Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One Week Later

Remember when I said I looked forward to posting good news?

This is Shiloh - our new Cavalier King Charles Spaniel! He's ten weeks old today, about six and a bit pounds of fluff and kibble. He loves to play, he loves to chew, and he LOVES to snuggle.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Things Are

I started this post differently, exactly one week ago.

It was full of happy news and instagram photos and glad tidings of dogs. Instead, I get to write this one.

We're putting Tesla, our dog, to sleep tonight.  The fact of the matter is that, no matter how much we love her, exercise her, play with her, train her, and manage her, she's bitten me six times over the last nine months. She's gotten Danny three or so times.

Last week we "adopted" a second dog on a trial-run from the prison-training program, a dog purported to be excellent at dog calming signals. We hoped he'd help Tesla learn to self-calm so that we could do some BAT-training with her. They played well together - and he was a good dog - but the stress of the change sent Tesla into a crisis-mode that we couldn't ignore. If the weather hadn't been unseasonably cool and I hadn't been wearing jeans, she would have gotten my legs. Twice.

We returned the other dog. We considered keeping him, but he showed signs of becoming a resource-guarder, and to be honest, after working with an aggressive 30-lb dog for nine months, I was terrified at the potential of doing the same with a 75-lb dog. (Note: he was returned to the prison program, where he will be trained and interacted with until adoption. He's good.)

After a conversation with our trainer, we came to the conclusion that Tesla, as smart and athletic, cute and funny as she is, would never be safe around young children. 

Danny and I had preliminary hopes of finding a shelter that might be able to work with her, but the no-kill shelter in our area doesn't accept aggressive dogs. And realistically, her stress in any other situation would put anyone trying to work with her at risk. We made the excruciating decision to have her put to sleep.

I hate it. I hate failure. I look at her and see the puppy I stayed up with at all hours, socialized endlessly, and trained patiently. But the fact of the matter is that when she hit adolescence, all of her genetically-inherited tendencies kicked in. The dog who once basked in the joy of having her belly rubbed by multiple children at a family reunion, the dog who patiently allowed timid children to pet her at the park, now bares her teeth and growls at me if I give her a (requested) belly rub.

It breaks my heart. 

We got Tesla shortly after our move to Tri-Cities, after (as faithful readers of this blog know) a difficult series of months. The circumstances of that are a large reason why we fought so hard for her. We learned a lot. We learned that her brand of stress-reactivity is partly genetic, and partly imparted by the mother in-utero. Having seen her mother, we know this was the case. Our beloved puppy was a behavioral time bomb, but one who had the best life possible.

As much as we hurt for her as well as ourselves, I'm glad we're doing this now, before she seriously injures someone. We can remember her in as balanced a light as possible, rather than as "the dog who sent ____to the hospital." We're not doing this out of anger, or as punishment. She is so high-stress, despite our best efforts, that her quality of life is not what it should be. This way, we know exactly where she is, that she's not hungry, not frightened - and not frightening anyone else.

So that's what's going on around here. We are actively looking for a new puppy, and I'm desperately looking forward to having good news to post. Until then, if you have a dog (or cat, or bunny, or what-have-you), give it a pet for me and enjoy the moment. 

Life is short. Enjoy the good days.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

You should watch Bunheads if...

1.) You loved Gilmore Girls.

2.) You have considered moving to Stars Hollow.

3.) You always wanted to see Emily Gilmore as a dance instructor.

4.) With flowy scarves.

5.) You ever wondered what the inside of Kirk's Mother's house looked like.

6.) You enjoy ballet.

7.) You enjoy wearing your hair in a bun.

8.) You HATED The Return of Jezebel James.

9.) You think more shows should be scored with Sam Phillips songs.

10.) You enjoy shows with dancing (SYTYCD, DWTS).

11.) You enjoy shows with quippy, smart, fast-paced dialogue, writers who love their characters, and good old-fashioned charm

I've got to be honest. When I first heard the title, I was like, Bunheads? Really? Hopefully that will change before it airs. And then it didn't. And then Kara explained to me that a Bunhead was a person with her hair in a bun, and that it had nothing to do with hotdog buns (sorry. I got confused.) And then I saw the series trailer, and I was like, Hey, it looks cute, but like watered-down Amy Sherman Palladino, and the guy looks kinda dopey. I mean, there's nothing wrong with him, but he's no Luke.


And then I watched a sneak peak of the pilot episode and was completely blown away by the show's awesomeness.

Yes, it's Gilmore Girls 2.0. Is that bad? No. If there's an author you like, you hope that their subsequent books will be in a similar vein. It's called brand, and it's a big deal. I heart show-runner Amy Sherman Palladino's brand, so I'm delighted that she has a new opportunity with a new show. Sutton Foster is great (the woman's got a Tony), Kelly Bishop is terrif, but I think the show's secret MVP will be Kaitlyn Jenkins, who plays Bettina "Boo" Jordan. She's all kinds of winning and adorable (purple dress below), and when Foster's character gets her to dance in front, she makes you want to dance with her.

There's a bit of a twist at the end of the episode (I say "bit" because it was an eventuality that I had thought about) which will open up all sorts of great plot/character opportunities. My biggest quibble with the episode is a monologue of Foster's that's framed awkwardly with no cutaway shots and feels long - but that's a directing/editing issue, really, rather than a writing issue.

The Pilot episode airs on ABC Family on June 11. You can still catch it early here, if you enter the password   
HollywoodLifeBunheads (if it expires, check the news section for the show on imdb and see if any other sites are promoting it). Or catch it on June 11.

Happy watching! If you see it, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.