If you visited my house a few years ago and walked in the door today you’d notice some changes. The decor is different. We’ve got a cozier living room with newer, browner carpet. Our tiny dining room is now a sitting room, with comfortable turquoise leather chairs in a space lined with overflowing bookcases. The dining room is now in what was the family room, with plenty of room to eat with family or spread out on the dining room table. The house’s prime living areas of the house are re-purposed and more pleasant.
Of course, you’d also notice a few clumps of pet hair. There are as many pet toys littering the floor as any three year old’s bedroom. Welcome to my world.
Lola came to live with us last July, and she’s fit right in with everybody else. Almost. Kinda.
The first thing to remember as I blather on about Lola is that she’s still kind of a puppy. She’s almost 18 months, which should end her puppyhood. She’s naturally playful, excitable, enthusiastic. Lacking a tail, when Lola is excited-almost all the time-her entire derriere shakes. Lola is perpetually happy. Never mopey like her big brother Rusty. Never reticent, like her big brother Amos. Lola loves to play. Always. Forever. This minute. She’s taken to grabbing the boys by the ears and running out the back door. This doesn’t always go over well, but you get the idea. It’s tough to get a great picture of little miss because she never stands still for my mostly good camera to get anything better than a blur. She spent hours outside a couple of weeks ago when we had snow. Just Lola and those poor flakes she was abusing.
Lola does have a few warts-and probably bigger than Oliver Cromwell’s. Like Rusty Lola is all about the food. She’s long like Big Red and can really stretch out quite a bit for a little thing. She’ll take food right out of your hand if you aren’t careful. She’s also a relentless chewer. One of the reasons we have nylabones and tennis balls all over the house is because if we didn’t we probably wouldn’t have furniture or shoes. But Lola does, literally, run off with any manner of articles in her mouth. She loves plastic, and has chewed up any number of small articles including credit cards, plastic bags with Lorri’s diamond earrings I bought her for Christmas, and handles of at least four pairs of scissors (??!!) Lola loves paper-newspaper, wrapping paper, and to top it all off, $20 bills (we’ve lost two.) Last night she joyously got the end of the toilet paper roll from the bathroom and took off down the hall, happily TPing the house. She’s also fairly intolerant of visitors in the house. She doesn’t growl or snap at them as Jack would at his worst. But she does bark. We had my parents over to the house a couple of weeks ago, and we think we may have found a solution to the barking. We stuffed Lola in a soft crate we brought her home in and she seemed to be happy to spend time there in the same room with everybody else, quiet and safe from my evil parents.
The boys are pretty tolerant of little sister, who isn’t always kind to them. Amos is great, but struggled with a couple of health problems in the fall. We feared he developed an anti-immune condition. He developed red, weeping lesions on his muzzle, around his eyes and on his feet, but a biopsy showed he likely had a food allergy. We have gotten grain out of his diet, and he seems to be doing fine. Unfortunately the biopsy went awry and tore through a tendon in his foot and he also had to have reconstructive surgery-at the doctor’s expense. Spent a lot of time in the vet’s office Amos has become a great walker, mostly ignores his siblings, but loves treats and attention from Mom and Dad. He remains something of a recluse at times, and it’s always hard to get good photos of him. He’s my sweet boy.
Lorri likes to compare Rusty to Scooby-Do, mostly because he is so food driven and transparent. I, of course, love Rusty because he is so utterly devoted to me. He is distressed when I’m not home and insists on being with me at all times. If I am reading in my recliner, then he’s in my lap. Mind you, he’s no little hothouse pooch. He’s easily the largest of the three dogs. Rusty is often victimized by his two siblings, who routinely steal his toys right out of his mouth. He always looks to me for some kind of justice with his imploring brown eyes, but I think dogs have a different code of ethics and morality.than humans do . . . so I help him find another toy. Rusty is such a a good, kind dog, a wonderful, loyal companion any person who loves dogs would want.
So we head into the Christmas holidays without a Christmas tree this year. It’s an acknowledgement that Little Miss probably wouldn’t deal with the whole Christmas ornament thing very well. We feared we’d just find a stash of them in her bed one day summer day. Besides, we have lots to do navigating clumps of dog hair, nylabones and sleeping dogs as it is.
I”ve included this highly entertaining (and, sadly, true) link if you’d like to understand Australian Shepherds just a little better.