I’m an addict. Most of you know this. My drug of choice is anything Sirius Republic. I’ll happily go to meetings (“Hi, my name is Tracey and Sirius Republic is AWESOME”) but I assure you it won’t work. They just unveiled new fabrics, I’m ordering more. Get over it.
Jake’s birthday is coming up in a few weeks. I don’t know if anyone has ever celebrated Jake’s birthday but his 6th will be one he’ll remember. My family makes a HUGE a deal out of birthday’s, Jake will be no exception. To start, I ordered him a leather collar, more on that later, and our friends at Sirius sent along a little gifty for the birthday boy! His very own, and definitely first, embroidered pillow!!!!!
Love. Love. Love.
Of course, I had to give it to him early. If nothing else because I love staring at it!
Here is the deal, your ankles, all of you, are at the same height as my nose. So I smell your ankles, and yeah, they smell good so I smell them some more and then you know what, I lick those ankles like they are delicious sideways ice cream cones. Sue me. (I mean don’t sue me, I’m not sure I have a trust fund like my brother does so I may not have any money and I don’t want to be homeless again). Up until I met Melvin, ankles were all I needed. But now, you know what I like even more than the road to your foot? Melvin’s butt.
Melvin’s butt is at the exact spot my nose ends up when my head is held high. I’m a pretty proud fella so my head is held high quite often! I cannot get enough of his butt and I smell it, and i try to get closer and smell some more and usually this is when he turns around and gives me a look like ‘stop or I’ll eat you’ but I don’t care, I LOVE HIS BUTT and I’ll be labeled weird and I’ll risk a limb to smell it, and lay near it, and stare at it and sometimes, just sometimes when he is so comfy and settled and I know it would take an act of awesome food to get him to move an inch, I sneak closer and put my head on his butt. I mean I’m pretty sure he cut off his tail so I could be closer and I really appreciate that. Yeah that’s right, he looked into the future, saw me there, cut off his own tail in preparation of meeting me. My butt pillow brother is the best! The LEAST I can do, is love on his butt every chance that I get!
The bed conundrum had me running around mentally and physically like a crazy person, trying to figure out a resolution. I was a bit tormented over Jake taking over Melvin’s bed, Melvin being on the floor or Melvin needing my bed to retreat to (thankfully Melvin’s rule over Jake remains non-confrontational). I was doing the one thing I knew I would have the most trouble letting go of (in terms of having two dogs)… trying to keep life the same for Melvin. In reality, I don’t think he cares. The solution was for me to stop. drop and roll with it.
While I can count (and math is actually a requirement of my job), I’ve spent the past few months seeing them individually (one and one) and sometimes I forget to live the life of a multi-dog owner. Sure, there are things that are just Melvin’s. His sweaters, his pills, his collars, my love for him. Same for Jake. But in the same way I can use any leash on either dog and in the same way that each dog can drink from any of the water bowls, be them the small bowls or the big ones, I needed to see the beds the same way. I have two dogs. Long gone are the days of everything in the house being bought and tailored solely for Melvin. I had to stop seeing the big bed as Melvin’s bed (although seeing the small bed as Jake’s was still a solid since no way in Hell Melvin could fit on that). I have two dogs. I need two beds that accommodate either of them. I finally realized that if both beds are the same, neither will care who is in which one (and thus I shouldn’t care). And since Jake seems to prefer a big bed, so be it.
I have stepped away from the crazy. I ordered a larger bed (although technically, me ordering yet another dog bed is still categorized as crazy) for Jake and once that comes, we’ll have two dog beds that are for either dog. Jake’s current, smaller bed will get lots of use in the mudroom (where he stays during the day). In his Jake-only space.
I have two dogs, they can share some stuff. The world won’t end.
Look at me go!
Here is Jake during the five minutes he stays in his own, little bed.
Jake has slept in a soft crate in my room for eight months. Two reasons for that:
- uncertainty he could ‘hold it’ all night (the only clue he gives that he REALLY has to ‘go’ is ‘going’. I might not notice this when I’m sleeping)
desire to keep planet earth upsnoring
I want him in a bed, mostly just because that is one of the joys I wanted to provide to him upon rescue. I don’t think he was given any bedroom permission at his first house let alone his own bed. In this home, you get both. Even if that means no one else EVER sleeps again.
