The wheelchair issues are improving. I’m much better at getting Jake into it anyways. Some days he will move around in it (still in an attempt to outrun it) and some days his (front) feet are firmly planted and he absolutely refuses to move. He won’t even look at me and if he does, that singular eye could burn a hole into my soul.
Net, net: he’s still getting used to is. It’s OK, we got nothing but time.
Exceeeeeeept for one small, teeny, tiny setback. The other day, while he was in the cart in the backyard, on a session when he was actually moving a bit. He rolled down the hill. It was less rolling down and more rolling over. I yelled in slow motion, ‘what’s happening?!’ and I have never seen his eyes get so big (I mean can you imagine them bigger)?! I ran over and got him upright. He stood there and if looks could kill, you’d be reading my obituary, not this post. Suffice it to say I tried to get him to move again (getting back on the proverbial horse) but he was done.
I obviously have no video of that, but here is some video of him standing still. I put treats all around him to encourage movement. Nothing. He is so flippen STUBBORN! So now we go out back, in the cart, on-leash. He is much more willing to move with what I’m assuming he considers to be, his safety tether.
Max and Melvin never really bonded. They only had two months together. Max taught Melvin what he could and Melvin crashed into Max 4,356 times.Their story was short but sweet. When Max died, Melvin did look for him, but I never sensed he felt a loss or was otherwise upset. I think he was more just curious.
Fast forward to today. Jake cries if Melvin leaves the room.
While Melvin does not outwardly show Jake an ounce of affection, he tolerates Jake with a level of patience that only comes with true love.
I’m tremendously happy that they are a bonded pair. It’s all I wanted. But then I think about fostering, about adding a 3rd dog. Is the balance something that should be protected or should it evolve?
I have no idea. But I think about it a lot. I’m approved to foster for the rescue group that I got Jake from. I’ve never been called up but since I’m type Super A, I have a plan ready. The only uncertainty is when, and what the hell will happen to the equilibrium. Then there are moments I see this (below) and think, wow, I want her. No seriously, I really want her. I mean for goodness sake, her name is Wigglebut! I look at her and all I see is love.
There was a balance when there was just Max. But it came time to welcome a new dog and I upset the balance because I also committed to forming a new balance. And there was a balance when there was just Melvin and despite Melvin and Jake not loving the other on their first meet and greet, I knew it could work, so we took it slow and now…
The balance is what we make of it.
I wrote and shared the the post below last year, just about this time. Enjoy the flashback, The Love, and happy weekend!
I never thought I’d love another dog as much as I loved Max. I thought, he’s ‘the one‘. The one that will always own my heart. Then came Melvin. Never have I been through so much with a dog. His joyful existence and soulful ways, they stole me.
He’s the one. I mean I can’t imagine I could love another dog the way I love him. He has taught me a love I didn’t know before.
Then I look at Jake.
I think all along I’ve had this whole thing wrong. The one may not be the dog.
The one, may be the Love.
It’s where you put your heart’s load. It’s the bond that you can’t imagine being without. And that love, is supposed to move and grow and leap. It doesn’t take away from those that came before, in fact I think it represents them, it carries them on.
Six years ago, although I didn’t realize it, it likely went a little like this in my heart: Melvin, this love I’m giving you is Max love, it’s crazy powerful and happiness inducing and well I can’t NOT give it to you because well the universe took Max but gave me you and this love, this love needs to go on and you deserve this love, you have left your own mark on this love. This love, it’s yours now. It always was, it always will be.
And I probably did the same thing unknowingly last year, with Jake.
You have a dog and you love them and you give them your love and they are meant to feel it, to fuel it, to nurture it, to own it and then, in a way, to give it back to you as they go. I can say with absolute certainty that in my last moments with Max, he communicated two things to me with a single glance. I know you love me and I need you to love this way again.
That one love, is infinite.
I’m not sure what inspired me to write this post. I think a little of it is that Melvin is turning nine this weekend and I have started accepting that the lighter color fur on his face, is in fact gray. I think it’s also because, when I look and Melvin and then to Jake, my heart is full. And when I think of Max, the love is there still. How lucky are all of us that THE LOVE goes on!
Last night, in the clearance bin at our local pet food store was a denim dog vest. I don’t think I can explain to you how much I have wanted to get Jake a denim vest, in fact I have bought several that didn’t fit and it made me sad. Real sad. But today, I am so bleeping happy cause dude’s life is now complete!!!!
I think you can tell by the look on his face that he is totally into it.
Hey guys. Jake here. Life is so sweet, just thought I’d take over and gush about my awesome existence and sexiness.
I’m still CEO of the meatball factory. Business is great! We’ve added a few new products into the mix, including but not limited to: a steady pee stream and drooling on demand. Also, and this seems to happen a lot when business is good, me and the mama bond a lot at night. I love it! She seems less enthused about it but I know I will win her over!
My brother is awesome! Lately he has not felt great. I know this because I’m so good at smelling him (I know what you are thinking, however I am not talking about his butt, although his butt is still the sweetest smell in all the land). No, I know when he is not feeling great just by smelling every inch of his body (which I do several times a day so that he knows just how much I care). If he lets me complete the task, he doesn’t feel good. I’m so smart.
What else, what else. Oh right, crazy Lady got some contraption and she thinks it’s HI-larious to strap it to me. First off, she’s downright terrible at getting me in it (OK, fine, I try to make it harder on her but you try sitting still while someone attaches a rickshaw to your hips and let me know how well you do!). I of course take off running the first chance I get and she proclaims ‘you’re doing it, you’re doing it’ and I think “oh no, she’s drinking again” and then I realize I’ve covered a lot of ground quickly and I have no idea how I did that (must have teleporting skills) so I stop and issue her a death stare and threaten through my gaze that I will soon learn how to teleport back to the couch.
