Saturday, November 5, 2011

Life With A Thai Street Dog-Week One (Or Do You REALLY Want A Smart Dog?)

One full week has passed since our little Thai street dog came to live with us.

Things I have learned:
Street dogs have obviously read the puppy socialization manuals regarding early exposure to all surface types. Wobbly, solid, slick, rough, icy-no problem. 
My little hipster (come on-Oregon is COLD!)

Street dogs have a strong working knowledge of how latches operate

Street dogs understand that garbage lids not only close, but more importantly, OPEN 

Street dogs understand that ex-pens, even ones that are five feet feet tall, have a giant exit point

Street dogs consider fences as a suggestion only

1st night:

I had hardly slept the night before, excitedly anticipating Arlo's arrival. Had I only known how important uninterrupted sleep would soon become!

His plane got in at six PM, so by the time we got home, gave him food and water and walked around the inside of the house a bit, it was time for bed. Because my husband must wake at the insane hour of  4 AM (a work thing), Arlo and I spent the night in the guest room. I had no idea how Arlo would react to being crated, given his past history and the fact that he had just spent the last 18 hours or so traveling here, most of it spent IN A CRATE. Nevertheless, sleep we must and so I placed him in a brand new crate, pulled right next to my bed. 

We then proceeded to spend one very long sleepless night -me placing my fingers in the crate and saying, "Shhhhh...shhhhhhh" as Arlo woke again and again, crying out through the night.  At around 1 AM,  in a sleep-deprived fog, I put him in bed with me, tethered to my waist with a leash (I had brought one up, just in case). I periodically heard Mark snoring peacefully in our room and was comforted by the knowledge that he, at least, could get a good night's sleep.

Day 2-
Introduced Dexter and Arlo through a baby gate. Dex has been through this drill many times and performed his job (sit and collect treats) perfectly. I watched Arlo closely for signs of fear and saw only curiosity and so I let them meet face to face. Both did a lot of polite sniffing and then Arlo stood on his hind legs, stiffly, growling as he tried to hook a paw over Dex’s neck. One quick squabble and it was back to circling and sniffing, then all was well. I had picked up all toys and closed doors to all rooms except the one we were in so that no one could abruptly meet in a small space. Took lots of small walks on leash. Too soon for off-leash. Tried the crate again and this time Arlo completely panicked-drooling, panting, scratching to get out. Back in bed with me. Heard Mark turning and yawning comfortably in our bed. Hmmm...interesting that he can sleep through this.

Day 3-
First on-leash walk with both Dexter and Arlo. 3.3 miles on the river trail. Everything was going as smooth as silk until a young couple approached on the trail, their collie mix straining at the end of her leash, head down and coming straight on at us. I pointedly moved OFF the trail to let them pass; the couple happily letting their dog follow; assuring me with a cheery, "Don't worry, she loves dogs!" at the exact moment I desperately called out: 

"PLEASE don't let your dog..." 

Too late. 

Dexter exploded as Arlo gamely jumped in to help by hopping up and down and releasing a volley of high-pitched dog curses in Thai. As I pulled my beasties away, I caught the retreating shocked expressions of the couple, each muttering and shaking their heads at my dog's "bad" behavior. I imagine this is a common event in their lives. They probably blissfully stroke their dog's head at night while thinking, "How did we get so lucky?" Oy. And okay, snarkiness notwithstanding, I "know" that they don't "know" and that's just the way it is right now with dogs and leashes and saying "hi"

Night 4
Big night-let Arlo run off leash with Dex. We are on almost seven fenced acres, so the boys could really stretch their legs. Dex runs like a cheetah-body stretched full out as he glides through the air on impossibly long legs; Arlo churning the earth as he tries to keep up. Brought ex-pen into guest room (five feet tall). Took Arlo less than three minutes to climb out like a monkey. Tethered again. Guest room again.  Heard Mark laughing as he watched a sitcom in bed in our room just next door. Gritted my teeth and suppressed a strong urge to smother him with a pillow as he slept.   

Present Time
Dexter's crate on the left, Arlo's on the right
Last night was Arlo's eighth night here. I put a lid (okay-it's chicken wire that I attached, myself) on the ex-pen and moved Dexter's crate  next to him. We are still in the guest room, but I actually slept through an entire night! own bed? A girl can always dream...!


My boys