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Brave Sir Robin, no longer

Loki has come along tremendously in the last few months. When we left for Hawaii in December, I was terrified of leaving him alone with a stranger (Bill, our house/dogsitter is possibly the most dog-friendly person EVER). Loki had never gotten comfortable with anyone besides David and myself. Sure enough, he didn’t come out from under the bed and make friends with Bill until 5 days into our trip. (Yes, I called almost every day. Yes, I know I was on my honeymoon. I’m just crazy that way.) Eventually he decided that Bill was okay, but he would hop up with him on the couch at night to sleep and shiver for the first ten minutes. That’s m’boy.

But after we got back, he seemed to have made some steps forward. He tolerated my parents’ presence in the house for several days, and was more outgoing with visitors. We decided it was time for him to have a companion, and got Persephone. Backsliding commenced.

Loki seemed terribly hurt whenever we gave Persephone affection, and was more twitchy than ever. Lots of shaking, and when we had to correct Persephone for being a crazy terrier puppy, he was more traumatized than she was. So we hired a trainer.
At the same time I started reading Caesar Milan’s book and watching his tv show. Blending the lessons from our trainer with Caesar’s dog psychology approach, we realized that part of Loki’s fearfulness was our over-nurturing behavior and lack of strong leadership. It took a while to change our habits, but we took his philosophy to heart and instituted stronger boundaries and rules, and more exercise for both of the dogs.

Today, Loki is almost a different creature. When we left town for our reception, we had a new dogsitter. I called after we got to California, dreading that Loki was cowering under the bed again. Brett said he’d taken about ten minutes to warm up. Both dogs slept with him every night. Loki has made friends with our trainer (dubbed FoodMan), is downright affectionate with my friend Emily, and totally loves playing with other dogs.

The clincher was this weekend. Usually I put off taking Loki to Petsmart for a nail trim because of the total carnage that ensues. He refuses to walk, barfs in the car, and struggles madly. It takes two groomers to clip his nails. This weekend there was no car barfing, I didn’t have to carry him through the store, and the groomer practically berated me for warning him that Loki would struggle. He was a total lamb. David and I were both amazed. He didn’t even sulk afterwards!

I used to think that you could love the trauma out of pets (and people), but really, that makes little sense. A toddler needs strong, clear boundaries to be healthy and safe, and so do dogs. If you don’t dwell on their issues, neither do they. Go figure!

The madness continues…

Click on the picture for the animated version.

Stop Terrierism at Home!

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This message brought to you by Citizens against Terrierism.

Today's show was brought to you by the letter "V"

DSC_0215 Life at home with two young, affectionate, completely insano terriers has been fairly eventful. Especially for our now naked couches, whose adornment was sacrificed to Persephone, Queen of The Underworld, Destroyer of Pillows.
DSC_0128 Miss Priss, as I like to call her, seems all demure and sweet, but she is a terror when it comes to soft wares. And poor Loki doesn’t seem to be able to tell the difference between “Bad girl!” and “Bad boy!” This is actually pretty stressful for me, because was clear from the beginning that Loki had been badly abused, and so it becomes an issue to provide basic corrections to Persephone, because he starts to regress. I’ve got a call out to a trainer, but I suspect it’s going to mean group classes for Persephone, and home training for Loki.

Other than all that drama, which is mostly fun drama, Weddingstravaganza I is almost here. David and I have relatives and friends coming in from all over, and have a variety of events to manage over the next week or so. I’m looking forward to it, but it’s amazing how weddingy my elopment has gotten. I suspect I have only myself to blame.

What is really important is that I am very happily married to my favorite person on earth, and that is what we are celebrating. And also that I got a great dress and killer shoes.

And then there were two.

DSC_0075No, this isn’t a dark picture of Loki. It’s our new addition, Persephone. Loki has really come out of his shell in the last few weeks, and while we’re really glad that he’s less timid and submissive, this means that his true terrier-ness is starting to show. This has most recently taken the form of several eviscerated stuffed animals. We decided it was time for him to have a sister, as it would take a team of specialists to keep a terrier entertained all day, and I have to do things like work and go to meetings and breathe and stuff.
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This photo happened after a trip to the backyard where Loki finally lost all reason and ran around Persephone in circles growling and barking. He really wanted to play, but she’s still a bit unsure. She’s very affectionate and sweet, and so far fairly tolerant of her hyper-competitive older brother. I expect much doggy madness to ensue over the next few days. Technically, she’s on a trial period with us, but I think she’s going to work out really well.

