Friday, May 25, 2012

"Do you need something moistened?"

It's raining! My patience in not watering the garden paid off. :) Now lets hope that in addition to completing greenup, this will also make my garden grow. Not to mention stave off fires for the summer....
It's been an absolutely horrid week. My dog has gotten worse and worse about destroying things, both at night when I'm sleeping and after I leave for the day. In two days she did this: opened a cabinet to pull out my barley flour (you know, the stuff I was so proud of) and rip the bag open. Thankfully I saved most of it, and cleanup was fairly easy. The next night I put a chair in front of that cabinet thinking it might have enough weight that she couldn't open it up. Wrong. She got into the same cabinet (which, food-wise, only holds a few dry goods) and destroyed one of the bags of sugar my brother-in-law gave us. That was a giant mess. (Also, she woke me up at 5 am because of this.) So, thinking that there was too much space between the cabinet and the back of the chair, due to the lip of the counter, and it gave her the leverage to open the cabinet, I turned the chair around so the seat was pressed against the cabinet. And somehow, I didn't ever stop to think, "Gee, I gave my dog the perfect stool to get onto the counter." I came home to the remains of one of those cakes I made all over the counter and the floor. It was a chocolate cake, but one layer and there'd only been about 1/3 of it left. She didn't even eat all of it, but she did ingest a good amount of the tinfoil that was covering it.
In addition to all this, she'd also both pooped and peed on the floor. Because you have to add insult to injury, right? (No, neither of these was because of digestive problems from the cake, or because she couldn't hold it. Trust me, I know the difference.)
I called my parents, crying, and they managed to talk me out of either strangling her or offering her on Craigslist. I shoved the dog outside while I tried to clean up the worst of the mess and she stood out there barking like, "Mom, you forgot to let me in. Hey Mom, the door's closed. ...Mom? Mom? Mom! Mom! I'm not inside with you, Mom! Let me in! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Hey Mom!"
So I've been talking with everyone (especially Shane) about what to do about her separation anxiety. We've noticed for a while that she seems to be very anxious. There are times when Shane and I aren't doing anything when she's just sitting, staring at us, and there's a deep anxiousness in her eyes. So as weird as it is to say, I think my dog might just have a general anxiety disorder.
I kenneled her last night, but I really hate the idea of kenneling her both during the day and at night when Shane is gone. We need to limit her capacity to destroy things, yes, but keeping her in a box for over 16 hours isn't my first choice. When I let her out this morning she ran right to her water dish and drank about half of it, which is why I let her have free roam of the apartment today while I'm at work. (I can't fit the bowl and her bed in the kennel.) When Shane gets home we're going to get a baby gate so that we I can contain her when I need to. At night the gate will be across the bedroom door so that the cat can come and go as he pleases (he's been wonderful, I don't want to punish him!) and across the hallway during the day so that I can put a bowl of water in the bathroom for her. We're also going to get some baby locks for a couple of the cabinets in the kitchen so that she can't open them if she somehow does manage to get loose.
Ultimately, we might have to think about getting a companion dog for her. She was never like this at my parents' house, when she had a friend (my little brother's dog). The Boy is right, Pepper really needs Nutmeg (his dog). Being older, Nutmeg was around first so Pepper is used to her. But poor Meggy has so many health problems that I not only couldn't justify taking her away from the vet who knows her and her history, she can't fly. A rabies shot would kill her, and without it she's not allowed on a plane.
I'm thinking that adopting another small-medium sized dog, another older lady, who's both sweet and as stupid as possible (like Nutmeg--sweet and sooo stupid) might be ok. A puppy would just be "some upstart" in Pepper's mind, and it would make her more anxious. Shane hates the whole idea, he thinks that any new dog would simply make her more anxious, but I think it would be worth a try. I know the animal shelter here does fostering, so perhaps we could foster a dog for a couple of weeks and adopt it if things worked out.
Of course, all of this is something we can't even consider until we get a place of our own. Our apartment is pretty saturated with living things as is, and I doubt our landlord would love it if we brought yet another pet into the mix. So we'll see.
There are anti-anxiety pills for dogs. But I hate the idea of medicating her long-term as much as I hate the idea of kenneling her all day. On the other hand, being anxious all the time must be miserable. So we'll try everything else first and if it doesn't seem to get rid of her anxiety, or lessen it a great deal at least, then we'll talk about putting her on some medication.
As if the dog problems weren't enough, I also hurt my leg. I twisted it pretty badly on Monday night at softball, but I didn't realize just how badly until Wednesday. I started walking to work but got less than a block because my leg hurt so bad. I think I pulled a muscle. So I ended up taking a sick day. I made a ghetto compression bandage for myself out of the cut off tops of three tube socks that had giant holes in the heels (the foot part of the socks will be kept for cleaning) and a sticky wrap that I can't remember the origins of. (The idea behind the bandage being both support for whatever I pulled, and the fact that light compression brings more blood to that area of the body and, hopefully, will heal it faster.) It seems to have worked, because I managed to walk to work yesterday, and take the dog for a short walk in the evening, and I'm almost feeling totally better today. My foot is still a little swollen, but the muscle (or whatever I pulled) is hardly hurting when I move my foot and walk.
Only two more days before Shane gets home. Only two days....
There have, of course, been bright spots this week. Drinks and mini golf with friends (my drink was water--hey, it was a work night!), pizza at a friend's house, things like that. And I made some absolutely amazing slow-cooker BBQ chicken for myself. I can't remember what I did, exactly, because of course we were out of BBQ sauce so I had to make some, which I've never done before. I mixed together several online recipes, and tweaked them somewhat, so I'll never remember exactly what I did. About 1/2 a cup of apple cider vinegar (because that's all we had left), some Worcestershire sauce, a bunch of ketchup, some molasses and some brown sugar, some salt and pepper, a little bit of garlic powder, and a couple dashes of some Asian hot sauce Shane keeps in the fridge. At first it didn't seem right, but I didn't want to waste all that food, so I figured I'd eat it anyway. That ended up being the pizza night, so I put it all in the fridge and took some for lunch the next day. (Being pulled chicken, I made sandwiches.) Something about being in the fridge overnight took it from "edible" to "hey, that's not bad!" territory. I'll keep experimenting with sauces. I would really love to learn to make it without relying on bought ketchup. You know, real BBQ sauce from scratch. Yum!
I also re-tried the barley bread. Only with a lot less barley this time. I only used just over a cup, and the rest was white AP flour. I did toss in some wheat germ, which is apparently quite healthy, to up the nutrition a bit. It still has the barley flavor, however, and it's tasty! Thankfully, this time it actually rose properly.
Paired with the chicken the only thing that was wrong was the amount I made. Only enough for two meals!

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