Hello again, Cochise here. You may recall that HairyFace & NiceLady are fostering me while I undergo heartworm treatment. We’ve spent the past month and a half preparing for me to receive these treatments. It has been quite an adjustment for me as I learned to live a civilized life and for them as they prepare to care for me while I undergo the heartworm treatment. I understand it can be rough.
When I arrived here, I started out staying exclusively in the Guest Quarters my People set up for foster dogs: a 10×10 chain-link pen with a cabin style dog house. But I managed to wheedle my way into their hearts and they decided to let me come inside the house with them; on occasion. Because I’m so adorable, these occasional indoor visits have turned into full time. I have one room of my own (they call it a crate) in the house and one in HairyFace’s office. This is partly because it has been so hot, they felt it would be bad for me to be left out in the heat while I’m so sick to start with. And partly because I’m very good at making a pitiful, “I’m seeick” face (see above) that just melts their hearts. The “rooms” are necessary for two reasons: they are working on something called house-breaking me. I don’t like the sound of that but I think I’m doing well: I’m very smart and learn quickly, once they get across to me what they expect. They don’t speak dog, so communication is a problem; all those silly noises they make are confusing. Dolly helped a lot to explain the three house rules: no “going” in the house, not dogs on the furniture – EVER, and people eat people food, dogs eat dog food, that’s it: no discussion. We’ll just have to see about that last one; some of their food smells SO yummy; much better than my kibbles. I’d gladly trade. But then, some of it is downright nasty: like froot: yech!
The first step of heartworm treatment was medication to kill the baby worms in my blood stream. A week later I went back for the main treatment, two injections given one each day on two consecutive days. These will kill the adult heart worms and cause some bad side-effects. The vet even shaved a patch on my lower back so she could insure the injection site was clean by giving me a surgical scrub before each injection. How embarrassing (and drafty), I wonder how long it will take for that fur to grow back!
The injections went deep into my back muscles and left me really sore; I tried to be brave but still grumbled a lot as I moved from one spot to another trying to get comfortable that first night, despite the pain killers they sent home for me. Since then I have been feeling less pain but still not feeling well. I’m feverish and tire quickly. I’m a really buff, athletic guy, and it’s not normal for me to be so wimpy.
It took a couple of days after the heartworm treatment before I felt like eating again. It was awful. During my treatment I have to be still and calm. They say my “room” is to keep me from getting excited and doing damage to my heart or lungs, but it also has blankets and pillows to lay on so it is the most comfy place I’ve ever known. And I feel safe in there; it’s very comforting to have my very own space.
When my People are with me during the day, I have earned the right to come out of my room. In the house I can roam the living room/kitchen/dining room which are basically all one big room with hard floors. At night they disappear into the back of the house and I retire to my room. I sometimes wonder where they go and why I can’t go too, but Dolly explained to me that I can go only to the treat room door and no farther. When she goes to work, HairyFace and I see NiceLady to the truck and she drives away. That makes me sad, but then I go with HairyFace to his workshop.
I’ve learned that word: “workshop”, and know where that is so when he says it I know where he wants to go. My room in the office is not quite as comfy: no pillows, but the office has a box in the window that shoots out cold air, so I like spending the hot afternoons in there.
My New Friend; Dolly
Once, it had been a while since I’d gone out for a walk, but I didn’t feel good and did not want to leave my soft, snuggly room. Hairy kept making silly noises at me, but I didn’t understand, so I just ignored him and hoped he’s go away and let me rest. Then Dolly walked over and said to me in dog telepathy, “Hey kid, let’s go see what’s going on outside.”Oh, going outside with Dolly sounded like fun, so I jumped up and followed her to the door to await my leash. For some reason this seemed to really amuse Hairy.
Another time I was out walking Hairy and I’d been wandering all around the yard, having a great time sniffing the bushes and following the odd trail I’d find. I even got to chase a lizard once. Lizards are fun to chase, don’t bite them though; they taste almost as bad as toads. Hairy kept saying “home”, I know what that means but I was having too much fun to go back. Dolly came across the yard, stood in my way and said, “You’re supposed to be resting. You’re going to hurt yourself, and you’re not winning any treat-points with Hairy either. Bad dogs don’t get treats. “Oh, well, that’s different. So I did a 180 and all three of us headed for home.
Dolly is the Big Dog around here, she runs the whole mountain. But she’s also very kind to me and she loves Hairy and Nice Lady very much. Dolly says that if I’m especially good, they might ask the Shelter to let me live at Dolly’s house for good. Dolly says that’d be alright with her too.
Learning the Ropes
All in all, I think I’m learning the ropes pretty quickly. I have learned to pick out “walk”, “ride”, “home”, “workshop”, “come”, “sit”, “eat”, “water” and ”treat” from all their silly sounds and do what they expect me to do – if they have a treat to give me that is: if not, forget it!
Dolly taught me that when I need to go out I’m to go to the door and sit looking at it. If they don’t notice and I’m getting uncomfortable, I can go “talk” to Hairy in my deep, rumbly, big-dog voice, “rowr, rrr, rurrr, rowf”. Not barking: that’s not allowed in Dolly’s house, just speaking to get his attention. Then he’ll stop whatever strange thing he’s doing and take me out.
Also, I have learned that my name is Cochise. For the longest time I would completely ignore them when they said “Cochise” to me; just another of their silly sounds, although they made that one a lot. Heck, I thought my name was “Goodboy”.
Oh, and I LOVE riding in the truck. That’s like a doghouse on wheels. I’m eager to go any time the Peoples offer; even though we sometimes end up at the shelter, and two of those ended up being my unpleasant experiences with heartworm treatment.
I have gone with Hairy to dumpster heaven a few times. Dumpster heaven is a gravel lot ringed with trash dumpsters and recycling bins. It smells WONDERFUL! Dolly tells me these are scattered across the region so Peoples, who don’t have the city-dweller trash pick-up, have a reasonably convenient place to take their trash.
On the first trip Hairy got out of the truck and I thought he was going to leave me there. I wanted to stay with him, and I got pretty spastic. But he talked to me while he sorted the recyclables into their proper bins and I calmed down. The second trip was very different, I knew what to expect and remained quite calm. I simply watched through the back window as he worked. The third time a couple of Peoples came over, scratched my head and told me what a handsome boy I am. That was nice. I like Dumpster Heaven! I’ll write more about truck riding next time.