Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lessons with Lucy

Lucy is settling in well, and she and I are getting to know each other.

She is learning that I will come back even if I disappear outside or into the bathroom without her. She is learning that she has to sleep in the x-pen (she only cries for about two minutes now, before settling down for the night), and that she eats in the mudroom with the baby gate closed (to avoid potential resource guarding by Charley, my slowest eater). She now understands that when we go into the back yard I want her to go to the bathroom, and she is beginning to do it on command. And she can make it to the end of the block and back on leash without showing signs of stress.

As for me, I am learning about Lucy. I have learned that:

  • Lucy thinks 5:00 AM is the correct time to get up (hmmmm....Belle's spirit at work here?), and she can shove an x-pen all over the room in order to get as close to my bedroom door as possible.
  • Lucy likes women better than men. She's not aggressive to them, but is more apprehensive - backing up, ears flat, watching silently. She has done this with both my male neighbours and with two males we met on the street, but not with the females we met. Her former owner was male, but perhaps he had some unpredictable qualities.
  • Lucy thinks the best place to lie is right under my chair. This is a dangerous practice when the chair is my office chair with wheels, and her ear is tucked next to a wheel. It is also a dangerous practice when I have the recliner in the "footrest up" position and she tries to slide underneath it. We are working on having her lie a wee bit further away.
  • Lucy loves food. Any food. It's a good thing she's too low to the ground to countersurf!

Needless to say, Lucy shows no signs of labour yet, and my personal opinion is that she likely has another week or two to go. Since both of the next two Tuesdays would be horribly inconvenient for me (an important medical appointment next Tuesday, and a one-day trip to the mainland the following Tuesday - the only two commitments on my calendar this month), I'm betting she will go into labour either next Monday or the Monday after, and deliver in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

My vet is dropping by tomorrow to have a look at her, so we may know more about her due date and potential litter size then. Doctor Nancy is also bringing flea treatment for all the critters, as Lucy brought an unanticipated entourage with her. I wonder if I can teach my herders to herd them right out the back door?

My girls have not needed flea preventatives for years - an animal with a healthy immune system generally does not - but given that Lucy had been in the house for a while before I discovered them, I figured I better take a proactive approach. I am also sprinkling Lucy's favourite areas and much of the carpeting with diatomaceous earth, a safe and natural product to kill the little b***ers. So far, I seem to be winning the battle - from finding a dozen fleas on her the first day, to only one yesterday. Next time I bring a new critter into the house, I will remember to first check for an entourage of tiny black hoppers. Another lesson learned.

And those are my Lessons with Lucy for today. Stay tuned for more adventures in the days to come.

Hey little buddy - ya got an itch?


Black Jack's Carol said...

Another great post, Jean. I'm wondering where you buy diatomaceous earth. My building went into a state of decline with very poor management (I'm moving in two weeks), and more than a few irresponsible humans. The result is an infestation in the halls and everywhere outdoors. Black Jack had never had fleas, but couldn't escape this time. I have her on CapStar (once a week) and Frontline (once a month). It breaks my heart to give her that stuff, but trying all the "natural" remedies was an exercise in futility. I think we've caught the problem, but I'm worried about my carpets, couches, etc. especially since we're moving and I don't want to bring the little b***ers with me! To say I don't deal well with fleas would be an understatement! All suggestions/help appreciated!

As I noted in my last comment, Lucy is in just the best place she could possibly be. I can see the two of you are learning together, and very quickly too. Looking forward to continued posts with updates.

Jean said...

Hi Carol. Diatomaceous earth can be purchased at most nurseries and some farm supply places. I got mine at SharCare which is an animal/plant chain on the island, but I think Buckerfields carries it and I'm betting places like Art Knapps do as well. (For those that are wondering, it is pronounced diet-tom-may-shuss, with the emphasis on the "may"). You can sprinkle it around the exterior of your home or on lawns, on your carpets (and then shuffle around to rub it in - it's a fine white powder so virtually disappears), sprinkle in dog and cat beds etc. Just leave it there - you'll vacuum it up next time you clean, and then can reapply if you still have a problem. I've read you can even put some on a facecloth and rub it on your pet if you wish, but I would keep it away from sensitive areas and maybe check with your vet too.
It's also good for killing bed bugs and other little creepy-crawlies that might infest your home. And it is not expensive - I bought about 7 pounds from the bulk bin, and it came to about $10.00.
Carol, I'm like you - I don't deal well with fleas. Even though I haven't found any on ME, I'm constantly imagining I'm being bitten!

Anonymous said...

I have purchased diatomaceous earth at my local garden centre in the past. It's great for keeping slugs and snails at bay in the garden. I didn't realize that it worked for other crawly critters as well, so I've learned a lesson, thanks inadvertantly to Lucy, as well.

5-7 puppies on either of the inconvenient Tuesday mornings (in accordance with Murphy's inescapable law) is my bet.

Deb S.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Thanks so much, Jean and Deb. I hope to purchase some diatomaceous earth on the weekend. Glad to know I'm not alone in my abhorrence of all blood-thirsty critters. And... yeah, that Murphy fellow. If only we could do something about him. No predictions here, but I'll be checking your blog often for updates, Jean:)

Lori said...

I love Lucy!!

Caroline said...

you have to make sure it's the food grade that you purchase.

Btw, Jean, what did the vet say about possible due date and number of pups?

I still say two pups,lol

Jean said...

Caroline, thanks for that info about food grade - no one has ever mentioned to me that there are different grades. I just phoned my supplier and what they sell in the animal supply stores is food grade - because it is often mixed right with the grain for livestock, to kill off mealyworms etc.
I did find this website which explains the various grades and uses of diatomaceous earth:

The vet is coming around noon today, so will post new info re Lucy this afternoon.