Sunday, September 14, 2008

Whew... this little ewok is exhausting!

Wow things sure happen in strange ways… For almost 5 years I’ve been obsessed with pugs… I’ve joined pug online groups, gone, pugless, to pug play dates in the park, wasted countless hours stalking them on the street… and suddenly there’s one snorting and grunting away in my living room!

I got my first foster pug Bruno on Tuesday and I really haven’t had a moment at home to write you all about it…. So now it’s 1:14 Saturday morning, (actually now it's 9:09 pm Sunday evening) Bruno is asleep at my feet and I have a moment to breathe and share the goings on of my week..

So…. Where to start… Bruno came in on Tuesday night. The pug rescue woman brought him to me around 8:00. He’s a 7 year old, morbidly obese, black pug (this fool is really fat!) The first thing I noticed about Bruno was that he seemed to have some vision impairments… he walked into my “coffee table” and when we were talking to him, he looked in our general direction, but really didn’t know where to focus. That didn’t surprise me too much. Pugs tend to have a lot of problems with their little bug eyes, and if their eyes get infected and are left untreated it’s pretty easy for them to lose vision. The rescue lady left him with me with some ointment that I was supposed to squeeze onto his eye (yes the ointment goes directly on his eyeball) and instructions on what to feed him, and how to clean his little face, etc etc.

As much as I love pugs, this is the first time I’ve ever been around them for a prolonged period of time. I don’t want to equate my Bruno’s behavior/personality with that of all pugs, but one that I did learn about them is that they are NOISY. LOL They pant constantly, wheeze, snort, gurgle, snore and make really strange Ewok/wookie type noises I know that Bruno is a particularly bad case because of his weight, but it was definitely interesting to find out, first hand, about pugs “special” noises.

Now on to Bruno’s personality….. He is an EXTREMELY needy and anxious dog. Pugs have the reputation of being “Velcro dogs” (ie a dog that needs to be right next to you at all times), but I think Bruno’s Velcro-ness comes more out of severe anxiety…. He CANNOT stand being left alone for even a second. When I go into the bathroom he scratches the door and cries. When I get into my bed he cries and cries and barks and howls and manically runs around the bed trying to see if he can figure out a way to get up. When I leave for work all hell breaks loose… He scratches at the door, throws his little body up against it, and barks and howls. I don’t really know how long he stays at this, but judging by how much he whines even when I’m at home in the bathroom, I’m going to assume this goes on for a while during the day.

When we’re at home alone he doesn’t know what to do with himself… he’s up and down and just restless… and he whimpers all the time. He doesn’t really know what toys are—it’s pretty obvious he’s never had any—but he knows what treats are so I got him a kong that’s you can stuff with food for him to figure out how to get out, and the rescue people gave him a chew stick (a “greenie” I think). He’s obsessed with the chew stick. He lays on the floor chewing manically for hours… he doesn’t even look like he’s enjoying the stick… he’s always crying/whining when he’s chewing and the more he chews the faster and more manic it gets… honestly it’s really strange to watch him chew the greenie… I usually end up taking it way from him because it makes ME anxious just to be in the same room with him when he’s chewing it.

On the good side, he’s an AMAZING walker. He’s great on a leash… I think that’s mainly because he always needs to be right behind his human. So he always stays right with me. He pees and poo’s outside and only had 1 accident inside (his first day). Additionally he’s just a really sweet dog, that seems like he was never really given attention, so when he gets some he really doesn’t know what to do with it or himself. He reminds me of the dog I had growing up. We weren’t very good to that dog. He was by himself most of the time in the garage, or dog run or behind a gate, so when he was let out to be with the family he went nuts, if we tried to pet or play with him he went nuts with excitement, which we would see as him just being hyper and spastic and then he’d be put back in the garage/dog run… I really feel like that’s what’s going on with Bruno…

So… you all know I like a project, so the quirks with this dog don’t “really” bother me. I’m very curious to see if I can help him work on them. Right now my main goals are

1. Put him on a workout/diet plan to lose some weight. I have been walking him at least 40 min in the morning and when I get home, and he doesn’t get any table scraps. I weighed him on Friday night. He was 23 pounds. When I got him on Tuesday they said he was 28… I think they lied… so I’ll say he started at 23 pounds.

2. Get him to confidently sleep in his own bed. Bedtime was a NIGHTMARE the first few nights because he would NOT go to sleep if he wasn’t on my bed. So I put down a blanket to cover my sheets and let him sleep with me the first few nights. I knew I wasn’t going to be comfortable with that in the long run so I’m working on getting him to sleep the entire night in his own bed, without whining or carrying on.

3. Help him deal with the separation anxiety. There are lots of tips and tools that people use to help dogs deal with separation anxiety. I’ve got an action plan laid out and I’m going to start executing it this weekend.

4. Teaching him some basic commands- sit, down and stay. It’s sad that a 7 year old dog has never been taught any commands. Oh well… better late than never.

So that’s the general plan. I’ll update his progress….


stephanie said...

he is really, really cute. and fat. lol looks like u'r making a lot of headway-- u actually got him to back his lil ass up for some pictures!! strong work, my friend, strong work!

Anonymous said...

Air dirty laundry much?