Sometimes dogs are trouble

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 1999

for patient dog lovers


Published Sept. 3, 1999

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I know that the majority of my columns are about my dogs. And maybe one day the fascination I have with my dogs will wear off or either I will have children. But until then you will probably be updated about the antics of my canines on a regular basis.

Until about a month ago I just had Rowdy, the Blue Healer, and Smooch the Black Labrador, but now we have another addition to the family, a seven month old black lab puppy.

The puppy was no stranger to us because she is one of Smooch’s pups from the litter she had earlier in the year. She was my favorite. From the time she was born she was getting into trouble, getting sick and out of the kennel and hiding under the car when it was 30 degrees outside.

We gave the puppy to my boyfriend’s grandmother for Mother’s Day, and she named her Babe. But once Babe got a little age on her she began getting into the neighbor’s yard and tearing up things. Granny loved Babe, but ended up calling to see if we could come get her.

I was ecstatic! I had said I wished I had kept one of the pups and now my wish was coming true. We went to get Babe after a day at Lake Gantt. Even after the three months she had been with Granny she remembered me.

After spending a little time with Babe I realized that she was going to be a big dog and the name Babe didn’t really fit her. I worried a little that she might be too old to learn a new name but decided to try it out any way. Part of me wanted to leave her with the name Granny gave her, but after careful thought I decided to change it and include Granny’s name with her registered name. Babe is now Reba’s Lady Isabel a.k.a. Izzy.

I thought I was prepared for the puppy years of a lab, but I was wrong. There have been times when Izzy and Rowdy’s rough housing has almost driven me mad. But nothing those two have ever done can compare to the last few weeks while Smooch was in heat.

Let me give you a little background on Smooch. She is a 4-year-old lab, that I got from my brother last February. She is the sweetest, most gentle dog I have ever known. Although I have only had her for about eight months, I feel like I have had her my entire life.

I knew it was about time for Smooch to come in season and I watched and watched for signs, thinking they would be subtle. I was wrong!

Even before she was "ready" she started acting kind of strange. I decided to keep her in the kennel until the whole mess was over, but she had other plans.

Smooch spent about 15 minutes in the kennel, and either crawled over the top or under the bottom. I don’t know which she did, but I know she can do both.

I ended up leaving Smooch in the house for the duration and she almost drove me crazy.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard Smooch as much as bark, but in the middle of the night when she wanted to go out cattin,’ she let me know it.

She started off every night whining a little, then she jumped up on the side of the bed, and I would pet her head, thinking that would satisfy her. Wrong! She whined and barked and whined some more, and would bang her hips on the side of the bed. When I wouldn’t stir, she headed for the window and tried her best to climb out.

I thought when a dog was in heat she was literally attacked by all the male dogs in a sniffing area. But now I know better. It was Babe, the crazy thing, that tried to attack the males.

When it was time to take her out to relieve herself, she went nuts! And poor Sam, bless his heart he went crazy, too. Sam is a Walker dog, and he was excited when Smooch went in season, but we ended that excitement really quick!

When Sam wasn’t paying Smooch any attention, she would try to attack him. She would run toward him in full force and almost knock the poor old thing to the ground.

Finally, Sam has to be quarantined in the kennel or on a chain when Smooch was out. He would howl and she would howl, Rowdy would bark and Izzy would just shake. As soon as Smooch was safely back inside, Sam would be released and cover every inch Smooch had stepped while she was outside, whining loud enough to raise the dead.

That was my first experience with a dog in heat, but soon it’ll be Izzy’s turn, and I can’t wait! I think I’ll just board her somewhere until the spells are over.

Amy S. Lansdon is news editor for The Messenger.