Hazel, much like our daughter, is a creature of habit. She (Hazel) understands how things are supposed to go after two days or so, and happily follows a schedule when it’s made clear to her (Finley takes a while longer). She’s been sleeping on the bed next to me for the past couple of weeks because her separation anxiety hasn’t decreased yet—she’s only been on Prozac for 14 days, so we won’t see any real change until Christmas or so—and hosing out the crate first thing every morning is a drag. She’s gotten to the point now where she sleeps in each morning, so after I’ve risen and woken Finn up, she staggers off the bed and sleepily follows me around the house. I put her on the lead out back and she does her morning business, and then comes right back inside. It’s cold enough that she doesn’t want to hang out in the backyard by herself—and I don’t blame her. If I had to whip my jimmy out on the lawn to pee in 20˚ weather I’d want to go back inside immediately and take a hot shower.
Jen has been cranking on two projects so Hazel has been at puppy daycare twice this week, which is a godsend for all of us. It’s a huge warehouse/outdoor area by the airport where she can go and play with 40+ other dogs from 8AM to 6PM. We pick her up after I get off the train and she’s a happy wiggle when she sees us; after she gets home and has some water and a snack, she passes out on her heated bed like a wino on a bender. The one drawback has been that she comes home smelling like the pee of a thousand dogs; it’s like she swims through a river of it to get back home to us. Tuesday night it was raining and when she got in the car she smelled like a train station bathroom. We hauled her upstairs and threw her directly in the bathtub for a shower, which she tolerated but did not enjoy.
After we have dinner and do homework and get Finn to sleep and the house quiets down, I sit with her in the den or living room and she crashes out in her settle bed and snores. When it’s time to wrap up the evening, she watches me start dousing the lights and checking the locks, and she trots over to the front door where I hook her up for her nighttime pee. We come right back inside and she waits by the stairs for me to lift her over the gate, and then she trots up into the bedroom and immediately curls up next to my pillow. This is our routine; it’s comforting to follow.
Deviation from a daily routine sends her into puppy panic. Last night, instead of putting her on a lead by the front door for her evening pee, I walked to the back door and waited for her; she stood in the doorway of the kitchen, blinking at me as if to say, “Hey, asshole, we go out the FRONT door for this.” I coaxed her over and put her on the lead, and she stood on the back porch shivering, trying to figure out what the fuck was going on. I thought I’d be able to stay inside but had to go out in socks and convince her to come down to the lawn and pee, and then she decided she had to start barking at something in the shadows and I had to chase her back up the stairs. Clearly I did not respect the system.
As I’ve mentioned before, sleeping next to her is like sleeping with toddler Finley: she’s as hot as a toaster and she likes to lay directly on my body; more often than not I’ll wake up with my arm under her butt or most of her on one leg and I’ve got to push her off to get the circulation flowing again. She grunts and snores and sometimes she’ll get up and circle around to find a new nest and then BOOM she’s laying all 33 pounds right back on my hip again. And then immediately continues snoring. At least the puppy farts are mostly behind us (see what I did there); the room stank like a hobo’s butt for a while.
Separation anxiety, as mentioned above, is still a real problem. Any time past two hours in the crate and she starts peeing on herself. We’ve taken to buying Nature’s Miracle in 55 gallon drums. We have to schedule our trips in short bursts, and anytime we’re away from the house I hear the urine clock ticking like the countdown in a disaster movie. Sometimes we get lucky, and she’s just happy to see us, and other times she’s soaking wet and happy to see us (and not all that interested in going outside, strangely).
All that having been said, we’re all happy to have her, for the most part, and she brings joy to our house every day. Like any child, pet, spouse, or family member, she’s her own person and has her own particular idiosyncrasies, and it’s taking time to learn who she is and what her quirks are. If we could just get her to calm the fuck down and not spray the inside of her crate with panic urine while we all go to the library, life would be great.