Category Archives: Tessie

A Tale of Tails

Listen closely and I’ll tell you the story of why most of my friends think I’m out of my mind.

Regular readers of this blog will remember that last September we brought Tessie, our little cockapoo puppy, into our family. Here she is:

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She’s 15 months old now and still a lot of work for me (for example, she can’t consistently make it through the night without having to go outside – sigh), and I haven’t worked a full day in the office since she came home because I can’t bear the thought of her being alone all day.

We went away for a week in August, and I posted then about falling in love with her, finally, when we got back. She spent the week with our groomer and her three dogs, and she was just different after that.  More enjoyable. The groomer even told me that a lot of her boarding clients talk about getting a second dog after their dogs stay with her.

Well, I’d been thinking about a second dog for a year. Yes, even though there have been lots of days I’ve questioned my sanity over this one dog, I have been looking for the right second dog for the better part of a year, ever since our friends with a dog the same age visited us last year and I watched then 13 week old Tessie transform from a pup afraid of blowing leaves to a confident, outgoing dog. It was amazing.

Before I became a mom I had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Or more accurately, he had me. He was the sweetest, most wonderful dog in every way. My step-mother once said he would be the perfect dog if only he didn’t shed. Even people who claimed not to like dogs could be charmed by him. I always said I would get another one if I ever got another dog. Well, we got Tessie instead, but when the second dog thing burrowed its way into my brain I decided to see what I could do.

I found two different Cavalier breed rescue sites online, and began checking them daily for available dogs. One site seemed to mostly have dogs available who had been relinquished by previous owners due to a change in life circumstances, although there were a few shelter dogs occasionally too. The other one focused primarily on dogs rescued from puppy mills. Both sites require mutual visits, so there would be no lengthy transports. If the perfect dog for us was in Ohio, for example, that would be too bad since it’s too far from New England.

Just before we went away in August a dog appeared on Site #1 – a three year old girl who sounded perfect for us. Over the last year I’d seen lots of dogs who sounded good, until the little line that they should be in a home with older children, or no children at all. Counts us out. But on this girl there was no such mention. I told myself that if she was still available when we got back from vacation I would call on her.

We got back, I looked, and she was still there. I called. I made it past the screener, who passed me on to the foster mom. She and I had a very nice conversation about our routine, our home and learning a bit more about the dog. She sounded absolutely delightful, and perfect for us. A few days later she called to say that she had chosen another family, but that it was really tough and she thought we were a great family – that they’d find the right dog for us soon. I was disappointed, of course, but I understood the rationale and was encouraged that she liked us.

A few weeks later Site #2 had a female, rescued from a puppy mill, who sounded like a great fit for us. I waited a few days, thinking about it, then finally decided to ask about her. I emailed the contact person listed and she called me an hour later. We had a nice talk, and during the conversation she asked if I would be interested in a puppy. “Do you have any?” I asked. “Yes, we do – we don’t put them on the web site because all the crazies come out.” I hemmed and hawed a bit as I’d really been interested in a 1-5 year old, but when she told me this particular little boy was 5 months old I thought, I can handle that. We made plans for her to bring the 3 year old female and the 5 month old boy to visit us that weekend.

She brought the dogs that Saturday and we fell in love with them both. The girls asked, “Can we get them both?” The woman who brought them said she would have no reservations about placing a dog with us, and I fairly glowed at that. She seemed to think the puppy would be a better fit for us because Tessie was more interested in him, but I truly loved them both. I told her if she left it up to me I would not be able to decide, that I’d have to put their names in a hat. Seeing them both at my house I suddenly did not feel crazy for thinking about another dog. It felt totally right.

Those two were scheduled to meet another family the  next day and the woman said it would probably be mid-week before she got back to me. By Wednesday I could stand it no longer and emailed her. Her response took what seemed forever (about 18 hours!), and it was a heart breaker – she had placed the puppy with the family they met the day after us, and she was still looking for the right placement for the older dog. But, but, but there was a younger puppy she wanted us to consider. She sent pictures. What could I say? I said we would be interested.

And this is my very long way of saying that we brought Ruby into our family last Saturday. She is a ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Cavaliers come in 4 “flavors” – Blenheim, Tri-Color, Black and Tan, and Ruby), almost 4 months old (much, much younger than I ever would have chosen). She and her mom were rescued from an Amish puppy mill a few months ago. Her mom is still in foster care and far too timid to be adopted just yet. She is positively gorgeous and sweet. I am in love with her already.

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Really, this dog has captured my heart and I am thrilled to have her. The long and winding road was worth it!

Falling in Love

It’s finally happened.

