Chuckles' Forever Home Update

September 15, 2005
Dear Jan,
Sorry I haven't e-mailed in a while. I've been off my computer for months and tonight turned it on again. So let me update you about Chuckles. Oh, what a dream of a dog. We just absolutely adore him. He's still a wild and crazy guy, but so affectionate and playful. My husband loves him best of all our dogs, because Chuckles is the most affectionate with him. When Ashley sits down in his easy chair, Chuckles runs over and jumps in his lap. And when I reappear after going upstairs for a bath or something, he greets me with such wonderful kisses - the only one of our dogs to do so. He and Kiwi - our Cockapoo - have become real pals and playmates. They romp and tussle and chase toys together. Each still wants the other's toys, but they almost never fight. Only twice I think have they fought over a toy. Mostly, they just play. When I see those Pekes at the dog shows, they're so slow and it seems like they can hardly move. But Chuckles is so different, a cyclone, but a loving, good natured cyclone. And, he doesn't try to escape any more. I mean, I can actually open a door without having to block the opening with my body. We are rather sad around here, because a couple of weeks ago we lost one of our dear, little Bichons. She had been bred constantly and kept in a little cage at a puppy mill, so that her little legs were permanently deformed. She developed mammary tumours. But she didn't die of the tumours, but rather during recovery, her heart just stopped. Anyway, Chuckles' happy disposition and lively antics bring smiles to our faces when we feel blue. He's a great dog - and healthy! This means a lot to me, because so many of our dogs come to us with severe medical problems and they don't live very long. Our back yard is like - no, it IS - a pet cemetary. And I am sort-of girding myself in expectation that two more of my dogs, a bichon and a pomeranian, are not going to be with us much longer. But I think Chuckles will be with us for years and years. And Kiwi too. We got her as a puppy. So Kiwi and Chuckles will be friends for years and years. And this knowledge makes us very happy. So, thanks for letting us take Chuckles. I know it's hard letting your babies disappear with total strangers. But Chuckles seems to love it here and we love him too. I'll try to be more regular with the Chuckles updates.

May 16, 2005
Dear Jan: Well, today Chuckles and I attended our first obedience class. It is sponsored by the Sioux Empire Kennel Club and is an hour from Vermillion, at the Fairgrounds. He's about the smallest doggie in the class, the largest being a St. Bernard. It was pretty chaotic at first, but after an hour, dogs and owners calmed down a bit. We worked on the heel position, sitting and stay. Chuckles did rather well at sitting on command, although he's so short, it's somewhat difficult to tell if he is actually sitting. We were instructed to bring soft, small treats to class, but Chuckles responds better to praise. He doesn't seem to care about food as an inducement. He was very alert and smiley and eager to please in the beginning, but after 20 "sits" his attention sort-of wandered. Of course, the class is really about the owners and training us to train our dogs. We'll practice at home, but only for a few minutes at a time, as we were told to do by the instructor. I'll keep you posted about the little guy's progress.

April 28, 2005
Dear Jan,
It was great talking to you. I think I told you on the phone most of what I have to say about Chuckles. But there are a few more things to add.
First, Chuckles has been scratch-scratch-scratching, so I took him to our vet. I would have gone anyway, just to introduce Chuckles to Dr. Pravecek and to give him all of the papers you gave me. Everyone at the vet's office thinks I struck gold and that Chuckles is a great little guy. Dr. Pravecek said that there must be a special place in heaven for people like me, who adopt these dogs. But I told him no, the special place is reserved for those who rescue them, people like you and your sister and all the others. My part is easy. I get the results of all your labors.
Anyway, back to scratching. We looked for fleas, but of course, there weren't any. So Chuckles was given a soothing bath. I think too that his belly-band is irritating him. You know, like babies get diaper rash. We're looking into that. Other than having the itchies, Chuckles is doing pretty well. He and our Cockapoo Kiwi have started tentative romping, especially when they go down the stairs. You know, they sort-of race each other and play at the bottom. I don't think I like that too much. Too dangerous. And I'm keeping an iron grip on his desire to escape the yard. Ashley (husband) has some heavy wire chicken-coop stuff that we've used in the past, so he'll go around the fence and reinforce, etc. We've told everyone to use the side or back door, where if he does escape, it's into the fenced yard. And when I get down to Sioux City (nearest Petco), I'll buy a tether, as you suggested.
Chuckles is a slow eater. My other dogs sort-of breathe in their food. So I'm feeding him separately from them. They all wander around and lick each other's bowls and Chuckles didn't like that one little bit. All five doggies are in my bedroom right now. A while ago, all five were on the bed. But Chuckles follows me around like a shadow, so when I got up to use the computer, he jumped off and is in one of the dog beds at my feet. He also likes the recliner. He's a great little guy and I know he'll fit in just fine, given time. I'll keep you up-to-date as things occur.
One thing I learned is that he hates the treats I give out here - carrots, greenie slivers, Old Mother Hubbard biscuits. We give a lot of veggie treats because of skin allergies in the Bichons, so I hope he learns to like them. Well, that's it. Best regards to you and your sister. I enjoyed her company so much.

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