Its been a little more than a month since my last post, so I figured it was time for an update.
here is my last post from September.
I've been living with my family for a little more than 3 months now and things just keep getting better. Honestly, the last time I posted, things were pretty tough around my house. I was a real handful, mom and dad couldn't figure out what I wanted and Maggie was getting pretty annoyed with me too. We were all really frustrated.
Mom and Dad were exhausted because I wouldn't sleep through the night, I wouldn't calm down during the day either. There was no rest for any of us. Mom slept on the bathroom floor with me for about three weeks. I really like the bathroom floor - its hard tile and its really cool. I don't think it felt so good to my mom, but she did it anyway because it made me feel less anxious. She would sit with me, pet me and sing to me while I tried to get to sleep. Then she would lay down just out of reach so that during the night if I woke up, she could reach out and touch me to calm me down. It worked most of the time.
I would have good days and bad days. I wouldn't let mom and dad put me in a kennel during the day like Maggie and Buster. So when they weren't home, I would be all by myself downstairs. Sometimes I'd get really bored. Mom and Dad left me all kinds of treats and toys, but sometimes, the wood molding just tastes good. Mom and Dad never got mad at me, they would just clean up after me and then move things around so I couldn't get to all the good tasting stuff....but I found new stuff to chew on. I'm pretty smart that way.
I don't pee or poop in the house anymore. Well, once in a while, maybe. Last time I posted, I was peeing in the house every day and pooping every now and then. I'm growing up now and big dogs don't do that. I can hold it unless my schedule gets really screwed up.
I was bugging Maggie ALOT back then. She would get really mad at me. Mom and Dad spent a lot of time making sure that Maggie would be behaved around me. It took about a two weeks, but now Maggie lets me do whatever I want. I'm a puppy and I like to play. Maggie is much more playful now and isn't so worried that I'll take her spot on the couch or eat her food. I bet when I grow up, Maggie will be my best friend. I get on her nerves, but I can tell that I'm growing on her. Buster gets mad sometimes too, but I'm bigger than him, so there isn't much he can do.
I was doing alot of barking back then and by alot, I mean all the time. We'd get up in the morning and while Mom, Dad, Buster and Maggie were trying to sit on the couch and have breakfast, I would run and bark. They kept getting up to get me and tried to keep me settled by them, but I couldn't settle down. Then, during the day, when Dad was trying to work at his desk, I'd run and bark. Later in the evening, when mom got home from work, I would wake up and run and bark. I'd usually lay down in the kitchen while everyone else was relaxing on the couch. I was too anxious to go be calm with the rest of the family.
My anxiety got really bad. The vet said my epilepsy can go hand in hand with anxiety. (By the way, I haven't had a seizure since I started taking my epilepsy medicine!) There were a couple nights in a row where I just couldn't relax. I was up all night panting, pacing and barking. Finally, one night, my mom got real worried about me - my heart was racing and I was really upset. None of her normal calming tricks worked. We went all night and hardly slept at all. I started peeing and pooping in the house a lot more. Mom called the vet and I got started on some anti anxiety medicine. Wow. What a difference that has made.
I met a new friend, Mom and Dad say she is our trainer. She comes to the house once a week and works on all kinds of fun stuff with us. I get real excited when she shows up because I always get ALOT of treats when she's there. All I have to do is sit and lay down. Or if I sit nice next to my Mom or Dad, I get some treats then too. I feel like my anti anxiety medicine lets me focus enough to learn new things. Just this week I learned how to sit and lay down without always having a treat. I am learning things by touch. Since I can't see or hear, we use touch signals. A touch on the head means sit, a touch under the chin means lay down. A pat on the side means "good dog". I like that one best. My trainer says that I'll be able to learn all kinds of things like sit, stay, lay down, shake. It makes me feel really proud that she sees all my potential. I am proud that she knows how smart I am, just because I can't see or hear doesn't mean I can't learn. It just means I learn in a different way and I need someone with patience to help teach me.
I've just about mastered bed time. When we first go up to bed, I like to get in bed and look for the kitties. Roxie is my favorite kitty. She's really soft. First I look under the bed for her, then I get up on the bed and look behind the bed. Sometimes she'll show me she loves me by swatting my face. I'll lay between my Mom and Dad - sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for hours. Then I'll get up and my Mom will lead me into the bathroom. Most nights I lay right down, she'll stay there with me for a couple minutes and then she gets back into her bed. I love that I can sleep by myself now. I'm a big girl. I really love that my mom can sleep in her bed and most nights we all sleep ALL night!!!
