Alyssa and Katie
Allison's Cambria "riding" Tasha

So I'm finishing this blog post this morning. Rain is coming down and Hank's on the floor by my bed. He hates thunderstorms. He just freezes in fear, so he stays by me. Buddy always sleeps with me, so he's here. And now that Alyssa has left for class, Gracie is jumping on the bed, burrowing her head under the covers trying to get me to play with her. Who is going to tell these dogs that I am not a dog person??

OK, Hank looks pretty cute here


Jessica said...

Yep, you're a dog person. LOL! :)

Jessica said...

PS we have one underwear loving dog... I'm the only female human in the family... :/ I know this is a TMI thing, but...

Nancy Wolfe said...

Alyssa just called to say that Gracie opened all of Ron and Josh's Christmas presents under the tree!!
Oh my! And we still have 10 days until Christmas.

Pam said...

I give my 2 dogs a cup full of frozen mixed veggies every evening and if we are out of the frozen stuff I have been known to open a can of green beans. Scott doesn't understand what they could possibly see in the frozen stuff but they eat it like candy.

Sue said...

Pam, that could be because Scott has been a known veggie-hater for years!!