Monday, February 20, 2012

Odd Behaviors

There are some times when I wish I could just have a conversation with Teddy. I’d ask him the questions that I already ask him, but he’d actually respond. This way, I would easily know if Margaret walked or fed him before I got up. He’d be able to tell me what he ate that he wasn’t supposed to, so I could hide it from him. And I’d be able to let him know that I’m leaving for a little while, and “Don’t worry puppy—I’ll be back soon!” would suffice. But mainly, I would really like to have a conversation about his first year here in this world.

Teddy is deathly afraid of guys. I’ll walk him around the neighborhood and if there’s a lady walking he’ll go say hi to the lady. But if we walk by a guy, he’ll either a.) hide behind me or b.) bark at said guy. If the guy is soft spoken, in our apartment, and Margaret and I both seem to like him, then things are for the most part, okay. When we adopted him they weren’t able to tell us his history other that he came from a high-kill shelter in Hillsborough County. They didn’t know for how long or what he was up to before-hand.

A little less concerning issue is his separation anxiety. When we leave, he bobs his head out the window just staring with a look of despair and abandonment. This makes it very hard to leave. But when we come home from class or work, he greets us at the door in a big way. He wags his tail, he yelps a little, he jumps on the table, he’ll leap and cling to my leg. The first time I got home from work after he was alone by himself, I was worried that he was going to be that hyper-active all the time. But then he calms himself down after no more than five minutes.
It's moment like these when I wish I was the dog whisperer.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Teddy was acting peculiar all day yesterday. I walked him in the morning and fed him when we got back. My first class was cancelled so I didn’t have to leave until 12:30, so we just hung out. But he never ate his breakfast but I just figured he’d just eat it later.

But then I came home around 4, in between class and work, and his bowl was still full! The nurturing and motherly instincts I was unaware that I possessed started to kick in. He needed to eat something, so I went for the good stuff- chicken. I cut some up and called him over. He was completely uninterested. Little worried me called Margaret and turned to Dr. Google.

  Lack of appetite
  Stomach grumbles 
Some smelly puppy gas
And let me tell you, it was hard to not jump into my car and hunt down a 24-hour animal hospital. I know that Googling my own symptoms for myself is never a good idea but I know what is wrong with me. As much as I’d like it, Teddy can’t simply just tell me what hurts and why he’s giving me his sad and sorry face.  

I followed what the forums I found generally said, “give it 24 hours.” He fell asleep in Margaret’s bed and I woke up with him next to me (our schedules work nicely), and his stomach grumbles were gone, which was a good sign. He also began to lick my face, another good sign. We walked into the kitchen and I put his food in his dish in hopes he’d eat, and he did, and then had a big gulp of water. PHEW.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm highly considering finding a monkey for Ted after seeing this. It would certainly keep him company when we aren't home!
Before I adopted my little furball, I searched high and low for a dog on the Humane Society webpage and Craigslist. I would see listings for and about dogs that needed their forever homes. One day, I clicked on a listing.  It was along the lines of “I am looking for a free dog. Full-breed and up to dates on shots. I don’t have a lot of money so it needs to be free.” Uhhh.

It was frustrating to read. How on earth can someone who is genuinely serious about adopting a dog not realize that it’s going to not be “free.” In fact, it’s expensive. That posting was thoughtlessly written but it was also selfish. This person wasn’t thinking about the dog, they were thinking about simply getting a dog to get a dog.

 Click here for an estimate about how much a pup will cost you!
On a smiliar note: After I adopted Teddy, I met a girl who wanted to get a dog herself, except she lives on campus at our school. No t only is it against all sorts of prohibited, but it’s all sorts of cruel. A dog shouldn’t be cooped up in a dorm room that’s too small to share with a roommate, let alone a dog. She was completely serious about it too, which scares me. I would like to know what her plan for the dog was once she got caught. I wish people were more mindful about these types of things.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tough Lovin'

Teddy is thirteen months old. He‘s fully grown, but at heart he’s still a puppy. He’s curious about everything. Simple around-the-block walks turn into hour long stop-and-goes because he needs to sniff his way around every bush, tree, flower and rock. He also likes to put anything and everything in his mouth. Margaret and I give him plenty of treats including snacks and toys (and even let him chew on the phone book) but we draw the line when he gnaws on our hands. Usually if we stop petting him he’ll try to get at us. It isn’t painful and he isn’t trying to hurt us, but it’s something that we can’t be having for our little guy. We’ve been teaching him that biting is, “NO TEDDY! NO BITING!” usually in a slightly high-pitched voice.

"Teddy, pens are not chew toys!"

