Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kasey Kinnzensox

After Ben the Dog died last October, we thought we would wait until Spring before we started looking for another dog.  When Spring rolled around, we decided that Holly was doing pretty well as a solo dog for the house. So we shelved the idea of another dog.

The summer rolled by, and one day in mid August ago I spotted my wife looking through, at dogs of all things!

Are you ready for another dog?  Asked I.

Just looking to see what is out there. Said She.

So on and off since then we have perused petfinder and talked about what we would like in a second dog.

Medium to large.  I'm not a fan of little dogs.  Mostly because they yip instead of bark.

Female.  Although we loved our boy dogs, the marking and occasional humping of random things was not something we looked forward to working through again.

Temperament.  Always a toughie.  Has to be good around kids, dogs and cats, since we have all three at our house. Secretly I always look for dogs that seem most like Shoba in spirit.  Holly fits that bill. Kind and gentle.  Patient with the kiddos, and friends with almost everybody.

Age. Not a baby.  Young to adult.  Not a senior.  Though we found many puppies and seniors that need homes, puppies can be!  And though we know dogs grow old and die, we'd rather do that later as opposed to sooner.

Even with our search narrowed, there were hundreds of dogs on petfinder that fit the general description.  So we spent weeks browsing through the candidates, finding possibilities one day that would find homes by the next time we looked.

Then one day a listing popped up for "Emily".  She was supposedly a shepherd/husky mix. Good with dogs and cats.  Nervous sometimes.  Looking for a new home because on the farm where she was born she had a penchant for chasing the chickens.

As we kept our eyes open for other possibles, Emily kept topping the list. Finally a few days ago we decided we should call the number and see if we could meet her. 

We weren't expecting the first dog we looked at to join our pack, as when we were looking for Holly we must have seen a half dozen dogs or more.  But yesterday I called the couple that had Emily to set up a meeting.

They told me that three other couples were interested as well. But didn't indicate if any of them were serious or not.  I almost asked to be put on a waiting list, but at some point decided that the least we could do was go meet her.  So I asked, and they said we could!

I thought she was in Decorah, just an hour or so away, but it turns out she was in Marquette, Iowa, a little over two hours away!

We hemmed and hawed a little as we went to pick the boyo up from school.  Maybe we weren't ready for another dog yet. Maybe getting Holly a friend would just encourage the both of them to run like the wind away from our house. Another dog meant training, food, toys, stuff.  Making room for two on trips, or boarding two at the spa, doubling the cost.  But by the time the Boyo was in the car, we had decided once again to at least go look. 

We probably wouldn't bring this one home anyway.  It was a beautiful autumn day, so a drive to look at leaves in scenic Eastern Iowa wouldn't be bad. And it was Friday, so the kiddos could stay up a little longer before bed.

As we drove to Marquette, we talked about names for a new dog.  Emily wasn't going to do.  Since we have Emma the cat and Holly the dog. Emily seemed to just combine the names.  So we listed off some potential names.  The Wife and I liked Molly, but feared it would sound too much like Holly to the dogs, and nobody would know what they were supposed to do.  The Boyo liked Bambi, as in the deer, and a few names from Star Wars.  Sweet Pea was not interested in naming anything. 

We arrived at the meeting park in Marquette with nothing decided.

We had Holly with us, and it was only a few minutes until the man arrived with Emily.  They sniffed at each other a bit, wagged tails, and that was that.  No growling or snapping.  Emily had her hackles up at first, but after some butt sniffing they seemed at ease with each other.

I put Holly back in our car and called the Kiddos over to meet her.  She greeted each of them with ears back and tail tucked in classic submissive form.  Tail wagging furiously as she did so.  She was also very submissive to the Wife and me.  I wondered if she would be too meek to deal with Holly and some high energy kids.

But she was very sweet, cuddled right up to us and let us pet her.  Even let the kiddos give her hugs.  No aggression whatsoever.  Then she wandered off and pooped.  I had grabbed a couple of bags in case holly did the same, so I went to pick that up.  When I approached her again she dropped into a play stance and wagged her tail at me.  So I dropped into play stance too, to see how she would play.

Like any puppy, she used her teeth, once even getting my face in her jaws.  But she never clamped down, and when I corrected her she was quick to get her teeth off of me and give me a lick instead.  She was very playful once she got to know us a little.  Soon the Boyo had her leash and they were running around the park together.

Her foster dad told us that she did pretty well with being housebroken, was a bit skittish sometimes, but overall a really good dog.

I was hooked.  The Kiddos were hooked.  She even charmed the Wife, who would ordinarily want to sleep on any decision of this nature.

So we asked the man what we needed to do to adopt her.

"Oh.  Just load her up, I suppose." Was his reply. He offered that if things didn't work out, they would be happy to take her back.  A "free trial" he called it.

