Friday, April 29, 2011

Three Men and a Baby

Remember the movie titled Three Men and a Baby?  Remember when the single guys took the baby to Central Park and how single women flocked to them?  Well, the same thing happens when you take a 5 pound chihuahua into a store.  :)

Sometimes when I run errands I take Stanley along.  Starbucks drive through, Home Depot, post office, garden store across town, dry cleaners, another Starbucks drive through.....  He stays still and quiet in my arms...he's really good when I take him out.  However, when men approach me look out!  Bark, bark, bark.  Do male dogs know the difference between human females and human males?  I think so.  Do dogs know the difference between a friendly "just saying hello" male and a "hey, baby" male?  Yes....I think so too.

I admit it is difficult to see Stanley and not want to say hello or pet him.  To me, he is, but it's not just me.  Other people love Stanley too.  I find it interesting though how guys react to Stanley.  For instance, guys flirt when I am alone however when I am with Stanley guys take a step back and approach me differently. I've learned that I actually can use Stanley defensively.  For instance, there is this great garden and patio store across town that I've been shopping at for a long time.  However, the store has an employee (who I will call Steven) who makes me uncomfortable and who doesn't take hints.  Steven always wants a hug and wants to stand close to me and touch my shoulder or back.  I'm like "what in the world?...this is crazy."  At first I sent signals to Steven to stop it, but he didn't get my message.  Next, I said something about him watching his boundaries with a customer, but he pretended to not understand (English is Steven's second language...he speaks Spanish).  I found myself stressed when I shopped there and started ordering things over the phone rather than going into the store.  Finally I had had enough and I took Stanley into the store with me to create a barrier between us.  It worked!!

Steven approached me with his slanted smile and started to reach out his arms.  Well, Stanley went nuts and started barking and rearing up.  Steven was stunned at the impediment and realized that there was a new sheriff in town and he wasn't getting through.  Ha!...take that!  Needless to say, Stanley loves going to that speciality garden store across town and I make sure to always take him.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stanley's Revenge

When I first brought Stanley home he barked at everyone in the neighborhood...human or dog.  His barking was so bad that I dreaded running into anyone on our walks.  In fact, I would walk him at odd hours just to avoid running into my neighbors.  I had to do this because whenever we saw someone Stanley would bark, bark, and bark some more.  Of course, if I picked him up he would stop.  (Hmmm, now that I think about it, did he do that on purpose?)

Anyway, Stanley has turned a corner!  He now socializes with other dogs and people in my neighborhood.  Woo Hoo.  No longer are we outcasts!  Some still say, "oh, here comes Stanley...(smirking)" (lol) but for the most part everyone looks forward to seeing my little doggie.  It feels so good!  

One evening while walking him I came across 5 dogs and their masters just standing in the road talking.  It looked like a block party.  As Stanley and I approached the crowd I was cringing because I anticipated that at any minute he was going to bellow out a string of barks and tell everyone there what he thought.  Ha.  (Anyone ever have a pet or family member or friend like that?....LOL)  However, much to my surprise, Stanley stepped into the middle of the party and let the other dogs sniff him.  The other dogs were large....really large compared to him and they sniffed away...they wouldn't stop sniffing!  I thought to myself, "Come on, dogs!  Stop it!!"  Still, much to my continued surprise, Stanley stood there and just took it.  Of course all of the owners just showered Stanley with compliments and he was the center of attention.  Finally, I had had enough of the "dog" behavior and after hearing Stanley whimpering because a h-u-g-e greyhound was barking aggressively towards him while the full-grown Labrador towered over him sniffing, I picked Stanley up and held him close.  So, after that night, Stanley has socialized with others in the neighborhood.  He still whimpers when big dogs approach him and he gets close to me.  I watch him closely and rescue him if the dog sniffs too long (honestly, how many sniffs does it take?!).  

Interestingly though Stanley has started something that just makes me laugh out loud.  In my neighborhood the dogs fall into 3 categories:  (1) prima-donna/barkers/sniffers, (2) easy-going/laid-back/friendly, and (3) "I don't socialize with anyone" dogs.  (We have no experience with this 3rd category because we never see them outside...they are indoor dogs...literally.)  Stanley likes Category 2, but he puts up with Category 1.  He doesn't let Category 1 dogs know how they irritate him to their face (ha), but when Category 1 goes inside....look out.  lol.  Stanley will find Category 1's yard and either do little potty or big potty!  Yep, my little doggie gets even in his own way.

(snicker snicker)

Friday, April 8, 2011

That Is No Bunny Rabbit!!

So, I take Stanley onto my back patio before is late and dark outside...just the moonlight.  He loves the patio and normally darts to one corner or the other as soon as he runs out of the door.  Whether it be birds, squirrels, hornets or bees, Stanley makes certain that all of the animals know he is king of the patio.  On this particular night Stanley rushes over to the right side corner.  While he is sniffing and doing whatever it is he does over there, I notice a small animal to my left.  The animal is scurrying along the left wall in a sneaky manner as if I wouldn't notice.  Well, I wouldn't have noticed if the animal had not been so large.  He is dashing back and forth from one end to the other and I'm like "what in the world is it?!...and what in the world is it doing?"  Then my mind goes to Stanley....uh oh.  I cannot let this happen...after all this patio trip is supposed to be tranquil and easy going....the last "restroom break" and outdoor break before bed.

