Gia Pets

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Archive for April, 2011

Rescue in the first person

We were visiting my daughter, out of town, about an hour from where we live.  Because of everything going on, we were spending the nights there as well.  Gas prices also contributed to our overnighting there.  And, with the overnight stays, of course our dogs went with us.

During our stay, early one morning, a chihuahua mix male dog showed up.  He wouldn’t leave either.  Skinny and covered with ticks, we suspected he was also harboring a full flock of fleas too.  As the day began to face, the realization that nobody was looking for him sunk in, especially when we started asking around for where this dog belonged.

Two days passed, and the little dog was still there, and we were heading home.  Of course, the little dog, now dubbed “Nemo” because “Finding Nemo” was on the television when I caved in and said that we’d take him if nobody showed up.

I kept remembering a little dog about his size and coloring we’d found killed along a country road early the morning after Christmas when we were riding our bikes.  This little dog was headed down the same kind of fateful road if someone didn’t take him in, and face it…dogs in pounds have only the smallest chance of survival and being adopted in this economy.

We don’t know a thing about little Nemo.  We know his nails aren’t long, that he is really skinny and incredibly food aggressive with other animals, that he is basically good with other dogs, that he craves attention and fears being struck or chased, and is good in a crate.  He walks on a leash too.  He’s also in love with GM, probably because we got him to catch the little dog and put it into a crate to keep him safe until we found the owner after the first day of trying to get him to go home.

Nemo has had a bath.  He’s had his ticks removed.  He’s been fed, given a bed in a crate, and gotten a cheap collar.  Nothing is trying to eat him, chase him, or hit him.  He’s appearing very contented too.

I think letting him come this far has sealed my fate.  I’m now officially a sucker, but in reality, even though we can’t afford another dog, what else could I do?  The sucker status is sealed partly because GM adores chihuahuas, wanted one, but we couldn’t afford a third dog…so what happens?

Mr. Chihuahua shows up, pathetic and starving, and insists on hanging out on the fringes of the yard, sneaking drinks from our dogs’ water bowls and hoping for a scrap of food.

Concerned family members expressed their concerns about the fact that dogs are expensive and we couldn’t afford another one.  Like we didn’t know?

We’ll figure it out, I already know that GM is as happy as a kid to have another little dog.  I couldn’t have slept if I had insisted on ignoring the little guy, and he’d have ended up getting killed like that dog we’d run across that frosty morning on our bikes either.  Every time I tried to be “sensible” and “practical” that image would appear in my head too.  Here I am, with two dogs that hate each other, and now we have a third, and it’s so small that it would be a snack for the biggest and oldest grump…and barely able to hold his own with the most jealous and grumpiest grump of my dynamic duo.

So far, our big girl is content to ignore him, as long as he leaves her alone.  He gets along fine with the smaller of the girls, but its probably a case of as long as GM, her idol, isn’t around, or we don’t give him much attention in her line of sight.  We’re already used to canine rotation…now we are adding a third to our happily dysfunctional household.

I probably am crazy, but I’ll sleep better at night, knowing that a 8 lb. little dog isn’t wandering around searching for something to eat too.  I was also told that there is a movie about Hollywood chihuahuas I should watch.

A strange fascination

Today, I saw an entirely new side of my dog.  She discovered a baby toy.

That’s right.  It was a baby toy, I’m not sure what it was called, but when you drop a ball through the tubes, lights flash and tones play, depending on where it comes out.  The same lights and sounds play when it is activated by movement.

This toy is designed for very young babies, but it is rather large, probably about 12″ in diameter.  For Red Dog at 65 lbs., it’s substantially sized, even if it’s not “dog proof”.  (It’s made of hard plastic.)  She was fascinated by it, and quite mystified by how it worked.  It outweighed the “cookie” concept even.  She wanted that toy, and she wanted it to light up and play music.

For thirty minutes, she laid enthralled or followed it around the room.  If we moved it out of her sight, she had to find it.  She almost didn’t want to leave because of the fascinating toy she had just discovered.

I’ve never seen her fascinated by a toy to that degree.  She is old–few toys catch her interest at all, let alone catch and hold it for so long.  I’m not sure what she thought of it, but she did learn that touching it with her nose or paw would activate it.

Now the question is…why has this particular toy fascinated her?  What intrigues her about the toy?  Is it the lights or the sounds?  I know the sound fascinates her, if I hid the toy and it made a sound, she would be practically beside herself trying to find the toy.

In a puppy, this play behavior and intense curiosity is nearly the norm.  But, this is an aging dog, she is going on ten, and hasn’t shown interest in toys since she was about four years old.  Why the sudden interest in this particular toy?

For a human baby, this toy is supposed to intrigue and fascinate with the sounds and lights.  I haven’t seen the human baby that it was bought for playing with it, but I can see where it would interest most babies.  I don’t understand why it has brought out the puppyish curiosity in an aging dog though, and if I could figure it out…I might know a lot more about canine psychology.  In the meantime, though, what does this information do for our relationship?

It makes me realize that even though she is old and set in her ways, she still craves mental stimulation and new experiences, just like humans do.  It goes hand in hand with her curiosity about other unfamiliar things encountered on our excursions, and her intense desire to participate and be with me when I am doing things…just in case something interesting happens.  It reminds me that just like sticking an older human in a room with nothing to do…it isn’t healthy.  We need to remember to provide even our aging pets with things to keep their minds active and interested, be it new experiences or repeating those that they love.

In the meantime, we will have to pay another visit and see if her interest in this toy continues.