Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This scene goes through my head a lot:

Welcome, Willow!

"Each year, approximately 8 million stray and unwanted animals are taken in by shelters across the country. Tragically, about 3.7 million -- nearly half -- of these animals must be euthanized because good homes cannot be found for them. In fact, shelter euthanasia is the leading cause of death for both dogs and cats in the United States."

Wow. How shocking and sad. The above information comes from the American Humane Association site, and it's heartbreaking to read. What can we do to help this situation, short of each adopting a bazillion pets? 'More from the same site:

What you can do to combat pet overpopulation:
-- Always spay and neuter your pets.
-- Always adopt your pets from a legitimate shelter or nonprofit rescue group.
-- Consider all the responsibilities and consequences of pet ownership before deciding to get a pet and always make a lifetime commitment to your pet.
-- Educate your children, friends, family members and co-workers about pet overpopulation, adoption and the importance of spaying and neutering.

After much consideration, we have decided to adopt Willow from the Eastern Niagara Animal Welfare Alliance. YAYYYY! We are very excited, but we also know the challenges that are ahead of us. Yesterday's "date" between Bumble and Willow began rather roughly, but ended leaving us feeling optimistic about adding her to our pack. Here's how it went down:

I knew that Bum would be pretty wild as he was alone all day, so my first goal was to get him in the right frame of mind and to reduce his hyperactivity. We took a little walk by the Erie Canal in Lockport, but I wasn't dressed warmly enough so it was a short walk :) We then headed to the heated Petsmart where the meeting was to take place. We spent 20 minutes walking around the store, practicing our "heel" and "leave it" and getting used to the many smells and the energy. Bumble was eventually in a calm and submissive state (as much as a perky terrier can actually be "calm") and we felt ready. Then we heard crazy barking -- it was coming from the training room where we were going to meet Willow so of course I figured it must be her. And it was. 

Willow was in a halter and on a leash, and she was basically air born. Her energy level was through the roof, and I figured this wasn't going to go well. My concern for Bumble was that he was going to rise to her level rather than her calming to his, and at first it looked as if I was right. Both Willow's handler and I had full control of our dogs, and let them sniff and mouth and paw each other until it escalated, at which point we would pull them apart to calm a bit. I was so proud of my Bumble! He was very responsive to me, and he didn't try to eat this little crazy bitch (I just had to get that word in here, haha!) that was trying to run the show. We repeated this routine several times, and each successive time things were looking more like play and less like aggression. Both dogs were tiring out as they got to know each other, and eventually they were fairly calm and we gave them water. Willow licked water from Bummy's mouth and it was pretty sweet :)  

Willow is so little and cute but so feisty -- I know that we have a whole lot of work ahead of us. My main concern is my schedule: how can I spend enough time walking her and training her when I leave for work in the dark and soon will come home in the dark? I figure that I am able to give her a great shot at being a happy and well-adjusted dog, and I won't give up until that happens. Bumble will benefit as well, and continue to evolve just as he did when he joined our pack a couple of years ago. We are all works-in-progress, aren't we? Dogs and people alike. I feel like our WHOLE pack can afford some growth, and after all the hard work and dedication we will be better for it. Willow will join us on Friday afternoon - I am so excited!

My boyfriend, Bumble 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Second Date

Last night I met Willow, a sweet rat terrier mix that is looking for a new family. She caught my eye on Petfinder because she looks just like a white Bumble, she is a rat terrier mix just like Bumble, she is lonely and needs a companion just like Bumble, she is active and needs to run just like - well you know. All of that plus the name: earlier in the day Chandler and I had been discussing pet names we liked, and "Willow" made our short list. What are the odds?!

Bumble has been lonely since the school year started. All summer long he spent hours with me and hours outside hunting squirrels. Last year when it was time to head back to school our pack included Mari and Sophie, and Chandler still lived at home. Now Bum is alone for much of the day, and he has taken to some anxiety driven behaviors such as angry barking as the last person leaves the house and table surfing. We (I) really believe he needs a buddy, either feline or canine. Truthfully this is a tough time for us to adopt a pup due to the move, but if it's the right pet then we need to take the plunge.

