Category Archives: My Dog

It Wasn’t Until Last Night That I Knew

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By now, if you have read my earlier postings, you have met Ubi, and you know that he is a Cavachon.  You also know that a Cavachon is the lucky offspring of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and a Bichon Frise.  I say lucky because, well, just look at him.  Look into his eyes.  My neighbor gets credit for this picture.  She dropped her keys and he started to eat them, but she got him to look up at her long enough to capture one of the best photos of him to date.  Every time I look at it, and look at those eyes, tears come to mine.

I am so blessed to have this guy in my life.  He is teaching me so much about patience, tolerance and understanding.  So far he has gone through several USB chargers for my phone, and two power supplies for my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 at $80 a piece.  He has destroyed several of his toys in an explosion of fluff.  He has peed and pooped all over the area rug and hardwood floor in my living room, but that’s ok.  I purchased the rug just for him.  It’s made of polypropylene.  And yes, I can’t find half of my socks.  I’m sure they will turn up somewhere one I find his hiding place.

I tried letting him sleep in bed with me, and at first that worked out just fine.  But then he decided it was more fun to kiss me than go to sleep.  I don’t mind him kissing me, but not when I’m trying to fall asleep.  So now I’m putting him in his crate by my bed until he is a little older and learns that when the lights go out it’s time for bed.

As you know, Ubi broke his leg.  He healed spectacularly.  To watch him run is a wonderful sight.  He is so fast.  We are in puppy class right now, and he is the smallest puppy in the room by far, but he doesn’t care.  During play time he plays with the bigger boys and girls and loves it when he can get them to chase him.

So what is it that I didn’t know until last night?  Well another neighbor was over with her dog, and Ubi was playing with her and the other dog, and me.  Ubi is so friendly to everyone.  He loves it when people visit.  He runs up to them with so much enthusiasm.  He is just so irresistible.  I’m very happy about this.  I want a dog that people don’t have to be afraid of when the come in to my home.  I really hope he stays this way.  But there’s also a part of me that wants him to be attached to me more so than others.  I want him to know that I am his caretaker, and that I am, well, his Daddy.  But I figured, if he is friendly with everyone, I guess that’s good enough.  At least I don’t have to worry about him biting anyone.

But last night something happened and I knew.  While we were playing, with my neighbor there, and the other dog there, and new bully sticks that the dogs were chewing on, I had to go upstairs to make sure the doors were closed, so the dogs didn’t get into anything up there.  So I go upstairs, and I’m closing the doors, and I turn around, and there was Ubi.  No bully stick, neighbor and other dog downstairs, but there he was, looking up at me, seemingly with relief that I didn’t leave the house through some hidden exit in my bedroom.  What did I know?  I think you know what I knew.

Ubi Has A Peg Leg

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It was 4:00 am this past Wednesday night.  Just like the past 3 nights, Ubi was sleeping with me on the couch.  I felt this was safe because my couch is so low to the ground.  The highest point is no more than 2 feet above the ground.  Unlike the past 3 nights, at 4:00 am I woke up to a thud, and then loud screeching.  “Oh no!  Ubi!”, I cried out loud.

I got up and turned on the light and picked him up.  He was shaking violently and yelping.  I comforted him as best I could, stroking him, as he looked up at me with those all too expressive eyes.  I knew he was in severe pain.

Eventually he stopped shaking and squealing though, and I put him on the ground to see if he was limping.  He wasn’t putting any weight on his right rear leg.  He limped over to his crate, stepped inside, and lied down and went to sleep.  I closed the door to his crate, and decided to wait until morning to take him to the vet since he wasn’t complaining anymore and he was resting.

The next morning I called the vet at 7:00 am, right when they opened, and they got me an appointment at 9:00 am.  An x-ray showed a broken tibia in his right rear leg.  I felt so bad.  I felt like I used very poor judgement and I could never forgive myself.

The picture above was from when I picked him up from the vet a little bit later.  You can tell he’s frowning.  My frown is fake, but inside it wasn’t.  I told the vet tech that I just felt horrible.  She reminded me that I’ve never had a puppy before, and sometimes lessons have to be learned the hard way.  She said that she had no hesitation sending him home with me because she and everyone else there knew that I would do right by him.

