Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day Madness

On Friday after I got off work the people doing our floors were just finishing up. They were putting on the last bit of finish and the floors just look fantastic! We packed our bags and left for Wisconsin to stay until Sunday to let the floors dry and cure.

The weekend was really nice and relaxing as usual. Barry enjoyed his time outdoors. We went to a park called Petrified Springs. We hiked and even tried to take Barry to the water to see how he would do. He didn't seem to like it or not like it. He was rather indifferent to the water, actually. He stood in it but wasn't phased by it. We probably hiked for about an hour and a half. Then later that evening he got to play with his cousin, Paxton, a golden doodle. They got along well for the most part. They are both big dogs and have a similar energy and so they were both playing rough but it was a normal and natural play.

Barry is constantly in hunter mode when outdoors. Paxton is calm and cool here.

Grandpa wanted to walk both dogs at the same time. I protested slightly as I was worried it would be quite difficult. Both dogs are strong and both dogs pull. It turned out the walk was pretty successful. They both stayed relatively on the sidewalk and were mostly well behaved. I followed behind to take some pictures.

I like big butts. Although, I'd say Paxton's is more fluffy than big.
Barry slept well that night. He played hard with his cousin and hiked hills and trails.

On Sunday we had a cookout with the family. It was a gorgeous day. At around 4:30 or so we packed up and left for Chicago knowing we'd have a long day ahead of us with moving furniture and cleaning surfaces, etc.

After the hour and a half ride back to Chicago we parked on the street behind our building. I was carrying a few bags and having some issues so I set all the bags down to reassess and get a better grip on everything when I looked up and noticed Husband, holding Barry on his leash, looking back at me, realizing I was still by the car. He said something and I looked down to pick up the bags and once I grabbed them I looked up and Barry was running free, leash flying behind him. He'd spotted a squirrel. Husband was momentarily distracted by me and in that very moment a squirrel went by and Barry was able to get free. It happened in a flash.

Barry was running hard on the cement. We were in the parking lot behind our condo building. Barry was running all directions, trailing the squirrel quite expertly. The squirrel would dodge quickly in a new direction and Barry stayed with the squirrel at each turn. Under cars, over the grassy curbs, this way, that way, and then finally Husband was able to grab hold of Barry's leash and stop him. At that point I could already see all the scrapes, gashes, blood, frayed nails. Barry had really done a number on his paws and nails. Each step he took left splotches and patches of blood. A trail of blood behind him coming from his pads and nails.

We rushed into our messy and dusty condo with beautiful new floors and hurried Barry into the tub to clean him. We rinsed his paws and then dipped them in baking soda to stop the blood from pouring out. It helped a little. It seemed to clog some of the open wounds that were bleeding and he was no longer gushing blood. Barry limped and hobbled to a corner of the living room trailing pink baking soda behind him. He could barely walk. He stayed in the corner near the sliding glass doors on a towel for about 45 minutes. I brought him water and we fed him treats. We were beside ourselves. I was devastated. The look he was giving us was torture. There was little we could do for him. We'd cleaned him and helped stop the bleeding.

So we got to work and moved furniture back to its spot. Once we moved the spare mattress into the back room Barry went to the back room and lay there for the rest of the evening while we cleaned and moved furniture. Husband and I moved and cleaned in near total silence. It was a horrible experience. We should have been celebrating our new floors and happily moving our furniture with discussion on if we wanted to put the spare bed here, or there, and where should we put the desk, what kind of rugs should we get, what about a dresser? There was little discussion. Everything was mechanical and depressing. We were only worried about Barry. Each time I went to the back room to check on Barry Husband would be either right behind me or already in the room checking on Barry as if we both had an internal clock set to the same time to check Barry setting.

