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Virtual Benjamins to anyone who knows where the subject line comes from. I am behind on everything in the world, including responding to comments on the Justified vid (thank you, in advance, for the lovely comments).

Why? Because I have me a dog... not quite in the way I was hoping, and not one that will be here forever, but there is a dog in the house and has been for more than a week, and I have basically gotten almost nothing done in the time being. It's probably a good thing both my books that I was supposed to edit this month have been pushed back, although financially not so much.

The rescue group I had contacted about a dog told me the fosters had decided to keep her, but they contacted me right after that about a corgi that needed a home without a lot of stairs. I said I'd meet her, but I didn't realize that they would bring her by and I was going to be fostering her. Surprise! It was a "foster to adopt" scenario, but I could tell right away that we were not right for each other. She is the sweetest dog in the world, a corgi/beagle mix, but she's supposed to be on crate rest for a back injury (she doesn't seem to feel anything so much as her legs go out and she has trouble walking), and this causes her lots of frustration, and she acts out in a lot of ways. We've had massive lunging, barking, and baying issues. And her excitement level at going for little walks (which I'm not supposed to give her, but it's too cruel not to) is sky-high, so she's oblivious to commands, and it never really gets down to a manageable level. I'm doing everything I can, but it's not always easy.

She is okay with the cats in the house, but when she sees them outside she chases, which means she crashes through plants and jumps around, something she shouldn't do. The first few days, I had to lift her downstairs, and it hurt my back so badly (she weighs about 30 pounds) that I never have really recovered, and the foster folks built a little ramp, but... it's hard to get her to keep using it. When I have her on leash, I can, but when she's too excited, she runs down the stairs, often falling. Arg. I've taken her down to my dad's retirement center, and she was apeshit beforehand and I couldn't get her walked out of that. Fortunately when we left she had calmed, but it was hard going. The last thing I wanted was for her to knock someone off their walker or something. But man, did she respond to my dad's commands. I got the feeling that she must have gone for walks or runs with the man in her family.

Sadie (her name) is about 4, and the beagle in her is very prominent, more so I think than the corgi. The other day a woman came by and told me she was looking for an escaped "big beagle," which Sadie found on our walk, and so with a lot of trouble, I managed to get her home and inside before taking TJ back to his house, and I heard the most godawful racket from my house. I turned back and saw her standing on the back of the couch baying out the window; when I got back, she was on the freaking dining table in the kitchen barking at me out the window. So much for no exercise.

But she's got so much love to give. She wants loves 24/7, and she is much more energetic than I am, so I could tell we weren't a good fit, since I often have to concentrate on the computer for a lot of time and can't give her the attention she wants. She was cooped up in a vet's office for a week, so I know she's got a lot of neediness from that, and she's been through so much. Today my neighbor introduced her 5-year-old niece to us, and Sadie was a complete angel to her, so I think what Sadie really needs is a family who can give her lots of loves and action. But of course, be mindful of her back.

It's been an interesting experience, even if it's one I didn't necessarily want. I wasn't prepared to be a foster mom, to take in a special needs doggie right away, and I think the back injury and the enormous time sink it's been (I really am so far behind on very important stuff) has caused my stress level to rocket up, which she can no doubt sense. I think I've learned what I want in a dog and what kind of dog I would be a good mom for. Olive, oddly, is totally blase about the whole thing -- she's not happy, but only gets spooked when the dog is really hyper or comes at her -- and then half the time she just hits her and snarls. Blues, OTOH, panics at every movement, and runs, which makes Sadie chase him. It's gotten ugly a few times. But they have both been so loving to me!! If I'd known all I needed was a dog to make them appreciate me, I'd have done this sooner.

Unfortunately, Sadie also turns her nose up at most food, so I have to bend over all the time to put things in it, stir in broth or something to get her to eat, which doesn't help. Painting and tread taping the ramp did more back damage. It's just been... hard. I want to be loving to her and not let her feel my stress and pain, but she can be somewhat difficult. And she won't tell me if she has to go potty, so I have to take her out constantly -- and the pouring, torrential rain we had last week made me really cranky. I don't like being cold and wet. I want a dog that hates being cold and wet, too!

