Tag Archives: Aslan

June update

We have a new fence around the house. I should charge the battery on my camera and take a picture. <searches around for camera> Hmmm. That would entail finding said camera. <searches some more> There it is! Cool. Battery charging. This may or may not result in actual pictures. We’ll see.

The fence is gorgeous. Gorgeous. Can’t say that enough. Gorgeous. It is secure for both dogs and horses, and just high enough that Rowan hasn’t tried to put her head over and graze on the other side. The wooden posts are also concreted in, so hopefully neither horses nor dogs will knock it around and make it wobbly anytime soon.

Right now the fence is just around the house. Todd built it right outside the old fence, except in the back, where he moved it 16 feet into pasture 2. We did that so sometime in the future, when we actually remodel the HOUSE, we have room to move the back of the house out and add a back porch.

Have I mentioned the fence is gorgeous? And I love it?

Next — after paying for this fence — is the footing in the dry lot. We may not be able to get to the fence around the dry lot this summer, but we MUST add drainage and change the footing so the horses aren’t in mud next winter. I have a lot more tolerance for rain when I and my critters aren’t sliding around in the mud.

The aforementioned critters are doing well. Aslan has been growly lately, and I’m wondering if either his ears or his hips/shoulders aren’t bothering him. I’ve cleaned out his ears, and they don’t smell oogie, but his infections tend to be way down deep, and I don’t know about them until they get really gross. Pax is just trying to stay out of his way and not piss him off by doing something dumb like, you know, walk into a room wrong. <eye roll>

Oh! Aslan is on my LIST. There was a two-day period where we didn’t have a secure fence around the house. So I would let the dogs out and encourage them to the front of the property to potty. That area has better fences, and Aslan’s recall is good there. In the evening of the first day, I let them out, and they both take off at a run. I don’t know what they saw — deer? rabbit? — but they saw something and took off after it. Pax came back when I called. Aslan… gone into the woods.

Damn dog. We could hear him, but we couldn’t see him because these woods are dense with undergrowth and dark. It took an HOUR to get him back, and I don’t think he was ever more than 50 feet from us. I was soooo MAD. He went out on leash the rest of the time we were without a fence, and he hasn’t had one paw outside the new fence (and probably won’t until we’ve replaced all the fence in the front half of the property.)

Horses are fine. Princess is still thin, but the vet says that with her lameness issues he’d rather see her at this weight than the equivalent amount overweight. Rowan hasn’t gone to Leslie’s yet — and I may have another option. Her farrier, Christina, knows someone who is looking for a horse to start. Long story, but they may be a good match. We’ll see. If not, then I’ll send Rowan down to Leslie, and I want to send Blue down there regardless.

Pax’s littermate is definitely pregnant. Puppies expected July 4! Yay. That doesn’t mean that I’ll be getting one of the puppies in that litter. I certainly hope so, and we’re planning for it, but there just may not be a pup for me. Fingers crossed. I guess I’ll know for certain by mid July.

Work is going well, as always. I adore my job. It got crazy last week, but I expect that near rollout time. I should be starting a new project here soon — not sure what though. Best news is that my friend Myella is going to be working with our group beginning June 30! I absolutely can’t wait to work with her again.

I guess the only other news is that I’ve actually been writing. I’ve wanted to write a novel for a long time, but prose fiction isn’t my strong suit so I worked on screenplays instead. I decided a while ago that I would write my most recent screenplay as a novel, but I never really got started. Until now. That’s a tale better told on my Current Projects page, I suppose, so I’ll post those updates there.

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Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

So, when I go out to feed the horses, I let the dogs out into the front yard. This morning, Aslan decided the front yard was boring and went running around to the pasture… and on to our woods at the far end. I saw him doing it, and called him, but he ignored me. Pax and I went looking for him and couldn’t find him. I thought I heard him over toward my neighbor’s. (He hasn’t ever left our property, but if he were to see a deer or something….)

