Sunday, November 12, 2006

Love for Sale: $8

Velvet asked for more doggie info, so here's a little bit about Miss Mabel Lou. I got Mabel from the pound about 6 weeks after my Maggie died of cancer. I was grief stricken and Mabel was really confused. At four months old, she had been adopted out five times and returned pretty fast. But since Mags was only eight, I was hell-bent on getting a first. They wanted to be rid of her... she was "on sale" for $8.00! (including micro chip and hysterectomy!)

It was a rough start. She was so happy to be leaving "doggie jail," she burst out the doors and immediately starting trying to read my face for recognition of one of the many cars. I wanted her to potty first. As soon as she realized which was my car, she whimpered and scratched and refused to walk one step further. O.K., so maybe she doesn't need to potty.

We got on the freeway and headed to my old neighborhood. I had an elderly friend there and had promised to do a little shopping for her. I got a whif of a very unpleasant odor... she had pooped IN THE CAR!!! Most of it was on a magazine but some of it was not and with the stop and go of the LA freeways, a lot of it was getting on her!

I stopped at a local Petco. They wouldn't bathe her without vet papers but they did sell me carpet cleaner and give me paper towels and some water for the pup.

I finally got the little stinker home and it only got worse. Every book I was reading at the time has the spine chewed. The remotes, my shoes, her bed and logs of firewood were also on her hit list. And she HAD to sleep with me! I'm used to stand-offish rottweilers. They are my favorite breed. But Mabel is a mix: rott, lab, greyhound and I now like to add woodchuck, bedhog and heart-stealer to that list! But none of the other rotts would go near my bed. Maggie would sometimes nap with me in the daytime but come night, she wanted her bed. She slept with me four times in 6 years: 1) the night she had hip surgery, 2) the night we moved to the house I live in now, 2) the first night she spent in my mother's home in Baton Rouge and 4) the night before she died. Those were all traumatic events in her life and perfectly understandable.

But a dog in my bed every night??? No way! But little Mabel was very persistent. She would wait until I fell asleep and then "ask" to get in my bed. She would lay her clunky paw on my bed and scratch and whine a bit. I would wake up groggy and say "NO!" She would groan and lay down beside my bed, not in her bed. 5 minutes later, repeat. So, I'm trainable. Take away my sleep and I'll give in!

Only that was not the end of my sleep disorder. Setting aside the fact that this skinny little dog took up MORE than her fair share of my queen sized bed, we have a yard full of critters. Miss M has a huge prey drive! Between the family of raccoons that come to drink from my fountain, the possum that favors the mulberry tree, the family of squirrels that always took great delight in teasing Maggie, the next door neighbor that feeds around 18 stray cats, and the rats the come up from the canal behind the house... there's lots to chase.

Every night I would awaken to what sounded like my back door being beaten down accompanied by a deep growl. Only it was being beaten down from the INSIDE. Once, she knocked the screens out of the side panel windows on the French doors. This went on for THREE YEARS! Last year, it finally occurred to me to shut the bedroom door. It worked! Most nights, we both sleep through the night. But every couple of months... she just won't settle in at night.

I spent the first year absolutely hating her, wondering what I had done to ruin my life. I knew I couldn't return her... the cute puppy was wearing off and LA pounds kill dogs way too fast. Plus I believe in commitment. I realize that it was grief talking. Now, we're madly in love. She's quite a character and I'm sure you'll be reading more of her antics real soon. Here's some puppy pics.

Mabel's legs are too long for her body and she cannot sit properly (typical greyhound trait). Being a mix, she can sit for a few minutes but it hurts. When she does sit, she looks for a way to extend her hind legs so the bones don't poke her belly. As a pup, that meant straddling the console, right paw on the passenger seat for balance and left paw hanging over my right shoulder. This was taken around that time.

Mabel playing ball in the creek with my best friend's dog Sarah. Sarah passed away last summer and we really miss her!


Linda@VS said...

Thanks so much for the scoop on Miss Mabel. It sounds like she needed you as much as you needed her. Both of mine were chewers, too, when they were young.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Velvet, Thanks for your kind words. You are such an inspiration to me and it feels good to be writing again!

I love your tails of Butch and Kadi and I love when you or Bluff speak of Lucy and Winston.

Dogs bring so much to our lives. I pray I'm never without one and even considering leaving $$$ in my will for any pup I may leave behind.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the visit over at Star's Rest! I really enjoyed reading about Miss Mabel and your coyote adventures. I found Velvet's blog reading about Butch's surgery...guess a lot of us animal lover's find this is a good way to share our appreciation for them. Carmon

Sunflower Optimism said...

Mabel is one real sweetie! Our dog passed on four years ago and I'm wrestling with the decision to get another. I want a big dog, specifically a German Shepherd. The GSD breeder that I am looking at said to let him know by end of January if I'm interested in a pup from the spring litter. So I have a couple of months to decide.

The problem being I have both kids in college now and my husband is hoping for us to do more traveling. But I have a home-based jewelry business and would love to have a dog underfoot during the day, LOL.

Anonymous said...

Miss Mabel is gorgeous and what a character, she has certainly trained you well.
Was lovely to read your post about Miss Mabel and all your *critters*. I came here from Velvet when I read your coment about photography. So glad I came.
May I ask a favour too? Here in the UK we don't have possums and raccoons ~ would you let your camera show us a pic or two ~ or three? :-)

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Sunflower, You are much stonger than I am. I make it around 6 weeks when I'm just on fire to have another. I can say Miss M is my LAST puppy. The ones from rescue are so grateful and they've all come housebroken and past the chewing stage!

Sandy, thanks for your commnets. The critters come out at night and the last thing I think of is a the camera. I'm more concerned with the noise the dogs are making. I'll see if I can steal a google image for you though.

I'll have to post about the morning of September 11, 2001 sometime... I declared the world was about to end because of all the coons in my yard that night! Little did I know....

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the visit to Star's Rest and for sharing Miss Mabel's story. Seems animal lovers congregate here on the web so share their stories! Carmon