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This Day in My History

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 Take Time to Smell the Manure
2004:  Coming Clean

2005:  Don't Fence Me In

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Living with the Fallas
Minnesota Stories
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New Lab Puppies

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30 March 2006

Scatology:   The study of fecal excrement, as in medicine, paleontology, or biology.
1. An obsession with excrement or excretory functions.
2. The psychiatric study of such an obsession.

You can't take care of four active puppies and not spend most of your day thinking about puppy poop.  That's just a fact of life.   (I think you are more obsessed with poop when you have puppies than you are when you have babies.  Maybe.)

Puppy poop isn't nearly as problematic as Kimba poop, however (in case you were wondering).

Kimba has an appointment on Thursday for a Senior Wellness exam to see if we can get to the bottom (so to speak) of her current ideosyncracies.  It will cost $80, but I think it is definitely a good idea.  I think that perhaps her peeing problems have more to do with arthritis in her hind legs than with the puppies being here.  I thought she didn't want to go out the dog door because they were sleeping right there, or because the weather was cold, but I put her out the dog door and she stood in the rain for 10 minutes eating the leftover puppy food, so it isn't the rain, or the presence of puppies.

In the meantime, relieving herself wherever she happens to be continues.  And I'm not sure how you re-housebreak a 16 year old dog who is (or at least puts on a convincing act of being) deaf and nearly blind.  (Funny how she can't hear you if you call her, but she can hear the dishwasher being loaded and hobbles out to see if she can reach any goodies that fall off the plates onto the lid.)

This morning she passed copious quantities of soft dog poop and then proceeded to walk through it, followed by Fudge, who had come in the house by this time, and the two of them spread it all over the Pergo before I could get it all cleaned up and their feet washed.

While Kimba is doing her own weird thing, Sheila has her weird thing too.  She who spent 2 days on the floor with puppies crawling all over her now refuses to step on the tarp in the family room.  I don't know why, but she won't.  She doesn't seem to mind the puppies out of the family room, but she's not going to get on that tarp for anything.  She stands there and eyes it suspiciously, tentatively touches her paw to it and then backs up, like she's discovered the terrible sleeping dog-eating tarp monster.

So she spends all day upstairs, only coming downstairs for dinner, but she won't eat at her usual place because it means crossing the Dreaded Tarp.  When she finishes eating, she goes back upstairs.  This frustrates me because I can't figure out what is going on.

This morning I got the puppies up and fed outside, then called Kimba, who had slept on the stair landing, for breakfast.  Well "call her" is not exactly how it's done.  You show her the silver bowl and she knows that it's time to eat.  But she didn't seem to be able to come downstairs, so I carried her.  I gave both dogs their food.  Sheila started eating, but Kimba, who has never refused anything edible, just looked at her bowl and walked away.

We had corned beef last night and there were potatoes and carrots left over, so I blended those and mixed them with her food, and then she'd eat it--most of it, but she still left stuff.  That's when I made the Senior Wellness appointment.  For Kimba, whose life is dedicated to sleep and sniffing out forgotten morcels of food, to refuse food is even more unlikely than for ME to refuse food, so there is definitely something going on with her.

But the puppies are totally oblivious to all the other stuff going on.  Just pooping and peeing their merry way.  I lost one puppy today.  Greta disappeared.  The other three were gamboling about.  Then there were only 2 and I heard whining.  I lifted up one of the recliners and there was Curly under it, crying.  But still no Greta.  I finally found her.  She had pulled a bunch of toys into Kimba's bed and was curled up in there.

I finally tried a set-up that seemed to make everyone happy for awhile.  I put a gate across my office door, locking Kimba and me in my office, leaving the puppies out, and Sheila upstairs.   This worked until Sheila decided she needed to go out, and then the gate had to be removed (which gave Kimba an opportunity to go pee on the Pergo again).  But the puppies can't seem to decide if they want to be in or out, so I finally just left the back door open, with my office blocked by the gate.  I can't leave the office, or Kimba will feel trapped.  Sheila will have to overcome her fear of the tarp if she needs to get outside, but at least now she CAN get outside.

As for the puppies, they have all the rest of downstairs, all the back yard, Kimba's bed, their own cage (which they actually like), food and water in the kitchen, sheets and blankets to cuddle in, and they are happy as clams.

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As I sit here shivering a bit because with the back door open it's downright cold, I have to think:  there is something wrong with this picture!

P.S.  Ironic that the March 30, 2003 entry was entitled "Take time to smell the manure." 

Curly continues to establish his role as Top Dog.  Once again, he threw his body across the food, lay on top of it, letting his lower jaw scoop the food into his mouth while he growled at everybody to stay away.   I had to pick him up and rearrange him.  That helped with the growling, but it wasn't long before he was lying across the food dish again. 

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When I put down a second dish he made sure that nobody got to that one either!

I finally put him outside and fed the others, which worked, though Fudge wasn't too enthusiastic.  Next thing I know, Fudge is outside eating the left-over breakfast that had been rained on this morning.  But at least he ate something.



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