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Rainy day tea for Dudley

Dudley crashed the neighbor’s house this afternoon…and not only claimed the Malinois’s dog bed but also her crate and one of her nylabones. We stayed for a cup of tea for Mom and conversation while Dudley gnawed away on one of Chloe’s nylabones. She was very upset that he picked her favorite one and we actually had to trade them out after much complaining and huffing. I keep reminding myself that the steep hill Dudley has to run up (and he runs) is good exercise for him. He does amazing getting around in their house which has hardwood floors and has resisted trying to go upstairs after a few “don’t even think about it” remarks. When we start doing dogsitting for them, there will be a baby gate set up to keep him from getting stuck on the stairs or hurting himself.

He was full of pouts and melancholy since it was raining really hard this morning and we called off our dog walk with the pack. Tomorrow is supposed to be better so he will get to have his dog time. It was a bonus that we went out and ran into our neighbors this afternoon so he still got his social interactions. He is way more social than I expected, especially being a street dog, but I guess he’s been around dogs all of his life…in good times and bad. I am surprised at how willing he is to interact with people but that’s probably due to him being at the rescue and doing adoption events for 2 years solid. Everyone gets the 3 legged pitty wiggly butt and tail whack <3

the eyes

You know when you feel like someone is staring a hole in the back of your head? I was sitting at the computer and turned around (I live in a small travel trailer so not much space) and found that Dudley was staring intently at me. Seconds later my 5 pm alarm for my medication/dog dinner/cat medication went off. Dudley lives for my alarms. When the morning one goes off, that means breakfast first and bathroom business later. We had a rough bathroom business morning today. I don’t know if he is scared of the sound of rain because of coming from Texas but he will refuse to get up off his bed and go outside. Unfortunately for him, I am the mean mom and if I can budge him without too much trauma, I will. This morning all I asked of him was to go out in the driveway and have a pee. He relented and then got a good toweling off when we got inside. The thing about having a tripawd dog who doesn’t like getting wet is that they are completely ridiculous. He comes inside and starting to shake off but because he is missing that back leg, it becomes a slamming about into the walls trying to get the water off.

His foster siblings from Texas were scared of rain and he picked up on that. They would get to have a bed with blankets in the closet when there were thunderstorms etc. Granted, rain in Texas tends to be a showstopper, not like out here where it is just a season. I’ve seen pictures and videos from his foster mom where he has run through puddles and has been damp so I’m a bit suspicious of the “oh my gawd, the water got on me” He also received regular baths before he made his way to us and they were relaxing to him so I tend to call BS on the water issues. That’s ok, I do know that if I had a real emergency with getting him out, I would just have to call my neighbor and have him bring his dogs over. Dudley forgets about the rain when there are other dogs around!

We are dealing with getting over a few fears…thunderstorms. We’ve had a couple out here and I have this thing that I do. I shut off the power source to my trailer if the lightening is flashing out over the river. We had a power surge several years back and lost a very expensive computer due to that. Thunderstorms on the coast don’t last long so I just snuggle on the bed with Dudley and let him know that it’s no big deal. He shakes but doesn’t try and hide so I consider that a good thing. I know that he can probably sense the ozone and the change in barometric pressure but thunderstorms out here do not compare to thunderstorms in the southwest or the east coast! The first time I heard thunder on the East coast, I actually got down on the floor because I thought it was a gun shot. We lived in Richmond Virginia in a gritty part of the city where guns were not uncommon.

Ironically Dudley has not had the same reactions to gunshots. I figured that he would be adverse to loud noises of that sort due to the area he was rescued from. We live out in the woods where a lot of people do hunting of all sorts. Right now is duck season and we live smack on the river bank where there are lots of birds. Bird shot doesn’t go far but the guns are loud. It is also deer/elk season but the properties around us are private and we don’t have much to worry about in that sense. I do pay attention and keep him on leash if I hear activity. Having a tripawd, my biggest fear is him panicking and ending up going over the bank and getting stuck.

Speaking of going over the bank, I am giving him more room to explore our wooded areas. He’s pretty good about staying on the little road that we walk down but he wants to smell the smells…and we have a lot of wildlife back into our woods. He is so good about catching trails, I want to pursue doing scent work with him. Usually tripawds move at a fast pace…Dudley is a mix. He will do a burst of speed and then get sidetracked by something that smells good. Thankfully he hasn’t rolled in anything yet. A couple of his dog companions have found good things to roll in. We walked with my friend’s shiba inu last weekend and Jiro found four different spots to roll in! My friend Nanci who was dog sitting Jiro said “I’m closing the door to my bedroom tonight. Jiro can sleep in his mom and dad’s bed!”

