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The white devil moves on, and we take a stab at fostering instead

We have been trying to find Arthur a home for several weeks, with no luck and the situation deteriorating around here badly. By the beginning of this week, all five of the other animals (well, except Cricket who considers herself invincible and was at literal risk of a heart attack from squabbling with him when he messed with her) were hiding from him and we were completely frazzled. We finally asked a local rescue group to help, and they agreed to take him at their shelter if we could help with space by fostering a more cat-safe dog. It was a great solution for him because during the day he will be able to be in a play group of other dogs at the shelter, and he’ll get exposure at adoption events. He’ll be much happier there and we really hope he finds a great home quickly.

In his place, we now have a little black Spaniel mix named Moon as a houseguest. She’s settling in OK so far, she does have a few issues we are working with but compared to what we’ve BEEN dealing with it’s a walk in the park. The past two months or so have been such a nightmare that we were questioning if we were even fit to have another dog, if something was wrong with us to have a situation get so out of hand, so fostering for a while — getting to work with other dogs without making the commitment just yet to take on another one permanently — seemed like a good idea. We’d actually considered fostering in the past, but hadn’t been sure how to deal with cat-safety; the arrangement we have is that we can trade out for a different foster if that turns out to be an issue.

Moon isn’t real certain about cats but if she stares or looks like she’s thinking of chasing you can get her attention and call her off, and she acts very contrite to have done something you don’t like. We could never quite get that concept through Arthur’s head at all.  She is a bit of a resource guarder (guards places rather than things) particularly with Lindsy, but we’ve dealt with that before on a much worse level with Mojo so we think we can work past it with her.

If nothing else, the past two days of relative peace in our house have been WONDERFUL. It’s nice to be able to actually finish a task – even sit and read a book, without chaos, calamity, and mayhem. I actually managed to sew a few collars this morning, the first time since before we got Arthur.

Hopefully as Moon settles in with us she’ll continue to make progress… she really seems like a nice dog but we’re a little wary after how the ‘quiet little white dog’ turned out to be such a poor fit for this household so for now we’ll just watch and hope things continue as they have started. Pictures will follow soon, and if any of our local readers know of a family that would like a beautiful little spayed, housebroken, sweet Spaniel mix, Moon is available for adoption through Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and she will be attending adoption events around Asheville.

Quiet around here lately, eh?

We are still here, and enjoying the beginning of our tomato harvest. I suspect we’ll be sick of tomatoes by the end of the month but right now we just can’t get enough of them. Sadly, the yellow pear tomatoes we grew from seed just don’t have much flavor, we probably won’t grow those again. But the cherry tomatoes have more than made up for that and we just picked the first of our Better Boys. The purple Cherokees are growing a lot more slowly.

Someone gave us a zucchini the size of an eggplant (surprisingly it was not overripe, just genuinely huge) and we made Curried Apple and Zucchini soup – YUM! We’ve got basil coming out of our ears, I keep meaning to make a batch of pesto but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe this weekend.

One of the main reasons for the lack of blog activity is that things have not been working out so well with Arthur… in fact we’ve decided to find him a more suitable home. I pretty much have to have eyes in the back of my head because the one thing that we could not cope with — going after the cats — has become a big problem. Not so much with Simon, who does not run and can take care of himself pretty well, but with the girls. Anything we have tried as far as redirection, corrections, etc. has just resulted in Arthur learning to be sneakier about it, so that he now has to be leashed or separated from them by a door every minute he is loose. It’s caused a lot of stress around here and has worn us out, and we have had more than enough of that in the past to go through it again.

It makes me very sad… why can’t we just find a dog that will fit in? Things started off well, and we tried to really think it through and evaluate before we got him, but he just can’t resist the impulse to stalk and chase anything small that moves. In the right household he’d do great,  but we have to think of the safety of the others, who were here first. Winter has had surgery in one knee and the other one has a luxating patella that so far she has not needed to have repaired, but sudden running or jumping could tear it loose. Olive is old and broken and fragile. This is their house, and they deserve to enjoy it safely. And it’s not fair to Arthur, either, for us to try and ‘pound a square peg into a round hole;’ he is who he is. We’ve gotten frazzled and short-tempered after two months of unsuccessfully working at this problem and that isn’t good for anyone involved.

We started with a posting on craigslist and have a few people interested, and one person who felt the need to be sarcastic and judgemental without knowing the details of the situation.

Many, many years ago, my very first dog was a Bull Terrier named Maya. She and I were the ultimate personality clash, and I struggled for over a year with her before deciding to find her a home. I was inexperienced and totally ill-equipped to deal with a dog as stubborn as she was, and she was, well, miserable. When she went to her new home, I was pretty sure I was going to get a call within a week to come get her… but I didn’t. When I did get the call, it was to tell me how much they loved her, how great she was doing, how happy she was. Anyway, what I am trying to say is, sometimes a situation is just unworkable, and besides the safety concern here, I don’t think stubbornly plodding on for the next 12-15 years when Arthur could be happier somewhere else is the right answer.

