Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pickles' First Thanksgiving

Well, today was Pickles' first Thanksgiving and she made the most of it.  We got up and ate and then off to the park before everyone got up.  We played in the park for a while, until she got tired, but there was a small issue.  There was some strange guy walking up and down the alley doing nothing other than walking back and forth.  I'm not really sure what that was about but Pickles couldn't stop looking at him.  He finally went away and we went home. 

At home, there were smells everywhere!  There was turkey, ham, macaroni, green bean casserole and rolls!  Pickles didn't know what to smell first and her little tail was just a-wagging.  As you can imaging, it was time for a nap.  Then she woke up and time to play...again.  After a few more cycles of naps and playing, the National Dog Show came on and Pickles sat, at least for a few minutes, and watched the dogs on TV.  I had always heard that dogs couldn't see TV (and after some quick Internet searching, I confirmed that) but they can see moving shapes and hear the noises; that doesn't apply to Pickles!  Now, you know that the TV watching didn't last too long with her and then it was play time again.  Then nap.  Then play.  Then nap and you get the picture.  Now it's time for dinner.

We all sat at the table, said grace and the...pig out time!  Turkey, ham, stuffing, green been casserole, rolls, butter beans, corn, macaroni, rice and the rest of the trimmings.  Pickles did well and jumped up only a few times but could easily be redirected to sit.  She had some turkey (I don't know who gave her that) and some of her liver treats (which is freeze-dried liver that Pickles loves) and then we were done.  Just as we finished, Pickles jumped up into the only vacant chair like she was waiting for her plate (damn camera wasn't close enough and she jumped down).

The kids cleaned up while I watched the Lions game (I thought they had it there for a minute) and Donna took a nap on my lap.  Apparently, at one point, Pickles jumped on to the table!  Now, I didn't see it but I could hear the kids yelling "Pickles is on the table!  Pickles, get off the table!"  With Donna napping, I couldn't get up to get a picture but I'm sure that it was too cute!

After playing some more and jumping up and down on Donna, Pickles finally settled in for nap number nine of the day on the love seat and that's where she is now, with her tongue sticking out!

We're going to head to the park in a bit because I'm sure Pickles has stored up some energy that needs to burned off.

Now, what to be thankful for this year:  my wife, Donna, and my family.  My friends that are like family and the ones that aren't but are still friends.  Facebook which has allowed me to keep up with people I've lost touch with and make a few new friends.  My health (such that it is) and seeing another year.  My team at work, that makes work easier when we're handling a case and fun all the time.  For only having 21 months until I can retire.  And finally, Pickles.  I didn't realize I wanted another dog until I saw her and she licked my face.  In a way, Pickles rescued me.  The dog-shaped space that was left when Maddie died was filled with a smaller dog-shaped dog.  Maddie can never be replaced but Pickles loves like Maddie did.  Unconditionally.  Without question.  She was all too cute in the shelter and I knew that no one else wanted her as there were no applications on her and she'd been there for a while.  Who would want a deaf dog?  Why would anyone care about a deaf dog?  She's broken.  Well, she's not broken to me!  She's a symbol of my life and she needed a chance.  Just the way I've been given chances over the years in so many aspects of my life.  I'm thankful for the person that tied Pickles to that tree.  I'm sure, you're asking why am I thankful for some jackass that would tie a dog to a tree but that's an easy one:  Richmond Animal Control found Pickles and brought her to me!  Finally, I'm thankful to Opie who showed me Pickles and told me about the life a deaf dog would have if not adopted.  Thanks, Opie.    

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The First Visit to the Vet

On Tuesday, we went to the vet for the well-puppy check up and the final distemper shot.  Pickles walked with Donna to the vet and I met them there.  Pickles was a little nervous and a lot rambunctious especially when other dogs and cats would come in.  Pickles got on the scale and she weighed a whopping 25 pounds!  While we were waiting, a Basset Hound came in and they began to sniff each other when Pickles suddenly snapped and lunged but there was no harm done so I held her close until we went into the exam room.

