Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Hobby

I decided I needed a new hobby and it was going to be Miss Bug. Yesterday at Chapters I purchased a dog trick book. As a Behavior analyst I understand the how to teach, however, what and how to teach my dog is not something I am familiar with (it is a little different from the skills I teach individuals with autism).

I also think we need to keep our Bug busy (see previous posts for proof of this). So this makes it extra important!

We started last night with Paws Up. She is going to master this in a few days. Will keep you posted!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A message to my Lady - as told my Miss Bug

Dear Lady,

I do not like that you have gone back to work this week. While I didn't like you sitting at home crying, I liked knowing where you were and not being left home with the evil Bagheera and Nin. I was good most of the week while you were gone and communicated my unhappiness but hiding under the bed when you were home.

Then you didn't come home on Thursday. (editors note: The Lady worked out of town one night this week).  You took your bag and didn't take me. I was very upset. I talked to you on the phone, but it wasn't the same. . The man let me have access to my cave during the day and I ate 3 of your books (the man had like 7 or 8 books sitting there as well, but I wasn't mad at him) and chewed part of a nesting doll. I wanted you to know that I don't like it when you go away!

The man was angry at me when he found my big mess. You didn't get to see it because he had cleaned it up.  I was a little bit upset about this, but I was so excited to have you home that I forgot I was mad at you and I just wanted to be with you.

I am glad you were not mad at me for eating your books. I am glad you understand that it has been hard for me to adjust to being an only dog and to not having you at my beck and call. I am glad we could have the best snuggle on the couch ever last night.

I love you,

Look at that smile!
Your Hailey Bug

Friday, August 26, 2011

Drowning Reported - Beaver Saved


Beaver, aged 3 weeks, is the latest victim in in Ottawa home. His body was pulled from the water dish. Lady was first on the scene and was able to pull Beaver to safety and ring him out. He is now resting comfortably. 

Witnesses say several minutes before the body was discovered Beaver was seen playing with Miss Hailey Bug. When asked, Miss Bug said "I left him over here, I told him to be careful, but I guess he didn't listen."  It has been confirmed that Miss Bug was under the bed when Beaver was found. 

Those investigating the crime say it appears it was an accidental almost drowning, although there were clearly signs of former trauma to his body. He had recently required stitches in his back due to "an accident" that occurred while playing with Miss Hailey Bug.  Police continue to investigate. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Letter to my people


A specialist in interpreting symbols has provided a reading on this symbol left by Miss Hailey Bug.

Dear People,

While I love you very much (because if I didn't I would make one hell of a bigger mess), I wanted to tell you how much I hate when you take my things from me. I know that you often think the parts of my toys (like the stuffing, or a limb) are garbage but they are mine. Stop throwing them out, or you will pay.


How the specialist came to this:
Lee had ripped up the box that held the garbage bags, but didn't touch the bags.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Grief

Miss you Gemi!

While I usually use this blog as a place to discuss the good and funny things about being a dog owner, I feel I would be remiss if I avoided the shitty parts.

I have learned a lot about grief in the 3 weeks since I said good bye to my beautiful princess.

I have lost a number of people I have loved very much, but I have never felt loss like I do over Gemi. It is even more heartache then when my Loki died. I think the circumstances of her death add a traumatic component that I have never had with loss before. My sister pointed out that our princess would want to have the death that everyone remembered, she would have wanted to out do Loki. This is so true. My girl was dramatic until the end. (Thinking of that makes me smile!)

When a wave of grief comes (and they come at random times sometimes with clear triggers and sometimes without), it is like the air around me is suddenly hot and heavy and pushing on my body. I feel like I am going to suffocate. I can't breathe or move. Everything hurts. I feel trapped in an invisible prison that I am sure I am never going to get out of. In these moments there is nothing I can do, but cry and wait for it to pass. It can last minutes, hours, or days.

