PUPdate #1

Bella Big Nose

Hi, there!

Bella (Bella-Dogga or Pupzilla as she is sometimes known, just because it’s fun to say), has been settling in nicely. Apparently she’s perfectly happy to do her “business” outside so long as you get her there first thing in the morning and she feels secure and familiar with the location. Otherwise, she becomes very anxious and won’t “go” until she’s desperate. Other people–especially children–and dogs distract her so badly, she won’t leave a deposit in the bank of poop if she can see them. This I have discovered by the expedient of being the one to walk her most frequently. Yesterday she preferred to walk around downtown Ballard for 2.5 hours until she was miserable before she’d give in and do it, in spite of many opportunities offered.

She also discovered that she could bark. Or rather we discovered it, late in the evening when something outside–we never saw what it was–caused her to do the doggy-freakout. She’s not bad, but we’ll have to figure out some way to redirect her urge to say “who’s there? Waddaya want?” that’s not quite so startling.

Meanwhile, she has also expressed a fondness for JD–one of the marina landscapers–and for chicken jerky treats she charmed out of one of our neighbors.

She is also a big ol’ show-off, as Cherie Priest discovered today. (Cherie took the following photos since I had a hand on the dog to keep her from going to investigate a giant tent being erected on the marina lawn for a boat show this weekend.)

See the noble beast:

Noble Beast

Bella poses as a noble beast

See the nobel beast’s giant tongue:

Dog Tongue

*slurp* Bella can lick her own nose--or yours

Bella has some cuts on her tongue that Mr. Kat thinks are from puppies playing roughly. She also has a collection of scars both old and recent–another clue about her mysterious past–on her ears, head, and legs. She ignores them all.

She’s a total attention-slut and will play to the point of flopping over:

Bella Haz a Shirt

Bella flops on her favorite t-shirt

She loves her tug-toy, which is really a t-shirt with the words “Life’s Too Short To Read Bad Books” on it. A dog after my own heart.

We did have one bad moment today during walk #2 when another dog-owner approached along the sidewalk as we were standing on the verge (for deposits… you know). He was walking his own dog on a very slack leash and didn’t ask if he could introduce his dog until he was already moving toward us and noticed I had Bella on a very short lead. Then he asks “How’s your dog with meeting other dogs? Is she vicious?” while still approaching. I started to say “she’s nice, but we’re not introducing her to other dogs yet,” but I was downed out as his very large dog–easily 80 pounds or more, which is twice Bella’s weight–began barking at Bella.

I couldn’t back Bella up much farther and the other dog and owner veered away and walked on. Bella just stood there, not making a sound. She didn’t even try to follow them as she often does with other dogs who pass us.

I admit I was a bit put out that the owner who was not being thoughtful with his own dog took my caution as a sign that Bella was “vicious,” rather than that I was being cautious of a strange dog when my own was half its size. But we finished up our walk with no further problems. And lived to charm the pants of Cherie later.

Bella wants to meet all new dogs and people. But since she still has sutures from being spayed at the Pound and is still getting to know her new home and neighborhood, I have been loath to introduce her to dogs or to people who seem at all wary of her. Pit-bull types have a bad rep and I don’t want her to get on the wrong side of anyone through my lack of forethought. We’ll be waiting a while longer before we meet dogs–we’re still learning how to meet people. Plainly we won’t make an effort to meet the owner of Big Barking Dog, though.

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About Kat Richardson

Writer, editor, eccentric pain in the tail, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels.
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3 Responses to PUPdate #1

  1. Cyndy Otty says:

    Eventually with time she should get used to doing her business with distractions about. My current guide dog had a bit of a problem for the first month or so going outside in the front of my house because of all the traffic. (Even though she was totally removed from it, she could still hear and see the cars going by and she couldn’t focus beyond that.) Patience is key. 🙂

    I’d suggest working on “leave it” with Bella about the dog distraction. Bait bags are wonderful for this since you can clip them to your hip and always have treats at the ready.

    And boy do I relate on the guy coming up with his dog. I get that all the time with people and my dog is working. And that’s exactly how it plays out — if they bother to ask at all, it’s always after their dog is right up in my dog’s face. Some people really shouldn’t be allowed to have pets.

    Anyway, glad to hear Bella’s settling in and I adore the photos!

  2. Colleen Lindsay says:

    She’s BEAUTIFUL!

  3. KateH says:

    Bella is cute, as well as beautiful (like Cheryl Ladd AND Jaclyn Smith), and while she may not have totally revealed the Sabrina Duncan smarts, once you learn to communicate better with her, I’m sure she will. The very, very, very best book – by far – to learn about interspecies communication is The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It will be more than worth its weight in gold to Bella and you.

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