Rescuing Dottie

Four years ago this August, I sent my sweet Scooter across the Rainbow Bridge; it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

It took me a long time to decide I wanted another dog, but last year I started yearning for another, so Beloved bowed to the inevitable and put out feelers on Facebook for another dachshund or dachshund mix.

We were very specific about what we wanted – an adult dog that was house-trained, past the puppy “chewing” stage, and that would at least be tolerant of our new grandson (more on that later this week).  Most of the dogs we found that were up for adoption were snatched up before we could do much more than inquire about them, so in July when we found a solid black female dachshund mix for adoption in Birmingham, Alabama I didn’t ask about her because I figured she’d be gone just as quickly as the others.

Lo and behold, nearly a month later, the person who’d located her for us asked, again, if we were interested.  I contacted the foster there who, in retrospect, seemed a little too eager to adopt Dottie out.  (I discovered later that while the foster was disingenuous, if not quite dishonest, about some of the dog’s less-than-desirable qualities, solid black dogs are notoriously difficult to find homes for, and I’m still not sure why.)  We began the paperwork to adopt her, paid the appropriate fees, and found ourselves – quickly, under questionable circumstances that I won’t go into here – driving ten hours to Birmingham to get her.

Maybe not the smartest move in the world, adopting a dog sight unseen, but we were sad about her plight – we’d been told she was a puppy mill mom, which should have been suspicious right off the bat since she was only two years old and not a purebred.  (When I finally received her paperwork from the shelter from which she’d been rescued, she was listed as a stray – she was too healthy and too friendly to have been abused, and my theory is she was just the result of some very irresponsible owners who never had her spayed or registered and let her run loose, and she was picked up by the local dog catcher.)  We’d also been told she’d been scheduled to be euthanized while at the shelter and rescued by the foster, and that much is true.

We both fell in love with her the minute we saw her, and although she growled at me initially, the feeling was mutual as far as Beloved was concerned and she’s been his abject slave ever since, albeit an occasionally recalcitrant one, at least in the beginning.

We’d been told she was energetic, but that is something of an understatement – This. Dog. Never. Stops.  And she was definitely NOT past the puppy chewing phase, as my kitchen cupboards and dinette set will attest to; she is, in fact, what’s known as an “aggressive chewer” – there are chew toys, antlers and the sad remains of squeaky toys all over the house (but she’s no longer eating the furniture). She’s the first dog I’ve ever kenneled, because she’s the first dog I ever had to kennel; in truth, it turned out to be a wise decision, because she’s so curious and exuberant, if left to her own devices she will get into all SORTS of trouble (one day I’ll have to post the photos of the living room after she yarn-bombed it with $60 worth of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky).

Dottie also loves to run – boy, does she love to run – and is an accomplished escape artist; our yard simply cannot contain her (although that is getting better).  She also has a talent, as I mentioned earlier, for getting into trouble; in the first three months we had her, she was attacked by ground wasps – she ran through their nest in the back yard – and grazed by a car (see the “escape artist” comment above), fracturing her tailbone.  In the beginning, we questioned our sanity, bringing what we now affectionately refer to as “The Hell Hound” into our home.

But if Beloved and I share any two qualities, it’s our stubbornness and sense of responsibility – we’d adopted her and we were going to keep her and make it work, by golly.  We began by enrolling her in two obedience courses at the local Pet Smart (where she frequently had her trainer in stitches) and she did well.  We have worked tirelessly with her and she’s come such a long way in the last year – she’s still energetic and exuberant, but she’s no longer destructive and when she does escape the yard, we rarely have to hunt her down; she’s close by and comes when we call (and, boy howdy, wasn’t THAT an accomplishment).  In fact, these days we can take her into the front yard without her leash and she stays on our property, even if there are children out – she loves, loves, loves to play and be petted.

At any rate, that’s the story of how we rescued Dottie.  We love her to pieces, and although Beloved will deny that – it’s some kind of guy thing, I guess – she adores him beyond all measure.  And she’s pretty fond of me, too.

I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about her in the future.

Trippingly On the Tongue…

The subject of this week’s Spin Cycle is “words” and Jen fully admits she is trying to trip me up with this one.

Fat chance.

As parents, Beloved and I like to think we have done/are doing a reasonably good job of teaching our children the importance of language.  We must be, because they all have above-average vocabularies and none of them have any problem expressing themselves, especially verbally.

Most of the time I’m grateful, as well as proud, of that…although I have to admit there are times I’d like to jab my own eardrums out with an icepick.  (Is a little peace and quiet around here too much to ask?!?!)

