Monday, August 22, 2011

$3.29 [Messes]

Introducing Cheska, a four-and-a-half-month-old Peruvian Hairless puppy, who has been at our homestead for the past week.

Cue paper towels.

Cheska had a less-than-ideal first several months in the world:  born on the streets of Peru, rescued by an elderly couple who decided to bring her to the States, spent a month in quarantine in Costa Rica and then some time with the elderly couple in a small apartment in New York before being adopted by a friend one week ago.  He had to go to L.A. for business one short day after adopting her, so I — who was so encouraging of the adoption in the first place — agreed to care for her while he was away. 

We are on Day 7. 

We have been counting.

Cheska is a bit of a wild animal, on account of her lineage of feral Peruvian street dogs and lack of socialization and training - barking, jumping, erratic on the leash, possessive about people and food, wary of strangers, and approximately 30% housebroken.  Poor thing is also a bit of a mess health-wise.  Like the name “Peruvian Hairless Dog” implies, she is hairless, other than some tufts of hair on the top of her head. But the poor bald fawn is also covered in acne and sores.  She is going to the vet this week, but a Sunday brunch meeting with my vet (and friend) revealed that she probably needs a strong antibiotic and special skincare regimen, along with a skin-scraping to check for mites.

Cheska is growing on us, though, and she has come so far behaviorally in just a week.  She is much calmer than when she arrived and a much better listener.  (And I no longer have to knee her in the chest every five minutes to stop her from jumping and scratching me like I did the first several days, which was pretty terrible.)  We gave her an oatmeal bath and goat's milk lotion rub down, and she wears clothes so that we can more easily be affectionate with her.  She is learning "sit" and getting better at going potty outside and knows now not to chase the catBetelgeuse and Lulu are also helping to teach her some manners.

Unfortunately, she fairly routinely poops and pees in the apartment and in her crate, so we've gone through quite a few bottles of Nature's Miracle, quarters at the laundromat, and let's not forget the paper towels -- $3.29 is the approximate retail price of Viva Choose-A-Size Towels, which, while not being the most environmentally friendly choice, are far and away my favorite absorbent medium for animal messes made by loveable animals.

Challenges with housebreaking are a fact of puppyhood, though, and the most endearing thing about Cheska (other than thinking of her as the offspring of Dobby and Jar Jar Binks) is that there is a puppy inside of there, who just wants to cuddle, chew, and go nuts on a squeaky toy in the backyard.

Cheska is going to be a great dog, but there are going to be struggles to get her there — it’s good that her new owner is up for it.  He is coming for her on Thursday morning.  I will kiss her goodbye on her yucky-but-cute little head and give him some paper towels for the road.  He's gonna need 'em.

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