Due to popular demand, there now follows a weblog entry specifically and entirely about the newest addition to my household: Kesh, the small dog
For background –
Kesh, the small Jack Russell dog that now lives with us, is a rescue dog. We got her from some kind of militant dog rescue association deal in Dublin that is not, as I incorrectly said before, the DSPCA. We don’t know how she was treated in her previous home, but can have a good guess by the way that she flinches every time someone raises a hand, absolutely abhors being picked up, buries her food rather than eat it and gets overexcited when you call her and then are nice to her when she comes. She’s also quite nervous of men, adores children, and has no idea how to play with anything.
She has this terrible habit, when we’re walking her around the park that sits right outside our back window, of going up to every single person in the park and greeting them like long lost friends. It was a bit awkward to begin with, but we’ve given up apologising to people. Most people in the park are themselves walking their own dogs, so they take it in their stride, and once she’s said hello, she tends to come speeding back to us, and insists we tell her how great she is.
We’re currently trying to introduce her to the joys of chasing sticks. We’ve made some good progress in the last week, in that she’s now showing a passing interest in sticks. At the moment, she’s got as far as the chasing part – which is probably the most important part of the process. What happens is, we pick up the stick and wave it about in front of her face. If we can keep her attention for long enough, we throw it – not too far, as her eyesight isn’t very good, and she doesn’t chase things she can’t see (obviously). She runs after it. She gets to it. She stops. She sniffs. She stands and looks at us. We walk towards the stick, pick it up, wave it about, and the whole thing starts again. Basically, what we’re doing at the moment is walking at a normal pace, stopping occasionally to pick up a stick and throw it.
A couple of days ago we thought she had mastered the ‘Bring it Here’ part of the throwing sticks procedure, but apparently that was just a one-off fluke, because she seems to have forgotten that again. Now when we cheerily yell ‘Bring it here!’ at the top of our voices, she just turns around and runs back to us, looking really pleased with herself. Other people in the park find it very funny, watching a dog hurl herself towards a stick, and then immediately ignore it.
We’re also trying to get her used to the company of other dogs. Whenever she encounters another dog, her response is to sing at it, in a kind of a cross between a whine and a howl. When other dogs approach her to talk to her, she does a strange manoeuvre that involves sitting, lying down and trying to crawl up our legs at the same time, while pinning her ears back and widening her eyes. We try not to intervene while any of this is happening, because she has to get used to other animals being around her, and so far she seems to be coping well. Occasionally, if the dog is the same size as her, she initiate playing by instinctively going down on her front too legs and kind of dancing about, but when the other dog then joins in, she doesn’t know what to do, and she instead reverts to crawling up our legs again.
Her newest discovery is that, when she barks in the middle of the night, we come into the sitting room to talk to her. We’re trying to get her used to sleeping on her own, because it’s apparently unhealthy to let a dog sleep in the bed with you. She’s starting to get a bit better, and only really barks every second night now, so we’re managing to get more unbroken sleep. The problem is, when you’re roused in the middle of the night, teaching the dog good habits is the last thing on your mind and it’s just easier to let her come back into the bed with you. Her favourite position in bed is lying on top of your arm as you lie on your side, and burying her nose into your neck, so she is effectively breathing right down your ear. That’s okay when you’re watching telly, but no good when trying to sleep.
We’re like proud parents, me and Edel, going in to work every day and telling people the latest update with the dog. I’ll stop now.