Even when I am standing outside my grief (that is what it feels like when the worst is not upon me), I have noticed changes, that I hope will pass. I have trouble concentrating (thankfully I work for myself and it is a quiet time for me, so only being able to work half a day is ok). I am extra anxious about safety, mine and others. If I perceive anything as unsafe, I feel panic arise and I may have freaked out a few times over things that were probably really safe. There are some things I can't do, like I can't take Lee to the dog park alone. I am too worried she will hurt others or get hurt, or run away and what am I going to do with no dog? I have a really hard time remembering my Gemi before the accident. It feels like those 6 years have been erased and replaced with 5 hellish days. In the worst moments, I feel guilt for what happened, even though rationally I know it was an accident and I did everything reasonable during and after. Accidents happen and they really suck.

I guess the draw back to having dogs, is you fall in love with them. Loving a dog so much and having her love you so much sets you up for a loss unlike any other. I am sure I will come to the point where the joy my princess brought me for 6 years will outshine the grief. I just need to be patient (and patience is not something that comes easy to me!)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why we dig up the backyard

It is a place to bury the raw hide. I am ok with it outside, I am not as happy when it needs to come back into the house. This raw hid was dug up after 3 weeks. The debate in our house, is it safe for her to eat? 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A tour of the backyard

video

I am not going to pretend that we ever had a great backyard. Yard work is not something we enjoy. The only reason we haven't paved it is for the dog(s). Today when sweeping, I realize we live a reverse Shawshank Redemption, the dirt is slowly being brought into the house instead of out.  While her digging can be annoying (the destroyed yard, dirt everywhere, dirt prints everywhere),  the joy it brings her, priceless. Dig on my pup!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Using her paws

Lee uses her paws like hands more than I thought a dog could or would. She usually uses them to demand love (as shown above) and she can really hold on, she is a strong girl! She also uses them for holding her kong, and playing with her babies.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Story as told by Lee


My people are fairly good to me,  they have been kind enough to make sure I have some babies to play with. I love babies! However, they limit how, when and where I can play with the babies. First, if I finally get a good hole in a baby and am taking out the stuffing they take it away. 
Second, they don't really like me taking my babies into the backyard. When I do, they go and get them and bring them back in. If they are dirty they take them away for days. They take them to the cats territory, so they come back contaminated and then I have to rip them apart and get them dirty to make them mine again. 
And finally, and perhaps most insulting, they limit the number of babies I am allowed to have out at a time. The Lady bought this box to keep my extra babies in. For months I have been thinking about this and finally this week I had enough of being limited and figured out how to open my box and get my babies. Now I can take all my babies into the yard at the same time!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

My house will never truly be clean

As I was cleaning the house yesterday I realized, my house is never going to be truly clean while I have pets. I pictured all those beautiful homes I have been in, the ones without pet prints and fur covering everything, the carpets that have never been peed on or received a hairball present, and for a moment I was envious.

But while I was trying to get all the pet hair off the floor (I have yet to find one product that gets 100% of it), and I was scrubbing the latest hairball spot, I asked myself "Would you really give up all the joy of having the 3 black beasts in your house, to have a perfectly clean house?" The answer was no I would not. So in spite the fact that it is an endless battle to keep the place acceptable (although it makes a great excuse when it is not), I wouldn't trade the pet fur and bodily fluids for anything. Let's just try and keep them all on the hardwood though, they are killer to get out of the carpet!
The foot print from a hug Lee gave me when she returned from digging in the yard



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Do you remember me?

Yesterday was a BBQ for the rescue that saved Hailey Bug, Catahoula rescue (again, we don't think she is Catahoula, how she got to this rescue is a long story).

Exhausted pup on the way home!
Lee was not herself yesterday. She was more stressed in the car than usual. She got out of her harness in the car. When we got there the first person we saw was her foster mom and one of her foster brothers. She was thrilled to see the foster brother.  She clearly remembered him. She was very avoidant with her foster mom and the head of the rescue. We wonder if she did remember then but was scared that they may take her away. She was more interested in smelling the ground than the people or other dogs. She seemed stress overall.  She was completely exhausted after the adventure (which was great for us!). It could also be that she is not use to going to things like this solo.

At any rate the rescue people couldn't believe how great she looked and how she seemed calmer (which is relative, but for a understanding of how she is much calmer now, read early blog posts). They were also very happy that in spite of everything (again read the blog) we still loved our LeeLee Bug. (Apparently we are crazy!).