The transition from crate to bed started with me buying a matching bed to Melvin’s (decorating matters in my home!). I put it in the room and Jake pretty quickly climbed on it to nap. On night one, when he realized that the crate was gone, he climbed right in. I thought ‘wow, look how easy this is!’. Melvin was of course already tucked into his bed. I did a success dance around the room along with some high fives. Easy peasy indeed.
About one minute later, Melvin became very perplexed as to why Jake was so close. Jake proceeded to roll over and stare dreamily at Melvin. Melvin got physically and emotionally uncomfortable and relocated to the carpet. Jake took that as an invite into Melvin’s bed. Melvin took that as an invite into my bed.
Set up #1 – Fail. Trust me, we tried for 5 nights. Fail, fail, fail.
Photos from this phase of testing:
Phase #2: Then I thought, what if I break the visual barrier? At least until they get used to sleeping so closely to the other. So I took the teepee out of the loft (Jake loves that teepee) and set it up over Jake’s bed. Viola! This was totally going to work, my enthusiasm and optimism skyrocketed! And you know what, it did work! For five flippen minutes.
Melvin got comfy, no eyes were upon him (as far as he knew). Jake loves the teepee so he snuggled right in. Dance, dance, dance…. And then, the snoring started. And Melvin was startled to have that honk-song speaker so close to his head. So he moved to carpet. And Jake promptly moved to Melvin’s bed. And Melvin moved to my bed.
Stop the madness. No seriously, stop. STOP!
We found a solution. I’ll share it with you tomorrow.
I’m guessing you do not take me seriously when I tell you that Jake honk-snores. Or maybe you do but you think to yourself that it can really be ‘that’ loud. I mean, I understand. He’s only 31 pounds. But I’m telling you, swearing on the lovely bag I carried to work today, that he breaks noise barriers. Police could use this noise to force thieves out of hiding. It’s a ‘take no prisoners’ type snore. The deaf could hear him.
During the transition from soft crate to bed, I’ve come to realize that said crate was some sort of magic box. While you could hear the honk-snore noises, they were somehow muffled. Quieter. Not sure how, but that doesn’t make it less true.
In a bed, Jake’s snoring has taken on a new life form. No one sleeps but Jake. No one. I’m not even sure my neighbors can sleep and we have a single family home. More on the actual sleeping arrangements later this week but for now, here are two photos I snapped of Melvin IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT while we were both up due to extreme noise pollution. The look on his face says it all. (And you’ll notice, I finally got his bed cleaned, all traces of Jake peeing on it erased).
I was going to write all about the new sleeping arrangement, the one where Jake is no longer in a crate, Melvin can’t tolerate his snoring and I get less sleep than a zombie but instead… I will write a quick update on sixty seconds from last night.
I had a migraine all weekend. I’m fine but it did require intervention from the ER. Suffice it to say, when I got home from my medical rave, I was a little ‘out of it’. I did as I always do, I let Jake out of the mudroom and he took off running (as per usual) in the direction of the foyer to make love to his girlfriend, the carpet. On the way to his rendezvous, he slipped. Next thing I know, and again I’m a bit out of it at this point so part of me was wondering if this was even happening, his leg was seemingly no longer in his hip socket. It was just dragging. I did a double take and then one look at his face (pure panic) and I knew this was not my imagination I made a 911 call to our fake vet tech across the street announcing that I was not coherent enough to know what to do and may have spouted off something about a broken leg. She came right over, and after about 20 minutes, his leg was back to normal.
I am taking him to the vet, just to be sure. But… I will admit that had this happened to Max (my first on-my-own dog) I would have had a helicopter come get us to take us to the ER vet. For Melvin I would likely have driven him myself, drug induced and all, to the ER vet. Poor third child Jake gets me, his Godmother the fake vet tech and a few ‘you OK buddy?’ gestures. Don’t get me wrong, I love him, purely and truly. I liken it to two-legged third-child syndrome. The first child get’s everything boiled and sterilized By the time you get to the third child you decide your own saliva is just as good as, if not better than, boiling water.
Everyone is on the mend and you still have the sleeping arrangement update to look forward to!
I have left Melvin for a week before. It’s the same every time: he sees the suitcase come out and I get ‘the look’. Upon return he is super happy to see me followed quickly by distance. If I invite him on the couch, he will move two feet farther from me. I give him time to warm back up, it usually takes 3-4 days. We understand each other.
