The more dogs you have, over your life, the more bittersweet a new dog is--there are more touchstones, more reminders of dogs who have come before. The night before we drove to Rosemount to get Rosie, Doug and I sat on the back porch and toasted all of the dogs of our life--many more for him than me, since he grew up with dogs and I grew up, instead, with siblings. Smokey and Bright and Kerri and Korki and Rossi and the ill-fated, short lived Snuffy, and Pepper, in addition to Toby, Boscoe and Riley.
Rosie reminds me, in many ways, of Toby. She looks like him (except for her color), and she chases a tennis ball, the way he did, and this morning she trotted into the house after being in the yard and darted behind the easy chair and took a little tiny crap. I was filled with tenderness! Toby used to crap behind the easy chair 20 years ago in my apartment on East Seventh Street in Duluth.
Rosie is a very good puppy. She is chewing things, of course, and her teeth are needle-sharp, and she has punctured many of my sleeve cuffs already, and chewed a big hole in the knee of my pajamas, but there's not a lot you can do about the teething stage. When a puppy jumps on you or does something else you don't like, you're supposed to whirl around with your back to them and ignore them, so that they get no reinforcement from their action.
But when the puppy is actually, physically hanging off your sleeve by its little teeth, you can't really do that.
She and her mother and her four siblings were rescued from a high-kill shelter in Missouri. There is a rescue organization called MARS--Midwest Animal Rescue Services, or something like that--that has a whole chain of volunteers who rescue dogs from southern shelters and drive them north. Rosie and her family arrived in the Twin Cities on Tuesday, their photos went up on Petfinder on Wednesday, and we drove down to meet her on Thursday. By Saturday all the other pups (and the mom) were adopted, too.
She loves her crate. This is a miracle to me. I've never had a pup who loved a crate. Toby never had one--I was an idiot with him, knew nothing about dogs, had never had a dog, had been afraid of dogs, and it took me eight months to housebreak him because I thought confining a dog was cruel.
Boscoe and Riley had crates, and they hated them--screamed and moaned as though they were being tortured. I pretty much had to stuff them into the crate and slam the door--they both learned to stretch their legs out in all directions to brace against the sides--but they needed to be crated because we were at work all day and the house would have been a disaster if they had been allowed to roam free. I remember coming home for lunch to let Riley out and then stuffing him back in the crate and as I drove away from the house I could hear his mournful cries.
But Rosie loves the crate. She goes inside freely to retrieve toys. When I shut the door on her, she whimpers for a few minutes and then settles right down.
I took Friday and today off work to help her settle in but she didn't really have any need for adjustment; from the moment she walked into our house on Thursday night she has been right at home. It's Riley who needs adjustment--she bugs him, he growls at her, he gets jealous and growls some more. In between they do play, so I am hoping he'll get used to her, and as she grows she might become less annoying and more of a pal. But I am watching him very closely and for now they are never alone together.
Today Patches came over for an hour or so of play and all was happiness! Happiness! I had worried (I am a worrier) that Patches and Rosie might not get along, but when Patches tore through the gate into our yard, Rosie quivered with excitement and then clocked her in the face with a tiny paw.
The three-dog-scrum that followed was a beautiful sight to see.