Meet the Ladies (using “ladies” very loosely here…)

I have never really been a female dog kind of person – probably because, let’s be honest, I’m enough bitch for one household. My boy dogs have always filled my emotional needs as pseudo-boyfriends and best friends, and even in my human life I typically avoid members of the same sex. As someone who has had predominately male friends since I was in the sixth grade, I typically don’t have the patience for normal girlish antics (this is not always the case – I do require some level of “girl-talk” and shopping in my life, just not the normal level expected from most females).

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Somehow, despite all of this, I have managed to acquire three female dogs, affectionately referred to as “the girls”.  For the most part, these three are treated as a single unit, except the times that I single Delaney or Cady out for time away from Kara – Cady especially, because it’s nothing short of torture to subject a dog of her mental capacity to tolerating Boykins 24/7.  [I should note that this is only for Columbia activities. Activities that take place out of town where it is impractical to take all four dogs, they are separated into “Alpha Team” and “Bravo Team. Alpha Team includes the Aussies, and Bravo the Boykins. This works out well considering the nature of the two breeds and what each breed considers to be more entertaining than the other – the Aussies don’t exactly appreciate swimming days, and the Boykins could care less about a trip to the mountains.]

IMG_3006Delaney, despite my typical disdain for female dogs, was purposefully purchased from a Boykin Spaniel breeder in Kershaw, South Carolina. I had a male dog, and opposite gender pairings are the easiest to manange. She was, like Rugby, four months old and a remnant of a litter taking too long to sell. Unlike Rugby, however, there was not so much the instant bond with Delaney, and frankly I preferred the outgoing nature of one of her sisters. However, I am somewhat of a snob when it comes to a proportional dog, and Delaney was the only one of the puppies whose legs matched the length of her body. Boykins have a tendency to be quite squat in stature, and I am not a fan. So, I put my deposit down for the long-legged puppy, and returned two weeks later to bring her home. Delaney is a special girl.  It’s no secret that she is named after my favorite bar at that time, and she was purchased more to fill a void than because I truly needed a second dog. Not to say I got a second dog frivolously – I had thought it through, Rugby did enjoy having a friend around and would become quite sad when his foster siblings were adopted, and I knew and loved the Boykin breed well. The void-filling was simply the final deciding factor, and the last in a series of steps to declare my independence from an emotional trap that need not be discussed in further detail.

Delaney is a princess. A very special, very silly princess. I don’t keep her groomed very tidily, so her curls are unruly, her pigtail-like ears long, her feet display tufts of brown fur, and her “alfalfa sprout” makes her look not much different than a Who. Delaney decided early on that she was not made for sleeping on floors, and demanded a bed of her own, though she really prefers human furniture. Once we taught her to swim, she was always in the water, and she loves the game of fetch just as much as any good retriever (though she’s not OCD like her sister about it). She doesn’t always like to bring it back, however, especially if her sister is in the game. She is also a cheater, and will stay in the outfield waiting for the ball while the others in the game sit obediently by our sides while we throw. Delaney hates children, and if she’s in trouble she will begins to flail wildly to avoid being held or caught. She’s the type of dog that discipline has no affect on, as it just upsets her and makes her forget everything. There’s little reason to discipline her now though. She will be four years old on Valentine’s Day, and the only thing she really does “bad” is her tendency to bolt when guns are fired. Oh, and she crunches tennis balls.