So back to the eyes…I think it is a progression with him that needs to happen. It makes me happy to know that he looks to me. For me, this is that trust/bond thing that needed to happen organically. This has been a very slow process and I knew it would be. I’m reaching the end of my initial building of trust and comfort. Now I feel that we will start working on the physical rehabilitation. I’ve felt a bit guilty about letting him just be lazy, knowing that he would need to start working on building his core muscles for his leg that is missing. I forget that he is younger than my previous dog by a few years. We still have time before the arthritis sets in. And I have a whole arsenal of treatments that I learned about from my previous dog so we are good. I think 3 months in, the most important thing for me was building a bond between us…and for me to feel those eyes looking at me when my back is turned to him is important! Did I mention that he has great eyes? He’s got that supermodel smoky eye that people pay good money for.

Dudley doesn’t always mind me…he is stubborn and quirky. He has no qualms about suddenly ignoring me and heading up the hill to my neighbor’s house where he is always welcome to visit. I have found that with his leg loss, he can’t do a quick stop on demand. He has a little bit of a “wait” command. As finances allow, I do have a good dog trainer who does individual training in mind for the future. Because he is such a sensitive soul and has certain reactive issues, I would choose to work individually with a trainer who is focused on positive reinforcement. The main thing that we need to work on is making me…Mom…the reward in the end of it all. I also want to work on getting him used to wearing the harness that we received. He is not cool with any belly restriction right now. Which is ironic because he is the most amazing dog about claw trimmings. And he is fine having his amputation stump touched. I give him hip and spine massages almost every night. He gets his butt smacked in the morning as part of our wake up greeting. He gets all wiggly and jumps around as much as he can in our small space. And he will roll around on his back and wave his front legs when he’s really happy.

Losing control

Dudley is not a fan of harnesses. Dudley needs to wear a harness because his stubborn butt loves to jam on the brakes and use his bully breed neck and front end to resist moving forward when he doesn’t want to. He does the side eye and is the master of making me feel bad when I need to move him in a direction that he deems beneath him.

I had the same issue of control with my former dog, a 110 lb GSD. He would throw a massive fit if I would make him leave the dog park while he was having fun. He was good with wearing a harness but it was embarrassing to have to drag him away while he was barking a massive GSD bark because Mom was making him leave the party early. My acupuncture vet who did acupuncture on Kota (my GSD) for almost 3 years summed it up quite well. He said that the herding breeds don’t like to lose being in control. Dudley is the same. He is used to giving the sad face and getting what he wants. Unfortunately, he has me for his Mom.

I am sensitive to the emotional sides of my critters but I also am willing to give that push to the boundaries that they have. My poor old lady cat who is basically blind gets manipulated into position to have her claws trimmed. I might have a bunch of scratches on my leg but I do manage to do most of the trimming in one go. I give her lots of love and comforting afterwards but it’s still a difficult but necessary task. Dudley with the harness is another piece of patient work in progress.

He is perfectly fine wearing the harness while he gets up to eat. I don’t think there is anything that would stop him from being able to make it to the food dish! He would just turn himself into a seal and wriggle his way to the food. The last time I put his harness on him, he jumped up and I buckled the straps on both sides. I could see his expression at that moment say “oh, crap. I just gave her what she wanted” He was particularly put out when I put the harness on him and then was able to hoist him into the back of my mom’s car to go to Thanksgiving dinner festivities. I try to make sure that the harness ends in something fun and rewarding. He sure did find eating a little wedge of pumpkin pie with whipped cream rewarding after my youngest nephew decided he didn’t care for pumpkin pie!

The funny thing about this new puppers is that he has so many things where he is stuck in the past, but he gets it…when there’s an experience he found to be not so pleasant and then all of a sudden, it is actually pretty awesome! Dealing with the newness of being both a shelter dog and a recent amputee, it is so rewarding to see that click in the brain happen. On Sunday, we were getting ready to go over to my sister’s house so I could do my usual laundry and visit with the family routine. Dudley is not a fan of riding in the car. He starts to quiver and lick his lips but he actually hopped in the back of the car before he realized what he was doing. We can do a car ride of 12 miles on the back road to my sister’s house with no panting. He does do a lot of lip smacking and a little bit of quivering but he tolerates the ride. As soon as we get to my sister’s house, he becomes the inspector of beds and cushions. He has a floor cushion that gets laid out for him in the living room and he also goes in and inspects the computer room for crumbs, etc. He pokes around in the kitchen and inspects their recycling for anything…before planting himself on his floor cushion. The nephews will come and give him pets and massages and he will give them a good sniff.

