Monday, June 29, 2009

Hello World! It's Smilin' Shelley!

Anyone who knows my husband and I, even casually, knows that we are both insane about our dogs. So while no one would put us on a talk show about loving our dogs too much (we do not dress them up with wardrobes that cost more than ours or anything psycho like that), we do have this intense respect and love for dogs.

So, when I quit my corporate job, we both had the thought, if we're getting another dog, the best time will be while I'm at home 80% of the day. I spent about a month putting it off because I realized the enormous stress and requisite stress of adding another dog to the household.

Then, we migrated to the Orvis in The Woodlands Market Street one Saturday. And we were both perfectly aware it was the first Saturday of the month, where GRRH parades out their available goldens to sucker people into adopting them. (Usually it's not too hard.)

I had already had my eye on one dog from the website, who had already been adopted. But some of the fabulous volunteers (who all know Chris and I as owning the GRRH alumni that sleeps on his back in the recliner) told us to send in information on what sort of dog we'd want to foster.

So I submitted what basically amounts to a Manifesto on the type of dog we want for our house. Part of it is just selfishness, but we do have our sweet Dante, who we made a committment to first, and we have to honor that above all else. If Dante is happy and the dog is not destructive to our property, we'd be happy to make him/her a part of our permanent pack.

Weeks went by, and I thought I turned the board of the rescue group off by being too demanding. Then I got a call. For a pup named "Ashley"--18 months old. Given up by her family, who has 3 young children because she's just too much for the stay at home wife to handle. Housebroken. Allegedly undestructive.

We were sucked in. She came over on a Sunday morning. The parents were what I call "the beautiful people" who were very kind and nice and cared about where she went. But couldn't be bothered with all that came with a 1.5 year old golden. So we spent about 15-20 minutes together watching the dogs play before they left her. The mom of the dog cried and he was obviously emotional.

Then...she was with us alone.

First and foremost, I have to say that this pup has the longest legs I've ever seen on a dog as well as the hugest paws. She almost has the face of a hound/mastiff instead of a golden. She's a lot taller than Dante, so he's having to come up with creative ways to take her down and dominate her. :) There's been a whole lot of humpin going on to help her understands who is boss. There's been no escalated altercations where we've had to step in, either.

I don't see any temperament or personality isssues yet that can't be attributed to the fact that she is so very young. She is a jumper, so we're having her SIT before we pet her, before she can come in the house, dinner time, and whenever she approaches us. She is such a loving dog--she's so happy and content being pet and getting attention. I'm actually seeing no separation anxiety as of yet. She shadows Chris and I around and I'm afraid she may be a little of a daddy's girl, which I will work to start changing. :)

She is the loudest and messiest drinker I have ever seen, even worse than ny sister's sweet golden, Atticus---she shoves her whole nose into the water bowl to drink.

They've been really good at meal times--they each would really rather eat the other's food. They have her on this strange Rachael Ray dog food that Dante would REALLY prefer to eat, and she seems to like how his food tastes. They don't growl at each other while they're swapping food either, so I get to stand and referee them into their corners and make sure they eat the food they should be eating.

They also did a really good job last night of sharing bones.

It was breaking my heart because it is clear that she has little experience with bones, she doesn't know how to hold them and normally only gets two or 3 large yomps in on the bone before she's sent it flying across the room. Her family sent her to us with only 3 toys, so she's having a blast raiding the toybox. She also kinda ducks her head and shies away when you reach for her collar, so I suspect she's been dragged around by her collar once or twice in her lifetime.

Her old family indicates that she doesn't need to be in a crate b/c she is housebroken and non-destructive. This appears to be the case--she doesn't nab shoes or objects and has had no accidents in the house. We decided to leave her out at night enclosed in our bedroom. I am such a light sleeper and so anxious that I'll wake up if I hear mischief.

However, I will still be kenneling her during the day when I'm gone. 18 month goldens are not to be trusted, no matter what that family says! I do not like coming home to surprises.

Last night, she actually slept IN the bed pressed up against my back for the entire night. It was quite cramped, especially after Chris' alarm clock went off and Dante climbed up straight in the middle of the bed. So it looks like I'll be getting up with Chris, even on the mornings I don't get up at 4:45 to teach. No rest for weary dog Moms.

I'm going to take her in to my vet for an inspection and just to make sure we're doing the right thing on dominance issues with Dante. She's got some itchy patches and sore spots on her skin. I'm not happy at all with the condition of the coat, it has that wiry feel that I remember Dante's coat had when he was so sick with heartworms.

One last funny thing--she's a horrible racist. Any time a black person comes on the television, she barks and charges it. So we're not watching a lot of Michael Jackson coverage.

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