Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Year, New Dog, New Carpet

Isn’t she a little darling? Sweet face, good disposition, and beginning to feel right at home. I’ve had Roxanne since December 9th. She was timid and nervous at first, and why not? She’d been a stray, rounded up and consigned to a death sentence at a kill shelter in Houston. Then she was rescued, fostered for a while in Texas, and sent North. That meant a five-day road trip to Portland, Oregon in a windowless trailer with eight other dogs.

Now with a steady, balanced diet, she is losing her old coat, shedding enough hair to make a couple of very itchy sweaters (if one were so inclined). Dog bunnies float by on every bare surface. With the new coat she's also getting new markings, and has chewed the corners off the furniture, a pair of $165 shoes, a few slippers, and an appliance cord. I'm ecstatic! It’s great! So great, in fact, that I have engaged a private trainer, endorsed by Cesar Millan–the Dog Whisperer, who will be here on Wednesday to help offset the fact that an estimator came out today to give me a quote on new carpeting and hardwood for the first floor of the house. Apparently Roxanne making herself right at home includes all of the above and peeing in the dining room and living room. Oh, boy! What joy!

The little darling. 
Accustomed to doing research on the job, I have studied this problem from every angle and followed a lot of advice. I bought a crate. I have set the stove timer and taken her outside every 30 minutes to do . . . nothing. If it’s raining, she’ll wait under the eave at the patio door while I stand in the rain trying to coax her out. I've wheedled. I've ordered. I've commanded. I've offered a bribe. If the grass is wet, she might take a magnificent leap over the low garden fencing that keeps the chickens off the patio, run around the yard a couple of times and then come back, having done nothing. She flies over that fence just like Lassie. On walks, she does nothing. She saves every ounce for her chosen spot, the carpet. Obviously, all of this has resulted in a lot of exasperation and some downright horror.

I’d have to say that nothing can snap me out of writing mode more effectively than stopping to clean up another of Roxanne’s leavings.

But. She’s a great watchdog, and is such a joy to ride with in the car. I adored my last dog, Chrissie, as I’ve mentioned, and I still mourn her loss.
She was loving, loyal, and compared to Roxanne, she was a Rhodes Scholar. She never had an accident in the house, but to take her anywhere in the car was a nightmare. She got so hyper and barked so much, I had to leave her at home most of the time. Roxanne won’t stay in the back seat unless she’s restrained, but she’s content to watch the scenery go by and stick her nose out the opened window. She's not a leash-puller so walking her doesn’t require a trip to the hospital for rotator cuff surgery.

The new flooring won’t be installed until she has learned that it’s not okay to use the house for her toilet. So in the interim, the carpet shampooer, the new vacuum, and my Bissell Little Green are getting the workouts of their mechanical lives.

I’m getting by on store-brand acetaminophen for the backaches that come with operating the machinery. Wine works too and is more fun. You can't take both together, more's the pity.

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