Monday, February 23, 2009

Evil twins

Here are the Evil Wonder Twins. I'd like to pretend that this photo is the result of extensive training, but really, the amount of dog training going on in my house has been pretty minimal. I saw my brother doing something to the porch roof, opened the back door to see what was going on, and Finley rushed the door with his big fat head and ran out. They were surprised and made roaring noises at first, but then spent about 45 minutes running in circles and taking turns humping each other. Good times, good times.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Dogs on a mission -- A MISSION OF MAYHEM!!!

Read the title in an 80s lite metal squeal, please. Imagine wild guitars screaming behind it.

Yesterday, despite the frigid cold, I decided to take the little people for a walk around the neighborhood. We're going stir-crazy here. Some of the people in my neighborhood seem to have no idea how to shovel their walks properly. Take the shovel. Remove the snow. ALL of it. Apply salt. Ta-da. Safe sidewalks. It seems so straightforward, right? Yet it looks like some people went out there with a broom and lightly swept the sidewalk. Really, people? I don't want to take the kids out to walk in that, slip on a patch of hard-packed snow and ice, and come home with broken limbs.

However. Take one two year old and one six year old who has been out of school for over a week, throw them into a big house with tons of dogs, and shake. Stir-crazy.

We suited up and went out, walked halfway down the block, and decided it was too cold and we needed warmer hats. We came back. Ms Six wore my big puffy white faux fur hat, and Mr Almost-Two screamed and tore off a scarf and threw his angora knitted hat and doggy mittens on the floor. I gave up on the scarf and shoved his hands back in the mittens and the hat in my pocket, and we tried to go out again.

Only, Mr Almost-Two got to the door first, and opened it himself. Finley, who was standing right next to the door, shouted, "WHEEEEE!" and rushed onto the porch. I tried to grab him, and he looked at me with a hurt expression and then pranced further away. Polly, who is not one to miss out on a party, bumrushed Ms Six and zoomed out the door, off the porch, across the street, and down to the park, closely followed by Finley. Snow! Fresh air! FREEDOM! Generally their recall is pretty fantastic, but in this case? I doubt they even heard me.


I shoved the children back into the house, grabbed my keys and a leash, and went out into the freezing cold calling my dogs, who were nowhere to be seen. I walked all the way to the park and didn't see them anywhere. We're right near two busy roads and lots of bus traffic, I-95, train tracks, a big stretch of semi-wild forested parkland, and the river. They could be anywhere. They could be dead. I walked back up towards the house, and saw the young autistic man who spends a lot of time outside, in front of his house. I thought maybe he had seen them run past. I don't think he did, but it was difficult to tell. He mentioned dogs, but I think he was responding to my carrying a leash, not to having seen my dogs. While I was trying to ask him about the dogs, they came barrelling up to me from the next street over, looking utterly THRILLED with themselves.

Polly ran right over to me when I called her, and Finley followed suit. Geeze, was I happy to see them! I am so glad that they ran in a big circle, that they stuck together, and that they came back. Now, how do I prevent this from happening again?!?

Oh, and after all that, the little ones did not get to go on their walk. But the autistic guy's mom thought my dogs were "charming." I think she was happy because I helped her son arrange the trash can in the proper spot. He's very particular about the placement of his trash can. :)

The crate and rotate routine continues to suck the joy out of the dogs' lives. Tuni screams (a horrifying sound which pierces through closed windows and brick walls, and which I can hear from half a block away), Polly shakes and shivers, but Finley peacefully sleeps on his blanket and eats the peanut butter out of his Kong toy. At least someone is happy.

Tuni is anxious, guardy, and obsessive about status right now. I'm not sure why, but she has been really, really unhappy this past week. She won't even sleep on the bed anymore -- she hides underneath it instead. More room for my feet, but it hurts me to see her so unhappy. I am afraid that I did something to make her so miserable, or that I did not do something to stop her being miserable.

I think I need to spend more one-on-one time with each dog, but the only one-on-one time I ever have available is when Mr Almost-Two is napping, and I can't leave him alone in the house while I take them out on long walks.

Crate and rotate. Boo hiss. Dogs who can't deal with each other. Boo hiss. Dogs who can easily clear high baby gates, or dogs who can knock down baby gates with their big hard heads, boo hiss.