Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Life

Klaatu barada nikto!

Whew. It's good to be back.

Okay, okay, so a lot has happened in the *cough*5 months*cough* since I last posted. Sherri's been riding my arse, reminding me that I needed to update, until she eventually declared the blog dead.

Ah well. Good thing I have an excellent res spell handy.

Since I last posted, Sam has graduated from OCU, we've moved, Sam has a job, we have a house... oh yeah, and we now have a puppy named J.J.

J.J. is the most recent change in our lives. Sam and I had been talking about getting a dog since last Christmas, but we didn't want to get one while we were in the apartment, as we felt that would be cruel to a dog. Heck, I thought it was cruel to the cats, but they were stuck with it. So, last Wednesday (in honor of our upcoming anniversary) we went to a couple of the local animal shelters to see what we could find.

Sam and I were looking for an older dog--somewhere between 1 and 3 years old. My husband had never had a dog before, and while my family had a dog when I was a child, Boots passed away when I was about 8 years old; we never got another dog. Which meant neither of us had much practical experience with dogs, and certainly none with puppies. As such, we were wanting a little older dog.

The first shelter we went to was here in town. About 8 dogs were needing a home there. Unfortunately, none seemed like a good fit--one of the poor dogs didn't even have bottom teeth left any more! Others were too hyper, or obviously had housebreaking issues (which is what we were trying to avoid). There was a gorgeous white Husky/Lab mix, but he wouldn't even come up to us--he hung out at the very back of the cage. Combating disappointment, we decided to travel out to Tecumseh (the keeper at the local shelter suggested it) to see what we could find.

It took us about an hour to locate the place and make an appointment with the gentleman who was in charge of it. Upon arrival, we found only two dogs there--an older chihuahua, and a little puppy who looked to be 2-3 months old. Now, any one who knows me knows that I feel that small dogs, like chihuahuas, are merely a snack for real dogs, so he was out of the question. I already have two cats, thank you. The puppy was very cute, but we really didn't want a puppy either. While we were talking with the man who ran the shelter, he explained that the policy at the shelter was to only keep dogs 2 days, and if no one claimed them to then put them down. They'd picked up the puppy out by the lake on Monday.

We couldn't leave this little puppy, knowing that if we didn't take him he'd be put down that evening. Just wasn't going to happen. So, against our better judgment, we went ahead and took the puppy.

The shelter man was delighted to have someone take the puppy--he didn't even charge us for him. Just said to take him and be happy. As I was settling into the van with the puppy in my lap, I looked down and saw that he was absolutely loaded with fleas and ticks--one of the ticks on his shoulder was as big as my thumbnail.

Now, what you have to understand is that ever since I was a small girl, I've had a deeply rooted fear of bugs (usually spiders, but sometimes other creepy crawlers get me going). Laying eyes upon that tick made every hair on my body stand on end, and I think I might even have started whimpering in my throat. Poor Sam got to hold the dog instead, and we drove to the vet so fast I think we violated a few laws that haven't even been invented yet.

Thankfully, the vet is used to this type of thing and had a plan ready for such a contingency. After they gave the puppy his first round of shots (who up to his point had been called such names as: Max, Malcom, Seamus, Jack, and Bandit), they then sprayed him down with this absolutely foul smelling liquid. Imagine someone taking a vial of cat pee and a bottle of rubbing alcohol and mixing it together in a can of hairspray. Now multiply that times 10, and you have a vague idea of the scent of this stuff.

However, within a minute, fleas and ticks started raining down off of this dog. You'd run your hand along his back and bugs would literally cascade down off of him. After that, they gave him a pill inside of a doggie treat, telling us that within 30 minutes it should kill off the ticks clinging to him. The final weapon in our arsenal was a small packet of Frontline, which we were to apply along his spine when we got home, to ward off fleas and ticks in the future.

Filled with joy at the prospect of new, clean puppy, we headed for home. Also, we had settled on a name for the puppy. Sam thought he looked like a bandit, because the puppy has a black "mask" marking over his eyes and ears. I didn't want to call him just Bandit, however, so after discussion we decided on Jesse James, or J.J. for short.

Here's a picture of J.J.'s face, the little bandit.

Grandma Nena quickly made the connection to the Dalton Gang when she found out about it.

Once we'd arrived home, we then commenced upon the next engagement of our battle against The Bugs. This maneuver began with a bath, to get that absolutely horrid goup off of his fur. (J.J. was unimpressed with this.) While a great many fleas were wiped out by the downpour, there were a number of survivors still clinging to J.J.'s coat, not to mention the ticks which were bunkering down. We then began the process of using my Leatherman to grab hold of ticks/fleas, pull them off of the puppy, and squish them between the Pincers of Doom(tm) or against the Post of Judgment(tm). This went on for an hour, with the terrain heaving the entire time, thwarting our aerial attacks. (J.J. was full of puppy energy and wanted to explore his new home.) We gave J.J. a second bath and rubbed him down with towels, before continuing our ongoing mission to destroy all insect life upon the pup.

(For those of you worrying, all of this took place outside. I wasn't letting J.J., no matter how cute, into my house until we'd eradicated the fleas and ticks.)

J.J. continued to squirm and whine for the next hour, before finally, finally falling asleep in Sam's lap. Once that happened, the Battle for a Clean J.J. turned for the better. We literally went over J.J. with a fine-toothed comb to find every creepy, crawly thing on him and pick'em off. Three hours after the battle was rejoined, we succeeded in wiping out the local bug population.

So we now had a clean, happy puppy.

You can see him above, finally getting a real nap. You can also see the insects' revenge upon Sam--a massive sunburn all over his legs, arms, neck, and head.

That evening, I kept J.J. company while Sam played a gig in the city. We only had one accident, which thankfully was in the laundry room, and he spent most of the evening napping at my feet while I was doing research online as to just what in the blazes you do to potty train a puppy.

For the record, I'd be absolutely lost without the Dog Breed Info Center. The person who wrote most of the articles on the website is a huge fan of Cesar Millan (of the Dog Whisperer fame), and so she is able to explain everything in excellent detail, and provide anecdotes from her adventures with Allie the Boxer, Bruno the Boxer, and Spencer the Pit Bull and how what she's learned applied to them.

I'm going to try (emphasis is on the word try) to get another post up soon detailing our adventures since getting J.J. cleaned up. However, I have learned the sad lesson of not to make promises on this blog. So I'll just try my best.

Blessings upon you!

P.S. You can view my Flikr photostream of J.J. pictures here.

Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies.
--Gene Hill

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