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May 04 2008
Are You Outta Control? Is That Dog Walking You? Comments (10)

Img_2065Give it up—do as I say!

We finally got our puppies, and almost immediately began plotting how to get rid of them.

Not really. Not...quite.

I hired a car service for us to pick them up in Connecticut. The car broke down on the way, so a replacement arrived—it reeked of cigarette smoke, making me worry our tiny-muzzled new Shih-Tzus would get sick, and the service had decided I only needed a one-way job. It was fixed, but got things off to a "ruff" start.

Picking them up was fast and painless. Getting them into their carriers was easy, too. Once in the car, our boy, Hyphen, threw a shrieking fit. I had no idea they’d be able to make so much noise this young, and his panic truly rattled us. She reacted to him, but not as loudly—she’d been to the vet for hernia surgery already, so might be less stressed by confinement. I rode with him, stroking him through the top until he finally calmed down 25 minutes later. This was the first moment we realized our crating experience might be a doozy.

Img_2064Once home, Hyphen and Sash tentatively left their carriers and sniffed around, then all was forgotten and they began exploring with gusto. Sash seemed really fat to me and her belly was hard. Lesson learned—she inaugurated the living room with what seemed like days’ worth of food. What a dump!

We were both a bit shell-shocked by all their energy and by their frequent peeing and surprise pooping. We set up pads in the bathroom and took them there often. Though they went just about everywhere, by night’s end Sash had already shown some improvement and Hyphen did it right a couple of times, too. That was encouraging, and made them seem more like little monsters and less like a combined monstrous mistake.

We experimented with the crates during the day, rewarding them for going it. Sash wasn’t too weirded out, while Hyphen screamed as if he were being skinned alive. If I were in a house, I could handle the annoyance. But in an apartment, it’s only a matter of time before someone complains (at which time they can kiss my ass since everyone around us is loud), so we tried them in their playpen. Lo and behold, they did sleep a lot, and only woke up around 3:00 a.m., at which time I took them to the pads and Sash scored a direct hit. Then I played with them until they were tired, and they went back to the playpen willingly and without much noise.

See, you’re not supposed to keep them together, and you’re not supposed to give up when they make noise. But there are limits and I think we did pretty well in action, if not in thought. (Inside, we both felt we’d just signed away our lives.)

Img_2137_2Who is the master...who is the slave?

In the a.m., they already seemed even more acclimated, more interested in seeking our approval, more engaged. Hyphen eats Sash’s vadge deeply as she lays on her back, but who am I to judge incest? (Actually, I’m the pack leader, so I’m trying to discourage this. They even 69ed.

Their first vet visit is tomorrow—I actually can’t wait to see that they’re okay and to ask some questions. This is going to take time.

One thing I never expected (along with the heartiness of Hyphen’s vocals) was to be so emotional about it. I feel on the verge of crying, partly out of fear and because so many friends were openly discouraging about our getting dogs to begin with, but also because I keep thinking about what is going through their minds, what expectations they may have, their fears, this weird feeling I’ve kidnapped and am holding them hostage only to discover it’s the opposite.

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