Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weapons Grade Cute

We're suckers for cuteness in this house, always have been, always will be. Heck, the way I got my dog was because my husband, while allegedly searching for a picture of an English Bull Terrier managed to come up with three Scotties, a Blue Heeler and a nervous looking mixed-breed named Puddles. In the pictures the rescue society had posted on Petfinder, my dog looked decidedly apprehensive. A series of photos that eventually showed her trying to submissively show her belly. She was just so cute, I was a total goner.

As to how my husband managed to turn up all sorts of breeds other than an actual Bull Terrier, I mostly leave that to your imagination. He's a poor typist and all, but let's be real here; I was set up. He'll never cop to it, but even if he had a massive seizure mid-typing, I still can't see how English Bull Terriers somehow managed to produce three adoptable Scotties, the breed we'd always had in the past.

Somewhere in Puddles ancestry is an alleged Scottie but I'm positive that there's actually an Air Raid Siren somewhere in her lineage. She looks like a terrier, but that dog's bark would not be out of place in the midst of a hunt for some overly harassed fox.

Wooo! AWooooooo! ArWooWooWooWoo!, Puddles proclaimed the entire time the pool guy was fiddling with the gauges out back.

I ineffectually bayed in my own turn, "Puddles, shut up! Stop it! Cease! Cut it out!" and variations thereof for a half an hour. It was a landmark day.

I've had a rescue dog prior to this and at the time I remember reading that a rescue dog can take up to six months to adjust to their new environment. It took Angus, our other rescue dog, three days to figure out we were suckers. Throw a snuggle, a wag, a delighted dog-dance our way and we're putty in their paws. It took Puddles five months to ascertain that we might bluster, and yelp, but no one here believes in striking animals.

For the first few months I had an almost entirely silent dog but the Day of the Pool Gauge was the day that Puddles discovered that whereas we don't like her barking in the house, the worst that happens in retaliation is some frenzied shaking of a coke can, half full of pennies and taped shut. This gets her to stop giving cry for upwards of ten seconds, but thankfully this only applies to actual people, not any of the other things she wants to give a good talking-to.

Whoever had Puddles prior to us hit her. We knew that fairly quickly. We'd rap out a brisk, "No!" and she'd practically hit the deck, while scuttling sideways. The day she knocked over the garbage, I let out a house echoing, "No! Bad dog!" and then nearly perished in a cuteness assault as I wiped Puddles face, her tail thumped the floor desperately, and she cringed away from the towel in my hand.

"I'm not going to hit you, you daft dog," I said with affection, wiped her face clean, and tried to keep my voice disapproving. It's all supposed to be in the tone, you know.

Which makes it a pity that Puddles neither sees, nor hears well. She's all nose.

"GaWoooooo! BaaaaaWoooooo!" Puddles proclaimed when my husband lingered in a cracked door too long, trying to see if I was awake before busting through to the closet on his way to get ready for work.

Well, I was awake after that.

"Say something!" I barked, in my own turn, "She has no idea who you are!"

Puddles does better with sound than she does with sight, so we now enter rooms talking our heads off if we think we're about to take the dog unaware.

It's truly not all that bad, this barking in the house. It happens maybe once a week, but fall has brought blowing leaves and her poor vision has Puddles leaping to high alert whenever a particularly large one goes scurrying by outside. She must think it's the world's tiniest home invader. Only when there is an actual person attached to the movement is there absolutely no chance to get her to stop giving cry.


"Puddles, no!" Whatever biped happens to be at hand will add as a rejoinder.


"Oh for god's sakes."

It only takes a few strenuously bellowed reminders and peace is restored.

This morning there was a suspicious leaf spotted at ten minutes past six, when the sun had yet to actually shine much light on the proceedings.

"Gaaaaah!" Rob hollered, as the cat shot him a look that would have laid waste to entire villages, I'm positive the cat blames Rob for the dog's appearance in his life, "Stop it! No! No!"

Puddles stopped baying and looked at Rob questioningly. Someone had to protect us from the rustling things of the world, surely.

"I hope she doesn't decide to bark at every falling flake," I commented, clutching my only lifeline to lucidity, my coffee cup, "or else we're going to have a very loud winter."

"Oh what are we going to do with you?" Rob addressed the Wagging Leaf Siren.

"We could change her name to Free To a Good Home, I guess," I suggested, "but other than that, I'm out of ideas."

Puddles craned her neck over the back of the sofa and let out a miniature, "Woo?" as she mercilessly thumped the couch pillows with her tail.

Rob, stunned by a Jim Henson Creature Shop level of adorable, immediately hugged Puddles, and she stopped barking. We're strict disciplinarians around here, you know, get out of line and suffer the snuggles.

Rob left for work, and my dog put her head on my shoulder for a moment. I'm surprised I survived. It was a full blown cuteness assault.

"You're a good girl," I said, and the couch pillows took their seventeenth beating this morning alone.