If I wake up in the middle of the night and think I want outside, I can usually be persuaded to get in bed with Mom and Dad instead. This morning, I woke up around 4 am and my mom guided me over to the bed. I jumped up there and layed down right next to her with my head on her pillow. I should get a pillow for the bathroom floor - the blankets are nice, but a pillow...wow! We slept until about 5:30 and then it was time to get up.
Evening time is when it really shows how I am maturing. (That's what my Dad says). Usually when Mom gets home, I am asleep on the couch. I either wake up on my own or Maggie and Buster wake me up. We go for a long walk and then we do chores to get ready for the next day. I don't run and bark like I used to. I either play with Buster and Maggie or I stay close to my Mom (she gives me treats when I stay right by her like a good girl). When Dad gets home, we all go into the TV room to relax. About a month ago, I started coming into the TV room on my own and laying on the floor. Now I will play with Maggie and Buster for a while and then I'll either settle down on the floor or get up on the couch with Mom or Dad. Then I go to sleep or just rest quietly until bedtime. Its really relaxing for all of us, its my favorite time of day....all the work is done and we get family time.
I am doing better in the mornings too. I like to play when everyone else is still waking up, but eventually I calm down and will sit for a bit while we watch the news. Then, Mom and Dad go away for a while (Maggie tells me they are upstairs in the workout room staying fit) and then we go for a long walk. We get walked twice a day - all the neighbor dogs are jealous - they bark at us when we go by.
Mid day is still an issue for me, I do most of my barking and running around then. I'm working on it and as I get older, I am getting better. Somedays when I am home alone, I don't bother anything, other days I go crazy and once I get my paws on something good, I tear it up. Mom never knows what she'll get when she comes home. In the last week, we've started something called "kennel training". I'm not really sure about it, I just know that I get the most amazing beef bone when we do this. Maggie and Buster tell me how great their kennels are - they love going in there, but I'm not so sure. I don't like to be penned up. I get scared and angry and Mom and Dad say they want to limit those feelings for me. I've been able to stay in my kennel for about an hour at a time. I bet that increases as I start to feel more comfortable. I know it will make my mom worry a lot less if I can be in there when I'm home alone.
I am really getting big. Every time we go to the vet I gain some weight. I'm bigger than Maggie now and I am so fluffy. I'll tell you a secret, the other day, I got poop in my fur. I couldn't get it out so my Mom and Dad gave me a bath and Mom pulled it out of my fur for me. She is the BEST. Who would do that for you except a Mom? My Dad is pretty awesome too. When we go for walks, he'll run with me for a while. I really like that - I feel so free and alive.
Mom and Dad take me places whenever they can. I LOVE to meet people. Everyone is my friend. When I smell someone new, my little tail will wag like crazy until I can find them. Then, when I do, I want to jump up on them and get to their face. We are working on that - not jumping. If I meet a lot of people in one day, I get tired and then I don't jump so much - its just too much work! People always want to know about me, why I look the way I do. Most often they ask if I am albino. Mom and Dad tell them about me and why I am this way. It always shocks people to hear that my breeder drowned my brothers and sisters. I can tell some people wonder how a deaf and blind dog can have any sort of life. Sadly, I think lots of people would probably have put me to sleep. But I show everyone I met that every creature has a purpose and even a blind/deaf/epileptic dog can have a great life. I want people to know that dogs like me deserve a chance.
I know it has taken an amazing amount of patience for us to have gotten this far. I am not an easy dog to deal with. I admit it. I'm still a puppy, for heaven's sake. Sometimes I don't know how we do it. My mom says she's not a patient person and sometimes she isn't, but most of the time, she and my dad are super patient with me. We have some more work to do, that's for sure. Hopefully by the time I blog again next month I will be kennel trained and not destroying so many things. I also really hope that my running and barking will continue to get less and less. I know those two things really make Mom and Dad nuts, so I've got it on my goal sheet. We made a goal sheet to give to our trainer, things we want to work on. Mom left it on the counter and I ate it. So now I just keep mental notes of my goals.
I love my family and I know they love me. My Mom was having a hard time seeing the progress I was making, so she started to keep a journal for me. Now when she feels like things aren't getting better, she can read back in the journal and realize that things are getting lots better. Its all relative. There was a time where she said she would be happy if I would just sleep through the night - most nights I do, then she said she'd be happy if I woulnd't bark when she got home at night - most nights I don't. When I get better, she expects more of me, I guess that's part of growing up! I can't wait to see what kind of progress I make over the next month, I'll be sure to report it.