It turns out that Ubi doesn’t need his cone collar because he can get to the bandage anyway.  A friend at work had a good idea, which was to spray Bitter Apple on it.  Today I am having to slow Ubi down because he doesn’t appear to be in any pain, and he’s flying around my condo like nothing happened.  He has definitely learned how to use his peg leg, and it doesn’t deter him from playing.  It pains me to stop him and slow him down because I know he has a ton of energy and he just wants to play, but the more he puts weight on the peg leg, the longer it will take to heal.

So I’ve learned a big lesson, and as I finish this up with Ubi at my feet barking at me to play with him, all I can think about is that this could have been much worse.  Everyone tells me that he will heal quickly because he is a puppy.  I’m looking forward to the day when he gets the bandage off and is released from bondage.  In the meantime, I will consider this to be a character building exercise.  Not for Ubi, but for me.

New Beginnings

After my 52 lb mutt passed on Dec 09, 2015, I was very sad for several weeks.  Being single with no children, I found myself to be very lonely, with nothing to come home to.  I’ve always had this strong desire to take care of something, and when Jamaica died, a part of me died inside as well.

I knew I’d be getting another dog, but I thought I’d wait for a little while.  Taking care of Jamaica toward the end became expensive because of all of the medications she was on, and because of the many trips to the vet.  Plus, I was still getting out of bed, looking down to make sure I didn’t step on her as she would always sleep on blankets right next to my bed, every night.

So I thought I would save a little money, and although I missed her terribly, I figured I’d take advantage of the new freedom I had.  I no longer had to worry about how late I stayed at work.  I no longer had to worry about taking her for walks, even in the coldest or wettest weather.  I no longer had to worry about whether or not the dog walker was doing his job and taking her for the full, 20 minute walks she was supposed to be getting every day while I was at work.

But the result of all of this is that I wasn’t doing much of anything.  I would come home from work, sit in front of the TV for a few hours, and fall asleep on the couch watching TV.  I was sinking deeper and deeper into depression, but I was bound and determined not to get another dog until the Spring.

Needless to say, if you have looked at my pictures above, this is not the way things worked out.  For a long time before Jamaica died, I had been researching what type of dog I’d want next.  Don’t get me wrong.  Jamaica was a wonderful dog, but I took a big chance with her.  I got her from a no kill shelter and just assumed that love could conquer all.  For the most part, it did.  Jamaica was a loyal, loving pet.  But there were some traits about her that I knew I’d want to be different in any other dog that I chose to raise as a pet.

Instead of speaking negatively about Jamaica though, I’d rather just state what I was looking for, and which I could only get by getting a dog which was bred to have these traits.  I wanted a dog that didn’t shed.  I wanted a dog that was hypo-allergenic.  I wanted a smaller dog for which exercising in my condo, plus a couple of good walks a day would be enough.  I wanted a dog that would be friendly with other animals and friendly with people, especially people that were guests in my home.  I wanted a dog that was smart, easily trainable, and obedient.

After doing some research, and asking around, I came up with the Cavachon.  A Cavachon if you didn’t already know is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bichon Frise.  A true Cavachon is first generation only, and thus they are rare.  So once I decided on this breed, it was a challenge to find a reputable breeder.  After checking a few out, Lynne Kaiser of “Smooch My Pups” was highly recommended to me.  The problem was, she is up in Michigan, and I live in Northern Virginia.  This turned out not to be a problem.  Lynne sells Cavachons to remote buyers all the time.  She sent me several pictures, and I had one picked out pretty quickly because he was about the cutest thing I’d every seen.

Then Lynne sent me some videos of him playing, and I knew I had made the right choice.  I had already picked out his name before I’d even met him.  I am a Linux Systems Administrator, and Ubuntu is a Linux Operating System.  So that would be his name, Ubuntu.  I knew nobody would call him that, so I shortened it to Ubi (pronounced oobee).

