Friday, July 10, 2009
It's funny how much work a pup and teenage dachsi can be. The effort required has certainly surpassed my expectations.
For one thing, dachsunds have small bladders, so you really hafta watch 'em and take them outside often, normally every two hours, but sometimes more, and rarely, less.
Secondly, neither Patti nor I have ever had a young puppy. The youngest pup I recall having was six months old, and already housebroken.
So I searched the innernet and got plenty of info.
Only take them out for five or ten minutes, and once they do their thing, praise them and bring 'em right back inside.
Yeah, right. This may very well work with most breeds but not these dachsi's. They go when they are ready.
Put them in a kennel type carrier when they sleep, or when you can't watch them, because they won't go where they sleep at, is more advice.
Hyeah. Please. Now, with Skully that wasn't a problem, but Little Miss? Well, after you get over the incessant whining, and you never do, and the crying makes you feel guilty..."I'm a monster! Free the puppy! Poor thing. Awww, it's alright. Don't do that. Oh c'mon, it's only temporary."
And then she does indeed pee n' poop in the carrier. Strike that idea.
When Little Miss whines it can mean several things:
She has to go.
She's hungry and/or thirsty.
She's tricking you so she can play outside, then she'll pee or poop when she gets back in. Argh!
She's tired and needs a nap.
I've never had a dog that fights sleep like she does, but our youngest daughter was like that. Sigh. Our youngest daughter is now grown up and is workin' as a psychologist at Fort Bragg, where she served four years as a Soldier in the 81st Airborne while goin' to school at night to get her degree. So she wasn't adversely affected by the fightin' sleep syndrome.
Come to think of it, I often fought sleep so I could read books as a kid, by moonlight sometimes, or the small amount of light coming under the door, or a borrowed flashlight under the covers. But I digress.
What I have found works best for the pup is to sit her on my lap and pet her, turning off all the lights I can, and grabbin' her every time she tries to escape to attack Skully or Cammilu (she loves to wrestle/play fight). Sigh. As Caesar, the Dog Whisperer says: "be calm and assertive." And that works with most other dogs, but not Little Miss. No, she's a rebel, an outlaw who laughs at the rules. However, persistance is rewarded, after many long battles.
A few days ago I was about to go to the store and Skully, who is always well behaved darts out like black lightnin'! I immediately followed, callin' his name. At first I walked fast, tryin' not to scare him, but he just kept runnin' down an old, unused road that's mostly getting overgrown now.
So I ran faster to keep him in visual range, soon going into an outright sprint.
Now, I haven't ran like that for ages, but I couldn't let Skully get ate by coyotes, or a bear or cougar. Yeah, as most of you know we live in the boonies, and I did see a black bear once, and a cougar, as well as plenty of tracks. But coyotes are the biggest danger to small dogs and cats.
Skully sped up and so did I. I briefly wondered how long I could keep this up. As most of you guys know, it wasn't too long ago I was at death's door under the care of hospice nurses and my wife, Patti, unable to walk or talk, or even read without goin' into a seizure.
I have made great strides since then, but I still have very little physical energy or endurance.
I pushed the thought out of my mind. I refused to stop, although my muscles were screamin. Oddly, I wasn't huffin' and puffin' for breath, I remember thinkin'. Even when I was extremely fit, during my Navy days, I would be breathin' purty hard at this point.
I have a mission, I thought, and I would. Not. Stop. Until I had Skully securely in my arms. Period. I ran faster and felt my adrenaline kick in. The minutes went by, and I was sure I had passed a mile, but I could still see Skully, about fifty feet ahead.
Earlier, he wanted to walk down that old road, and we walk it often. He loves it, having been born and kept in a barn for two years before we got him. So this was all new and fascinating to him.
One thing I have learned with dachsi's and terriers is that they can become obsessed with something, be it a rabbit or a mole or a smell, or whatever. They don't forget it, and it will stay on their mind sometimes for days.
For Skully it's this old road, and wild rabbits.
The road turned into a trail, and then barely a trail. Soon we were runnin' through brush and a lot of branches from the logging the owner of the property did a few years ago. Amazing how fast the cleared out land became overgrown with more small trees and brush.
Fortunately, this slowed Skully down a bit, but it also increased the danger of a sprain ankle for me. I looked ahead and saw woods about two hundred yards ahead.
At one point I was close enough to tackle Skully, but I didn't wanna hurt him.
He surged ahead, outdistancing me. Damn! Maybe I should've tackled him while I had a chance, I berated myself.
I forced myself to keep going, runnin' ever faster. My legs burned, and felt like they were about to spaz out. You see, I have peripheral neuropathy in my feet and legs, and sometimes the muscles will knot up into a herd of charlie horses, not too mention burn like hell which happens most the time. That sucks, of course, but I'm thank God I can walk again, and even run when necessary.
But if my muscles spaz out no amount of willpower would enable me to walk, let alone sprint.
No, I thought. Don't go there. I steeled myself and stopped thinkin' about it, as sweat drenched by face and burned my eyes. I poured it on, ignoring the pain. I gotta catch Skully, I was thinkin'. I just gotta.
The woods edged ever closer, but so did Skully. An idea popped into my head. What if I yell "No!" very loudly? It could make Skully stop or it could make him run faster.
When we got Skully, a few months ago, he would often cringe when we would bend down to pet him or pick him up. That's usually a sign a dog wasn't well treated or perhaps he was ignored.
Cammilu, our terrier would also do that when we got her, but now she trusts us. We would never hit our pets, except with a newspaper in extreme cases, or, I found a squirt bottle with water works purty good whe they misbehave. Especially when they dislike getting water on them. At any rate, nothin' to hurt them but rather get their attention.
I realized time was runnin' out. I had to try somethin' before my legs gave out or before Skully got into the woods, where I would probably lose him. I hoped this would work.
"No!" I bellowed. Skully stopped and cringed. Yes! I thought, quickly closing the gap.
I got ten feet away when I steeped on a branch. It snapped loudly and Skully got up, ready to bolt as he usually does at loud sounds.
"No!" I yelled again, launchin' myself towards Skully and grabbing him as he began to run.
I picked him up, balancing myself on the branches that littered the ground.
"It's okay, boy," I said calmly, cradling him in one arm and petting him. He wagged his tail tentatively, and eventually realized I wasn't gonna hit him.
"Yeah, it's okay," I said, as I slowly walked back to our home.
Halfway back I saw Patti who was lookin' for us. She smiled when she spied Skully.
I knew she would be out soon to help me find Skully. It took awhile for her to find where we had gone, but she did. She always has my back, God bless her!
I felt good, although my legs were killin' me.
I can still do more than I think I can do, I thought. Not that I wanna run like that again, but simply knowin' I can feels good. Getting stronger...yeah, that feels great, but as I told Julie this mornin', replying to her e-mail, it feels like I'm in bootcamp at the end of the day, and I can barely keep my eyes open as I fight sleep, the pup finally asleep on my lap and Skully sleepin' beside me.
I'm exhausted but I'm gettin' stronger.
I sure do miss you guys. I'll try to blog n' comment at your blogs more often, as I get stronger, as once again I realize I can do more than I think I can.
That feels Good!