I’ll have what he’s having.

Percy seems to have finally realized his new friends aren’t leaving. The constant urge to play seems to be dwindling and he doesn’t seem so happy to be sharing his toys and person.

No one else, according to Percy, is allowed to sit next to Mom on the couch. Interlopers must be squeezed out. Should the trespassers be too large to evict, i.e. Haas or Dad, then Percy feels he can reassert his claim by sitting on Mom’s lap. This makes any recreational activity such as reading, watching tv, or breathing a bit of a challenge.

Percy has had to share humans before as our old man dog, Stump, had a prior claim.

This was my Stump. He was the best boy and I miss him every day.

We lost Stump just before Christmas and Percy had been a bit spoiled in terms of attention. He will eventually accept that he isn’t the most important being in the world.

 

But, the toys. Oh, the toys! Stump was never interested in toys, so Percy has never had to share. The stuffed animal type toys cause the giant, hairy goofball to transform into Gollum with his “precious”. The eyes get huge, the head sinks into the shoulders, and I would swear I can hear Percy plotting violence and ruin on anyone who dares take his toy away. They must be stopped by any means necessary.

Percy and what started out as a rhino

Drake is one who dares. With his superior speed and agility, stuffed animals are snatched from Percy’s jaws and then passed off to Haas so Drake can pursue his personal passion: gnawing on a bigger dog’s hind leg.

This is when chaos reigns. It snows stuffed toy guts, dogs are snarling and tumbling end over end, and humans are yelling for this to be taken outside. Percy quickly forgets about the toys and is happy to play Doggie Demolition Derby. It sounds horrible and I expect blood. There’s never blood. They love it and then take a nap.  This makes Mom jealous.  Naps are precious.

This was an elephant at one time. Now it is just sad.

I’m not crying. There is something in my eye.

Parents (and teachers) of teens need a dog. If you have more than one teen, you might need more than one dog.

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But, Mom, you don’t have to grade papers anymore, because we ate them! See?

I know. You’re busy. There are 857 places to be, 6 loads of laundry to do, and then there’s that weird smell that escapes from the kid’s bedroom when the creature emerges for sustenance before scuttling back to the depths of Angstville. You should check that out. Someday. After mating socks, maybe.

A dog would just create more work. There’s training, feeding, de-hairing the sofa, rescuing the mail, etc. This list, like all of the others, is endless.

I have the double blessing of spending my days with 130 some high school sophomores and juniors and my off hours with a 14 year old and preteen. I love them all, even when they make life hard. Some days they are a delight. Sometimes they hate me. They bring me writings to share, books to read, problems to solve, and then joys and sorrows to unload. My home kid will spontaneously offer to cook dinner or organize the spice cabinet and then refuse to acknowledge my existence 15 minutes later.

This onslaught of teenage emotions can be immensely draining after a day of kids inflicting their hormones on you. It’s okay to cry for yourself. Since life is rough, you need a creature who is happy to see you, no matter what.

Mom! I thought you would never home!
Mom! I thought you’d never come home!

It doesn’t matter if I had a 10 hour day or a surprise half-day, my boys are so very excited to see me when I come home. They don’t care that just this morning I wouldn’t share my eggs and all they had to eat was kibble. All is forgiven and forgotten.

It isn’t just a bandage for my ego that my dogs almost feel like a necessity. That giver of unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance of me for who I am is who I want to be for all of my kids. They are all about to go off and spend their lives with people who will be selfish and, sometimes unintentionally, cruel. I can’t protect them forever. Maybe, if I learn enough from my fuzzy fiends friends, the kids will have that feeling that someone believed in them and always will, even if they never have a dog of their own.

And eventually, the kids will leave. They’ll go off to another grade or college and I will retire in a few short years when my home kids are off on their own. I’ll miss the arguing over phone usage, whose turn it is to clean the cat box, and trying to get through to a kid that, yes, you need paper every day for class.

Then, I will be able to show my four-legged companions how much I have appreciated their faith in me all year around instead of just on weekends and summers. If you couldn’t tell, the human kids were a challenge and pup snuggles made it better.

If you are allergic to dogs  or can’t have one , I am always happy to show you pictures, videos, and blog posts of my dogs. They’re pretty special (and extra handsome). They have enough love for all of us.

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Celebrate good times (and carrots!)

This weekend the boys celebrated their adoption when Haas threw a party in his crate. Everyone was there and, when they try really hard, a 100 pound dog, and 80 pound dog, and a 40 pound dog will all fit in a 48 inch crate. All they needed was techno music and a disco ball.

The neighbors (Dad, primarily) weren’t thrilled about all of the floor rattling, couch shaking and various thumping noises so he shut it down pretty quickly. There was some disappointment but the cops (Mom) weren’t called. After such a fun-filled day, the terrors went to bed easily, for the most part. Drake tried to sneak in to Haas’s crate for a sleepover but Mom was afraid the party would resume and make him go back to his place.

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If we’re quiet, maybe no one will notice in the dark.

Then on Sunday Percy experienced the heartache he had inflicted in his pickpocket days. Percy was robbed twice in two minutes.

One of Percy’s favorite treats is a raw carrot. They make him wiggle and fuss as much as any commercial treat. For a Sunday treat, I gave him a carrot with the intention of giving Haas and Drake bananas, which they prefer and Percy isn’t interested in.