It took almost a year. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, more downs than I’d like to admit, and there were times I wanted out. I knew the feeling wasn’t mutual though, and I didn’t like the message that getting out would send to my kids.

The kids and I went away for a week. Maybe we all needed a break. Maybe something changed while we were away. But ever since we came back I knew it was real. I knew I was in love.

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I mean, how could you not love a face like that?

I don’t know what happened or why, but I have suddenly fallen hard for my dog. Since we got her she has mostly meant a lot of work for me, and not very much fun. The puppy behavior, on top of “puppy” behavior in the kids, has been a bit more than I can handle at times. I’ve dreamed of the days before we had a dog, and of the days before that when I had a calm, compliant dog.  Yet she is different since we have returned from vacation. While we were away she stayed with our groomer, at her house with her 3 dogs, and by all accounts had an awesome time. She’s been much more mellow and better behaved. I’ve even (finally!) left her home alone without crating her, and she’s done fine, both house-training and chewing-wise. She’s just more pleasant to be around.

So pleasant, in fact, that I’m hoping to be approved to adopt a second dog.

Yes, officially certifiable, that’s me. If it’s any consolation, there appears to be a lot of competition in the rescue organization I’m trying to adopt through, so our chances, and timeline, are low, and likely long. Which is fine.

Give me enough time, and I might just fall in love.

Home

A few weeks ago we visited my mom for the weekend, and brought along Tessie, our one year old dog. I’m sure she enjoyed being with us, but she was extra hyper the entire visit, never stopped panting, and couldn’t seem to get relaxed. As soon as we got home, she splayed out in the middle of the floor as if to say, “It’s good to be home.”

This past weekend we took a longer trip to visit friends. We were in the car for 7 hours in each direction, and spent 3 nights away. In addition to the 5 kids in their family, our friends also have 2 cats (which Tessie has not had much experience with) and 2 dogs – one about Tessie’s age, and another older dog. They’d all met before, but it’s been nearly 8 months. Tessie and the other dog her age had an absolute blast playing with each other, and she was put in her place a few times by the cats. Good times were had by all, pooch and person alike.

Tessie is a bit of a high maintenance dog. She is still in the throes of puppyhood, which has overstayed its welcome just a bit in my book. I have lost count of the number of socks, underwear, shoes, bathing suits, stuffed animals and books I’ve thrown away since we got her. She is definitely a chewer. I also keep a baby gate at the foot of the stairs to prevent her from going upstairs if we are not with her because of that chewing, and I have yet to leave her uncrated in the house alone. House training is going well…..except for a few notable exceptions. She’s over a year old now, so I’m expecting this to be done. Also, she does not consistently make it through the night without having to go out. Which means I am frequently taking her out at whatever time she starts to whine and scratch.

All that said, we left all the animals with my friends’ teenagers and her mother while we all went to another friend’s house for the night. We came back the next day to reports that Tessie had had diarrhea all over the carpet at 4:00 in the morning (the mother had fed her some different food!).  I got all that as we pulled into the driveway, one eye on the dog who proceeded to poop out liquid in 3 different spots on the yard. And then roll in it. Although I didn’t see her roll in it – I found out when she ran up to me for a pat and my hand stunk afterwards. I am thankful to my friend’s 17 year old son who graciously gave her a bath. And paid for it by Tessie wanting nothing to do with him the rest of the visit!

That evening we all went out to dinner and left the dogs home. It was the first time leaving Tessie uncrated, but I figured since she was with the other dogs maybe she’d be OK. Also, one of my friends’ sons was staying home, but he was pretty much in a computer game trance, and I knew better than to expect much pet care from him. Well, uh, we came back to diarrhea in one of the bedrooms and the living room, and a pee spot next to the couch. I can’t really blame the poor dog for the diarrhea, but the pee has me more than a little frustrated. We really were not gone that long, and I had taken her out just before we left.

We had an all day drive back home yesterday. After throwing up once after we got home (I’ve now determined she gets car sick), Tessie is relaxed.

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She is home.

I See London, I See Paris

Krystal sang a little ditty while brushing her teeth tonight:

I see London
I see Paris
I see Mommy’s underwear!

She got it all wrong, but her way was definitely funnier.

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Awhile back I posted that I missed running. I’m happy to report that running and I have become re-acquainted of late. I’ve even been multi-tasking by taking our dog running with me. I was hesitant at first, because I was worried about her paws not being tough enough to handle 3 miles on the road, but she has adjusted beautifully. In fact, when she sees me putting my running stuff on she gets very excited.

