Thursday, December 16, 2010

Doggone Fashion

If you lose something is that a dislocation?

I guess *sigh* I need to make time to doing some serious cleaning and organizing. I thought I was well organized, but there are several things I can't find.  I just need more time each day. Getting up at 4am and working like mad all day, just doens't seem to get everything done.

How can I possibly lose things in a small motorhome? Losing my mind is not near as stressful. It won't get far,  in the shape it's in.

My 7-day pill-minder for my St Johns Wort vanished. Luckily my friend had one she never uses and gave it to me. But what happened to the other one?

I can't blame the dog. He, thankfully, leaves my stuff alone. When I got him, he had never had a toy before. I bought him toys as a training aid. Whenever he grabbed something of mine, as puppies are wont to do,I would tell him "NO! take it away, then grab one of his toys. "Here, play with your toys and leave my toys alone."

Harley in his "golf sweater" I found for a $1 at a Dollar Tree store.
It's thin but does the job when it's just nippy and not cold.
Yes, he is dancing on two legs, because he saw his buddy!

He readily grasped this situation.  I've been able to blissfully coexist with the puppy in a small space without having my stuff chewed up or destroyed. Thank goodness for small favors. My shoes are not drooled on or torn up, my throw rugs show no teeth marks, the electric cords are ignored, my pens are safe and so on.

He's learned the names of most of his toys right away such as bear (for his beloved battered teddy bear), football, Frisbee, golf ball, tennis ball and Bo-Bo (his huge stuffed weenie dog toy). He sometimes destroys or shreds his toys, a new habit I really don't like, but I let him do it anyhow. It's his toys and if he wants them shredded, ripped, and unstuffed, I'm just grateful he leaves my things alone. Indeed, his teddy bear has lost a lot of stuffing, but he loves fighting with the now skinny bear plus playing fetch with his toys.
I am having a hard time getting him to learn "drop it". He loves to fetch a thrown ball or Frisbee, but then he wants to play keep-away with it. *Sigh*.
He's been pretty slow to learn much else it seems. But then again, his comprehension is expanding, when I least expect it. He's learned some words, I wasn't even trying to teach him, such as walk, harness and sweater.

Wolfman Harley in his sock sweater.
I made this from my black sock,  one chilly morning, before we found doggy sweaters. 
 I can say "Want to go for a walk?" sending him into wild conniptions until he is harnessed, leashed and out the door with me. One morning I said "I would take you for a walk, but first we have to find your harness!" He gleefully appeared a moment later carrying his harness. I don't know where he found it, as I was looking everywhere for it. I didn't even realize he had learned the harness word.

Sometimes he leaps up and does a hilarious 360 degree turn, so I keep saying "360' every time he does this. The other day, I actually got him to do a few 360's on command to the delight of my friends. But other days, when I say it, he gives me that goofy one-ear-up, one-ear-down look and does nothing.
Harley loves to wear his faux fur coat on cold mornings.
On chilly days, I have to put a doggy sweater or canine coat on him, or sometimes both, in layers. He just loves getting dressed. I can mention, "First you have to get dressed" which sends him into wild excitement as we paw through his tiny basket of doggy outerwear. When I present the sweater, he calms himself down, let's me pop the sweater over his silly head, pull his goofy ears out, then place his front paws through the arm holes. Then I adjust the sweater nice and neat. He is absolutely thrilled, prancing around afterwards as if he is the star of his own show.

I've never owned a dog that wears clothes. At first I felt absolutely silly, wondering if I had lost my mind. But seeing him shiver and shake, then reading up on his mixed breed, that they get cold very easily and require outerwear for comfort, and health, I had to cave in and consider dog attire. Furthermore, when I rescued my pooch he was severely malnourished, just skin and bones with very thin dull fur. With good nutrition, he has put on a tiny amount of weight, and his fur has blossomed out, but not enough to keep him warm.

The sweaters at the big chain pet stores were nice, but way out of our budget. My friend Cheryl, an experienced small-dog owner, advised me to constantly be on the outlook for doggy-wear at the discount stores, then grab them as I found them, because they sell out quickly, since many small dogs need them if their owners walk them or let them play outside.
Harley taking a snooze in his hand-me-down but oh-so-cute sweater.  
So his first "sweater" was made from my black sock. I cut the toe off, then where the heal was, I cut two tiny arm holes. I popped this on him,one chilly morning, and he was thrilled. His next sweater was a hand-me-down from Cheryl, whose puppy had outgrown it. It was beautiful in shades of blue stripes.

I measured his chest (13 inches) and his neck (8 inches) so when and if I found something, I could take my tape measure out (I carry one in my purse) and check for fit. So throughout the fall, while traveling towards this job, I found myself searching assorted discount stores for doggy-wear.

There is lots of frilly sissy stuff available, but I don't want my doggy dressed like a clown, even if he is a fool. Also, my male friend was traveling with me most of the fall,while I was headed for this job and neither of us wanted to be seen with a ridiculously dressed puppy. He thought this venture of searching the discount stores for doggy wear was a waste of time until it got cold and he saw how pathetically, puppy shakes and shivers when he is cold, which is generally anytime it's below 69F degrees.

