My sixth and largest child did a trial run at day care today . . . doggie day care. We're prepping for a little bit of family away time and our normal house-slash-dog sitter can't stay the whole length of time with my four legged babies. Neither can I saddle her with transporting Garhugo and The Fluffy White Thing to the kennel on Monday morning . . . .
I was starting to piece together friends to check between 10 and noon . . . and then check between 3 and 5 . . . and then come back to feed . . . and stay for a while until the next person shows up to sleep over. It was overwhelming and complicated. And then, I called a few kennels. Up until this moment, we've been very hesitant to kennel Moose because, quite frankly, he's socially retarded.
We adopted him from a foster family in Nebraska at the tender age of 11 months. In his short life, he'd been shuttled around between four families, lived on his own, impounded a couple of times and had a really shitty life. On a snowy November evening, the big girls and I drove to Denver to meet the transport chain and take custody of our new pooch. It was love at first site. He glommed onto me like we were long lost soul mates. And he put his fifty pound head in the girls' laps on the way home and let them pet his ears and play with his paws.
And then we got home.
And he saw MOTH. A man.
Uh-oh. And so began the sinking feeling of 'oh, crap . . what did we do?' But MOTH is an animal whisperer, and his patience paid off. Moose loves Little and he adores Mimi. He wakes Big with kisses every morning. He's truly our baby.
But when a man comes around, he absolutely FREAKS out. If that man happens to be wearing a ball cap, he WIGS. And if that man has the scent of cigarettes on his clothes, Moose first reacts semi-agressively and then he runs away and hides. After the Sears man repaired our dryer and pulled the dead pigeon out of the vent last year, Moose wouldn't go upstairs until the scent of smoke was completely gone . . . it was a full day with windows wide open and febreze everywhere.
Our regular vet offers kennel servicing and that made good sense to me. They aren't known for their kennel and boarding care, but that's okay with me. I'm not looking for a puppy playgroup. I'm looking for a chick that he can lean into and for a cute girl to scratch his ears, pat his head and tell him how handsome he is. I want him to eat his own food. Because I hate doggie diarrhea. He needs his own bed. And he should have Tana with him. Co-habitating is a must. He should have limited interaction with other dogs.
I began calling.
And today, he did a day care trial to make sure he wasn't aggressive or dominant. The staff needed to make sure he wasn't a danger to himself or the other animals there.
So at 8:15 today, I loaded my giant dog and took him to day care. Two cute girls did his intake and before I left, he had leaned into one so hard that she was pinned in a corner and had no choice but to scratch his butt and laugh. They fell in love with him.
I drove away feeling that sinking, sick feeling like when you drop your first born off at pre-school for the first day.
He did great. The only hiccup was that the swing shift kennel tech is a man . . . and Moose would NOT let him put his head collar on when I arrived for pick up. But that's it. He didn't eat any chihuahuas. He didn't jump the privacy fence, eat rocks, dig his way to China or attack the staff.
And so. . . freedom is one step closer. We've found a group of folks to love our giant dog while we are away. I'm so, very relieved.