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Progress in Doggieland

Luke Day 2

Luke and I are coming to the end of Sunday night, so we’ve known each other about 60 hours now; I guess our first date’s over. He’s definitely interested in seeing me again, but not quite ready to hand over his life savings.

We’ve made progress, including with the upstairs/downstairs drama; and we socialized a little bit with kids and dogs we met on the street. Two little girls have a new shih tzu mix, a tiny little furball; the older sister said, “I didn’t know you had a dog.” I’d never seen her before, but somehow she knew I live here. The good news is that Luke wasn’t aggressive toward the shih tzu at all, and I am learning that having a dog is a great way to meet people.

We waved to the neighbor lady across the street, sitting on her porch, who wanted to know if Luke is a Jack Russell terrier. He could be, Russells come in smooth as well as rough-coat varieties, but I told her he was more rat instead.

He needs more work on housetraining. Otherwise he’s as well-behaved as a guy can be.

We practiced going up and down the five steps on the side porch a couple of times today; in warm weather we’re going to be spending some good time on the porch and I want him to know that’s part of our territory. And he’s getting better on the steps indoors; he made it up four steps to the landing by himself today, and later he ran down all 14 from my bedroom to the kitchen by himself. I won’t have to baby him so much, but the best news is he has more freedom to roam by himself.

We had one other major development today: what happens when I have to leave him alone? I needed to buy some supplies and he has to get used to being by himself at times. I took his blanket and water dish down to the basement, then I carried him down. (Those steps are difficult and scary even for humans; ask my pal Peter.) I didn’t take him there for punishment, but to keep him out of trouble. I drove to Watseka (14 miles) to look at cages and carriers, toys and dog food. The dog food is all commercial junk, so I’m going to try putting together my own doggie delites, meat and rice, veggies and dairy. Will he like plain yogurt?

I’d rather not put him in a cage if he doesn’t need one, and Wal-Mart didn’t have his size anyway; he did okay in the basement, didn’t howl or cry or freak out. I also decided against a carrier, because we’re not planning on flying to Miami. Instead I bought him a sweater and a hairbrush, some treats and a chew-bone, which he took to right away.

Later we took a nap, and he curled up at the foot of my bed instead of hiding underneath it—a trivial-sounding detail perhaps, but it shows he’s getting more comfortable here.

So there is progress in Doggieland. I even saw him take a good drink of water for the first time. Tomorrow we go to see his new veterinarian; maybe she sells decent food or knows where to buy some.++

Luke at Home 10.25.09