About a month ago, we went to the local Humane Society and adopted a dog. Somehow, it was my idea. I was really pushing Satya to go to the Humane Society and then once we were there, I decided that we’d like a closer look at this dog. She was curled up at the back of her cage, but her information page said that she was 22 lbs and house trained. Then, we took her for a little walk outside. She walked nicely-not pulling the leash too badly and she shook paws with Satya! Then, somehow I told the volunteer, “We’d like to fill out an application for her.” After filling out an application and the Humane Society verifying that indeed yes our apartment complex does allow dogs (max. 2, must be under 50 lbs.) we walked out with Lego. 3 days later we returned to finalize her adoption and now she is ours.
Some things have been a pleasant surprise. She is very well-behaved in the house-no shoes chewed yet or accidents (knock on wood). She can sleep in her crate just fine. One of my favorite parts of the day is in the evening when the 3 of us all go to the park together. We play frisbee across the park and back with her and it is a lot of fun to see her jump up and catch the frisbee. Other things aren’t so fun-I don’t like getting up at 6 am so she can toilet outside (better than her messing up the inside though). We also discovered she has some separation anxiety. At first, I couldn’t even leave her alone to take out the trash without her barking and whining. Now, I can take out the trash and she will be quiet and calm, but I can’t leave her alone to check mail without the barking and whining. We are going to try the advice in Patricia McConnell’s I’ll be Home Soon and if that doesn’t work we’ll call a local dog behaviorist.
I’ve never had a dog before. Growing up I had rabbits. My grandfather grew up on a farm and thought that it was cruel to have a dog in the city, so he got my mom and aunt rabbits. My dad agreed with my grandfather. Dogs are much, much different from rabbits. Like a good ex-librarian, I’ve been trying to find out all I can from watching Cesar Millan’s Dog Whisperer, to reading books like Tamar Geller’s 30 Days to a Well-Behaved Dog, to ordering Patricia McConnell’s books and pamphlets. Some things we are doing right-Lego has to sit and wait to enter and exit the apartment, sit and wait for her food, etc.
Lego is a miniture Australian Shepherd. At the Humane Society they warned us that her breed is very smart and very active. Lego gets 2 walks a day-morning and evening for physical exercise. For mental exercise, she has a purple treat dispenser, Busy Buddy’s Squirrel Dude (best toy ever!) and she goes to basic obedience class on Saturdays. We also practice her obedience commands a bit throughout the day.
Why did we get Lego? For me, it was for Satya. He had a dog in India that he loved very, very much and he always talks about that dog. Also, he is very stressed from work so I thought a dog would be a great way for him to relax and get some exercise after a long day in the office on the computer. Originally, I’d wanted a labradoodle or barring that, a lazy couch potato dog like maybe a whippet. Satya wanted a dog who “looks like a dog” which meant no toy dogs.
What have been the effects? Well, Satya’s stress acne has gone down. He says my skin as also improved and that my stomach has gotten smaller (I walk Lego by myself during the day and with Satya at night). I think the two of us also feel more like a family now. Lego does complicate things though-with her separation anxiety can’t do as much. We either take her with us (one sitting outside with Lego while the other one grocery shops), or we take her to doggy day care. Satya’s sister loves to see the dog on Skype which is sometimes sweet and sometimes annoying-like when the dog is asleep and she wants to see Lego play.
Differences between us having a dog now and Satya’s dog in India:
- Here we have commercial dog food, in India Satya’s mom cooked the dog’s food which was the same vegetarian Lingayat food the family ate. The dog’s mom brought him bones to chew herself.
- In India, the dog would be let out to run around by himself during the day. He was trusted to return on his own. Here, Lego is never off the leash unless we are in the apartment. We have a long 16 ft. leash for her frisbee games in the park.
- In India, the vet made house calls here we drive to the vet
- In the U.S. lots of commercial dog toys vs. homemade ones in India
- Dog trainers and obedience classes in the U.S. are plentiful in India in the ’90s there weren’t any in his city
- A lot easier to get vaccines here. In India in the ’90s Satya had to special order his dog’s rabies vaccine from Switzerland.
Has anyone traveled with a dog to India? Online I’ve read that Europe is very dog friendly and that it is not a big deal to bring your American dog along for a trip.
How is it for India? We plan on going to India again in the spring for 3-4 weeks.