On Tuesday, Jan 26, I picked Ubi up from the airport, and held him in my arms for the first time.  He and his carrier were both covered in poop and pee, so when I got him home I immediately gave him a bath.  The poor guy was so cold.  I dried him off and held his 3 lb body tightly against me wrapped in blankets until he stopped shaking.  He briefly fell asleep against my chest.

After he was dry, I let him down, and the fun began.  I had a ton of toys, hand me downs from Jamaica.  They were all bigger than Ubi.  He played with them anyway.  He ran around my condo like he had always lived here.  He was happy and having fun.

So after one week of playing, pooping on the floor, peeing on the floor, but doing both outside most of the time, learning fetch in 3 minutes, learning sit in 10 minutes, running around at dog playcare like he owns the place, following me around the house like I am his daddy and best friend, being friendly to house guests, and having an extra long vet appointment because the vet techs didn’t want to stop playing with him, all I can say is I’m exhausted.  Well, that’s not all.  I am so in love with this little guy, that I would do absolutely anything for him.

Ubi has brought joy back into my home.  Although some days I go to work with my eyes half open, it’s all worth it.  To watch him play, to hold him in my arms while I’m watching TV, as he falls asleep on my lap.  I can’t tell you the beauty of this.

I love you Ubi!

The Lake By My Home

It’s not like I forgot about the Lake.  I knew it was there.  I just hadn’t thought to visit it in a while.  I used to walk the dog by it several times a week.  I remember feeling better then.  Emotionally, physically, better.  It’s not a long walk.  In fact, if I walk to the path that is adjacent to the lake on two sides, and then walk this path, past the “Logan’s Road House”, past the Hampton Inn, it’s about a mile.  Not a really long walk by any stretch, unless you don’t have any legs, or they don’t function for you the way they used to.  Mine do.  I can walk.  There are a few people in my life who can’t say this.  Some of these people are rather close to me.  But I can walk, and so I did this morning.  Something to be grateful for today.

The dog was grateful too.  Although she was huffing and panting along the way, she turned to me, squinting in the sun, with her tongue hanging out and I could see that all too familiar smile on her face.  “Thanks Daddy!”, that smile was saying.  I smiled back and said, “You’re welcome!”  She’s an old dog, my Jamaica.  She’s in fairly good health for her age.  Sometimes she falls when we are walking, but she gets right back up and continues to walk like nothing happened.  I can learn a lesson from that.

When we get back to the house and walk inside, it’s nice to feel the cool, dry air hit my face.  It’s warm outside, and humid.  This is as it should be in late May in the Washington, DC area.  Not quite hot yet, but warm enough and moist enough to bring about a mild sweat, even with a mild  walk.  When we do these walks during the mid-summer months, I am dripping by the time we get back.  The dog walks over to the water fountain (Yes, I said fountain.  Just a little gift I gave to her and to the cats a while ago to keep the water fresh and clean for them).  She laps up 5 or 6 tongue fulls of water, as I reach into the refrigerator and pull out a can of sparkling, lemon-flavored water for myself.  Nice, and cold, with a little bit of a bite.  This would be a perfect start to a weekend day, except that it’s not the weekend.  It’s the Tuesday after Memorial Day, and at the moment I don’t have a job to go to. 

I should be grateful, and I am for the fact that for the time being I’m still receiving a pay check, and my company is searching for another position for me.  I am grateful, both for this, and for the ability just for now to appreciate the time I had this morning to take the dog for a walk near the lake.  We need to do this more often whether or not I’m working.  I need to make the time to do this with her, for both ours sakes.

We really only have today.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  I need to make the most of each moment that I have, and not waste the moments feeling sorry for myself, or wallowing in self-pity or fear.  But the only way to push the fear away is to fill my life with other things.  Good things, like a walk by the lake, and the gratitude that I’m able to take this walk with my old dog, and add some joy and contentment to her life if only for 1 mile at a time.  Maybe we’ll walk a little further tomorrow.  Or maybe tomorrow I will have a job to go to.  No matter what, I still need to make the time to take these walks with her, for both our sakes.