Friday, December 31, 2010

Gertie Update

I'm so thankful for a nice long weekend... our office is closed Monday, but I went ahead and took today off too since work will be a freaking ghost town today. So I've got four days to officially transition into 2011. The hub is working most of today and Monday also, so that leaves me here alone with the dogs. Normally I love this. Not that I don't love days at home with my husband around, but I love a day here and there by myself to knock a million things off my to-do list.

Since Monday's incident, however, being at home alone is weird. I'm not comfortable having both of the dogs out together when the hub's not here. It's not like our dogs are fighting more than they ever did, but the terror I went through Monday has me fearful of it occurring again while I'm alone. Not gonna happen. So, unfortunately I've got to put one dog up (Belly), while the other (Gertie) is out roaming around with me. I'd let them take turns but Belly honestly kind of likes it... she pitches a fit for about 20 seconds and then decides it's pretty cool. No one can bother her. Gertie would bark all day if I locked her up - she's very needy and must be within 10 feet of a human at all times. She does fine when she knows we're leaving, but if she realizes we're in the house still, it's not gonna fly. See, she's got her eyes on me as I'm typing here...

I was a blubbering fool most nights this week coming home (I usually beat the hub by an hour or so), having to immediately put Belly up. I felt like she was being punished for no reason and I just missed "hanging out" with both of my girls while unwinding from the day. Instead I'd just slump on the couch and rub Gertie's head and cry. My whole body was just aching - not only soreness from my feeble attempts to stop Monday's fight, but also from trying to hold back tears for 48 hours straight. I'm feeling much better though. And I certainly appreciate all of your prayers and advice!

We don't have a long-term plan yet, but we've decided to immediately put up baby gates at the top and bottom of our stairs so we can have both dogs out, but apart. That way, only one dog can harass someone at the door. Our upstairs has a bridge-way that overlooks the downstairs, so whoever is up there can still see what's going on in the den and at the door and hopefully won't feel too "left out." Gertie of course will have to have at least one human on her floor at all times - so I'm sure this will get annoying at times, but necessary. We figure it's a good short-term solution and we know we'll need baby gates on our stairs in the future anyway, so why not now? The standard pressure lock gates won't do - our girls will bust right through those, so I searched for a good one you actually drill into the wall or post...

These particular gates had great reviews on Amazon and some people bought them for the exact same purpose we are. So they're great for kids and dogs alike. I ordered two of these today, so I'm hoping they get here soon! Aside from that, we are also seeking the advice of some trainers and behavior experts. We know our situation is not uncommon, so we're curious to get a professional opinion. The hub's boss gave him the name of a police dog trainer. He said, "before you do anything, talk to this guy." So we'll definitely see what he has to say on the matter. Thing is, it's not just Gertie's "fault" - though I hate to call any of it a fault. We've just got two bitches that don't mix well - both of them contribute to the problem. Like I said, Belly is most often the instigator, but Gertie is certainly the finisher.

We haven't officially started looking for new homes - we want to hear out the behavior experts first. But assuming we'll still be looking for a new spot for Gertie, we have decided that we want to put our best efforts into finding a new family ourselves (versus giving her to a no-kill shelter or adoption group that would place her). We're not opposed to the rescue agency route - we're big fans as we got both Belly and Charlie from rescue groups. But right now the idea of handing her over with no knowledge of where she'll end up is... well, it's just not something we're ready for. That might be our only option at some point, but I have to believe there's a better way.

Right now, the gate idea gives me tremendous peace of mind. Our girls will continue to sleep with us at night, in the same room - we just don't let Gertie on the bed anymore. I really don't worry about them being together at night. We're both there and they are great sleepers and really don't bother each other. Really, with the hub there I'm much more comfortable. If the dogs were to go at it, it's much easier to break it up with two people. And for whatever reason, the hub has this amazing ability to calm me down. While I'm a basket case dealing with a dog fight alone, I have my head screwed on a lot straighter if he is there to lead the way. He's a keeper!

So yes, I'm feeling much better mentally and physically over this whole thing. There is still lots to work out and hard decisions to make, but I feel like we've got some good temporary solutions to make it a little easier. Please continue to pray for us and our girls! I appreciate all of your good thoughts and I'll of course keep y'all in the loop as to what we are doing.

Alright... on to the rest of my to-do list for the day! I hope you all have a very happy and safe New Year's Eve! We are starting off the night with some friends from our small group and plan to finish it at a neighborhood party. We're not big on getting on the roads on NYE, so the walking-distance neighborhood shindig is the way to go. Cheers to you all! Adios, 2010.


Hurley Lucy said...

Gertie's face is pitiful. Glad to hear you're feeling better.
Your immediate plan sounds sold. Talking w/ the police officer & trainers is the way to go. I wish we could help you guys. :( We've got a temperamental one too (Lucy...remember). She's calmed down through the years but still has "quirks" that can where me down.
Have a PEACEFUL NYE guys!

Pammy said...

Amanda-Just a thought...You might want to give Ian a call at Highland Pet Supply. He is the owner there and runs an obiendence training school for dogs. We trained Casey through one of his small classes (a 6 week course). But, I know that he does one-on-one trainings for dogs having problems with biting/fighting, etc. You and Scott should *totally* check it out. Erik and I used to call him the "dog whisperer". He has some Pit bulls that he owns himself so he is very familiar with strong dogs. Love ya honey!!! XOXO!!!

The Pink Putter said...

I'm glad to hear that you have some temporary solutions. Prayers for you and your girls!