Is your dog a scaredy cat? Seriously, I'd like to know if anyone else has a dog who behaves like mine.
I've had Frankie since he was five weeks old. Okay, four weeks old if you count the fact that I pulled him out of the crawl space under the house next door (at the time), took him home and pulled about 30 ticks off him, bathed him in flea dip (I know you're not supposed to flea dip puppies that young but you can only imagine the fleas) and ended up taking him back to his mama in the middle of the night because he whimpered so bad.
Still, the next day, he waddled out from under the house to greet me when I took dog food to his skinny Lassie-lookalike Mama. After waiting another week to once again take him home and repeat the tick removing process and another flea bath, he's been with me since.
This is Frankie now, enjoying a bone. His Daddy looked like a Chow and Frankie has that same purple Chow tongue. But his tongue isn't what I wanted to tell you about. It's his not-s0-Chow personality.
I love my dog and will admit that I may have coddled him some when he was a puppy. He used to stay with me indoors until my hubby and I got married. Grinnin Grampa would have none of that. So, for the last ten years, Frankie has been an outside dog. It didn't take long to discover certain, um, little traits he has that you wouldn't expect of a someone who is part Collie, part Chow, part whatever. (Note that I did refer to him as "someone" instead of "dog". He doesn't know any better.)
For example, Frankie is afraid of the dark. The sun would go down and Frankie would bark at any shadow that would move, like a falling leaf. He wouldn't eat after dark so the first year our now outside dog experienced a time change that would force his dinner time to be after sundown, my sweet hubby installed a timer light in his doghouse. It is set for ten minutes, plenty of time for Frankie to see what he is eating.
Other special arrangements had to be made for him, too. For example, his house sits upon blocks so it's off the ground and better ventilated for him. And then, there's the carpet that was installed to make the floor more comfy. Of course, there is insulation behind the walls...and his heated water dish to prevent his water from freezing in the winter. But those things are pretty much common sense. Okay, maybe not common sense, but common for us to do for Frankie.
His house is located under a couple pine trees that keep him shaded in the summer and block the wind in the winter. They also help to keep the snow and rain away from him. Hubby put a sheet of clear flexible plastic (to serve as a "door") up for him one year to help keep the inside of his doghouse dry and to give him additional insulation. But Frankie wouldn't go inside. He was afraid of the plastic.
The weather guy predicted that the temps would get down into the teens the other n ight. We were concerned that Frankie would be too cold so Hubby took a couple blankets and some old throw rugs up to him. We just knew he would appreciate being able to snuggle up in those blankets.
Instead, when we checked on him before midnight, he was still outside his house. He was afraid of the rugs and blankets. Sooo, at 12:15 the other morning, we traipsed up to his dog lot and physically wrestled our 60-something pound dog into his doghouse, blocking the door until he stopped trembling. Once he laid down and we were satisfied he knew the blankets were his friend, we traipsed back down to our house and went to bed.
He seems to have now adapted.
Just to show you we've done a few things around here to get ready for Christmas (remember, we started getting the shop ready in October so we've already had over two months of it), here's our outdoor Nativity:
Sweet Hubby made the "stable" a few years ago.
And, we finally put up our living room Christmas tree! Instead of the big green tree we usually laden down with a couple hundred ornaments, we opted to instead use our skinny white tree and put just a few select things on it. It's really different for us.
It's more of a shabby chic look. I couldn't get a good picture of the entire tree, so I just took individual shots of a few of my favorite ornaments.
The white tree is pretty, but I kinda miss all the ornies. Don't be surprised if I end up using the green tree in the den...