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.