Been awhile since I dropped in here. My work has kept me crazy busy. I spoke at Evo Conference – spreading my love of all things WordPress. And… this past weekend we had to bring our puppy back to the breeder we got him from.
I hadn’t posted much about him – we were dealing with a lot. Aside from the normal craziness that is raising and housebreaking a puppy – he was not healthy from the beginning. He had an EXTREMELY sensitive stomach, and after several hundreds of dollars of various tests – no one could determine exactly why or what was wrong with him. We fed him plenty, but he remained skinny and the food he ate practically flew through one end and out the other so quickly.We finally found a food that he would somewhat tolerate – but it didn’t make things perfect. It was a grain and gluten free, single protein food that had to be rehydrated. Then he had a massive flare up and even that stopped working as well as it once did.
If that wasn’t enough to deal with, the real killer was his aggression. Within the first week of having him here, he growled and snapped at me at a way I’ve never seen a *normal puppy* do. It was bizarre. And no one really believed me that a PUPPY would show aggression like this. They said it was “posturing” not aggression. Ok… so we paid top dollar for a great trainer who whipped us into shape about how to behave and treat the puppy so that he would know we were alpha. We did this for months. The problem began to get worse, not better. He would be sitting in a room – no “triggers” near by (no food, no toys) – he wasn’t sleeping, he’d be wide awake – just hanging out – and my daughter who has always been very gentle with him and respectful of him, would come up to pet him – and for no reason at all he would growl at her. Then my husband – who SURELY he must see as ALPHA in our pack – would come up to him – and again, he would growl at him.
I spoke to another trainer, and they said with all his problems – since we had the option of bringing him back to the breeder – we should take it. This is not the right dog for our family.
Who knows, maybe he needed to be in a bigger house – or a bigger back yard – or he needs other dogs with him to keep him in line. Whatever it is – he didn’t belong with us. It broke our hearts – it wasn’t for lack of love that we brought him back. But I have a responsibility to my family and I have a responsibility to him. However, my family comes first and I was worried about the direction this was headed. I was worried that growl would very soon turn into something more disastrous. I’m glad he’s with the breeder – she’ll take good care of him. Maybe she’ll be able to determine the source of his issues – and then place him in a home that’s more appropriate.
In the meantime – we are once again trying to heal from the loss of a dog. Bad timing too. So close to my daughter’s birthday again when last year we had to say goodbye to our other dog after 12 happy years. And I am on the hunt again for a dog. This time I think we’re going to go with the same breed we had last time and that we are so in love with: a Cairn Terrier or Westie (West Highland Terrier).
Just a Dog
From time to time, people tell me “Lighten up, it’s just a dog” or, “That’s a lot of money for just a dog.” They don’t understand the distance traveled, time spent, or costs involved for “Just a dog.” Some of my proudest moments have come about with “Just a dog.” Many hours have passed with my only company being “Just a dog,” and not once have I felt slighted. Some of my saddest moments were brought about by “Just a dog.” In those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a dog” provided comfort and purpose to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” you will probably understand phrases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.” “Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust and pure unbridled joy. “Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience that makes me a better person. Because of “just a dog” I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.
For me, and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog.” It’s an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. “Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday people can understand it’s not “just a dog.” It’s the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a man or woman.”
So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog,” smile, because they “just don’t understand.”
Oh, also… check out this article on the New York Times about how people who have dogs tend to exercise more. 😀
I can’t tell you how close we were these last few days to deciding to take home TWO puppies instead of one. I had a whole long list of reasons why two dogs are better than one. The idea had even originally been my husband’s – but once I started to go along with the idea – he changed his mind. He did a bunch of research online and showed me what people were saying. It’s not that having two puppies can’t be done – it’s just that the work involved is exponentially harder. In order to have the pups mental stability right, you have to separate them often. (otherwise when one needs to go somewhere and the other can’t come too – it will freak out). You have to train them separately. You have to crate them separately. Everything in my mind that was “fun” about having two dogs – with two puppies it spells disaster. So…. one it is. (at least for now) The general recommendation is – if you want two dogs, that’s fine – but space them out by a good couple of months – even better if it’s a year. The older dog can help keep the younger one in line at that point – rather than egging each other on to do mischief as puppies!
I’ve become even more aware of how much I *need* to have a dog in my life these past few months. Sure, our old dog wasn’t playing much the last few years of his life, but he was always by my side. It’s been hard not having him around – and I miss the companionship.
Just another week (and two days) and we can bring him home. Can’t believe how BIG he’s getting so fast. We’re naming him Moose – and I think it will suit him very well!!!