Thursday, July 12, 2018

Home alone

Since Alex arrived four weeks ago, she and Smooch have been getting along great;
however, I never leave them together in the same room or the yard unless I am there
to supervise and separate them if I think Smooch needs a break.

Sometimes when I'm multi-tasking (puppysitting/listening to a book/drinking wine),
I keep Alex on a leash beside me so that I can be less vigilant...

...and also prevent the occasional sneak attack.
All of which is to say, even though Alex and Smooch are friends,
I don't yet trust them to be together without me around. In fact,
I may never trust them to be together without me around because I have issues. 
Maybe some day. Maybe not. We'll see.

On Tuesday, I had to go to town and couldn't take Alex with me.
 It would be my first time leaving her at home, and I spent considerable time
trying to figure out arrangements so that she would be comfortable,
yet confined and separate from Smooch, for the six or seven hours I'd be gone.

I decided the best place to leave Alex would be the sunroom.
I moved out all the chewables (pillows, wooden chair, rugs, etc.)
and moved in all her toys, a crate to sleep in if she desired, and bowl of water.
I adjusted the shades so she couldn't reach them.
I even moved the daybed away from the wall so she couldn't use it
as a ladder to grab stuff off the shelf behind it.

At 7:30 a.m., I put Alex in her new room, 
closing the doors that separate it from the rest of the house and Smooch,
and went to town, reasonably confident that all would be well upon my return,
with the likely exception of a puddle or two on the sunroom floor.

At 2 p.m., I drove into the garage, very glad to be home and anxious to see
how Alex had fared. I opened the door to the house.


There was Smooch and there was Alex, standing right next to her,
both wagging their tails and smiling.

Me: OMG! Smooch and Alex are alone together and both are still alive! 
I never thought this would be possible! This is awesome!

Also me: OMG! Will my insurance cover all the damage I'm going to find?

 I ran from room to room taking inventory.
Three puddles in the sunroom and five more in various other rooms,
but that was the extent of the damage, and concrete floors can probably withstand 
a nuclear attack, so who cares?

Not a cabinet was opened, not a cord was chewed, and Smooch was no worse for wear.
How can I be so lucky? And so stupid? In all my preparations, I didn't consider that Alex
would be clever and strong enough to jump up onto the handle of the French doors and open them.

Another lesson learned the hard way.
I'll be replacing this handle with one that locks.

The more important lesson learned, though, is the one that
Alex and Smooch taught me – that I can trust them together.
Maybe. Sort of. I still have issues.
But I'm making progress. I'll post a video of it tomorrow.


  1. I can almost hear your sigh of relief. Sometimes they surprise us....

  2. Glad to hear that the girls were fine when you returned home.
    I think its time for a Nanny-Cam or two or a baby monitor.

    You can setup the Nanny-Cam and leave the girls unsupervised while you 'do a few chores' or just hangout for a while with George and Alan. If you can rig up the Wi-Fi, you might even be able to keep an eye on them in real time.

    Does Alex know how to use a pee-pad? A bag of pads (think adult incontinence) is not that expensive and a bit of duct tape to keep it in place (and maybe make it less inviting to shred ).

    All in all, maybe they played a bit then had a good nap until they heard the truck :)

    M in NC
    (also thrilled that the insurance folks didn't have to get involved).

  3. Awwww.... I love that they were together with tails wagging when you got home! Good to be careful but it looks like you don’t have to worry TOO much about this pair.

  4. Those dogs are the best therapist for any or all of your issues! I just love how they greeted it you. No doubt all smug about themselves. Smiling!
    Elsewhere from amsterdam

  5. Are we sure it wasn't Smooch freeing the prisoner, I mean her partner-in-crime?!

    1. yes that is what I thought too, SMooch being fed up of hearing Alex crying. plus I think the door opens easier on Smooch's side. oh by the way, I love your sense of multitasking, never thought of it that way!!!

  6. I know how you felt. I was terrified to leave my maybe 8 month old lab with my 5 year old Siamese cat. We were in Colorado and the days were just too warm to leave the dog in his crate, and there were nowhere we could separate them. (the bathroom with no windows that opened) I had taught this dog from the first day we brought him home, to "leave the Kitty alone" Fortunately for us, he did. It was quite a relief that I could leave them alone together. Dogs are by nature pack animals and once accepted into the pack, human or feline, they are gonna protect their pack members. Just like today that lab is 12.5 years old, is a tripod due to cancer, stays by my side to protect me always. I am his pack leader. The hardest part about having a dog is saying goodbye.

