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Day 6 - Claus from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.
7 November 2008
Yesterday wasn't a banner day for Nicki.
The puppy formerly known as either Goblin or Cotton, depending on whom you asked, but now named Claus (because he looks like a Santa beard) came back from UCD after he was neutered. We decided we'd try the two puppies together again. But it just wasn't working out. Claus is a big sweetheart who is already too big to be a lap dog, though he thinks he's one, and who just wants to have a good friend his age to play with.
It might work for two puppies of such different sizes (Claus is about three times Nicki's size, though they are the same age) to play together, but with Nicki's problems, she gets overwhelmed quickly. What starts out as a fun game, quickly gets out of hand and she becomes terrified and lashes out at anything that moves. She sometimes attacks her own foot, if she's lying on her back, because apparently she can see something moving in her field of vision and doesn't realize it's attached to her.
I tried several times letting them get together, but Claus always overwhelmed her quickly and she was too submissive to run away and let him chase her. It got so where even when I put her behind me in the recliner, she could hear him and would start growling and snarling and even tried to bite me, though she somehow knew I wasn't the enemy and she never chomped down on my skin. Once I picked her up and cuddled her, she stopped growlling.
I finally told Ashley that it wasn't going to work and asked her to please find another home. She put out a plea and within short order had found someone willing to take Claus.
This is one thing I just love about the SPCA. There are so many wonderful, giving people out there who are willing to open their homes to needy pets -- dogs and cats, though I only deal with the dog people -- at the drop of a hat, knowing very little about the dog at all, only that there is an urgent need now. Claus is not that difficult a puppy, but would do better with a more active family. And definitely not with a puppy who already is working on getting over some problems.
We had to get through the day until the new foster family could pick Claus up. Nicki stayed in the cage while I was at the doctor, but the afternoon needed more refereeing. I gave them very, very limited contact with each other, and broke things up as soon as I saw Nicki getting frantic.
For awhile I locked her here in my office with me and while here she pooped and before I could get to her, she ate it. Ashley says that this may be that because she's feeling threatened, she's eating her feces to remove traces of her scent (obviously people who came up with that theory have never smelled the breath of a puppy who has just eaten her own feces).
Fortunately, Nicki loves being outside, so I alternated, first putting Nicki outside and closing the sliding glass door, then after about half an hour or so, bringing Nicki in and locking Claus out.
Neither dog liked that arrangement, but it seemed to work out OK once they got over the fact that they wanted to be where the other one was. When Nicki got sleepy, I put her on a recliner, where Claus couldn't reach her and let both dogs in the house.
Then Claus discovered that he could climb into the recliner after all, so that didn't work. I cuddled Nicki a lot, but couldn't sit in a chair all day, so the one-in, one-out arrangement in the back yard seemed to work best.
It was Nicki's turn to go outside. I was fielding calls and on-line messages about my doctor's appointment and then got to doing other things. I don't know how long I sat at my desk but suddenly I realized it was dark and I had forgotten all about Nicki.
I rushed outside and called her and she came right away (I think this is the very first time she has responded to my voice calling her). I picked her up and she reeked of feces and was licking her lips. I got the idea she had been out cleaning up the yard by eating it all.
I put her in my lap to cuddle her, wondering if there was such a thing as doggie breath mints. Suddenly, she started retching. I grabbed a towel just as she vomited a huge quantity of foul-smelling stuff. I got her and me and my chair cleaned up and her settled down. A bit later on, I saw her retching again, and up came another load of vomitus.
I wasn't going to give her anything to eat, so I put her in the cage while I fed the others. She didn't seem interested in food anyway (no surprise!)
Just before the door rang when Claus' new foster family was picking him up, I glanced in the cage and saw that Nicki appeared to have exploded. I've never seen so much diarrhea from such a small dog. Walt and I were literally up to our elbows in shit when the bell rang. We kind of shoved Claus into this woman's hands and ran back to continue cleaning up.
Fortunately, she seems just fine this morning, and with Claus gone, she is back tearing around the house full of joy...and not eating her own excrement any more.
It's so much fun being a foster puppy mom sometimes!
This is one BIG puppy! (He's the same age as Nicki)
MILES TO NOWHERE: 83 miles