Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2000 12:36:31 -0500
To: (everyone we could think of that might be interested)
Subject: Emily & Matt Newsflash – We have a dog now
Ok.. belated news here from the Baya household, for those of you who we haven’t talked to in the past few weeks… we have a dog. Seeger (as in Pete Seeger) is a 90 lb Black Lab/Rottweiler/Newfoundland mix.. looks mostly like a big black lab with a little white on his chin, neck and chest. His paws are a little brown too and he even has a white toe or two on his back paws.. but basically a big black lab. Supposedly only a year old, but we don’t know for sure.
How did we get this dog? Well… here’s the story and a summary of what he’s like. Pardon the length, I just wanted to give those of you who want the long story a chance to hear it. For those of you who want to skim over this, that’s ok, we wont take it personally 😉
We went to the house of someone we had been corresponding with the owner via e-mail who claimed to have a 1 year old Newfoundland mix dog for sale. This was on Sunday 9/24 in Lisbon, Maine (near Lewiston). We arrived around 2 and found this big friendly loveable dog… at a house that was falling apart, surrounded by trash with several other dogs all chained up around it. Seeger, who they called Bear, btw, was chained to a tree surrounded by bags of trash that he had obviously eaten (or been fed depending on your point of view). Plastic bags of garbage had been chewed open by one or all the dogs and there were lots of plastic / rubber trash objects all around Seeger’s tree with chew marks on it (we’re guessing he ate the smaller objects… yuck) The area around his tree was very worn, and the whole place was just disgusting.. no other words really do this place justice. If the garbage wasn’t all over.. and we mean ALL over the place, it would just be a slightly worn house.. but with the garbage… egads… anyways.. Seeger had mud and pine sap stuck to his fur and it was obvious he hadn’t been groomed for a while. We’re still working on getting this out in some places.
The people at the house (we only saw 3, the woman we were buying the dog from (age 27 guess), her 6 month old child, and her sister (age 18 maybe) were friendly enough (who wouldnt be if people showed up to buy your dog?). I guess their mother was inside the house too though we never saw her. They had said he was friendly and a good dog in my correspondence with them before we came there, but when we talked to them they kept calling him stupid and annoying and it seemed obvious to us that he was just a chore as far as they were concerned.. .I guess the ‘puppy’ novelty wore off and now they just wanted to get rid of him. He was very happy to see us, and was well behaved besides being excited and tugging at his chain to get to us. Some jumping up on us but he stopped when we pushed him down.. or at least he stopped for a little bit… nothing aggressive, just excited friendly jumping. To be expected from any dog left chained to a tree for a period of time I would guess.
It was obvious he liked being with people and I think he was really just lonely. The woman we were talking to said her boyfriend and her nephews had played with the dog and brought him toys and such, which we believe since he does seem like he likes people and kids. Since we’ve had him we haven’t let him off the leash to play with any kids or other dogs but I suspect that all that would result would be some slobbering/licking on the child or other dog 🙂 We’ve never seen him show any aggression towards any other dog or person, and even with our cats he pretty much just corners and barks at them.
So to continue with the story of how we got this dog… He wasn’t the kind of dog we were looking for (we wanted a Newfoundland mix, this dog is really a black lab mix that MIGHT have some newfy in him, but not at first glance) and their definition of ‘good with cats’ was different than ours (“oh he just barks at them from a distance” (But he’s chained to a tree? What does he do when he’s near one?). Had this house been a bit nicer, we might have said ‘no thanks, we’re looking for a newf’, but we couldn’t leave him there. Trust me.. if you saw this place you’d have taken him too. He is a good and friendly dog, he’s just not used to being treated as a real pet as opposed to a chore tied to a tree outside 🙁
So now we’re trying to crate train him and he’s doing well.. a little whimpering barking for about 20 – 30 minutes at night, but he settles down and stays quiet until we get up. We walk him in the morning and then crate him again until we get home in the afternoon, and he’s usually asleep when we get home. We’ve found he likes stuffed/soft things to chew on but pretty much shreds/tears them apart within a short period of time. He hasn’t chewed on any of our furniture but then again we haven’t left him alone for long either so we don’t know how he would do if left inside unwatched for a long period of time. We just introduced him to tennis balls yesterday and he seemed very happy with one in his mouth.. we also realized he can close his mouth with the tennis ball in it so you can’t tell he has it. Did we mention he’s a big dog? 🙂
We walk him 3 or 4 times a day right now.. morning for a long 30-40 minute walk, afternoon 2 short walks when either of us get home, and around 11 for 20 – 30 minutes before bed. He tugs on the leash a bit but if you stop and pull him back he comes, unless of course he sees some animal in the bushes he wants to chase but he even them he doesnt pull too hard and comes back if you pull the leash and yell. Occasionally he breaks into a full speed run and gives us a good tug but we’ve made it clear to him that this makes us upset. We found a great place to walk dogs near our house, old logging trails that go into the woods for miles. We are now wearing flourescent orange hats and vests and Seeger gets a bright orange bandana too since hunting season has begun and we’re a bit worried.
In the house he likes to be with us whereever we go, which is a new experience for us seeing as we were cat people before this..he’s always RIGHT there. We’ve taken to keeping him on a leash inside so that one of us can do stuff without a dog in our face. Not that he’s really in the way or obnoxious. When he’s excited he jumps up on us or the couch but we’ve been consistent that this isn’t allowed and he seems to be catching on. Also has trouble relaxing in our house cause everytime he sees a cat he gets excited and starts to go after it. So far he has just barked at the cats and we’ve sealed off our bedroom as a ‘cat safe’ zone and we don’t let him in there. At times when the cats haven’t come into view he’s fallen asleep on the living room floor near the couch where I was lying. One of the first nights we had him I slept in the guest room with him (without his crate) and after calming down from the initial excitement of getting attention/etc he settled down at the foot of the bed and was quiet all night. I am guessing that as a puppy he was a loved indoor dog, but now that he’s a big dog they put him outside.
We took him to the vet last week and he’s now up to date on all his shots, etc. Everyone at the vet who saw him said ‘he’s got a big head!’. We were’nt sure what they were talking about until we went down to Exeter last weekend and saw Emily’s mother’s dogs, both ‘normal’ sized black labs and then we realized that he does have a big head.
We are signed up for obedience classes with him starting 10/26. We’re already trying to teach him sit, stay, go and of course NO! and he’s learning for the most part. He certainly knows sit when we have a treat or his food in our hands 🙂
Our cats are doing ok for the most part, though not happy about the situation. We have moved their food dishes up to our bedroom which we are trying to keep as a dog free room. Of all our cats, Hurricane is doing the best and has pretty much accepted his presence, in fact I think she may be happier because with him around the other two cats are more worried about him than they are interested in her, so she’s not getting hassled as much as before. She still backs away when Seeger’s around but certainly doesn’t puff up and hiss when she sees him anymore. Finnegan is still kinda shell shocked and seems wary when in the house. Goblin spends most of his time under our bed but has been getting braver as time goes by. Basically the cats go from the bedroom to outside and back but avoid the rest of the house.. except Hurricane of course.
Ok that’s enough for now. We’ll have pictures up on the web as soon as we can scan them in.