serenissima: dog bounding with squeak toy in his mouth (Mungo bounding)
Two years ago this month, someone surrendered our dog to the local Humane Society and noted his age as four years. That means he's at least six years old now. Happy birthday, goober.

It's been raining off and on since yesterday evening. This morning I decided to get up and start my day while the whelp was still asleep. When I went downstairs and opened the back door for Mungo to go out, he trotted over happily, then skidded to a stop about four feet away from the door when he saw how wet the back yard was, changed his mind and ambled back to bed. Poor desert-bred dog.  :)

This week I've been taking the dog and the child for morning and evening walks. It seems to calm the whelp and help put him in a sleepy state of mind; morning nap or bedtime follows soon after. I was a little concerned about whether and how to go walking in the rain, but I decided to put the kiddo in the pack anyway and bring an umbrella. The rain let up long enough for us to go most of the way, and the umbrella kept him dry enough for the final block, although the dog and my trousers got damp.

The cool, wet weather is refreshing. The mountains are shrouded in mist. Almost makes it feel like we live someplace else.
serenissima: dog bounding with squeak toy in his mouth (Mungo bounding)
It's starting to get cool enough to go for a walk in the morning. Almost a year has passed since this was part of my daily routine. Mungo has gotten fat loafing around the house all day. The whelp likes being outside, too. When we approach the door while carrying him, he does a happy little bounce. This morning I walked the dog for about half an hour, with the whelp on my back. By the time we got back, he was too tired to want his breakfast (oatmeal and pureed prunes). Maybe the breakfast should come first and the walk after.
serenissima: close-up of dog's face (Mungo closeup)
Mungo has been with us for fourteen months today. I wanted to post an entry commemorating the one-year anniversary of our adopting him, on January 10. The fact that I haven't posted anything about our dog since the baby was born speaks to what's been going on in his life.

Mungo has been doing without daily walks for around five or six months now, except for a couple of weeks last fall when my father walked him while my parents were staying with us. In my last trimester, walking the dog was a physical hardship for me; with a newborn, I had no time. He seems to have resigned himself to the change: last summer, an unwalked dog was a hyperactive dog in the evenings. Now, he spends most of the day lounging around and snoozing. I felt sad and guilty when I realized how his behavior had changed, but his not being a pest does make life easier for us. I'm finally getting to the point where I can do one or two things besides simply make it through the day, so I'm trying to get in at least a short walk to the mailbox (at the end of the street) each day.

We've shown the dog to the baby and the baby to the dog a few times. Mungo sniffs politely but doesn't seem to be interested in our whelp; he's more concerned with us, trying to get us to pet him, play with him, and rub his belly. Whelp, for his part, is only just now becoming aware enough of his surroundings to be curious about the pup. The other day he put his hand on Mungo's nose. Mungo stood still for this, maybe because it was something like being petted. I'm hopeful that they will be good friends when our child is older, but I also wonder about our dog's lifespan. He's already five years old. Will he be tired and slow by the time the boy is big enough to run around outside with him?
serenissima: close-up of dog's face (Mungo closeup)
Mungo is doing fine. In fact, I wasn't going to make an update for him this month, as there's not much to tell. His seasonal shed seems to have tapered off, thank goodness. He has started marking almost like a normal dog — I say almost because at least once I've seen him lift his leg against a tree and nothing came out, and then he put his leg down and leaned forward to empty his bladder in the way he has done previously. Not trying to be crude, but he still has his quirks.

There's a dog park about ten minutes' drive from our house that he enjoys visiting. He doesn't necessarily play with other dogs there. He does sometimes, but he seems to like just sniffing around the large enclosure even more. We've also taken him to "doggy day care" at a popular kennel, but we aren't sure how much he likes that, since he always acts scared when we drop him off with the staff, and we don't stick around to watch how he behaves when released into the enclosure. The kennel was recommended to us by staff at the vet clinic, and I'm sure they take proper care of the animals, but I suspect he's simply happier in our company any time.

What really prompted me to make this post was an article in this month's electronic newsletter from the microchip company. It talked about how black dogs often get passed over at shelters. The day we adopted Mungo, one of the shelter staff there remarked on this same tendency. I did a Google search just now and turned up more links than I expected: here's a whole website devoted to getting dark-colored dogs adopted, and here's a recent New York Times opinion piece defining "black dog syndrome." Apparently, despite not being documented in any statistical study, it has been noticed by a lot of people, and it applies to black cats, too.

