Saturday, January 25, 2014

Day One: Not What We Expected

The first morning that we had Barry I woke up quickly and ran around the condo to check for any accidents or to find if he had torn anything apart, etc. Nothing. He was good all night. No damage to anything and no doggie accidents. Yessss!

So the normal daily work week routine began. Unfortunately for Barry we were ill prepared doggie owners. We didn't schedule time off work to be at home with him to help him acclimate or get used to us and get used to the new place. We were going into it totally blind. We adopted him on a Tuesday evening. So that meant on Wednesday morning we'd be going to work and leaving a dog in our home by himself for part of the day. We didn't plan well. At all.

The look of ill prepared doggie owners - Husband is blurred for privacy. Sorry about the bad quality photo - this was taken with an old cell phone a couple of years ago.
Husband and I took Barry on his first early morning walk and it went as well as could be expected. Then we fed him and began getting ready for work. Showers, ironing, make up, etc. Barry sat and watched. Husband left for work and I was alone with sweet Barry. Just me and the dog. But I was nervous. Nervous about leaving him in a crate for 4 hours. Nervous about putting him in the crate and would he be mad at me? Nervous about if we were doing the right things with him. I put a bone (or something - I can't really remember what it was at this time) into his crate. A small bowl of water and a few treats to lure Barry to the crate.
This is the look he gives us when we're getting ready in the morning. He knows we're going to be leaving him.
The plan we had for a schedule for Barry was as follows~~
  • Take Barry outside for bathroom and a walk first thing in the AM.
  • Give Barry breakfast after his walk
  • Put Barry in his crate before leaving for work
  • Come home at lunch time to take Barry outside for bathroom and a quick walk
  • Put Barry back in his crate before going back to work
  • Come home after work and take Barry outside for bathroom and a walk
  • Feed Barry dinner after his walk
  • Take Barry outside once more for an evening bathroom and walk
Simple enough, right? Well, yeah, actually. The schedule we currently have looks a lot like this now. We've had to make some minor adjustments, though.

Barry went into his crate just fine. No issues. I latched the door both top and bottom and Barry looked at me with his beautiful big brown eyes. I left the room and he began wailing. Howling. He sounded like a human/beast/sea lion. Not a dog. I kept to what I was doing trying to be consistent and thinking that this was good for him and good for us. I grabbed my things about to walk out the door to catch the train and then decided I'd go look into the back room once just to see if he was okay - just to take a look, maybe give him another treat. Thank god I did. 

What I saw made my heart lurch into my throat! Barry had his head through the side of the crate - stuck sideways, metal crate rods tight around his neck and clamping his head so he was unable to back his way out of the sides. He pried the side of the metal crate open with his face and stuck his head through it in attempt to get out but now was unable to get his head out of this bind. I dropped all of my things to the floor and ran to him and pulled the sides so he was able to free his head. I opened the crate and decided I'd rather have a home that was trashed and with dog shit all over it than to come home on my lunch break to a dead dog. If I hadn't looked in on him I don't know what would have happened. I think he probably is tough enough and strong enough that he eventually would have been able to get out but then, what if not? Could it have killed him? I don't even want to go further in my mind with the possible outcomes.

So I quickly picked up things I thought he might get into, shoved things into closets, closed both bathroom doors, put things up high so he couldn't reach and then tracked the train for the next one coming. There was no way I was going to be late on my second day at work. TALK ABOUT STRESS!

Barry by the door. He doesn't want us to leave him.
Leaving Barry behind I shut the door to our unit and walked to the elevator. I could hear him yelping and crying and it broke my heart. But I had to go to work.

At lunch time I took the train home and was a nervous wreck. I didn't know what I would find. A whole house torn apart? Accidents everywhere? Would he be hurt? It was the most awful train ride home I've ever had. When I walked into our unit there was nothing awry. No accidents, nothing chewed or torn. It was fine. I was in disbelief and so relieved!

Barry was happy to see me and excited. I loved on him and still in shock looked around to find all was well. Except the brown/red streaks of blood (from 'happy tail' - see definition at bottom of post) on the wall by the door and the door had some scratches on it. Minimal issues so far!
Front door scratches. Notice the type of handle. Consider that foreshadowing for an upcoming post!
In my shock and disbelief I misplaced my keys so I wasn't able to quickly get him outside. I was searching for the keys everywhere. We can't leave the unit or the building without the keys otherwise we can't get back in. At this point I was in another full on panic mode. I didn't have much time and needed to get back to work. Again, it was my second day on at a new job so I couldn't be late to work or back from break. Finally the keys surfaced and I felt bad for Barry so I walked him down the stairs rather than using the elevator to give him a bit more exercise. We got to the first floor and as soon as we stepped into the parking garage he peed. A huge puddle of wet began to spread underneath Barry. I was so embarrassed! Luckily no one saw it. I checked the time and decided we needed to head back up so I took him back up the stairs (again, I wanted to make sure he got a little bit of exercise and that was all I could offer him at the time).

Since it's been very cold here in Chicago we are unable to take Barry out for long walks and give him sufficient exercise with walks. We combine a short walk with stairs and additional indoor exercise. It's important to give your dog exercise, especially if you have a dog like ours! While Barry isn't necessarily high energy he needs exercise and we try to give him as much as possible. He is responding very well to exercise and he loves it! 

I gathered my things, checked the train tracker and grabbed a handful of paper towels. I flew out the door after throwing a treat down the hall for Barry and went to wipe up the mess he'd made in the parking garage. The nice thing about most parking garages is that they are made of cement. By the time I got there the puddle had totally seeped into the ground and it was barely noticeable. Back to work I went!

Also understand that my husband was nervous right along with me. He couldn't easily take the train home for his lunch break like I could so he was in limbo waiting for my calls and my updates as well. It could very well have been even worse waiting and not knowing than knowing and dealing with it. Either way - we were both super stressed and nervous about the whole thing.

Finally the work day was over and we were both happily home with our Barry. Husband brought home a few more things that we'd need for Barry. More treats, a bone, toys, a doggie bed, etc. Things were great. Barry was totally house trained (as far as we could tell), he didn't tear anything up and he was super cute! We thought maybe he doesn't need to be crated after all. Yay! Perfect dog and happy life.
Lap dog.
**Happy tail is when a dog gets excited and wags his tail rapidly and can injure his tail knocking it against a hard surface. Many times when a dog whacks his tail on a hard surface it can split and bleed and is hard to heal because of the continuous tail wagging and reopening of the wound. It can also be called Kennel Tail, Splitting Tail, and Bleeding Tail. For obvious reasons I prefer the name Happy Tail.

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