Saturday, August 4, 2018

Let’s blame the puppy…

So I know I haven’t posted a recipe in a while…and if you’ve been following my Instagram feed, you already know that last October, we got a puppy—a pure-bred Siberian Husky we named Pilot.

Yes, I made that bow tie
The original plan was to get a puppy when Presley got a little older, you know, so Jesse would still have a brother when Presley passed away (Dogs live, dogs die—it’s a fact of life. Rob’s philosophy: you get them for 10-12 years, make the most of it, but you have to let them go eventually--it's part of it); and since I knew it was going to happen eventually, I was kind of puppy crazed for a while. While I wanted a puppy-puppy, Rob wanted an older puppy—one halfway housetrained and on its way to becoming a good dog—his age range was 6 months to two years.

This led us to a 6 month old bloodhound we found on Craigslist for free. He was so beautiful and sweet when we met his owner in the Little Caesar’s parking lot; and he got on just fine with Presley as we brought him to gauge how this dog did with other dogs (Jesse tends to not like any dogs at first, so Presley was a natural choice—however, Presley is such a pushover—most dogs like him anyway, so it’s a catch 22, really). We knew he had a “pre-existing condition” which was food aggression; and the previous owner had disclosed the condition—but not the extent.

Rob was confident that such a sweet dog could be corrected—most dogs are a little food aggressive, I know my childhood dog was (a peke-a-poo who came to mid-shin). Also, Jesse—our husky-wolf mix (#lowcontentwolfdog, #yellowdogjesse)—was very food aggressive as a 4-month old puppy who’d been born in a culvert and had lived outside with his siblings and his ½ wolf mother; but Jesse is totally pleasant at meal times. Food Aggression isn’t incurable, but it takes work. Once we realized that this wasn’t a small problem, we set about to do some research and try to overcome it.

However, whenever there was food present, our sweet, adorable bloodhound puppy turned into a vicious, snarling terrorist who was anything but pleasant. Since we knew about the problem, we worked to correct it using “positive” techniques which got me lunged at multiple times when my hand moved the wrong way and got Rob attacked two or three times. Meal times were not peaceful—we did not feed the new dog with the other boys—nor did we allow our other dogs near the bloodhound when food was present. We were afraid he’d go after one of the other dogs and hurt them; and after 6 days with no improvement, we had to send him off to a new home.

I don’t regret sending that dog away—but I’m not fond of talking about it. We tried, we researched, nothing worked, and the longer he was with us the more we realized that he was not a people-pleasing dog (which is kind of odd for the breed).I’m not ashamed to say I failed. He went to become a hunting dog for a very nice family who lived in the country—pictures of Rob’s bloody arm were shown and strong cautions given (they had a toddler); and I stopped dreading coming home—it was a stressful week.

It cured my puppy fever; but solidified my wish for an actual puppy—I didn’t want to inherit anyone else’s bad training or failings. No, whatever dog I got, I wanted to know where his behaviors came from; and if my dog turned out to be a complete psychotic asshole, there would be no one to blame but myself. Once bitten, twice shy.

Puppies were the furthest thing from my mind—due to the bloodhound and other reasons—when Rob came home that fateful night in October to tell me that one of his client’s (a dog breeder) had had a “whoops” batch of pure-bred Siberian Husky puppies, was offering them at a “discount” because she knew them (and because they didn’t have the right coloring or movement), and one of his co-workers was going to look at them that night. Despite the fact that it was over 30 minutes away, Rob coordinated with his co-worker and agreed to go see these “defective” puppies. We discussed it in the abstract on the way to her house—we did not have to leave there with a puppy to be happy.

Well, we get there and there’s four little fluff balls tumbling around this woman’s living room; and it quickly became not a question of if we’re getting a puppy but which puppy we’re going to get. Truth be told, I wanted the one his co-worker had settled on—he had the most “classic” husky markings and was the most outgoing; and my second pick was his sister—who was also what I thought a husky should look like and was also very friendly. We ended up getting one of the shiest ones who was
looked like a possum who was so ugly that he was kind of cute.

The bitches (scientific term, btw) were ruled out because (bitches be trippin’) Rob has an aversion to having to find doggy tampons (and yes, I know there’s no such thing; but it’s something to consider with a female dog until you get her fixed) and he thought that girl dogs were harder to potty train.

