beastie


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A few weeks back, Kathy asked if I could post a photo of Beastie and Beastlet together so she could see their comparative size. What a brilliant idea! Only, every time I tried to take a photo of them together, it turned out like this:

Or this:

Because Beaslet is EVIL. She just can’t stand near Beastie without chasing or attacking him. For now, he can still outrun her. Heaven help us when she is big enough to catch him. Luckily she is a cute little devil. And I have to admit, I think Beastie secretly likes her. Note the fact that his tail is up in these photos. Mr. Submissive is quick to tuck his tail when he’s scared, so this running and chasing thing…it looks suspiciously like playing. Just don’t tell Beastie we’re on to him.

I did manage to get one semi-clear shot of them together.

Don’t let this pastoral scene fool you. Two seconds after the shutter clicked, Beastlet jumped on Beastie’s head and had to be physically removed. Evil, I tell you. Evil.

It’s amazing how fast this little devil angel is growing. Sometimes I swear I can SEE it happening. The sweater she’s wearing in these photos is one we bought the weekend we adopted her. She was so cold that we were desperate to keep her warm. Unfortunately, this extra-small sweater was no help. It was so big on her that we couldn’t keep it on. It fit more like a sleeping bag than a sweater, and a simple twist and squirm was enough to free her from its constraints.

Only a few weeks later, it fits like a glove. We put it on her this weekend, and were shocked to realize this would probably be the last time she would be able to wear it.

Of course, that sad realization led to a photo shoot, because it’s bad enough that she outgrew the tiny sweater I made for her before I had a chance to take photos of her wearing it. I didn’t want to look back in a few weeks and realize we missed our chance with this baby sweater too. I wish we had a photo of her swimming in it for comparison’s sake.

Beastie stood by sadly as we took photos. There is not much he loves more than playing dress up and photo shoots. When Beastlet lost interest, we peeled her out of the sweater and set her free. Beastie edged over immediately and snapped up the sweater, dashing around with his prize. He brought it straight to me, begging for his turn. At first, we laughed. Because seriously? Not going to fit.

But then I had a brilliant idea. An awful, brilliant idea.

Meet the Beastlet (a miniature version of the Beastie)…

When the breeder called yesterday to say that the puppy had had her shots and was ready to go whenever we were ready to pick her up, there was no question of waiting until Saturday. I had the day off work and JP was able to take the day off, so away we went to the mountains of North Georgia, the land that time forgot, where the view is spectacular and the towns are a little creepy. (How many Jesus signs does one town need? I’m just saying…)

Once we saw her in person, we were even more in love. She is so tiny and adorable. Even though at full grown she’ll be much smaller than Winston, she’s actually already bigger than he was when I brought him home. She was one of the biggest of her litter and the breeder said she has been eating like a horse and bossing around all of her siblings. Not exactly a delicate little flower, that one. Of course, that hasn’t stopped us (okay, me) from dolling her up in a sparkly pink collar and carrying her around in a purse.

JP is off for the rest of week, so Lilah will have someone home with her to help her get accustomed to her new surroundings. So far she is settling in pretty well. All she does so far is eat, sleep and poop. Luckily, she’s already good at crying when she needs to go out and almost all of her pottying has been done outside. Unfortunately we are not so lucky when it comes to her sleep schedule. She slept all day yesterday and then spent all night crying. I think we got a grand total of two hours sleep. Let me tell you, I was not pleased when my alarm went off at 4:15 this morning.

The hardest part for me so far has not been the lack of sleep though, it’s watching the Beastie react. Although I’m sure he will warm up to her, right now he is absolutely miserable. He’s terrified of her (I know, he’s a freak) and will not even LOOK at her. The ride home from the breeder went a lot like this:

At home, he spent most of his time upstairs in bed, avoiding all of us. When he does come down, he lurks on the edges of the room, never getting very close. We’ve been trying to spend time with him one-on-one and give him lots of treats. That seems to help. He doesn’t seem mad at us, he’s just skittish and nervous. I think the only remedy is time. Once he figures out that she is not dangerous, hopefully he’ll come around.

is a little sister?

Maybe?

Or maybe what he really wants is for us NOT to get him a little sister?

I’m so confused. For months and months, JP and I have been talking about getting a second dog. We both want one. And it seems like the transition from one dog to two would not be nearly as hard as getting the first dog. After all, we already have to feed/walk/bathe/entertain one dog. And MAYBE if we had two dogs, they would entertain each other and give us a rest every once in awhile.

