Happy gotcha week, Jake!

I had every intention of posting a week of thankful posts this week, but work has been really busy and Jake has had a bad legs week so I am going to try to push those posts to next week.  

Instead, I will get out my gotcha post to Jake.  He came to us two years ago on Thanksgiving weekend, so instead of picking a day, we decided to always celebrate (poetically) on Thanksgiving.  

My dearest Jake, on the drive to get you I kept asking myself ‘what in the world are you going to do with a little dog’?  Little (pun intended) did I know how big you’d end up being in my life (and since your neck is currently the same size as Melvin’s…). When you came into our home, my sole goal was integration.  Making room for you, without taking room from Melvin.  Setting you (and me) up for success.  It was exhausting watching your every move (you were mischievous), and training you to co-exist.  You would sit and stare at us FOR HOURS. I had no idea why.  My only guess was that you sat and waited a lot in your previous life.  But we would have none of that, we tried to show you that you didn’t have to wait for your life to begin, it was happening already.   One day you stopped sitting and staring and joined in, one of the best  days ever.

You being here makes sense.  A lot of that has to do with how I view health issues and how I approach challenges. My guess is, if you had not been given up at five-years-old because your family had no time for a second dog, they certainly would have given up on you when your legs started to fail.  You were meant to be mine.  I’m not sure what happened to your spine, the doctors are not even sure how one spine can be so messed up, but it also doesn’t matter what happened. You are you and your legs don’t work great and you pee without knowing you are peeing and you shoot out meatballs in your sleep.  People see you and say ‘poor Jake’ but I don’t see that.  I see Jake who runs even if his legs don’t cooperate.  I see Jake who knows to pause when he comes into the house because I have to put his diaper back on.  I see Jake who seeks out time with Melvin, even when Melvin runs and hides. We all persevere together.

The past two years feel like much longer, in a good way.  You have provided more laughter than TV ever could. I’ll provide the diapers if you provide the comedy.  I love that I still have no idea what you are looking at. My guess is that you will surpass your brother in terms of health issues. I was not sure that was possible but no matter what, we will figure it out.

I love you nugget, with all my heart and I promise you that this is your forever.  There is nothing you can rain down on us that will ever make us abandon you (not that you need to see this as challenge).   I promise to stay strong so I can carry you when you need it and Melvin promises to pull your cart if I get tired.  If you could promise to not bite his face or legs, that’d be great too!

The drive from your foster home to your forever home. You fell asleep sitting up. IMG_2948

Your first Christmas with us (and my guess is, your first bow tie). DSC_3405

Your first Snood. IMG_3415

Your first custom-made jacket. 2 27 13b

Your first brother…2 27 13a

and best friend. IMG_0493

True story.

This is the true story of how I thought Jake’s arm broke off.

He was doing that thing he does when he is about to hunker down for a nap.  Rolling on his back, flailing his legs all about, snorting, grunting, etc.  I was watching TV.  At some point I looked over and saw this:

IMG_1117

My honest to God thought was: Did his arm break off?  But I was not panicked (I mean it’s Jake, somehow it would make perfect sense that his arm would fall off).  He was sound asleep so I leaned in to see what the situation was.

Almost as shocking as one of his limbs just breaking off, he had jammed both arms into the same arm hole of the sweatshirt.  This dog takes cozy to an extreme.  I of course left it that way so I could watch him get out of the situation, which he couldn’t and started howling.

IMG_1113

#lifewithJake

Velcro.

I never really understood the term ‘velcro dog’ until I got Melvin.  I went from having space to having none.  Sure, there are moments when he is a couple of feet away, but he is always, no matter what, 100% always in the same room as I am.

If I’m at the sink, he’s laying behind my feet.  If I’m in the office, he’s laying under the desk.  If I’m in the pantry, he is (watch out) right behind me, blocking my exit. I realized the other day, the most spoken phrase in this house is: Watch out buddy.

Saying the words rarely has the effect I hope for. I fall over, stumble, step on, run into, drop things onto and hurdle over Melvin, 100 times a day. He will walk in front of me and stop and look back to make sure I am following him and I will fall over him.  He thinks its fun.  He often does this going down steps, it’s a miracle I’m still alive.

Some days it drives me nuts.  How can he not realize that walking through him is not an option?  But then I realize, those moments, are the ones I’ll miss when he’s gone (and I’ll be so grateful for all the times I got to trip over him).  If Melvin’s biggest crime is wanting to be near me, well hot damn, I’ve won the jackpot!

Wanna snuggle?  I can move closer. IMG_1129

Jake is different.  He will come over and lean into me for a little while but then he’d prefer a blanket, the fireplace or Melvin over me. Except for one thing, Jake needs to be able to see me. He will regularly come check to make sure I’m still ‘there’.  If I’m in the laundry room, he will walk up to the doorway, ascertain I’m still there and then go back and lay down.  He’ll repeat this every five minutes until I move rooms.  When, I’m in the shower, Jake drives by the doorway 3-4 times.  Normally it’d be creepy, but it’s just Jake, making sure he has not been abandoned.  I get it.  Sometimes I’ll shout out ‘I’m still here’ just to help him out.  I try to do what I can.