So to recap, I’m still a sexy beast, business is great, brother is delicious and She is trying to turn me into a wheelbarrow.
I know the life Melvin had before me. His humans would leave for work and put him outside in a fence-less yard. He would roam the neighborhood. He would get picked up by animal control. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s a miracle he was never hit by a car. (Other, not so great things happened to him in that life but we won’t dwell on that here). Due to his being an outside dog, once he came to live with me and experienced the warmth and coolness and comforts of the indoors, he has never really been a dog who will go outside alone. I can’t stand at the door in an ice storm and get him to go potty, I have to physically walk outside with him. I get it, he’s afraid a door behind him will close. Door is always open here my love.
The only thing I really knew about Jake’s previous life was that there were two dogs and he was not the chosen one. His lab brother would get taken everywhere and Jake would sit at home, alone, for long periods of time. When he first came to stay with me, he would sit for hours, in the same spot. He was so conditioned to wait, that he he’d do it, even when we were sitting right next to him. He eventually stopped waiting and got up and moved forward. Also, and this is just a hunch based on the bed that he brought with him from his first home, comfort was not something that family felt dogs should experience.
He takes full advantage of comfort here. FULL. Like he doesn’t even care if you are comfortable or not, dammit he will be! I really like that about him.
Melvin and Jake don’t do great with kids. Melvin has no idea of how big he is and will barrel towards them with no sign of using his brakes. He will also attempt to eat food out of their mouths. No one enjoys this. After the initial excitement and feeding frenzy, they start to make him nervous. On the occasions kids are over, I have trained him to get up and leave the room if a child’s energy or actions are stressing him out. He ALWAYS takes advantage of this and I always make sure the child knows not to follow him. Sometimes he just stays in a different room the whole time.
Jake is an ankle biter. I guess it’s a Frenchie thing. He has worn down teeth so it’s not a huge issue in terms of inflicting pain or damage but I also do not want him doing it. If you ignore him upon walking in, he does not gnaw at you. Adults can help with that training. With kids, you can’t really say ‘he might bite your ankles but it won’t hurt!’ (I don’t want to give them nightmares or scar them forever!) nor do I want Jake thinking he can put his tic-tac-teeth on anyone, so I either separate Jake from children or if they are dog friendly kids, we put the kids up high until Jake tires of their newness (takes about 5 min). By then he could care less. The only time he will keep going on the chase, is if the child is wearing a tutu. Tutu’s drive him completely insane and he cannot be within ten miles of one. He goes into ‘must destruct the tutu’ and no child who is wearing a tutu is wearing it so that Jake will tear it off of them. Lesson learned, trust me.
My four-year-old niece came to stay with us this weekend. (She was the victim of the tutu massacre a few years ago – she was fine, the tutu was not). To say Jake was enamored during this visit is an understatement. He followed her around, snuggled her so hard and I could tell he was in love. He cried when she was unreachable.
We do Jake’s wheels everyday now. Each day we add a few minutes. Some days, he runs zoomies. Some days, he stands more still than a statue, issuing me a death stare.
The key is getting him into the thing. If it goes well, he’s great. If I struggle, he retaliates.
The thing is, Jake’s body is SO weird. The differential from his neck to his butt is huge. Every few inches down the length of his body can vary in girth several inches from the previous two inches. So the straight metal bars that run along his side, are a little snug in some areas (as they should be) so I can’t just back him in and then lift his legs in the loops. We hit resistance. And when that happens, it triggers the meatball factory to start production. My life is so glamorous.
Slowly but surely we are getting better at it each day and he still comes when I call him over to it so that’s a win. We hope to leave the yard in it sometime in 2015!
One constant positive, Melvin doesn’t give two craps (pun intended) about Jake’s wheels. He refuses to move when Jake comes barreling towards him and Jake is quickly learning to make sharp turns to avoid ramming his brother.
Three of our blog friends lost elderbulls this week. Rescues. Deeply loved.
To Sarge, Gertie and Mr. B – you were loved. Your life was made better by the humans that were there with you at your end. Awesome humans who knew time would be short, but were committed to making every moment sweet. Their goal every day, to rain joy down upon you. Mission accomplished. Now they take on the job of grieving. With great love comes deep grief. But it’s always worth it. Our thoughts and prayers are with your humans. Our heroes.
Run free sweet, loved, elderbulls. I am a better person for having heard about you.
I stared at Jake’s wheels for a few days. I read the directions about fifty times and I still felt like I wasn’t ready. I mean I was ready for him to use them and be on the go, but that first time putting him in the wheelchair, that could make or break the future times. So I studied and we waited. Then on New Years day, I knew we could do it.
I took the boys out back. Eventually I called Jake over, I lifted his hind legs in and I did all the straps and clips and snapping. I went to reach for my camera and HE TOOK OFF. It was clear that he was running away from the wheelchair. It took a few moments for him to realize he was attached to the wheels (and this was post crashing into the fence at top speed). The first video is from when I was able to push record after he had already crashed and as he was still trying to out maneuver the wheels (by hopping). The first video might also make you throw up because I was pretty excited and not steady.
The second video is less nauseating and he was only about 3 minutes into his first wheel experience and already doing sharp turns!
We did five minutes day one. We’ll do a little more each day. All in all, dude was born to ride!