No, we’re an all male household; and adding another boy just seemed right—plus, the only dog Jesse has ever gotten down with his teeth to her neck was Rob’s brother’s female boxer mix; and while she was being a real bitch (yes, I’m chuckling…maybe I am still just a 12-year old boy at heart) at the time, it made me wonder if he just doesn’t dig the ladies. At the end of the day, we knew this was going to be a real life change for all of us and figured another male was going to be the best fit.

Jesse was curious about the new addition, Presley basically ignored him. I half considered naming him the same thing as the bloodhound (the name that will not be revealed was fairly epic); but new dog, new name. We settled on Pilot, and Rob added Possum as a middle name—and yes, we
hyphenated the last name (not really, he just has Rob’s last name as we wanted him to blend with the other boys). All was peachy, and we were basking in the cuteness which is a 9-week old puppy.

However, now, we’re going to get into why I haven’t blogged in a while—Puppies are a hell of a lot of work. We had to transition him to a new food while working to ensure that he would never be food aggressive (a process during which I was almost certain I was going to make him food aggressive—but he’s not…he’s just like the other boys at meal times: pet-able, correctable, and respectful—albeit far more vocal and slightly stubborn).

Then while transitioning him off his breeder’s food and onto one more in line with what we feed the other boys, he developed what we thought was a common issue—loose stool (which is putting it mildly—watery, disgusting stool would be more appropriate); and when it didn’t self-correct, we consulted our vet who had us bring a sample of his stool (i.e. a spoonful of his watery shit in a plastic baggy) in for testing.

He was treated for parasites and a bacterial infection that I can’t readily remember. It didn’t clear up. More baggies of poop, more tests, more de-wormer. It didn’t clear up. More baggies of poop, more tests, more de-wormer, and a prescription low-fiber food. It didn’t clear up. More poop baggies, more tests, more de-wormer—for good measure, and a high-fiber prescription food.

Pilot had a fiber sensitivity…and yes, I can say had because he’s out grown it now. He now eats what the other boys eat, and his poop has never looked better (and yes, we do still check).

Pilot's Feeder
And all that was just his poop issue.

None of that included his shots, or getting him neutered and microchiped (or the four hours I waited at the Human Society to do so before deciding that saving 20 dollars wasn't worth it and scheduling an appointment with our regular vet). None of that included his potty training, his obedience training, or his constant shedding—which is different and far more extensive than his wolf-mix brother’s (we finally found a slicker brush does the best job, but it still just kind of falls out in clumps when it
wants to—dog hair is a reality we cannot escape).

Jesse's Feeder

None of that includes the play time, the exercise, the fight with Amazon when they practically refused to deliver the toy I’d ordered for him and instead kept sending me some Lego-like dog model. None of that includes the socialization with people and other dogs, the trips to the park, the fencing of the back yard. None of that includes designing and building him an elevated dog feeder so he could feel like a big dog with the other boys...or the designing and building of new elevated dog bows for the other two dogs as their existing feeders looked really shabby.
Presley's Feeder
None of that includes the breaking of peeing outside his crate (yes, the little bastard figured out quickly that he didn’t want to sit in his own pee and that the crate had bars from which he could pee on the bed and subsequently the walls—Siberian Huskies are not dumb dogs, but they are hella stubborn). Oh, and let’s not forget our full-time gainful employment and our two other dogs.

Again, puppies are a lot of work; and his saving graces are that he’s sweet as he can be when he wants and is as cute as hell with his constant mischievous eyes and expressions—he outgrew the possum look within a month or two, and is now a gorgeous example of his breed (his mother, father, and grandparents are show dogs, after all). Oh, and let’s not forget all the time it takes to take pictures of your new puppy…and your other furbabies… you can’t forget that.

It’s been a time consuming journey; and as he just turned one on August 1, 2018, it’s not even close to being done. While Rob still has misgivings over raising a puppy (he loves the little devil as much as I do, don’t let him fool you), he admits that he’s happy with Pilot’s progress—although I’m fairly hopeless when it comes to discipline or correcting the cuter negative behaviors. I don’t regret or dread coming home and am happy to have another furbaby; and while treats have been made and consumed over the past however long it’s been, I just don’t blog like I used to.

In honor of my Pilot Possum turning 1, I did create a special treat for the occasion; and when a friend asked for the recipe, I typed it up and decided to post it here as well. It will follow.

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