Tag Archives: Dogs

Understanding Chloe

For the first two months after we adopted Chloe (our border collie/greyhound mix), she drove me crazy. She didn’t just follow me everywhere, she got in my way every five seconds! She was neurotic and always on edge. You couldn’t get up without her spazzing out about it. She had the energy of a puppy, packed inside a 70lb, 3 year old dog. Calling her a bull in a china closet was putting it lightly.

She was the polar opposite of our other dog, Rodeo. Rodeo (lab/pit mix around the same age as Chloe) is the definition of chill roughly 90% of the day. He sleeps buried in the throw pillows of our couch for hours at a time. The only time he gets riled up is to protect us (usually unnecessarily!) Or to run. He LOVES to run. “Away” is usually his destination of choice! (He comes back, but on his terms.)

Chloe rarely barks and never whines, but she would get so anxious and excited – she seemed tense most of the day, really. She didn’t snuggle. She didn’t want belly rubs. She rarely slept. We were hoping she’d get used to us and settle down. Even once she seemed a bit more settled, she still drove me crazy.

I didn’t understand her. Rodeo could tell me what he wanted in a second, but I was lost with her. My inability to understand her stressed me out even more.

Recently, strong winds knocked down part of our fence. Rick did a patch job until we could fix it properly. Unfortunately, we had more wind come through one night and I didn’t realize that panel had fallen down again until after I’d let the dogs out the following morning. I looked up and they were both gone!

I ran through the house and out the front door – they were only a few houses away. I called out, “Rodeo! Chloe! C’mere!” I said it as sweetly as I could – I’ve read and been told how important tone can be.

Rodeo did his usual – he took one look at me, turned tail and ran in the opposite direction.

Chloe ran right to me. When she got to the driveway where I was standing, she sank down low and crawled to me. I praised her and loved on her and she got all wiggly and waggly. What a good dog! Suddenly, I started to notice her attributes.

Later that day, she was walking around with the Coveted Bone hanging from her mouth. (This bone was Rodeo’s, but she’s since claimed it as her own. They spend hours at a time stalking each other, waiting for the bone to be dropped.) I’d fed the dogs dinner and she wouldn’t eat. She just kept looking at me and pacing. What did she want??

Then it clicked. I took the bone from her and put it on the counter. She wiggled and ran to her bowl to scarf down her dinner. When she was done, she came and sat next to the spot where I’d put her bone. I jokingly said, “What?” She looked up to where her bone was, then back at me. I handed her bone to her and she was wiggling again. We’d connected. I was starting to understand her.

After that, she started snuggling me on the couch. She’s also been demanding belly scratches! Rick says she still doesn’t really like him scratching her belly. With me, she’ll either stand over my arm and paw at me or she’ll lay on her back until I get the idea. If I stop before she wants me to, she pushes my hand back under her for more.

This dog used to stress me out so much, we seriously considered giving her back. Now I can’t imagine not having her around. She’s so loving – we just had to earn that love. She didn’t give it up as easily as some dogs do. She’s incredibly smart and – now that we’re learning to understand each – she listens and does what she’s told. Even when she’s in full on play with Rodeo in the yard, she comes when called.

Of course, she still drives me crazy on occasion, but she makes up for it by being an all around wonderful pup. I love our Chloe.

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She sits still enough for pics now!


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They love each other!

I’m holding Wii Just Dance 3 as collateral

She survived!

Our sitter – we’ll call her “Kay” – just barely survived her first day with our crazy bunch.  She got a crash-course in Colin – he was into everything the second she’d turn her back.  She also had one of our dogs slip out (Rodeo, go figure!) and instead getting Rick (she didn’t want to wake him) she chased him down with the help of a neighbor, our boys and a gaggle of teenaged boys that were on our street!  In the process, she fell and scraped herself up very badly.  Gah, I felt so awful!!  We told her if that ever happens again, just go get Rick!  Chasing down our dingbat dogs is not part of her job description!! lol

She also mopped the kitchen when the dogs got the floors muddy – how sweet!

When she came to meet us on Wednesday night, she told Colin she had Just Dance 3 (we have Just Dance 2) and promised to bring it over.  She told him he could hold onto it for the weekend and she’d get it back on Monday.

I think I was more excited than Colin – I’ve just about worn out the Just Dance 2 disc!

