Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the category “animal stories”

Thirty Pounds of Puppy

Gus at 15 weeks

At 15 weeks of age, last week Gus  went to his primary care physician for his veterinary care, which included shots and a checkup.  The checkup involved weighing him on a scale.   The scale read 30 pounds.

That weight for a Labrador Retriever of that age is not unusual.  Some are smaller, some are bigger.  What was remarkable to me is the rate of growth.  Three weeks ago, when Gus had a vet appointment for his 12 week checkup, he weighed less than twenty pounds.

Now for me to gain ten pounds in three weeks is easy.  But for a puppy to increase his body weight by half again what he weighed would be like me gaining 100 pounds in three weeks.

With the holidays here, I will give it a try.

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Beau as Pet of the Year

Readers of this blog who are familiar with numerous posts about our Yellow Labrador Retriever named Beau have an impression of him as an amusing trouble-maker.  Today, I want to amend that view of Beau.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not taking it all back.  The stories about him are all true.  He is indeed a character with a funny personality.  You might recall that many of Beau’s activities have involved “collecting.”  He has robbed both a UPS truck and a FedEx truck.  He has brought me tools from workers.  He has “found” a hat of one of our guests.  He has borrowed towels intended for hot tub occupants.  He has helped himself to breakfasts of persons who negligently got up from the table to get coffee.

But Beau has revealed a selfless side recently.  For acts of kindness, I nominate Beau as our Pet of the Year, an honor that has eluded him for the first six years of his life.

What changed?  Beau has accepted responsibility as the babysitter of our new puppy, Gus.  Beau patiently plays with the exuberant puppy.  He is careful not to hurt Gus.  He allows Gus to climb all over him.  He seems to realize that it would not be a fair fight, so he tolerates the puppy taking Beau’s toys.  He even coaches Gus about fetching and pottying outside.  It is heart-warming to watch the two together.

Today, I witnessed something else that warmed my heart and inspired me to write this post.  Besides Beau and Gus, we also have a female Lab, Sadie, who has tried futilely to teach him how to live his life.  She comes when she is called, for example.

Sadie has always been the first to eat.  No matter which bowl I put down first, that one is hers.  Today, Sadie did not go to her bowl.  Beau finished his meal and stood, waiting for Sadie to eat.  I had to lead her to her food.  Sadie is fourteen, almost.  Her eyesight is going, I suppose, but not her appetite.   I was amazed that Beau did not take Sadies’s food.  He just stood and waited for me to lead Sadie to her food bowl and patiently watched her finish her breakfast.

And for that act of respect  and selflessness, I nominate Beau as our Pet of the Year.

playmates

Mortal Frenemies

mortal enemies (2)

Our puppy Gus apparently subscribes to the sentiment behind the immortal words of Will Rogers, “I never met a man I did not like.”

Gus believes that no one has ever met him who will not like him, including our cat, Camo.  Camo deserves credit for being tolerant of the puppy.  Sometimes.

frienemies

 

Growth Progress

Our puppy, Gus, is growing up.  The photo on the left was taken when he was about 8 weeks old.  The photo on the right was just taken now that he is 12 weeks old.  What a difference a month makes.  He has doubled in weight, from 10 to 20 pounds.

Take a look at his feet.  He is growing into them.

Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

MineMe

Beau, pictured on the right, has taken under his tutelage young Gus, pictured on the left.  Gus emulates many aspects of Beau’s behavior.

twins (2)

playmates

Double trouble.  Me and Mini Me.

What were we thinking?

Like Taking Candy from a Baby

baby bone

playmates

Beau has been fairly tolerant of the puppy, Gus.  And Gus idolizes Beau, imitating him and trying to play with him.

Stair steps

Beau draws the line at sharing bones.  When I give them each their own chew toys, Beau’s morality does not prevent him from taking the puppy’s from him.

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They are still pals, but someday the roles might be reversed.  Gus is going to be a big’un.

 

Hangin’ Out at the Tub

puppy and cat

Our poor cat, Camo, is learning to stay off the ground, out of reach of the puppy, Gus.  Pictured here, the cat is on the hot tub.  The puppy is exploring means to ascend there.

Cats are, they say, curious.  This one is fascinated by the puppy.  He likes to be around the puppy, but far enough away to not get harrassed.

In time, they will work it out.

