Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Flint




Earlier in August we said goodbye to my four year old American Akita, Nikki. She had osteo sarcoma, lost twenty pounds in the three weeks before we caught it, and we couldn't make her comfortable enough, or justify hacking off bits and pieces of her, just because we wanted more time with her.

Some day, when I'm ready, I will explain more about how Nikki bounded into my life. Today is simply not that day.

Nikki, last year.
But anyway...

In my Six Sunday post last week I mentioned that we had welcomed Flint into our home.

Flint is a four and a half month old white shepherd crossed with a lab (for now - the vets disagree and are pretty sure he is just the shepherd). He is full of energy and about five minutes ago, when I was reaching under the couch for his Kong, he decided to use the back of my head as a chew toy.

We got Flint from a guy who had posted him on Craigslist the day we received Nikki's diagnosis. I knew we had 48 hours left with her, and I was wrecked. This little guy caught my eye. There was something in his eyes that called to me. Truth be told, he reminded me of Nikki.

The owner had moved to the city and didn't have the time or space for his dog. I'm sure most people are familiar with this song and dance.

Needless to say, the dog needed a new home. The dog was free, his stuff cost $250. My sister went to work securing the dog for me, but we weren't willing to buy a bunch of crap for that price, when we are already dog owners and have all that kind of crap. We offered a hundred dollars less. He said fine. Ten minutes later he said no.

I was already on an emotional roller coaster, but I'm wasn't about to beg for the dog. If you want a loving forever home for your dog - which was the claim - that's my house. If not, I have no real use for you.

In the week that followed I looked at at least a thousand dogs. I was perplexed by the amount of people who had gotten a pup then decided a few months later they didn't have time to meet the dogs needs. We went to see one male Siberian Husky who would end up at the pound if we didn't take him that night. He was a year old and went straight for our throats. My son was attacked by a Newfoundland lab a few years ago and needed stitches in his face. No dog that terrifies me is coming into my home. Just saying.

Finally I resigned myself to not getting a new dog. I stopped looking, stopped discussing it, and gave Lady Jaye (the pup that Nikki had raised) 100% of my attention.

Days afterwards the guy contacted us to ask if we were still interested. It took us the afternoon to decide if I really wanted to put myself back on this roller coaster, but in the end his Nikki eyes won me over.

Last Saturday we met the pooch at the dog park with Lady Jaye and my son. I was already won over, it was them that needed to be comfortable with him joining the family.

Lady Jaye was great with him. My son took less convincing. The moment he laid eyes on Flint he was in love. As we interacted with Flint more I knew we would not let him leave with anyone but us.

Why?

Flint is a name that I gave him because I love the 80's G.I. Joe cartoon. Lady Jaye's boyfriend in the show was Flint, and she kicked his ass a good few times. I had zero trouble renaming him because he didn't know what his name was to begin with.

He had been living with the owners parents and hadn't gotten out much. He hadn't interacted with other dogs, isn't great on a lead and had never been in an off leash park. My understanding is they let him out of his crate a few times a day to potty and that was it.

The first time I threw a ball for him was the first time anyone had thrown a ball for him. Ever. I know this because the owner told me so.

We got Flint home and he stood over the water dish with his tail between his legs, sneaking water and looking around to see what we would say. He drank over a gallon that afternoon alone. Anytime we went near him he would cower.

His underbelly was covered in hives because he was allergic to the food he was eating - which was corn and innards. Yay, Purina Puppy Chow. We have taken him off that and put him on a grain free chow.

Flint is TERRIBLE on a leash. He cannot figure out why he just can't poop on the balcony. We have all been struggling with getting him to walk on the left, or to walk at all.
The last few days we had as many people as possible walk through the house. He greeted them all with caution but eventually came around.

This morning I called him my shadow, because he follows me around like, well, like my shadow.

The adjustment has been easier for me than for anyone else in the house. I'm used to the high energy breed, they have all learned how to live around one lonely pooch. I was still bounding out of bed to walk my dog every morning. Mind you, 'morning' before Flint was any time I wanted. Flint gets up at 712, or earlier, if he knows someone is up, and he demands your attention at that time. Also, since he's still content to defecate on the balcony, you can't just get up and have your coffee - a luxury I had with Nikki.

This afternoon Flint is making his second appearance at our local off leash park. It's completely fenced in so I've never had a problem bringing the dogs there.

Flint on one of our 'walks'.

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