Several months ago, I entered this essay to All Things Dogs in the hopes of receiving a $1000 scholarship for school. I didn’t win, but I couldn’t share this until now. Here you go!
I had just moved back in with my mom after ending a relationship. We had gotten a puppy in the first year of the relationship, and we were together for seven years after that. He kept the dog. My heart dog. The best dog I had ever had. So when my mom’s dog was due to have puppies, I was doomed to fall in love. I did not want a puppy for a multitude of reasons but I also had a dog – shaped hole in my heart.
For the record, I love dogs, but puppies are completely different. They’re little balls of chaos, with sharp nails, and needle teeth. I had vowed never to get another puppy, and to adopt an adult dog when the time was right. I had plans to go to the animal shelter and pick out a friendly pit bull with a happy grin, or a smallish terrier mix with an outgoing personality. That wasn’t what happened though. Instead I ended up with two German Shepherds.
When the puppies were born, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with one slightly fluffier little boy. I named him Yuba. He was calm, quiet, didn’t bite very much. My perfect puppy, or so he seemed at that moment in time. Out of the nine surviving puppies, this was the one I couldn’t get enough of. His sweet face, his soft coat, his gentle nibbles on my fingers. I didn’t realize at the time that the way he would hang back from the others and his super laid – back nature would be a sign of future behavioral problems.
As time went on, the other puppies all found homes except for one. He and Yuba were both very shy, anxious puppies and would hide behind me when anyone came to see the remaining puppies in the litter. We called him Tejon and decided no one else deserved such a sweet boy. Tejon was now part of the family too.
Tejony and Yuba were terrors for several months. The wild puppy stage never seemed to end and they seemed to be more destructive than any puppies my family had ever had before. They chewed holes through the drywall. They tore up most of the linoleum on the kitchen floor. Yuba discovered a taste for all things electrical cord, and I had to replace all my chargers at least twice. Tejon destroyed at least 6 remote controls.
I hadn’t heard of littermate syndrome before, but I was about to get a crash course in it now. Yuba and Tejon started getting into tussles that weren’t play around 4 months old. A few weeks of this, and then they’d settle down to being best friends again for several months. Tejon was the more dominant dog, and Yuba wanted to challenge him at every turn.
The next thing I discovered was that because the boys were literally together every moment of their lives, they were strongly bonded to each other, but only minimally bonded to me despite sleeping with me every night and getting lots of daily attention from me. This led to a lot of difficulties ranging from training being nearly impossible because they both have minimal interest in anything other than what the other is doing, and trying to work with them separately results in highly anxious dogs. Small things like “sit” and recall took much longer to teach them than was typical for a single dog.
They work together as a team when they want something. When Tejon had an accident resulting in roughly 20 stitches across his ribs on one side, Yuba would help him remove his t-shirts, and plastic e-collar. When we upgraded Tejon to an inflatable e-collar, Yuba helpfully chewed it off of him and they punctured it together so it could no longer be worn.
At about a year old, I had to buy a crate for Yuba to sleep in at night because he was anxious at night and would either wake me every few hours, or he would destroy anything he could get hold of. The first night he hated his crate. By the end of the week, all I had to say was “it’s bedtime!” and he was happily entering the crate on his own to lay down and sleep. The crate soon became another area of contention, with Tejon occasionally retreating into it for some quiet time, and Yuba challenging his being there.
At around 18 months, they finally started to settle down and become the good dogs I knew they could be. They stopped destroying the house. They stopped chewing things up except for the occasional remote control. They greet me quietly and happily at the door when I come home from class. They’re the best of friends most of the time. They still have periods where they fight over dominance, which can be terrifying because at over 80 pounds each, it takes two people to break them up and put them in “time out.”
Unfortunately, despite being sweet, loving, wonderful dogs to me and my family, they have some behavioral issues. Littermate syndrome will likely be an issue for their entire lives, and they never grew out of their puppyhood anxieties. Tejon isn’t too bad, but he won’t allow strangers to touch him. Yuba, on the other hand, is a bite hazard. He’s terrified of people he doesn’t know, and going to the vet requires a muzzle. I have to be vigilant whenever I take him anywhere because I need to protect him from his own fears.
I wish other people could meet the boys I know, the Yuba that runs zoomies around the house at 8pm and then gives me kisses, and the Tejon who sprawls across my bed in the late hours of the night wanting his belly rubbed for as long as I can do it. It’s the sweet, social side of them I wish I could share with the rest of the world. They aren’t perfect dogs, but they’re my boys. My good, sweet boys. I wouldn’t trade them for another dog despite their behavioral problems. It does make things more difficult, but dogs are family and they have my unconditional love.
