Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Lucky Little Oscar

Daddy & Boys

About three years ago, just when everything was all calm and merry at our house, I saw a cute little dachshund in the pages of the Gastineau Humane Society.  After we got married in Arizona we drove up to Skagway and got on the ferry to Juneau.  While we were waiting in the ferry terminal in Skagway there was a man out walking his little dachshund and I thought he was so cute (the dog, not the man)!  It must have planted a seed because as soon as I saw Lucky (who became Oscar) looking for a home I knew he had to be ours.  We had been talking about getting a dog for years and he seemed to be a perfect fit.  We had just gotten Piper, our beautiful little Siamese cat, just months before and peace reigned at 4121 Birch Lane.  Now that I look back on it, I’m not sure what we were thinking!

I should insert here that the cute little dachshund came with the disclaimer he exhibited a “submissive urination” problem.  He was about a year old and lived with a family that were caretakers for several elderly patients who lived in the home.  It was easy to surmise that they must have health department guidelines to adhere to, hence a tinkling canine would not be a good fit.  We were sure with the proper amount of training and love we’d fix him right up.

"Tag, You're it!!"
 From the moment he arrived our lives were turned upside down.  The first few weeks were filled with regret.  He has submissive urination, and excitable urination and he hates to get wet so on wet days it is not unusual to find other, shall we say more solid deposits laying about.  He does try - occasionally  he will run to a door and wait but if you are in a different room or just plain not watching him all bets are off.  On wet days he will do anything to avoid going, even though he carefully remains under the eaves of the house.  Sometimes I can get him excited about feeding the squirrels and he’ll run out to the squirrel tree to investigate and then do his business as a side note.  Other days we’re not so lucky. We have learned to manage many of his bad habits just by altering OUR behavior such as greeting him outside so he can pee and wiggle about at the same time with no dire consequences.  We have to be diligent about inviting him to go outside and can’t  rely on him to tell us.  And some days we have to squeeze it out of him...we have our tricks too.
All the kids playing

When Oscar arrived he weighed 13 lbs.  Everyone warned us not to overfeed him because dachshunds typically develop back problems when they are overweight.  We vowed to keep him fit.  I walked him every day and he had tons of energy.  He would run the whole time.  We took him to doggy daycare twice a week and he would go on 2-3 walks a day there.  Then he started not wanting to go to daycare so we stopped taking him. Then he started not wanting to go on walks, if he saw me grab the leash he would hide under the bed where I couldn’t get him.  By his 1-year follow up appointment he weighed 22#.  Since then he’s added a couple more.  I still take him on walks and every time I stop for anything he turns around the opposite direction, clearly indicating his preference to return to the car.  He will dawdle that entire way out and then run once we turn around. 
Oscar & Timmy

On the flip side he is one lovable little puppy.  He loves his daddy more than anything...every evening he waits on the back of the couch looking through the blinds until he sees his car pull up and then he dashes full speed down the hall to greet him.  He loves his toy bone and spends hours burying it in his blanket.  He loves Timmy and Piper and they wrestle and play all the time.  When Chris is throwing his toy down the hall for him to chase the cats both wait in rooms off the hallway and ambush him as he runs by.  He loves going for car rides and frequently comes to work with me.  The car is one place he is very well behaved.  Most of all he LOVES giving puppy kisses.  Even though there isn’t one square inch of floor that hasn’t been assailed by his bodily functions we still love the Oscar. 

1 comment:

  1. I like your idea of greeting him outside ~ very clever. Our dog has gained too much weight too. Boy, they have a way of begging that is innocent and hard to resist, don't they? I'm so glad he worked out. You are truly my hero for taking on a dog with that kind of problem. I can't say I would have done it. I hope you keep Oscar's photos coming up once in a while. signed ~ a true dog lover