Basically, I think I want a dog that's a cat. Just a cat that will go on car trips and go to parks and take long walks. ;-) But right now I need to de-stress and get through the next few rough weeks. Tomorrow's an adoption event I'm taking her to, and they told me someone has expressed interest in her, so we'll see. I want to regroup and figure everything out before I commit to a forever home for a dog. Everything has to feel right. At least I know that the kitties won't leave me, even if they're unhappy.

Oh, and here's a link to her pics and bio: http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/17580537

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Oct. 16th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
Virtual Benjamins to anyone who knows where the subject line comes from.

"I wish I had a glass of water."
"Why--you thirsty?"
"No, I wanna see if my neck leaks."

(Totally need an icon.)
Oct. 17th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Mickey! Peter! How now, brown cow?
Oct. 16th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
Basically, I think I want a dog that's a cat.

Hmm. Have you thought about a dachshund? I don't know if they're all this way, but my aunt raised them for a while, and they were very cat-like. Especially her favorite, Leo. He always cuddled and supervised in cat fashion.

I know you're looking for a rescue dog, but just sort of throwing that out there. The other dogs I have met who are somewhat cat-like are female labs and a female french bulldog/bichon mix, greyhounds, and the coolest dog I ever met, a female catahoula. I know the latter two, at least, have rescue organizations.

Of course, I sorta know nothing about dogs. But those are the dogs that I remember really connecting with, as a lifelong cat person. :) (The icon is the french bulldog mix puppy.)
Oct. 17th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
I think the thing with doxies is that from what I've seen with my friends', they're barking machines, and destroyers of worlds. I think I would lose it if they ate my stuff. i gotta give Sadie credit, she is not an eater of stuff.

I've always thought of myself as an all-animal lover, but I think this has made me wonder about myself. Growing up with dogs, I never thought much about the care of them -- it just was what it was. I longed for a dog I could go on walks with, but we had hunting dogs, and they were not good on walks. So I alwyas felt like I had to do the dog care without any of the enjoyment of them -- they were definitely my dad's dogs.

I think it was just bad to start out with one with such special needs, and have it be a negative impact this way. I think if I'd had the dog I first wanted, this situation might have been radically different.
Oct. 16th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC)
Virtual Benjamins to anyone who knows where the subject line comes from.

Their theme song is totally stuck in my head now.
Oct. 17th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
They are the earworm makers from HELL.
Oct. 16th, 2010 07:00 am (UTC)
*cracks knuckles and babbles on about dogs at you*

OK, what's your range for a "long" walk?

Most of your hunting/sporting breeds are gonna be good for lots of walking, but if they don't get the walking and initial training they will be very much like Sadie (which, makes sense as Beagles are really just small Fox Hound/Harrier types). This will include the labs, the catahoula (which is very, very lab-like), and even the doxies--if you go with a full-size doxie, they are very much in the "medium dog, short legs" camp and they really do live up to the "hund" part of their name.

Long walks are probably going to rule out anything in the toy group, and I'd caution against terriers a) as an older dog unless they are used to cats or b) as puppies because they are pretty intense for the first year and change and from what you've said I don't think that's what you're looking for.

Greyhounds are surprisingly mellow and very, very lazy, so they might work for cat-ish-ness + walkies. Rescues for them are big in my city because we have a dog track. If you went rescue for them, you'd have to makes sure you got one that's used to cats or smaller animals; they're inclined to chase "lures" otherwise. They're also pretty large (if space is an issue). Still, the ones I've met have been very sweet.

Something in the spitz family might be what you're looking for: smaller, medium coats (usually), kind of in the middle for a lot of traits and energy level.

It really depends on the space you have, how much you plan to walk, how much time you want to spend on grooming, and what kind of behavior you want. (I mean, Newfoundlands are awesomely sweet, lazy yet not afraid to work; they are also huge and droolers.)

I...am not a dog fanatic. At all. Nope. I do not have breed pages bookmarked or anything even remotely like that. Um...Nor was I ever a reference librarian. Nuh-uh. And the combination of these two things will, in no way, lead me to provide way more information than anyone wants...
Oct. 17th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
Well, I live about a 15 minute walk from one beach, and a 30-min walk from another, so being able to go long enough to reach the beaches would be great for both of us. The closest one is also a great walk in itself -- it's a huge, forested park, and I live near the beach path, but you can go up the steep hillside and into the wooded trails, as well. And the whole neighborhood is just great for walking, there are sidewalks almost everywhere, and lots of hills, and views, and greenbelts. Honestly, you couldn't ask for a better dog neighborhood, which is probably why about 75% of my neighbors have one.

