Sydney: the dog that adopted our family

may 4, 2012 001A little over a year ago I had a pretty white dog follow me home. I'd expected her to wander back to her home eventually. Instead, she laid down in the yard and stayed the afternoon. There's a little more to the story of how we got her and why she stayed with us, but the important thing is she's still here.

Her name is Sydney and we've learned a lot about our girl:

- she's part Husky and part something else (Golden Retriever, maybe?)

- she likes to pull on the leash as though she's pulling a loaded sled through the Arctic tundra (it's a full body workout keeping her walking beside me and at my pace)

- given the way she sometimes flinches, and what the neighbours have said, she was abused at some point in her history

005- when she meets someone new she likes to jump up and give them a hug (we're still working on not doing this)

- she likes to run-- and run and run (if she doesn't get sufficient exercise she dashes out the door for a game of "catch me if you can" (and she knows who she can challenge at the door and who she can't)

- she thinks she's a lap dog (we're working on this, too)

- she's extremely obedient (except for the pulling, jumping and running as noted above)

- she's gentle and very good with kids

- she has a sense of humour (she will stand guard near the water bowl, waiting for Bella the cat to get a drink, at which time Sydney will push Bella's face into the water. There are two other cats in the house, but she only plays this trick on Bella.)

- her birthday is Halloween

044

- she understands the word "Pop Tart" (we're not exactly sure when or how she learned this because we never have Pop Tarts here, but her ears perk up and she comes looking for a treat if she hears the words)

- she likes her crate (we started crate training her right away, despite her age-- 4 years) and she knows to go to it when it's bedtime (she understands the word "bedtime") and when I put on my shoes to leave for work in the morning

- for about the first six months she was with us, she hardly made a sound, but she has since found her voice and will growl or bark when she's ready to come inside or she wants to eat or play

- her colour has changed from white to gold

- she loves to be outside, even on a hot dayIMG_0016

The thing is, after our last dog died, I wasn't looking to get another dog. I liked not having the mess of shedding fur or having to buy dog food or clean up poop. I liked having clean floors and quiet and the ability to go out without having to worry about getting home to let the dog out. Then Sydney arrived and decided she was staying. And somehow she worked her way straight into my heart and I'm ever so glad she stayed.

IMG_0021

Some new additions

Before I get to what I've been up to lately, I have to share this link. Ashlyn Macnamara has shared three of her query letters: 1 that got a form rejection, 1 that got a request for a partial, and 1 that got her an agent. Even though they are not queries for the same project, this is an excellent tool. You can really see the development of the query and why the last one worked. She is also encouraging others to post their own query fail-to-success stories, so check back. There may be more.

So, we got to keep the dog. We finally found the owner and she asked us if we wanted to keep her. The owner has MS (and two other big dogs) and is unable to look after her. Her name is Sydney, and we still have no idea what breed she is. She is incredibly active. I've had to walk her 2 to 3 times for 1/2 hour each time just to keep up with her activity level. She's incredibly gentle and loyal. She has a great temperament and hardly barks. But she does have a few issues we are working on. I had to get a special collar/head harness to keep her from pulling me down the street when we walk. She used to sleep on the previous owner's bed, and I won't let her sleep with me. She tries to run away when we're going in/out of the house. So we got a crate for her, and are working on getting her used to that.

Here's some of what's been keeping me busy:

Left to right: Hermione and Bellatrix

A couple months ago, before I found out I would be laid off, a friend had a pregnant cat show up at her house, and I agreed to take a kitten. Our cat is 15 years old and not catching mice anymore. When you live in the country, you need a way to deal with mice. I'd much rather leave that job for a cat than for traps I have to check and dispose of. So when I went to pick up the kitten, I learned my friend didn't have anyone to take the others, so I agreed to take this pair of sisters. They would have been lonely if I'd separated them. They were and still are very close.

They've spent most of their time these past few weeks in the basement, getting used to their new home, and avoiding the dog. They'd never seen a dog before and once was more than enough for them. Now, the dog, she has no problem with the kittens. Her previous owner had a cat, so Sydney is ready to play with the kittens, but they've wanted nothing to do with her.

Yesterday, that changed.

Bellatrix was the first to leave the basement and venture up the stairs, but she hates the dog. Hermione is more hesitant to come up the stairs, but she's making friends with Sydney. So we'll see how this goes over next few weeks.

They are very cute and entertaining little fluff balls.

In addition to all this I've been writing, reading, purging and house cleaning.

What have you been up to?