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Posts Tagged ‘corgi’

Ok, I realize I’ve been VERY remiss about telling all y’all about Oliver. So this is Oliver.

Oliver 1

Oliver 3

Oliver 4

He’s almost double that size now, because I’m lazy and he’s been here for a month and I’m just getting around to writing about him.

Lobsterface and I had been talking about getting a puppy for a while, because we’re both gone all day long and Neville gets rather bored. Apparently two cats do not make the best playmates for a still-kind-of-puppyish corgi. We were thinking about getting another one and having a matched set, but it turns out that freshly-minted baby corgis are expensive and, after talking about it for a while, L and I agreed that we didn’t actually need to invest in another brand name dog. Neville, as you may recall, appeared in our lives spontaneously and free of charge, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen twice in a lifetime.

So I spent a few days wandering around on Craigslist, looking for a cute puppy. We knew we wanted something smallish because we don’t have a big yard with a fence, so our pups are confined to the length of their lead ropes hooked to a post by the back door when they go outside. We also knew we couldn’t get anything with pitbull or rottweiler in its family tree because our local dog park has outlawed those two breeds, and since we have such a small yard, the dog park is the only place Neville (and now Oliver) can run around like a crazy person and get dirty and exhausted.

After about a week we found Oliver. Someone in an apartment complex nearby had a Dachshund-Yorkie mix puppy that needed a new home. I emailed, asking for pictures and I was immediately impressed by how SMALL he was. One blurry photo of him was on a kitchen floor, and he wasn’t even as long as one of the tiles. L and I took Neville over there after work that day to meet him; 10 minutes and $100 later we left with our new bebeh.

Oliver 2

In the past month, he’s learned how to climb the stairs and the couch, but not the bed. He’s mostly learned not to pee on the furniture, but as far as he’s concerned, the entire rest of the house is fair game. He and Neville are the best of friends, stampeding through the house, fighting, barking, growling and yelping all at once. Oliver loves Pixel, too, but I’m not sure the feeling is mutual. He also has no idea that he’s 10 inches tall and weighs 7 lbs. At the dog park, he flips right out if he’s not allowed to play with the big dogs who could conceivably eat him in fewer than three bites. Sometimes they accidentally step on his head, but he just shakes it off and goes right back to trying to relieve them of their ankles.

We’ve just started trying to housebreak him. Does anyone have tips on how to do that? I don’t really want to crate train him, and we’re teaching him that peeing outside is good by giving him treats when he does so, but I’ve read that you shouldn’t smack their noses when they pee in the house, which I kind of think is bullshit. We clean up his messes with enzymatic cleaning solution that’s supposed to erase all of his tiny manscent, so he doesn’t think that it’s ok for him to keep peeing inside, but that doesn’t seem to be working AT ALL. Thoughts? Strategies?

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Today I took my dog swimming. I take him swimming because I think it’s hilarious, not because he enjoys it. He doesn’t. He won’t even get into the water without some kind of incentive. Luckily, there are alway a flock or two of ducks or geese on the canal near our house, and he can’t resist herding ducks. Corgis are herding dogs, and he’ll herd anything he can find, even if they’re not actually on land.

herding

It’s always amusing when the only dogs at the dog park are herders. Basically they run around each other in circles while we bipeds try to get them to play fetch.

In between herding, he hung out on the teeny, tiny, rocky beach with me.

gazing

smiley

And ate what I can only assume was duck shit off of a rock. Awesome.

duck poo

Neville’s 4-inch long legs aren’t exactly built for swimming, and his muscular little body is hard to keep afloat, so I got him a life jacket hoping that it would make things easier. I don’t think it worked.

more herding

swimming

and swimming

Also, he really hates it. He won’t even walk around while he has it on.

mad

It’s hard to tell, because Corgis are perpetually smiling, but he was pretty mad at me by the time we got done.

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Me: Whatcha thinkin’ ’bout?

