Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fancy - a Fanciful Friend

So June 13th was the last day of school. Our elementary school has the 5th graders walk through the halls one last time with all of the other kids saying good bye. It is a sort of commencement walk. We pick up Hannah from school, so we had the non-option of watching the tearful commencement walk while we were waiting. It was an especially bittersweet walk as the Principal and vice principal were moving on to new destinations and the school will be receiving their a new principal in the first time in 12 years.

Finally, Iwas able to get the girls in the car and a dash for home to pick up the dog before we went to friends for swimming. All of a sudden my oldest bursts into tears and is so sad that she has finished school and will be getting a new teacher. She will miss Mrs. Kernodle, her kindergarten teacher so much.

In a moment's flash, my younger daughter who is four, starts crying as well. So I ask why she is crying. She says "Fancy has graduated and is moving away for ever!" (Fancy is her imaginary best friend who attends all important life events.) To be honest, I was laughing so hard, I could hardly drive. When the crying didn't calm after we were headed toward our friends house for swimming, I tried to talk emma out of her tears. She was absolutely convinced that Fancy would never come back. I drop Hannah off and ask Emma if she is going to go swimming and she tells me she can't swim without Fancy. So off we drive for 3 miles or so to grab a pizza for the kids for lunch. She is still crying about Fancy and how she is never coming back. She tells me that she has moved to California to play with California kids.

So I ask her if I can call her and ask her if she will come back. She tells me no she can't come back because she has to work in California. So I ask if I call her and ask her to live with us so she can take care of Emma as a job. Emma decides that might be okay.

Emma tells me through her tears that I can only call on the pink princess phone; which happens to be at home. So then I ask if I can call on the Magic purple Dino phone (stuffed dino that sits in the front dash.) She tells me it won't work. But after about 20 minutes of these tears, I am really desparate. So I start doing a beep, beep and ask if it is the right phone number. Emma tells me no through her sniffles. She tells me the correct numbers and magically Dino phone works and I have Fancy on the phone. I ask her very nicely to come back and be with Emma. I tell her we are going swimming and would like her to join us and live with us. Of course, Fancy agrees.

I tell Emma, Fancy will be back and to let me know when she arrives. (she knows I can't see her). Miraculously the tears are stopped and Emma is talking to Fancy about swimming

Golly Gee Where does time go?

Okay, so I admit, I thought it had been a few weeks since I last posted; not almost 2 month sheesh! In that time we have had a busy life!

We finally found a dog named her Goldie Fancie Pants. We have had her for about two months. She is about 17 lbs and the perfect lap dog.

Emma had a birthday and turn 4. I did it all the old fashioned way; including the Jewelry box cake.
We had 10 kids in our back yard. Hubby and I tagged teamed face painting. We grilled and had a few games. I felt so successful in that, I decided to throw Hannah a pirate party with 19 kids down at the park. I think that took up most of May.

I believe the remainder of the time has been recovering from it all! WHew! Now we have started our summer vacation and it has already been fun!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's a Dog's Life!

There was a dog who was too big in VENUS was her Name-O - V E NU S!
Well, you know the rest of the song!

So I spent the week going to the pound and looking at dogs who have been picked up. I found a sheltie and a mutt that showed prospect. On Friday, fell in love with a little poodle but didn't sign my name on it as DH said no poodles. On Saturday, he went to the poodles cage and said, this is the dog! Of course, other people felt it was the dog for them as well! Oh Well! The Shelties is a bit of a barker, and I don't want to have to retrain for that and the mutt is an escape artist. So neither of those will work.

I told Hubby last night, if Venus was about 20 lbs less, she really would have been the perfect dog! She was so awesome with the girls and showed such interest! Oh Well!

Jeff things it should be just "that easy" to pick a dog. "yep! That's the one!" I agree, but I have such an affinity for dogs, I get caught up in the potential of it all! I think what makes it all so difficult is that going to the pound is like buying a lottery ticket. If you don't go everyday and buy a ticket your chances of getting the right numbers, or dog in this case, are close to nil.

So we will continue our journey in search for a dog in a week or so as spring break has arrived and we will be busy entertaining kids all week!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Deed is Done

I took Venus back to her no kill shelter yesterday. Emma cried that she missed her snuggle-bug doggy and that she was a perfect dog for her.

For me it was finding the missing peices to a puzzle. The wonderful gal that runs Diamonds in the Ruff. Kennel 12-16 dogs in her house. Her heart is big for these big and mostly unwanted dogs. She desparately needs a true kennel where each individual dog has it its own running space and they can learn some training.

As it is now, the dogs all clammor at the back door and race into the house--Well no wonder Venus had no door manners and would jump and clamor and push her "pack" aside to gallop into the house!

It also explained why she had not clue on the leash! Lynda just doesn't have the time or space to work with this dogs to help them become more suitable for a family.

So with all the dogs running around, it really becomes a no-brainer as to why we saw such poor behavior from Venus.

Had she been about 6 inches smaller and 20 lbs less, we could have all figured it out.