So I got Jay out of bed and sent him into the woods, and I got in the car to search. Nothing at the neighbor’s, so I went the other way. Ran into the guy whose property backs up to ours and told him what was going on. He said, “I’ll keep a look out. But you should know, there’s a bear out there.”

A big male. He’s seen him twice in our woods in the last four days. Including once this morning. You can imagine, since my dog and my husband were IN those woods at that moment, how thrilled I was to hear it.

So I drove home, and fortunately, by that time Jay had found Aslan and gotten his fluffy white butt back to the house. Now that the drama is over, I really want to go looking for the bear. This is a bad thing.

In other news, one of my favorite managers at work IM’d me today and said, “The senior ID for <project I was working on> wants off the project, and according to Aquent you’re available now.”

Um, excuse me? I told Aquent TODAY that I wasn’t available until 3/31. Besides, I don’t want that senior ID job. That’s a HUGE job, and it’s an enterprise project. High visibility. It needs to be done by an experienced FTE who has all the contacts, etc. This isn’t just “manage your resources” – this position is also responsible for the major chunk of development for the Care side of the project. It’s a suicidal position.

Why am I considering it?

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Baby steps lead to great strides

The last few days have been wonderful.

On Saturday, I took Pax to the vet to have the sutures removed. When he came back, Aslan greeted him enthusiastically through the fence. I put a leash on Aslan, just in case, and then let them meet. They were friendly and relaxed. After a minute or so, I separated them again. I let them meet for another couple of minutes later that day, ending it when *I* got nervous. Again it went well. I went for a third time and got a little growling because Pax had a toy. Lessons learned — go slow and make sure there’s nothing high value to argue over.

Slow again on Sunday. More on Monday. By Monday evening, I was feeling pretty secure about their interactions. Though I wasn’t — and am not — ready to just turn them loose together carte blanche, I started pottying Pax by simply opening the door, not taking care to segregate Aslan first. I had to laugh though. I called them in after a run together and gave them high-value chewies. My plan was to have Pax eat his in the kitchen, but before I could direct him, the dogs took off down the stairs together. By the time I got there, they were lying, face to face, inches apart, with their chewies. I still separated them, just to be sure.

I’m still careful with some things. For example, I’ll let them into the “big” part of the kitchen where my desk is, but I block off access to the area with the food and counters. I won’t let them both in the bedroom. I feed separately, and intend to keep giving high-value chewies separately.

A little while ago I opened the front door and let them choose where they wanted to be. Pax settled on the front porch, and Aslan settled inside near me. It was cold, so I shut the door. After a few minutes, Aslan got up and went outside through the dog door. I peeked out the window to supervise his interaction with Pax. Pax remained lying down and Aslan sniffed him thoroughly — paying special attention to the places he had bitten. Then Aslan lay down beside him. I wished I had my camera! I went and sat back down and a few minutes later, they came tearing into the kitchen, just like they used to. They’re settled now — Aslan in the chair and Pax at my feet on his heated mat.

Life is getting back to normal, and I’m grateful. Only one obstacle remains. I leave on the 8th for my screenwriting class. Normally, I’d leave the dogs with Jay with no problem. However, Jay is gone 12 hours a day, and I’m not ready to turn the dogs loose together full-time. Nor can I leave Pax shut in the kitchen for 12 hours. SO… I’m going to board Pax while I’m gone. It will be stressful on all of us (except Aslan, who will be more stressed by Pax’s return than his absence), but I think it’s the best choice. It’s likely that they could be together just fine, no problems, BUT — if there were a problem, no one would be here, and the result could be tragic.

Speaking of my class, I’m going to be blogging about it, but it looks like I’ll be able to upload the posts only on Sundays. So each Sunday, there will be a week’s worth of posts. I’ll put up a reminder later.

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Pax is an “it.”

I had Pax neutered on Thursday. Aslan was — and still is — growling at him every time he saw him, loathe to give up the dispute. I’m hoping, though, that once the testosterone is completely out of the picture, life will get back to normal between them. I hope. Especially since, as my manager said, Pax had to lose his manhood over it.

