You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'
~ Dave Barry
Breakfast: Cheerios with
The Elegant Gathering
5 June 2004
Now I promise that this is not going to turn into a journal about dogs, but since Ive been waiting to get this dog for such a long time, it seems that a "how are we settling in" entry is in order.
Sheila has adapted extremely well in a short time. Or maybe shes being on her best behavior. Her former owner was homeless and the way it was described to us, he was "picked up with a bunch of other people and when it became obvious he couldnt come back for her, she was turned over to the SPCA." I assume this means hes in jail. I feel sad that he has to give up his dog, but glad for us. She was obviously well taken care of, though hadnt been spayed and, in fact, after she was given to the SPCA, she had one puppy (only one), which had to be hand-raised because she didnt produce enough milk.
That said, shes ours now and it took her all of about 15 seconds to master the dog door. A good sign. She very much wants to play with Kimba, but Kimba doesnt know shes a dog and has never been into "playing" with any dog. Shes also a grumpy old lady now and growls whenever Sheila tries to crouch down to play with her. Within short order, it was plainly evident that size is not the determining factor in "top dog status." Kimba would make a nice appetizer for Sheila, and yet Sheila was afraid to come down the stairs this morning because Kimba was sleeping on the landing.
Last night, Walt asked what would happen with Sheila when bedtime came around and I told him shed sleep with me.
I wanted a dog so desperately when I was growing up, but we couldnt have one because of my sisters allergies, so it wasnt until Jeri was born and I was pregnant with Ned and we had moved to a rental house that we were finally able to go out looking for a dog. Mutt wasnt my ideal dog, but he was the only one available at the pound and after waiting nearly 25 years, I wasnt willing to wait another day. We brought him home.
Walt, who grew up with dogs and who was raised with the notion that dogs were outdoor creatures, or at the very least, had their own space and didnt intrude on your bedroom, quickly squelched the notion that we invite Mutt into our bedroom. This was probably a wise decision, in retrospect, given that we frequently had a bed so full of children that one or the other--or both--of us ended up sleeping on the floor. We had no room for a dog too. None of our dogs has ever been invited into the master bedroom.
When I started having back problems, and being unable to get out of bed in the morning without great pain, I discovered that if I slept in the reclining chair downstairs, I had no back problems, so for years, the recliner became my bed and when Benjy came into our lives, he assumed he was a lap dog (though he was much too big) and when I slept at night, he would sleep in my lap. I loved having that time with him.
But Benjy died of cancer, Toby died of old age, and that has left us only with Kimba, who long ago learned that you do not so much as step on the rug of the bedroom. In her later years, she has started sleeping on the stairs at night.
After my accident (which happened almost exactly a year ago--can you believe it?) the angle of the arm of the chair wasnt really comfortable, but I could manage to get myself into a good position in the bed in the guest bedroom, the bed which was once my parents and then was passed down to Jeri, who couldnt move it to Boston with her. The mattress, which my mother tells me must be about 50 years old, is somehow better for my back too, and so I now sleep in the guest bedroom, which means that I could invite Sheila to come into the bedroom with me.
I wondered if she would have to be coaxed up onto the bed but she took one look at it and with a flying leap landed smack dab in the middle of the bed and settled in for the duration. There really is room in the bed for me and a dog, but not if the dog wants to sleep in the middle of the bed!
We managed to work that out, but then she decided that bedtime was playtime and she wanted to grab my hand and have me wrestle with her, but I decided we werent going to start that game, so I ignored her mostly, except for petting her. When she discovered I wasnt going to play that game, she fell asleep and slept until I got up at 5:30 this morning. It was great. There is something bonding about actually allowing the dog to be part of your "pack."
This morning I tossed some toys for her in the back yard, so she could chase them, because they told me she loved to chase toys, but she didnt seem too interested, though she has brought them all inside and seems to have chosen the living room as her play room.
My friend Barb stopped by to go for a walk and we took Sheila with us. It will be better when she learns her new name and has a sense of being bonded to me because I can then feel more comfortable taking her to places where she can be off leash. She really needs to run with other dogs, but for now she has to stick on a leash with me and we walked for an hour and a half to two hours. She was totally exhausted when we came home and after drinking her fill of water (must bring a water bottle for her next time), she passed out behind my desk chair.
Its a promising first day. I really like this dog and think that even though she is a tad larger than Walt wanted and a bit younger than I wanted, shes going to work out very well.