Once in the room, she was on the exam table and she didn't like that probably because it was cold so she didn't sit.  She seemed to like Dr. Jack but was still biting everyone and that has gotten a bit worse as she becomes more comfortable in her new house.  Dr. Jack said she looked fine, gave her the shot and the "new puppy pack" and we were ready to leave.

Pickles seemed to tolerate the vet but charging other dogs is not something that she's going to be allowed to do, at least in my house.  I have a few options for training her and I'm just reading everything there is about training a deaf dog to become an informed daddy and to know which training method is right for her.  Coming up is her first holiday and I know that I am thankful for her and she for us.

Donna bought Pickles two new toys and one of them was a new piece of rope that is red and white and she loves those rope toys!  Later in the day, before the vet, Donna went to the crate and got the other (plain white) rope toy out to play but when Donna threw it and Pickles picked it up, she put it back in her crate.  You see, the white rope toy goes to bed with her every night because she loves it so much and she now thinks this is where it goes and it's for night-night time! AND Pickles lost a tooth!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

The First Day Home Alone

Monday was Pickles' first day home alone and she did fine.  She woke up and ate her usual breakfast, when out to "take care of business" and played for a bit then it was time to go into the crate.  She always gets her Kong with about a tablespoon of natural peanut butter (although I'm thinking about changing that just in case there may be an allergy issue) and went right in.  When we left Maddie alone, I would leave the radio on so she wouldn't get too lonely in a quite house but with Pickles, I could leave them all on, with the volume all the way up and it wouldn't matter!  Then we all left.

I was able to slip home about 1000 to let her out and she was sleeping it away!  I woke her up, we went outside and played for a few minutes then back into the crate and yes...there was more peanut butter...just not as much.  Rebecca let her out when she got home and all seemed fine.

After that, we played, went to the park did some training (sit, look at me) and Mommy came home and it was kisses time!

We were winding down for the night when something strange happened.  Maddie died in our den and we had her cremated (via a company that owned by Nelson's Funeral Home and they were wonderful) and her ashes are on a table in that very spot.  Several years ago, we found a small statue of a Mastiff and had that in the house but I moved it to Maddie's table last week because it was behind the TV so the statue had been there the whole time Pickles has been there.  But Monday was different.  Pickles began to whimper and growl while looking at Maddie's table!  The hair on her back stood up and she began to the table...and would not take her eyes off of it.  We tried playing with her and distracting her but nothing worked.  She put her paws on the table, as if she was looking at the container Maddie's ashes are in, and barked again.  The whole incident went on for about 30 minutes and was really strange.  I though, at first, it might be the statue but she'd seen it before so now I had a different thought.  I began to think that she was actually communicating with Maddie and I think Maddie was trying to get the pecking order straight.  It is said when you lose one sense the others become more developed and since dogs aren't told there are no such things as ghosts they see what they see and feel what they feel.  I certainly believe in ghosts! 

[Aside:  My grandfather died in 1973, when I was seven, and I was heartbroken.  One night, after the funeral, I remember waking from a sound sleep and looking into a dark room and seeing an even darker area.  What I saw, in that dark area, was the outline of my grandfather.  He had on his hat and everything!  Nothing was said but I felt a peace fall over me as if to say everything was going to be alright and it was.  To this day I miss him but after that night, I no longer felt the heartache I had the day I found out he died.] 

Since talking to Pickles wasn't working, I talked to Maddie.  I told her that she was still my puppy and that no other puppy could ever take her place but I wanted another doggie to love like I loved her.  I told Maddie about Pickles being tied to a tree and being in the pound and that no one adopted deaf dogs so it was likely that Pickles would have been put to sleep.  I told Maddie that it didn't love Pickles the same way I love her but it was still love and she was my puppy now as Maddie was then.  I also told Maddie that they needed to get along and learn to live with each other.  I was holding Pickles while we talked and Pickles began to settle down and her hair went down.  She seemed more calm.  Whether this is actually the case or not, it seemed to work.  Pickles played for a bit but was still cautious of the table and then, with Kong and peanut butter in mouth went to bed and drifted off to sleep.