I have never left Jake for this long before. I wasn’t sure how he would respond. I left detailed instructions so that the dog watcher could make their days as normal as possible but obviously it would be different, if not only for my absence.
The boys slept in the guest room with V. Jake in his crate and Melvin in bed with her. The day that I was to return, Jake went into my room and pee’d on Melvin’s bed. I have always believed that, if at all possible, dogs will avoid peeing where they sleep. Jake LOVES Melvin’s bed, he occupies it every chance he gets. I have no idea why he chose to pee in it. Perhaps after just one week, he no longer felt like my room was where he slept.
When I walked in the door, as Melvin was wiggling and happy to see me, Jake gave me a look as if to say ‘don’t you ever leave me again or your bed is next’. I’m sure I imagined that. Right?
Here are the boys giving me their best ‘you abandoned us’ looks and one of Jake on Melvin’s old bed that I had to drag out until I can get the other one cleaned. He quickly hopped in, no leg lifting required.
This is our annual family beach week. We go to the beach and for many reasons, the dogs have to stay home. Luckily, we have the BEST dog watcher in the whole wide world and she comes to stay with the dogs and all is right with in the universe (ie. I can relax and enjoy knowing that the dogs are well cared for and adored while I’m gone). Photos of them pop up on texts and Instagram — and I feel joy!
Our dog watcher, V, has stayed at our house and watched the dogs 9,000,000 times. I actually think at this point she can run my house better than I can. Does this stop me from being Crazy Vacation Lady (CVL) and leaving two full pages of typed instruction AND sticky notes around the house? No. No it does not.
I am who I am.
Proof of relaxation:
Hello, my name is Tracey and I often order things and then forget I ordered them and then packages arrive and I think ‘hey, what’s this?’ and I open it and usually I remember ordering it but sometimes I don’t remember but I’m still like ‘yay you for ordering this because it’s awesome’. Yep, that’s me.
So this weekend when I pulled this out of the mailbox I thought, hmmmmm, what wonderful thing have I forgotten ordering this time? (I blurred this out so you don’t stalk us and try to steal the contents).
And then I saw them. And I immediately knew with my whole heart that if these objects of perfection were not bought by me then only one other person could be responsible …
I have said it many times, Melvin was pretty terrible when I got him. He walked on leash as if acid was being poured on him (flip-flopping all over the place) and he also had no brakes. He was physically incapable of stopping. Ask the kids growing up in our old neighborhood. In the car, well let’s just suffice it to say that we’re all lucky to be alive. He had no concept of the dangers of distracting the driver. If I restrained him, he’d hurt himself (read borderline hang himself). If not restrained, he’d climb into the driver’s seat – AS THE CAR WAS MOVING. We trained constantly, pretty much every minute of everyday I spent looking for opportunities to tame his wild ways. We saw a behaviorist, I bought every harness and somehow, we never gave up on each other. Now, well now, he’s perfect.
Enter Jake. Five times out of ten, Jake knows his name inside the house. Outside, he’s full on deaf to my voice. He is moderately OK on leash, as long as no other animals are within 50 miles of us. If he sees a cat, another dog or even a chipmunk, he will do what I call the 5-Fs: Froth, flip, flail, foam and freak-out. I have a choice word that starts with F that comes into my mind when he goes into this mode.
Thus, Jake and I (and by default Melvin) are in training! We have had two in-home sessions. My spoken goal was ‘to have Jake learn to focus on me’. Our trainer is great and Jake (and I) are doing really well. I’ll go into more detail later but currently we are working on the basics of ‘touch’ and getting him to ‘check-in’ with me at the beginning part of our walks (just prior to him going into hunting mode). Touch is going great, checking in on walks seems to bore him, but we’ll get there.
I can’t stress enough that it’s Jake AND me in training. Both of us. I’ve been working on trying to understand him, on identifying ‘why’ he is the way he is in some situations and understanding makes it a lot easier to not get frustrated with him or moments that we find ourselves in. Training Melvin was more about knowing that he couldn’t live that way — it was my responsibility to give him a calmer life and moments where he could find peace. He needed someone to count on. With Jake it’s more about strengthening a bond with a dog that does not care about what’s needed from a situation and also how to best provide calm and structure for him and Melvin as brothers.
Here is an awesome sunset that occurred as Jake was fence-stalking the dog next door. See how I choose to see the beauty in the situation? Training!