Proper Introductions

Gus and Kitty

The image above is of a puppy and cat meeting through the glass of a door between our kitchen and deck.  The cat is a barn cat named Camo, who has brought us rabbits as big as himself, which he preys upon.  We were concerned that he would see Gus, the puppy, as prey, so we have kept them apart.  As you can see, they are curious about each other.

Now I will tell you the rest of the story.

After the featured picture was taken, I took Gus outside and carefully placed him in the dog pen we have.  Of course, the cat can enter or leave the pen at will.  When Camo came into the pen, I picked up the puppy and removed him from the pen, then put him on the grass in the yard.  The cat left the pen to be with us.

The cat, great hunter that he has proven to be, continued to study the awkward puppy.  I stayed by the puppy, confident in my quickness so that I could grab the puppy if the cat threatened.

The bumbling puppy left the safety of standing between my legs and recklessly bounded toward the cat before I could swoop him up.  I feared that Gus was in harm’s way.  It would be my fault if the cat scratched his eyes out or hurt Gus in any way.

And, as Gus boldly ran right up to the cat, Camo did indeed defend himself by snarling and raising a claw-equipped paw.  I did not blame Camo.  Gus was the aggressor.  Still, I wanted no harm to either pet.

I wish I had a movie of what happened next.  The cat decided that Gus is not a rabbit, albeit rabbit-sized.  He recalled the proper world order, which is that dogs chase cats.  Camo ran away from the ferocious puppy.  Actually, the puppy seemed friendly and wanting to play, as he tries to do with everyone else in our family.  He attacks Sadie and Beau.  He attacks Sugar and me.  He attacks tennis balls and stuffed toys and bones.

Camo fled to a branch at an elevation just slightly beyond the reach of Gus, who barked at the cat in a scolding manner, challenging him to come down.  Camo did not come down.  Gus lost interest and followed me back to the house.  Now he is sleeping.  No doubt dreaming about battles won and to be won.

It looks like it would be lots of fun to be a puppy.  This one is a brave hero in his own mind, unaware that he looks more cute than tough.

 

 

Masculine Behavior

beau and gus

“In me you see a relic from a long-lamented age, when masculine behavior wrote a grand romantic page….”    With a Sword and a Rose and a Cape song from the musical Carnival

I pride myself on masculine behavior.  It troubles me when a male fails to display such behavior.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love our new puppy, Gus.  However, it disturbs me that Beau and I are so utterly masculine while Gus, (well, how can I say this delicately?), pees like a girl.  That, my friends, is where Beau and I draw the line.

As shown in the photo above, Beau has been mentoring the puppy about bones and life in general.  I have been hoping that Beau’s example of lifting his leg during urination would teach Gus how it is done in the male dog world.

Since that has not worked so far, I guess I will have to take a stab at it.  Perhaps I am viewed as more of a leader.  I will let you know.  Good thing we have no neighbors within view.

We Slept Together the Very First Night

So my wife and I picked up our new puppy yesterday.  His name is Gus.  He is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  He joins Sadie, who is almost 14 years old, and Beau, who is 6 years old.  They were not too enthused about the idea of bringing in an 8 week old baby to change their lives.  Three is a crowd perhaps.

We spent the day as an orientation period.  Gus seems smart and curious.  He is pretty brave.  He likes following the older dogs.  He wants to make friends.  They are usually tolerant, but Beau snapped at Gus when he got too close to his personal bone.  Sadie left the living room at bedtime and, instead of sleeping there as usual, showed up in our bedroom.  Turns out that was a smart idea.

It was a smart idea because Gus cried and cried from his crate, which I had placed in the living room, thinking he would be comforted by having the other dogs around him.  Not so much.

I remember my father sleeping on our screened porch when we got a new puppy years ago.  He did it so as to take the puppy out to potty during the night.  Also, I suppose, to keep it company.

So I copied my Dad in a modified fashion.  I found the puppy shut up as long as I laid down in front of the crate.  I stayed until he fell asleep.  Then I sneaked away to join Sugar.  An hour later, I was awakened by pitiful crying from the crate in the living room.   I took Gus outside to see about peeing or pooping.  Then I put him back in the crate.  Then he cried again.  Then I laid down in front again.

We repeated the process every hour or so.  We went out four times.

The successful part is that there have been absolutely zero accidents in the house.

Gus feels that I am learning quickly how to sleep in front of the wire door to the crate so he can watch over me.  It only took a few times for me to catch on.

I am sure gonna miss my wife.  I really prefer sleeping with her.

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