I told Rick that gives me hope.  She left something of hers here and plans to come back for it on Monday!  Despite all the insanity, she plans to come back.  Yay!

I also offered her a little more money, because I felt awful for her rough day and – did I mention? – I REALLY WANT HER TO COME BACK!! 🙂

Just another $10/week, but that’s still not bad.   $140/wk for an 18-20hrs/wk. Cash, even!

I’m just relieved that she did well and she’s not ready to quit on us already. Rick got some sleep, I got some peace of mind, the boys had fun.  And Kay said she got her exercise for the day!  (yes, it was running full throttle down the street with three boys in tow and getting sanded down by the sidewalk, but it’ll be okay!)

And she gets three days to recover from us before coming back.  🙂

Holding my breath!

We found a sitter.

Holy smokes! We found a sitter!!

Where?  Craigslist.  I know. I know.  I thought the same thing, too, but I was kinda desperate and our other efforts were leaving us fairly empty-handed.

I posted an ad Monday night.  We’d just met another potential sitter – the only one at that point – and I just didn’t think there was any way it would work out.  a) She doesn’t like dogs. We have two, so they would have to stay with Rick in the bedroom. b) She has an 8 year old and 1 month old that would have to come with her.  I didn’t think that would be a big issue until I saw it in action.  Our house was complete chaos for the 30 minutes she was there.  The 8yr old was adding to the silliness of our boys and the baby would have been a complete distraction had Rick not been helping.  And  c) She doesn’t have a phone…and she’s staying with her mom while she and her baby’s father work on things.  (What if they made up and she moved back in? She has no car and wouldn’t be able to continue working for us!) Just too many red flags for me.

So… I posted the ad.

I mentioned we needed someone energetic and patient and mentioned one of our sons is autistic and has adhd.  I posted the pay rate (which boils down to roughly $7/hr).  I know it’s cheap, but it’s just 4.5hrs/day and 4 days/week… no meals need to be served or anything.  Just give them a snack around 3pm and keep them from burning the dang house down. 

About an hour after I posted my ad, an ad went up from a sitter looking for work.  She listed the same area we live in and put that she has experience with ADHD children.  Her number, however, was an out of state number.  I thought (in my paranoid brain) this had to be some kind of lure.  I didn’t answer the ad.

Another hour passed, and I received an email – from the same girl who had posted the ad after mine!  She gave me her number and attached a picture.  I still thought this had to be some kind of a joke, but maybe not…? 

We exchanged a few emails – she’s relatively new in town.  17 and graduated from high school early.  She lives very close by and her younger brother – who is Colin’s age – has ADHD.  I decided to throw caution to the wind and have her come over.

She showed up and she’s REAL! 

We talked about what’s expected. She loves dogs – her family has 2 of their own.  We joked about how we were a little scared of this whole CL deal – she was, too!  She was great with the boys.

After talking, we asked when she could start. She said any day was fine.  Then she confessed that she’d had another interview earlier that day.  “I’m totally picking you over them, though, I just want you to know that!”  She said not only was that job a little out of her comfort zone – they had a baby, a toddler and a 9 year old and wanted her to work about twice as many hours – but our family reminded her of her own. 

Wait, what?  Did she just say that?

I guess maybe we’re a little more “normal” than we thought we were.  🙂

She starts today – a little trial run before she has 4 full days in a row!  She arrived 10 minutes early and ready to go.  I’m holding my breath, hoping the day goes well. 

Mostly, though, I’m just incredibly relieved. 

Robbie’s Trip to the Allergy Center

Robbie has always suffered from allergy issues – sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes. About a year ago (yes, ayearago), our pediatrician gave me a list of pediatric allergists that might be able to help.  I filed away in my black hole (aka “my purse”) and forgot about it.  Each time I’ve cleaned out my purse (honestly, only about twice in that year!), I’d see the papers and think, “I should call one of these doctors and set up an appointment. I’ll do that this week.”

And I never did.

Well, I didn’t until about a month ago.  I knew Robbie and I had a couple of days off together, so I tried lining up doctors appointments. I scheduled him for allergy testing on April 30th (yesterday).

Robbie and I showed up yesterday and checked in. I’d filled out all the paperwork online, so we didn’t have long to wait. He’d just settled in with a tablet when they called us back.

