I often tell people that I have one perfect dog and one very sweet but very crazy dog.
And then yesterday, I had the following exchange on Twitter:
Still thinking about this exchange as Jon and I went to bed, I said, “My friend says that people project their own personalities and issues on their pets. But we have two very different pets! And he says that one of them is probably me, and one of them is probably you. But which is which?”
Very quickly, Jon replied, “I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m the chilled out, obedient one.”
To which I replied, “Are you saying I’m the cracked out crazy one in constant need of attention and affection and snuggles?”
There are many benefits to adopting an older dog– by they come your way, they can sleep through the night without crying, they’re potty trained, and they have less of a propensity for chewing on your stuff (though lord knows both of my adopted-as-older-dogs have chewed PLENTY of my stuff). But one major drawback of adopting an older dog is you don’t get to know them as puppies, don’t get to see what they look like when they are small and fuzzy and cuddly wuddly, all chubby bellies and slightly out of control paws.
We adopted our second dog, Olive, what we believe to be a lab/border collie mix, the Christmas before last. She was less than a year old, and had been found in the woods near my parents’ home by a family friend, so starved they initially thought she was dead. I don’t know who left her, or if she ran off, or how she ended up in the woods. I see hints that someone must have been mean to her– the way she is terrified I’m going to hit her with a broom when I sweep the floors, the way she thinks every raised object might be used to strike her, the way she cowers and sometimes pees on herself if I use too forceful of a voice with her. Continue reading “I wish I’d known her then”
The day before yesterday, we took our two dogs to the vet for their annual checkup. Bessie was her usual rock solid, reliable self, lying down on the floor of the waiting room and patiently waiting her turn. Olive was….well…Olive. She barked insanely at every dog who came in, including a poor deaf dog who was already so confused and scared that he just cowered in a corner. I have no idea if she thought that the trembling deaf dog was a threat, or if she was just trying to speak up loud enough for him to hear. HAI! I’M OLIVE! WHY U NOT TALKIN? MEBBE IF I’M LOUDER U CAN HEER ME? HELLOOOOOOO? Jon eventually took her outside to wait our turn where she couldn’t terrorize any other people or puppies. Thankfully our vet has separate waiting rooms for cats and dogs or it could have been worse!
Once we got back into the exam room, everything went great. Both girls were patient as they were weighed, as the scale suddenly rose and became an exam table, as they were palpated and poked and probed, and even as they had blood drawn, stool samples taken, and shots given. And through it all, I swear, Olive must have been LISTENING.
See, the vet was very impressed with how clean our dogs’ teeth are, and he also discussed how much of an ordeal it is for pets to get their teeth cleaned, as they have to be put under anesthesia. He also explained that chewing food and rawhides helps clean the teeth and prevent the need for teeth cleaning. And I swear, the threat of anesthesia and another trip to the vet must have scared poor puppygirl, because when we got home, she had her same puppy dinner, but she ate it at 1/4 speed, carefully chewing every bite. She has so far kept this up through two breakfasts and two dinners. Watching her eat so carefully, where usually she’d be swallowing each bite whole, I could almost hear her singing to herself, “brusha brusha brusha!“
Those readers who know me are probably already confused. But Ernie Bufflo, you only have two dogs, you’re already saying. Ah yes, physically I have two dogs, but psychologically, you see, I have three. I guess I should start at the beginning…
One of the things I was most excited about when we moved and bought a house with a yard was the chance to get a dog. After all, for a year of studio living, I had been dreaming of the day I’d have a dog of my own. I always had a dog or two growing up, and I just love having a dog in my life. As soon as we could, we went to a local shelter to find the newest member of our family. We took many dogs out into a little yard to play and get a sense of each other, but we ultimately settled on our gal Bessie, a catahoula/lab mix who was around 3 months old at the time. Bessie came to us already potty trained, and, for the most part, was a great dog from the get-go. She had a bit of a puppy chewing phase, with a particular taste for electronics– Xbox cords, remote controls, cell phones. She also hated throw pillows with a fiery passion and loved nothing more than to rip their guts out, leaving pillow-innards strewn about the living room like a blizzard’s aftermath. Still, she quickly grew out of all of that.
Two years later, Bessie is the perfet loyal labrador. Sure, she has her quirks, as I’ve blogged before, but for the most part, she’s a mellow, sweet girl. She just wants to lie at our feet, catch a few tennis balls, and will eagerly let us know when mealtime is approaching. So, having had such a great experience with our first dog, I began dreaming about a second. Ok, Ok, more like obsessively checking The Daily Puppy and Craigslist and begging Jon to get another puppy.
When we went home for Christmas, we had the perfect opportunity– a stray pup was staying with my parents in search of a permanent home or a place in a rescue. She had been found so starved in the woods that the friends who found her thought she was dead. They nursed her back to health but couldn’t keep her because they had a new baby on the way. My parents thought she’d make a good companion for my grandmother, but the poor dog was scared to death of Memaw, who was, I must admit, a little harsh with the dog. So, by the time we met her, the poor little black pup was on at least her third home and looking for a fourth (my parents had their hands full with Roxanne the airdale and my littlest sister who has autism). The dog played very well with Bessie, and after watching them romp and wrestle for a week, we had fallen in love and agreed to bring her back home with us.
And so she became Olive, a member of our family. At home with us, Olive is a great dog. Bessie had never been to fond of my snuggling and cuddling schemes, but Olive will savor and enjoy every bit of affection we give. She’s a true snuggle pup, and she couldn’t be sweeter. She is also heartbreakingly cute, and a tiny bit mischievious. Ok, a lot a bit mischievious. For a while there, she escaped from our yard every. single. day. Jon did a LOT of work on our fence, and between his Olive-thwarting and her finally feeling comfortable enough with us to decide to stick around, she’s finally decided she likes it here enough not to try to run off every single day. Continue reading “a tale of three puppies”