As some of you are aware, Grandpa and Grandma are off in Spain and Portugal celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary. This means I have been on my own with the hounds of hell for the last week and a half. It has been fraught with adventure, excitement, and will require much time to recuperate from. So, here goes in somewhat chronological order…
The first afternoon, I had opened the doors to the outdoor kennel as the weather was beautiful. As you may or may not know, all of the middle-aged dogs rotate back in forth between the kennel and the house. The old, the young and the sick all stay in the house full time. This allows me to maximize the attention everyone gets when they’re in the house so that they’re out most of the time rather than in crates. Anyway, back to our story. I was reading my book by the kitchen window when two dogs streaked across the lawn. No one was loose outside (we have a fenced in area but the whole property is not fenced due to size). So, who should be streaking across my front lawn? Why it was Dublin and Cello and nothing more. But Dublin and Cello was more than enough, thank you. There is (or should I say was??) only one pen left in the kennel that they had not escaped from. It now has a gaping hole in the bottom. So, this meant that Dublin and Cello were in the house until Grandpa gets home or I find some handsome stranger who feels like fixing fences. So far, we’re still waiting on Grandpa. Having them in poses problems of its own. Dublin, aka the Monkey Man, hates crate. I have worked him up to small amounts of time in crates with blissful silence and he’s fine if I’m not in the house but otherwise his complete desire is to be with me. This is part of the reason for kennelling him. I’m worried he will develop separation anxiety if I give in to having him loose with me all the time and there’s only so much barking I can cope with. Having him inside for two weeks means he’s bound to be loose a fair amount of the time. This means he has to be able to cope with being with the puppies because he isn’t getting the opportunity to be out with the three girls in season at the moment and he’ll never cope with being locked up through both sets of dogs being loose in the house.
The puppies are now about 11 weeks old and are scarier than a pack of auditors. I normally inflict in very small doses on very patient previously-mother dogs. Not, a young adolescent male of almost 18 months and is just discovering the concept of girls. I am proud to say he’s handled it like a pro and plays gently with them. I watch him with them and I get a sense of pride at what a wonderful young man he is.
All of that happened on the first day and the fun didn’t stop there…
Hamelin and Maelle learned to climb up the stairs. Our house has a raised middle area with additions on both sides. It’s an old place that someone has added on to multiple times over the years. Sadly, they did their own plumbing each time too. While the puppies cannot do stairs there are various refuges from them. Areas where you can safely leave them knowing they cannot follow you and the dogs have somewhere to escape from them. It didn’t stop there either. They learned the couch within a few days as well and then the final blow…Maelle learned how to go downstairs today. Now, there is nowhere to hide. It`s like the blob…no escape.
But I'm jumping ahead of myself, lots happened in between. Ziggy locked herself in Dad`s office. This wouldn’t be terrible except that Ziggy is thirteen, somewhat incontinent and Dad`s office is the only room in the entire household that has carpet in it.
After some discussion with my boss and my doctor, I am taking a temporary leave of absence from work due to my knee. I know this is for the best and I have my boss` blessings but it still feels bad. I feel like I`ve let them down and worse still, the relief I felt when I realized that I didn`t have to keep struggling to cope with the cocktail of pain, pain medication and work that had been my life for the last several months was overwhelming to a degree that I found frightening. I had no idea I was that stressed.
Then I lost the piece that holds Willow`s crate closed so she doesn`t escape at inopportune times. Thankfully, I found that this morning as well. Willow means no harm but she`s a naturally dominant girl who doesn`t believe in sharing me with other girls. Surprisingly this offends some of the girls and the hair-pulling begins when they`re out together.
We`re still in the span of a week and a half here and the fun isn`t over. Some volcano blows its wad in Iceland and now I`m not sure I can get Grandpa and Grandma home and I`m rapidly starting to need a vacation.
Did I mention that Hamelin discovered how to climb out of the puppy playground? and anything else he feels fit to climb is also fair game?
This means that I have no way of leaving them out there either. They are now completely uncontainable except in a crate. They have made good progress with crate training but a few minutes to do my laundry uninterrupted would be nice…
The above picture is a re-enactment for our audiences enjoyment. At the time, I was too busy screaming at her and dirty little feet to grab the camera. The photos of Hamelin are of him actually caught in the act as he had already proven his escape talents and climbing talents several times previously and I, as his ever resourceful (or is that regretful...) breeder was simply waiting with camera in hand for him to do it again. No puppies were harmed in the making of these photos.
I do have GABE winners but I'll save that for another post.