Lobsterface: I think, if I had a superpower, I’d like to have a hammer like Mjolnir, and be able to smash things with it like Thor, so that cars would fly across the parking lot and smash into buildings and I’d be able to call down lightening to strike anybody I was mad at all the time. Which would happen a lot. I’m generally angry at lots of people.

Me: I know.

Long pause…

Me: I think I’d like to be Corgneto.

Lobsterface: Corgneto?

Me: Yes. Like Magneto from X-Men, only with corgis. They would come to me, thousands and thousands of them, and they would be devoted to me. They would love me so much. They would have no choice, because I would be Corgneto.

Lobsterface: You may have a problem.

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You may recall that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to acquire a corgi puppy that doesn’t have a vendetta against Thomas’ remaining fingers (he only has eight-and-a-half to begin with).

WELL! We got one! He’s not a puppy, exactly. He’ll be a year old next month. But he’s just the sweetest little corgi anybody ever met. And lots of people meet him, he’s very gregarious. I’m going to teach him how to tell knock-knock jokes.

Striking a pose

Please excuse my grainy photos. My house is dark and I have yet to purchase a decent flash.

Our original plan was to adopt a freshly-minted puppy from a nearby breeder sometime in the spring. There are lots of advantages to working with a reputable breeder, and lots of disadvantages to adopting a dog that you don’t know much about, but sometimes life just hands you a puppy. And when life hands you a puppy, it’s downright rude to hand it back.

A few Saturdays ago, I got a text from my sister saying that a friend of hers had a corgi that needed a new home. Apparently this friend was given this pup for free, but turned out to be HIGHLY allergic to him. So I gave this friend a call, kind of expecting to be subjected to an intense interview process, but our conversation basically consisted of,

Me: “So…is this dog bitey? Or is he generally in a bad mood all the time? Or any of the time?”
Him: “Oh no, he’ll lick you all over and then sit down and want you to scratch his belly for all eternity.”
Me: “Sweet! Sounds like the dog for us.”
Him: “Can you meet halfway between our houses tomorrow?
Me: “Um, sure!”
Him: “Great! See you then!”

He really is just as awesome as all that. He loves belly rubs and playing tug-the-rope above all other things (except peanut butter). He’s starting to understand “sit” and “stay.” He doesn’t love the car, but he’ll sit there and take it without much arguing. We took him to the vet last week and nobody there could stop talking about how great he was. He got a shot and had some blood drawn, all without complaining one little bit. He’s housebroken, only chews on cardboard (for the most part), and has made friends with Pixel already. We’re big fans.

more posing

Speaking of Pixel, she’s gotten SO fat. And ridiculous.

suspicious

spherecat

derpface

Anyway. We took Neville (that’s corg’s name, you see) to visit my parents’ farm last weekend.

happy dance

Boy loves snow, the deeper the better.

corgipedo

Unfortunately, anything deeper than six inches is too deep for his stumpy little legs.

deep

But! He shall overcome.

he believes he can fly

And then he sniffed all the things.

must sniff ALL THE THINGS

And that is Neville. He’s not so great at “come” when he’s outside among many interesting smells and has zero concept of “cars” and what they can do to short little dogs, so he almost got squished in the road. At that point I tackled him and dragged him inside, and that was the end of the outside-without-a-leash fun.

Little shit.

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For Part 1, click here.

After our Near Corgi Experience, I was so disappointed and emotionally exhausted that I just couldn’t even think about continuing to puppy shop. I probably shouldn’t have been that emotionally involved in the first place, but that’s kind of how I do everything. Lobsterface wasn’t ready to give up yet, though, so he took over for a while. He searched on Petfinder.com, he filled out applications, and finally, when someone actually called us back, he scheduled the appointment to go see Homer, who would later become known as Aloysious, or Wishy, for short.