The nurse was very friendly and took down his information. The doctor came in and we talked for a bit while Robbie wrote out various messages for her on a magnetic tablet they had in the room (just like the one that was in the waiting area). His handwriting amazes me more and more every day.  His spelling does, too.  I’m constantly amazed by how smart he is – sometimes I forget he’s only 5 years old.

She decided that allergies were definitely a possibility, based on the info we’d shared.  Another nurse came back in to prepare us for the testing and answer some questions.  They used a plastic device like this for the testing:

Robbie was able to touch it beforehand and see that it wasn’t anything terribly scary.  He’s so much like me at times – he wants to really know what’s going on.  Once when I was a kid, a nurse gave me a TB test…but instead of saying that, she said, “I’m just going to put little bunny prints on you!” She grabbed my arm and I FREAKED OUT!!  I was maybe 7 at the time. I already knew what a TB test was and if she had justsaidthat, I wouldn’t have gotten upset.  I wanted to make sure Robbie understood everything we were doing.  He also knew that we were doing this so we could help him feel better.

They set him up nicely with a little DVD player and some books.

He started to flare up on some patches almost instantly.

Ten minutes in, I knew that whatever was in “B” was to be avoided!

I didn’t get a chance to photograph after the full 20 minutes, but you can imagine it was just a more extreme version of what he looked like at 10 minutes.

As it turns out, A was trees, B was grasses, C was mold, cockroaches, dogs and cats.

My poor kiddo is allergic to the outdoors…mold…and cats and dogs.  For those of you just tuning in – we have two dogs.

The doctor said, “Obviously I would tell you to get rid of the dogs, but I’m sure you won’t.”  How could I? They’re like extra kids to us.  I love our pups.

She explained how we can help minimize exposure.  Robbie already has top bunk, so the dogs are never in his bed.  That night, I changed his sheets while he had a nice bath.

that's a Mario in his belly button, in case you're wondering

We’re going to do nightly baths (we typically follow more of an every-other-night-unless-needed routine) – that will keep him from tracking dog dander up to his bed. I explained to him that he needs to try not to snuggle with the dogs any more – no more rubbing his face on them, laying on them, etc. We’ll bathe the dogs more often, too.

As for the grass/tree issues… I think this will be his last soccer season for now. He’s not crazy about soccer anyhow.  (I’m guessing part of his lack of focus has to do with the allergies, too.)  I told him maybe he can try karate next – he liked the sound of that.

We’re going to give him either Claritin or Zyrtec and a dose of Nasonex every morning as well. Today was his first day and he took the nasal spray like a champ!

I’m hoping that his behavior at school might improve as he starts to feel better. I know I’m out of it when I don’t feel well, so I can’t imagine it’s helping him to be all stuffy and sneezy.

I feel like a horrible mom for not doing this sooner.

Happy Easter!

Our boys woke up this morning full of excitement to see what the Easter Bunny had hidden in our yard. They were convinced the eggs were hidden out back, however Mr. Bunny was worried the dogs would get to the eggs before the kids ever did, so he hid them in the front yard.

We let them check out back first anyhow.

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Excuse the state of our fence...we've had to do a couple of quick patch jobs recently due to a neighborhood dog busting in

It only took a minute for them to realize there were no eggs out there. They headed back through the house and out the front door.

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I’m amazed I got any pictures considering how fast they swooped in.

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48 eggs found in less than 5 minutes.

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Robbie's haul

We went back inside and each kiddo got to pick out four eggs – the rest went into one bucket for sharing later.

Now…off to do the family thing and have lunch with my mom! I’m so very blessed to have a husband that loves – or at least tolerates! – my family.

Happy Easter, everyone!

What makes those furry things tick??

I’m about 80% sure that’s what Colin thinks every time he interacts with our dogs.

Last summer, we sent our middle son – Ryan – to spend a week with his Mamaw.  One street over from Mamaw is Uncle R and his boy C. And they have a puppy dog. Ryan fell in love with this scrappy little thing. So much so that when he came home from his trip, he was depressed.  He missed this pup so much he was crying and whining off and on for a good couple of days. 

Now Ryan’s a “tough guy”.  He’s built like a brick and alternates between being the funny guy…and being entirely too cool for all of us.  So to see him crying like this just broke my heart.

