Life with Stanley, Chapter ?

It’s been three months since Lord Stanley showed up on my doorstep with his foster mom.

The first three months of a rescue dog’s tenure with you is supposed to be the most important. Initially, they’re shell shocked. (That’s what all the literature I’ve read about rescues say. You know me. I’ll research something TO DEATH.)

After a month or two they slowly start to show their real personalities.

At 5:47 AM this morning Stanley moved the curtains so he could see outside and saw something IN THE DARK that caused him to bark. He has a beagle bark. Or a hound bark. It’s an AH WOOOO sound that makes sure you aren’t dozing.

Yep, he most definitely has his own personality.

He will eat any box that’s sitting on the floor. He will eat cardboard, plastic, anything that you wouldn’t think he’d eat. Sometimes, however, he’s not all that interested in his very expensive kibble in favor of playing. I have to re-direct his attention to breakfast. The toys will wait. (Doesn’t that remind you of a little boy with a new truck?)

He does love his training treats, though, and his mini milk bones. So far he hasn’t gained any weight but I have a sneaking suspicion he’s going to weigh more on his next vet visit which is why I measure his treats every day.

Stanley has definite wishes and wants. He whines, sometimes managing to sound like a wounded bird, when he wants to play, go outside, or get a treat.

He now tolerates me brushing his teeth with a toddler toothbrush. We’re still miles away from using an electric toothbrush, though.

Now he runs into the gym and jumps up on the grooming bench and waits to be brushed. When he first came to live with me he was terrified of a brush. I don’t think he’d ever been brushed before.

He won’t have anything to do with the treadmill, though, and avoids it like it’s Satan. Since he races through the house like a dervish when we’re playing I don’t think he needs any extra exercise.

He’s really good at STAY, WAIT, LEAVE IT, FOCUS, and HERE (except when he’s outside on the hunt for vermin). I still haven’t managed DOWN.

He hasn’t been on a leash for about a month and we haven’t had any mishaps or accidents other than him trying to eat boxes.

He tolerates his bedroom in the bathroom and goes there every night without a fuss. I bought him a super duper bed – it’s round and very cushy. What all the spoiled dogs are using.

I think he’s always going to have issues with separation anxiety. I put him in his crate (it’s now in the kitchen) the other day and went out to the garage. He howled for about ten minutes before settling down. Later I took the crate door off and now I occasionally throw a treat or two inside. He’ll go in and get it. One day he might make it his safe place. Not yet, though.

He still jumps when something happens that he doesn’t expect, but it’s getting better. (He no longer flinches when I touch him and he doesn’t see me first.) The Composure treats I give him definitely work. The vet said to give it about a month and it’s been three weeks. They’re supposed to work within 30 minutes and last for 4 hours. Yep, they do.

Stanley is most definitely a terrier. He tries to kill all his toys by shaking them. Speaking of killing, he has some truly massive teeth. His incisors are big, but the teeth in the back of his mouth are even larger. Very impressive looking.

He’s like a cat, always grooming parts of himself. He licks his paws, his tail, his everything. I try, very hard, to dissuade him from licking ME after he’s attended to certain parts of his anatomy, but that’s still a work in progress.

The biggest thing is that Stanley has pretty much settled into my routine in the morning. I work and he watches the world or naps or does one of his puzzles. He doesn’t try to jump up on the chair unless I invite him. He knows that it’s “work” and he shouldn’t bother me. He seems to understand that when I’m dictating I’m not talking to him.

At noon and at night we play. Right now the living room looks like a toddler lives here. There are at least 20 toys scattered over the rug. I’ll pick them up, put them in his toy box in the kitchen and he’ll drag them out, race through the house with them, then put them in the living room. He’s uproariously funny. He seems to enjoy the backyard, too, standing on the bridge over the creek like he’s king of the castle. I periodically have to go through the yard and fill up the holes he’s dug, but that’s no biggie. He now graces the entire yard with his presents and especially likes the place behind the big cactus that’s a bear to clean.