At first, we didn’t even apply for Homer/Wishy, because his profile called for “experienced dog owners”, and we didn’t think that we’d get him. We shouldn’t have gotten him, actually, but we didn’t know that by “experienced dog owner” they meant “people who know how to deal with a creature that has both emotional issues and very sharp teeth”. Apply we did, however, and a few days later we were on our way to a town in the southern part of the state to visit the shelter where Homer/Wishy was living. When they brought him out of the maze of crates where the dogs live and walked him across the lawn to see us, I was just smitten. He was calm, a little bit shy, and completely sweet. He let us scratch him behind the ears and generally fawn over him for a while, and when it was time to go fill out the adoption paperwork, he trotted right along with us on his leash.

Growing up on a dairy farm in the country, we had a ton of dogs around all the time, but none of them were ever on leashes. The only time we put leashes on any of them was when it was time to go to the vet, and they were all just terrible leash walkers, so having a dog who knew what leashes were about and accepted them as part of his lot in life was a grand thing.

Anyway, we sat in the adoption room filling out paperwork, and Homer/Wishy just sort of hung out nearby. He wasn’t overly affectionate, but that was just fine with us. I sat next to him on the floor and patted his head while Lobsterface signed papers, copied our drivers’ licesnes, and helped the office staff fix their broken printer. The only hint I got from Homer/Wishy about his biting enthusiasm was when I tried to touch his front paws. He hadn’t been paying attention, but when I touched his paw, he whipped his head around and sort of scrunched up his face at me. I backed right off and attributed it to his nervousness around new people.

Lobsterface and I both know that sheltered and rescued dogs in particular can have long, sometimes difficult adjustment periods while they get used to a new home. That was part of the reason that we kept Wishy as long as we did, we were hoping that, as he got used to us, he’d become less in love with biting.

Not so much.

On the way home, we let him ride in the back seat of the car, rather than in the very back in his crate, because every time we put him in the crate, he freaked right out. He didn’t seem very comfortable in the back seat, either, so I reached back to pat his head in what I thought was a reassuring way. Wishy did not share my opinion, and tried to bite me. I got my hand away fast enough, but when Lobsterface tried the same thing, he wasn’t so lucky. Wishy bit him between his fingers, and held on, even when Lobsterface tried to pull his hand away. There was a lot of blood.

We hightailed it to the nearest Urgent Care (thanks, Droid) and had it stitched up there. What we didn’t know was that you are NEVER supposed to stitch an animal bite. Because their mouths are so full of bacteria, it’s best to just let it bleed if it’s gonna bleed. We also didn’t know that we should have gone straight to a hospital ER, not to an Urgent Care clinic, in the first place and gotten IV antibiotics to flush any unwelcome bacteria out of Lobsterface’s system. But, like I said, we were unaware. We decided to chalk Wishy’s behavior up to nerves and to take him home and try to get him used to us.

We were going to be great corgi parents.

The next morning I noticed that Lobster had some red marks on his arm that looked like he’d been scratching, and I started to feel a bit ill. Red streaks up one’s arm (or leg, or whatever got cut or bitten) usually means that one has a pretty bad infection. When he told me that he hadn’t, in fact, been scratching, we hopped back into the car and rushed to the ER. The hospital, mercifully, is only about a 5 minute drive for us, but that still felt too long. The whole time I was flooded with visions of Lobsterface developing a fever, then chills, then, finally, shuffling off this mortal coil and I wept over his fevered brow in a very operatic fashion.

I am not always the most realistic person.

Anyway, he did NOT die, but he did have to spend 2 days in the hospital because, apparently, Corgipox is a fairly resilient ailment. During those two days, I spent most of my non-working time at the hospital with him, but we still had a Wishy to care for (and two not-all-that-enthusiastic-about-their-new-brother cats to comfort). Wishy and I became grand friends during the two days that it was just us. He was well-trained, obliging, housebroken and, as I may have mentioned, FANTASTIC on a leash. So I started to think that maybe he was going to be ok.

I was incorrect.

Over the course of the next week, Wishy lunged angrily at both of us several times and he bit Lobster on the hand again. That time it was just a scrape because he was able to get his hand away fast enough, but a bite is a bite. That same day we took Wishy to the vet to get his shots, but she didn’t even get a chance to look at him because he was being so unpleasant. She told us that with a dog as old as Wishy, bad habits and personality problems are almost impossible to fix, especially if the dog’s owners are inexperienced. Which we were (and still are). We were starting to feel as though we were going to fail as Wishyparents.