We’d already been talking about getting a dog. Rick and I are both dog people and we felt a dog could be good for the boys as well.  Ryan’s tears prompted us to stop putting it off and see what we could find.

We searched petfinder.com for a couple of weeks – emailing each other links to dogs left and right.  Then we narrowed down the list to about 5-6 dogs we wanted to go see.  We decided to go without the boys. Friday before we were going to go on our doggy hunt, Rick found a pup just north of where I used to work in a shelter that was open until 6pm.  He sounded like a great little guy, so we wanted to check him out. He decided to bring the boys and meet me there after work.

Of course, we fell in love.  Rodeo was SO gentle with our boys.  He was advertised as a “lab/shepherd mix”, but he’s obviously got some pit in him.  He’s white with brown spots…and then black spots on his skin beneath his fur. Just playful enough and so sweet.  We fell in love immediately.

The next day, we bought doggy supplies (including a tag with his name and our info on it) and went to pic him up.

What a great dog – so patient with our kiddos and such a snuggle bug.  He made himself right at home almost instantly. After a few weeks, we noticed he was also very protective of his new family.  As much as the boys might drive him crazy, if you even jokingly spank one of them or raise your voice, he will get on the defensive!  (This has become a long-running gag in our house… poor dog.  One of us will tell one of the boys to cry out as we pretend to spank them and Rodeo comes running to the rescue EVERY time. I love this dog!! The funniest is when Rick and I try to make him pick between us…if we act like we’re hurting each other, Rodeo is just at a loss… he has no idea what to do and just looks at us and whines.)

[Let me take a moment to say that domestic abuse is far from a joking matter – I really hope no one reads this and thinks I takerealabuse lightly. Abuse against anyone – adult or child or animal – is no laughing matter.]

One day my mom made the mistake of walking in our unlocked front door unannounced. Rodeo hadn’t met her yet and he just lost it.  Hair raised, teeth bared…he was flipping out!  My awesome little guard dog! 

He also gives our boys warnings.  If they bug him too much, he gets up and walks away.  If they don’t take the hint, he will give them a little growl.  The most extreme thing he’s ever done is to nip – never breaking the skin, but he makes sure you get the idea.

At first, I thought he wasn’t a fan of Colin.  Colin made him uneasy – always poking and prodding him.  I really think he was trying to figure out where the batteries were on this new toy we’d brought home.  We kept a close eye on them as much as possible – I was scared to death Rodeo would snap eventually.  He never has.  In fact, he seems most protective of Colin out of the three boys.  He won’t follow him when he calls and won’t put up with him very often, but if Colin gets upset or is sent to his room, etc, Rodeo is there, trying to console him.

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Did I mention he’s a snuggle bug?

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The only down side was he would get so lonely whenever we were gone on the weekends.  We have soccer games and always try to go have some fun as a family on the weekends.  Sometimes it involves the dog park, so he gets to come, but usually it’s other, less dog-friendly activities. 

After about 6 months, we decided we should look into getting another dog – a companion for him.

Rodeo’s no small fry, so we thought we should look into a smaller dog.  Our house isn’t huge, by any means.  Yeah… a small dog.  That sounded like a good plan.  Let’s say 30 lbs or so.

We resumed our petfinder.com search – sending each other pictures and links left and right.

With each email, the dogs seemed to get bigger and bigger.  Who were we kidding? We’re not small dog people!  We like big dogs! 

And then… we found her.  Well, Rick found her. Miss Chloe.  Her profile just sounded great.  Border collie/greyhound mix!  We were looking for a smallerdog…and wound up falling for a bigger one!

Chloe’s back is about 2″ higher than Rodeo’s…and she outweighs him by almost 10lbs.  She has the same sweet demeanor he has – patient and gentle with our boys as well – but with a lot more energy!  We could hardly believe she’s almost 3.  Rodeo (who is about the same age) seems like an old man next to this crazy dog! 

We joke that Chloe is like the dog version of Colin – hardly sleeps and always ready for the next fun activity.  Colin’s first words on the weekend are typically, “Are we going to have fun today?”  Chloe’s first move almost every morning is to bring me her kong or rope, as if to say, “You’re up – let’s play!”

And – who am I kidding? – it’s nice to have another female around the house!

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