As the hours went on and after we made Barry eat (with a small dose of aspirin crushed in) he was asleep. He slept hard. He would not get up. I think we realized he would be fine and he would just need to take time to heal up a bit. I still kept going in to check on him but he was out. He barely moved from the time we got home (about 6:30PM) until the following morning at about 8:30AM. At about 1AM he limped to our bedroom to get into bed with us but he was unable to jump into bed so I lifted him up to come into the bed. Now looking back on it I'm surprised I lifted him with such ease. He's nearly 70 pounds of muscle and I popped him into my arms and laid him on our bed.  You could tell he was in pain still. His sensitive paws, jumping at being touched. Awww... Poor guy. It's so hard to see your pet in pain and there's little you can do about it.

At 8:30 the next morning we woke and loved on Barry. Checked his paws and they were scabbed up a bit but still raw and tender. We moved around, got off the bed. Used the bathroom and Barry stayed on the bed. Even though it had been over 14 hours since he'd gone to the bathroom (he didn't get up the night before at any prompting so we just let him sleep rather than take him out before bed as usual) he wasn't interested in moving. I finally pulled the spare bedroom mattress into our bedroom on the floor by our bed so that Barry could jump down relatively pain free.

It's a bit hard to see but he has a small cut on his chin here.
Once we got him outside to use the bathroom he got quite a pep in his step. He was doing a good deal of limping but you could see he was truly enjoying being outside. We took it easy and went on a shorter route but it was so relieving to see him wagging his tail and hobbling along happily.

You can see some cuts on his arms here.
An example of how it painful it must be for him to walk. See how raw that is? Many
parts  of his  pads on  all fours looks like this. Poor guy.
We will have to take it easy so he heals up properly but even today I could see how excited and peppy he was just being outside. He is healthy and heals quickly, as we've seen from other incidences, so we are sure he'll be back to squirrel hunting and occasional pulling in no time.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Barry's Buttons

We still have to put clothes and shoes away when we're gone during the day, so that Barry doesn't tear them up or chew on them. We've gotten used to that routine. Occasionally we might forget something and sometimes come home to find that it's been untouched by Barry. Good boy, Barry! Other times we come home to find the item left out is done for. In the last month and a half Barry has been enjoying left out clothing or clothing he can pull from our make-shift dresser (IKEA cubby thing with decorative boxes in each cubby that contain our clothes). He hasn't been tearing up the clothing, per say.

Mouth breather & precision expert button eliminator.
He has been methodically chewing off the buttons, one by one. Neatly, for the most part. In most of the clothing items he removes the buttons from there is no discernible damage. Save for the fact that those jeans used to have a button to fasten and now they don't. We'll usually conveniently find the missing button(s) lying next to the clothing it's missing from. It's almost like our dog walker is playing tricks on us. Like she is snipping the buttons off of our shirts, cardigans, and jeans and then placing the button next to the item from which it came. Then we find proof that Barry has been doing this unassisted. A few mangled buttons (the cheap aluminum variety giveaway his teeth marks the best), a tear in the cloth where the button held fast and Barry had to respond with additional force by ripping at the item in order to remove the button. I'm just glad Barry isn't eating the buttons!

Barry doesn't discriminate against which article of clothing is next or what type or texture of button he prefers. He likes them all. Decorative plastic gem buttons, metal jean buttons, epoxy sweater/cardigan buttons, or cloth couch buttons. Size is of no concern either. From the silver dollar size couch buttons to the tiny non working jean pocket buttons (I cannot figure out how he's managed to pull this small of button from anything with his huge mouth), he enjoys them all.

I'm seriously considerings these buttons behind me.
Hey Dad. Do you need all of those buttons on your shirt there? If not,  you know who to
go to to take care of any button issues you might encounter.
At any rate, I have a lot sewing to do. Being that the articles of clothing are all still relatively intact and the buttons are all accounted for (thanks, Barry, for making it that much easier for me) I shouldn't have any issues getting this all done.

You're welcome. No buttons = an easier life.
Now that we've got the wood floors in we will most certainly be buying a proper dresser in which to put our clothing.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pardon Our Mess

On Tuesday our floor contractor and his team started on our bedrooms. We are finally getting hardwood in our bedrooms! Goodbye carpet! Sayonara eyesore (actually, it wasn't an eyesore before Barry)! Once again, the whole process is a little bit more difficult due to living in a condo. Next to, on top of, underneath neighbors. We had to get the project approved once we decided on a contractor (we had four different bids from four different companies), we have to schedule the elevator to be padded at a certain time for materials to be brought up, we had to get the carpet removed off site (can't just throw it away in the condo building dumpster), and we had to notify our neighbors of the noise and smells to come.