That night, after the unsuccessful vet visit, Wishy took his animosity to another level. Up until that night, his bites had only been in response to unwanted attention or touching, but right before bed, Lobsterface was putting out his food when Wishy came charging in from another room, intent on removing a sizable chunk from Lobsterface’s leg. That was the last straw. We didn’t even feel safe in our own home. He had to go.

The next morning, armed with thick work gloves and leather coats (in May) we loaded Wishy back into his crate, put him in the car, and drove him three hours back to the shelter. When we were going over our experience with the shelter people, they told us that he’d been with another family for seven months, during which time he bit two people. They hadn’t breathed a WORD about that to us before we took him home. In fact, his adoption profile said that he’d spent his entire life with one family, and that they turned him in because they weren’t home enough to take proper care of him.

Wishy got most angry when we put him into a crate, so I’m pretty sure that “they weren’t home enough to take proper care of him” means that they stuck him in a crate for twelve hours a day and just left him all alone. That’s absolutely animal abuse and someone should have rescued Wishy way before he’d spent enough time with those people to become so emotionally damaged. We weren’t experienced enough to help him, but we hope that he finds a family who is. And if he doesn’t, he’s at a no-kill animal sanctuary, so we hope that he can at least be happy there.

Wishy

On a walk in the park.

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You may recall this post from back in April, all about how much I want a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. If you don’t, you should read it. I’m very funny.

The Lobsterface and I had planned to wait until after our wedding this fall to adopt a dog. Actually, we’re putting off our honeymoon until February (the weather in Upstate New York is only bearable for like, three weeks in the spring and three weeks in the fall. We didn’t want to be out of town for one of those weeks), so we were even planning to wait until after that so that we wouldn’t have to leave our impressionable puppy in a kennel while we were off touring parts unkown.

But then I started shopping around on Petfinder.com. As luck would have it, the very first Corgi on the list was being fostered about 45 minutes away from our house. I started to get a little bit hopeful and showed her to Lobsterface. Then he started to look a little bit hopeful, too.

Me: “She’s like, RIGHT next door.”
Lobsterface: happyface “We could just apply…”
Me: “Yeah…and if we’re not ready, we can just say ‘nevermind'” (like that was ever going to happen)
Lobsterface: “…Ok! Let’s send them an application!”

Most rescue organizations require an application just so that they can make sure you’re capable of caring for a pet, not Michael Vick and that you’re really serious about adopting. We expected that, and we expected that they’d ask us a few questions when we went to visit the dog. What we didn’t expect, however, was the job-interview-like process we’d have to endure just to be approved to adopt a dog. They asked us for character references. And they called our character references. One of the friends we had listed sent us a transcript of her phone conversation with the rescue organization. It went like this:

Them: Are these two people capable of walking this dog?
Her: Physically or psychologically?

Them: Physically.
Her: Have you ever seen them?
Them: No.
Her: Well he’s like 6’5″ and she’s about 5’9″ so yeah, I’m pretty sure they can walk a Corgi.

Them: Will the dog be kept inside the house?
Her: Ummm- yes, I believe so.

Them: Do they have a yard for the dog?
Her: Oh yes, a big yard, perfect for a run.
Them: But the dog will sleep and eat inside the house?
Her: Oh I’m sure. They’re planning for this dog like other people plan to bring home a baby, so it will probably sleep on a golden pillow. (I REALLY said that. I was nervous talking.)

Them: Do they have pets currently?
Her: Umm- no.

Them: Do they have pet experience?
Her: Well, she grew up on a farm, so she’s been around, like EVERY type of animal and he, well he LOVES animals.

Them: But has he ever had one?
Her: Umm- well- I think he used to talk about a family dog that he loved but I can’t really confirm that. But be totally loves them. I mean- he’s so into getting a dog.

