I’ve got a lot to talk about re: my alcoholic husband and his latest escapade (which involved trespassing and stealing), but this post will be devoted to our weekend adventure.
Thursday night around 8:30 my phone rang – Caller ID identified it as an Alabama number. It took me a minute to figure out who the hell could be calling me from Alabama – oh, shit! Dixie’s foster mom!
And it was, indeed, the foster mom, who was nearly in tears. I now doubt what she told me, at least partly, but the gist of it was that a delegation of neighbors representing her homeowner’s association paid her a visit and told her that she had too many dogs. At the time, she had five – her two long-haired dachshunds, two puppies that are dachshund-terrier mixes (also fosters) and Dixie. According to the foster mom, they said Dixie was the problem; apparently she barked too much and was too rambunctious with the neighborhood children. (I have reason to believe that it was just one neighbor that had a problem with Dixie, and he threatened to go to the homeowner’s association and lodge a formal complaint.)
The upshot of it was, could we get her immediately?
She said she could arrange transportation for the dog from Alabama to Ohio, but after consulting with my husband (who, despite anything else I may say about him, is a big marshmallow when it comes to animals and children), we decided that would be too much stress on the poor girl and we would just come and get her ourselves.
So, we packed quickly (packing quickly is something we do very well) and were on the road by 6 a.m. the next morning. It’s about a 10 hour drive to Birmingham, and we were making good time so we stopped at a Petsmart outside of Nashville and got her a kennel, dishes, food and toys (I don’t believe in crating animals but I was told she was kennel-trained and preferred sleeping in a kennel, which turned out to not necessarily be true). Once in Birmingham, we checked into our hotel, went to dinner, and then went to bed – we wanted another early start home so it wouldn’t be too late when we finally arrived with Dixie.
We were at the foster house by 6:30 the next morning. I was told that while Dixie had a lot of anxiety when they first got her, she no longer barked, growled or snapped at new people. Again, untrue – she both barked and growled at me the minute she saw me, and then growled at me again when I tried to pet her. After I left her alone and began playing with the other dogs, she changed her mind and was soon accepting my affection. She loved my husband from the get-go (probably because he petted the other dogs first) and was quite willing to go with us when we left.
To try and make a long story somewhat shorter, the ride home was fairly uneventful, although she did try to chew both a floormat and her kennel, but we stopped often to walk and water her at rest stops, and I kept some treats with me so that when we had to tell her “no” about something I’d have a reward when she minded. She did bark and snap at my son when he got home from work, but he absolutely loves and adores dogs and took it in stride, and she was soon loving all over him.
We’ve had her four full days now and I think I can safely say that we already love her to pieces. There’s been anxiety, yes, but she seems to be getting over it quickly. She had a couple of accidents in the house, but that is to be expected (and is common, I discovered, with rescue dogs coming into/out of foster situations), and she is now doing her doggy business outside quite willingly.
She has met a ton of people – my son has had friends over, we’ve had coworkers over and my daughter came by for coffee this morning after she got off work – and she has not barked, growled or snapped at anyone else. It only took being told “no” once or twice for her to learn that the vegetable gardens are off limits, although she’s extremely energetic and zooms all over the rest of the yard.
We discovered quickly that she is not so fond of the kennel, nor did we really have room for it, so we set up a bed for her beneath the small desk in our kitchen, which we only use for our printer. It seems to fulfill her need for a cozy, enclosed place to sleep because she loves it. She takes all of her toys there and goes to bed obediently every night.
What surprised us the most is that she does not beg for food when we sit down to eat. She will often come lay down on the floor next to us while we’re having a meal, but shows no interest in our food. She also is quite respectful of spaces that we’ve indicated are not hers – she has, for instance, completely left my grandson’s toys alone once I told her they are off limits. Nor will she come into our bedroom unless invited.
Right now my biggest complaint is that she is not leash-trained and doesn’t always come when called, but I’m enrolling her in an obedience class, so that should take care of that. She is a good, smart dog and I am thrilled to have her in my life.