RheumaBlog

Same dragon, different day.

With a name as grand as Finny McCool, one would reasonably think the bearer would be just as grand.

And so he is.

When you consider his big, loving heart, his always-ready-to-go manner, his ability to transform from a small, raggety whirlwind into a ohIloveyousomuch Velcro-dog, and his delight at anything that might possibly be food, you can’t help but minimize his, well, quirks. I mean, no one is perfect. But I’ll get to those later.

Finny has taken over the household. Upon settling in here he immediately claimed the little, white, stuffed-toy dog Mr Wren was given (for some reason) by the car dealership when he bought his new pickup a couple of months ago. The toy had been tossed on a side table in the sitting room and forgotten, but Finny zeroed right in on it, leaping from a chair onto the table to grab and make that toy dog his very own, thankyewverymuch. Today it lacks the little plastic eyes and nose it started out with. Its ears and tail are as raggety as Finny’s own. He has tossed, slobbered on, chewed and rolled around on it. He brings it to bed with him; I’ve found it caught beneath the small of my back and once, under my cheek, where upon waking I discovered I’d been drooling on it, too.

He discovered four large knucklebones out in the garden that were given to Logan some time back. Not being much of a chewer, Logan had forgotten them. Finny found them all, and one by one, carried them inside, his tail waving happily. No matter which room he’s in, there’s a grungy, weathered knucklebone close by for his exclusive gnawing pleasure.

He and PIB, my ancient tuxedo cat, have come to a mutual, if uneasy, truce. Unless Finny gets right in his face, trying to make him play, PIB tolerates him. If the little dog crosses the line, he gets a furious growl, a loud hiss and a rather muscular and aggressive swiping-at. Pow-pow-POW! Fin backs off fast. PIB may have lost all his teeth and prefers sleeping on a pillow to just about anything else, but he obviously remembers his long-lost Outside Cat days and doesn’t hesitate to show off his fighting prowess. Remember 84-year-old Jack Palance doing push-ups onstage at the Oscars? That’s PIB.

They both share my bed every night. I’m not allowed to move once I settle in (in this, they’re allies). So far, it’s working. I’m serenaded to sleep by a soft chorus of snores and purrs, their small, warm furry bodies pressed up against me in deep contentment. This will work as long as my rheuma flares stay mild to moderate and the Elavil continues to help me sleep through the night. If they don’t … well, I’ll deal with that when it happens.

One of Finny’s greatest joys has been chasing Goblin and Sister (Cary and Matt’s sibling cats) down the uncarpeted hallway, where they slide smack into the closed bedroom door at the end before leaping over the little gate that Cary set up to keep Finny out of their rooms and the cat’s food.

So imagine, several times a day: scrabble,scrabble, scrabble (claws on hardwood) ka-THUMP kaTHUMP (cats slide uncontrolled into the closed door) scrabble BANG sproing (leaping over the gate but not clearing it cleanly) kaTHUMP (Finny slides into the closed door at 30 mph) … pause … click click click click click (Fin trotting back to the sitting room, triumphant, tail waving).

Cary finally asked if perhaps I would try a little harder to stop Finny chasing her cats. I said I would, but to be honest, I thought it was freaking hilarious. He doesn’t want to hurt them, just play with them, and they just don’t get it. They’re not very smart.

But I promised I would try. We worked on it, Finny and I. And as of yesterday, Finny only acts like he’s about to give chase. Fakes ‘em out. The result is the same as above, minus the dog part.

I’ve laughed more since Finny came into my life than I have in months. He’s a born clown and very, very loving. I’m so glad he’s here.

Alas, however, he does have those few, small quirks.

We were assured by the pet rescue organization that Finny was house-trained and knew his manners. Um, no. Perhaps by telling this little lie they thought he’d be more likely to find a good home. Well, he did, and it’s a permanent home, but only because I’m a very patient pet lover and he’s completely stolen my heart.

There are several spots in our fenced back garden where he could easily wriggle out between the fence boards or squeeze through gaps in the neighbor’s wire fencing, so he takes his outdoor powder-room excursions with me connected to him by a leash. This makes it easy for me to lavish him with praise and treats when he does his business successfully, but he hasn’t quite grokked that outside is where I want him to whiz and shiz every single time. If I can catch him at it inside, I give him a serious, stern talking to in a mean voice, and then I ignore him for a while. That’s what the books say to do. Thing is, he’s quick. I don’t catch him at it every time. And finding the pile or puddle long after the fact is useless.

“Why yes, that’s mine,” he seems to grin when I point out his transgression to him, all grumpy and out of sorts. “So? Don’t I get a crunchy?”

Sigh.

So we’re working on this. Mr Wren has promised me that as soon as the weather gets nicer again, he’ll make the garden escape-proof. At least then Finny will have some potty privacy and I’ll be able to toss his little arse out the door when I catch him piddling inside on the potted plants and furniture corners.

He also has no qualms about jumping onto and walking all over the kitchen table; getting into the trash under the sink (the cabinet doors are latchless, but not for much longer, it seems); and he thoroughly enjoys stealing tissues out of the wastebasket in my den and tearing them to shreds all over the room.

And he gets terribly jealous if I hold PIB. He no longer tries to jump up and join the cat on my lap, but he sits as close as possible to my chair and “complains,” a combination of whines and yowls that, while they are funny, do get a bit annoying the seventh or eighth time he’s been told “no” and “stuff it, Fin.”

PIB just sneers from his perch of honor. I’ve explained to him that his holier-than-thou attitude isn’t helping any, but he ignores me. As usual.

Overall, things are going just fine. We take nice walks together. We laugh. Finny gets lots of hugs and skritches and strokes and pats. He has a very soft, comfy bed and doesn’t complain much about having to share it with me and PIB.

And I’m sure that Sister and Goblin will get over being traumatized six times a day very soon.

4 thoughts on “FMcC update

  1. mary says:

    Well, I can tell you what I did to house train my dog. I hooked her leash to my pants loop so I would catch her every time she looked like the event was likely. When I was going to be in one room for a while I let her loose but kept her in that room so I could keep an eye. Not terribly convenient but it worked. My male dog was a bit harder to train. I was lucky that the female dog was a little older and trained and she helped a lot. He seemed to learn the basic idea from her. I do think male dogs are just harder to housebreak in general.
    Finny seems like a great dog and I am glad he has brought such joy into your home. Hang in there. I’m sure he will figure it out sooner or later. Here’s to sooner.

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  2. Wren

    This post is awesome…you captured Finny perfectly, and I was cracking up reading about him…especially velcro-dog and anything resembling food. We have a four year old lab, Ruby, and I think she and Finny may just be twins! LOL

    Have a good weekend.

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  3. rositta says:

    He sounds like such a cool dog in spite of his little problems. I’m sure you’ll sort that out. If we didn’t travel so much I’d get a dog too but it would be so unfair to board one for two months a year. Maybe one day when we don’t travel anymore I’ll get a pet…ciao and Happy Easter Wren 🙂

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  4. Cathy says:

    We give our dog Izzy knuckle bones also. She often buries them right away and then when her dog friend comes for a visit, she finds them immediately! Oh course then there is a great chase to see who will get the bone. It is always our Izzy. I love that Finny is bringing so much laughter to you. Thanks for sharing.

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