Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Miracle of Puppy Resiliency

Wow, I actually found our foster puppy on the rescue website after just one search and scanning a few pages. It gives me hope that owners trying to find their animals won't have too much trouble if they've been entered in the system. Here's his page. He's much cuter in person. We had a good day today , especially considering where we started. Wednesday evening, I carried him out of the shelter and put him on the ground to do his thing before our half hour drive home. He immediately scrambled under a nearby truck and then my car and tried, almost successfully, to buck out of his collar and off the leash. Anyone who's ever experienced this with a dog that isn't their own knows how scary that bucking movement can be. Pictures of someone else's pet splattered across a busy road fly through your mind as you try to calm the animal down and get them back inside. I had flashbacks to my days walking dogs at the Minneapolis Animal Shelter. The puppy ended up back in my arms and calmer, although I got a nice warm trail of puppy pee down my leg. I wasn't really thinking that I'd have a dog in the car with me on the way home so I didn't even have a blanket for the back seat. About five minutes into our half hour drive, the aroma of puppy poop permeated the car. I blocked the image from my mind and kept up a little one sided dialogue with him all the way home. The scene when I opened the door to the back seat was so much worse than I ever imagined: seat belts, crevises, cushions, windows not to mention the puppy himself. He spent most of Thursday staying in the bedroom his crate with occassional "nature calls" outings to the nearby bathroom where a kitty litter box resides. I promptly papered the floor with newspaper and we had a good solution for the rest of our floors until we got him potty-trained. Whenever Alan and I were in the room or nearby, he was scrunched tight against the back of the crate. Any time our oldest cat, Tora, came into sight, he growled. Our one trip outside had him hiding against the side of the house under a bush shaking. They warned me that he might not eat for a couple days, but his appetite won out and he ate heartily from the very beginning. He'd let us pet him inside his crate but his little heart was beating overtime. By Friday, he'd come out of the bedroom when we were in the living, get our attention and then scramble back into crate. He played with his new toys that Alan picked up. He ventured out into the livingroom and kitchen following the cat but scrambled back at the smallest sound or movement. Trips outside were the same. Saturday, he was spending more time outside the bedroom when we were around. He and the cat started playing. The cat would hide in a paper grocery bag on its side on the floor and the puppy would get very excited and stick his nose in after him. He looked very disappointed later when the bag was empty and he stuck his head in repeatedly and didn't find a kitty. Puppy containment got much easier with the addition of two safety gates. Our two fraidy cats seem to appreciate the introduction of puppy-free zones, although we still only see them around feeding times. Today, during our trips outside, we ventured into the wider sea of creeping charlie that makes up our side yard and he even flopped contentedly on his side for us to rub his tummy. Right now, he's snoozing on a nest of towels I have for him by the living room couch. So, we may be able to start basic training much sooner than I thought we would, we only require a name. He was Jordan at the shelter but we've been invited to give him a new one. We've tried a baby name book I got in high school for naming characters and Louisiana and cajun names. Alan's leaving it up to me, although he has veto power. We've come up with a shortlist of Chase and Riddick and Dustin (which means "of the storm") and Tristan. I'm not thrilled with any of them. I promised I'd have one tonight, so I'd better get back to it.

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