Thursday, May 19, 2016

Izzy: 4-Month Update

Izzy is now healthier. When we got her in January she was underweight and had a thin coat. Let's just say she wasn't the direct beneficiary of all the food she ate (aka she was infested with a variety of intestinal parasites aka worms--ugh!). With the help of our wonderful vet, she's now 8 pounds and has a beautiful coat that's as soft as a bunny's, appropriate since she is a little cuddle bunny.

Izzy's favorite activity is chasing squirrels in our back yard. She tries to climb trees to get to them. The squirrels love to taunt her. One is sitting on the fence gloating because Izzy thinks it is still in the tree.

She also likes sleepovers with her pal, Ken. Okay, "likes" might be a bit of an exaggeration. They both tolerated each other during their first few sleepovers. They both have progressed from being neutral to mildly liking the experience. Baby steps.

Izzy is very playful and likes to drag my shoes into her bed, no small feat (pun intended) given her size.

No doubt about it, Izzy is now feeling more secure and relaxed. We didn't hear a peep from her for the first three weeks (the trait my husband liked most about her). Scratch that. She's very vocal now. A very good watch dog who, like Mitzy did, goes bananas when any delivery person drives down our street, let alone approach our front door. But she is a very friendly and affectionate pup and listens to me more than Mitzy ever did. Usually. However, I learned the hard way that she is a door darter not to be trusted when I cracked the door open to pick up the just-delivered mail on our doorstep and she took off in a blur of fur. I ran after her shrieking as she hightailed it down the driveway after the mail carrier and toward the street. Thank God she stopped to smell the roses, or more accurately, the scent of a dog who sprayed there. I scooped her up, picked up the dropped mail, and padded back inside very grateful to have averted disaster. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The First Month: Cute Dog or Cunning Escape Artist?

The short answer: both.
Housebreaking continues to improve. Izzy so wants to please us and is a creature of habit. Both good things. But she's also a little, ahem, In and Out burger, and I must watch her every second after she eats to encourage her to go outside or on the wee pad. If I remember to immediately take her outside we have success. But she still doesn't love walking on a leash. Anytime she has an accident inside we firmly tell her "no." Anytime she goes on the wee pad or outside she gets a small treat. Each day gets better. Meanwhile, we've been gating her in an alcove that connects to a small bathroom with a tile floor when we leave her alone.

However...Izzy has never met a gate she couldn't beat. The first time she showed total disregard for barriers was when I gated the stairs to keep her on the ground floor. It was an eighteen-inch high gate I use to contain my younger daughter's pekingese, Ken, whenever I petsit him. Ken respects the gate. Izzy pushed it over and scaled it like it was a fun hurdle in an agility course.

I dragged out the twenty-four inch gate that has contained two children, five dogs, and two cats. Okay, the cats always went wherever they damn well pleased, but the wood and plastic mesh gate worked just fine with the kids and dogs. This gate was battered and the plastic was separated from the frame a little. Ken respects this gate. Not Izzy. After I gated both doorways of the bathroom and put Izzy inside before going out one day I turned around and she was in the hallway. Didn't I just put her in the bathroom? I wasn't positive, but pretty sure. I put her inside once again and was telling my husband my uncertainty when we look down and see Izzy pushing her head through the gate. It was like the pink slime scene from Poltergeist. The hole was small but she wanted out, and out she came.

So until I order new gates with wire mesh, Izzy will be shut in the bathroom with the regular doors whenever I leave. No views for you, Izzy.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Day Two: Izzy Gets her own Harness

Izzy had captured my heart. She already was a superhero in my eyes. She didn't need to wear Mitzy's red harness/cape to prove it. So the next day I embarked on a new harness expedition to PetCo with Mitzy's harness in hand for size comparison. Almost all of the harnesses had a heavy plastic piece to adjust the neck which would be way too heavy for Izzy's little neck. I hadn't weighed her yet but the rescue lady described her as "just five pounds." I wanted one like Mitzy's, soft mesh fabric only. Christmas buyers had clearly depleted Petco's harness inventory. Then at the bottom of the rack I spotted a little red harness with black trim that was similar to Mitzy's. It matched nicely with the two leashes I already had too: one red, one black, both with rhinestone trim. The red one was Mitzy's and the black one belonged to the late, lamented, Baxter, a senior Yorkie. The Yorkie character, Bear, in FRIGHT ON, is mainly based on Baxter. To complete the package, and feeling very tech-savvy, I engraved a chrome, bone-shaped ID tag using Petco's magic machine and attached it to the harness. When I got home and tried it on Izzy, it fit like a charm, even though she reminded me of Marcel the monkey from Friends. We kept the harness on her the whole day so we could quickly attach the leash to take her outside when she needed to go. For housebreaking to progress, anticipation, timing and speed were critical factors. She wasn't thrilled with being on a leash (she bit the little rhinestone trim, either as a display of her hatred for being tethered or as a test to see if they were real diamonds), but overall, she seemed fine with her new harness.