Cady is my old girl. I love her, so very much. I saw a posting on Facebook one day about a pregnant Aussie in rural Georgia who had very little time left. She had belonged to a hoarder, and when that person died, it was up to animal control to go collect the animals. I’m not sure how many there were, I don’t really want to know. I just know that most of them never made it out.  It was Cady’s puppies that saved her, because this animal control unit actually had a heart, and knew that even if Cady was too unsocialized to be helped, her puppies need not suffer the same fate. We arranged a flight from Georgia to Columbia for Cady, and I picked her up in January (2012). On Valentine’s Day, Cady gave birth to nine beautiful black tricolor puppies (and chewed through some drywall and a door before doing so). We raised and placed the puppies, and for the next year I fostered Cady, trying my hardest to place her with anyone I thought could love a dumpy little dog that lived under the bed. We called her the troll, because she really only ever came out from under the bed to use the bathroom and rip up the carpet and eat the blinds when we forgot to crate her before leaving. Cady did find one adopter, and I sent her off in August to live with a woman who was quite hell-bent on taking home a dog. On the 30th day of a 30-day money-back contract, the woman called me and said she was bringing Cady back, because Cady wasn’t cuddly enough. I am still firmly of the opinion that Cady never intended to be owned by anyone but me, as she nearly pranced back into the house, stub of a tail wagging, and she was even happy to see my boyfriend who she previously thought was a terrible monster. It was January of 2013 still before I signed the papers for Cady, and only because I was resigning from the rescue she was listed through and would not allow them to take her away from me. That night, Cady lay beside me on the couch and put her head in my lap; I think I cried.IMG_2209

Cady is my poster child for recovery. When I got her, she was nearly untouchable. She was never aggressive, but always terrified. Men and strangers were murderers in her eyes. However, I refused to allow her to be consumed by her fear. I took her everywhere, and made her deal with houseguests. I never allowed anyone to violate her space, I simply removed her escape routes and made her deal with it. I am sure than many trainers would chastise my methods, but today, two years later, Cady politely requests attention from male strangers. She loads up in a car readily, she has wonderful recall, and she even has a sit-stay about 70% of the time. I can still see uneasiness on her face sometimes, but I also see bravery and resilience. She broke through her own barriers and became the dog she should have been allowed to be from the start.

Finally, there is Kara.  While Cady is the poster child for recovery, Kara might possibly be the poster child for why you shouldn’t do drugs while pregnant, or deprive a puppy of oxygen. Maybe that’s what happened? Maybe she took just a little too long to get out of the birth canal? That’s right, let’s not blame it on Kara or on whoever raised her, let’s just call it chance and plain bad luck.IMG_3057

Well, we can blame something on her owner. We can blame the fact that she ended up on I-95, starved, covered in ticks, heartworm positive and very pregnant on them. She was seen on the side of the interstate for two weeks before a kind woman caught her. I never wanted Kara, and I demanded that she be moved to a new foster home within 24 hours. I was too overwhelmed, had too many foster dogs already.  Some days, I kick myself for not sticking fervently to that demand. Alas, Kara never did leave my home. She had eight little bitty purebred Boykin puppies who all found wonderful homes, and after all of Kara’s treatment, I kept her, too. Kara is pure athlete, a hunting machine with a spot-on nose and the tenacity to take on the biggest of bears, if said bear had whatever she was supposed to be retrieving. She screams in delight at the thought of running through fields and cackles like a hyena when she is angry. Daily, I find myself sighing in exasperation at her. She eats Q-tips out of my bathroom trash, breaks out of every crate that isn’t zip-tied, pees in her crate, pisses off every one of her dog siblings, barks in her crate all night long, and is the single most obsessive IMG_3094dog I have ever met. I love her, I really do. I love her. I love her. She’ll get better one day…

The stories about Kara are nearly endless, and for the sake of this extremely long post, I’ll save them for individual postings to keep you all laughing as time goes by. She’s a funny dog, for sure, especially when you’re not the one cleaning up her mess or paying her vet bills. She teaches me weekly the blessings of patience and understanding. I’m not saying I really need those lessons, but she thinks I do, so I’ll accept them with open arms and remind myself that violence is never the answer.

That’s all for today, aren’t you glad? Until!

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One thought on “Meet the Ladies (using “ladies” very loosely here…)

  1. pommom101690 May 16, 2014 / 12:30 pm

    I have a total of five dogs, but your three really remind me of three of mine.

