Freckle — Week 3

Pictures at: Flickr-The Freckle Era

Well, we think the first couple of weeks were the hardest. Freckle is settling in very well and continues to appear more relaxed each day. One has to wonder where all of this progressive relaxation will end up … a warm brown-coloured noodle reclining in the dog bed 24/7? She does seem to have a penchant for sleeping many hours and we can only assume that she’s still recovering from the traumatic change she’s endured in recent months and perhaps longer if her owner was ill before she/he passed.

We continue to be very careful with food to avoid the ‘food crazies’ between Freckle and Ceilidh. However, we (the grown-ups) are now able to eat a snack in the living room with the girls in their respective beds without much ado. Nice! The only arguments between the two these days is related to playing—that is Freckle tries to play with Ceilidh, gets a bit exuberant, whacking her across the head with her big Boxer paw, then Ceilidh getting in a snit because she’s stiff and sore [read: she flies at Freckle sounding like a Rottweiler on steroids—gums gnashing (she has only about 3 teeth left) and saliva flying—probably causing Freckle even greater trauma and need for sleep! Not that I’ve ever seen a Rottweiler on steroids personally.] So … play must be supervised very carefully and with the hope that Freckle will learn to treat Ceilidh like the delicate flower that she has become.

Another landmark—this week Freckle actually rolled over on her back and invited us to rub her tummy—a sure sign that she’s feeling more comfortable in her forever home. With new found optimism, we decided on Boxing Day morning that we would give her a ‘real bath’ with lanolin and aloe shampoo. She’s been scratching a great deal and has dandruff too. Our last Boxer, Sassy, aka ‘Gandhi-dog,’ used passive resistance with such effectiveness that the Mahatma would have been proud. She would turn into over-cooked spaghetti until we gave up and left her in a puddle. Her 83 pound body was a lot to carry around. Now Freckle turns her 65 pound body into a rigid structure that will not be moved in any manner! It’s an amazing sight … who knew that the big white bathtub could be so terrifying? However, we persevered and managed to get her itchy little body into the bathtub. She stood patiently while we lathered her with lanolin and aloe and finally lifted her like a pre-fab house onto the bathmat and toweled her dry.

We don’t know whether the following behaviour is normal for all dogs or just ours. After bath time, Bridget (Boxer #1), Sassy (Boxer #2) and Ceilidh (the #1 Pug) have had to: 1) pee immediately and 2) RUN at a frantic pace throughout the house, over the furniture, across the bed, slamming into walls, people and anything else in the way. Anticipating similar behaviour, we carefully let Ceilidh out first to let her do her thing in a somewhat safe manner (she is nearly completely blind now—adding to the challenge of interacting with Freckle). Then we let Freckle out to see what she would do. Surprise! She began to tear through the apartment like her stubby little tail was on fire! Forty minutes later, Mary Doug said in a rather desperate tone of voice, “Will you puleeez phone Ginger (my co-worker) and set up that play-date with Jessie???” Jessie is a lovely dog who frequently comes to work with Ginger. I call her ‘party girl’ as she’s usually the one trying to entice the other dogs in the office to play. Fortunately, Jessie was home and agreed to bring Ginger and go with us out to a quiet, dog-free zone at UBC to play.

The play-date with Jessie was just what the Boxer doctor ordered! We’re afraid that Jessie may still be having nightmares, but Freckle had a blast! When Freckle first meets a new dog, like many Boxers, she looks a bit like she’s going to eat them for lunch. Then she starts the play-bows and is off to the races. Jessie is five and Freckle is three or so … and the difference in age was obvious—even in the solid down-pouring of rain. Every so often Freckle would be distracted by the scent of a squirrel (we’re pretty sure that she was a Beagle or Basset Hound in a previous life). Jessie shared her two year advantage of squirrel chasing wisdom and a great time was had by all. Thank you Jessie and Ginger for giving us such a wonderful play in the middle of a Vancouver day of rain.

The holiday break has been a bit of a change in pace for Freckle as we’ve both been off work (me) or on a very flexible schedule (Mary Doug). Freckle has been extremely accommodating in terms of allowing us to sleep in a wee bit from our usual 6:30 am rising time. This morning at 8:00 am, I knew that Freckle was awake but lying patiently in her bed (she LOVES her bed!). At 8:30, she got out of her bed, shook (like a Boxer shakes) and came over to the side of the bed. I kept my eyes nearly closed to see what she would do. She put one paw up on the bed, then the other paw … and very slowly inched her way across until her face was next to mine. It was as if she thought that no one knew she was there. Then she began an explosion of licking all over my face. It makes me laugh just to think about it. I hugged her and she snuggled in, rubbing her face all over me and licking me even more frenetically. She is such a sweetheart! By then Ceilidh was up and Freckle moved on to wake Mary Doug up … or so she thought. It’s pretty hard to sleep through a Boxer wake-up call in the neighbourhood.

The only final observation for this week is that Freckle’s nail polish is beginning to wear off. Yes, when we met Freckle, she had very red toenails. At first we thought it was accumulated blood from having long nails, but on closer examination, we discovered that she had red nail polish on each and every toenail. Who knew that she was such a diva? We’re not sure that we can keep up the pace … but it makes us smile to think about it.

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