Some of you may be looking for Faraday's Cage is Where You Put Schroedinger's Cat. I decided to separate my science and engineering blogging from my personal life (mostly). FCIWYPSC has moved to http://cherishthescientist.net.
That being said...
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You know Highlights magazine...the kids' magazine that seems to be ubiquitous in doctor's offices? Each issue seems to have a 'compare' picture where you're supposed to find the differences in the picture.
We kind of had our own version of that yesterday. I have a 'picture frame' on my computer, and this picture of me from 18 months ago came up. It was truly awful to look at. I called Mike over to see, and younger son had to see what the excitement was about.
"That's a picture of me from a while ago. Do I look different?" "Yeah." "What's different?" "Well, your hair in that picture is blonde, and I don't like that. It's too golden. But your hair is really dirty blonde, which is the same as mine, and I like it better." (Mike and I are snickering at this point already. The reason I'd been coloring my hair is that it was coming in a gunky grey-brown prior to my celiacs diagnosis.) "Okay...what else?" "You're wearing earrings now, and you weren't then. Also, you went to Florida and have this really cool NASA shirt that you're wearing now."
He wandered off at that point...never mentioning the fact that I looked pale, puffy, and sick in the picture.
I took Rainier to get a bath yesterday. He didn't enjoy it, but his coat looks a lot better. I was primarily concerned with keeping things clean because of the skin infection (so I used the oatmeal shampoo and conditioner), but I was really surprised at how much better he looked. After his first bath (just over a week ago), his coat felt greasy and was kind of a flat black and off-white. Yesterday, he looked all glossy and clean, and his white seemed a lot brighter...or maybe it was just the contrast with a nice dark coat. Not sure.
I didn't dry him, though, because the groomer told me last week that he didn't like the dryer. Not that I was expecting much, but I get the sense he wasn't bathed very often. We'll have to fix that. We walked home from the bath place and it mostly dried, except his legs. I'll take him again next week as I don't expect the rash will be completely gone by then. I think I'll try drying his legs, maybe start on getting him used to the dryer. He's going to have a gorgeous coat when it comes in, but I imagine it'll be a bit of work to take care of it. (I know fixed females coats are more prone to mats and stuff like that than unfixed females, but I don't know anything about males.)
We tried soaking his front feet in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. His right foot is still tender, and he didn't keep it in very long. The left foot went better. Hopefully this will help them to heal up as they're very inflamed between the metacarpal and toe pads. I was wondering if he'd been hot and/or was digging for food a lot after his 'liberation'. The groomer said she'd had to clean a ton of stuff out of his feet.
I was petting him yesterday afternoon while he was lying on the floor, and you won't believe what he did: he flipped on his side (almost on his back) and wanted a belly rub! Seriously! I think he was still not 100% sure about it, but he let me rub his belly for a while. :-)
We're working on getting him to wait before he starts eating. This is really hard for him, but he's starting to get it. He's learned he has to stay seated, but once the bowl is on the floor, he wants to go for it. On the up side, he seems to have no issues with food aggression at all. I've taken away his bowl a couple times when he was in the middle of eating, and the only thing that happened was that he looked at me with those pleading eyes of his. Yesterday morning, the cat decided he wanted to try some of the rice goop that Rainier was eating, so he stuck his head in and helped himself. Rainier let him and just kept eating himself. So not only is he okay with people taking his food, he's okay with cats taking his food. (Ada hasn't tried it yet, though, so I have no idea what would happen if another dog tried.)
I think I need to work with him on some heeling, though. He really has no idea where to go when we're walking. He's incredibly alert to human body language, so he stops when I do, but if he gets ahead of me and can't see me, he'll start circling around me, which makes walking difficult. I think he'll pick up on the heeling fairly quickly, though.
He still seems to have a strange relationship with Ada. There are more 'corrections' going back and forth from each of them. She plays too rough, and she's okay with his mounting to a certain point. The humans are getting less freaked out when these corrections happen, which is good because there's usually 2 or 3 each day now. But they still like to play together.
