So, if you don't follow me on Facebook, you might not know that we've gotten a dog! His name is Loki (pronounced "low-key") and we think he's a mix between a maltese and poodle with possibly a little havanese thrown in there. Whatever he is, he doesn't shed which is PERFECT for my allergies as I haven't sneezed or had an allergic reaction yet! On October 3rd, we drove an hour to see this dog that was put up for adoption that morning. He was more than scrawny when we saw him but really fell in love at first sight.
He had what is called Kennel Cough. It's a contagious respiratory problem that is common among un-vaccinated shelter dogs who come and go. While we were unsure of what he had prior to coming to this particular foster parent, he was set to be euthanized at the Memphis animal shelter. Thank goodness he was saved!
After his first few nights, we learned he had separation anxiety and would bark and whine constantly whenever we weren't in the same room as him. So we bought a kennel and crate trained him to go in whenever we say "house". There were many a sleepless night while he was getting used to being in there but now he runs in, tail wagging, when it's time for bed.
When we took him for his first vet visit, they put him on medication to knock out the KC. The meds were a mix of cough suppressant and antibiotic and one of them made him sleepier than usual. For the first few weeks he was a big cuddler.
After two weeks on the meds he had stopped honking/coughing and was a much happier puppy. He also had gone from about 8lbs to 10.5lbs which may not seem like it, but it showed. Over the next few weeks, he started to gain his energy back and became more open and playful. There's a dog park less than 10 minutes away that we've started frequenting whenever we can.
It gives him plenty of space to run, lots of things to pee on, and other doggies to interact with. So far he's been great when playing off-leash with other furry friends and he's learned that when we say "come", he'd better book it to us from wherever he is (we might just have a yummy treat in our pocket!).
We're still working on not lunging/barking/wanting-to-smell other dogs when we're out for a walk but we're working on it. His hair has grown quite a bit in the few months that he's been with us and thank goodness. He needs the extra insulation with the weather that we're having now. It also doesn't hurt that he has some stylin' sweaters to try out before we take him to New York for Christmas.
Most of the time when we're in the house, we're in the computer room or living room. We don't allow him into our bedroom because we'd like to have one place in the house that's dog-free. Plus, he'd find our treasure trove of socks and he LOVES dirty socks. It must be because they're light (he flips them all around and pounces like a cat) and they smell like us.
We're training him with positive reinforcement and with a clicker. We tell him to do something, if he does it, I "click" this little metal and plastic box that makes a distinct noise, and then give him a treat. He's associating the "click" with something good and he catches on pretty fast. He still hasn't, however, gotten the hang of tug-of-war. He's not quite sure what to do with the string...
He's learned to "sit" like a champ and that's his go-to move whenever he wants something. Kevin also taught him how to "lie down" recently and he does it very enthusiastically. Sometimes he throws himself to the ground so dramatically that I think he should be in movies. (not sure what's up with the framing on this movie, to be quite honest)
After weeks of washing him in the tub by myself and trying to be sneaky about cutting the hair between his toes, we sent him to the groomer for his first post-shelter haircut. I was nervous when they took him in and was anxious to see him when we picked him up a few hours later. He looked like a totally different dog! They also bathed him in something that smelled like gingerbread (I want to nibble on him whenever I pick him up) and gave him a treat to take home. He devoured it in about 20 minutes.
Well, that's about it for me. Loki has really become a significant part of my life already and a lot of my time is spent with him. It's also spent at work, sleeping, watching TV and eating dinner with Kevin. But I really, really, REALLY love my dog. He was well worth the wait.
P.S. - I've started a Tumblr blog where I post a picture/story every day or so about Loki from the time he was adopted and on. There are loads more pictures and info there if you're curious to see the progression. It's called A Rescue Dog Named Loki
and you can access it here: http://lokidog.tumblr.com