Monday, November 12, 2012

Eight Months Later...

Laika's a civilian now, Part I:

It has been so many months since my last post, but I had hit a dry spell in my writing which is ironic because so much has happened here at home. Our little family is safe, happy, and healthy. 

When I last checked in, we were about to adopt Laika, a retired MWD from Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio. Travel eight months later and little Laika has nestled into her new home very well. Hubby and I are sure she appreciates the soft, warm bed and cushions since her life was spent in a concrete kennel. Laika is ten and has spent her entire life as a military pup. She was a detection dog, patrol dog and training aid during her career. A long career spent serving her country.

While I know how very important the military dog program is, I must voice my concern over the comfort conditions for the dogs. When we picked our girl up, she was underweight with deep calluses on all of her legs. She wreaked of urine and I was surprised at the condition of her teeth. 

My husband and I took her straight home (a six hour drive), introduced her to our house and bathed her.  I took her to our vet for a routine check-up the next week which went very well. Laika is a healthy girl despite her appearance (one of the vet techs asked me if she was a rescue). For the next few months I worked with her one-on-one to acclimate her to civilian life. She paced constantly so I attached her collar to a leash and looped that around my waist so she stayed by me as I did household tasks. During the night she slept in her crate in which we put a cushioned floor. I was careful about putting weight on her too quickly but gradually changed her food over to a wheat-free, good protein sourced food. And she needed house trained. Bless her heart, she had never lived in a home and would relieve herself anywhere. I had never house-trained a dog before, but thankfully she is one smart cookie. It took about a month to break her indoor urinating. Here she is today:

We love her very much. She is a sweet soul and loves affection. She and I have bonded; J says she is my dog and I am so happy with that.

As for how Laika and Chief interact, well that is another post altogether.

She truly enjoys the outdoors!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour. " - John Boswell

I love today's quote. I like the idea of gathering golden moments and sentimental journeys. And I certainly have had my share of idle hours, well, sort of idle. Our household will soon be a lot less idle as our pack is adding a new member. Our first girl - Laika.
The only photo we have of our girl.
My husband and I looked into adopting a retired military working dog almost two years ago. Living in Texas, we are about six hours away from Lackland Airforce Base where they have a MWD program that includes placing retired dogs who need good homes to live out their golden years. Our names were put on a list; yesterday, we got the final word that we can go to the base and get Laika next week. Hubby will be taking a long weekend so that we can combine our pack, hopefully with very few hiccups.
We're not really sure what to expect bringing a new, but older dog into our home where Chief has been our only pet. He has the focus of our love, attention, activity for the past four years. I'm not worried or nervous but anxious about Chief sharing his home and his people. I pray there is no jealousy or possessiveness.
A little about Laika - she is nine years old and also a Malinios. We know she gets along with other dogs and has basic obedience training. As for her role in the military, we just don't know yet. More on that to come. My understanding is she should come with a ranking, plaque and official papers as well as any medals and awards she may have earned.

All that aside, I just want to smother her with love. I want her to know she will always be safe and have love and attention from a stable pack. Throw in a healthy dose of fun and companionship so all of our lives will be richer. I love her already.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our sweet pup has been under the weather, first with some tummy trouble and more recently an eye problem. Both are resolving, thankfully. Chief is a tuff dog, but I worry when he is unwell. J would say I worry too much. But such is my nature. I'm a mom.
We are very fortunate to have a veterinarian who knows Malinois and is a true dog lover. The staff and doctors know Chief (and me) almost too well, but they are all very kind and patient. More than once they have worked us in for an appointment at the last minute. I raise a cheer to my vet, Dr. B., and a second cheer to the kind people at our Pet Hospital!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"A barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion." - Washington Irving

It's Saturday and our pack is worn out from the week. I have been substitute teaching more which translates to more play time for our Boy. It's just before 2 p.m. here. Chief is asleep by the couch, J is on his iPad and watching the Longhorns slaughter Texas Tech, and I am, well, blogging. 
What have I learned from my dog this week?  That you can have too much play. Always full of energy, when I bring home Boy after I leave work, he shows very little interest in playing. His routine upon arriving home: walk in the door, drag over to the water bowl, drink for a couple of minutes (I've determined he doesn't stop to drink water when he plays during the day), walk over to the treat cabinet, take the treat I give him to the couch or bed, and settle with a groan or "humph." After that, he naps. He's SO lethargic I start to worry he's sick. Typically he settles either on the couch or on our bed, his way of saying he may be down for the count for the day. I have to coax him out for a walk, and even when we walk he is at a slow pace and tends to walk like an older dog. Too much play.
But he recovers by the next day usually, full of excitement when we wake. It's as if he's saying, "Wow! It's Morning! Wow! It's time for a walk! Wow!... You get the picture. 
As I'm finishing today's post, it is now afternoon and the temperature is a very nice, fall-like 70 out. It's breezy and sunny with some clouds so our Pack has moved outside. Off went the TV, dinner is stewing on the stove thanks to my chef J, and we are comfortable in our chairs out by the pool. Since Chief is still showing some signs of being tired from yesterday, we have put his tennis balls away so he can doze on his bed out here. Peace and quiet except for the rustle of blowing leaves and the wind chimes by my house. 