I never knew finding suitable doggy sweaters on a budget could be so hard. The puppy needed several sweaters, as I quickly discovered, because just like human clothes, they get dirty and smelly. Since my 6 pound pooch likes to hop up into any willing lap, it's important he smells nice and is clean. So add bathing and grooming (with PawFume spray) to the mix, and good grief, this little bit of fluff is turning out to be loads of trouble.  He doesn't much care for the  PawFume spray (it hisses like a mad cat) but he loves the brushing. I like the PawFume spray (it was a gift, from someone who claims they were not implying he stunk).  I like the stuff,  because it makes him stink pretty, rather than pretty stinking. I never trim his fur, he doesn't have much to start with. Besides, I like his wild look.

What have I got myself into?

I just wanted a doggy for purely selfish reasons.

I need to briskly walk several times a day for my health, to improve my stamina, to promote good circulation, to strengthen my heart, lungs, brain and so on. I just wouldn't walk alone, so I got this bright idea to find a small dog to rescue, as I could never afford the ridiculous prices of actually buying a dog, plus I have a strong aversion to puppy mills. The private breeders demand a princely sum for a small dog. Several animal shelters informed me the small dogs, even the mixed-up multi-breeds, are usually gone within the hour and very difficult to obtain. It all seemed so depressing at the time.

My motorhome is small, my budget is tiny, but for my own health reasons, I felt finding a suitable pooch was important.

It seems once this decision was made, out of the clear blue, an Angel steered me to a needy, tiny mutt. He didn't cost a thing.

I should have been suspicious. (Ha ha ha!)

He was suffering from malnutrition, had zero training and he was so ugly, he was cute in a ragamuffin way. I was both delighted and scared. He had never worn a collar nor harness, was clueless about this leash business and knew no commands at all. He was five months old at the time, having been born on Christmas in 2009.

I bought puppy chow, leash, harness, and toys from the sale table. A few days later, I had to invest in a cozy cat bed because I can't have puppy in my lap 24/7. He is clearly delighted with his bed, which gets moved all over the motorhome, but at night, is tucked into the corner of my bed, so he can enjoy the mattress warmer on cold nights.

Romping around outdoors naturally gets his sweaters dirty. So into my wash go his canine clothes and sometimes toys he has dragged through the mud when I wasn't looking. How expensive can one tiny dog get?

Some lovely friends, treated him to Christmas in July, outfitting him with more toys, a new harness,(the old one was looking pretty tattered already) a matching leash, and assorted treats. I had no idea he would next require sweaters, as I acquired him in the warm month of May.

When my little pooch began shivering and shaking on cooler mornings, last fall, I began to search for sweaters. After realizing the chain pet stores seem to charge a fortune for a small doggy sweater, I began my odyssey of discount stores as I traveled.

Mostly I entered and left the store, empty handed. Finally at a Dollar Tree store, I found two thin cheap sweaters for only $1 each. At Big Lots I found a faux fur coat for really cold days, also a bargain. After stopping at numerous Walmarts, I finally found two affordable thicker sweaters in stock. A friend then gifted him a fancy new sweater with a pocket.

What's a doggy going to do with a pocket? Put his cell phone in it and call home if he gets lost?

He wore his new gifted sweater, but surprisingly, it fell apart the first time it was washed. So now my friend wants me to go ask them to replace it, but she has lost the reciept. Now she's called the store about it, and they claim they will exchange it, sans receipt. (They did!)

Then one day while Harley was playing with a friend's dog, (who is well-known for destroying things) he ripped up my pooch's sweater and harness. Oops. One sweater and harness into the garbage now. I've since had to try to tactfully teach their doggy that my puppy's outerwear is off-limits. Good grief.
For all the trouble my little mutt has turned out to be, I am super grateful he isn't a destroyer, determined to demolish things inappropriately. Aren't small favors wonderful?

What seems so ironic, is that I have spent the fall searching Goodwill and other nearly-new shops, (who am I kidding, they're used clothing shops) to try to find my own thrifty winter wear. So while I am dressing in used clothing, my puppy ends up with the new stuff. But I haven't run across any used doggy clothing places.

Life is funny that way.

Well, it's time to dress the pooch and me, so we can go walk (very briskly I might add) in the 34F degree weather. I think puppy will require both sweater and coat just to survive the unseasonably low temperatures that we are experiencing in Orlando, Florida this week.

The county government has gratefully extended my "illegal" stay through New Year's Eve. My current parttime job was in exchange for parking my motorhome for free. However, the local county government, apparently has a law making it illegal for the homeowner to park a boat or motorhome on her own property. We can't find a campground closer than 20 miles away, so that hardly makes me available for the emergencies they need me for. So in other words, come New Year's Day I am up a creek without a paddle. Oh well, life just gets stranger.

Happy Holidaze!

A Big Thank You To The Angels Watching Over Me
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