Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our Crazy Dogs

As we are getting ready to leave for Vienna (yikes, 5 days...) I am writing a guide for our dog/house-sitter and I get to realize, our dogs are nuts! Kevin and I have three dogs. I brought one into the relationship: Lulu and he brought one: Lexi. Technically we own one together, Leopold, but he claims he was forced into it. My argument says his name is on the ownership certificate, therefore Leopold is his dog too. Really it doesn't matter, because no matter which dog which is misbehaving or annoying either of us we make the bold statement: "S/he is YOUR dog!" or "Those are YOUR dogs!" Still we love them, and we hate leaving them every year. This certainly does not help their neurotic tendencies any.

For example, Leopold obviously knows something is up, he will not leave my side. If I sit he wants to be not just sitting with me, but on me, kissing me and having me reassure him what a good dog he is now. When Jameson and I are playing on the floor Leopold wants to be right next to me, in the way of the trains or puzzle, whatever we are doing. It is driving me batty.

Here is an excerpt of quirks for our wonderful dog-sitter:

Leopold- (Never Leo) The male, black and tan Cavalier King Charles spaniel. 5 years old. He is the “Leader of the Pack.” He can be a jerk to the girls occasionally. He is shy around new people and still gets scared by fast movement. He is very protective of the girls especially Lexi (see below). He sleeps under the bed, but will occasionally get up on the bed to cuddle in the middle of the night. Be careful he is an underwear stealer; he will chew on a pair of underwear rendering them trash. His hobby is watching out the window (any window) and barking at passing people, cars, bikes, birds, cats or bunnies. This hobby of his makes us nutty. Don’t hesitate to spray him with the spray bottle if he goes crazy. He is also the dog most easily trained. He is eager to please and once he trusts you, he will be your liege following you everywhere. He is a toy hoard and a food bastard. Leopold is a wonderful dog for the most part, however he won’t hesitate to run out an open door, so you need to be careful, as Cavaliers are very stupid about cars. Leopold is also a “fence fighter.” We have a pit-bull next door on the left side looking into the backyard and a chow-mix behind us. Needless to say, either of these dogs would kick Leopold’s butt in a fight. We absolutely DO NOT let him fence fight. As soon as we hear the ruckus we have to run out and carry him inside. If you notice Leopold shedding a lot (like an obscene amount) it is because he gets stressed when we leave town or if he feels a change is on the horizon. We add 1 or 2 Tablespoons fish oil (or olive oil) to his feed. It is nothing to worry about, except you will need to vacuum more frequently.

Lexi-The little, white/red (Blenheim) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 6.5 years old. The only way to describe Lexi is neurotic. She freaks out about everything. She will pick up on a subtle clue that you will be leaving for the day (shoes, keys, putting a sweatshirt on, or hey, even getting out of bed may set her off). She is also afflicted with OCD. She will lick like crazy! Herself, you, the other dogs anything she can wrap her little tongue around. She is the worst underwear stealer and WILL demolish a pair of underwear or sometimes socks in a matter of seconds. We call her the scavenger. Her hobby is eating/chewing up anything edible or not. Think q-tips, tissues, underwear, socks, paper, plastic or wooden toys…and the list goes on. Just be careful what ends up on the floor at any given time. Lexi is also the most needy. If you sit down she will want to be in your lap, she is the best cuddle-er. She snores ridiculously loudly for a 12-pound dog. She also has “episodes.” She hyperventilates and can’t catch her breath when she gets too excited or stressed out. Usually she will calm down after a few minutes, but it sometimes helps if you pick her up and pet her. She will sleep on the bed with you and she is the best 107° heater on a cold night. She is a bed hog and very difficult to move in the middle of the night. We jokingly refer to her as “sticky paws” as she has some serious kung-fu-like moves to stay rooted to her spot. She will insist that you pick her up and place her on the bed like the princess that she is, and then in the morning she will request oh-so-kindly that you place her on the floor (Not really it sounds more like a monkey screech).

Lulubelle- (Lulu, unless she is in trouble) Big red/white dog, 6.5 years old. The Matriarch, the old maid, the grumpy lady. She was the cutest, sweetest little puppy, but somewhere along the path of unrequited motherhood and having to share her home with two dumb dogs (her words, not mine) she has gotten grumpy. She lives to eat and sleep. She will let you know when its dinner time every night at 4:30 or 5:00 pm by nosing her bowl all around the kitchen. She won't go upstairs until the last person decides its bed time and even then you will often have to wake her out of a deep sleep. Most likely she will glare at you. She is very independent and not nearly as neurotic as the other dogs, but she has her moments. She is persistent and when she wants something she will bark and bark and bark. If you leave the pantry door open she will rummage through the food bag eating her fill. You will most likely have to force her out the door in the morning to go potty as she is not a morning-dog. She is happy to sleep the morning away. You will also have to force her out the door at night, as she is not a night-dog. If she just stands on the patio looking at you, that is fine, just let her back in, it is not a battle you will win. She must have a water bowl in the bedroom at night. That is the one reason she will wake you up. If the bowl is full she will take a drink and go back to sleep. Her hobby is watching TV. She can pick out an animal on TV from across the room and she will bark until it leaves the screen. If you feel like entertainment, watch a movie with dogs in it, Lulu will bark at the TV and Leopold thinks its at the front door. It will last about 5 minutes before you decide enough is enough. She may choose to sleep on a pillow next to your head, but lately she has only been sleeping under the bed. If she gets cold, she will hop up on the bed nosing her way under the covers, she expects you to lift up the covers so she can burrow to the end. Out of all the dogs she is by far the most demanding, but also in a way, easier because she doesn't require as much cuddling and attention.

Even with all their quirks I love our dogs and our lives wouldn't be the same without them. The fact is that they sleep about 18 to 20 hours/day so they aren't actually a lot of work. Jameson thinks they are the best friends ever. At times, I believe, he even thinks he is a dog. His newest thing is to "kiss" like the dogs and he proceeds to lick and slurp our cheeks and says "woof." He often crawls around on all fours, "head butting" the dogs like they do to each other and has even tried their dog kibble on occasion when he is throwing them a handful. Good thing we use the good stuff. He loves that Lulu naps with him, and Lexi is always up for a cuddle. Leopold, well, he is just fun to chase around and make nervous. I will miss my doggies for the few months we are gone, I just got used to having them around again.

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