So here is the $150.00 lessons that I learned.

Never sign a contract until you know you are keeping the dog...ask for "foster" status. If they say no, then don't get the dog.

Don't trust people when they tell you, it is best they bring the dog to you. Always insist on seeing the animal in their current living conditions; especially if they have been there for a long time.

Take the dog on a walk with a leash!!!!!!!!!!!!

When you husband or S.O. says "It's up to you." It really means, I do not like the dog. Do not get the dog. Read between the lines....I don't want to be the bad guy, here."

We we live, we learn and tomorrow we start looking for the right dog!

If you live in Hamptons roads and have a big heart for big dogs, with lots of time and patience for retraining. There is a dog just waiting for you at www.diamondsintheruff.com.

Friday, March 14, 2008

So Sad Venus Bow-ie Snuggle Bugs

Yesterday, I got up determined to help this poor dog be a better dog in our home. I walked her outside in the backevery 30 minutes for almost 3 hours and never saw her pee. I did let her off her leash to let her run, so she may have gone then. I never saw it. At errand time, she refused to go in in her kennel. And when you have two kids you are trying to move in one direction in a reasonable amount of time, the last think you need is one more unreasonable thing. In kennel, now with nice sheet over it for a good den, here comes the barks and howls. During errands, we found lovely treats for her and I purchased some Sherpa Wool for a bed in the loft.

UPon arriving at home, I brought Emma in (4). I had the reasonable expectation that she would follow directions and not open the Kennel. I was wrong. Hands full of bags, turning to go into the house and out of my house shoots a 50 lb canon doggy with an agenda all of her own. I can honestly say thank goodness my neighbors all have fences or she would have been gone. Well, her nose did distract her. So here I was tracking down doggie. Once I get her collar, the battle of who is boss begins as she starts her passive aggressive lay down telling me she isn't going anywhere.

Well I got her home and had to put her back in the kennel as it was time to get Hannah now and again, she really didn't want it even with the great treats offered her. At this point, I was practicising "My Patience." My back hurts part from lugging the dog, part for other reasons. And I am exhausted from being up the night before so things are not looking good for me emotionally.

I set Venus up for a rest with the girls. Since I still haven't seen her pee, she leashed to a door, near the girls. But I have got to have a break to maintain what sanity I have left in this world. As everyone knows, Mommies need there breaks to stay good mommies!!!! In about 20 minutes my daughter comes running in and says the dog is on the lose and has broken (chewed) through the leash! Yep she did.

I round up the troops, grab a dog training book and send everyone outside. Girls are playing. Venus who hasn't had any excersize just lays down and sleeps. When just hanging outside, you would think she is the best dog. I work with her on her new harness and she seems to have better behavior on the leash! HOPE! I take her out front and she turns into this 50 lb drag. Sigh!

I am beginning to get a clue that she may take a lot more time and effort that I have, but I hate to give up hope! So with a heavy heart, I take back to the back yard along with two disappointed kids who really want to play outfront.

Don't forget in the background lurking is Dad. No my nearly perfect husband doesn't like to play what he perceives as the bad guy. He wants me to decode his behavior and come to the determination in what he is thinking. I knew Venus didn't fit his image of a dog. He thought she was ugly and too big. But he was trying to be supportive. However, he just breathes stressed out when he really, really, really doesn't like something. I feel his stress! ACK!KKKK!!!!

I started with dinner and have this dog jumping and barking to get in the back door. Hubby ismaking stinky faces and sighing. I am trying to be sane and patient. So I am grilling and going in and out. Trying to keep the dog out because she has to have some one with her on the leash because we don't trust her and I have two girls trying to come in and out and in and out. Everytime, I have to stop and let them in because now Almost Perfect Husband has left be to my own devices. Dinner is ready. Venus is off sniffing something and I am able to the the fish in without incident. I call the girls. Get Venus to sit at the door and as Hannah is walking in, Venus jumps and lunges, both paws pushing her forward.

Thank goodnees I am there in reach to grab the dog to keep the kid from falling either to her knees or face first into the table. The dog fully meant to go in before everyone with out regard. We know it wasn't her fault. She was following her want. She has never had a family and doesn't realize that there are rules and when it comes to the door. She really, really, really wants her way. This is the demise of Venus. I can tell by the look on Jeff's face as he walks away. That I now have to be the one to make the stinky decision that Venus isn't the dog for us.

Of course later in the discussion, I am told I should have read the signals that He didn't want her in the first place. And yes this is true. I should have. He fully admitted that had he been more clear we would have turned her down. My heart gets in the way of my judgment because I so like animals.

The rest of the night was uneventful. Venus, slept until 10:00 refused to get up. I think it took me a good 5 minutes to convince her to move. Some fancy, but gently lifting as well. She didn't want to go out, so I just put her in her kennel. Amazing she slept almost 13 hours with out having to go .

She went out this morning as good as can be! She ate breakfast and came up stairs and for the most part has showed potential to be a good dog for someone else who has two adults to give her love and perhaps a kid or two. I think she would be the perfect dog for an older child who wants to practice training. LOL! At least she would be a challenge.