Is Willow right for us? Will Bumble accept another dog or will he be jealous and aggressive?

My meeting with Willow was lovely. She is a lively, curious and obviously bright little bundle of energy, and she responded well to me. My heart melted when she rolled over for me to rub her cute spotted tummy, and although she clearly needs some training I think her potential is great. Tonight I will bring Bumble to Lockport for a meeting, and hopefully he will fall in love with her, too. This second date will determine whether or not we move forward with the adoption process, and whether or not Willow joins our pack. 'Fingers crossed!

Some links that offer suggestions for first-time dog meetings:

Bumble, looking like the imp that he is :)
Meet Willow, currently a resident at the Eastern Niagara Animal Welfare Alliance in Lockport, NY
Her Description: Willow is a young Rat Terrier mix dog that is very smart, affectionate and eager to please. We are looking for a "playmate " for Willow since she currently spends much of her time alone and would benefit from having a "buddy" to play and frolic with.She is energetic and loves to run and play and needs open space in which to do so. She is spayed and fully vetted. Please call 716-434-0604 to discuss adoption opportunities for Willow. She is a real sweetheart!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What I Will Not Miss

windowless bathroom

lack of closet space

old refrigerator

noisy dishwasher

lack of a mudroom

noisy furnace

carrying buckets of water from the house in the winter

fish pond far from house

lack of garage

kitchen separated from living space

cramped laundry space

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I Will Miss

looking through the rows of trees to watch the wildlife

my perfect little shed

the majestic sycamore tree

my hammock spot

the lanes through the orchards and vineyards

my perennial gardens

the variety of birds that live in the scrub

the absence of visible neighbors

Bumble vs. Snarly Raccoon

Remember the scene in Old Yeller where the wolf and dog were viscously wrestling around, snarling and growling, snapping and biting? Well a very similar scene took place in my backyard this morning between Bumble and a raccoon who was clearly caught off guard.

I let Bum out and as it was only 5:30 it was still totally dark. Immediately the fight ensued, and I ran out screaming "Bumble!!" like a banshee. The raccoon tried unsuccessfully to climb a tree, and finally gave up and fought back. Growling and snarling, the two wrestled around like cartoon characters, each hanging on to the other's throat. I grabbed the nearest "weapon" - the pooper scooper - and tried hitting the raccoon to make him let go. Every time they separated, one or the other would lunge back and start rolling around again. I cannot believe the neighbors did not call 911 as I was screaming and yelling as if I was being murdered. (Note to self: if ever I am being attacked there will be no one to come to my aid.) Jim was still in bed, but then appeared with a flashlight and laundry basket. By this time the fight had moved way out beyond the porch lights and in the total darkness of the back yard. After I had them separated momentarily, Jim dropped the basket on the 'coon, and carried Bum in the house while I held the basket down. Poor little 'coony was growling and panting before finally settling down. I don't think he was hurt, and he looked really fluffy and healthy when I saw him in the light so I am fairly certain he wasn't diseased. I stayed for a few minutes, catching my breath and talking to him gently, and then he put his little "hand" out through the basket and even his cute little black nose came through a hole. It was pretty adorable, even after all of that. I decided he would figure how to get out from under his temporary prison, so I just ran toward the house, leaving him and hoping he wouldn't come running after me.

Bumble was doing what Bumble thought he should do: guard the yard. I wish he would have listened when I tried to call him off, but I think he thought I was yelling at the intruder. In any case, my little man was pretty tired and dirty, but I saw no signs of blood. I had to give him a bath, and I lathered him up with deodorizing soap and rinsed him thoroughly. I think he will be sore, and I'm pretty certain he will sleep well today. At least it wasn't a skunk.


not always cute!