Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Ruby, the foster dog who can sit
Ruby, my new border collie, was born in a barn. And like other creatures sharing that distinction, she has issues with doors. Closed doors. She hates to see a freakin' door closed on her. It makes me want to grrrowl right back at her. But I'm working on taking the high road instead, with her help. Now, before I elaborate further on her door issues, I'll first tell her story; exactly what happened from the day she arrived to when she learned her first command :) Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you the tail of ruby the dog ;)
Marie from Paw Pourri Rescue Centre http://www.pawpourri.net/ handed 9-week-old Ruby to me with no more than a collar around her neck. Poor Ruby was shivering, riddled in fleas, suffering from an ear infection and had her tail between her legs. I immediately wanted to put my Super Mammy skills to action on her. She was petrified. With a soft all-white coat and intense brown eyes, my urge was to coo and woo her, wrap her in cotton, and hum a Beethoven lullaby in her floppy ears. However, that kind of mammyish behaviour, I have learned, is exactly what you shouldn't do to a distressed dog. So I stifled my visceral urges and decided to think like a dog, for the sake of the dog. I hung up my superhero accoutrements (mask, underpants, lycra leggings), sat back, and gave her space.
For a painstaking hour, I watched silently (almost) as she sniffed her way around our small apartment, which was as alien to her as a spaceship would be to us. She fast considered me her mother/guardian/whatever and followed me, you guessed it, like a lost puppy. Everywhere - to the sink, the couch, the toilet, etc. At first glimpse, I thought it cutiepatootie cute but after a few days it started to get old. Really old. And I began to wonder if I was sowing separation-anxiety seeds by letting her follow me ev-er-y-where. Sad to say, I think my wonderments might have been right...
Because now, one week on, I can't get a decent night's kip. It's no longer the Riddler keeping me up at night (see ignoring the riddler post), it's a tiny dog catapulting herself at my sitting room door, yelping and whining louder than a Doberman would. I got to sleep last night at 2:30 in the friggin' am. The night before, there wasn't a peep from her; she slept like a good baby. How does that erratic behaviour make any sense? Hmm? I seriously need to implement a solid bedtime routine or Ruby's gonna, I don't know, suffer in an acceptable, fair and legal way. My options:
Because I live in an apartment, ignoring her for too long is simply not an option - unless I want grumpy neighbours ringing my bell, which I don't. So I have to watch her fall asleep, tip toe out of the room, and maybe get some sleep for my efforts. If she hears me leave, she's straight up and bouncing all over the place. Leaving her without making even a hair-pin-falling sound has become a fine art; a strategy I hone every other night as I creep in the dark. And although I might make a crafty burglar after all my work, I definitely won't make it as an eyedrop model. The bags. Sleep deprivation does no-thing for radiance, I can tell you now.
But the positive news, and the reason for this post: Ruby has learned her first command: sit. I was so PROUD. I've never had a dog and never really considered myself a dog person, but with encouragement from dog enthusiast and manipulator, Julie Hyde, I've been dipping my toe in and liking it. I guess that fostering Ruby (Hyde's idea) means that I'm all the way in now, especially because I've taught her something, right?
Anyway, I'm happy and surprised to say that I still have my head above water. But please, Ruby, be a good girl tonight.
A little post script:
Tomorrow, Ruby learns to give the paw. Watch this space for results.