I’d like to say I don’t have a proper post this week because I was lazy, reading, studying, or walking, but in reality it’s because I’ve been trying to keep up with our new foster dog, a four-month-old, twenty-three pound St. Bernard mutt named after the Soprano’s character Rosalie Aprile. We call her Rosie for short.
Miss Rosie arrived at the Farnival the day after Benny left, bringing with her enough energy to orbit the earth twenty times. After Benny’s chill attitude, she was a sudden jolt to the system, like a shot of caffeine on an empty stomach. The problem is that I can’t get a thing done because running after Rosie is like chasing a three-year-old kid.
With every new foster dog, there’s a challenge. Bentley was aggressive, Meadow suffered from separation anxiety, Benny from reticence, Jim Bob from skittishness, but with Rosie it’s housebreaking. That cute little sugar shit has peed from one end of the house to the other. No method I’ve employed seems to be able to break her from this uncivilized habit. I’ve tried the umbilical chord method, but she tried to chew through the leash. If I crate her for more than ten minutes, I find her sitting in a swirling pool of pee at the bottom of her crate. She’ll look at me all bashful, eyes tilted up like she’s flirting (and she is), her tail tentatively wagging because she knows she’s being bad.
That’s the thing; she knows she shouldn’t but she does it anyway. When I catch her in the act of peeing, she’ll scamper away, leaving big wet puppy paw tracks trailing across the hard wood floor. I’ve gone through sixteen rolls of toilet paper in six days. Two rolls she had chewed up, but the other fourteen I used to clean up her messes. She’ll see me scrubbing away her sins and tuck her floppy ears back as far as floppy ears can be tucked, lowering her boxy snout, looking all humbled and ashamed.
Her excuse definitely can’t be that she doesn’t get out enough. I walk her every morning for an hour and take her out several times throughout the day, but the minute she’s outside she either wants to eat rabbit turds or run back inside. I swear she’s taken stubbornness to a new level of frustration when it comes to housetraining. She poops in the basement, which I’m not thrilled about, but it’s concrete, easy to clean, and at least it shows a little effort on her part to get closer to the grass.
I think part of the problem is that she has a deep-rooted fear of being outside without Mace or me right next to her, and she’d rather get in trouble than being locked outdoors. During the coldest winter Tennessee has seen in thirty-seven years, Rosie had lived in a hillbilly’s fenced backyard. For some unknown reason, they got tired of seeing her shivering and called ICHBA to pick her up or threatened to ditch her at a government shelter.
At least the hillbillies fed her well. She’s a hefty little thing with a case of roundworms that makes her appetite voracious. She’s not socialized because she’s never lived under a roof before, but like most puppies, she’s adapting to our household quickly.
We’re working on leash training, and she’s doing great unless I walk her next to Meadow, who turns our structured walks into a chance to nip at her buddy Rosie’s ears, tempting her to play. Originally, I had assigned Meadow as Rosie’s sitter, but instead they’ve turned into partners- in- crime, who have chewed up a brand new bra, a pair of sandals, and four socks. They wrestle over everything from a cardboard box to plastic tea bottles, tumbling from one room to the next or brawling in smack down-style with Meadow letting Rosie get only so far before she puts her on the ground with a solid thud. But when Meadow tries to lure Rosie outside into the backyard with a favorite toy and a mischievous expression, Rosie rebuffs her, preferring to torment me by tipping trashcans or chewing on books.
The great news is that her personality by far makes up for all her bad habits because she is full of love. I’ve never seen her act aggressive or spiteful to a person or animal. Even when I reprimand her, adoration glows out of her dark, glassy eyes. If we leave her behind a closed door for more than a few moments, when we open it, she’ll greet us like we’ve been gone for fifty years, tail wagging with unrestrained enthusiasm.
Once I get her housetrained, she’ll make some family a loyal and fun companion. If anyone has any suggestions about housetraining Rosie, please email us. I’d love to hear methods that have worked for your stubborn pup.