Barry's spot in the living area. Those are all of his toys piled under his head.
Barry doesn't understand what's going on at all. He can't hang out in the bedrooms and
we're all crammed in the living area along with all of our furniture stuffed wherever
it will fit.
On top of all that we had to figure out what to do with Barry. Barry is a high energy, young, pit bull type with mild separation anxiety. We also had never taken him to a doggie daycare or boarding facility. We weren't keen on boarding him due to his separation anxiety and his strong feelings of hate towards kennels or crates. In a daycare facility, however, at least he would be able to run around and play with other dogs and not be confined to one spot. Even though we knew this week was coming quickly we still never scheduled to get Barry evaluated. You know, to make sure he's good with other dogs and people. I'm not worried that Barry wouldn't be accepted. I'm sure he would be. He's great with people and dogs. That wasn't the issue. The issue was finding a good place (reading reviews, finding out the cost, good facilities, etc.) calling that place, and making an appointment for Barry's evaluation. It just never materialized. I barely looked into it. I don't know why. It's not like I'm a procrastinator or anything. I just didn't.

Barry doesn't understand what's going on but he's cool as long as he can hang out with us.
Anyhow, Husband has taken off for two days to be with Barry and keep him occupied while the guys work and then the last two days Grandpa (Husband's dad) will come to watch Barry during the day. I mean, it's not like we can just leave Barry there while the guys are working on our floors. Had we done the doggie daycare our problems would be solved, but as I said, that didn't happen. So now, we have two mattresses and all of our furniture in the living area of our condo. We are crammed in and all sleeping next to one another. Grandpa, Barry, Husband and I all in one room together. Living the good life.

All crammed in. It's kind of like camping!

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Man's Dog

Barry is a dog that loves love. He loves pets and scratches and pats and kisses. He is showered with these things daily. I prefer to just love on him and pet him and throw balls down our hallway for him to chase after. The only problem with that is that Barry enjoys playing hard and playing often. Husband is good for the playing stuff. Husband also gives lots of love to Barry. I see the bond they have with one another. Husband is a lot more fun to play with than I am. I don't question that Barry and I have a bond but it's different with Husband and Barry. It's more complete and silent. I'm quite nurturing and overbearing. Husband is fun-loving and strong. Barry needs all of it but he understands Husband more than he understands me. Plus they're both guys. I think Barry gets that too.

I recently found out that when Husband takes Barry on walks without me Barry is calm and walks perfectly with him. When I go with them on walks (which is most of the time) he is a lot more excited, pulls more often, and doesn't listen as well. To me, it's hard to believe that Barry would behave differently without me on a walk. But then again, why would Husband make it up? I have no choice but to believe that Barry is better behaved when I'm not around on walks.

The first time he told me about how great Barry walked when I wasn't with them I just decided it was a fluke. Then it happened again and again. I wondered what it could be that would make Barry behave differently. I started trying to keep cool and calm on walks as I followed Husband and Barry. I thought changing my mindset a bit would be helpful and Barry would calm down. It didn't seem to work. I didn't notice a change in his behavior on any of the walks I took with them.

So now it's become a regular occurrence that when I'm not present on the walks Barry is very well behaved. I asked Husband what his mindset is when he's walking Barry, what is he thinking, and how is he feeling (hoping maybe this would help me to match his mindset so we can all be cohesive). His answer: I just enjoy the walk with my dog. Me and my dog, the boys out together, bonding. That was it. I'm not sure I can get into that mindset, being that I'm a woman and all.

