Seven Years and Counting

Oh, Ducky! Seven years ago today I found your name (and photo) on the shelter’s super urgent list in the morning, and by 1 PM you were officially a member of our little family.

Seven years ago today, my life – and your Daddy’s, Callie’s, and Shadow’s lives – changed forever. I had no way of knowing then what it would be like raising a shelter pup. I started thinking you’d be better off with a different family; but then you spent a day at doggie daycare and your demeanor improved so much that I couldn’t give up on you.

Callie helped me so much with you. So did Maria and the other girls at A Dog’s Day Out. Daycare was great for you. It taught you how to get along with other dogs, helped you spend all that turbo-charged energy, and gave you some socialization time, too. And it gave Callie and Shadow a needed break from your rowdy puppy playfulness. As well as the quiet time together and with me that they cherished, that I cherished.

You were a little stinker. Always wanting to leave Shadow out of your fun with Callie. But Callie didn’t let you.

And that awful morning when we had to say goodbye to Callie. You gave her puppy kisses that said “I love you, sis.” And your attitude toward Shadow started to improve. Callie had taught you well.

You had your spats with Shadow over the next 3-1/2 years, but you always made up with her. And when I was at Uncle Doug’s house last year, you were a good girl for Daddy. Then, when Shadow got sick in February, you watched over her for me, along with Callie. You were always right there, keeping her company whenever we had to go out. And you looked for her that weekend when she was at the hospital. And that horrible Monday when we said goodbye to Shadow, you “protected” her in the exam room. And you kissed her, as you had Callie.

You’ve been my and Daddy’s rock since Shadow reunited with Callie. I don’t know what we would have done without you, especially those first few weeks. I know you’re fine on your own in the house when Daddy and I have to leave you for a time; but I miss you from the minute we leave to the minute we get home. If I could, I would take you every place I go, just so you wouldn’t have to be alone in the house. But, then you’re not really alone during those times. Callie and Shadow are here with you, in spirit, watching over you for me.

Ducky, you are definitely one of a kind! You exasperate me, you push my patience to its limits, and you make me question my sanity at times. BUT you are sweet, loving, fun, silly, challenging, and precious all wrapped up in one 30-pound package. And every day I thank God I adopted you from the shelter that warm September afternoon seven years ago!

Ducky’s Natural Curiosity

Ducky is a trip. I love this dog. I love her silly goofiness, her boundless energy – even though it makes me feel exhausted at times – her curiosity about everything under the sun, moon and stars, just everything about her. Even her occasional exasperating reactions to people and noises.

Her natural curiosity, though, tends to get her into trouble with the bumblebees that have made their nests in several holes in our backyard. (I can’t remember a summer when the bees have been so prolific in the back yard. I wish they would go back to the front yard and stay there!) I do my best to get her to stay away from those holes; but I can’t watch her 24/7. She just seems drawn to those holes at times.

Well, early yesterday evening, she got into trouble again; but I didn’t realize it. I didn’t see any bees bothering her, didn’t see her anxiously snapping the air around her, or any of the other telltale signs. But when we came inside after her post-dinner yard time, she started in with the reverse sneezing and the obsessive carpet licking, and then wanted to go back outside where she ate more grass than a goat. After she got rid of that mess, she continued the obsessive carpet licking and that’s when it dawned on me.  Darn bees! I got out a Benadryl tablet, wrapped it in a piece of peanut butter-flavored pill pocket, and gave it to her. Within minutes, the reverse sneezing and the carpet licking stopped. Literally within minutes. Maybe the pill pocket soothed her throat? I don’t know. I can’t think of another logical reason. Surely the Benadryl didn’t start working THAT fast. (Note to self: next time Ducky starts the obsessive carpet licking, don’t wait. Just give her a Benadryl.)

This morning, my crazy-goofy girl was her calmer, happy self again. And again I had to steer her away from the one bees’-nest hole a few feet away from the oak tree. I brought her inside and gave her some breakfast, and when she finished it we went back outside. After running after a squirrel or two, and running the fence with her little buddy next door (a sweet little senior Shih-tzu girl), she decided to lay down in the grass and relax. Do you want to guess where she finally ended up after trying out several unsuitable spots in the shade? Yup. Right in between two of the four nest holes between the carport and the smaller utility building. Just to be on the safe side, I brought her back inside the house.

Ducky’s curiosity presents me with a conundrum. I don’t want her stung again, obviously. At the same time, I don’t want to harm the bees. The environment – all of nature – needs the bees to do what bees do (when they’re not being bothered by a crazy dog). I’ve tried training her to avoid the nest holes, but that curiosity of hers is her own worst enemy at times. I could block the nest holes, but the bees would just make new ones elsewhere in the yard. At least I know where they are right now. So for now, I’ll just make sure I have plenty of Benadryl in the house. And I’ll hope that next spring/summer, the bees will go back to making their nests out in the front yard instead.

 

Oh, Ducky! Part 4 – The Progress Continues

And the progress continues…..

Since I “published” Part 3 (found here), Ducky has come a LONG way.

And hubby has been less grumpy with her (and even with me).

And my patience level – at least with Ducky and her daddy – has stabilized somewhat. In other areas not so much but I’m working on it.

But back to Ducky….


Since I started using the H-style harness, my little “demonbrat” has become easier to settle down. And my – and hubby’s – tone of voice has grown less harsh. And the tension has eased somewhat.

After re-reading the last paragraph of Part 3 -and really observing Ducky’s behavior patterns – I decided that the Trazodone wasn’t helping Ducky at all. So off to the vet we went. Again.

The vet suggested – and I agreed – to try Xanax instead of the Trazodone. The Xanax – I’m happy to report – started helping right away. Between it and the single daily dose of Fluoxetine, Ducky has been calming down much more easily. She hasn’t been as snarky with Shadow, which is good, but still needs improvement. These things take time, perseverance, and loads of patience. 

Plus, the UTI had come back – or never really went away – so, since we were already at the vet’s anyway, I brought up that fact. He said that the UTI is probably as much to blame for her tail tucks as our impatience. She was just plain hurting back there. And she’s much more forgiving of our failings than we are ourselves. He changed her antibiotic, and for the most part it helped. The wet leaves, dirt, and grass from all the rain we were having seemed to aggravate it a bit though. So I took to cleaning her after potty breaks, and that seems to have helped. We’ve had some pretty days again lately so the grass and leaves have dried out. That has helped, too.

As for the online course I was doing?  I had to put it aside for a little while. I haven’t stopped doing it altogether. I just had to slow down with it. After decades of “multitasking” at work, it’s hard to reset and focus on just one thing at a time. I have to make myself slow down and relax sometimes.  I can’t expect Ducky to relax if I’m hyped-up.