A Blue Heeler. I pondered and sipped. Now when searching for an English Terrier, it is indeed possible that a Scottish Terrier would come up on the search. It even makes sense that Puddles, a dog listed as a Scottish Terrier mix might even get caught up in the displayed results. If you're searching only pets close to your geographical location, that is because we all know when only looking for information that its geographical location has an impact on its validity.

The funny thing about "I was just looking, you're the one that picked her out" search is the Blue Heeler. I don't know if Rob really believes that he was just looking, or not. I will say that looking for dog breeds on a site called PetFinder pretty much says all that needs to be said. Having that random Heeler in there might actually add credence to "I was just looking" claim.

At dogs within driving range, of course.

But I haven't ever really called Rob on it too much.

"She's your dog, you picked her out!" Rob will say as Puddles dances around with a pink Croc in her mouth. "How'd you pick out such a bad one?"

"I must just have a gift," I'll generally say, letting him get away with blaming me for an animal he clearly adores.

After all, I think he's cute.


Cricket said...

I first saw your post as posted "one second ago" on my sidebar. I really had to resist the urge to jump on and post a comment that might have appeared before you had even hit "view post."

Funny, as always. Perhaps we're on some mystical wavelength today. Not only is my own post about animals, but I've been thinking of changing my younger's name to "Free To Good Home." Heh, heh... just kidding.

Sort of.

He seems to have discovered, perhaps subconsciously, that if he makes a medium size mess, I may make him clean it up, whereas if he makes a truly huge one, I'll have no choice in the matter.

He's got the "cute thing" going on too, and boy does he know when to turn it on.

Teri said...

A squirt bottle the one of the best dog silencers ever invented! Doesn't hurt 'em, doesn't stain, you can do it from across the room... and they don't like it.

Worked wonders with our mouthy dachshund.

JoMo said...

Ha! Love it. Our Finn (another mixed breed who is definitely not the mix we were told he was: puddle maybe, not poodle..) is the first dog I've had who doesn't sleep on the bed.

Why? Because he sleeps and cuddles only until we fall asleep. Then he's awake, alert, baying and barking at every creek & noise.

Don't worry guys, I'll take this shift...wake up, there's trouble! Alert! Help! Noise! Woooooof!

So cuddly Finn sleeps on another floor, in his beloved kennel.

Sweet goofy watchdog. Keepin' the clan safe.

They make our lives fuller, quirks and all :)

Jinksy said...

Thanks for your visit and description of Frog advert! Are you sure that Pobblebonks wouldn't be a better name than Puddles for your less than 'normal' hound dog?! LOL :)

Cloudia said...

oh my!

Da Cute!

Grace Park YAY

Aloha from Hawaii

Comfort Spiral


Carolynn said...

Well, you gave me some pretty darned good advice about our nightly cat serenades, so it's only fair that I offer a word or two to you on dog barking.

The thing about dogs is they all have a job to do. It may not be the job you'd have given him, but nevertheless, he takes his responsibilities very seriously. It sounds like the barking started after he determined that this was going to be his permanent home and it would be his job to defend it. On the upside, it means he's become very comfortable in his new home.

When a dog barks, they're alerting all in the vicinity that there's danger afoot. When we humans yell back, all they hear is a poor imitation of a bark. So, in a sense, we validate & encourage the barking. If we start barking too, then, there really must be something to bark about.

In some instances, calmly acknowledging his alert and saying something like "Thank you, Puddles." will do the trick. Sometimes, getting up to look out the window, thank him and going back to whatever you were doing, will send the message that you don't think it's anything worth getting excited about and he go back to the business of being cute. In other words, you're on top of it and he can relax.

The fact that she doesn't hear or see well, adds another dimension to the problem.

I feel your pain....truly, I do.

Best of luck!

Friko said...

I am breathless with admiration and adoration both. For you and Rob, for Puddles and for the way you write.
You wonderful people, I simply cannot find it in my heart ever to be cross with people who adopt shelter dogs, which means that they love dogs and are the most wonderful people on earth.
If, on top of that, they write posts like this one, literate, well-paced and funny at the same time, I am yours unconditionally.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'd never have found you otherwise.

Friko said...

I forgot to say, Benno sends his love to Puddles.

Bimbimbie said...

Hello, thanks for your comment.

Hehe, this made me think of the first dog my husband chose - he knew I wanted some sort of spaniel. He spotted my dream dog which turned out to be not a spaniel but a long haired dachshund - he thought the 'spaniel' had been laying down*!*

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Oh for gosh sakes!

steviewren said...

Funny story. I'm not sure I could take the Woooooooing and the Arffffing though...especially at sixish in the morning.

slommler said...