I guess I can live with the fact that Husband and Barry have a boy's bond. A man's bond. There is no denying that it's two guys that get each other just because they're male. Even though Barry is a dog and Husband is human, that male energy is definitely there. It's also not to say that Barry doesn't love to curl up with me often and typically lies closer to me at night when we're all sleeping. I love those parts the most anyway. The cuddling and the closeness.  I'm actually not jealous about their bond. I love that Husband and Barry have that. It makes me happy and I think it's really sweet. My boys hanging out and enjoying each other.

Barry laying his head in my lap.
There is no dissecting the reason that Barry would behave so much better on walks where I'm not present. It is what it is. They are two guys enjoying their walk. The boys out together, bonding.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mr. Personality

I learn more and more about Barry all the time. There are still plenty of things I don't know about him. I guess that is how most relationships are, really. You continually get to know someone. Once you know someone for years you think you know everything then one day you find out something you never knew! We're all complex creatures. Lots of layers and interests that come and go.

I'm very complicated and complex.
Dogs aren't quite as complex as humans. They are pretty much straightforward. Pretty much. For Barry, I know what his interests are. I think. Because we are still getting to know him (going on 6 months!) there are things that we haven't encountered with him before and we don't know how he'll react.

Take the cat incident. I honestly didn't know how he would react. I do now. We want to go camping. We think Barry will love it. What if he doesn't, though? We don't know. Does he like to swim? Maybe. What about doggie daycare? How will he do in doggie daycare (we may be taking him two days next week)?

I'll do great at doggie daycare!
He knows us pretty well. He knows I react to his whining with attention or pets on his belly. He knows he can look at us in a certain way and we give in to his every whim. Sometimes he wants to be next to us, laying on us and getting lots of love. Other times he just wants to go to his room by himself and chew on a toy. He likes to lay in his doggie bed behind the couch and sleep by himself. Many times he wants us to play with him and chase him around. You never really know which side of his personality is going to come out. He's playful, loving, independent, fearless, lazy, funny, and introspective. Yes, introspective. You just have to spend some time getting to know him and you'll see all of those descriptions come out at some point.

I wuv being next to Dad.
Then yesterday (another surprise from Barry!) we got a note under our door from our friendly neighbors. The note was kind of vague with no real helpful insights:
"Your dog has been crying a lot lately after you leave :-( -- Your neighbors."
 So, there's that. Barry has been crying again. The only thing we don't know is, well, pretty much everything else! So we know he's crying. When does he start crying? When we leave in the morning (I never hear him crying when I leave) or in the afternoon after our dog walker leaves (she never hears him crying upon arrival or leaving either)? Then we want to know when did this start? Did it start this week? Has this been going on for a month? The last thing that is still a mystery is how long is he crying? 15 minutes? 3 hours? While I'm glad we know that Barry is crying we don't know the issue. Depending on the answer to those questions it can mean so many different things. If it just started this week then he'll probably cool down and be fine. If it's been going on for a month then there is a more serious issue. Gosh, it's hard having a dog in condo building.

So I wrote our neighbors back thanking them for letting us know and then asking if they can clarify on those three points so we can better find a solution for Barry. If it starts early then we might place kibble around the condo for him to sniff out and find during the day (keeping him busy), along with his red KONG bone stuffed with some yummy treats that he has to work to get out, as well as his normal KONG which keeps him busy for a good while. If it's later in the day then we'll have our dog walker give him the red KONG bone pre stuffed with goodies before she leaves so he can keep busy for a while.

We already know that Barry has mild to moderate separation anxiety (that totally sounds like one of those medication ads you see on TV). This is not a surprise to us. We know that he doesn't like us to leave in the morning. He is just coping and okay with it now that he knows and trusts that we'll come back. Plus the KONG stuffed with some pretty amazing tasty treats helps. So we've just been used to our normal week day routine of giving Barry a KONG and leaving. Now he is starting to cry once again. I don't know if we need to step it up a notch with his activity level or maybe this will pass and it's just a little phase he's going through. Perhaps there's construction noise he's hearing somewhere...

At any rate, Barry has once again got us stumped. We thought we had a good routine going but now he's shaking it up! I have a feeling this will pass quickly and by next week everyone will have forgotten about this. Let's hope, anyway.