It was nice to see some of the wonderful people who helped bring our little devil into our life. They were the amazing people at the end of the rescue chain. Our heartfelt thanks to them, and the people at the beginning of the chain in Ohio who saved her, and all of the people in between who were involved with saving her.

Dog rescue folks are a special breed of people - members of the angel breed:)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Trick

video

This is a new trick we are trying to teach. Our ultimate goal is that she will go directly to the toy we show her (and she is doing that about 50% of the time, the issues occur for her when we switch toys).

Friday, August 12, 2011

Rant: Pick up your dog's goddamn poop!

I have tried to make this blog more about the funny and sometimes tragic stories of dog ownership, but  today I have to rant.

Yesterday at the dog park we watched a dog poop about 50 feet from her owner. My husband commented to the owner about her poop style (as she sort of ran while pooping and it was amusing). The owner said something like "she always does that" and did nothing to pick it up. It was in the middle of the field where someone could step in it. I wanted to scream at him "Pick up the f**king sh@t you lazy b*stard" but instead said nothing, and didn't even pick it up myself (I will often do that while out). I have noticed an increasing amount of poop around the neighbourhood and at the park, and clearly it is urking me off!

I just can't understand why a dog owner wouldn't pick it up. Do what you want in your backyard, but at a public shared space show some goddamn respect! It is not like I get up in the morning and say "great today I am going to get to pick up poop and probably scoop cat litter, how exciting" but I know doing it is a part of responsible pet ownership.  It is not like it is a particularly challenging thing to do either.

I will admit that if my dog(s) have gone in the bush or the like I may be guilting of not picking it up, but when they go in plain sight or clearly in a public space I will pick it up for sure (even if no one is watching).

Here is a funny story (instead of my rant). Many years ago when we still had our little Loki we were out on a walk. I can't remember the exact circumstances (if he had already gone or if we had forgotten a bag or what), but he pooped and we were without a bag. We didn't want to leave it on the boulevard, so we were brainstorming something to do. Near the poop was a discarded Timmie's cup and somehow we got the poop in the cup. Really we were doing a service to the community picking up both our poop and someone else's litter.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Save Me!

The setting: A thunderstorm. The man had come home, spent some time with the Lee and then gone to his dog free man zone in the basement. (The dungeon, as we call it, is deep in cat territory). The lady is not home yet.

The event: Lady comes home. She is not greeted at the door by the Lee. She calls and the man does not respond. The man's car is in the driveway and the Lee's leash is by the front door. It is a mystery.

They Lady keeps calling and finally from the basement emerges the Lee followed by the man.

Apparently during the storm, the Lee decided she was done being alone. She pushed her way down the basement to be with the man. On the way, she ate the rest of the cats dinner (perhaps afraid we might be without supplies during the storm). She and he had taken refuge in the basement.

Oh our girl!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Keeping her busy

Hailey has adjusted to only puppy life better than I would have imagined. I think she has us well trained enough to know what works best for her. We are making sure she is getting lots of exercise. She and I are walking nearly an hour most mornings (it depends how hot it is!). She is getting a shorter walk or run in the evening, not to mention all the attention and play.

When we have to leave her, we have been doing a great job at cleaning the place so there is nothing for her to destroy. I leave her with a kong and I hide other treats around the downstairs. It is my hope that this will help keep her busy. So far so good.


Monday, August 8, 2011

I don't do that now

Since becoming an only puppy Lee has developed some interesting quirks, she is afraid to go outside at night. Before she would go out if Gemi went or not. Earlier last week when I would suggest it, she would run and hide.. I had to physically drag her outside and stay out with her.  Now she will go onto the deck, but still wants you to go out with her.


Thankfully the days are long! I hope this habit goes away before the winter comes:)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Can she learn to type?


I set my computer down the other day and Lee jumped up and took this position. She touched something with her paw that made it beep, so she kept pushing it! What is she trying to do on the computer?

a) send an email asking for general help
b) Skype her man in England
c) looking at petfinder.com for a friend
d) Using FaceTime to chat with her friends at the lake

Friday, August 5, 2011

What is she trying to say?