  7. That is amazing! You are, heh heh, going to have to work hard to stay ahead of Alex, one smart little lady. Intelligent dogs are SO much more taxing than not-so-bright ones. Wonderful they get along so well -- at least while Alex is a pup: 2 adult females may not see eye to eye always, but again, maybe they'll be best buddies forever. You never know. Things sure look great now!

  8. This is so funny to me. I have five dogs and occasionally foster for the Humane Society. I have levered door handles in my house and have had the foster dogs let themselves out of the mudroom several times over the past two years. As in your case, nothing bad has ever happened. Apparently this is knowledge only gained through experience; I was at the Humane Society the other day while the handyman was fixing the door to the dog kennel area and was about to install a new LEVERED door handle - until I stopped to point out that a loose dog would now be able to spring from the kennel area into the cat area of the shelter. The new handle was quickly replaced and there was gratitude all around for me sharing this hard-earned information before disaster struck. Lol.

  9. For the puddles -- I got one of those pans that goes under a washer and put an old towel in it. I first used the towel to wipe up an accident and then I placed it in the tray to show our two where to go if the dog door was closed to the back yard. They learned immediately. Then if I had to be gone for longer than I thought they should have to hold it, I would put a towel in the tray for them and they used it every time. This kept me from being a stressed out mess if I was away from the house too long. Then when they got older, our girl could no longer hold it over night. So... the tray was always in the laundry room if she needed it, in the end, she needed it every night and it made life easier for her. Plus with the old towels, I could keep a hamper on the back porch, wash them and reuse them without creating more trash. Anyway, something to consider for Alex while she is still young, and something that may help Smooch too in this stage of life. Lisa G in TN

    1. That is a brilliant idea! Kippy’s breeder suggested crating the pup whenever I left the house. I never had to worry about her upsetting the elderly dog or the bossy cat. Kip had food, water and a wee area in the crate. I stopped doing this when she became two and would come home during lunch to give her a potty break.

  10. I went through something similar when I got Tinta, who is 7 years younger than Sienna. On day 2 Tinta pushed the boundaries and Sienna put her firmly and loudly in her place. Tinta is a drama queen and I thought she had been killed! It happened a couple of times more and once Tinta had her place firmly established all has been well. Last night Sienna sneaked a piece of pita bread from an unguarded purse and was sucking on it in a corner (she is 13 now) and Tinta decided to test her place. Similar noise, mild hysteria and the same result. They will work it out and I believe that keeping them apart prolongs the time it takes. They know how they work in the group, it just takes assurance, especially if the younger one is either a drama queen or pushy, or both. I will bet they did a lot of negotiating while they were alone. I'd take a deep breath and let them be together. Sienna washed Tinta's face every morning while waiting for their walk.

  11. An American in Tokyo7/12/18, 6:04 PM

    I'm glad that they seem to get along. It must be hard to stop worrying about them being home alone!

  12. Omg omg omg - I was laughing so hard reading this, I had to stop, grab Tall Paul, and have him listen while I read this out loud to him. This is the best story EVER!!
    And thank you, baby Alex, for not peeing on your mom’s new rug. Heh.
    These dogs were clearly meant to be pals. Holy smokes, I so wish you’d had a room cam or something to record all the shenanigans that without a doubt took place while you were gone. lol

    1. You mean the rug I stored in the closet the day before Alex arrived and which I'm planning to hang on a wall today?
      I was going to set up the trail cam in the sunroom but of course I forgot. Next time.

  13. Ha! The trail cam will be perfect!! Can’t wait. Phew - good thinking on the rug...the wall will be the perfect place from which *everyone* can enjoy it!

  14. Our Aussie cross pup figured out the lever latch on the back door at about 5 months. Now we're working on teaching her to close it behind herself--she can, with coaching, but needs to do it on her own. Saves installing a doggie door!

  15. A friend of mine has a dog who can open this kind of door handle. To thwart him, they switched it so it opens by pulling up on it, instead of pushing down. No more Houdini.

    If I may ask, why didn't you leave Alex in her crate while you were away? We used to crate Ruby every time we weren't around to monitor her, for her own protection. She was a busy, busy, busy dog. Eventually, the crate door never closed and it transitioned to a napping spot because Ruby was older and more dependable. Last year, we put the crate away and that was that.

    1. I just couldn't bring myself to leave her crated for the 6 or 7 hours I thought I'd be gone, which is stupid because she's in her crate overnight for 7 hours. She'd be much farther along in her training if I didn't have so many issues.