He still growls at people who come to the door and tries to eat them. I’ve cautioned a bunch of people who tell me how much they love dogs not to come near. The guy who fixed my car the other day tried that. Stanley almost got him.

(Why is it that people have an overinflated view of their dog whispering ability? Why do they think they can approach a growling dog and the dog will suddenly go, “Oh, it’s you,” and start licking their hand in fondness? Shaking my head.)

What still cracks me up is that Stanley watches TV. He barks at the dogs on the vet shows, growls at the cats, and is fascinated with elephants when they appear.

Bottom line, even with his quirks Stanley is the sweetest, silliest, cuddliest, smartest, goofiest dog. He makes me laugh every day. He insists on taking at least one nap a day with me. Tonight as I was working he jumped up on my chair and put his head on my chest, cuddled up, and went to sleep. (I guess he thought I shouldn’t be working late.)

What on earth can you do with that?

You manage to type while cuddling the dog.


14 thoughts on “Life with Stanley, Chapter ?”

  1. I, too, am so glad that Stanley and you found each other!
    Also LOVE your Stanley Stories,
    They make me laugh and appreciate the wonder of living with our pets–they light up our lives with such love, humor and bring us peace!!
    I’ve always maintained that flowers, children and pets are the Higher Powers apology to us for the trials and tribulations ,heartaches and disappointments and aggravations of life!

    Love and peace to you both!!!!

    Lynne S.

  2. That what I did with our cat Toffee, way back when, while finishing up the counted cross stitch baby blanket for my daughter waiting for her to be born. Dr put me on bedrest and I couldn’t do anything else. She would curl up in my lap, on top of the blanket in my lap while I was stitching. She really ran interference and had quite a bit of her tortoise shell hair in it. She was such a lap cat and she pretty much claimed me over my husband. I just worked around her and shelved it as one of those special memories. Pet steal your heart <3

  3. I love Stanley and you’re right about people thinking they are special “dog whisperers.” I am like that.

    I always think any dog would be good with me, I may be wrong but so far, I’ve never been bitten…knock on wood, I’m sure I crossed the line when trusting that a dog won’t bite me. A few times at the airport. One got away from their owner in the airport, I ran after it then just scooped it up. It was a Basenji. The owner told me I was brave to pick up her dog because he was a biter. But, when people tell me not to pet the dog because he or she bites, I listen and won’t pet them. You have no idea how crazy it makes me to have these dogs at the airport, the police dogs, and I CAN’T PET THEM, because they are working dogs. It just kills me.

    One day on the ramp I started a “howl.” When walking in from the ramp they usually have animals that are traveling staged in the kennels in a cart. Well I always stop there and talk to them and if they come close to the opening I’ll put my finger in and rub their nose or what not. I walked away and one, and then the others started a howl. Yeah, the clerks weren’t happy with me on that day.

    Anyway I love your precious Stanley and that even though he has separation anxiety he has spunk!

  4. If only marriage was as wonderful as life with a dog. I’m so very glad you two found each other. Sounds like the man in your life is a definite keeper. Oh…btw, Marco is twelve now, and it still looks like a 2 yr old lives with me. Toys, toys, toys. Yet some dogs never touch ’em. They are all unique. xo

  5. It warms my heart to read your adventures w/Stanley. I’m so happy you found a new buddy (even if he does keep you VERY busy, lol). Thanks for sharing.ele

  6. Stanley sounds so cute. I love hearing the Stanley stories. Glad he’s bringing joy in your life. We all need things that make us smile.

  7. I think Stanley would enjoy my “devil dog”, Rupert. He’s half beagle, 1/8 chihuahua, and I think the rest is terrier of some kind. The only part of him that is beagle is his coat and probably his cuddling—he’s a whirling dervish, never stops all day and barks, yaps, up a storm at anything that moves. Chipmunks beware!

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