No, not THIS Hound…another one, my son’s dog.
She’s a mixed breed, but she looks like a Kooikerhondje. No, I swear that’s the name. But let’s just use the easier term “Dutch Spaniel”.
It’s been a while since our last canine went to Doggy Heaven, (and I know that he is there if there is one, along with my others whom I loved dearly). This is Son #1’s dog. She was actually his daughters’ and although Daughter#2 lives with him most of the time, she and he have been staying with me while he closes on a house, which means that the dog is here.
Both taken trips and Granddaughter#2 goes to stay with her mother and Granddaughter#1, especially when Son#1 is off fighting wildfires. He took one assignment, and is going to head for another, and maybe one more, which means that my house is the kennel, since Granddaughter #1 lives with her mother and stepfather and they also have a large, protective female dog.
So by all definitions, I now have a dog,
a dog which I am not free to spoil.
Her name is “Milano”. It should be “Milana”, the feminine version, but when I questioned it, teenage logic told me they knew, but she was named after the cookie.
She is a smart, very gentle, and a very well-behaved doggy,
Most of the time listens to the angel on one shoulder, but gives in to the devil on her other shoulder when it comes to our cats.
The cats have not been around a dog in a very long time, let alone a young and playful one, plus they are no longer young themselves.
The male cat was around a dog when he was younger and used to romp with him. In fact, we had a time getting him to stop playing with the other cats as roughly as he was used to playing with the small dog.
Pickles, (the male cat), will not only put up with this dog’s attentions, he sometimes seeks it.
Unfortunately, Milano wants to groom him and gets a little too enthusiastic, which Pickles is no longer up to.
He also sniffs Milano’s food and she doesn’t like that at all.
Although Bella and Mercy, (the females), will not approach Milano, things are pretty cool until she gets too chummy, then one of the girls hisses and pandemonium ensues.
Bella will hide under a bed or sofa and we can’t get her out; Milano is relentless and won’t give up when she gets hissed at, even if she can’t fit any more under the sofa or bed other than her head, and so the barking continues, the hissing continues and Bella is stuck away from water, food and litterboxes.
Mercy has enough sense to run up on top of bookshelves, the freezer, the piano, or stacked storage boxes. She has the right idea, but she can’t get down and there she is away from necessities, just like Bella is when under a bed.
Bella will scratch, and Mercy will bite, a person attempting to remove them to a dog-proof area while they perceive Milano as a threat, and that person is generally me. In fact, The Husband will not go near Mercy at this point as he is more afraid of her than she is of the dog.
I walked around for the first few weeks with bite and scratches marks on my arms.
I had to become innovative.
No matter how riled up Milano is, I don’t believe that she is a real danger to the cats, and she certainly is not to us. She is otherwise completely docile. We simply get her by the collar and lead her out of the room, or have her go outside for a little while we put the cats somewhere where they feel secure, and she goes, sometimes with a little protest, but she goes.
‘Somewhere secure’ means somewhere there is a kitty box, food and water, places to rest and windows to look out of. It could mean our bedroom suite,(which means that we have a bathroom there), or for the first weeks, at night it was the large laundry room, where they have been eating (up high) since two days before the dog arrived.
I had enough foresight for that,at least.
We now have a good system of the laundry room door staying opened, which is angled right across the side-door hallway to a room which we still refer to as “The Library”, (although it has become a catch-all room and now contains many things that belong to the dog). I added more pillows and blankets up high for more cat resting places in both rooms to make up for their lack of access to sofas, chairs, cat beds, and people beds. Two strategically placed barstools in the doorway of the Library and a low-rungged chair at the laundry room door allows the cats to go in and out, but the 60+ pound dog cannot get through. I used to block off the short hallway with the furniture, but it was a real pain.
It’s still awkward. It’s not as easy to go from one room to another, especially while carrying anything. I sometimes just throw my hands up and don’t do what I want to or need to do in those rooms.
Our master room bathroom always has a covered litterbox, but normally we try to dissuade them from using it. (We call it “The Execute Washroom”.) Our room has been our go-to place for the when the outside doors will be held opened or we have guests whom the cats do not appreciate. We do this now with the dog here when we go out, just to be sure none of the animals gets stupid and we aren’t there to calm everyone down.
Except for one or two daily skirmishes, all is better. Opposed as I have always been to electronic fences, it works well here since our perimeter is no longer solid. The setting is low, (I have been assured), and there is a warning BEEP the dog feels before a shock happens, (as I have also been assured). I know people who set them high and even then their dogs take a running start, and yip their way past the shock. This dog has been out without her collar and will not go past the set parameters, I kid you not. The first time she was out barking away and when I went to find out what the problem was, she had some hapless box turtle she was tossing around. Milano was collarless, and although she tried to get the turtle from me, (who was completely boxed up but seemed physically unharmed), I walked outside of her set boundaries and she never followed me. She’s been out several times by mistake sans collar, yet she stays close and comes in every time.
I told you that she was smart.
We also remove her collar when we try to get her into a vehicle but she won’t go into a car or Son’s truck unless someone carries her, as her Humans have forgotten to remove the collar when pulling away, and she remembers.
Milano also has a specific diet. I cheat it a little to get her to eat, because I noticed that she is more inclined to pick on the cats if she hasn’t eaten, much as her owner, (Son#1), behaved toward is little brother when he was a boy. (Don’t tell him about any of that.)
The dog can have no poultry; she’s allergic, it makes her itch.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to find dog treats that have no poultry???
I punched a search for “poulty-free treats” into Chewy.com and they came up with some made with duck. Duck is fowl/foul to her, as well as to anyone else, except, apparently, Chewy. (Are you familiar with Chicken Boo from Animaniacs? I can’t help but think about this scene: “I did not know he was poultry!” )
It’s too hot for me to bake my own treats. I used to make “Dog biscotti” for our last dog, and I probably will for this one, but not when we have heat indices of 90-100+ and high humidity. My wall oven pumps out heat, which I love when it gets cooler, but not in the heat of Kentucky summers, when I bake nothing. I bake cakes,etc. inthe last cool weather and freeze them,otherwise, it’s slowcooker, stovetop or refrigerator foods and desserts until the first frost.
Unlike the cats, who I somehow got through to that they were not to bother me until I wake up,(but pounce on me at my first morning movements in the bed), the dog has no such understanding.
I understand that she does have other needs, (no litter box), so no matter how many hours past midnight I may have been awake, I’m up and out early with Milano. Until I found that they were all ok with the semi-blocked doors, I also had to free the cats from the laundry room where they had stayed all night, (comfortably, but not contentedly).
So, here I was, me and my big mouth, recently telling everyone that I did not want to have another dog ever again. But she really is a sweetheart:
No matter what I have said that may lead you to the opposite conclusion, I will miss her when she finally goes.