Pax was neutered on Thursday, spent the night at the vet, and came home on Friday. He spent that day sleeping under my desk, calm and quiet. He didn’t seem especially sore, and he wasn’t licking the incision site, but he was a bit subdued. Last night he willingly crawled up to cuddle with us before going to sleep. This is remarkable because Pax is NOT a nighttime cuddler. When he goes to bed, he wants to go to sleep. He will, in fact, get up and leave if you insist on petting him after he has gone to bed.

But last night, he crawled up and asked for cuddles. And then, when we were done, and I tucked my arms back under the blanket, he punched me with his paw. I reached out and petted him again, and then took my hand away. Punch. Okayyyy. I shifted positions so I could comfortably rest a hand on him. This neediness was the only sign of stress I’ve seen.

Today Pax announced that he was BORED with lying in the kitchen. I actually got out some treats and did a short training session with him, and that sacked him out for a while. This afternoon Jay and I went shopping, and I bought the dogs some new toys from PetSmart and some marrow bones. Pax is pleased with his big red Clifford dog, and he spent some time with a bone, but he says he’s still bored.

I really hope these two dogs forget about this fight soon, so the house can get back to normal!

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Dog fight… a real one

Last night Pax and Aslan got crowded in the kitchen near some high-value food, and Aslan jumped Pax. We’ve had lots of fights like that, and I wasn’t particularly concerned. But this one didn’t stop. It escalated. Pax was sick of being picked on, and so he fought back. Hard. In fact, I’d have to say he was winning the battle when Jay and I finally jumped in and dragged them apart.

Both dogs were left bleeding. I took Aslan to the emergency vet, and they shaved his face and found about a dozen punctures. Pax I didn’t take to the vet last night, but he’s going this morning. He had a puncture in his neck, and at least two in his front left foot. Neither dog went for the belly or back legs, which is good.

I don’t blame Pax for finally fighting back. He’s taken a lot from Aslan. Problem is, this only made things worse. The two are separated because Aslan starts growling as soon as he sees him. Since we’re not breeding Pax, I’m going to make an appointment to have him neutered. Hopefully getting the last of the testosterone out of the equation will get Aslan to chill out.

Jay is losing patience with Aslan, and I understand that. He has no tolerance for bullies — and that’s what Aslan is. He’s starting to talk about rehoming for the sake of peace in the household. But rehoming Aslan would be difficult. He’s a very large dog who needs to be an only dog. And, of course, I love him dearly. But if he would be less stressed by a different living arrangement, then rehoming is a good choice. Ugh! I hate this line of thought. Hate it. I love Aslan, and even thinking about rehoming feels like I’m abandoning him. But I’m not. I’d NEVER do that. I want him to be happy.

I called my friend Greta Kaplan from the vet. Her specialty is aggressive dogs. She and I agree — this is an especially difficult kind of aggression because Aslan is highly reinforced by the adrenaline rush he gets from fighting. He enjoys fighting. I’ve worked hard to prevent fights to keep him from building a reinforcement history for the behavior, but, like last night, I’m not always successful.

Jay and I both worry about what it would mean to bring a puppy into this situation. Greta agreed with me there too — Aslan isn’t likely to bother a puppy at all. This aggression has its basis in status, and until the puppies hit adolescence… probably around 11 months old… they aren’t going to do anything but kowtow to him. But what happens at 11 months???

Jay isn’t going to like it, but Greta suggested something I had considered… getting a girl puppy. Even if we get two puppies, she thinks they should both be girls. I balked at that. It seemed to me that two girl puppies of roughly the same age was just begging for inter-bitch aggression later. Greta said inter-bitch aggression — though horrible when it happens — is really very rare, but the status-based aggression from Aslan was a sure thing toward male puppies.

I don’t know. I guess, first things first. Let’s see what the vet says when I take Pax in this morning, and let’s see how Aslan reacts after Pax is neutered. Then we can think more about the future.

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