Monthly Archives: February 2008

It

Pax is an “it.”

I had Pax neutered on Thursday. Aslan was — and still is — growling at him every time he saw him, loathe to give up the dispute. I’m hoping, though, that once the testosterone is completely out of the picture, life will get back to normal between them. I hope. Especially since, as my manager said, Pax had to lose his manhood over it.

Pax was neutered on Thursday, spent the night at the vet, and came home on Friday. He spent that day sleeping under my desk, calm and quiet. He didn’t seem especially sore, and he wasn’t licking the incision site, but he was a bit subdued. Last night he willingly crawled up to cuddle with us before going to sleep. This is remarkable because Pax is NOT a nighttime cuddler. When he goes to bed, he wants to go to sleep. He will, in fact, get up and leave if you insist on petting him after he has gone to bed.

But last night, he crawled up and asked for cuddles. And then, when we were done, and I tucked my arms back under the blanket, he punched me with his paw. I reached out and petted him again, and then took my hand away. Punch. Okayyyy. I shifted positions so I could comfortably rest a hand on him. This neediness was the only sign of stress I’ve seen.

Today Pax announced that he was BORED with lying in the kitchen. I actually got out some treats and did a short training session with him, and that sacked him out for a while. This afternoon Jay and I went shopping, and I bought the dogs some new toys from PetSmart and some marrow bones. Pax is pleased with his big red Clifford dog, and he spent some time with a bone, but he says he’s still bored.

I really hope these two dogs forget about this fight soon, so the house can get back to normal!

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Dog fight… a real one

Last night Pax and Aslan got crowded in the kitchen near some high-value food, and Aslan jumped Pax. We’ve had lots of fights like that, and I wasn’t particularly concerned. But this one didn’t stop. It escalated. Pax was sick of being picked on, and so he fought back. Hard. In fact, I’d have to say he was winning the battle when Jay and I finally jumped in and dragged them apart.

Both dogs were left bleeding. I took Aslan to the emergency vet, and they shaved his face and found about a dozen punctures. Pax I didn’t take to the vet last night, but he’s going this morning. He had a puncture in his neck, and at least two in his front left foot. Neither dog went for the belly or back legs, which is good.

I don’t blame Pax for finally fighting back. He’s taken a lot from Aslan. Problem is, this only made things worse. The two are separated because Aslan starts growling as soon as he sees him. Since we’re not breeding Pax, I’m going to make an appointment to have him neutered. Hopefully getting the last of the testosterone out of the equation will get Aslan to chill out.

Jay is losing patience with Aslan, and I understand that. He has no tolerance for bullies — and that’s what Aslan is. He’s starting to talk about rehoming for the sake of peace in the household. But rehoming Aslan would be difficult. He’s a very large dog who needs to be an only dog. And, of course, I love him dearly. But if he would be less stressed by a different living arrangement, then rehoming is a good choice. Ugh! I hate this line of thought. Hate it. I love Aslan, and even thinking about rehoming feels like I’m abandoning him. But I’m not. I’d NEVER do that. I want him to be happy.

I called my friend Greta Kaplan from the vet. Her specialty is aggressive dogs. She and I agree — this is an especially difficult kind of aggression because Aslan is highly reinforced by the adrenaline rush he gets from fighting. He enjoys fighting. I’ve worked hard to prevent fights to keep him from building a reinforcement history for the behavior, but, like last night, I’m not always successful.

Jay and I both worry about what it would mean to bring a puppy into this situation. Greta agreed with me there too — Aslan isn’t likely to bother a puppy at all. This aggression has its basis in status, and until the puppies hit adolescence… probably around 11 months old… they aren’t going to do anything but kowtow to him. But what happens at 11 months???

Jay isn’t going to like it, but Greta suggested something I had considered… getting a girl puppy. Even if we get two puppies, she thinks they should both be girls. I balked at that. It seemed to me that two girl puppies of roughly the same age was just begging for inter-bitch aggression later. Greta said inter-bitch aggression — though horrible when it happens — is really very rare, but the status-based aggression from Aslan was a sure thing toward male puppies.

I don’t know. I guess, first things first. Let’s see what the vet says when I take Pax in this morning, and let’s see how Aslan reacts after Pax is neutered. Then we can think more about the future.

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Snips and snails and puppy dog tales

I went round and round with myself about breeding Pax, and then finally talked to Pax’s breeder, Cathy Lew, about it. She knew Chelsea and said it was a super match. Oh. Well, good. Then let’s give it a try!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Pax failed his CERF exam. The ophthalmalogist found a punctate cataract in his right eye. It’s not serious — and may not even be hereditary — but I’m not going to breed him, just the same. So no nookie for Pax.

That disappointed me. I would have loved to have a Pax baby. So I talked to Cathy Lew again. I can’t have a Pax baby, obviously, but maybe a Pax niece or nephew. She’s planning to breed Pax’s littermate, Moxie, one more time later this spring. That would mean a fall puppy — just like I wanted!

So does that mean no Newfie puppy? <cough> Well, no. We still want a Newf. The breeder we had hoped to get a pup from had a waiting list so long that she is no longer taking reservations, so we did some research and tentatively decided to get a puppy from Betty McDonnell in New Jersey. She’s working on her 20th UD title right now — proof that she values performance in her Newfs.

So… twins? We’ll still have to see. Neither breeder has a litter on the ground yet. It’s possible that one or both won’t have a litter this summer. We’ll just have to see what happens. I know what I’m hoping for though…!

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Puppy musings

Jay and I have gone ’round and ’round about a puppy. We both want one, and we both agree now is not a good time for it. Maybe late summer or fall. I want a curly related to Pax. Jay wants a Newf like Rain. I miss Rain too — and love Newfs — so I totally know where he’s coming from. But, at the same time, I worry that I may miss out on an opportunity to get a pup closely related to Pax.

We chatted this week, and we casually mentioned that it might be time to have a Newf puppy. We have a breeder picked out, but it would still be months before a pup came home, even if we started the process now (which we haven’t).

At the same time, a woman living in Portland contacted me about breeding Pax to her curly bitch. Long story short, initially I turned her down. She contacted me again, and I told her I’d think about it. I haven’t decided either way. It wouldn’t be an easy proposition. I would have to finish Pax’s health clearances — we’ve done hips and elbows but not heart or eyes — and I’d have to take him down to Portland for several days. She wants to do a natural breeding, but neither dog is experienced, so I would want the breeding to be assisted if we have to go the natural route. Honestly, I’d prefer AI. In the end, it would probably be cheaper for me, and I wouldn’t have to worry about him getting randy around every bitch that visits.

I haven’t decided, but of course Jay and I were talking about it last night and joked that we could end up with two puppies — one Newf and one curly. Frick and Frack. Jay said we absolutely couldn’t name them Frick and Frack, so we brainstormed other “pair” names. Fruit and Loop were nice. If we got two girl puppies (not a chance in hell), I’d name them “Chairman Meow” and “Little Boy Cat,” which, if you don’t watch Psych probably isn’t funny at all. But we’d giggle every day. Might be worth getting girls just for the laugh.

I found a list of pair names online today. Some of our favorites:

  • Butch and Sundance
  • Calvin and Hobbes
  • Barnum and Bailey

Do you see a theme emerging?

In the end, my favorite names were Bartlett and Bosc. I mean, seriously, can you think of better pear names?

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