Plus, they match! For more pictures (updated regularly) visit Persephone’s flickr photo collection.

Current Addictions

Tragedy Strikes

This morning my computer succumbed to the mac version of the Blue Screen of Death. Hard drive go boom. Very lame. The apple geniuses snots couldn’t recover my data, and they wouldn’t let me keep my hosed drive for data recovery if they were going to replace it. So I got a brand spanking new iMac, and it is a lickable piece of hardware, I tell you what. 20-inch super hi-res screen. Very nice. I still have to decide if it’s worth paying to recover my hard drive before I have the apple folks replace it. I’m currently trying to get all my thesis data, school stuff, random pictures, and music back. Luckily I backed up a lot of stuff, but not all of it. But, when all is said and done, I’ll have a working laptop and a sexy desktop, so it’s cool.

In other news, Loki is still afraid of wind and toddlers, but not of deer. Big-ass deer. He wants to chase them. So we now have a list of two things he is not scared of. Deer and tarantulas.

Brave Sir Robin

Loki and I take a two mile walk several nights a week. When I first got him this was a bit too much exposure to the scary outside world and he’d get pretty freaky by the end. But as he’s settled in, it’s gotten better. Still, Loki manages to exhibit fear of people, toddlers that are a block away, runners, walkers, big dogs, little dogs, anything with wheels, phantom cats, air, and feet. Also, it should be noticed that he shows no interest in squirrels, toads, bugs, or birds. But what, you may ask (as well you should) is he not scared of? What was he, nay, fascinated by and supremely interested in? The GIANT FREAKING TARANTULA that walked across our path this evening. Yep. His new best friend. He kept pulling on the leash, trying to get back to it as I bravely skittered past. Yapping tiny poodle? Way too scary. Huge hairy spider? Let’s be best friends!

To round out his inappropriate circle of friends, I think I’ll introduce him to a skunk as well. And maybe a hyena.

Dog Update

Because everyone loves blogs about dogs.

Loki is doing really well. He’s still like a very skitsy cat around people who are not-us, but he’s happy and silly and very sweet and affectionate. He and David get along frighteningly well, he’s not underweight anymore, and we just love him to pieces. His latest nicknames are Brave Sir Robin (bravely ran away away), Prairie Dog Companion (he sits up on his hind legs and looks like a prairie dog), and Tiny Dancer (he dances when we come home). He has long drawn out battles with his toy purple dragon that involve much biting, jumping, and throwing (with occasional growling). He still only barks about once a week.

I’m stressing about what to do with him when we go to Hawaii in December. I have a very generous offer for a sitter for him, but he’s such a stress case when he’s out of his element, I would really love to find a house-sitter who is female, calm, and good with twitchy small dogs so he doesn’t have to leave home. Any suggestions would be very welcome.

Bear with me

So I’m studying madly for the test-that-shall-not-be-named, and I’m spending an inordinate amount of time trying to understand the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions. In the King’s English, this is an “if then” statement. The thing that flummoxes me is that they are not reciprocal. If A, then B is not the same as if B, then A. If it is 95 degrees outside, Michelann is grumpy. But if Michelann is grumpy, it might be 95 degrees outside, but Michelann may be grumpy because Loki ate her shoe (for reals), or some other reason unrelated to the temperature.

If Michelann is not grumpy, then it is not 95 degrees outside, but if it is not 95 degrees outside, Michelann might still be grumpy. This is called the contrapositive. It makes a kind of sense in the real world, but it’s really hard to tease out of statements with quadruple negatives and slithery double-speak. Trust me.

Then something occurred to me today. Remember how I mentioned the Platinum rule? Do unto others as they would have done unto them. This is just a recommendation, it’s not reciprocal and it doesn’t predict an outcome. I like it from an ethical standpoint because you don’t assume everyone is just like you. But the Golden Rule is a little different. Observe.

“Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

From this comes the assumption that others would like to be done unto as you would. So:
If I want a pony, then everyone wants a pony. According to the laws governing necessary and sufficient conditions, the contrapositive says that if someone else doesn’t want a pony, then I must not want a pony.

MWP(me want pony)—> OWP(others want pony)
OWP —> MWP

And this is obviously not the case. Just because someone else doesn’t want a pony doesn’t mean that I can’t want a pony. Hence my preference for the Platinum rule.

And Loki really ate my shoe. But I’m not grumpy.