Percy was being so good and sitting even though he wanted the orange crunchy thing. His huge face lit up when we handed him the carrot but Haas snatched it out of Percy’s mouth before he could stand up from an impatient sit and Haas disappeared. Haas doesn’t like carrots but he was not giving it back.

I grabbed another, slightly larger, carrot to ease Percy’s disappointment. Once again he sat, received his treat, and this time was able to take about three running steps when, just as he passed Drake, the carrot was stolen again! Percy was halfway to the couch before he realized carrot number two was with Drake in his crate.

My poor pathetic pooch sat despondently by his bed and it took several calls to get Percy to come for another carrot. This one he was able to enjoy in peace. Life is hard when you are spoiled rotten.

Let’s make it Facebook official

Haas and Drake are formally part of the family. We couldn’t resist those adorably funny faces and canine cuddles.

The last few days have been a blessing and a challenge. Fortunately, we had some snow days that allowed us to be home and help our boys get settled in. These rambunctious dogs have created quite the mess. Two of them have decided that the snow and mud are the best toys ever. It is time to get rid of the carpet.

Percy has been less of a pain since his new brothers arrived. Sometimes (bed time), he is even the best behaved of the bunch. Percy goes right to his kennel, asks for a good night kiss, and goes to bed. He has this whole routine down.

The biggest boy, Haas, tries to call my bluff. He knows what I want him to do but won’t actually go to bed without an escort. I like to think he wants to be tucked in.

Then there is Drake. Oh, Drake. Drake is also crate trained and during daylight hours will cooperate beautifully. He goes in his crate when needed and even when he just wants to hang out. Then there is bedtime. At bedtime, Drake loses his ability to hear and make eye contact (much like my oldest human child). Drake sometimes doesn’t even recognize his own name after 8:30, just in case you might want him to go to bed. The only word he knows is “treat”.

The joke is on Drake, though. Because he is a stinker, he only gets part of a treat and not a whole one. One of us has this training thing down.

Mess made. Our job is complete. Let’s have a nap!

Three times the fun!

I have to confess. Saturday, I was weak. I looked at two dogs. I brought home two dogs for a week’s trial. Fortunately, they are calmer, for the most part, than Percy the Pain. They are also adorable and may be here forever.

They do not, however, make the existing two less terrible. Meri, the furious feline, still hates everyone and, because of the of weather, is staying inside. The curious canines can’t seem to comprehend that she wishes they didn’t exist. This had led to one lightly scratched nose, followed by intense barking and a sympathetic nose licking from another. Everyone is now fine and the boys have bonded over poor treatment from the evil queen.

We have had a few challenges but I think the boys are getting along and it looks like the trial may be a success!

Our big boy, Haas, is an Irish Wolfhound mix and is about 90 pounds already. He is very tall and a gentle giant.  He is currently loving the snowy weather and wants to be out all of the time.

Our littler boy, Drake, is a lab mix and should only be about 50 pounds when fully filled out. He is incredibly sweet. He isn’t so fond of the snow and would rather snuggle with the youngest human than roll around in that cold, wet stuff outside.

They all play together but even when the new two are tuckered out, Percy wants to keep going. I guess they won’t wear him out. On the bright side, there has been no pick-pocketing lately and the only destruction has been to the new toys.

Haas and Drake
Haas and Drake

I am hoping that the original terrible two on four feet don’t lead the new boys astray. If they do, I’m moving out to the shed.

Someone here may be a little dramatic.

Today has been 800 years long. One of the hardest types of days for a teacher is an early release due to weather. The hardest is waiting for a new puppy (at least for this teacher).

We are all set with the rescue: paperwork completed, home visit done, pictures scrutinized, videos obsessively watched…

The next two days will bring TWO puppies! One might come home with us. Both might come home with us. I might have a problem.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I get to go see a giant dog and Saturday I get to see a smaller lab mix. Percy needs both of them. They will keep him busy and wear him out so that he doesn’t turn into a doggy criminal.

Lately, Percy has been stealing items that he doesn’t need. He picked Dad’s pockets and ate the contents. I noticed another blanket missing that turned up in his crate, and the biggest theft came from the Christmas tree. (Don’t judge me! I’m waiting for a legit snow day.) Percy stole K-9 (from Doctor Who). It’s a sign.  We are meant to be a multiple dog family again. He needs a sibling right away!

Percy is currently in trouble so I guess I could go clean something to make the time go by or I could watch the video sent by a dog’s foster mom. Want to bet which one wins?

pocket lint

This is why we can’t have nice things…

Yesterday, we went to an adoption event for a wonderful rescue organization in Springfield. It had to be a family affair because certain members of the family were afraid that Percy would go from an only puppy to one of a large pack. I believe that I have enough self control that it would have only been 2 or 3, but whatever.

We met the sweetest boy that the youngest kid and I absolutely adored but I don’t know that he would have found Percy to be as loveable as we do or enjoy such a long car ride with us as he has a bit of a difficult history with vehicles.

Instead, we brought our giant baby some toys.  Percy loves toys. They generally last about an hour before they are reduced to a pile of fluff. He also got a bed yesterday. It’s been a few months since the last one was destroyed so I was optimistic.  Percy would be able to enjoy a nice comfy place to sleep.

Today, he was left unsupervised for about 15 minutes.  This was the aftermath.

On the bright side, his new pig is still in one piece.  I give it another 45 minutes.