Any acquisition of a pet should of course be thought through very carefully, but if you are planning to adopt an animal, please consider getting a dark-colored one, or at least don't rule them out!
serenissima: dog bounding with squeak toy in his mouth (Mungo bounding)
It's hard to believe we've had Mungo for only half a year. It feels like longer, now. I considered moving to bi-monthly doggy status updates rather than monthly, but it turns out I do have something to say: he is no longer a silent dog by any means. He is still a fairly quiet dog, most of the time, but he whines when he wants our attention, and sometimes when he's excited he makes other conversational-type sounds somewhere between a whine and a growl. And just now he barked at me, apparently because he thinks 9 o'clock at night is a great time to play and he wants me to run around with him. I did walk him around the block earlier this evening, and that seemed to help with the restlessness a little.

Also, he seems to be blowing his coat again. We vacuumed less than a week ago, and we could stand to do it again, even after I used the Furminator on our dog a few days ago. When I scritch his chest, hairs come off with each motion of my hand. I hope this lasts no longer than the last time (which was around six to eight weeks, IIRC), preferably shorter.
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
The past few days have been busier than last week. The trucker with our household goods arrived Monday morning, and he and the local helper working with him spent pretty much all day unloading our goods — and I spent pretty much all day keeping watch on them and checking off box numbers from the list. At the end of the day, we were lacking a few boxes and an overstuffed armchair. The truck driver decided to use Tuesday to search his truck again, since he also carried the possessions of two other households, but he found only one box of our books.

I really can't understand how or why the chair would go missing. It's not expensive or glamorous, it's a hand-me-down from [livejournal.com profile] aristeros' family, and it's big. How could people loading our goods fail to see it? Or, if it was on purpose, who would steal such a thing? The main issue with the boxes is our music CDs; nothing else valuable is missing. Our nice wooden dining table that we bought last spring is a bit damaged, though: two of the corner joints have come loose. [livejournal.com profile] aristeros thinks it can be fixed with careful application of glue and clamps. We made note of the missing and damaged items on the official paperwork. The trucker asked us to wait to file a claim until he delivers the other households' items, hoping that our stuff will turn up, but if it doesn't, we'll be reimbursed. In any case, we're inclined not to use movers next time but to pack, load and unload everything ourselves. The lack of control over our goods was frustrating.

Since we found out about the problems, I've been going back and forth between being sad over the loss and damage and not caring much. I think I'm starting to settle toward the not-minding-much end of the spectrum. In the end, these are only things, and they don't even impact our day to day living our lives. What does impact our daily life are the boxes everywhere. I think this house is half the size of the house we were in previously, and it's suddenly become difficult to walk around. We've unpacked maybe a quarter of the boxes since Monday.

Mention of canine bodily fluids ) As I type this, he is looking very cute napping on his side in his regular wire crate (newly unpacked), with a squeaky rubber ball at his nose.
serenissima: close-up of dog's face (Mungo closeup)
Mungo has now moved three times in a month: from our previous house to a hotel, to another hotel, to our current house. He has coped well, I think. He was very excited to be let loose in our back yard after spending two weeks in hotel rooms. He's taking a few more days to adjust to the house itself. We set up his portable crate in a corner of the living room and his mat next to it, and he spent most of his time there in his "safe place" for the first couple of days (we've been here for six days, five nights). One problem he has is that all the flooring is smooth, slick tile, and his feet have very little traction on it. Any time he tries to run indoors, he skids. We find this funny, but we plan to shop for an area rug later, at least for the living room. Meanwhile, it's impressive how much dog hair is on the floor in less than a week.

We're at the end of the street, and other houses' back yards border our yard in three directions. All three have dogs. In fact, I think every house on our street has a dog, although it's hard to tell. The fences are chain link, unlike the stone and cement fences at our last house, and the living room window is big, so Mungo can see what he considers his potential playmates. This means he's rather more agitated than he was in the last house. He still doesn't bark at other dogs, but he does whine and cry when he's indoors and becomes aware of interesting doggy goings-on outside.