Rainier has started to run in short bursts, just a few steps each time. I'm hoping this will improve once his feet are better and he's lost some weight. I think he needs to lose 10-15 lbs. He's got some serious neck rolls and I can't feel his ribs. The good thing is that he really enjoys walks (comes running whenever I pull out the leash), so I think exercise will be an easy way to work on it.
There are two things that really disturb me about Rainier.
First, he obviously has no clue what "fetch" is. Ada and I play a variation of fetch that I like to call "fetch-tug". I throw something, she brings it back, and then she want so play tug rather than give it back. Probably not the healthiest habit to get her into, but she seems to enjoy it and the whole "drop it" thing just wasn't coming. I'm assuming it's a maturity thing. However, when we play this in front of Rainier, he seems to have no clue what the whole thing is about. He just stands there and looks at us like, "What the hell is wrong with you two?" I tried playing fetch with a rawhide. He picked it up and brought it back but really didn't want to let go of it. The second time, he didn't bring it back...went someplace else with it.
Second, belly rubs make him nervous. I'm getting him to lie down and so I can rub his back. Tonight, I nudged him over on his side, and started rubbing his belly. When I do this with Ada, she gets SO happy and rolls completely on her back. Rainier looked very nervous the whole time. I think he took it as my attempt at dominance. He never rolled onto his back and wouldn't look at me. I think it must've felt pretty good (especially with the rash on his belly) or he wouldn't have let me do it. He was definitely nervous the whole time, though.
Other interesting things: he let Ada jump on him, so I'm not sure if he's going to start backing down on being dominant. She likes to go up and put her head on his neck. It's very cute, but I'm sure it's a dominance play.
I brought him for an evaluation at a doggy day care/boarding kennel, and he did great. We have a trip planned soon, so he'll be able to stay at the kennel. (Ada will have to stay with a friend since she's not fixed. You can't fix dogs while you're showing them.)
I think Rainier is definitely younger, probably 5 or 6. He's run a couple short bursts, but definitely seems reluctant to do much more than that. Also, he tried to jump on me a couple times. One was first thing after I let him out of the kennel this morning and then when I got home from work tonight. I think it was excitement. While I don't like being jumped on, I am happy that this means he's getting some energy back. Also, his digestive issues seem to have settled down, and I'm transitioning him from the rice goop I made onto some Purina. I decided I am going to put him on Acana after that simply because it'll be easier for me not having to do separate food for the dogs. We gave the dogs bones tonight, so I hope that'll help his teeth...but I am worried it might bug his tummy again.
He's definitely coming out of his shell, but it's also apparent he needs more training. I tried to do some training with him, and Ada came over and started showing him up. I started having both of them execute commands, hoping he'd follow her lead. Not sure how well that will work. But I have to admit that doing that showed me how well trained she really is...she's just terribly impulsive yet. I really wish we could get Rainier to lay down and stay while we're eating dinner. His head is easily above table level, and this makes it hard to block him...not an issue we have with Ada.
Anyway, the more I see of him, the more I wish he could talk and tell me what was going on. The belly rub thing really got to me...
When we were looking at getting a dog, I said there was no way we would start out with a rescue dog. I was terrified that what we'd end up with was a 150 lb. monster whom I couldn't control but would've felt guilty sending back. I therefore find it ironic that having one in my house has only underscored what a brat my own dog currently is...the dog that I have raised from a puppy who came directly from a reputable breeder. Boy, I sure hope she grows out of this.
On that note...
Rainier's health is continuing to improve. He's been on antibiotics for a day and a half, and his eyes have cleared up. Hopefully his skin will soon, as well. He sure loves it when I clean off his neck. He leans over and presses his neck into my hand. Ears are starting to look better, too. I'm supposed to clean them twice per day as well as give him triotic ear solution. He doesn't like me messing with his ears, though, and the other day, he ran and put his head in a corner. He's getting more cooperative, though.