Two at Play
I'm so happy that Fall has finally started inching into our area. The temperatures are settling in the high 60s to low 70s with some rain in our future (I hope). Leaves are turning gradually; there's a crispness to the air on most mornings. I want to settle in with my sweet boys by me. I want to plan for the holidays and decorate early so that nothing is left until the last minute. I want to clean out the clutter of my house so that all things precious remain inside. But for now, I'll relax outside by the pool with my most precious ones, Chief and J.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from my little devil

I managed a quick pic of my favorite pup this afternoon as I was setting up for trick-or-treaters. I found this little set of devil horns at Walgreens and bought them specifically for Boy to surprise J. I took a picture here, and there, and have also posted one or two to my Facebook page. Chief was patient but so puzzled about what I was putting on his noggin.
He won't be greeting any dressed up children this evening as the doorbell sets him off. I usually set up a little candy display outside with a sign asking that kids be generous with other trick-or-treaters by taking only two or three pieces. We'll see how honest they are this year.
Here's wishing you all a safe and happy Halloween. Don't eat too much candy! By my next post I'll be ready for Thanksgiving... I love Fall.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language." ~ Martin Buber

Chief has brown eyes. Certainly not uncommon or arresting as eye colors go, but when I look into his brown eyes, there is a knowing. A sense of understanding that can set my heart either to rest or to racing. If it's play or wrestle I seek, I can make a slight change of facial expression and he knows. Those eyes miss nothing. If I'm battling another migraine and feel nothing but frustration with the pain, his eyes are patient and soft. Play can wait, for now. And if I and my hubby are resting, his eyes may be closed but he is still watchful, still careful to protect.

Surely God made this amazing creature just for us!

"Am I camouflaged?"
Right now, my Boy's brown eyes are so drowsy with sleep. He has been awake and playful most of this Saturday. With the Pack all together, he has had plenty of time with his favorite person, J, and more treats than a usual day holds. Our Watcher is going to take an afternoon nap.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It has been too long since my last post. I have learned to just accept that my writing comes to me when it comes. Some days it's feast, other days it's famine.
In looking at my July post, I was beyond ready for cooler weather. Who could blame me with the triple digit temperatures our area was contending with. Several months passed with temps averaging 105 degrees. Our power bill showed 102 degrees as the average temperature for June, so you can imagine what July and August bore. Now it is the middle of October and we are finally showing signs of cooling. Our high tomorrow is 85, and I'm okay with that although I'd prefer the 70's myself.
Chief has shown a preference for cooler weather too as he can play longer without over-heating. He has become more gray in his beard these past months. At only 4 1/2 years old, it makes him look older. Now, J and I have noticed a tiny white spot almost between his eyes on his snout. It's getting bigger; more gray coming. But what a wonderful dog he is. He is still a puppy at play (especially with J) as well as a more confident companion. His love for chasing evil squirrels is unmatched. However, now that we have spotted a couple of armadillos during our early morning walks, he is beside himself wanting to know what those weird looking, squatty creature are. I want absolutely nothing to do with them.
My Boy smiles.
Our weekends are spent as a pack. The mornings start outside by the pool playing or reading, or both. J makes coffee and often lets me sleep in while he takes care of Boy. While we run errands later in the day, we have been able to leave Chief out of his crate for short periods of the time. We are very careful about this since "Maligators" can be very destructive if left unsupervised for too long. So far, so good.
Now as our weekend winds down, Monday is just a few hours away and I am substitute teaching. Boy will have his fun puppy time, but I do miss him when I work. I suppose I like my homebody routine during the week with him. But isn't being apart what makes us appreciate and enjoy that time together all the more? When we are all together watching a movie or sitting outside, I can look over at my boys and think, "This is happiness."

What makes you happy? For me, happiness is:
1. J (after 18 years of marriage, this hasn't changed).
2. Waking up and realizing I got to sleep in.
3. Having someone cook for me. 
4. Completing the list of things I have to do.
5. Chief 
6. A clean house.
7. Folding laundry.
8. Smelling fresh-cut grass or burning leaves.
9. J laughing.
10. Earning money for my family. 
11. Clean sheets on the bed.
12. Laughing til I cry (doesn't happen nearly enough).
13. Visiting with family.
14. Pack time.