There's an old baseball field down the road from our block that's been converted to a dog park, fenced all the way around. We've taken him there twice. Unfortunately, both times he got burrs in his feet after only a couple minutes. It doesn't seem like a good place for him to run around. Too bad; one thing I wished for at the last place was a large, fenced area to let him off leash. It is still too hot out to go walking except before 8 AM or after sunset, so the dog and I are not getting much exercise.
serenissima: dog bounding with squeak toy in his mouth (Mungo bounding)
A beagle and a basset hound live next door to us, and, as hounds do, they like to bay. We're used to hearing them. I've thought more than once that Mungo might have fun running around with them if we were friendlier with our neighbors (not that there's any trouble, we simply don't interact much). Well, this evening I took Mungo out for a rare evening walk, and as we were coming home, my hands full with leash, three days' worth of mail, and a package, we met my neighbor coming out his front door with his two hounds. They barked. Mungo retreated, tail tucked. He continued to avoid the hounds to the extent the leash permitted and did not respond positively to their advances for the whole three or four minutes I spent chatting with their owner. Oh well, so much for that idea.

I was a little surprised, because usually when we're out walking and he sees a dog, he pulls toward it. However, if he actually gets close enough to meet the other dog, and it greets him excitedly and enthusiastically, he usually withdraws a bit. Yesterday I brought him with me to the house of a friend who has two dogs. He was scared to meet them, but after five minutes running loose in the back yard together, he looked much happier, and he seemed to enjoy the afternoon of playing as much as I did talking with my friend. I know more socialization with both other dogs and people would be good for him.

We're hanging on to our sit/down/stand/stay/come training, just barely. Between [livejournal.com profile] aristeros and myself, we generally practice with the dog once on most days. He comes in from outside more readily to [livejournal.com profile] aristeros than to me, now, even though I was the one who took him to class. I've been lax.

We were tipped off to a cheap chew toy: the crushed water bottle. At first, Mungo paid little attention to a crushed Aquafina bottle unless it had food in it. The first evening we gave him a bottle with a piece of cooked chicken inside, he chewed on it for hours; we let him keep it overnight. The bottle was utterly mangled, and the chicken was mashed to a pulp. Now he's had enough fun with bottles that he went after the empty one I had set on the window sill to use for watering my plants. Aquafina bottles, with their ecologically-friendly, reduced-plastic design, do run the risk of being torn open, although I don't think he's quite managed it yet &mdash it just looks as if he might. Gatorade bottles are sturdier.
serenissima: dog bounding with squeak toy in his mouth (Mungo bounding)
Yesterday was the four-month anniversary of our adoption of Mungo. The neat thing about this length of time is that now he has been with us just about as long as he was in the custody of the Humane Society.

He has adapted pretty well. Read more... )
serenissima: close-up of dog's face (Mungo closeup)
I came home from a study session at school, and I ate an apple. Mungo is always interested in his humans' food, so I bit off a chunk and set it on the floor for him. He sniffed it and left it alone. When I finished my apple, I picked up the piece on the floor to throw it away, and that was when he decided to take it from my hand. He trotted off to his mat in the other room with his prize. As I was logging on to the computer, Mungo would mouth the piece of apple, spit it out, pick it up again and chew on it some more. There are now three small fragments of apple on the mat. I don't think he swallowed any.

Obedience class has been... well, educational for me. More doggy stuff )
serenissima: close-up of dog's face (Mungo closeup)
Two months have passed since we adopted our dog. He has become more confident in the past few weeks: he is more willing to meet strangers, and he's a little more vocal. He no longer hides from a delivery man at the door, nor even from the cable repair man who entered the house. He whines sometimes when he wants something — most often, when we're out on a walk and he sees another dog or a person. He pulls toward his prospective playmate, too. Also, he gets into the car under his own power, although sometimes he needs some encouragement (meaning I go in first).

Mungo had a checkup with an actual vet last week, his third visit to the clinic. For the first time, he didn't pee on the examining table. I think this is partly because I was the one to lift him this time, and partly because the vet was very patient with us and first spent a great deal of time just talking with me, and she began her examination of him while he was still on the floor. I learned a lot, including the advice that at 45 pounds, he has a bit too much padding for his frame. We've been making an effort to stick to just 2.5 cups of kibble a day and to reduce his snacks.

