Doug can be chill. True story.

Doug is boundless energy and exuberance.  I tell everyone that he is powered by joy.  Sure that results in a lot of walks and sessions out back to wear him out, but there are far worse things than being powered by joy.

Additionally, even though he is the most active dog I have ever had, he is equally the most chill upon arrival. Active and chill don’t usually go hand-in-hand and for Doug they certainly do not go together at the same time. When I am home, he be cray, but when I leave, he is totally chill. When I first got Melvin and Jake, they both had separation anxiety. If I was outside, Melvin would follow me from window to window frantically so that his body could be as close to mine as possible.  If I came home to grab something quickly, and then left again, Jake would flip and flail and shoot out meatballs. Eventually they would both relax and it got much better over time.

From day one, when I leave Doug, he lays down. If I come home and then leave again. He wiggles with delight that I’m home and the moment I leave, he lays down. Chill, chill, chill.  In fact the moment I say gotta go bye-byes, he runs and hops in his crate in the mudroom.  That is where I have been putting him when I leave, mostly cause we are still finishing up potty training. And because he chews my pillows.

It’s true, I find pillows to be delicious. img_0777

The mudroom is perfect for him. We had no reason to change-up our routine. Until we did have a reason. The mudroom is going to be out of commission for a little while and I needed to (sorta quickly) figure out how to keep Doug doing great when I left.  I thought about moving his crate to another room but honestly, I think we are at the point where he can have free roam, at least over the main floor, while I’m gone.  As long as he is comfortable with that freedom.

So yesterday, I left him in the house, un-crated and outside of the mudroom, and I watched him on the Dropcam the whole time. HE DID GREAT! He roamed around for a little while, checked the window a few times to be sure I wasn’t hiding and then after about ten minutes, he hopped on Melvin’s chair and went to sleep. I left him again last night and he did the same, only this time he took a snooze on the couch. He also did some redecorating.

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I like to joke about how crazy Doug is, AND HE IS CRAZY, but sometimes I forget to share with you how incredibly smart and awesome he is too. He knows that when I turn the security alarm on, its time to go upstairs.  He goes right to his bed.  He knows that I push snooze every morning and he does not get up until he sees that I am really rising. He knows potty and walk and dinner. He knows sit, touch and down. He continues to do great with other dogs. He knows how our day goes and he’s learning to be more independent.  Sometimes I open the back door (there is a screen he can go through in and out of the house) and he goes outside and plays and then naps on the patio and then will come in and check on me.  When he’s not Zoomie Doug, he’s Really Laid Back Doug.

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I love him. I have met him where he is and I love him for all his crazy and his good. In the same way I trusted him to be left out and about, he trusts that I’m coming back. He meets me where I’m at sometimes too. Jake has been gone for three months (today), and it feels like three months (like three rotten months).  Doug has been here for six weeks and it feels like much, much longer. It feels beautiful, like he’s been mine forever.  It feels like Doug must have been here when Jake was here. Grief and time and sadness and joy regularly collide.

It can be difficult and great simultaneously.

There can be tears and laughter at the same time.

There can be unexpected reasons why the mudroom is suddenly being re-purposed…

 

 

 

Doug the power plant.

Doug has been here for a little over a week now. His energy could provide power to New York City. I’m exhausted! He is exuberant, mischievous and a complete love bug.

A lot of my photos of him look like this:img_0318

I’d be lying if I said he was easy. As a reminder, I went from Jake, who was paralyzed and loved to nap to Doug, whose idea of a good time is pretending like he’s a backpack (on my back) when I’m trying to sit on the couch and rest my weary bones. So some of the challenge is me and what I’m used to.

He be cray, but I love him.

He’s doing great with housebreaking, he’s only had one accident. It wasn’t really even an accident because he had already been out and he seemed pretty purposeful in his actions.  Dude does not realize that I know intentional peeing when I see it.

We have gotten our walk schedule down.  I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to get a young dog during an East Coast heat wave. For the past 10 days I have felt perpetually sweaty and my Apple watch alerts me everyday that I have met my exercise goal, by noon. His energy has been a challenge, a little due in part to the fact that I work from home and when I say work I mean I REALLY DO WORK. The challenge is, I’m here, so he wants me to play. We are slowly working out together time and independent time. We take our first walk in the morning after he eats. We take a 2nd walk around lunchtime, our 3rd walk late afternoon and our last walk after dinner. In between each walk I will take him into the backyard and play Jolly Ball or fetch with him. Sometimes he just runs zoomies on his own and I stand out there asleep with my eyes open. The rest of the day he plays in the house and even sometimes takes load off and rests.

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We started back with our trainer.  I cried when I was waiting for her to arrive. She has only ever trained Jake. In fact, our first session for Doug was paid for by a left over session from Jakey. It just felt odd for her to be here and for Jake to be gone. I am coming up on two months without Jake, I still have many more of these types of moments to go through. But Doug did great on training day one and we have practiced our homework of touch and sit every day.

For the most part, Doug is a lot like Melvin. A lot. The early-years-Melvin that used to leap off the back of the couch and fly into the glass french doors (that were closed) to try to chase squirrels. I recall having to call upon a lot of patience for that Melvin, the same way I am calling upon it now for the Dougster.

Doug is young. He doesn’t know any rules, or any commands and doesn’t know what is expected of him. When I say words to him that the boys used to know, he just runs zoomies at the sound of my voice. He went from being a stray, to being in a shelter, to being in foster to me. It’s easy to get frustrated when he mouths my feet with each step that I take (trust me, I walk into the bathroom, shut the door and count to ten a lot. Sometimes I count to 50). Or to curse when he jumps on my back while I’m resting my bones on the couch (instead I take some deep breaths and I stand up and wait it out). Instead of yelling or correcting his every move, I look at a photo of Melvin and I recall our journey from wildebeest to soulful boy. From crazy to sweet. I recall what’s possible. Then I look at Doug and I know that he does what he does, out of pure joy for life. A life that I am responsible for guiding. He just has to learn to focus his joy on good, not my feet.

I still wake up and wish that Jake were here too. I wish Melvin and Jake were both here to help me guide Doug.  But they are not, so I will lead him. Doug keeps me in the here and now, the here and now where I have to stay very hydrated!

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