I knew from early experience growing up with hunting dogs that I do not want a hunting dog of any type at all. I never saw myself as a small lap dog owner, but I just really do not want a dog that sticks its nose to the ground and goes out of control over smelling a squirrel. I'm just done with that. And unfortunately Sadie's much more beagle than corgi. Herding I can handle, hunting I can't. Barkers also drive me batshit. I really hate barking, probably because of all the years at field trials with packs of baying, barking dogs.

I love a lot of terriers, but yeah, I do worry a bit about the cat issue, and also the killing of my furniture/stuff in the house (which is my big worry about dachshunds, actually). My friends have doxies that are good, and some that aren't so good, so it's hard for me to know whether I'd want that full-time. I love their dogs, though, when I visit.

I think out of all the dogs out there, the one I'm most drawn to and that sounds suitable for me is an italian greyhound. They say they are the most catlike of breeds, and a friend has a neighbor who fosters rescues, and she has cats, so most of hers get along with cats. She works on training issues and such. There's an iggy in my neighborhood who is the cutest little thing ever, although a bit of a barker.

i think that this just has been a difficult situation, and it started me out on the wrong foot. Once I'm better and in less pain, and less stressed about some of the stuff I've got upcoming, I might be able to re-examine this.
Oct. 17th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it sounds like Sadie is a combination of the things you're NOT looking for in a dog. But, hey, better to know now when you're only fostering than if you'd adopted or bought her permanently.

Italian greyhound does sound like a very good choice (especially with the plain greyhounds being rather large...). If you can't find one, Whippets are quite similar in size and behavior. On the outer edge of that size/activity level/look/temperament are the Miniature Pinscher (a bit more on the "hunting" side) and the Manchester Terrier (I know--a terrier, but they aren't quite as typical terrier as some).

I hope you feel better soon!
Oct. 16th, 2010 08:06 am (UTC)
OMG If I had headed out to Redmond again after graduation, I would take her in a heartbeat. HEARTBEAT. She sounds like the beagle comes out a lot, and I really want another beagle mix. (I even had to ramp the last one towards the end, because of his back problems.)

My parents have a toy poodle who I keep saying acts like a cat, except she loves car rides and walks. She hates cold and wet, and she doesn't need a lot of attention. Well, sort of. She wants to be in the same room you are, but she's perfectly fine entertaining herself as long as she can be near you. She's the sweetest, silliest little dog ever; I'm not a fan of small dogs, but she really stole my heart. I keep threatening to take her with me when I move.
Oct. 17th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean -- I never really saw myself as being a small dog owner, but there have been some cutie pies I've seen lately that I could totally see being in my home, with me.
Oct. 16th, 2010 09:07 am (UTC)
Sounds like a greyhound might be ideal - I hear they like to sleep a lot.
Oct. 17th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC)
I feel like my house is too small for a full-size one, but my neighbor swears they don't take as much room as they seem to. I have a lot of re-assessing to do, though.
Oct. 16th, 2010 09:23 am (UTC)
Poor Sadie, she sounds like a handful, and her own worst enemy when it comes to taking the time and the rest to heal up. A speedy recovery, and a good and loving home for her soon.

PS. I think it's marvelous what you're doing for her.
Oct. 17th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, every day is kind of a battle for me to try to get her to take it easy. I think the hard part is that it's difficult for me to keep my exasperation and pain in check, and she knows I'm unhappy, but she doesn't understand why. If only we could talk to them and tell them, hey, it's better for both of us if you chill for a while!
Oct. 16th, 2010 11:43 am (UTC)
It's good that you're learning from fostering! (And thank you for fostering.) You might consider a slightly older dog. The rule of thumb that I go by is that somewhere between three and four they mellow out... so look for a five-year-old. ;)

I'm with other commenters: avoid terriers (they're awesome, but probably not for you) and most sporting dogs unless they were raised with kitties. Definitely consider a greyhound. Or, look at shelters that do pretty extensive temperament assessments before they adopt out-- you'll have a better idea what you're getting.

And older dogs desperately need to be adopted. Everyone goes for the pups.
Oct. 17th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
At the adoption event yesterday, there was a pile o' puppies (chihuahuas, I think), and OMG puppy smell... it's like perfume to me. But I know how difficult that would be, so no... but at this point, I almost think a pup would be about as much of a challenge as Sadie is!