Until it was time for bed. When we removed it she ran around  the house like crazy, happy to be unencumbered.

Next on Adventures in Izzyland: Cute Dog or Cunning Escape Artist?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Izzy's First Week: Day One

The pet rescue lady was supposed to check out our house to see if it was pet safe on Saturday, January 9th between 11 - 12 noon. She needed to drive down to Irvine to fetch Izzy from her foster home. She overslept, there was the typical LA traffic, and she didn't make it to our place until 4pm. The anticipation was killing me--I'd only seen pictures of Izzy online. What if I didn't like her? What if she didn't like me? Gah! It was like waiting for a blind date.

As soon as they parked I ran out to meet them. It was love at first sight! Izzy was super friendly and affectionate right from the start. And simply gorgeous! She's a cream sable Pomeranian, cream and beige coat with black tips and highlights.

The rescue lady knew love when she saw it but she still wanted to checkout the back yard. The first thing she noticed was our driveway gate. It needed to be made escape-proof. Izzy could squeeze through the four-inch slats. Dog fencing would fix that. But until it arrived Izzy could only be allowed outside on a leash. I only had Mitzy's old red harness. The rescue lady rigged it temporarily so it would fit by putting Izzy's arm and neck through the same hole. Izzy looked like she was wearing a superhero cape.

Adoption contract was signed and fees paid, medical records were reviewed, and feeding instructions given. She liked Orijen fish, Zuke's treats, and teenie weenie Greenies. Izzy had been spayed the previous Saturday and couldn't be bathed for another week. Same with flea treatment. We should crate her at night until she was fully housebroken.

That first night she didn't eat because she was excited and I'm sure stressed from being shuttled around, operated on, and meeting many new dogs and people in the last nine days. She followed us around and fell asleep next to me on the sofa while we watched TV. She didn't pee or poop outside. She peed on the wee pad inside. Baby steps. But she slept through the whole night in her crate in our bedroom with nary a peep or stirring. So far, so good.

Coming up: Izzy meets some of the family

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Introducing Isabelle

Here's Izzy! She's four years old and weighs around five pounds. She never had a name before. Her former owner, who passed away, used to just whistle when he wanted to call her. His family couldn't keep her and she was given up to a rescue organization on New Year's Eve. But although nameless, she was loved and for a dog whose life has been in transition she's a pretty trusting girl.
I missed Mitzy so much after she passed away. I knew I wanted another dog just like her, but after days spent looking on various rescue sites online, none of the dogs really clicked for me. Until I saw this little nugget on a site that came up using different search keywords. Not only did she look like Mitzy, but her personality description was exactly what I was looking for: sweet, cuddly, friendly, and female. I've had mainly male dogs all my life, Yorkies who would look me in the eye defiantly as they lifted their leg on my drapes while I repeated for the umpteenth time for them to go outside. Mitzy was my first female in a long time and I was shocked to discover her dainty ways. She groomed herself fastidiously, always went outside to relieve herself (like a good girl), and stretched like a ballerina doing barre exercises. She didn't gobble treats in one gulp but would take them back to her lair (aka her bed) to savor them and nibble on them a bit at a time. I'm happy to report Izzy is well on the way to fulfilling my dream of another dainty damsel. We haven't mastered the housebreaking thing just yet, but we are having more and more success every day. She so likes to please us.
Izzy is a miniature version of Mitzy who weighed 15 pounds. 


Now that you've been introduced to Izzy, the next few posts will document her first two weeks with us, which will cover her escape artist skills and adventures when my husband watched her for six days while I was out of town, aka "the feral days." 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Happy 2016!

Hello and Happy New Year! It's been a while since I last posted. About two and a half years. A lot has happened in that time.

Two events capture the roller coaster ride of the past few months. Last fall I got a literary agent for FRIGHT ON! Details about that exciting experience appear online in two places: QueryTracker Success Stories and on author Brenda Drake's blog.

In early December my dear little sidekick Pomeranian/American Eskimo mix, Mitzy, passed away. She's the profile picture on my Twitter account and the inspiration for Lion the Pomeranian in FRIGHT ON!

I love that she is immortalized in my book as well as my heart. Mitzy was a puppy mill mama rescued by my older daughter who then gave her to me because she had opened her heart and house to too many (big dog) rescues and Mitzy retreated under a bed. I'd had dogs all my life, mutts and dachshunds as a child, and lots of Yorkies thereafter. Mitzy joined Baxter and Ginger, a Yorkie and a tortoiseshell cat that inspired the characters Bear and Tiger in FRIGHT ON. They passed away several years ago and Mitzy loved being an only pet. She was affectionate and silly and I wanted another dog just like her. After she died I started looking for rescues online and finally found another cute Pom who appeared to have similar characteristics, as well as being mellow and friendly. We adopted five-pound Izzy last Saturday! I'm going to post regularly on our mutual adjustment and growing love. Hope you have fun following along. Pictures of Izzy are coming soon!