Stanley remains occupied on the right side, so I step closer to the left side to investigate.  The animal is the size of a small bunny rabbit and I think, "oh, isn't that just the cutest thing!"  You see, I live in the city but all around me is open space and waterways, so it is entirely possible for a cute bunny rabbit to be in my back patio (never mind how it would gain entrance since my patio is surrounded by a high, thick and huge cement wall).  Since it was a bunny all reasonable thought of how it got onto my patio left me. Interesting how something cute causes your guard to drop....dum dadadum (that's the sound of Dragnet music from the TV show).  Ha!

SINCE it is just a bunny, I am more concerned for the bunny than Stanley, so I want to make sure Stanley doesn't attack the rabbit.  I notice, however, that the "bunny" keeps running back and forth and he does it so quickly.  It's like he is 2 bunnies.  "Darn!...I wish there were more light out here so I can see better," I think to myself.  What happens next pretty much wiped me out.  Simultaneously, here's how it plays out:   (1) Stanley turns toward the left side of the patio because now he notices the movement going on and he is interested, (2) I get closer and realize that it is NOT a bunny rabbit but instead a LARGE rat!, and (3) it becomes clear to me that it is NOT only 1 rat but 2...and they each are one-third the size of Stanley!  HELLO!!!

I immediately get into "save my dog" mode, because if those river rats (oh, by the way I have a little lake in my neighborhood which draws all kinds of wildlife, including river rats)....anyway, if those river rats are scrappers (in my mind all river rats are scrappers), they will fight my little Stanley and together they make up 60% of his size!  I am NOT going to let this happen and further I am NOT up to this much action right before bed.  I'm like...leave the rats alone and get inside, Carleen!  So, I hasten Stanley up in my arms and we go inside.  Whew!  Is this crazy or what?

As it turns out, the stack of flagstone I had on my patio (in the left corner) was serving as a nice little hacienda for the river rats.  Also as it turns out, I already had contracted to have my patio stoned the next day and the flagstone stack (and hacienda) were removed and leveled.  Neener, neener, neener to those river rats!  Now, there is no dark, hidden place on my patio for them to hide.  They'll just have to take up residence on Carlo's patio (my neighbor).  Oh, for those of you who know the story of Dr. Pot Smoker next door, he is gone and Carlo is back....yay!  LOL.  For those of you who do not know the story of Dr. Pot Smoker next door, stay tuned.  I have all kinds of tales to tell right from my back patio!

As always, I hope you enjoyed this little snippet from my life with Stanley.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's All About Meeeeee......

Well, it's been 6 months since I brought Stanley home and I'd say he's settled in well.  Because he had such a traumatic last number of years and because he's been through 2 surgeries since I've owned him, I have made it a point to make sure Stanley knew he was loved and adored.  Ohhhh, I have showered him with affection and kindness morning and night (I'm at work during the day...Ha).  When I found him at the animal shelter I had to wait almost 3 weeks before I could bring him home.  Everyday I would spend at least 1 hour with him which meant that when I brought him home he knew he was in for a sweet situation. Oh yeah!  Even at the shelter...seeing me only 1 hour a day....Stanley picked up that I was a safe human, a kind human and a human that gave him lots and lots of tender attention.  Stanley knew that I wasn't looking for a pet just to be cute.  No....he knew I was looking for a pet so that I could shower love and affection and give him a better life.  Yep, Stanley figured it out and he practically smiled when he saw me.  

Fast forward 6 months.  Pretty much when I am at home Stanley is next to me.  Whatever room I go into, Stanley follows me.  Wherever I sit, make room for Stanley because he's coming up.  It started out that he was content being next to me.  However, after months of innocent baby talk and innocent brushing of his coat and rubbing, Stanley now has the expectation that I am home just to hold him and rub HIM.  Hello!  Really?  Where did he get that idea?!  Innocently, I was setting myself up by always petting him, rubbing him, talking to him.  I had no idea that his expectations would change!  Now, I'm having to negotiate with him that it cannot always be about him.  Ha Ha.  I am having to negotiate with my own dog just to be able to go to the gym, read a book, work on the other words, do things for me not him!

I tell you what.  Being a master is stressful some days.  LOL.  I'm sure it is just me...."master error."  With what I'm going through with Stanley, I now have better understanding as to how a parent can unintentionally spoil a child.  We become so fixated on having the pet/child happy all of the time that we don't realize the slippery slope we are sliding down that eventually dumps us out in "I've got a spoiled pet/child" land.  What do you do when your pet/child starts crying, jumping up and down, forcing his way onto your lap without regard for the laptop that is in your lap?  My first plan of action was to stop what I was doing and pick Stanley up, rub him, talk to him.....pretty much make it all about him. way.  If I'm going to get anything done around the house I've got to put my foot down and readjust Stanley's expectations.  Ha.  I have decided that I will not be stressed by a dog.  Come on! is crazy to let a dog stress you out!

So, I'm learning as I go and following my motherly instincts, even though Stanley is my pet (not my child).  He is doing pretty well at adjusting, although every time I get near my handbag or car keys he is downright insistent that he go along for the ride.  Good thing he's not asking to drive the car.........