screaming demon

Today for the first time in months I am sitting in bed, drinking a glass of wine.

You see, I don't really drink that much. Sure I go to the odd wine festival and will have a drink while out with friends. But it's rarely more than one drink and I don't ever just have a glass of wine while relaxing.

But tonight I needed it.

Dogs, as it turns out, are exhausting.

Especially dogs that the shelter tells you are housebroken with no behavior issues that you later find out are only half-housebroken and have no manners or discipline.

Yeah it's been a fun week.

Today Mom suggested that Toby might have a UTI or bladder infection, an apparently common occurrence in dogs after being uprooted and given new food in a new environment. This sent me into a new-parent panic which in turn saw me sitting in a Walmart parking lot calling every Petsmart to try and get him in today because oh God if I don't he's going to pee in his crate tomorrow while I'm at work and then he'll think it's okay to pee in the crate and I'll have to start from scratch on the whole housebreaking thing.

After four phone calls I was able to get him into a Petsmart pet hospital about 30 minutes away. I didn't want to use them as my main vet but the vet I really wanted to take him to is closed on Sundays.

An hour later we arrived at the Petsmart for his first vet appointment. While waiting to check in I learned a fun thing that Toby does: scream when another dog gets too close.

No, seriously. Scream.

It's not an aggression thing. He just gets ridiculously excited which in turn leads to him making excited noises. As it turns out, excited noises translate to screaming for Toby. There really is no other word for what he does besides scream.

In an effort to calm him down after fruitlessly telling him no and keeping him on a tight leash at my side, I picked Toby up.

He then proceeded to climb up onto my neck/shoulders and perch there like some sort of parrot. There is nothing dignified about standing in a Petsmart with a 10 pound screaming chiweenie perched on your shoulders.


They politely offered to let me wait in one of the rooms so I took my screaming shoulder-dog into an exam room where he almost immediately calmed down.

A few minutes later the vet came in and examined him. One of the first comments she made was about how he was friendly given his aggression towards other dogs. I explained that he wasn't aggressive, just overly-excited. Apparently his screaming reputation proceeded him. The vet remained unconvinced about his lack of aggression. During his initial exam she took a look at his teeth while the assistant held him; it turns out that my shoulder-perching screaming chiwennie is also a wriggler. Thankfully he's not a biter. But he is a wriggler when in situations he dislikes so the assistant had to step in to keep him still.

While looking at his teeth, the vet said you know, based on the amount of tartar here I think he's actually a few years old. Okay, cool.

Next up was something he really didn't like: a rectal thermometer. He really wriggled when that went in. But once it was in he just sort of resigned himself to his fate and glared at me with an expression that could only be interpreted as are you seriously not going to do something about this?

No, buddy, I am not.

With the initial exam done it was time for the blood and urine testing. The vet whisked him into the back to get it done while I waited nervously. Thankfully when they brought him back a few minutes later he seemed perfectly happy.

Initially they told me it would take about 15 minutes for the results to come back and I could go wander around.

Side bar: I'm still waiting on the results from a blood draw I had on Wednesday. I'm quite jealous of his rapid results.

Anyways, after telling me to go wander, the vet paused and said, you know, you can just stay here in this room. Yeah I get it. My dog is embarrassing.

So we waited the allotted 15 minutes at which time the vet came back with some good news: his blood and urine tests were completely normal. Although they did point out that he had some elevated levels in his blood that were common in dogs around a year or so old. She then shrugged and said who knows how old he is. Cool, that's fine. I guess my dog's true age will forever remain a mystery.

The assistant met me up front and was able to witness his full screaming glory. This time though he did not get on my shoulder, mostly because I kept him on the ground. She stopped ringing me up and said, I see what you mean about the excitement.

I may not have had him long but I do know my dog, lady.

When we got home he took a nap and I did some internet research to confirm that my house-breaking methods were the correct ones. The good news is that they are. Skimming through the comments made me grateful that the extent of my problem was maybe one small pee on the floor per day. I mean I'm not super grateful about the fact that I'm going to have to get the carpets professionally cleaned once he's housebroken but hey, it's a rental and I am not about to screw over myself or my roommate when it comes time to get our deposits back.

He slept most of the evening post-vet smushed up against my leg which makes it ridiculously hard to stay even mildly frustrated with him.

Armed with my new knowledge that this was 100% a training problem I revised my plan, complete with extended walks, new water-provision rules, and a detailed time-schedule.

And once that's done he's going to be going to doggie day care once a week so that maybe, just maybe, he won't scream the next time we set foot in a Petsmart.

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