    First, your Delaney is so much like my Zoe. Zoe is one of two of my dogs that were “planned.” While she wasn’t purchased from a breeder (I am one of those adopt, don’t shop people), I knew that when I set out for my first dog, I wanted a female Pomeranian. I had experience with the breed, and I knew they were the perfect fit for my life. I try every rescue, shelter, humane society, you name it within a four hour driving radius. No one had any Poms. I think resorted to Craigslist. There were two “Free to Good Home” ads for Poms. One was for a male, and the other for a female. I responded to both. The lady with the female was the first to respond, but she was the second one to actually meet with me. I met with the man that had the male Pom first. The boy was a lovely dog, but he wasn’t what I was looking for. He survived the April 27th tornado that tore through our town, and this family found him. He had been living with Shih Tzus, so he had trained in his Pom sass for the Shih Tzu “Let’s be a furry rug” mentality. I thanked them for their time, but I explained I didn’t think he was for me. The very next day I met with the lady who had Zoe. Zoe was her mom’s dog, and the mother went into a nursing home, so of course, Zoe couldn’t go. She handed her to me through a my car window in a Belk parking lot, no questions asked. I could have been a dog serial killer. Luckily for Zoe, I am not.

    From day one, Zoe has been absolutely perfect, well, except her tendancy to chew up Nike tempo shorts. She must have thought they were saying, “Just chew it.” She is the best sister to all of my foster dogs. She is the cat whisperer. If there is a homeless kitten somewhere, she will find it, and insist that she bring it home. She cared for a litter of four week old kittens like they were her own. We ended up keeping one, but I insist that I have five dogs, and one of my dogs has a cat. She has excellent leash manners. She is a little different that Delaney since she loves everyone. She even likes children, which is not that common for her breed. She is my go to girl for crowded events, because she does so well. She can be a cheater, especially when it comes to treats. She is also a princess. She sleeps in the bed with me. She is never crated, because there really isn’t a reason for it. She rides around in a leopard print stroller. She really has it better than I do. She also doesn’t do well when disciplined. She tucks her tail at the slightest hint you may be upset with her, and she will hide under my bed. Luckily. in the nearly three years I have had Zoe (she is almost 6 years old), I haven’t really had to correct her for very much.

    Then. there is my Dexter. Dexter is a long hair Chihuahua who was tossed from a moving car in January of 2012 with his female companion, Duchess. Some good Samaritans, who we actually still see from time to time, managed to catch Dexter and Duchess and get them into a reputable rescue. Upon examining the two Chis and performing their alterations, the vet is pretty sure they were discarded puppy mill breeding dogs. You see, during her spay, the doc saw that Duchess has several scars and a great deal of scar tissue. These things were a result of multiple litters and c-sections. Duchess was seven at the time, and Dexter was eleven at the time, which makes sense because you can stud a male a lot longer than you can breed a female. Dexter walked bow-legged because his testicles were so large from not being neutered for so long. Dexter also had to have all of but three of his teeth pulled that day.

    That’s how Dexter ended up with this particular rescue, but how did I end up with him? Well, during this search for for a Pom the previous year, I had actually contacted this rescue. They emailed me back about ten months later to tell me they had a Pom now. Well, I emailed them back and said I had found one already, but I would love to foster. I was given the choice between a few dogs, and Dexter was one of them. There was just something about that fuzzy dog on their website, so I picked Dexter.

    When he arrived at my house in late April of 2012, he was so scared of everything. If you had come to my house, you would have never known a second dog lived there. He hid behind my couch for two weeks. When I could finally catch him and took him out to potty, he had no idea what grass was.

    For months and months, I worked with Dexter. Every little accomplishment he made was like the best day for me. The first time he realized the dog beds were way more comfortable than behind the couch. The day he jumped on the couch to sit beside me. The day he was able to conquer the stairs by himself. The day he took a treat from my hand. The first day he barked. I remember crying the first time he climbed in my lap. These are all such simple things, but for a puppy mill survivor, they are huge.

    By November, Dexter was, with lots of caution, allowing strangers to pet him. He was able to attend smaller events. It wasn’t until this time that someone put in an application for my Dex. I was at work when I got a text from our adoption/intake coordinator that said, “Great news! Approved app for Dex!” I had to leave work because I was sobbing. I called her, and through my tears I said, “But they can’t have him. He’s mine!” On November 17, 2012, I signed his adoption papers.