The problem with this is not on his part, but with me as a disciplinary figure. He’ll look at me with his sad little eyes, knowing that he’s done something naughty. It kills me to see those eyes. After he’s thrown me the sad face he scurries away and lays low. But then my heart begins to melt and I chase after him to give him pets and kisses to let my buddy know I still love him--and so I know that he doesn’t hate me.
If your dog is chewing/biting, click here for some tips!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

One month ago today, this little guy came into our lives. He went from cone-head to a smiling pile of joy. When we went to the Humane Society to see him, fall in love with him and then adopt him, a whole lot of information was thrown at us, partly out of concern by the counselor who probably thought we were too clueless for a pet. Here are a few things I took from what she told us:
Love at first sight
Dogs are naturally allergic to corn and starch byproducts ("so don’t feed him any, duh.") Look for food that says “grain free” on the label.

Our little guy was on medication, so continue to give it to him once a day after he eats.

Teddy was only 10.5 pounds when we adopted him (now 12 pounds-- our little husky) so his exercise should only really be limited to walks.

He needed to go to the vet to get a booster shot at the end of the January—made an appointment at the local clinic, in and out with little harm to the wallet. Teddy and I both took it like a champ.

Every month he needs his flea medication (buy it here and now so you don't forget before your apartment is infested)- done, done and done.

Mr. Teddy Ruxpin on his first day in his forever home

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

So, You Think You Want a Dog?

I grew up with dogs, and when it came down to me creating my own home-away-from-home, I always knew I’d sooner or later find myself with a fuzzball. Thankfully, I live in an apartment complex that welcomes furry friends. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have stalked the Tampa Bay Humane Society website along with Craigslist ads about dogs for sale. My desire to find a dog to walk and feed and pick-up after him only grew more and more intense as the months went by. But then I saw a photo of “Barney” on the Tampa Bay Humane Society’s website. Without saying a word I turned my laptop around to show my roommate, Margaret this adorable little guy. We agreed to go the next day to meet him.

Before I give away the ending to this exciting tale, I had made a list of requirements that both a canine and myself would need in order to let myself take on such a life altering step in both of our lives. This became a loosely-binding contract I’ve had with myself upon my search for the ultimate dog.

Requirements for my Future Canine:
-Must be a smaller breed- I stated this for a few reasons 1.) Smaller dogs=smaller poops to clean up 2.) I live in an apartment complex, there’s enough room, but it isn’t fair for a larger dog that needs to run freely to be cooped up in an apartment all day long 3.) I wouldn’t want a dog to overpower me, even if he wouldn’t hurt a fly. I’d know it and he’d know it. 4.) I have family who live thousands of miles away. God forbid there was an emergency and I’d have to go home, I’d like that security knowing I could easily take my little guy with me if I had to

-Must be friendly

-No known histories of illness, I’m a college student; I’m not on the loosest of budgets.

-Must be spayed/neutered

-On a personality scale, my dog needs to be calm, cool and collected. If he’s too high-energy, then he’ll probably be miserable. If he’s too mellow, then we might both be miserable. This sort of goes hand-in-hand with age. Ages 1-4 would be ideal.

-(Most importantly) Must be a rescue. I have seen far too many ASPCA commercials with Sarah Mclachlan to know better. But really, I have adopted dogs both from the Humane Society and from breeders. From my experiences, the dogs that my family has rescued are well behaved and have far less health problems. Also, every dog is spayed/neutered when they come to the Humane Society.

Requirements for Myself:
-Financially, I need to be prepared for vet visits, food, grooming, medications, toys, the $300 pet deposit my apartment requires, and anything else that may come along with having a dog.

-Personally, I need to be in a good place. I can’t be emotionally unstable and have a dog to seek refuge when I’m feeling down. My priorities need to be set.

-My roommate and I need to be on the same level in order for a third mouth to feed. We talked about getting a dog here and there and I would show her pictures of dogs to adopt and vise versa but we always went back and forth on it. Some days, we’d say “ugh I can’t handle myself, how can I handle a dog?!” We need to jump off that metaphorical bridge together.

-I needed to have time for a dog. My schedule fluctuates like any other college students’. I need to ensure that my pet will have more than enough time with me- I'd even be okay if he got sick of me from time to time.

While I admit that these requirements are specific and leave little room for error, I took most of them seriously when I found my pup. It wouldn’t be fair to you or to your future fluff-ball if you compromised and didn’t first think about what you need. I’m certainly not saying that you should use my list for yourself, but these are things that were important for me.

What'd be important for you? Please feel free to comment! :-]