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And the rest of my bounty, courtesy of the people of the internet, has arrived! Notebooks, scientific calculator, tablet case, pens, thumb drive, pencil sharpener, stickers. I cannot say thank you enough to the kind souls who purchased these things for me. #goodpeopleexist #randomactsofkindness
The rest of the items that were so graciously gifted to me have arrived!
More notebooks, pens (black ink), a thumb drive, a little sharpener, more stickers, a case for my Kindle, a calculator… I will be set with this stuff for at least 3 semesters. The only thing I’m going to need are scantron sheets.
Monday is my registration date at College of the Canyons, and I’ve finally settled on a class schedule. I’ll be going for about 7 hours on Mondays, and about 4 and a half hours on Wednesdays. It’ll be tough, but it’ll mean 4 less hours a week I spend in my car driving.
I’ve also got $105 towards my Spanish textbook from selling yarn and I may be able to sell a little more still. The goal of course is to not have to borrow from my mom – I already owe the Bank of Mom a lot of money.
I’ve got a few short subsections of pre-algebra left in the Khan Academy app. It’s mostly scientific notation and while it’s not difficult, today just wasn’t the right day to try to slot through it.
I took Moppie to the vet first thing this morning for her followup and she got a clean bill of health. Dr Debbie said she’s a bit anemic but it’s to be expected with all the blood draws this week and all the iv fluids.
I planted pepper seeds a week ago and I currently have 4 tiny seedlings that have come up! I’m super excited about them, but since they’re going to be houseplants, I’ll likely have to manually polinate them. Pretty sure a paint brush will work for that.
I finished my exam, which didn’t take long. I’ll be driving in to turn it in this evening. I know I’m getting a good grade but I’m still curious about my other grades in the class and whether or not I might get a B. A B would make me so happy.
I purchased and ordered yarn for my first sweater. The pattern seems to be more recipe than pattern, so I should be able to easily make a few minor changes. It’s basically a tube (it’s of the shoulder) with a cable across the chest.
I feel so much better in the days since dropping the friend I wrote about before. I’m just so much less stressed and I’m not worrying about making sure they’re okay 24/7. I was basically babysitting them all day while they bitched about how horrible everyone treated them. At first I felt bad because it seems like they actually need a lot of help but I just couldn’t deal with them constantly playing the victim about every little detail in their life. It’s definitely better without them. I can get things done now.
The kittens are growing like crazy and while the dogs are outside during the day the kittens have the run of the house. They’re basically complete little Psychopaths running around, jumping off of things, wrestling, climbing, getting tripped over, and doing all things cat. The littlest one, he’s so cute, has been a little behind the curve in learning to do all things cat. But he’s slowly catching up, wrestling with his brother and sister, and starting to climb and explore. I’ll be sad when they all go outside to become barn cats like we intended from the beginning.
My doggos turned 2 years old on the 25th. It’s hard to believe they’re no longer puppies at all, considering they constantly act like puppies, racing around, playing, fighting, Wrestling, doing all the things that puppies do, pretty much 24/7 unless they’re sleeping or eating. I felt like a really bad dog mom because I totally forgot to wish them happy birthday and I didn’t even give them extra treats that day! The horror of it!
I got a really cool backpack to tote around my stuff for school in the coming semesters. It was a little pricey but honestly good backpacks have always been a little pricey. I remember when I was in high school a JanSport would cost about $45 and that was in the mid-to-late 90s. I especially like the one I got because it has a special pocket that’s padded to hold a laptop, a smaller padded pocket for a tablet, it’s got pockets for water bottles, and as large as enough to hold a couple of binders or books. It’s also my favorite color.
It’s currently 1:30 in the morning and I’m awake because after only getting 5 hours sleep yesterday, I went to bed at 10 p.m. last night only to wake up at 1 a.m. hot, headachy, and having to pee really bad. I went pee, and I’ve cooled down, but I still have the headache. Will likely take some ibuprofen in a little bit. There will definitely be an app in order this afternoon!
Tejony’s wound is mostly healing well. There’s a spot in the middle though that won’t close up, and it’s still oozing a lot of fluid. The fluid is mostly clear, sometimes times 3 with a little blood, and has no odor. But after 2 weeks it shouldn’t still be draining, so he’s on a second course of antibiotics.
I’m hoping it’ll stop draining and start closing up in the center by the time he sees the vet again this weekend but I dunno.
Other than that though, he’s eating, drinking, wants to run and play, and is basically his normal sweet self.
Tonight Tejony was out back, chasing rabbits. He was having a great time. It’s one of his favorite activities.
Then he ran full tilt into one of these.
This resulted in an 8″ gash behind his front leg through all the skin and down to the muscle. I could have put both my hands through it.
Obviously his next action was to get loaded into the backseat of my mom’s truck and off to the emergency vet. He was there until almost midnight, but they got him patched up with a lot of stitches, iv fluids, and meds.