When we did our Thanksgiving family dinner, Dudley got settled in quickly. He hadn’t met my little brother yet but quickly introduced himself when my brother pulled the turkey out of the oven. Dudley is actually quite a bit of a gentleman about being in the kitchen. He’s a little bit in the way but isn’t super pushy. And he excused himself to the living room while we had dinner. No begging or being pushy about food. He does consider any plates at his level fair game…

Language

Language is so important with a rescue/new amputee as I am discovering. Dudley and I hit a wall these past few weeks and had the breakthrough a few days ago. He had been living on the streets and then spent 900 days in the rescue that I adopted him from. His amputation was in February of this year and he had a difficult recovery from it. He was starting to shut down emotionally before he was able to be brought into his foster home where he started thriving again before he came to our home in Oregon from Texas.

The wall that we hit hard was centered around bathroom time. A few days ago I was trying to get him to go out to potty and he wasn’t having it. Even lifting up his bed to try and coax him up so I could get him towards the door wasn’t working. He growled and then he really growled. He has never snapped at me or given me any signals beyond the growling. I accepted the fact that he was not going to get up and didn’t want to stress him any further. No scolding or punishing him for speaking to me in the only way he knew how. I said to him “if you get a bladder infection, we will deal with it. If you end up going to the bathroom inside, it’s fine.” We did his dinner time a few hours later and I gave it another try. And that’s when the lightbulb went off.

This dog, who had been living in a rescue, is used to doing bathroom business after eating. The rescue facility has open access to a fenced area but for some reason, his brain says “eat then pee/poo” We now have less battles between us since I finally figured out what he was trying to tell me. He has breakfast when I get up for work at 5:30 am…we go out for a little walk across the road, he sniffs things and does both bits of bathroom business. My mom comes over to take him out while I’m at work, they do their little walk along the road and he does his sniffing/social/bathroom business. I get home from work around 2:30 pm…he goes outside to inspect the driveway and goes back inside. We do dinner at 5 pm and go out for more bathroom business.

He is used to a schedule and I was trying to adjust it for him. The ironic thing is that my late husband was very regimented/OCD. I am more the organized chaos type of person. Once I realized what language Dudley was speaking, things became much better between us. My worries about him getting a bladder infection were actually making things worse by my forcing him to get up and go outside. There has been a recent shift in his behavior after I realized what he was telling me and followed through. He now will lay on the floor behind my computer chair in the evening instead of on his bed. He wants to be closer to me and I think it has something to do with our shift in communication.

Language is so important, whether us speaking to each other or speaking to our animals. It’s more than words, especially with our animal companions, we have to be able to read their body language as well. They tend to tell us more with their body language than their growling/barking/grunting/whining. Dudley is starting to communicate with me more as a permanent person in his life. We went into the woods down our usual road today and he was running ahead and then stopping and waiting for me. Usually he is all “whatever!!! I’m going to run until I don’t want to anymore” He was stopping and looking back at me until I said that he could keep going. He is also getting better about waiting when I tell him to wait. Being a tripawd, the momentum thing means that he doesn’t instantly stop when I say stop. He’s getting better at it without any sort of training. So I guess the cozy new blanket I bought for him and the soft fluffy little floor rug are a well earned reward <3

on the fake flotaki rug behind my computer chair

Again with the no boundaries…

Dudley is not the dog I expected when I adopted a street dog who was also a tripawd and pitbull mix from a horrible area outside of Houston Texas. Today he heard the neighbor’s dogs barking and hopped up, tail wagging because we usually do a morning walk on my weekends. We went out and happened to pass by the neighbor’s house where their grandkid (6 year old) was clipping blackberries in the horse pasture. I managed to make verbal contact with my neighbor who said “bring the dude up” and off we went!!!

Never mind that it was Thanksgiving and that they were preparing for family dinner. Dudley wanted to do a property inspection and hang out with his buddies as well as see the kids, etc. He is just the most social dog ever. he wants to say hello to everyone, the horse, the cats, the dogs, the crow, the people…And if you’re cooking food, he is more than content to plop down on the floor in the kitchen. just in case food falls, he is there to catch it.

As of right now, he has moved from his comfy bed to laying right behind me since he got a few smidgens of a locally smoked ham. We are doing the Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday with our family so we did a little something special tonight but once we have our family dinner, it will be all stops out. Dudley will probably go into glutton mode for one night!

One ironic thing is that my neighbors daughter is a vet tech. She made sure to let me know that I need to test him for heartworm 6 months after him coming to Oregon. She also witnessed her first amputation of a limb when she was 10 years old with a local vet. When she met Dudley, the first thing she did was out of instinct, she checked his ears since he’s a floppy eared boy. She didn’t say anything so I assume we are all good 🙂 Dudley has done amazing with her kids, a 1 year old (just smelled the feet) a 3 year old and a 6 year old. He is just the most wonderful happy dog even with all he’s been through.

Dudley is brought to you by Tripawds.
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