This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the blog! My very first post was direct and to the point, Melvin is a blessing.
In the past year, Melvin has (unexpectedly) gained a bit of a cult following! I started the blog because he gives me so much content, it was a crime not to share it. Over the course of the first year, in addition to his antics, we blogged about packing up our old house and moving into the new. You were there with us when we found out he had Happy Tail, the frustrations about it not healing and how difficult it was to keep wrapped. Writing the blog helped me get (and get him) through his amputation and it helped to chronicle his love of apples and fashion. In that order. The remaining 90% of the posts have been about Melvin’s gold medal winning ability to lay around and claim every inch of this home as his own.
What’s up next? The blog is getting a Facebook page (almost ready) and Melvin will be getting a sibling. But no matter what our next adventure turns out to be, I want to extend my sincerest thanks that you join us. I have met (virtually and in-person) some of the most wonderful people while doing this blog. Dog, cat and all-around animal lovers and activists. A community I’m proud to be a part of. Melvin and I are so grateful for each and every person who pops in to see what we are up to.
Melvin sends a super-shout-out also. He’s a bit busy patrolling for the brown truck man right now but I can assure you he did pause to drool in your direction.
Getting up on the couch is apparently a huge expenditure of energy or a massive commitment because Melvin will often do a half-up/half-down while he ponders… Am I thirsty? Did I get all remaining treat out of that Kong? Is that dirt on the floor or a crumb? Should I patrol the window first? Why am I half-up/half-down? Who am I? Did I evolve or was I created? Why is She laughing at me?
I think most people rely on that feeling when ‘you just know’. It’s often used in dating, home shopping (during all big purchases really) and also when picking a new/the next dog for the household. It’s an emotional light that goes off that compels you to run in that direction and never look back. Some of us find ‘the one’ right away whereas others of us look longer before the feeling presents itself.
Take my friend V, she can walk into a Petsmart adoption event, see a dog from across the room and that dog will end up going home with her. That same day. It’s almost as if she knows before she goes. The proof of this is that three new dogs have shown up at her house in as many months. And in her lifetime, well I’ve lost count of how many animals she has saved. Her knowing has no fear or boundaries or walls. She is my hero.
I take longer. For one, I have a resident dog that has to meet the potential one before I can bring that one home. Thus, I cannot walk into a Petsmart and leave with one. Now some of you might be saying, bring Melvin to adoption events. You’re too funny, and apparently smoking crack. I will write a full post on why Melvin is ban from Petsmart. Also, while I believe in rescuing a pet, I tend to seek dogs who have been in foster long enough to know some quirks about them. I don’t so much care what the quirks are but I like to be ready with a plan on how to address them. I’m a planner. It’s a disease.
So far, in our quest that started late February, we have met five dogs. One of them got adopted the day after we met him. One of them was rejected immediately by Melvin (actually they both mutually rejected each other but Melvin was much more verbal and foamy about it). Two were not the right energy for Melvin (or me) although they did make for fun play dates. One had been abused and was in desperate need of having her soul mended. (While I very much want to be the person to fix her, unless I’m sure I can do that, I remain unsure. Melvin and her would likely have months of separation.) We also a have a dog that we are trying to meet who lives in Baltimore. My schedule has kept us from getting out there to meet her.
I am open to dogs with challenges. I tend to lean towards considering dogs who have health challenges over deep-set behavioral issues. I think that is mostly due to…
- I work full-time away from the house. If I worked from home I’d have more time to work on the issue and;
- My experience thus far has been with dogs who have had health needs. That is where my confidence is. Where others might see costly vet bills or large pill boxes, I see opportunity.
Which is why when I recently read about a dog with diabetes, who was going blind, I fell in love. Proof that there is someone for everyone.
I have mentioned that Melvin has challenges with other dogs. I’m selling him short when I say that. There are issues with other dogs but it’s not always Melvin’s fault.
First off, he is
exuberant leash reactive. For those of you who walk a dog on leash you know, ‘leash reactive’ is an equation.
- First, there is the dog, who on most occasions will pull towards something they want to be closer to. Not perfect behavior but certainly not always aggression. Often for Melvin, he is just excited to see or meet someone new.
- Second, there is the person holding the leash. In Melvin’s case, that’s me. When he pulls, I stop. Even if it means f
alling down digging my heels in the ground. At the same time, my heart rate goes up, knowing that ‘reactivity’ could occur. Funny, because this is the part of the equation that usually causes that reaction.
- This circles us back to the dog/Melvin. He senses my concern and goes into a different state. I don’t want him charging this other person (or dog) so now he must.
- The last part of the equation is the leash. It pulls tight (due to its anchors) and a different mood is put into play. Tension.
So yes, Melvin is leash reactive. But so am I. I could blame the leash but who’d believe me.
Next, there is no way Melvin was socialized as a puppy. He greets other dogs at a fast, excited pace and goes right in for a face-to-face hello. I swear he thinks he’s Parisian because it’s almost like he tries to give the dog a kiss on each cheek. Although Melvin looks goofy and wiggly and is wagging his nubin and perhaps in some language saying ‘yippeee, play, play, play’ when barreling towards the other dog, meeting face-to-face in the dog world is rude and the dog will usually issue a warning. Here is where socialization comes in handy. Socialized dogs read cues. They (hopefully) react accordingly. Melvin thinks every cue means ‘definitely speed-up’. When a dog does not like how Melvin is playing and barks or snaps, Melvin hears ‘keep going, I love you’. Some dogs tolerate it, some do not.
Of course, there are a handful (ok, two handfuls) of dogs that Melvin sees on walks that I can tell will be an issue. He is way too aware of them, assumes a lunging stance and barks and/or growls. We u-turn, about-face or cross the street.
We are all works in progress.
I had to do some work this weekend. Melvin opted to sit under the desk while I did so. This dog does not always seek comfort.
And this is him after a night of not feeling so well. Too keep his street cred I’ll claim it was due to
my dizzying striped pajamas partying on St. Patrick’s Day, but really it was just allergies.