The downside of running with an exuberant dog is holding onto the leash. My hands are getting mangled, and of course my running form is interrupted by the very act of holding a leash. I looked into jogging leashes online, and even asked at the pet store where I buy Tessie’s dog food. The owner of the shop said I was the second person that week to ask about them, and that she would look into carrying them, check back next week.

Well, I didn’t want to wait a week. I decided it was no more than a belt, so I went to Target and bought the biggest collar they sold. I strapped that around my waist, while looping it through the handle of Tessie’s leash. Voila, instant dog jogging leash, for a fraction of the cost the web sites are selling them for. My running motion is more normal and my hands are ever so grateful. And Tessie is a little motor – sometimes it really feels like she is pulling me along.

I am getting the exercise I crave, and Tessie is a happy, tired dog. All is right.

A taste of honey is worse than none at all….

First, an update on my self-imposed Internet free day, which was yesterday. At least most of yesterday was. I made it till about 6:30 pm, which was after dinner, and the girls were watching a show before bed. I gave in and fired up the Mac, and didn’t feel guilty about it. I had a productive day “off the grid” where I went through a lot of outgrown clothes of the girls, as well as culling out a few of my own clothes, most of which are dreadfully out of style, as opposed to outgrown. The girls and I took Tessie for a walk and enjoyed the very spring-like, sunny, warm day we had.

And then we woke up to this:

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It is not obvious, but the snow is still coming down in those photos. Can I just say how done I am with the snow?? It hurts all the more because of the delicious taste of spring we had the previous two days.

Well, it can’t stay winter forever……right?

Meet my dog, the escape artist

I posted back in October about the small fenced in area my friend and I created for Tessie. It has been working great. It is so nice to be able to open that sliding glass door and let her go, do her thing, and come back in. Sure, she plays games with it during dinner (out, in, out, in, out…..in), but without it I’d have to be putting a leash on her everytime and taking her out. In the snow. Many, many times per day (she’s still a puppy, after all).  The fence was a spur of the moment thing and not in the plan when we got her, but it is the best thing I’ve done with respect to her. Aside from the bells. So awesome.

But yesterday I was working at home, and as is usual, Tessie asked to go out, and in, and out several times in the course of an hour or so. Just because it’s fun, and not because she has to actually pee that much. I was very busy with work and realized after a rather long stretch that Tessie hadn’t asked to come inside after going out the last time.

So I went to look for her.

And she was not in that little fenced in area.

YIKES!

I called her and fortunately, heard her dog tags jingling on her collar. I was able to get her to come to me (“come” is not a command she has mastered) by using a super-excited tone.

I suspected that she had climbed on a mini-snowbank on the deck and jumped over it onto the open yard, so I got a shovel and got rid of most of that snow pile. Which was made possible by some rare warmer weather. Phew, problem solved.

Except it wasn’t. The next time she went out, a scant 10 minutes or so later, she was gone again. And not via the snowbank.

I poked around the “chicken wire” running under the deck, and found an area that she had dug out at the bottom to scoot out by running under the deck into the yard. Hmmm, what to do about this?

I have 4-5 cinder blocks under the deck, left there by the previous owners, so I drug one out and put it in front of the part of the “chicken wire” and breathed a sigh of relief. All’s well, right?

Well, today work was even busier, and I was on a phone meeting when Tessie was outside this afternoon. I peeked out at one point during the meeting and she was missing. Again. All is not right! Cue pulling hair out!

When my meeting was over I went out with her and stood and watched for a bit. And that brazen hussy went right over to that cinder block and started to crawl right through the holes! I could not believe it. (These are not standard cinder blocks – the blocks and holes are slightly bigger than the usual kind.)

I did two things next. One, I got a towel and wrapped it around the cinder block to cover the holes, which I know is a temporary fix, at best. And two, I called the local Dogwatch franchise to see about getting a system installed. I had been thinking about it anyway. When the weather is nicer we’ll be outside a lot, and not hanging out in that (poopy) fenced in area, and she will not be happy if she can’t be with us. Still, it’s quite pricey.

Meanwhile, I am thinking of changing Tessie’s name to Houdini. Or Copperfield.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Just a quick update on the dog sleeping arrangements. Since Tessie’s spay operation a week ago, I have been letting her sleep on my bed, so as to keep a closer tab on her stitch-licking proclivities. I was surprised after the first night when she slept the full night through, instead of clamoring to go out in the middle of the night. Was it a fluke?

Well, it’s been 7 nights now, and while she has gotten up twice (once after falling out of bed and waking us both up), the other 5 nights she has slept till it was actualy time to get up. Hallelujah!

While I’d prefer she sleep on a pillow or dog bed next to my bed, I’m thrilled to be getting (more or less) a full night’s sleep. Whatever works, right?