Is stressful and tiring and wonderful.
It is 1:21 in the morning. Spud has a cold, as do the rest of us. When he napped I collapsed next to him, and Handsome, no doubt thinking he was being kind - and could have the computer all to himself for TV watching - let us both sleep till we woke up naturally, at 7:30 pm.
So Spud will sleep again never. But at least he gets relatively happy and mellow after midnight, letting me surf the internet and contemplate life as he plays in what is apparently the Very Best Thing Momma Ever Bought Just For Him; Katie's new crate. It has a door that opens and shuts and he can go in and go out and Momma made it all nice with a sheet over the top and a soft towel inside and it is The Bestest.
Katie likes it too.
She had her supper in it even, but is now about ready to rejoin Smiley on Punkin's bed.
Which brings me back to dogs.
My own dogs are currently outside, lounging around the front yard, ready to chase off errant raccoons and Things That Go Bump and having a blast being night guards. They love when I stay up. Smiley and Katie, after having been the Things That Go Bump and have now landed someplace cushy, were both cuddling with Punkin on her bed, where they all three crashed after nightly reading.
Punkin loves this arrangement. Scooter cuddles in a very uncomfortable fashion. He gets right up next to you and lies down, then presses his feet into you, and preferably braces his back against something else, assumes rigor mortis, sighs in contentment and drifts off to sleep. Deacon is a very satisfactory, if wiggly, cuddler, but divides his time between us, with myself getting the majority of his attention.
I was distracted from reading my new favorite blog by the unfamiliar sound of dog tags jingling in Punkin's room and simultaneously the distinctive voices of my 2 dogs in the front yard.
And I wondered if I had fed the dogs. Crud. Perhaps I just didn't remember through the fog of weird sleep, cranky kids and cold medicine, or perhaps I actually hadn't. So to be on the safe side I decided on pork neckbones all around. So I went into the bedroom and was greeted by sleepy wiggles and Katie coming out from under the covers and Smiley all Norman Rockwellesque at the foot of the bed. I had one of those warm fuzzy moments. I got down on the bed and snuggled them and then they followed me out and I fed them raw meat from my hands, which from the start they have taken very politely and eaten nicely. Well, Katie tends to bolt it just a little. Then I went to the front door where my two were already waiting and they got to eat theirs outside.
I do separate at meal times. There's no reason not to when it just makes it less stress for everyone, as dogs are like children in that food can be a major power issue for them. Katie is actually a rare dog in that her food issues are about food, as in, she's not sure that there will ever be more and it makes her a little nervous. I am very sympathetic to that and feed her small meals and snacks several times throughout the day and one of those meals is one that she gets to really fill her stomach for not only that not empty feeling but all the way to the full and sleepy stage. Which is a good idea anyway as she is very small and very pregnant.
I am less sympathetic about the food-as-a-control-issue, with both dogs and children actually. Deacon is very easy going about food (lol, now, when he came he was a little shark) but Scooter can be a dink. He doesn't want the other dog's food, he just doesn't want them to have it. Even in a crate he will do his best to Evil-Eye the other dog and ignore his own food to snarl until I say Ahem and then he says What? Me? I was just.. uh .. clearing my throat and polishes his halo for a week or month until he thinks I might not be looking. > An interesting thing, should the other dog actually be nervous about food itself, like Katie, he will leave them alone. He doesn't want a Leave my food alone reaction, he's looking for You said WHAT?? He doesn't want food or even dominance most of the time, just devilment.
He tried it on Smiley at the water dish from across the room, and Smiley came across the room and chest slammed him and they said vile things to each other for a minute and then Smiley went and had his drink and grumbled under his breath. Scooter sat back up and looked around the room to see if anyone else had seen that and then went and pretended he'd been sleeping the whole time.
Smiley is a little uneasy because he's not sure if dishes are supposed to belong to him. He's pretty sure that if they do then others shouldn't be using them. The only part he's certain of is that upstart beagles aren't allowed to say rude things to him from across the room, and I concur. But he is learning that dishes don't belong to him, only me and I put nice things in them regularly, so that's ok. From the first he's been wonderful with people and food. But he does think it's pretty low class that I let cats drink out of the same water bowl and whines and worries about it.
It's so fascinating and just great to see all these little facets of their personalities come to light. He's started doing this little bouncy dance when he's happy which I MUST get a video of (and I know I promised a new picture, I can only plead snotty congested children on that) because it is seriously make-you-smile kind of awesome.
There is someone interested in Smiley. Which makes me happy and sad and excited and nervous all at the same time. There's more talking to do before I can decide if it is a good fit for everyone, but I'm hopeful.
It's a little nerve-wracking because you can have a Very Nice Person and a Very Nice Dog and still have them be not right for each other, just like there are plenty of perfectly lovely people you couldn't marry and be happy.
I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a good fit, and I'll let you all know how it turns out.