Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Easter

This past Sunday was Easter, and ever since I got Ranger, I have taken him to family get-togethers. My family loves Ranger, and they always include him in any invitation. But 2 dogs? That's a lot to ask of a host. But Teddy really needs to be socialized, and my mom said it was ok to bring him along for Easter dinner. I was a bit worried, because on Saturday I went over there to do some baking, and brought Teddy along. Ranger was at the groomer, so Teddy was by himself, and he turned into his scared self again. It was a huge shock - he paced around the house for an hour. His tail was always down. I gave him a treat to help him feel more comfortable, and he carried it in his mouth until it was soggy. He just couldn't relax enough to eat it. He ran away from anyone who approached him - even me! So I wasn't sure what to do for Easter. Would it stress Teddy out unnecessarily? Since I live fairly close to my parents, I decided to bring both dogs, and would just bring them home if it was too much for Teddy. But he surprised me. He ran into the house with Ranger, tail up, excited to see people, as long as they didn't try to pet him. He took treats from people, and actually ate them. He even sat with my brother-in-law and let him pet him for a long time! Turns out Teddy just needs his big brother with him, to show him that everything's ok.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why does Teddy like my shoes?

Nothing makes Teddy happier when I come home than to grab a toy or a rawhide and run around the sofa with it. He runs to me and then runs away, with whatever is in his mouth. But the thing he loves most to run around with is one of my gym shoes. He's not a chewer of shoes, but he loves to just hold the shoe in his mouth and run around with it. He especially seems to love holding the shoe by the laces. He knows he's not supposed to do it, because as soon as I tell him to leave it, he drops the shoe, but it's an addiction he just can't seem to control. Whatever floats your boat!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Ranger!

Ranger turned 7 last week. It feels like he's been with me forever, not just 6 1/2 years. I don't remember the days when I didn't walk in the mornings. Now, walking the dogs in the morning is almost always my favorite time of the day. It's quiet, the sun has risen, and it's a nice time to think about things. I also like exploring the neighborhood, seeing who is doing what to their house.

Ranger's birthday makes me think of how my life has changed over the years. I was in a relationship with someone I thought was The One, but it didn't work out. I sold my house and bought a new one that needed tons of updating. I changed jobs. I gave up my religion. I lost friends that I thought I would have forever, and I became closer to friends I previously wasn't as close to. I went through a period of deep depression (and came out of it partly thanks to Ranger!) I finally have accepted the fact that I'm not going to get married and have kids, which was a hard dream to give up, but I stay busy friends, family, work, and of course, my dogs. While it's not the life I thought I'd have, it's not a bad life.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'm glad Teddy's not a puppy

I took Teddy to his obedience class last night. We had gone the previous 2 weeks, but those were special sessions with just the trainer. Last night was the first week that other dogs were supposed to be there. Only one other dog showed up, a 6 month old Bichon/Shih Tzu puppy. A very sweet dog, but it reminded me of all the reasons why I don't ever want to get a puppy again. The energy, the puppy ADD, the barking, and did I mention the energy? Yes, puppies are cute and cuddly, but they are also a lot of work. I got Ranger when he was 7 months old, and I remember being exhausted by his constant demands for play and attention. I remember thinking, 'how can I do this for the next 15 years?!' Don't get me wrong, I enjoy throwing the frisbee, or playing tug-of-war, but after 20-30 minutes, I'm done. But by the time he was around 2, he calmed down and was better able to entertain himself. For all of Teddy's issues, at least he is able to relax. He is good about getting Ranger to play with him, but if Ranger doesn't want to, Teddy will happily play with his squeaky toy by himself, or he'll find a bone to chew on. When he's bored with that, he jumps up on the couch and takes a nap.

Speaking of naps, he is now comfortable enough with me to rest against me while he sleeps! I remember early on he would sit as far away as he could from me, and while he may never be a lap dog the way Ranger is, at least he likes to be near me.

Monday, April 6, 2009

My life this week

This past week I lived with 4 dogs, an experience I'm not in a hurry to repeat anytime soon! My sister adopted a dog just a week before her family was going on vacation. I had already agreed to watch their other dog, and while my sister "tried" to find someone else to watch one of her dogs, the night before they were to leave, I got the phone call I knew I'd get - "We can't find anyone to watch the dogs. Can you take them both?" So being the good sister I am, I laid on the guilt and then said ok. Luckily, the new dog was introduced to my dogs before they left, so I knew they would all get along. In fact, Teddy and the new dog became bosom buddies, and were rarely apart the entire week. I lived for 6 years with just one dog before I decided to get another. I thought having 2 dogs was a lot of work, but 4 dogs is insane. My life became all about doggie bodily functions - eating, pooping, vomiting, etc. I think I went through 3 rolls of paper towels in a week. My floors need to be disinfected, my carpets cleaned, bedding washed - you name it, it needs to be cleaned. Luckily, none of the dogs are shedding breeds, so at least I didn't have shedding issues to deal with.

If you ever want to get your neighbors to notice you, try walking 4 dogs at the same time. I noticed more than a few people laughing at me as they drove to work in the morning. After a few days, I finally figured out which dogs needed to walk next to each other, which dogs would stop at every tree and which dog (the new one) just ran in circles in the grass.

This whole experience has made me appreciate Teddy even more. No, he wasn't housebroken when I first got him, but he is 95% better than he was 3 months ago. He still has issues with new people, but he's relatively calm, he doesn't bark, and he knows when to chill out and watch tv.

Really, this is all Ranger's fault. If it weren't for him being such a good dog, my sister wouldn't have gotten her first dog, I wouldn't have adopted Teddy and my sister wouldn't have adopted her second dog. Thanks Ranger!