March 7th 2013 1:37 pm
[ Leave A Comment ]
The last few months have been a bit crazy for us. Since July, I found a job (which gave me quite a few hours to start), moved 3 times, got engaged, and spent the bulk of my time planning my wedding for this June. I'm also doing correspondence and trying to enroll in college for the winter semester of 2014. Things have been a little hectic, to say the least.
The unusual journey that led to Kaiser started in late November when we moved for the second time. Things weren't working out with our roommates, so we had to leave. Tobi and my fiancé's dog, Dexter, made the move with us, of course. We moved in with my fiancé's dad (and his big, friendly Golden Doodle) short-term while we tried to figure out a new living situation.
A couple of short weeks after our arrival, we discovered that the Doodle I mentioned previously, Buddy, was about to meet his untimely demise. He had been limping about the place for a week or so, and they had assumed it was just a sprain or muscle pain. When he finally took him to the vet, he found out it was some kind of spleen issue which was inoperable, and that Buddy wouldn't last more than another couple weeks at best. With heavy hearts, we saw him to rest two days later to end his suffering.
Dexter has always been a bit of an unusual dog. He's definitely a people-dog (more so than he is a dog-dog) but he and I have never been able to get along. I took a somewhat strict approach to raising both Tobi and Dexter to try and round them out, but while Tobi flourished with my discipline, Dexter received mixed signals from my fiancé and I (my fiancé never corrected him and was much more lenient with his rules) and came to resent me. He is not a dog who responds well to correction or criticism and every time I tried to set him straight, his response was to pee (he's a Cocker Spaniel, by the way). By the time I realized he needed a very soft touch to be happiest, he'd already formed an opinion of me. We're better than we've ever been, but he's still not my biggest fan. Dexter wants to please me, but can't get over the fear that he never will, because when he was young I was the only one who ever corrected him on anything. He now thinks he can do no right by me, and it's heartbreaking. I know how to treat him now to make him happy, and I have come to terms with the fact that he can't function the way I would prefer he does, and I love him all the same, but that doesn't stop him from disliking me.
Anyway, after Buddy passed away, Dexter picked up on fiancé's dad's distress and couldn't be separated from him. They took to each other magnificently. My fiancé and I both worked long hours and his dad was home a lot more often to play with, cuddle with, and nourish Dexter. The more rules in place (example: invitation to jump on the bed/couch), the worse Dexter would function, and his dad had virtually no rules -- which Dexter loved. He became more and more indifferent to us until it got to the point where we couldn't even bribe him into spending time with us. We realized, as we were preparing to move out again after a short two months, that Dexter was happiest with his dad and it would be unfair to separate the two. On the way out, we asked him if he wanted to keep Dexter - of course he did!
I think we were all sad for the first few days without Dexter - even Tobi. Tobi is an odd dog - he gets visibly depressed without another dog's companionship, but is extremely hard to condition to live harmoniously with other males. We realized that we were going to need a new dog, a female was likely the best choice, and that the sooner we did it, the easier the transition (before Tobi established the new place to be his own territory). We went to several local shelters but couldn't find a dog which suited our prerequisites (small to medium, female, and fairly stable personality). The closest we got was a Karelian Bear Dog named Jake. He was mild-tempered and sweet, but he had an application pending, so we avoided getting attached to him.
Kaiser, as we're calling him, wasn't really the best-laid plan. My fiancé knew I had a love affair with merle dogs and when he saw three affordable Aussie puppies for sale (since we couldn't find a rescue we were debating between Aussies, Shelties, and Sheltie mixes), and that two were merle, he insisted we go see them despite them being males. Tobi was not the most receptive to meeting them, but took it reasonably well, and of the puppies, Kaiser was the most respectful and well-balanced. We couldn't resist his charm and decided to bring him home.
It hasn't been the easiest having Kaiser. I got Tobi when he was three months old and, since he hadn't developed any horrible habits in that time (and because he's awesome), he was a breeze to train. He almost never had accidents except when I took too long getting up in the morning (he could hold it for about 8 hours right off the bat). With Kaiser, we are getting up at least once, if not twice, in the night to let him out. Half the time, he really doesn't want to go back to sleep and it will take about half an hour until everyone gets comfortable again. He understands already that he *should* be going outside - he is an excellent learner - but not yet that this means he should *never* go in the house. I'm sure it'll be a good transition, but in the meantime, I've been cleaning up a fair amount of pee and am not the most well-rested individual. With that and a couple of other small quirks aside, he's been great, and I'm sure he'll turn into a great dog.
It's a bit weird without Dexter, but I think that this is best for everyone, in the end. Tobi is wary and the puppy has a lot of energy, but we'll all find our balance in time.