Pickles had a good first day alone and I believe she and Maddie got everything worked out because there hasn't been a problem since.  I'm not saying there's not going to be one in the future but for now everything seems to be fine.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Weekend

Well, the weekend has come and gone and Pickles had a great time!  After taking Donna to work on Saturday, we came back home and I went to sleep for a bit (I didn't get off until 0200 Friday night) then, when I got up, we went to the park.  We ran a bit in the park while Pickles was on a long leash but she had fun!  She chased the ball and the kids but she soon got tired so we headed home.  She slept for a bit, had a snack then got on Facebook for a while.  She's a really good typist despite the fact that she doesn't have thumbs.  During the day, Pickles had two visitors:  Lee Ann who brought Pickles a pull toy with a big rubber bone in the middle, a card and a "Doggie Beer" squeak toy and Deanna who brought Pickles two big rawhide treats!  After some tug-o-war with her pull toy, it was time to go to PetsMart.  I originally went looking for a bed and some dry shampoo (I ended up with puppy wipes but they don't work that well).  Pickles needs bath because she didn't get one before she left the pound or the SPCA and I can't bathe her for a week because of the surgery.  Oh, I forgot to tell you, Pickles went too!  Everyone said how cute she and well-behaved she was and it was true.  It's funny to watch people talk to her because there's no way to tell she's deaf...other than she doesn't come when you call her.  The it was time to pick Donna up from work then to bed.  At bedtime, she gets a Kong toy filled with some natural peanut butter (which is her bedtime treat) that she really likes!  Only a few minutes of whining but then, she drifted off to sleep to dream about her pull toys, biting my hand and going for walks.  I like to think that she doesn't dream about being tied to a tree or being in the pound but I really don't know.  That was her life up until she changed mine so I can only wish that her life, for the last three days, has replaced the thoughts of the life that she had. 

Sunday was a bit different.  I took Donna to work, sans Pickles, and then picked up Zack for the day.  When we got home, Pickles was up but had a accident in her crate.  That wasn't her fault because I didn't let her out before I left the house but she was sleeping and was so cute!  We cleaned that up, hung out for a while, went to the park again until Pickles got tired then it was time to get the Christmas stuff out from under the house and Pickles helped...if you can call that helping.  I got one of the rugs from under the house as well.  We cleaned and put them away before Maddie died.  After a good cleaning, the rug was in the house and Pickles really liked it.  She was laying on the rug and wen to sleep and when she woke up, she started to bite and dig at one spot but I'm not really sure why.  Next was a few naps, playing tug-o-war and learning a couple of things.  We've been working on "watch me" where I would get her attention and point to my nose and she caught on after about 50 times over five or six sessions.  Then it was time for "sit".  With this, I would take her treat and bring it over her head until she sat, gave her the index finger (which we're using for sit), the "good dog" sign (thumbs up) and a treat.  She had this down much quicker and is pretty consistent with it.  I also got an email from a trainer that was recommended and I contacted and I look forward to talking with her on Monday.

Time to take Zack home and pick up Donna.  She was sitting in Zack's lap and began to growl at something outside of the car but there was nothing there!  Her hackles were up and she looked mean.  Still haven't figured that out. 

Once home, some more sits and watch me/s and some down time.  Then it was time for bed.

Some thoughts:  She's a great dog although she's bites a bit.  I can only chalk that up to her being deaf and relying on her mouth more that a hearing dog.  Pickles has opened my eyes to the plight of shelter dogs but I'm not sure what to do about that on the back end.  There's no dog that deserves to be treated in such a way and it needs to stop.

I have an idea for Christmas:  I would like everyone to find a broken ornament and "adopt it".  Everything deserves a home at Christmas...especially things that are "broken".

Well, time for bed.  My wake up time comes really early on day shift weeks.