    According to the vet, he turned 13 in January, but he doesn’t let that slow him down. He can now go to off leash dog parks. He lets complete strangers pet him. No one can believe that he is a senior and that he went through what he has. Like your girl, he is another poster child for how resilient dogs are.

    I have often heard people use the term “heart dog,” and for me, that dog is Dex. Hearing him grunt when he’s really happy or hearing him softly woof in his sleep brings my heart so much job. He now has two teeth (one fell out), bum knees, a collasping trachea, cataracts, and he is absolutely perfect.

    Finally, we have Marbles. Basically, the only marbles he has left is his name. When you hear people talk about how poorly bred Pomeranians can become neurotic, they are talking about Marbles. How did Marbles end up being such a hot mess? Well, that I don’t know. I can tell you how I came to be Marbles mom.

    Back in August 2013, I went to our local shelter to rent a cat trap so I could TNR some feral cats in my neighborhood. I walked into the facility and explained the the desk attendee what I was there to do. She took time out from smacking her bubble gum to call someone from the back. This lady explained she had to find someone to get them down, and that it might be a moment. I told her it was fine, and that I wasn’t in any rush. I also added that i would just walk through the kennels in the mean time. I know, I know. It wasn’t my brightest moment.

    Let me also add, though, that I love all dogs, big and small, but my heart is really with the littles. Most larger breeds don’t really fit my life anyway. This shelter usually has bully breeds and discarded hunting dogs, so I thought I was somewhat safe. I had walked through basically the whole place. I was down to the last two kennels. In one, sat a beautiful chocolate brown and white parti Pom, and in the other, a basically broken down Yorkie. I read “Tinker’s” kennel card. I found that he was picked up by AC. I also saw that he wasn’t good with other male dogs. I knew this meant I couldn’t take him home. I read “Chyna,” the Yorkie’s, kennel card. She was an owner surrender, go figure. I knew I couldn’t take them, so I sent pictures to a friend who had been looking. She asked if it was in town. I said yes. She said send me the address. I am on the way.

    She arrived promptly with her boyfriend in tow. They met both dogs. He liked Chyna, while my friend liked Marbles. They asked me if it was any different having two than one. I said other than heartworm meds and food, no not really, so they took both home.Tinker became Marbles and Chyna became Butters.

    At some point in late November, they were in the process of moving, so she asked if I could dog sit them for a month. I agreed. What’s two more dogs, right? Well, Marbles did surprisingly well with Dexter. While Dex has come along way, his cryptonite is the washing machine. Marbles sat with him, and licked his face and cuddled him until he stopped shaking. He is also incredibly protective of Dexter. It’s quite cute.

    I took them home the week of Christmas. Apparently, Marbles acted a fool. He tried to bite my friend. He peed on her, her things, and Butters. He hid under her bed, and he would not eat.

    My friend and I did late night Christmas dinner at IHOP. She explained what Marbles had done. She then said he loves you, he hates me, if you want him, he’s yours, Merry Christmas? I went to pick him up. He got so excited, he peed himself and ran and jumped in my car.

    Now, how is Marbles neurotic? Well, he barks nonstop if he goes out in public. He is that asshat dog at the park. If squeaky toy were drugs, Marbles would be in serious need of some rehab. He likes to gut the toys, leave their fluffiness tossed about my house, and hoard the squeakies. He is a terrible shoe thief. He he takes a shoe, I don’t see if for months. He has terrible OCD. We have over 100 toys at our house. Marbles refuses to share them. If another dog gets a toy, he screeches in terror. He barks at trees, mailboxes, tires, you name it.

    But you know what, he is about the sweetest dog to me, and I can honestly say Marbles picked me. He decided where and with whom he wanted to live. I think that has to count for something. I once heard someone say, “He may be a son of a bitch,but he is my son of a bitch.” That pretty much sums up what it means being Marbles’s mom!

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