He doesn't like teeth brushing, so I've just been rubbing some doggie toothpaste onto his gums. He seems okay with that. Between that and the dentasticks, and perhaps improved diet, his breath is almost tolerable now. His parasite screening came back negative, which is good. His stools are still up and down but are overall much better than when we first got him.
His barking has stopped almost entirely. After that first night, he hasn't really barked in the kennel at all during the night. He does a bit when I put him in during the day, but Ada does it far more than he.
He and Ada are still working things out. She loves to play chase. He just likes to crawl on top of her. There have been a few tense moments, but overall there's a lot more interaction and tail wagging than there used to be. She's not sulking as much, but she's still very ornery about not eating out of a dish he's eaten from.
Rainier is still getting better with complying with commands. He's got sit down very well along with "go home". Down is still giving us a lot of trouble. When we're eating dinner, Ada will come up and sniff, and she is told to lie down. She does that until we're done eating, and then we usually give her a chunk of table food (usually the younger boy's leftovers) as a reward. Rainier doesn't understand this yet, and even worse, he's tall enough that when he comes up to sniff the food, he can get his head almost a quarter of the way across the table. This is probably our biggest problem area. Otherwise, he just needs to learn some commands.
I take the two of them for walks in the morning, and this is where it becomes apparent what a pill my own dog is. Rainier just generally walks along side me, keeping my pace. He may veer off to sniff at something, which I let him do. When I tell him to go and start walking along, he stops whatever he's doing and quickly gets next to me again. Ada, on the other hand, is a nightmare...and pretty much always has been. She pulls, veers off, will bolt whenever she hears a strange noise, won't come away from an interesting smell unless I pretty much drag her. Believe it or not, we've gone through about six obedience classes with this girl...and we still have these issues.
I think some of this is because she was the only dog. She thinks she's boss and can do all this stuff. I'm hoping that Rainier will have a positive effect and demonstrate how she ought to be behaving.
If you read my other blog, you know that we took in a foster dog (another newfoundland). Since he'll be a temporary boarder, I want to write down my observations of him. I'm hoping this will be helpful in letting his adoptive family (when we find one) know what he's like and some of his more quirky behaviors. I imagine I'll be posting frequently to begin with and it will taper off with time.
I took the younger boy to the orthodontist today. While he was going through an examination and telling the tech what notes to make in his file, the younger boy pointed at one of his teeth.
"This one's D?"
The orthodontist looked surprised and said yes. They began a little conversation where the younger boy got to learn the 'names' of all his teeth. When they were done, the orthodontist gave me a very serious look and said, "You know he's pretty smart."
I guess I didn't think anything of his figuring things out...but then I'm not an orthodontist and don't have a frame of reference for determining what is normal and what is not in that context. From his reaction, I gather it's pretty infrequent when a 2nd grader figures out the code language he's speaking.
Younger boy and the orthodontist hit it off, so younger boy seems okay with the fact he's going to need braces for a few months.
The younger boy is officially half-way through fourth grade math. We had him doing 20 minutes a day until about a month ago, and then we switched to 40 min per day (5 days per week). I decided to do this because it seemed like he'd finally get warmed up and make good progress and the program would quit on him. The funny thing is that his progress more than doubled. Not only was he better able to get into a groove, but he also retains it much better.
So we're fully expecting him to finish fourth grade math by the end of February and fifth grade math by the end of the year.
He has gotten upset that it's hard a couple times, saying he doesn't want to do it. He doesn't like it when he gets things wrong. I've had to sit down and say that, yes, it is hard. However, it's okay to get things wrong sometimes, and he really seems to have fun once he gets into it. He likes to figure things out, and you can tell he's proud of himself when he struggles through something and then finds the answer. I think this is helping him to work through some of his perfectionistic tendencies.
I'm very glad we talked the school into this arrangement. It's going far better than we expected.