Monday, July 12, 2010

A Trip Down Elwood Lane

For those of you not familiar with Elwood or the book Marley and Me, this may not be nearly as good of a trip...

Four (very long) years ago, we got this adorable little puppy and decided to call him Elwood. Those beautiful little blue puppy eyes and all that extra saggy baggy skin... Well, how could you not love him? And so he was adorable and snuggly and lovey... for a couple days... Little did we know that Elwood was full of piss and vinegar... and I'm talking - full to the brim... You can practically smell it coming out of his kennel... (oh wait... that WAS piss coming out of his kennel!)
A few short months after we brought him home, he began doing some crazy things... At first, we thought it was cute and then it was just strange and then just frustrating!!! About that time, I read the book 'Marley and Me' and realized I was not living with this so called "Elwood" - I was living with Marley's twin... I should have expected it. The evil face as he was beating up on Sophie the first weekend we had him should have been the first clue...

Or perhaps destroying his blanket a couple weeks later??? Nope. He still had us fooled with those adorable little puppy eyes!
I believe this was about the time I realized - this dog is not normal! Look at those green demon eyes...So, as time went by, Elwood began doing more and more strange things very akin to what Marley had done in the book - from jumping and knocking people down to challenging the professional dog trainers to bouncing like a kangaroo. Things were tough, but after the "2 week" training session (that turned into 7), we were making some big strides! Then we moved to Annapolis.

Car rides were not really his thing anyway - but after being sedated for 15 hours and stuffed in a tiny little car to travel across the country, car rides got worse. He started getting anxious in the car to the point where he even jumped out the window one day! Thankfully, we were at the park and getting ready to park and a nice man ran over and pushed him back in the window before he strangled himself on the leash.

However, the move to Maryland was tough on him - he was used to running in the yard all the time and suddenly all three of us were crammed into a 600 sft apartment with no place to move. We decided to start taking him to doggy daycare a couple times a week. He was loving it and was doing great! Until he got bit by another dog and ended up with 26 stitches which got infected and turned into a gigantor abscess.
Needless to say, the poor guy was not allowed to be active for two weeks... in Elwood terms - had to be sedated for two weeks and had to keep a shirt on to keep him from chewing on the wound. After that, things started getting REALLY crazy. This dog started getting aggressive toward other dogs and eventually toward strange people. And the anxiety started getting really bad. He panicked and barked all day when we left for work. We got him a bark collar (which is now completely useless because he doesn't care about the shock). He plowed through the screen window one day to chase a squirrel across the sidewalk... and he really just needed space to roam!!! So, we eventually moved to a little bigger place with a little backyard and to top it all off, we got him a Jake to play with... And a few months later, an Isabelle.
The anxiety and aggression started getting worse and worse and finally, we had to call in some more professionals. We now have some trainers who are with us for his lifetime and they have been great. However, we haven't needed them in several months because things have been going relatively smoothly... To the point where we could trust both dogs to be out during the day while we were at work. This was good for about a month... And then one day there was a thunderstorm... And we came home to discover the carpet ripped up in front of our bedroom where Elwood had panicked and tried to get into our room... Sooooooo... Back to the kennels they go during the day.
Oh - one other thing I forgot to mention... One evening, we were sitting in our little apartment and it was storming TERRIBLY outside. LOUD thunder, tons of lighting and rain so heavy you couldn't see the apartments across the sidewalk. THIS was this day that Elwood became terrified of both thunder and RAIN! This dog will not go to the bathroom if it is raining. He will hold it for days and even then, will typically only go outside if we shove him out.
Back to today. This morning - Nick puts the dogs in their kennels and we head out for the day. We had a busy evening ahead because we had to drop the truck off to get a bed liner installed so Nick came home quickly to let the dogs out... And greeting him when he comes in is a very, very submissive "I've-done-something-terribly-wrong" Elwood... Turns out, there was a thunder storm today... turns out, the rain the last couple days has kept him from going to the bathroom... turns out, dogs can't REALLY hold it for 3 days... turns out, dogs don't like sitting in their own poo... and turns out steel kennels don't hold back dogs terrified by storms...
The best part is, because we are moving out, the landlords are bringing people through to see the place, so we have to have them kenneled... It also turns out, duct tape works on dog kennels!!!

1 comment:

Amy said...

Poor crazy Elwood... Daisy has always been terrified of thunderstorms - she ran away one time overnight... Now we live near an airport with a National Guard base that flies REALLY loud jets, and she is no longer bothered by thunder... But now every time the jets go by she freaks and has to be right by me or inside the house. But we love our crazy pets, don't we!?! :)