Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Indiana

Today, there is no garden to open to you or kitchen to welcome you into because there is a whole new character in my life that wolfs up time and energy.


The rescue said he was a happy-go-lucky family dog who got along with cats. They were wrong. They said he was three years old and a purebred chocolate lab. Yeah, well, not so much.

What we got was a very traumatized, maybe two-year old, anxious lab mix. (Great Dane? German Shorthaired Pointer? Something big and smart and beautiful.) Not anxious in the shy way, he's anxious in the I-think-you-are-messing-with-me-so-I-am-going-to-kill-you-before-you-get-a-chance-to-prove-me-right way. Luckily, he has fallen in love with us. Gorgeous is not too strong a word for him; nor is terrifying.


For the ten days we have had him, through the long nights of cat-protecting patrol and getting used to his large-dog noises—especially the wagging otter tail that rattles his huge crate—E and I may have collectively accumulated one full night of sleep. I've read everything about training dogs I can get my hands on in the little time I have to get my hands on something. Nearly every minute of time away from my job has been working with the dog, talking about the dog, reading about the dog, crying about the dog, rejoicing over the dog's small progresses. Our sleep exhaustion isn't making any of this easier.

I don't know if we're going to be able to give Indiana the help he needs to become the good dog that is under the unhappy experiences of his life before us, but we're giving it the college try. The university try. The PhD try. He deserves nothing less.


Wish us luck.

12 comments:

Carrie said...

Christina - Please stroke those velvety ears and kiss that wet nose for me, if it's not too much trouble. Thank you. - Carrie

Soilman said...

Good luck! You're doing a good thing!

He looks like a Weimaraner cross to me...

Wendy said...

Thinking of you. I know exactly what you're going through. Well, not exactly - Marco had/has his problems too but he's 11 kilos so, physically, much easier to handle. I know the tension that goes with being the owner of anxious dog though.
Indiana is a beautiful dog. I know he's feeling the love from you. Give him a scratch behind the ears and a reassuring whisper from me. xxx

Christina said...

Carrie: Done. He says thanks for the love.

Soilman: Thank you! There's definitely something other than lab going on in there, maybe it is Weimaraner. He's certainly lean like one.

Wendy: Thank you, Wendy. I appreciate your encouragement. Indy appreciates the love.

Stefaneener said...

Oh, dearie, good luck.
Even with our carefully-researched purebred, knowing what we're getting puppy, I'm so tired I could cry.
He'll get there. Eventually. Really really really. You are surrounded with good dog resources. Do you know about the yahoo clicker list?

jj said...

Oh, rescues can be so much work, but there are so many rewards. As I type this, our husky cross, bull mastiff, and collie (?) cross are laying at my feet - three previously abused adult rescues who have definitely brought a lot of joy (and a whole new food budget) to our lives! Hang in there, all the work will be so worth it...and really, in my experience, it's less about the dog-training knowledge and more about the consistency and love. Best wishes to you and to Indy :)

megan said...

don't know how you feel about homeopathics/flower remedies, but I found some of the animal combos at greenhopeessences.com to be useful when we got our dog. Even if they were useful only because I felt like I was doing something, they seemed to help. If you email them, they will help direct you to the right remedies.

the good soup said...

Full power to you Christina. I got a dog, once, from the RSPCA. She was a pup, full of anxiety, rage and out of control-ness. And I and my housemates were far too immature to give her the sort of training she needed. I always wish we had. I don't know if it would have solved her anxiety issues, but it definitely would have saved the neighbourhood (and its dogs) from a lot of harassment, and I would have been able to let her run free on our walks together.

TC said...

He's adorable, best of luck to you!

Julie said...

He'll be fine, he has good people. Lucky dog!

Christina said...

Thanks for all the good wishes, everyone. He's an unholy terror, but we have seen some improvement. Our boy's wicked smaht.

Saphyre said...

A lot of dogs go through separation anxiety and I hope that is what you are going through. My rescue chewed up every PVC sprinkler pipe above ground and everything else she could get a hold of. Until one day, she quit. I was just supposed to be a foster mom to her, but I knew she would probably go through it again and most people just aren't that tolerant. That was 11 years ago and I got her at the age of 2. She just passed away about 6 weeks ago. She ended up being a great dog and I miss her dearly. Some dogs are just naturally hyper, especially when young. Maybe "happy go lucky" is code for hyper.