But I asked him if I could make him a knife in trade, and he accepted.

So he said his goodbyes to her, and we loaded her into the back with Holly.

The first fifteen minutes of the trip home were spent in disbelief that we had just acquired a new dog.  It was so easy!

The New Dog hopped over the seat divider and made herself comfy between the kids car seats.  They lavished her with hugs and petting and she loved it.

We decided we had better get her a name.  So started talking seriously about names again.  Molly, Cora, Piper and Tanner were all in the running, but the Sweet Pea would say "Naaaah." to every idea we offered.

Since the Boyo named Holly (with a little guidance from mom and dad, as if we had not intervened a little her name would have been Joseph Bedudah) We decided to get Anna to give some name ideas.

Her first, and only choice was "Cereal".

Hmmm.  OK.  But, we argued, when we ask you what you want for breakfast and you say Cereal..... well no good can come of this.  So we suggested more names.

Eventually we came around to using initials, sort of like BK for Bobbi's Kitty, or JD for John's Dog.  But nothing really fit.  The Wife had a nickname way back from before we were together of KC, her initials at the time, so I suggested Casey.  Also made easier by passing a convenience store of the same name at the time.

Hmm.  We seemed to like the name. So we asked the kiddos.

Boyo liked it right away, and we were waiting for the "Naaaah." from the Sweet Pea.  But there was a definite hesitation before she did this time.  Could it be?

So we asked Sweet Pea to come up with names.

"CEREAL!" she said.

How about Casey Cereal, sort of like Holly Bedudah?


No. From the front seat.

OK, Come up with the silliest word you can think of.

She ran through a few, including one that inadvertently included a swear word, and the ever classic
"Dsjtk5rt"  Which I thought would make a great password, but not such a great middle name for a dog.

As she babbled and they both giggled at every utterance, I heard the word kin-sin-socks.

"Kids in socks?" asked the Boyo.

"No." And she spelled it out for him. "K...O...I...R...kin-sin-socks!"

Casey kinsinsocks.  I liked it.  It had a nice ring to it.  The Wife was laughing.  The Kiddos were chanting it.

Soon the Wife pulled out her cell phone and began playing with different spellings .

I suggested Kasey with a K, since the Sweet Pea spelled kinsinsocks KOIR.  Maybe it should be Kasey Koir (pronounced kinsinsocks.)

But after some doodling around, the Wife came up with Kasey Kinnzensox.  So voted and so approved, we tried it out on the dog.

  Nada.  She answered to nothing.

But today, well.  She's starting to learn her name!

We got her home at bedtime last night, and found that she did not like being separate from her new pack.  At first she wandered into the Boyo's room, where we found her curled up on his bed at his feet.

This was particularly endearing, and the Boyo argued that this is the way things should be.  But we do have some rules about furniture.  So she sniffed and explored the house some more before finally joining Holly on the floor in the living room.  She was doing great!

When the grown ups went to sleep, we put her on the landing with Holly.  She let us know her displeasure at this as well, and I decided to try and ease her into her new sleeping space a little more gently.

I didn't want to sleep on the landing, so I brought the dogs up to sleep on the floor while I took the couch.  This worked OK, but every time I closed my eyes for awhile, Kasey decided that would be an excellent opportunity to slide up into the comfy chair.

She is learning No and Down quite well.  Soon she was sleeping on the floor and I was able to sleep for an hour or so.

I woke with a puppy nose pressed against mine and some quiet whining.

She then got her first lesson with the phrase "Do you want to go out?"

Once back inside, I brought out an old bed that we had and set them both up on the landing on their own beds.  Then I sat with them until she was settled enough to lie down.  I waited for twenty minutes or so, then made like the Alpha Dog just getting up and readjusting.  I stepped over the gate keeping the dogs on the landing, walked up a couple of stairs, turned around a few times and settled in to "sleep" again, with a loud, satisfied exhale.

She perked her head up when I moved, and let out a small whine when I sat down.  But shushed when I asked her to.  After another ten or twenty minutes she was settled and asleep again.  So I "shifted" to the top of the stairs, again eliciting a small whine which was easily shushed.

Another thirty minutes there, and I decided to go for the couch.  Using the same methods I rose slowly and headed to the couch.  She was on her feet this time, but after I lay down and sighed, I heard her turn around a few times and curl into a puddle on her bed.


I was finally able to go to my own bed, where I spent the rest of a short night!

I foresee some challenges in training, as she is very skittish to touch.  I think at some point she may have been angrily chased or hit, or maybe exposed to loud noises. Not by her foster family, I think the guy who gave her to us will miss her a lot, and they rescued her from being put down. But we've still got some work to do to get her comfortable.  She reminds me in that regard of Shoba.  So a little patience and a lot of love is in order.

But she has the makings of a fine dog.  We are happy to have her in the pack!

More Later

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