… household. Specifically, feline and canine. I’ve had both dogs and cats in residence for as long as I can remember. What’s nice about having a cat around is I have an in-resident feline test for the foster dogs as to whether or not they get along with cats. Always nice to be able to say, “Yes, this dog gets along with cats and dogs.”
Boogins, the current marble-brained feline, was adopted from the Larimer Humane Society at the tender age of eight weeks in 1997. Raised with my then eight-year old Apso, Brittany, he doesn’t know life without dogs.
If owned by a cat … or simply fascinated by these amazing creatures … one must watch Simon’s Cat. He’s nailed the feline persona in spades in a series of 12 animated films. Definitely a must watch!
… the boys arrived on one of the last days of January. January 30th to be exact. “The boys” being Dawa and Jasper, 8-month old Apso pups from Morrison, Colorado and surrendered to rescue. Because an immediate name change was in order — they were originally named “Barack” and “Obama” — I chose a Tibetan name for the foster who was to stay at our house. During one of the first night potty runs, a brilliant Wolf Moon bathed the yard in a soft white glow. Dawa, meaning “moon.” It also described his little moon-pie face. Dawa. It fit. And he quickly picked up the new moniker. Much quicker than the housetraining, actually. Like his brother, Jasper followed the same path … quick with the name but a bit slow on the housetraining.
A challenge from the minute they arrived, they tested our mettle as rescuers, dog owners and amateur groomers. The first hurdle was getting them bathed and clipped despite their urine-soaked and feces-matted coats. Next was integrating them into our household with other animals, family members and a set routine which included crating as part of the housetraining process. Having never been crated before, each dog voiced his displeasure at being confined. Loud voices … loud barking voices … loud barking voices that went on for what seemed an eternity to everyone else in the household. Even Dante chimed in a time or two as if to say, “Knock it off … it’s my nappy time!!” After several weeks, they both figured out that barking didn’t bring the desired results — release from the crate — and would quiet down after just a few minutes. Finally! Conversely, they both took to the crate at night and slept the whole night through (much to everyone’s relief).
Comparing notes on the brothers we found that Dawa was the more social of the two, easily meeting strangers. A gentle pup, he was very content just to hang out with a toy or chew bone or roll around one of the many beds in the house. The exception was if Frankers was up for a good morning romp, then there was a low level of chaos rumbling through. Even I had to laugh when Dawa managed to coax the old grand dame, Ali, into playing with him. In spite of my best efforts, I was not able to get a photo of Dawa and Frankers when they were in the recliner. I’d come around the corner and up would pop Frankers’ head, quickly followed by Dawa’s, just to the side. Yin and yang, ebony and ivory … and not a photo one.
Dawa was fascinated with the cat and would follow him around until the cat (Boogins) got tired of it and removed himself from the immediate area. Boogins is pretty dog-savvy, having been raised with the breed from the time he arrived as an 8-week old kitten. His reaction to the various fosters … or lack thereof … pretty much guarantees he’s only an object of simple curiosity. Can’t chase a cat that won’t run, which makes him a very boring playmate. The boys’ interaction with the cat was pretty typical of all the fosters. Despite never having seen or been around a cat before, they all manage to get along fine. Or at least with little concern on our part … if the cat’s not squeakin’, it’s not a problem!
Jasper was more reserved with strangers. He especially didn’t like young, quick-moving children or loud teenagers. He was, however, much more sharp with the training than Dawa. Jasper and the other dogs in his household (Anne, a beautiful Border Collie, and Jackson, an Apso adopted from us) finally figured out how to play together without a brawl breaking out. Jasper has been staying with us the past five days and the first thing I noticed was he’s much more energetic than Dawa. Hubby calls him “spastic” but he (hubby) isn’t exactly a puppy person. Give him an old, sedate dog and he’s perfectly happy.
Surprising to everyone was the fact we had few applications on them despite a PetFinder listing and local exposure through the newspaper. Puppies are generally a rarity in rescue and even more so in this breed … which usually means they’re a hot commodity and are placed quickly. That was not the case with these two which is probably just as well since it allowed us more time to work on their training issues (explaining this to our spouses after 10 weeks was a bit of a hard sell). Not 100% reliable with housetraining but getting pretty darn close. Not bad for two pups who had never been housetrained when they arrived in rescue.
The house is quiet tonight, having settled into its old routine. It never ceases to amaze me how the dynamics change during the time a foster is present … be it the dogs or hubby. Dawa was placed with a family in Longmont the end of March, giving us a couple weeks off. Late this afternoon, I saw Jasper off to Littleton with his new family. Gems in the rough, I have no doubt these boys will shine with a little polish in their new homes.