Dogs, and Horses, and Cats (oh, my!)

A short one, this morning… maybe more later…

The cats are fine, short of them (the oldest, most likely) flipping the food storage tub to the floor by the time we returned home last night (guess they got hungry, eh?) The horse is also doing well, despite some of his mood swings when he is trying to test my wife (the horse is 22, and my wife is learning the Parelli “method” with him… some days he wants to play, some days he doesn’t…)

The dogs, however… We aquired a beagle in August through some touchy family issues (we are “dog sitting”, until the dogs owner gets into a housing situation where pets are allowed), and our other two “County Specials” (read: mutts) have been doing well… until recently.

The beagle has some issues (it seems that he has always itched since he’s gotten to us… it’s possible that he is allergic to something in our area – since he came to us from Texas). He itches and he barks (bays would be a more accurate term – he had been an indoor dog, and now he stays outside most of the day, whne weather is decent). So he itches and bays, but otherwise is pretty mellow.

The oldest, that we shall call here, Piper (which, by the way, is her actual name… go figure the originality here, huh?) has been around for about six years. She had some personality issues (we think she was abused before she came to us) – namely she was leary of anyone that she did not know.

The youngest, we’ll call her Gretta (same deal – we named her, we’ll use it), is just outside the true puppy stage at about 18 months – and we’ve had her since she was about 6-8 weeks old. Recently, however, she has been demonstrating some concerning traits, which last night were actually witnessed by yours truly (previously, we heard about the issues after the fact). There had been an issue where Gretta had gone after Piper… we discovered spots of blood and places where piper had lost small tufts of fur, and Piper looked like she had rolled in something… Since then, we’ve been keeping Gretta seperated during the day…

Last night, I let Gretta out of the smaller kennel (a 10×10 area) and was getting ready to let everyone inside for dinner, and to get ready for bed. Gretta went over to Piper and after a few moments, they began scrapping (Gretta had put herself over Piper’s head/upper back area, and when Piper let Gretta know that Gretta needed to get down is when everything started). In the effort to seperate them, I was hitting Gretta with a plastic feed bowl (livestock quality from Tractor Supply, not a flimsy bowl) and pulling on her collar. It took me about two minutes of popping Gretta, kicking at her back end and pulling on her collar to get them seperated, at which point Piper went to the other side of the yard. During the scuffle, they ended up in the smaller kennel – and I left Gretta in there when they were finally apart.

* Note: I am not one to condone hitting animals with “foreign objects” (spanking with your hand is one thing, but taking full swings or even kicking I find to be in extremely bad judgement), but I could think of no other way to seperate them. Friends of ours had to shoot both of their dogs when the dogs got so far into a fight that attempts to seperate them wouldn”t work – and the dogs ended up nipping each other in the throat, drawing blood…

So now we are at a crossroads, figuring out the best way to handle the animals… For now, we are just keeping them seperated as we have, both inside the house as well as out… We are considering training classes, but beyond that we aren’t quite sure on the best way to proceed.

A not-so-quite-short short one… just something I needed to get out of me…

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