Ha!!! Oh my gosh!! Too funny!! Woowoowoo huh? I can just imagine. And at every falling leaf. Yikes! That is a lot of wooing! But Puddles is cute that is for sure. And how can you resist cuteness!! Obviously you and your hubby cannot! Oh well!!
At least she does a good tail thump!
PS And you will know when every leaf falls to the ground. Now that is the way to appreciate fall!!

Hilary said...

They're both pretty darn cute. ;)

I hate the thought of Puddle having endured being hit and I'm so glad that she's coming around to knowing that she just won't be treated poorly in her new home. Good for you both for having such love and patience with her. She's so worth it.

To Cricket: I have a good home. You have an adorable kidlet. Let's negotiate. ;)

Suldog said...

My favorite Gary Larson FAR SIDE cartoon is this one:

Never fails to make me laugh.

Shrinky said...

He's more than cute, he's downright adorable! I am so glad he eventually found the loving home he deserves, I think you and he are a match made in heaven. He also earns his dog-food, you'll always be safe with a dog who barks at strangers, he knows this is his duty, and he obviously takes it very seriously (smile).

laughingwolf said...

cute hubster, cute dog... what more could you want? :O lol

ethelmaepotter! said...

When are you going to change the name of your blog to Land of Puddles? Because I think we all know who rules the roost over at your place.

Your descriptions of Puddles' various alarms are hilarious - "Somewhere in Puddles ancestry is an alleged Scottie but I'm positive that there's actually an Air Raid Siren somewhere in her lineage." I love that line!

I'm just getting ready to start a post about our own little rescue dogs - we've had them 7 months now, and they STILL hate Fred. We've gone the obedience class route, and they mastered it, but STILL hate Fred. It's not just HATE. Bode barks at him every time he moves or makes a noise, but Emma is plainly terrified of him. Barks AND runs AND hides. Pees and poops submissively. And it's not just Fred - they reacted the same way toward the FEMALE instructor in obedience school. I think there must have been issues in their past with loud, authoritative voices, because that, and a smell of cigarette smoke, seem to be the only commonalities between Fred and the trainer. We've looked don't laugh...a doggie psychologist, but apparently they just do not exist in Tennessee. We're now getting ready to go down the anti-anxiety drugs road. Seriously. Not that I condone mind-altering drug use, but I want these dogs to be able to live without everyday terror.

I just edited this comment, because it was getting longer than your post. To make a very long story short, we haven't begun giving the drugs yet because A) they don't make the drug we need in that small a dosage and the smallest they DO make had to be special ordered from our vet - we'll be splitting one pill into quarters; and B) Emma is on three other meds right now, following an attack by a large dog, in which she almost lost her life. The vet told me he wanted her to do nothing except "sit and watch tv for two weeks." HAH! Can you imagine telling Puddles he's to sit and watch tv for two weeks?

Oh well, even wrapped up like a little 5 pound mummy, my Emma is a cutie-pie; a pitiful, heart-breaking cutie-pie. And right now, with her lungs compromised, her bark is even pitiful.

But cute.

christopher said...

Wonderful rescue and post.

Certainly is very easy to get attached to a dog's cuteness.

Cricket said...

p.s. - Congratulations on your potw. :-)

TechnoBabe said...

The loving snuggles sound delicious. We can't have pets but we would love to. Congrats on POTW on Hilary's blog.

Kerry said...

I love this post, the fact that you can spin a tale from a session of barking! Puddles is so so cute, and boy does she ever have it made living there in the land of shimp. A lucky dog after all.

I think with PetFinder, you could easily find a poodle mixed in with the pointers, a Scottie in with the bull terriers, so I'm not surprised your hubbie found her there; I'm just glad he did.

gaelikaa said...

I'd love to take in a rescue dog but my family are a bit against it. But I live in hope. Well done you...

And congratulations on the POTW mention...

Land of shimp said...

Hello everyone :-) Thank you for the comments, I really do appreciate them.

I'm behind, as per usual. So, with your indulgence, what I'll do this time is hop over to your blogs to reply, rather than using up my computer time replying here.

Thank you for the visits, and I look forward to returning them. I'll get back to individually replying next time.

Paul C said...

You seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to animals and developing a close relationship. Interesting experiences.

Anonymous said...

Oh, what a cute cute dog! Autumn is going to be fairly noisy if he keeps on barking at those leaves...

Wind said...

Best regards from Romania!

Pete Kent said...

A bit late, but, although I'm more a fan of cats, this post really makes me want a dog like Puddles :)

AJ Covard said...

I love hearing (or reading) stories about others that adopt rescue dogs. My bella was never let out of her crate for a year. It took her about 13 months to halfway assimilate. She's still a work in progress, but has to be the most affectionate sweet, caring, beautiful (to me at least, she had mange)dog. I'm sure all pet owners that rescued feel the same way. The trauma of the neglect and abuse is heartbreaking, but I feel that they rescue us just as much as we rescue them. Thanks for the awesome post!

Achat bien said...

As always - your articles are astute and insightful