When he got home, my mom and I helped him onto my bed and I put a shirt on him.
I’m pretty sure my mom will be taking tomorrow off work, and I be trying to sleep while kinda keeping an eye on my poor boy.
It was a total freak accident. Nobody would have seen this coming. A literal almost thousand dollar accident. Ugh.
So you guys have seen pics of Yuba I think, but did you know we still have his brother Tejon? We do. The boys are 6 months old now.
So much has happened in the last week with them and most of it isn’t good. About 15 days ago, Halo, the toy poodle, and Tejon found a hole in the fence and went on walkabout in the desert. We didn’t know until Tejon was crying at the gate and we found Halo down the street. Didn’t think much of it since they seemed unscathed.
Last weekend, Halo got sick. Took him to the vet and surprise! He has parvo despite having had all his shots. A few days later and Tejon has it too. I spent the next few days giving subcutaneous fluids to them both plus meds twice a day. They’ve still got a few days of meds to go.
Yuba hasn’t shown any signs of illness and his vaccines were from a different source – if he’s not ill by next weekend, his vaccines will have done their job.
Anyway, why I’m fucking angry. Mom’s boyfriend decides that while Tejon is sick, and even though he had never been alone before, to lock him up out back. He screamed for 3 days and broke most of his nails and skinned his nose up trying to get out.
He was terrified and alone and so desperate and I cried because he was so scared.
Anyway, mom’s bf relented and let him back inside. I asked if they still expect to sell him or if I can just find him a home. Apparently I can just find him a home.
I can’t do anything for 6 weeks because he will still be contagious but I think I found a place to get him neutered for free but I won’t know until I can get in touch with the people doing it. Otherwise neutering and microchip will be about $300. And hopefully Mattie will decide he can take him in. I’ll find out tomorrow. Mattie was an asshole to me but he does love his dogs.
I wish I could keep him but I can’t afford both of them for a lot longer and he needs a real home. If Mattie can’t take him, I’ll be looking elsewhere but I know his forevermore is out there.
The craft thing at the Antelope Valley Indian Museum was kinda weird this year. Only two artists signed up, including myself, and the evening of, I was the only one to show up.
I did fairly well though and the octopus and owl stuffies I made sold pretty quickly. I didn’t sell all of them, but I did sell several. Kids loved them.
I ended up making I think it was $37 over my table fee which is pretty good for such a small event. I took that $37,and turned it into this :
There’s a pleco in there too somewhere – my mom bought me the fishies today. I’ve named the Oranda Alberta. 🙂
Yuba is still growing – he and Tejon are unit into ponies. Kinda makes me wonder how big he’s going to get… Lol.
I bought a drop spindle and some fiber so I can learn to spin. I’ve only tried it a little but I think I’ll like it when I get the hang of it.
I haven’t been cleaning much the last week and a half because I killed my back moving a TV but I am trying to track down the parts we need to fix the furnace. The house hasn’t had heat in literally years and it gets freaking cold in winter.
Here’s a quick pic of some stuff.
My little Christmas tree and my super festive eyeball garland! And my super colorful curtains! Ignore the plastic bag and my shoes… Lol.
I spent almost all day on Sunday cleaning. I went through my cedar chest and my craft room, and I found a ton more stuff to donate that I just don’t love enough to leave up in my shop. I rearranged furniture. I put things away. I’m not pleased with where I moved Bill’s tank to (I can’t see him from my bed anymore), but overall I am happy with where everything else is.
Monday a really nice family came out to meet Hawk, and they took him home. He jumped right in the car with them and happily ate the canned food they brought him. I feel pretty confident he’s a good match for their family and I hope he really does get his forever with them- he deserves it.
Later in the evening, another family came and got 5 roosters from us. I helped my mom catch them and each one was tucked into a feed bag for easy transport. Its pretty quiet without them crowing at all odd hours.
Wednesday, Yuba is scheduled for his neutering. I have to be up at 630am to get him there at 8am for the drop off. I feel bad for him because he’s not yet at the “car rides are amazing!” stage of dogdom and he’s my shy boy so the vet is terrifying. But its important that he be neutered, and neutered early, because 1) I don’t want him lifting his leg, and 2) I don’t want him getting up to no good with his mama if they don’t get her spayed.
My mom mentioned that they might want to find a new home for one of the other female dogs… I don’t know who would take her though. She’s mean and she’s crazy. They bred her once and she chewed the heads off of most of the puppies. Yuba’s dad was one of the only survivors. Yes, crazy is in my pup’s genes, but he’s pretty even tempered so far. Anyway, I hope if they do decide to get rid of her, I can find somewhere for her to go. They really need a lot less animals.
I’ve also slowed way down on the body mods. It’s been at least a month since my last piercings and I don’t really feel the need to go out and get the next one. I feel content right now.