If anyone out there in Virginia beach is looking for a big, sweet, lovable, stubborn dog with tons of potentional write to dogandcatrescue@yahoo.com, Venus just needs a family that has LOTS of time to work with her and be patient with her. She needs to have a home with lots of patience and she will come around. Unfortuantely, my girls are too small and too young and Venus is just TOO big.

So later today, I will make the call that tells the shelter that she has to go back. Ohhh Sad, sad day!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Oh Dear! Venus!

Late last night I wrote this on one of my group sites.................

ohh tonight my heart is so heavy. The honey moon is over and reality has set in!

Venus peed twice in the house today, knocked over the garbage, climbed and layed on the furniture and only pushing her hiney to shover her off was the only way to get her down. She jumped on Hannah to get a treat and scratched her neck, and knocked her over. Then, Hubby tells me she is too big and her only saving grace is that she is such a lug and so mellow; except when in training and steals a treat from Hannah. Other than that he doesn't really like her. Hannah told me she wants a "tawny" dog. ( My mom's golden retreiver.) I am stressed because I am now getting a bigger picture of what I may have gotten myself into and have no idea how to handle it.

On one point I am commited to having a dog and working with her to train her into a good dog.

On the other hand, I am wondering if I should cut my losses before the girls get too attached.

Realistically, hubby is right. She's a sweetheart. But other than that things are not good in her favor. She doesn't play ball. She half drags me on the leash, so we can't take her for walks. She has started to refuse her kennel; even with treats in it. She howls in her kennel. Now I am learning that she probably wasn't house trained and I will have to treat her like a puppy and train her. I am so afraid that Hubby may be right in the fact that she has never really been around people or learned manners. A 50 lb dog jumping on kids 1/2 her size scares me to death. She hasn't responded at all the the "sit" command. I have treat for her and half the time she just lays down. I know if it was me and me alone. I would be fine in training her. She is good when she is with only me. The problems start to surface with the distractions of the girls and I just don't have a clue in how train the three of them; especially when I see her manners in some ways get worse.

So I have been sitting here reading about problems dogs and find that the best thing is to keep her with me on a leash. Take her out walk her til she pees and praise her. To train her in house manners, she needs to stay with me on the leash or be in her kennel.
I just feel so bad, because, I gave what I thought was a clear description of what our family could deal with behavior wise and feel a bit bamboozled over it. I haven't gotten a straight answer from the gal about any previous training which really makes me wary.

I just don't know what to do. I have a house to run and kids to raise. I didn't get a puppy because I needed to have something that was less needy. Come to find out, I may have gotten a puppy, just in giant propotions.

So today.............Now she is on a leash in the house and hasn't been potty yet today! argh!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Life with Venus Bowie Snugglebugs - the Hound

I think getting a dog is a lot like getting a child. They both need lots of attention and we all have to get to know each other. Initially, you might have 2nd thoughts, but you know it is a forever deal!

I admit I have had 2nd thoughts. at 18 inches to the withers (shoulders) she is bigger than I wanted and solid. She has had a couple of run ins with the girls and we have had tears. I have to remind herself if we had gotten any dog, this would be the case. These run ins have shown the girls how important it is that we teach Venus Bowie Snugglebugs good manners, so we can always love her! At first they weren't so sure that this real.

I am sure there will be lots of I never realized in this case as this is a new breed for me. I never realized what a pack really meant until Venus arrived. She has completely bonded with Hannah.
This is a photo I took when I went to check in on her at nap time. I am not a dog on the bed kind of gal. However, I am a realist and think that this is a losing battle. Hannah told me she told Venus she could snuggle with her....good think she is kennel trained! I don't know if I could handle a dog in the bed all night......just waiting to visit mine!
In a secondary manner, Venus has also bonded with the rest of us. I noticed this when she seemed very reluctant to go outside with out any of her mates. Of course, for me the answer is another dog. With Hubby that would be as easy to do as to get him to move to a new place.....not going to happen unless utterly forced! I would secretly love to adopt Venus' brother who is also at http://diamondsintheruffpetrescue.com/dogs.htm. I know this is an unrealistic wish for me! Beside training two dogs at once would completey insane and disaster would occur.
Then last night, at bedtime, she refused to go to her kennel until the entire family went with her. I got the girls in the room and she went right to Jeff, sat down and looked at him until he got up and had Venus follow him to her kennel. Right in she went. You could see in her eyes that she secretly wanted to sleep with Hannah.
This big lovable pack hound, woke up, just like a kid, whined in her kennel. From the night before, I had learned it wasn't that she needed to go out, but rather, she needed to be reassured that the rest of her pack was near her. Since my pack was in bed with me, I left it and went in and stuck my finger in her kennel. She gave it a lick and went back to sleep!
Today we will try some more leash training. I guess a trait of a hound is if it benefits them, they will train. If it doesn't, they won't. This seems to be true for Venus. We have a lot of work ahead of us to show Venus that it is imperative that she get a good handle on the leash.