Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Doggy Dynamics and Kitty Chaos

Watching the dynamics around here is interesting, with each day, each week, each month that Lucy is with us bringing changes in both Lucy's personality and in her relationship with the other critters.

Yesterday I made another one day trip to the mainland to see how mom is doing in her new place (very well! she loves it!), and Lucy spent the day at Gail's. My neighbour, Mary, came over to let Sadie and Charley out, feed them and take them for a walk. When I brought Lucy home thirteen hours later, she went into the same over-the-top OMG-I'm-so-glad-to-be-home zoomies, bouncies, and kissies as she did the last trip. What was different this time, compared to just ten days ago, was Sadie and Charley's reaction to her - they both wanted to play with her, with their ears up and tails wagging and happy, happy faces. Now, that I did NOT expect - especially from Charley who gets incredibly upset when Lucy hogs all the attention around here, and surely would prefer that Lucy just stay away.

There's been a few other changes, too, in the past few weeks. Lucy now routinely chases the cat and tries to play with her. That's not as bad as it sounds - don't forget, Allie is a tortie cat, full of mischief herself. Allie taunts Lucy, sitting on the edge of a piece of furniture, hunched over like a vulture, ready to swat Lucy as she walks by. I have seen Allie strut up to where Lucy is sleeping and meow right in her face. And Lucy never hurts Allie, and I've never seen Allie hiss or swat at Lucy even though she has done so at other dogs (and people) we've had here. So it's all in fun.

The problem with Lucy's and Allie's fun is that it becomes messy, destructive fun. Allie tears around the house, flying from furniture to furniture. Lucy is close behind, bouncing up and down on her invisible pogo stick, trying to see the tops of the furniture to track Allie's movements. And anything loose on the top of the furniture either goes flying with Allie or gets knocked off by Lucy. Of course, once it is on the floor, it is fair game - a dog toy!

And so in the hour I spent away from the house today, they managed to drag the cover off the sofabed (again), knock the placemats off the table (again), and bring a tiny foot-high live Christmas tree to its knees. The tree was a gift from my friend Else, and came decorated with styrofoam snowballs and a comical black and white styrofoam penguin. It was placed in the very centre of the dining room table. The tree survived, the snowballs and penguin did not.

Fortunately, Lucy didn't eat the styrofoam. She just decided to scatter the little white pieces everywhere and leave the evidence for me to clean up. She and Allie also rearranged the furniture somewhat - lightweight furniture apparently slides easily on laminate flooring, and tips over where flooring meets carpet - with the help of a cat and a fifty pound pogo-sticking dog.

I finally brought in an extra crate so the serious crate training can begin. Lucy does use Charley's big crate sometimes (with the door open), but Lucy has already taken over Charley's raised bed (as well as Sadie's couch and my chair), so I decided it wouldn't be fair to Charley to lock Lucy up in Charley's crate when I'm out. From now on, all treats and meals will be fed to Lucy in what used to be Oliver's crate, and she shall learn to comfortably spend increasing lengths of time in the crate with the door shut. She did very well at dinner tonight - not a whine or a peep when she was done. She just sat at the crate door and sent me a look that clearly said "Okay, that was good, let me out now". And I did. At which she and the cat resumed their little game of indoor tag.

Lucy really needs a home of her own. Any takers out there?

(Lucy is being fostered for the Cowichan and District SPCA. She really is a wonderful dog - a cuddlebug extraordinaire, who listens well, walks nicely on leash, loves being brushed, holds up her paws to have her nails done, and is the most loyal companion imaginable. She will eventually outgrow her youthful exuberance, and no doubt if I stuck with my own motto of "A tired dog is a good dog" there would be a bit less chaos around here.)

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