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Kind of a funky angle, but I think it works with Persphone’s pained look.

Persephone & Loki

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.