We’ve never made much of a fuss about the kids using curse words, at least once they reach about 14, simply because the words lose their shock value if we don’t freak out unduly.  Oh, I’ll tell them to tone it down if they’re getting carried away, and I also like to remind them, from time to time, that excessive cursing is the refuge of the ignorant and illiterate – those who cannot not find a more appropriate way to express themselves.

That being said, I’ve been known to utter a few choice words myself from time to time and when I’m really, really angry I start channeling Lenny Bruce – my, shall we say, creative use of language could peel the bark off of a tree.  Or stop a teenager dead in their tracks.

Sometimes, the choice words just slip out all on their own.  Usually in the most inappropriate place possible.

As I mentioned recently, poor Scooter has been having a little difficulty doing his doggy business out in the back yard.  So yesterday I took an hour off from work and we paid the vet a visit.  Now, Scooter is kind of what you’d call “high strung” and he does not like being handled, especially by strangers.  Then there’s the small fact that he doesn’t like his vet at all (yes, we’re looking for another).

This visit started reasonably well – at least, Scooter didn’t try to bite off any of the vet’s fingers.  He let himself be picked up and placed on the examination table, and let himself be poked and prodded.  The vet said he seemed all right, but he wanted to do a rectal exam.  I gave my consent, and they took him from the room.

NOT a good sign.  About 30 seconds later, I heard my poor dog begin to yelp, and squeal and then, finally, shriek.  This went on for 3 hours about 15 seconds before it stopped and the poor, harried-looking assistant brought him back in and pointed to his leash, indicating silently yet eloquently that I was to restrain my little monster.  The vet then came in to tell me that he never got to do the exam – all that noise was just from touching Scooter’s backside.  He then proceeded to tell me that I’d have to bring my baby back in and drop him off so they could sedate him and perform the exam.  (Note:  Scooter has similar reactions to having his nails trimmed without prior medication, so we don’t know if it was because he was sore back there, or if it was simply due to his temperament.)

Was I crazy about the idea?  No, but I want to make sure my dog is healthy, so I agreed and the vet ushered me back out into the waiting area with what I thought was just a tad too much enthusiasm.

So.  I have a small dog who is excitable under the best of circumstances and has just spent 20 minutes in a place he doesn’t like, being poked and prodded by a person he doesn’t like, only to have this person he doesn’t like try to, well, go in via the out door.  Frankly, I’d probably be a little skittish myself – poor Scooter was bouncing off the walls.

I’m also ashamed to admit that Scooter doesn’t have a lot of interaction with other dogs during the normal course of daily life, so when he does find himself in an environment with more than, say, one other dog (he ignores cats, oddly enough) the whole “excitable” thing kicks up a notch or two to “frantic.”  When we were shoved escorted back to the waiting area , it was populated by a small lhasa apso, a springer spaniel puppy and a full-grown, standard boxer that, if it stood on its hind legs, would have been taller than me by six inches.

It was a recipe for disaster.

Scooter immediately tried to eat the head of the puppy, and when that didn’t work he decided an attempt to disembowel the boxer was in order (the lhasa apso was snatched off of the ground by his owner, who promptly went to cower in the corner).  I reeled Scooter’s leash in and latched it, while trying to simultaneously keep him behind me and keep an eye on the boxer, who looked like he was wondering how many bites it would take to consume a 17-pound dachshund/beagle mix.

While all of that was going on, the receptionist was shoving 12 different consent forms in my face so they could sedate my demon hound from Hell Scooter on his return visit, all while explaining (poorly) to me what all they were going to do to him and trying to get me to look at a list of charges so I’d know exactly how much I the whole fiasco was going to cost.

Then my phone rang, and because of my contract of indentured servitude I take business calls on my cell phone I cannot ignore it.  So I am answering my phone and trying to sign the 12 different consent forms and letting the receptionist know yes – I want the heartworm AND flea and tick medication and trying to keep an eye on a very large dog and trying not to step on my own dog while I shield him from the very large dog with my chubby little body when snap!

The catch on Scooter’s leash popped loose and he shot across the floor as if he’d been launched from a cannon, straight at the boxer.

Stumbling and barely keeping my balance, I dropped my phone, threw the pen and papers at the receptionist, grabbed Scooter’s leash and yanked, snapping him back just as the boxer was preparing to receive a small snack of wiener dog, hold the mustard.

And yelled “MOTHER F*CKER!!!!

At the top of my lungs.