I took her up the wash place today and they groomed her, and she seems very proud and alert. I think she's going to be great for someone. But right now we both have enough back problems between the two of us to make this a hard situation!
Oct. 16th, 2010 12:09 pm (UTC)
SO fabulous that the cats are being sweet now!!! Yay!!!!!

I think you might want to consider some of the small non-working dogs. Papillons are great companion animals, and while they do need some exercise, they're frequently described as perfect apartment dogs because they aren't considered to need a ton of exercise. Also, they generally get on well with cats and other small pets. Very delicate, low-intensity dogs (so, the hardest they touch you when they're playing is very soft compared to other dogs). And, they even dislike going out in the rain to potty. (Mine uses puppy pads in the kitchen and is very good about only going there). So I'm a little biased, but it does seem like a lot of the qualities you want could be provided with a papillon.

You might also look at a Japanese Chin, and at bichons, malteses, and toy poodles -- maybe a mix between one of the others and poodle would help with the health issues that these breeds are somewhat prone to. With back problems, you would probably do better with a dog under 10 pounds.

I think it's extremely admirable to rescue a dog, but don't be guilted into not considering one from a breeder -- you do have some specific needs, and good breeders pretty much exist to get you exactly the qualities you are looking for in a dog.

Such great news that your cats are behaving!!! I'm so happy for you!!!
Oct. 17th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
The funny thing about this with the cats is that I though for sure Olive would try once again to find herself a new home... but she seems largely unfazed by the whole thing. She doesn't like the dog, but she's not leaving me because of it, so yay. I'd never thought about a papillon, but I'd never thought of myself as a small dog owner before, and now I'm definitely rethinking that. I just want no hunting dog of any kind in my permanent dog, that much I do know.
Oct. 19th, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)
They do surprise you! Maybe Olive was around a small dog before? In any event, it's great that she seems to be ok.

You know, I wanted the same thing - no hunting dog, because of my ferrets. Terriers, especially, have strong hunting instincts and I just couldn't chance that coming out even in a mixed breed. The thing is, there are just not a lot of small dogs that don't have any hunting instincts in them, and especially not many choices if you want one that is not highly energetic. Definitely do your research - I'm sure there are some I haven't thought of - but I think your main choices are going to be poodles, maltese, bichon, chin, shih tzu, pug, or papillon, and of those, I think the papillon has the longest lifespan with the fewest health issues, and also is in the lower energy spectrum. To be honest, a japanese chin might have been an equally good choice, but I just couldn't get over their little smushed faces; it always make me feel like they're in pain. *g*
Oct. 16th, 2010 12:20 pm (UTC)
You might look at a Chinese Crested (powderpuff if you don't like the hairless look). In my experience, coated dogs shed a whole LOT less that short-haired dogs, but you want to make sure that the individual coated dog is amenable to brushing (this is why it is fun to brush my 65-pound puppy and misery to do the same for my 11-pound Maltese).

I'm surprised that a beagle mix is being fussy about her food: You might try putting it down for 15-20 minutes and then picking it up and not offering it again (or giving any treats) for between 4-12 hours depending on her regular feeding schedule (Chopper and Puccini get two meals and a mini-meal a day; Fezzik gets breakfast, dinner, and training treats). Repeat until dog realizes picky doesn't work.
Oct. 17th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the info about the food. I found out she really likes that loaf thing from Natural Balance, and they told me that a lot of people grate it over food that their dog won't eat and they will magically eat it. So I think I'm just going to finish this food off and give her the Natural Balance loaf stuff with some dry food, which she won't eat, but is supposed to. She is the fussiest dog I've ever met, which is weird, because every dog I've ever known would eat ANYthing -- they're like goats.
Oct. 16th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC)
We found Pepper at the local pound about two years ago; she just turned three.

Check the pounds on a regular basis and someone special will turn up for you.

Oct. 17th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
Is that the dog in the icon? She's a cutie patootie!!
Oct. 16th, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC)
I think the main reason I like cats more than dogs is dogs are high maintenance animals compared to cats. And I'm basically a selfish person...
Oct. 17th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
They are definitely higher maintenance. And maybe that's part of the problem -- right now, I'm not in good enough shape mentally and emotionally for the maintenance, even though I thought I would be. And she's much higher maintenance because of her injuries.
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