But on the other hand…poor Beastie is not the most social when it comes to other dogs. He LOVES people and will gladly frolic or cuddle with anyone who looks his direction. And he likes other dogs. When he sees them, he gets all wiggly and waggly and prances all around. But as soon as they get close, it’s a different story. As soon as they get within a six-foot radius, his tail tucks between his legs, his ears flatten against his head, and he runs for cover behind my legs. He’s not truly scared, just incredibly submissive. He WANTS to play, he’s just too nervous.

I’ve spent years trying to socialize him. He’s gone to obedience school, doggie playdates, dog parks, etc. And although he definitely warms up to specific dogs after repeated exposure, he’s never gotten past his timidity. I’ve come to accept that this is just his nature, and there is no cure to be had. And I count my blessings in that regard, because I’d much rather he be super submissive than super dominant and/or aggressive.

So then I start thinking, maybe if it was not just a random dog, maybe if it was a dog he lived with 24-7, then he would not be scared. And then he would be able to play and have fun. Maybe having a little sister would be the best thing that ever happened to him.

But maybe not. Maybe he would stay timid and scared. Maybe he would hate having his home invaded by another dog. Maybe he would be uncomfortable in his own home. Maybe he would feel betrayed.

I just don’t know what to do. I know JP desperately wants another dog. She wants to experience the puppy stage, which she missed with the Beastie, because I adopted him when I was single. And I want so much to experience that with her. If we didn’t already have a dog, there would be no question of getting a puppy right now. We would have already done it.

Right now, I’m leaning heavily toward to the “get a new puppy” camp. But I’m so unsure, so confused about what is the right decision. And I have to wonder: if the decision to get a second pet is this difficult, how do couples ever decide to have a second child?

Any thoughts, stories, advice about adding a second dog to a family greatly appreciated.

Last night, JP and I were sitting at the table playing Monopoly (Day Four of the advent calendar: Family Game Night) when we looked up and saw the Beastie spying on us. He does this frequently — lurks at the top of the spiral staircase, watching us. It’s creepy, and our friends never believe that he actually does this. To prove them wrong, I snapped a quick photo with my always-handy camera.

I was looking at the screen, cursing the fact that the flash always makes his eyes glow a weird blue color when a lightbulb in the kitchen burned out with a loud pop. It was so loud that the Beastie (who is skittish even when there aren’t unexpected loud noises) jumped. Unfortunately, instead of jumping straight in the air, he jumped FORWARD. He flew off the staircase and landed on his side on the hardwood floor.

Ever since we moved in, I’ve waiting with dread for that day. The Beastie is not the most coordinated or sure-footed dog, and I think this fall was only a matter of time. The good news is, he’s absolutely fine. He was shaken at first, but within seconds he was back to normal and running around like a lunatic. I think I was more traumatized than he was. But after a few hours, I chalked it up to a freak accident, and told myself to stop worrying. Like I said, I’ve been waiting for this to happen. Now that it has, I can rest easy. What are the chances it would happen twice?

This morning, he fell off again.

He was chasing JP up the stairs (because he always wants to be the first one up/down the stairs) when he tripped and tumbled right off, in almost exactly the same spot. Once again, he landed on his side and was stunned for only a second before getting up and running around. Of course, that didn’t stop me from dissolving into gut-wrenching sobs, because Oh. My. God. think about all the bad things that COULD have happened! And is this going to be a daily event from now on? I cannot live like that: with a daily dose of my heart leaping into my throat.

On the upside, neither fall affected him in the least. Not only is he unhurt, he seems totally unafraid as he blithely runs up and down the stairs a million times a day. We always joke that he should get a job and pull his weight around here — maybe we really should look into a Hollywood stuntdog career.

Well, we finally broke down and turned on our heat yesterday. We’ve been trying to avoid it as long as possible. In an attempt to reduce both our carbon footprint and out energy bills, we’ve decided that our first reaction to cold or heat should be to adjust our clothing, not our thermostat. We’ve done really well: JPhas her new quilt, and I have a new fleece blanket that I made for myself (pictures to follow at some point). And we have plenty of sweatpants and hoodies, etc. But it’s dipped down into the low 40s the past couple of nights and we finally decided to run the heat for a little bit at night. Of course, the best laid plans… Something is wrong with our heat. I don’t know what, all I know is that it blows only cold air. I thought maybe it just needed a little time to warm up. No such luck. Ironically, running the heat actually made it COLDER in our house. So back off it went. We’re going to need to call the landlord and get it fixed. In the meantime, more bundling. For us and for poor Beastie, who shivers when the temperature drops below 70. Luckily he has plenty of hoodies too.

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