Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Having a dog is a lot of work. Having 2 dogs is REALLY a lot of work. When one of those dogs decides, after nearly 2 weeks of perfect behavior, to start peeing where ever she wants whenever she wants with very little warning, well, let's just say those aren't your favorite moments.

I've never had a dog before, so when we adopted our first dog, Elwood, I knew I was in for a brand new experience. We set ourselves up for a very interesting experience by picking the most skittish dog at the pound. When we was in his cage, he wouldn't go anywhere near the front, remaining in the way back, as far out of sight as possible. It took him a couple weeks before Jenn and I were allowed to be in the same room together without upsetting him. And while he's a very different dog now than he was when we adopted him, he's still extremely wary of strangers and isn't afraid to let you know it. Visitors are greeted with non stop barking from a dog that won't go anywhere near them. And anyone that approaches to pet him while we're out on our walks will only end up petting our legs because Elwood will be hiding behind us like a 2 year old at a family reunion. But for all his issues, he's actually a very smart dog. He picks up rather quickly on the commands covered in the obedience class we attend. Any limitations in learning are a direct result of my lack of time to train him. He is super loving, too. If allowed, he would lick Jenn or I all night. His preferred spot to rest is wherever he can find a lap.

Then we got Greta. She was my pick as Jenn was the one that chose Elwood. I picked her based on the fact that, when she came into the viewing room, she was the only dog that came directly to us rather than sniffing around the room for something else and likely more interesting. As Jenn says, she is the most loving female dog she has ever seen. For the first week, she wouldn't tug on the leash the slightest bit. She would reserve all bodily functions (except for burps, which she does frequently) for outside. She also had to be sequestered from Elwood. That was fun. When we brought Elwood to the pound for the doggie meet and greet to make sure they would get along, the wrestled with each other for 10 minutes straight. No break. Just a ball of fur rolling around on the floor. They attempted to recreate the scene every time they would see each other in passing. And then she had her stitches removed and they were allowed to meet. And for 2 days straight, there was nothing but more rough housing. I swear it would have never stopped if we ourselves hadn't had enough and put an end to it. Thankfully, they've calmed down a bit now and have cut the play fighting to about 50 minutes of every hour. If we can have it down to 40 by Christmas, it will indeed be a Christmas miracle. Coincidently or not, the doggie introduction coincided with Greta starting to covertly tinkle inside whenever she had the opportunity. The opportunity would be, specifically, whenever no one was looking. It started when we noticed our kitchen mat was wet but neither of us had done any dishes. Then the mat by the door was wet and it wasn't raining. Then the bedroom carpet was wet when she had been kept separate for a little while. It's only been a month, but this has definitely been a struggle. It was over a week before we actually caught her doing it to where we could yell no at her and run her outside. We now have to take her out every couple hours "just in case". And even that isn't frequent enough as just yesterday she went on the floor - privately - after having been walked 20 minutes before. Other than that, she really is a wonderful dog. She likes giving affectionate head-butts. She LOVES everyone, no matter who. Just about everyone loves her, too. If she could talk, she'd probably ask for a pet squirrel for Christmas. Most importantly, her and Elwood are huge friends.

Oddly enough, that last bit is part of the problem with having 2 dogs. First of all, they're usually way more interested in each other than anything you're doing anymore. Elwood isn't quite as interested in lap time any more. And when you need to get one of them to do something, good luck. The other would much rather continue the Fight for Doggie Dominance. I'm hoping that this is a temporary phase. I mean how long can dogs bite each other's ears and legs before it just gets boring and it's time to move on to paying attention tot eh humans again? It is entertaining for a while, but eventually, you don't want to hear the pitter patter of little paws any more. The aftermath isn't all that fun, or snuggly, either: 2 slobbery dogs.

Clearly, there are things that need some getting used to. Seeing Jenn lose her cool with them makes me feel less like an ogre when I'm about ready to lock them both up in a cage forever. Overall, though, the dog owning experience is an extremely positive one. I still have a lot to learn as do they. I'm definitely looking forward to the day when the greet each other with a couple licks and sniffs and that's the extent of it. Even more so, I am anxious for the day when we can leave Greta alone in a room and her not leave any puddles behind. I understand way dog owners are so passionate about their pets. These are animals that have a lot of love to give. And it's extremely rewarding when they do give it.


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10:53 PM  

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