I am a behaviour analyst, therefore I spend my life trying to figure out the meaning, aka function of behaviour.  What could this mess that I found when I came home after Lee's first long day alone be saying? (Note this is my sewing kit that has been sitting on the same shelf for several months and she has never gone near it).

a) I hate being alone, the cats don't play my games well enough. I need a new friend. Get me a puppy!
b) If I destroy this you can't fix my babies and I can pull all their stuffing out.
c) I need more exercise, you never take me out! (Which would be a lie we went for a super long walk before I left)
d) This was in a stupid place. I don't like it. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dogs do mourn

There are many famous stories of dog’s mourning the loss of loved ones. I remember the statue of a dog in Scotland. I wikkied the story and here it is:
Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for purportedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, John Gray (Old Jock), until he died himself on 14 January 1872.[1] A year later, Lady Burdett-Coutts had a statue and fountain erected at the southern end of the George IV Bridge to commemorate him. (Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greyfriars_Bobby)

Gemi mourned for Loki. She would sit and cry and cry and cry, and I felt so bad that I got her Hailey.

Hailey is mourning as well. She is not as dramatic as my princess was, but she does spend time walking around the house whining. Every time we come in from a walk, she desperately searches the house. She has also been calmer than usual, although the past 24 hours she has shown more signs of being ready to play. Let’s hope she adjusts to this only dog world (I am not mentally prepared to get her a friend yet, if ever!)
Needing some love

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Life goes on

While there have been many very challenging moments in the past week, the world has gone on. I think I have said "Keep Calm and Carry On" and "Just breathe" thousands of times.  So far we are moving on.

I was reminded of how the world continues, even when we would like it to stop,  right after I returned from my final farewell with Gemi. 

Setting the stage: Because Miss Hailey Bug is a very busy little girl and a curious one, we have had to put a gate at the top of our basement stairs so she won't sneak down and eat the cat food. We have also had to keep the recycling there because she figures out how to get to it in the kitchen. The gate is set so that the cats can get under it, but big Lee cannot. For 10 months we have had the gate sitting in a certain way and Miss Bug has never gotten down with the gate.  

The reminder: When I was out for maybe 1.5 hours, Miss Bug figured out how to wiggle under the gate (the gate was not knocked down), eat all the cat food and tear items apart in the recycling bin. When I discovered this, I just sat on the stairs and laughed! Oh my Bug!

Some of the aftermath of Lee's recycling



Monday, August 1, 2011

In memory of Gemini



Gemini – March 10, 2005 to August 1, 2011





With heavy hearts we share the devastating news of the death of our beloved Princess Gemini Cricket. Her death was due to injuries that resulted from a tragic accident.

Gemini was an appropriate name for our girl, she was truly a contradiction. One minute she might be snubbing you for some small oversight and the next minute demand attention from you. She may demand treats and then refuse to eat them. She never wanted to be left out, and worked hard to keep up with other dogs, but always at her own pace and on her terms. In a split second she could move from being the gentlest soul in the world, to violently humping one of the cats. She preferred humans to other dogs, but was not herself as an only dog. She needed someone to rule over!

She had many bad habits – she was a poo eater and she would not settle until she had successfully nipped members of her pack when they arrived home or to visit. She suffered an anxiety disorder that meant she never would wander far, but also meant at various times she ate the wall, developed obsessive drinking and peeing that ruined the carpets, and often hid from non-pack members in her house. Most of the time it just manifested itself in her wanting the dog toys piled in a particular way.

We would like her to be remembered as a sweet demanding princess who was happiest running free, getting pets (especially if she got them over other dogs) or laying in a sunbeam.

We would like to take this time to send a heartfelt thanks to the staff at the Ottawa Veterinarian Hospital who worked tirelessly to save our princess. Knowing that such loving people were keeping our girl comfortable made this very difficult time a little easier.

Gemi, if there is a puppy heaven, we hope you are taking Loki’s toys from him and putting them in a pile.


Kristen, Drew, Hailey, Bagheera and Cinder

Please note there probably won't be much blogging for a few days as our pack mourns the loss of our princess.