Tuesday, March 27, 2007


So far, Toby is wonderful. Well, mostly. Let me just start at the beginning.

I got up early on Saturday and drove with KT and Sammy to Tennessee to fetch (har har) Toby. I will be the first to admit when I have my little naive moments, and this weekend didn't disappoint. Most people (ie, not me) would call the pound ahead of time and get some details about the dog they are about to adopt. I, myself, prefer to drive 3 1/2 hours and then ask the questions when I get there. Because that makes sense. *rolls eyes and smacks forehead*

These were my answers:

"Yeah, his previous owners kept him outside, so he's not housetrained."

"Shots? No. We have no medical history on the dog."

"The only thing his owners said to us was that if he's left alone inside the house, he will destroy everything. That's why they kept him outside."

"He needs to be neutered."

"He pretty much has no training at all. We don't even know if he gets along with other dogs. We think he does, though."

I was about to say, "Um, I don't know if I can do this..." but then, the animal shelter worker got me:

"If you look on the back of his neck, you can see a mark where the chain was around his neck. They kept him chained up in the backyard all of the time."

"Ok! Ok! I'll take him!" I said, tears welling up in my eyes. If there is one thing I cannot tolerate, it's a sad dog story.

I didn't drive up there for nothing. There was no guarantee the next person interested in him would be an animal lover. Just because I take him now doesn't mean I have to keep him forever. He needs some love. I can do this. How hard can it be?

I called MJ, who has more dog training experience than I do. I explained the situation to her. She offered to let me borrow her crate and she seemed to have confidence in me. So I took a deep breath and said, "Ok. I'm doing it."

Looking at Toby closely, I am now thinking that he's not a Boston Terrier. He might be part Boston, but he's definitely got French Bulldog in him. So I have a Frenchie! The key differences include:

* Sammy's ears are different than Toby's close-set, "bat" ears
* Toby's nose is more "scrunchie"
* different fur (Toby's is coarser and more wiry)
* different gait (he lumbers along, Sammy prances)
* Toby is noticeably bigger than Sammy (Frenchies are bigger than Bostons, usually)
* different jowls -- Toby's muzzle is droopier
* different eyes -- Bostons have very round eyes, Toby's eyes are almond-shaped
* Toby is already exhibiting guard dog-type behavior, whereas Sammy is totally oblivious to any sort of threat

I just totally geeked out on that. I'll get back to the story.

Sammy and Toby stared at each other the whole way home. It was pretty funny.

After getting them into the house, I had to go back out to my car to get some stuff. Just as I leaned over in my semi-short skirt, I heard someone call my name. It was Hot Neighbor. And I think I may have given him a show. Hoo boy. But that's a good thing, right? He asked me what was new, and I told him about Toby. I wanted to stay and chat, but I was frazzled and stinky from driving and handling dogs all day. Besides, I had to get back inside so Toby wouldn't bathe everything in pee. So after a quick summary of the Toby situation, I said goodbye and went inside. Ugh, I have the worst timing with this guy! Oh well. It's not like I'll never see him again.

So far, the two dogs get along like peas and carrots. There is a little toy aggression on Toby's part, but other than that, there aren't any problems between the dogs.

Sammy needs to learn that he doesn't get to eat food out of both food bowls. I don't think he's being greedy, just confused. He figures, "Oh. Food." and goes for it. I am trying to teach him that one bowl is not for him.

Toby is working on not marking everything. So far, he's a big fan of lifting his leg on my couch. Ugh. He's also peed on the living room carpet, my bedroom carpet, the wall corners and the TV stand....*sigh* But so far, I have caught him early. This is good because I can reprimand him AND have time to clean it up before it settles into the fabric. Luckily, he responds to my "angry voice" as well as Sammy. I'm already seeing improvement in this area-- he was out this morning while I was getting ready, and he didn't pee on anything!

The marking will calm down after he gets neutered next week. I've also got my fingers crossed that once he's neutered, Sammy will stop humping him so much (so far, it's been Humpapalooza at my house). I'm surprised Sammy hasn't thrown his back out.

For the most part, they play together non-stop when Toby's out of his crate. It's pretty cute how they play keep-away with the toys. I can see how Sammy is sort of showing him the ropes, so to speak. Each day, Toby seems to understand where he's supposed to go, and when he's supposed to go there. At first, he didn't seem to know what he was doing. He even ran into a table a couple of times. Poor little confused thing!

I really get a kick out of having two little waggy nubs greeting me when I come home. Toby likes to jump up in my lap and roll over for belly rubs when I'm watching TV. He will sit at my feet in the morning as I get ready. Sometimes he and Sammy switch off on lap duty. I call Toby my little piggie, because when he sniffs, he sounds just like a pig. He slurps and snores very loudly. He gets water all over the kitchen floor when he's drinking. Sammy looks at me like, "Why does he do that, Mom?" But otherwise, Sammy really seems to enjoy the company.

So........so far, so good. I think I'll end up keeping him. He's definitely growing on me. And I think I have the ability to train and love my little pound puppy.

P.S. I have lost 15 pounds.
P.P.S. I have not had a cigarette in 10 days.

This means I am going to attempt at taking up running again. Wish me luck.


Jonathan said...

That is such a great story and I am glad Toby has found a home with you and Sammy. Toby sounds pretty smart to catch on a quickly as he has. It is amazing what a little attention and love can bring out of these guys.

sassafras said...

Yay for Toby!
Yay for losing 15 lbs!
Yay for 10 days smoke free!
Happy Spring!

jennster said...

that is awesome on the weight! i can't seem to lose a fucking pound FOR THE LIFE OF ME. i blame winter.

Anonymous said...

Way to go on the weight loss and no smoking. Keep it up!!!

alison said...

Sounds like you have your hands full but what a saint you are for taking in that little guy. :)

Yay for giving Hot Neighbor a show!

JP said...

Congrats on dropping 15 pounds! It's awesome to see those benchmarks. And 10 days without a cigarette rocks! Keep up the great work. :)

Anonymous said...

Ohhh..He sounds like such a sweet dog.I think his old owners must have been IDIOTS!

* meish * said...

kudos on the dieting and not-smoking!! toby sounds like he's doing great :)

RWA said...

Well, things are going well for you, huh? That's great. Toby...the weight loss...quitting smoking.

Why didn't you invite Hot Neighbor in to see your new pet?

Matilda Jane said...

That's a wonderful success story! It definitely doesn't always work out so well....
Has it been 10 days already? Yesterday was a little tough for me when I went to hang out with my liberal friends, but I haven't touched a cig since I ripped up the pack last week... or the week before... or whatever! YAY!
And yay for the losing poundage! Beach ready??

Burg said...

Someone actually kept a chain on a little dog like that? Sickening.

Anne said...

Awh..im glad you took him..poor Toby!

Behind The Curve said...

Just read this and thought of you.