I came home today to find that the blanket had been pulled off the couch and the circular I'd left on the easy chair had been crumpled and a corner torn off. I didn't notice anything else disturbed. I hope Mungo isn't starting to mess with our belongings. I don't have a lot of time to entertain him. On Monday, I didn't even have time for his afternoon walk — normally, we walk twice a day. We start obedience training this Saturday morning, and I have high hopes for it.
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
It's been an interesting week with the dog.

First trip to the vet clinic )

Mungo doesn't like visitors )

Otherwise, he continues to be a Good Dog. We've left him in the living room while I'm at class and [livejournal.com profile] aristeros is at work. So far, my dear housemate has been able to come home at lunch time and let him into the yard for a few minutes. That won't always be the case. But, no house training incidents, no annoying barking, no stealing our stuff or eating bad things indoors (outdoors, I have to watch him). He's even starting to play with toys with us: if we run around with the rope or the squeak toy and then toss it, he'll usually chase the toy and pick it up. He just doesn't know what to do with it afterward.
serenissima: (Default)
"Mungo, what is best in life?"
Good: Chewing on his rawhide bone.
Better: Getting petted. A roll in the warm grass on a sunny afternoon.
Bliss: Getting petted while lying in the warm grass, chewing on rawhide. (Actually, I think he would stop chewing if I started petting him.)

Our new family member seems to be settling in fairly well. We haven't had a house training accident since Sunday. We bought him a furry squeak toy, and after initial puzzlement, he seems to have accepted it as something else he may chew on. He's not impressed with the squeaker, though.

Crate training hasn't turned out the way we had in mind. Mungo runs loose )
serenissima: (rose)
Mungo's pretty comfortable with us and our house now. On Wednesday evening, I applied flea & tick treatment along his back. It's made of various oils: clove, thyme, lemon grass, cinnamon, and peppermint. It smells very intensely, to the point that it bothered us humans, and I felt guilty thinking how it must seem to the dog. It also made the hair stick up in a little fur mohawk for a day, making him look a bit like Red XIII. I'm not sure if I want to use that product again next month. If I do, I think I'll put it on him outdoors, right before a walk, so he can't roll on the ground immediately.

house training )
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
Mungo is making progress. Read more... )

Dog, day 2

Jan. 12th, 2009 07:07 am
serenissima: Eastern screech owl (observer)
Mungo did a lot better yesterday. He comes to both of us to be petted -- more readily if we're crouching, but he does come. And then he'll paw us to get more attention and follow us around for a minute. I think he may become a needy dog. He's comfortable enough to jump up and put his front paws on me, which the shelter volunteer said he didn't do! I make him drop down again before more petting.

We let him stay outside for several hours. He comes in from the back yard when encouraged. He even entered the house entirely of his own accord a couple times, although he only sniffed around by the door for less than a minute and then went back out.

He eats and drinks, but he seems to need a minute or two to make sure it's okay to start eating. I still haven't observed him going to the bathroom, but he hasn't done it in the house. I assume he does it in the yard when I'm not looking. He scooted his butt on the ground once while we were out for our evening walk yesterday. I hope that's constipation due to stress and will resolve on its own soon.

Today [livejournal.com profile] aristeros is at work, and I have some errands to run, so he'll be alone in the house for a time. I'm pretty sure he'll be fine, but I've decided to do only things that will have me back within an hour. Maybe tomorrow we can try a car ride. I'd like to take him to a vet this week, and I don't want him to associate car rides with unpleasantness.

Will post pictures soon.

Dog, day 1

Jan. 10th, 2009 11:30 pm
serenissima: (Default)
We brought home a dog from the Humane Society today. My poll from before unanimously recommended a cat, but [livejournal.com profile] aristeros' physical reaction to pets we met over the holidays lead us to think that getting a cat would probably result in sneezing and tears.

We asked the staff to recommend a laid back, mellow dog. They directed us to a medium-sized, flop-eared male of about two or three years of age. He's mostly black with a narrow blaze of white on his chest and brown eyes. He was labeled a cocker spaniel mix, but he looks like he has a lot of black Labrador retriever in him. The only things spaniel-like about him that I can kind of see are the shape of his muzzle and the curl and fluff of his tail.

Our first afternoon with dog )

As for the name, the shelter called him Jerry. We don't especially like that. We are thinking of naming him Mungo, after Mungojerrie.

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