Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Raining Cats and. . .Dogs?

Little miss Holly was fine during her first week. Now with the start of the second week, nature has added an additional concern - heavy rainfall. This morning our backyard was flooded and I made the decision to keep Holly in the kitchen for the day. I knew she would have bathroom related accidents and she did. Now I am wondering if I should have left her outside in her pen. She has her dog house, so leaving her in the pen would not have left her without shelter but I felt she might be more comfortable inside and dry. So what's the concern? Can keeping her inside interfere with her house training? Should dogs who are kenneled outside ever be penned inside? What reasons are valid to do so? Just questions to the void. . . and maybe some helpful answers.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Last Night of Summer Vacation.

Well tomorrow starts my work year. Once again school will start and I will be there to man the library. This year, while the typical pre-school year jitters are starting, I am also extremely nervous about leaving Holly.

J finished her dog house yesterday, it is the most luxurious thing I have ever seen. This dog house is insulated, with a cedar shingle roof, and two rooms. Still it doesn't fill the need for contact that Holly seems to crave. Two of neighbors have offered to look in on her from time to time, and that is helping me to deal with some of the anxiety. Still. . .I don't want to go back to work and leave her.

We will only have to wait and see how it will work out.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Buster Cube!

K brought home this really cool toy, for Holly, called the Buster Cube. This toy has just become Holly's favorite thing. It's basically a puzzle. As she plays with it some treats spill out. It looks like a die, with the food spilling out of the 1 side. The cube comes in two sizes, mini cube and food cube, which accommodates different size dogs. K bought Holly the mini. We fill it with her kibble and adjust the setting to Holly's level - she's at minimum if anyone is curious. She loves playing with it but we do use it sparingly, we don't want her over-eating. Basically, we use it whenever we need some down time but don't want to kennel her. I use it in the afternoon when I want to go online or read a book. K uses it when she wants to play a video game or talk on the phone. We are normally in the room with Holly as she plays with it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Outside or Inside?

My work year start is quickly closing in. 5 days left and then? I'm really paranoid about Holly being home alone. J has decided she needs to stay outside while we are at work, so he built her a 7 ft by 9 ft pen within our back yard. (We do not have our yard fenced in and can't because of a shared driveway. Fencing would end up breaking town ordinances. So he fenced in part to make her a safe little play area.)

The pen is very nice but it does little to ease my concerns. She's a Nordic dog and it's hot outside, but the pen is in the shade at all times. What about bad weather? J is building her a temperature controlled dog house. Water? He created a water fountain for her, then taught her how to us it. What if she gets out? That he can't answer me, he repeats that she'll be fine. I'm sure some of this is new puppy owner paranoia but I can't help it. I've been trying it out with her everyday, this way it's not such a shock when we have to leave her in it. She seems okay, a little wound up when I let her out but she doesn't stand out there barking or crying. She plays, sleeps, and eats. That's about what she does all day with me, minus the training sessions. I guess it will be okay, but that nagging gut feeling won't leave me alone.

J works all over the Tri-state area. His job takes him between 15 different buildings everyday, the closet building to our house is 45 minutes away. He leaves every morning by 6:30 am and doesn't get off until 4 pm. He owns his own side business, which he conducts from 4 pm to 9 pm, sometimes later. He also works a lot of weekends. I out the door by 5:45 am every morning during the school year and I work an hour away. I'm never home before 3:30 pm and that's if there is no traffic, never happens. As for K, while she is totally into being a part of Holly's life, she leaves at 6 am and works an hour and a half away. So stems my concerns. Holly will be in her pen from around 6 am to 4 pm every weekday. That just seems very long to me and makes me worry. I think I would rather her be kenneled inside during the day but J won't budge on this issue. I'm sure he will make her the best and most comfortable pen and dog house ever seen but I'm more concerned she'll be lonely.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Ears Have It.

After Holly being with us for 5 weeks, I've decided there is nothing in the world like puppy ears! I love them! So soft and pointy, I love to rub them. She also seems to enjoy our little ear rubbing bonding moment. She falls asleep almost every time I do it, and all my stress seems to melt away.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Emergencies vs. Priorities

Well, another argument ensued today. This time because J came home late. I think much of it stems from J's career. He works as a maintenance troubleshooter for a series of senior apartments. When emergencies strike, he's on call. I understand they need him, at least I try to. It's very hard being "the other woman" to a husband's career.

The argument had to do with Puppy classes that I would like to sign Holly up for. They are being offered at our local Petco and I think it would do Holly a lot of good. She's bright and has already learned several commands but this would reinforce what she already knows. A positive plus would also be her socializing with other puppies in our area. I thought J should be the one to go with her. As of lately, Holly isn't listen to him as well as she use to. Most likely, it has to do with him always being at work.