Excuse me, has anyone seen my testicles? I woke up and they were gone…

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Yes, The Big Day has come and gone… and truthfully the white devil seems none the worse for wear and doesn’t seem to care that there’s a tiny bit less of him than there was. We’re relieved to have that over with, and we get our deposit back from the shelter… now we just have to wait for the teething to finish.

El diablo blanco

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A trip to the park to burn off some energy… as is probably evident from this picture, he has an excess of it. Mostly he’s been good at amusing himself but we’ve had some bratty days. We’ll be glad once the teething has stopped and the testicles are gone.

Introducing Arthur Lightningbug

So… we’ve been debating back and forth for some time whether to adopt another dog, or wait until Lindsy and Cricket have passed on…They’ve both reached an age where they are too old and frail to go for hikes (or in Lindsy’s case, even car rides) and we’ve missed having someone who likes to play with toys. But on the other hand things had gotten fairly peaceful in the household — even Simon has FINALLY stopped getting us up at night yelling.

Around the time we were moving, we actually found a Pit Bull with a rescue group we were considering, we even filled out an adoption application, but things were so crazy with the house closing and we realized that we had a problem on our hands with all of the neighbor’s loose animals on either side of us and decided to wait. We also thought that we should stick to our original idea of a smaller dog, because the other animals are all ‘broken’ in some way and a big dog could hurt one of them without even meaning to… so we held off.

Recently we’d gone by the Henderson County Animal Shelter a few times. First, out of curiosity, as we’d not seen the new building (what an incredible change for the better!) and then to bring by some toys for the animals, and we again had been talking about looking for a dog that would fit into our family. Joy saw a dog on the shelter web site a couple of weeks ago that we thought was cute, in a “probably way too much dog for us but it can’t hurt to at least look” kind of way, so I stopped by the shelter on my way back from work. The pointy eared little black dog was nowhere in sight, I guess she had already been adopted. In the puppy room there was a cute little fawn and white Pit Bull mix, but a bit more rambunctious and strong-willed than what we were prepared to deal with (and also well on his way to being a really big dog) and another little white dog also labeled as a Pit Bull mix that was watching me with polite interest as I was hunkered down beside the other puppy’s run.

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I snapped pictures of both puppies with my cell phone for Joy, and stopped to talk to the little white dog for a minute or so. He wasn’t really the type of dog I was normally drawn to, but there was something about him that caught my attention. His cage card said he was a stray, and he’d arrived in adoptions on Monday, the day before. They’d given him the name “Sparky”. Joy and I came back to the shelter on the following Saturday and he was still there, so we asked to visit with him. We spent about a half hour in a room with him, petting and playing with toys with him. He was brilliantly smart, a bit hand-shy, and overall seemed like a really nice dog. We decided to think on it some more.

The following Monday I went back to the shelter to try and assess how he was with other animals. Apparently he was a favorite of the staff and volunteers and everyone gushed about what a nice dog he was. He seemed to be a bit afraid of the cat we introduced him to, which I took as a good sign. So Joy and I talked some more, decided to go ahead and adopt him, and the next day I went back for him.

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He has worked into the household very well so far – amazingly well considering he is six months old, teething, and just hitting puberty. His neuter appointment had to be postponed because he came down with kennel cough the day after we got him, so he goes in for that on July 7th. He has a few bad habits (jumping up and nipping, mostly, and a bit of a cloth fetish) which we figure are probably due to lack of training but he’s coming along, and housebreaking was a breeze. He learned “sit”, “down” and how to fetch almost instantly and though he’s pretty ‘busy’ he does settle nicely.

As far as what he is, we’d say that he’s probably a ‘mix of a mix of a mix.’ Sometimes he does look a little bit like a Pit mix but there’s a lot of something else – or several something elses – there. He’s 18 lbs and probably won’t get much bigger. Maybe a little Jack Russell… OK – maybe a LOT of Jack Russell. And possibly some Border Collie. It’s just as well his origins are shrouded in mystery because we don’t really want to know if we adopted a Pit Bull-Jack Russell-Border Collie mix!

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A few people reading this might be surprised at the name we chose; the fact is, with most of our animals that didn’t already come with a name (or came with one we didn’t want to keep, like “Sparky” in this case) we seem to just each come up with the same name. At least that’s how it was with Simon. And this time, we both thought of “Arthur” but then didn’t mention it because of my Bull Terrier that I had many years ago who had to be put down with SOA. When I finally did mention it to Joy, and she said that the name had occurred to her as well, we decided that maybe it had been long enough and it was time to reclaim the name… so Arthur it is – Arthur Lightningbug, to be exact.

Anyway, that’s the story. He’s cute and funny and smart and it’s fun to have a youngster around again. Now that he’s finally over the kennel cough it will be real fun to start taking him the the park and other places, too!

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