And after all of that nonsense, we didn’t get the dog. We didn’t even get to visit the dog. She was adopted by a family with (and I’m not making this up at all) prior Corgi experience. That’s what the lady from the rescue organization told us in her “sorry, no dog for you” email.

We probably should have taken that as a sign that we’re not supposed to get a dog until our lives are a bit more settled, but we didn’t. We kept applying for various other rescued Corgis, both purebred and hybrid varieties.

Most of our efforts were in vain. Some dogs were too far away; apparently rescue organizations don’t like to let their dogs go more than 3 or 4 hours from “home”. Really. We were told that on several occasions. Some were given to other families; evidently “prior Corgi experience” is a big selling point when you’re adopting. I wish I’d paid more attention in Corgi Raising 101 in college. I knew my Newt Husbandry class wasn’t worth it.

But FINALLY, someone called us about a little Golden Corgitriever who was up for adoption in Ohio. Golden Corgitrievers look like this:

Golden Corgitriever

Her name was Ladie, and her profile said that she’d been surrendered because her elderly owner couldn’t keep up with her. She was apparently living with a foster owner until someone was able to adopt her. We were ALL excited. The rescue organization in Ohio set us up with an appointment with a rescue organization in our hometown to have our house checked out for Corgitriever compatability, so we spent days cleaning up our backyard, installing a run, moving furniture around to make room for a crate, buying puppy supplies, hanging a leash up by the door so we’d be ready to go for walks, etc.

I have never claimed to be a completely sane person.

The lady from our local rescue came by, loved us, gave us her enthusiastic stamp of approval and promised to email the Ohio people the very next day. The next day I got a call from the Ohio people to tell me that we were all ready, we just had to drive to Ohio to pick up Ladie. She also told me that we should set her up with an appointment at our vet to establish care and make sure that she was in ship shape.

No sooner had I gotten off the phone with the vet than the Ohio people called me back. The conversation went like this:

Them: “Ummm….well, I’m afraid I have some bad news. The elderly lady who owns Ladie right now isn’t prepared to surrender her at this point.”
Me: “ExCUSE me?”

Them: “Yeah…she’s this little old lady and she just isn’t emotionally prepared to give up her dog.”
Me: “WHAT? The profile on your website said that the dog is living in foster care, NOT with the elderly woman who only has one friend in the world and that friend is the dog that you advertised as being up for adoption. We have spent HUNDREDS of dollars and DAYS of our lives making our home suitable for this dog, and NOBODY mentioned that there was even the slightest possibility that she suddenly wouldn’t be available.” (that’s when my hands started shaking)

Them: “I’m really sorry. Unfortunately this happens all the time. I don’t know what else to tell you, I’m just the middleman here.”
Me: “This happens ALL the TIME?! And nobody breathed a word about this to us?” (I think that’s when the steam started coming out of my ears)

Them: “I can keep my eye out for another Corgi for you…”
Me: “Yeah, great. Let me know.” (when I run out of things to say, that’s when you can tell that you have become dead to me)

I haven’t been that angry in a very long time. The woman kept saying, “I’m just the middleman here,” as if my anger was misdirected. I don’t think she understood that I was actually angry at her for not communicating that the dog was NOT, in fact, being fostered in a neutral environment. I honestly can’t fault a little old woman who just wants to keep her dog. I find it very easy, on the other hand, to fault a rescue organization who withholds information from its clients. And that was not to be the only time we encountered such an organization.

To be continued…

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I did, I promised. But I’m really, REALLY not in the mood. The whole dog episode was just so emotionally exhausting, I don’t even want to deal with it anymore.

However, Lobsterface DID blog about it. And I gave him the pics I was going to post. So, if you really want the whole Wishy story, you can read it in two parts, here and here.

I’ll be back later with more house updates (we have done NOTHING on the house since we started puppy shopping) and wedding updates (I didn’t even tell you my dress hunting stories yet).

Here’s a picture of my cat hiding on the back of the couch because she was afraid of Wishy. She’s a pretty smart cat.

Kitty!

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