Leave me with my blanket (by the way, he did this cocoon all on his own). IMG_1112

Life with Jake: Take 782

Jake’s two-year adopt-o-versary is approaching.  I look back on those post from two years ago and have a hard time recalling the worries I had back then.  That Jake would settle in, that the boys would tolerate each other, that we’d be ‘okay’ and that the decision was right.

The issues have changed, greatly.

Last night Jake poop’d in his sleep.  He then must have had a nightmare that he poop’d in his sleep and he rolled around like a crazy dog to avoid the poop of his dream but ended up rolling around in the poop of reality.  I was awoken by the smell. Hello Monday.

I rolled around in poop. I’m gross. IMG_1061

It’s raining here today so I did what any mother of the year would do, I carried Jake outside and let him bathe in mother natures tears (or were those my tears).  Who knows.  I cleaned up his bed, then I went outside and rain bathed Jake (and myself) and Melvin just stood in the doorway and barked at me because he was hungry.

I was starving.  Does no one care?IMG_1067

I am going to sketch out a swing like contraption that Jake can be hoisted into each night.  One where he will be comfortable but when he sleep potties, it just falls into a trashcan.  A girl can dream.

Happy Monday!

Birthday snuggles and Veteran’s Day!

The flu turned into a migraine and then into a sinus infection and tomorrow I have a chest x-ray.  If you are looking for a good time, stop by!

Nevertheless, my birthday was awesome cause I got to snuggle these two monkeys! IMG_0910(And when you are as powerful as me, you get to move your birthday to a later date so that people can be around you without a look of disgust and sadness on their faces.)

I always loved that my birthday fell on the day before Veteran’s day.  Yes, part of that was that I often had my birthday off for school but mostly because it always reminded me what was really most important in terms of gifts:   People who give service to their country. Selfless heroes, like my dad, and his dad, and most likely your dad (or mom or brother or sister or aunt or cousin or son or daughter…).  Happy Veteran’s day you real life super heroes!!  You rock this world like no other!

Never let your guard down.

I have written before about how Jake has a tendency to guard things.  In the past it has mainly been Kongs (or me), but we have not had an issue for some time now.  Well, until yesterday.

Jake was eating his Kong and Melvin walked by and Jake saw that as a declaration of war.  So he lunged towards Melvin’s face, realized he can’t jump that high (or at all) so he latched his mouth around Melvin’s back leg.  I kid you not, Melvin was walking (at a normal pace) and Jake was dragging behind him, latched onto his leg.  This all went down over the course of about 8 seconds.

Here is what worked against our favor:

  • Jake.

Here is what worked in our favor:

  • Melvin, he has never, ever lashed out at Jake (in retribution of any sort).  Never.  I don’t know how or why or if it will last but he is just amazing that way.
  • Jake has tic-tac teeth.  I’m not kidding, there was not even a mark on Melvin.  I don’t know what happened to his teeth or if that is normal for Frenchies but it helped tremendously that he was almost ‘gumming’ Melvin.
  • I was there.  I would never leave them unattended with Kongs, no matter how well they were doing.
  • Did I mention how awesome Melvin is?

I picked Jake up and put him in the powder room, door closed for 10 seconds.  The moment I reached for him, he let go of Melvin’s leg and I would have walked him into the powder room but he can’t walk great and it turns out more like dragging and that is not the point of time out.  Time out is a quick, non-confrontational consequence. The moment something happens I say ‘time out’ and in Jake goes in for 10 seconds.  When he emerges, it’s over, we move on.  Notice how I said, Jake.  Melvin has never seen a timeout.

Jake emerged from the powder room and went immediately to Melvin and started licking his face and back leg.  Almost as if to say, thank you AGAIN for not swallowing me whole.

Function over fashion. Sort of.

See that bench under the window? IMG_0786

 

It used to be at the foot of the bed.  I didn’t buy it because it was animal print, in fact I thought about not buying it because it was animal print.  Not that I don’t like animal print, I just wasn’t sure how it would work in the room. It turned out to be perfect (style-wise).  My main reason for buying it was that it was the exact dimensions I was looking for.  Right length and most importantly, right height.  I wanted it at the foot of the bed and I wanted it to be the exact height of the bed frame. Why you ask?  Because I have a disease that makes me see things that don’t visually work and it drives me bonkers.  Bench must equal bed frame height.  Trust me.

That bench’s number one job was to provide access to the bed for Melvin.  The bed is pretty high and he needed something lower to be able to get up on his own.  The fact that I could sit on it comfortably was bonus.  That bench has served him well.  Until recently.  Melvin has back arthritis and like anyone else with arthritis or joint issues, nighttime is stiff time and it has become harder and harder for him to get up on that bench.  He misses sometimes. So, that bench must go.

It’s true, I can’t jump as high as I used to. IMG_0710

Here is the thing, remember when I told you that as a crazy person, the bench and bed frame needed to be the same height.  Cue cold sweat. Obviously Melvin matters more to me than my decorating OCD. Right?  Yes, yes, of course he does. So I stalked look for a different bench.  One that I love but that would also work better for Melvin.

This is the new bench.IMG_0790 IMG_0783

Melvin jumps onto it and then onto the bed with such ease, he’s like a gazelle.  From a design perspective, this bench is lovely, look at those lines.  Of course… it’s made for a bed that sits MUCH lower and also for a human who prefers to sit much lower.  But my boy can come and go on the bed again and that is all that matters.

Decorating OCD be dammed!  (That is code for I need more wine).