Believe it or not, they’re still willing to see him on Friday.  But I may never know who called.

RTT: Marketing and Mayhem

Random Tuesday Thoughts

I almost always wake up before Beloved does, especially during the week – I like to make sure The Young One is up and ready for school (he’s actualy pretty good about it for a 14-year-old boy).  Yesterday, after he left for the bus stop, I went back to our bedroom to wake Beloved up.

Still more asleep than awake, he said to me, “I figured out what’s wrong with the Captain Morgan rum advertising.”

“Oh?” I asked, completely unsurprised the man was working in his sleep.

“Mmm-hmmm.  There’s no girl on her knees in front of him.”

I laughed for five straight minutes – that was just so…male.  And so Beloved.  I’ll never be able to watch a Captain Morgan commercial again without bursting into hysterical giggles.

Why, oh why, does the dog insist on standing directly outside my bedroom door at 2 a.m., licking the tile?  I dribbled coffee on the kitchen floor, too – go in there, it’s on the other side of the house.  You can start on these floors after I’m up.

Speaking of the dog…does it make me a bad person because when he got loose yesterday and pooped on the crazy woman’s lawn across the street, I pretended not to notice and waited to call him in until after he was done?

The Young One may have another piece published in the school’s literary magazine.  I am so glad the kid has decided to take journalism next year in high school.

The Cliche Plot

by The Young One

On a dark, stormy night, a generic, overly-beautiful girl is kidnapped by the over-sized, green, scaly dragon of some random cardinal map direction.  They only person who can save her is some loser who turns completely awesome and slays the dragon with some magic sword from a “wizard”.  He gets the girl and lives happily ever after.

And after THAT is divorce, child support and IRS back taxes.

The End

The child obviously has a brilliant future writing cheesy youth fiction about sparkly vampires.

For more Random Tuesday Thoughts, visit The Un-Mom.

The Acquisition of Scooter

The wonderful Midlife Slices has an amusing post today about someone I suspect is the newest member of her family – an adorable black-and-white kitten they’ve named Oscar Littlefoot.

He’s adorable mostly because he’s not in my house.

I’ve been anti-cat all of my life, but that’s probably because I’m allergic to them – if I get too close to one, my face swells up until I look like a Cabbage Patch Kid that’s taken a bad beating.  Eyesight and breathing through my nose become an impossibility until you take the horrible beast away and the Benadryl kicks in.

While I’m not anti-dog per se, Beloved and I, long before we ever became husband and wife, decided we didn’t want any pets. Period. We had more than enough kids, thank you very much – what the heck did we need with something that wouldn’t be able to exploit us in our old age?

However, in the Spring of 2003, Beloved’s younger daughter brought Scooter home and made it clear that if we didn’t let her keep him, she would go throw herself under the wheels of the nearest garbage truck next trash day and we’d all be sorry then.  The fact that the rest of the kids were “oohing” and “ahhing” and making a huge fuss over him didn’t help matters a bit, and before we knew it we’d been railroaded into giving room and board to a six-month-old, ten-pound set of teeth.

Because HE. CHEWED. EVERYTHING.  If it wasn’t red-hot or nailed down, it was fair game for Scooter.  On second thought, being nailed down was no guarantee that he wouldn’t gnaw it loose and rip it to shreds, and as soon as the red-hot items cooled down to oh, 400 F or so, they became at risk as well.  Rawhide toys and various other doggie chew deterrents did no good – he’d merely rend them to bits in record time and then return his attention to our shoes, garbage cans, furniture and ankles.

Nor was putting things up where he couldn’t reach them any help, because his short little legs are deceptive and there is no place out of his reach.  Counters, tables, desks and appliances were all leapt upon if he felt they might hold something worth investigating, and it wasn’t unusual for us to walk into the family room and find him draped over the back of the sofa, like a cat.

If it weren’t for the fact that he came to us housetrained, I have a sneaking suspicion we’d have spent the next several weeks warning the Euless Department of Sanitation to be on the lookout for a desperate and dogless 11-year-old.

Time has passed and he has outgrown his desire to chew everything in site and jump on every available surface.  He’s probably not as well-trained as he should be – he barks at everthing that passes in front of the house (for some reason, bicycles particularly seem to bother him) and he will try to jump on people when they come into the house, although since he weighs all of 16 pounds this isn’t as much of an issue as it would be if he were, say, a Saint Bernard – but his love and adoration for all of us is so obvious that we can’t help but love him back.

We never wanted a Scooter, but we’re glad we’ve got the Scooter.