Sunday, March 26, 2006

"test cat"

I've been focusing on two things lately: the work I do to pay the mortgage and the work I'm doing with Dudley. A couple of weeks ago I posted about Dudley's home playdate with Bandit, but for the past few weeks he's also been spending a considerable amount of time at daycare with a Katrina rescue that's been fostered by the fine folks who run his "camp". His new friend's name is Dyna and she's a 14-month old American Bulldog mix (my guess is the mix is pointer) who's still riding high on puppy power and they've been seeing each other in day-care 3 times per week for a couple weeks. For the most part things have gone well, the only time Dud acts poorly is if she's still jumping on his head after 8 hours of play and he's ready to call it a night. Last week, I knew I had to go out of town for a meeting, so I switched Dud to Tues/Thursday daycare (actually Tuesday daycare with boarding starting Thursday morning) and left the office early on Wednesday to see how well Dudley would react to Dyna coming to his house. My friend, co-worker, and all around crazy animal lady, Diane (Bandit's mommy) came to help. They were great on lead immediately and walked well together - even when challenged by a rather sizable black retriever (he looks somewhere between a lab and a newf) that used to send Dud on a bark extravaganza. The reaction when we brought Dyna in the house was similar to the one he had to Bandit, though the severity had decreased by at least half in comparison. I was pretty excited at the improvement, called my mom to tell her how well he was doing and, in response to her question of who owned Dyna, heard myself describing the situation by reminding her of the "test cat" the SPCA tossed in front of Dudley to see how he'd react to a cat. I think my mom knows what I'm up to but won't come out and ask because she's afraid she's right. I've always been a total sucker for animals and would probably be the crazy animal lady if it weren't for Dudley's issues. When the folks at the pound told me Dudley would have to be an only dog, my first thought was "good because that's probably the only way to prevent me from increasing my pack". To be honest, even if Dud had no issues, I quickly realized that his presence made the cat's last 4 years less than wonderful so I would have waited until the cat died to consider adopting another rescue anyway. A month after the cat died was the first time Diane asked me if I would consider adopting another dog as one of her friends had come across another coon hound (blue tick female) in desperate need of a home. I prayed to G-d to give me a clear sign - if someone else adopted her immediately, I really needed to wait to consider whether Dud would ever accept another dog. My prayer's were answered, the blue tick was adopted immediately and I was really bummed but figured G-d had said his piece. Unfortunately, I'd been perusing petfinder and other sites and came across dogs I was shocked hadn't been just snatched up and a bunch of coon hound owers looking to get rid of their "needy" adult hounds (for shame, one lady wanted to get rid of her adult dog because it was afraid of the linoleum in the kitchen floor - heaven forbid they put down rugs or replace the flooring). Reading these stories (and watching a Dog Whisperer marathon) reaffirmed that, while I'm not the best owner in the world, I was doing right by Dudley but needed to keep working with him. Dyna was one of the dogs I noticed that needed a forever home. I didn't think she was the cutest dog, but she is an interesting looking one. I decided to focus on Dyna as the "test cat" for 2 reasons: #1 neither Diane nor her friends knew the folks fostering a Chocolate colored Belgian/German Shepherd mix named Desi (honestly, I'd think the uniqueness of her look and the sadness of her story would have made her a quick placement) and; #2 Dyna was fostered at Dud's camp and they weren't hopeful that she'd be placed very soon. Dyna wasn't exactly the smartest one for me to consider, after all I do have a very high-strung, high-energy, poorly socialized and needy pooch (note to self: never adopt the dog version of me) and Dyna bounces off of ceilings and walls (think the old SNL puppy uppers/doggy downers skit). A smart pack leader would be considering a slightly submissive, lower energy dog for the D-man. While I've been out of town, Dudley and Dyna have been playing together at camp. Diane came over after I arrived home to help me bring Dyna home with us. Again, no problem with the walk and it took him a good five minutes before he got all barky about her being in the house. We had Dyna crash in a rather sizable crate - she's made it clear to him that it is her space and showed some major league (though not inappropriate) bull-dog defense of that territory. Diane left shortly thereafter leaving me with the two dogs. I was able to walk them very easily togther (setting them up was a bit messy and confusing - more due to my anxiety than anything). Getting them back in the house was not as easy since Dud pulled his "OK, you can go home now" routine with her. Thirty minutes later:I'll wait until I'm comfortable with Dud and Dyna playing and running loose together in the house to introduce her to her new Grand-dog. . .

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