16 February 2013

The Tale of Four Testicles, Part One (and Recap)

This should probably be the third installment of the saga of how having two intact male dogs in a small house isn't much fun, but I had hoped the situation wouldn't develop into a several days long epic.
Lola Lulu (black dog) meeting Valentine (red dog).

Summary of events, thus far:

- Two days ago I rescued an elderly purebred Hungarian Vizsla from the Pima county shelter.  Yes, I forgot to ask if he was neutered (entirely my fault)... I was distracted by his severely atrophied right rear hip and leg.  He was old, very sweet, and could only walk on three legs, so of course I took him home and named him Valentine.

- Initial introductions in the yard with all four dogs went smoothly.  Foxtrot (my foster English pointer, a 7 year old intact male) got kinda stiff & stared at him, but I intervened and he let it go... until we got into the house and he jumped Valentine.  Thankfully he was just being nasty/threatening (read: loud and snarly, but didn't bite down or break skin), but the dogs were separated which meant Foxtrot went into his crate in the bedroom.

Foxtrot meeting Valentine; notice the fully upright, tense tail and stiff posture. 
- To set the stage for these events, I live in a small one bedroom cottage style house.  In Arizona we call them "casitas."  There are no doors to separate the rooms, with the exception of the bathroom.  The only other doors belonging to the closet, the kitchen (leads to the backyard), and the living room (leads to the outside world).  Other than using crates/kennels there isn't any way to keep the dogs separated except outside in the yard (which is separated into two yards if you shut the gate).  Valentine FREAKS OUT in a crate: panting, drooling, trying to "dig" out of it, and he actually got his lower jaw stuck between the bars and I had to help him get un-stuck before he hurt himself.

- I tried reintroducing them in the yard twice yesterday (without my two dogs) and the first went very poorly, while the second was not too bad.

- Overnight Valentine has free reign of the living room and kitchen.  I use the sofa to block off my bedroom doorway (my dogs can easily jump over, but Valentine can't) and I'll let Foxtrot get up on the bed (with a slip lead on, so he doesn't bolt over the sofa and pounce on Valentine) to cuddle before bed.  He is still sleeping in his crate overnight.

- The daily routine involves rotating the dogs in and out of the house (which does mean either putting Valentine in the back yard by himself and giving Foxtrot house/front yard freedom or putting Valentine temporarily in a crate so that I can let Foxtrot out into the yard.

Just typing this all up is exhausting...

Fast forward to this morning:  Valentine is in the backyard, Lola & Gatsby are in the front yard and I brought Foxtrot out on a slip lead.  He didn't posture or behave nastily toward Valentine at the fence, so I opened the gate.  Foxtrot mostly ignored him and paid complete attention to me (being somewhat of a nuisance, but I'm letting that slide for now).  Only the smallest incident occurred when Valentine sniffed Foxtrot's rear and Foxtrot stiffened up & whipped his head around... I said his name and he swung his head back around toward me, relaxed instantly, and I praised him.  He then happily followed me into the house and I shut the door behind us, wanting to end this "exercise" on a good note.  We also had some cuddle time on the couch and he got to hang out with me in the kitchen while I got breakfast started, before he went back into his crate and I let the other dogs into the house.


We'll try again this afternoon and see how that goes.  Foxtrot's intense bond with me is working toward a positive end.  His choice is basically between getting love & attention from me or fighting with Valentine and this morning he chose positive attention from me instead of the latter.



  1. Oh Garnet, that injury looks like a torn ACL that was never addressed and healed badly...they draw the leg up like that....what a sweet old boy...I hope you can give him a very happy life for the remainder of his...:)

    1. Valentine went to a foster who is a member of the Rio Salado Vizsla Club (they are really wonderful and take in all the homeless Vizslas in Arizona; if we pull a Vizsla we transfer it to them).

      Sadly he had late stage osteosarcoma (bone cancer) that had spread from his femus, into his him, and his pelvis. He was in a lot of pain, even though he did his best to be stoic, so they put him on pain meds to give him a better quality of life. Eventually the meds couldn't stave off the extreme pain and he was put down before he could suffer further. I am so thankful that they gave him a wonderful, happy life for the last couple months he was around.