I haven't posted in a while. Too busy/distracted/hectic/stressed.
I've been making slow progress on the fence around my house. It was delayed by winter, then it was delayed during our brief spring season while I tried to get some garden planted, and it's been delayed by our much-too-early Heat Advisory muggy weather. We went from winter (blizzard with a foot of snow) to summer (heat index over 100F) in just a month. The garden has been better, but at least I got all of the grass removed from the front yard as intended. I can now mow the whole property on a single battery charge.
I don't want to admit how long it took me to get the first post hole dug this year. It needed to go where some sidewalk concrete was laid next to the house. I bought a battery circular saw (uses the same Ryobi battery as the lawnmower). I think it will work fine on wood, but it consumed power so quickly from the battery while cutting concrete that the battery shutdown. I was afraid I'd ruined it, but it just needed some time to cool off, then it started charging okay again.
So I went to the store and bought an electric circular saw. I made a little bit of progress that way, but I just couldn't cut deeply enough to break through the whole sidewalk. I used a small sledgehammer extensively, but I just couldn't get the bottom layer of the concrete to come up. Finally, I borrowed an impact drill to poke many holes along the edges of my target area. With even more sledgehammering, I finally removed all of the necessary sections of concrete. Lots of work in many hours over many weeks, and lots of sweat. For a tiny post hole.
But it needed to be done. About two weeks ago, I finally adopted a dog from the shelter
. I wasn't really planning to do it that very moment, but he really seemed like such a nice dog. They didn't know much about his history. He came up through the "puppy pipeline
" from an Arkansas shelter. He's 2 years old, 50 pounds, the shelter was calling him Dominion, and he's got one brown eye and one blue eye. That's all there is for backstory.
I renamed him to Dominic. He got his neuter surgery a few days before I adopted him, and it didn't go well. I asked them at the shelter to check him out 3 times before I adopted him. They just weren't as concerned as I was that the incision was opening up. He liked to splay his legs and drag his whole body across the floor, the grass, wherever he was. When I finally got him to the vet the next Monday, he agreed with me. I took him back to the shelter for follow-up surgery. It's gone much, much better. The incision looks healed to me, and now I'm starting to wonder if the stitches are supposed to come out on their own, or if it'll take a vet visit to remove them safely? The shelter surgery tech suggested that I put boxers on him to keep him from licking the incision and maybe helping protect from the dragging. It worked as well as you'd expect. (Translation: It didn't work.) My boxers fell off as soon as he stood up, but maybe it kept him from licking the wound a few times.
At the moment, I'm only concerned about his digestive health. He poops very infrequently, and I've seen blood in it once. The vet wants a stool sample, but they need it fresh, and Dominic doesn't cooperate by pooping during their service hours. It doesn't seem to bother him, and there's been no blood recently, so maybe he passed whatever obstruction he had. I'm not sure.
Dominic has been the perfect housepet... sort of. In two weeks, I've heard his bark only a time or two. He likes every human he meets, and he's submissive to every dog he meets. He got out of his "large size" dog harness repeatedly, so I went back to the store for a "medium size" harness. That's working out well for walks, but I still haven't let him loose in the back yard on a tether. We always go out together, which I'm beginning to find annoying. (I need to finish that fence, so he can amuse himself outdoors.) He loves going on walks to the local stormwater pond about a block away. He likes meeting the local kids and getting pet by them.
The major issue is the cat. She has priority. As this document explains
, dog stress can shorten a cat's lifespan. If it doesn't work between them, then the dog has to leave, no matter how perfect a housedog he might be. If it comes to that, I'll just consider this experience to be a really expensive experiment. Altogether (adoption, vet visits, kennel, accessories), I think I've spent $1000 that I needed for other things. I hope it works out.
When Dominic and Hope first met, there were no theatrics from either of them. I thought that reaction was hopeful. It's been two weeks, though, and Hope essentially lives upstairs in isolation now. I moved her water, food, and litter up there on the first day when I realized she needed her own space. She has stepped twice of her own volition onto the ground floor where the dog and I were both on the couch. She immediately skulked back upstairs.
On the plus side, Hope has finally started using the little space above the stairway that I thought 2 years ago would make a great cat perch. I wish it was under better circumstances for her, though.
So, for now...
- I have 7 more posts to cement for the fence, then I put up the gates. I've already placed so many fence sections that I can finally open the downstairs bathroom door again, barely. I don't have to trudge upstairs any more because of the fence storage in my kitchen!
- The dog lives downstairs only. He goes into a kennel only when I'm gone to work, until he learns not to shred stuff when I'm gone. (He only does it when I'm gone.)
- The cat lives upstairs only. She sleeps with me, and she snuggles this year even during the hot weather, benefiting from the reassurance that she's still with her human.
I'll give it a few more weeks, but there must be peace in the house, or the dog must go. Not his fault at this point, but the cat's needs take priority. She was here first and must not suffer on my account.