So I told him when the classes will be, one night a week for six weeks. He doesn't feel he can commit to it because he never knows when an emergency will arise. In my opinion, he needs to make time for the important things in life. He wanted the puppy and I feel he needs to make the time to be involved in raising her. This is really a precursor problem because the real issues are future children. I don't want to raise a pup alone, let alone a child. It's one thing to say no to a puppy training class. It's completely different to put work before your family. This is an old argument of J and I, there have been many holidays and events I have missed or attended alone because of some emergency or another.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, and I'm sure it will come up again. We are taught all our lives that a good work ethic is a priority. Shouldn't we also be taught that family is just, if not more so, important? I don't want him to quit his job, J likes what he does. I just don't think work is all there is to life. You have to have more, you have to be more than your job. I'm not asking for anything more than a commitment to one hour a week. Is that too much? Is it not enough?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Tooth-Fairy Freak Out.

Holly lost her first tooth today. She came over to me and spit it out at my feet. I freaked out. She's been nipping and biting everything in the last few days and I thought maybe she broke her tooth. I looked closer and found that it really didn't seem broken. She's only four months old. I mean, should she be losing her baby teeth already? I ran to get my books and must confess they were extremely unhelpful. They had nothing about the losing of baby teeth. I was at a complete lose of what was going on and everyone with us was laughing at me. Of course none of those people could tell me if this was the right age for puppies to lose teeth either.

So to save others the embarrassment of being a freaked out new puppy parent, I found this great website that had lots of info on dogs and their teeth: The Dog Owner's Guide: Canine Teeth -
http://www.canismajor.com/dog/teeth.html. In case you were wondering, 4 months is the age when puppies start losing their baby teeth. It was normal. Now, does the tooth-fairy leave things for puppies? I haven't found that website yet!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Be the Change.

Anger is rushing up from the pit of my stomach like a volcano about to explode. I can feel my face turn red and I can almost hear the steam rushing out from my ears. Four weeks ago I might have screamed at someone, anyone. It wouldn't have mattered if they were at fault or not. If they were in my way, they may have suffered my wrath. Just for the record, my wrath is not a pretty thing. I have always had a problem with anger and expressing my feelings. I am very temperamental but at least it passes quickly and doesn't happen that often. Sounds horrible though, I know. Yet, I have mellowed so much in the past several years that friends from then say I'm a different person. It normally makes me laugh, my so called mellowing out. I mean, isn't that called growing up? Well, I finally get it. For the first time in my life I completely understand everyone's reaction to my anger. I saw myself through Holly's eyes and stopped.

I've worked with kids for several years now and I've never yelled around a child, so I wasn't worried about yelling at Holly. I figured I just wouldn't. That became harder with each passing day. I have kept my cool and managed to let it go. After all, puppy doesn't know any better until I teach her better. Besides, I've noticed raised voices gets her to excited. So no, I have been good and released my anger through other more constructive outlets, instead of at Holly. What I forgot was anger in general. Anger at my husband, J, for making me worry because he didn't call to tell me he'd be late. Anger with the bank for screwing up a bill. Anger at friends who blow off your plans last minute. We deal with anger every day and some of it starts fights. Sometimes it starts yelling matches. Sometimes we even yell without anger being involved. Examples of yelling without anger: yelling into another room to alert another person to dinner, yelling because you burned yourself on the stove, etc.

The first time I yelled, around Holly, was at J. He had come home late and I'd waited to have dinner. I was exhausted from working with Holly all day. Our roommate, K, had called to say she wasn't coming home. Everyone I called on the telephone seemed to be out. I wanted to speak with another human being; Holly is fun but she isn't the best conversationalist. It was nearing midnight. I was lonely, hungry, tired, bored, and getting extremely worried. When J walked in he hardly said anything before falling asleep on the couch. I started to scream at him about everything he'd put me through and anything else I could think of. He was tired and had his own baggage from the day. He began to yell back. It was then that I noticed Holly and shut my mouth. She looked so small, her ears back and tail down. She was even shaking and huddled in a corner. It didn't matter that we weren't yelling at her. We were fighting and she was taking it all in. From then on we have tried not to fight at all, but to talk to each other. If we do feel the need to fight, we try to remove ourselves from the area.

It's been a little over three weeks since I've last yelled. I feel I'm making huge strides as a "rage-aholic" and feel better as well. I'm noticing that I don't get flustered as easily, remain calmer, and feel a lot happier in general. To show support and pride for what I am trying to do, K presented me with a gift. It's a small silver charm that reads, "Be the change you wish to see in the world". On the top of the quote is a small gold symbol for the world. When I start feeling upset or angry, I touch it and say it. I want to communicate with my world, not abuse it. I want to teach my puppy with love, not fear. I want to focus on the positive in my life, everything else will follow.

I am the change I wish to see. I have learned this of myself because I have final stopped to see myself through other eyes. If I yell at puppy after she has soiled the carpet, she doesn't know why I'm angry with her. If I yell at J, he only hears the yelling. The key to communication's start is by remaining as calm as you can. This is my latest lesson learned from Holly.