Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dog Names

When I named my dog Bean Sidhe, I thought of banshees as a well-known myth. Turns out I was wrong. People would ask me her name, and even after I repeated it twice, they didn't know what I was saying. They thought she was Benji or Bouncy or Bandit.

And the spelling... well, people didn't know what to make of that at all. (Can't blame them; Gaelic rarely makes an appearance in the U.S.) I'd fill out paperwork, and her name would get typed in as "Bean Sidle" or "Bean Sigh". I quickly switched to using "Banshee" on any kind of paperwork.

So... lesson learned! I decided that any future dogs would be given simpler names.

I'd been contemplating names for a while, particularly paired names because I thought I'd eventually get two dogs. One pair that stayed in my mind was Indigo and Violet (the places on a rainbow where my favorite colors are found).

As it turns out, even though I did adopt two dogs, they are so different that paired names didn't seem to fit. I needed to choose their names individually.

Little brown dog was difficult to name. She's timid and horribly thin, and she doesn't display much personality beyond wanting to be in my lap at all times. I think that will change as she gets healthier and more secure, but of course she needed a name sooner rather than later. I decided to go with one of the names that had been rolling around in my head for a while and call her Indigo.

As for little black dog... she loves cozy, den-like spaces. She was following me around the house, and every time I opened a closet door, she immediately ran in to explore all the dark corners. In my big walk-in closet, she liked the comfy spot behind my dresses. In my tiny linen closet, she happily curled up on a stack of towels. She's always looking for a cozy little nook... so I named her Nook.

I took both dogs to the vet today for a check-up. Their names were immediately understood and spelled correctly. Success!  :D

Nook got a clean bill of health. The vet agreed with the shelter's assessment that she's about three years old.

Indigo has a few missing teeth, and the vet thinks she is older than the shelter's estimate - probably six or seven years old. She is obviously underweight, and she doesn't show much interest in food. It's imperative we find out why. I have been tasked with collecting urine and stool samples (ah, the joys of pet ownership!), and I'll be taking her back in for bloodwork tomorrow.

I'm afraid getting her to a healthy weight will be challenging. I have to coax her to eat... so far, I've managed to get her to eat sliced turkey and scrambled eggs. The vet suggested baby food, and I did coax her into eating some this evening. Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Dog Owner Again

You may recall my 17-year-old dog Bean Sidhe died eight months ago. I felt a profound sense of loss, and I missed her terribly. For whatever reason, I grieved in spurts. I'd be okay for a while, then suddenly I'd be hit with a wave of grief, and I'd start sobbing.

Time does help heal, and eventually the episodes became less frequent. Finally, about a month ago, I began to think that maybe I was ready to get another dog. I periodically searched online for adoptable dogs. Two caught my eye; coincidentally, they were at the same shelter.

I went to the shelter this morning to meet the dogs. I liked both, and they seemed to get along with each other, so I adopted both of them. :)

One is a nine-pound Chihuahua mix estimated to be about three years old. She is black with a white stripe on her chest and three white feet.

The shelter staff said she'd come in with some behavior issues but had come a long way in the six weeks she'd been there. When I met her, she did not show any fear or aggression; she was immediately friendly with me.

When we got home, she was timid at first. She stayed in the kennel where she felt safe. But within a couple of hours, she was trotting all around the house carrying her little pink elephant toy. In fact, she was so active, I had trouble getting more pictures of her.

The second dog is a brown and tan Miniature Pinscher estimated to be about four years old. After my beloved Bean Sidhe, I have a soft spot for Min Pins. I saw this little girl on the shelter website, and I just had to meet her.

She was described as timid, so I wasn't sure what to expect. A shelter volunteer brought her into the room, and the instant he took off her leash, she leaped right into my lap. Within two minutes, I knew I wanted to take her home.

She had come to the shelter through the night drop, so the staff didn't have any background on her. It's heartbreaking how thin she is. She's an absolute bag of bones. She weighs only 5.5 pounds, half the weight of my similarly sized Min Pin Bean Sidhe.

Like Bean Sidhe, loves heating pads and blankets.

To help keep her warm, I made a little coat for her out of a sweatshirt sleeve.

So far, the two are getting along well. Little black dog did not want little brown dog in her kennel, and little black dog was a bit possessive of her squeaky toy... but otherwise, they seem okay together.

I'll take them both to the vet in a couple days for a checkup. I want his advice on helping little brown dog get up to a healthy weight.

In the meantime, I need to decide on names for them.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Hello, I'm Grumpy

I wish I could write an interesting post about all the interesting things I've been doing lately. But I'm too darn grumpy.

I'm grumpy because it is too hot in my area at work. Last winter, I was comfortable. I was even able to wear long-sleeve shirts! (Cotton t-shirts, but still... they had sleeves!) I should have known that was a fluke.

I was, of course, hot during the summer. Now it's winter, and I'm hot because buildings are overheated. I'm too hot at work, too hot at the grocery store, too hot at the mall... if I'm inside a building, I'm too hot.

When leaving a heated building to go outside in the ice and snow...

Reaction of normal people:
I need more layers! I'm freezing!
Reaction of me:
Glorious relief! Oh, ice, how I loooove you!

There was once a remarkable exception: I was comfortable at the Mall of America. I was there during a frigid Minnesota winter, and I was amazed not because of the enormous size or the indoor amusement park, but because I was there all day without being too hot. I was actually able to enjoy looking around without feeling like I was going to melt or burst into flames. How is such a thing possible?

The Mall of America has no central heating system. And they recognize that the 70F/21C achieved with skylights and body heat is plenty warm enough... because when it's ten below (-23C) outside, people are probably going to show up wearing a sweater.

But outside of making a long trip to Minnesota, I'm only comfortable when I'm at home. I heat my house to about 66F/19C (lower if I'm moving around a lot, and only to 60F while I'm sleeping). Yes, I know that's not what normal people consider comfortable.

I am insanely jealous of normal people who run at normal temperatures. People who don't have to linger in the frozen food section to cool down before facing the canned goods aisles. People who don't have to shower upon returning from a sweltering 10-minute visit to the pharmacy. People who can actually wear something other than a short-sleeve cotton t-shirt in the middle of winter.

I am tired of being trapped at home knowing I'll be miserably hot if I go anywhere else.