Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Thursday, February 16, 2012

We're Gearing Up

to give Alvin another bath.  For the long-time readers, you will recall that the last attempt was a complete disaster, with me having to jump in the tub and Alvin being drenched and a complete quivering, panicked mess of a dog.  One reader was kind enough to suggest that I smear peanut butter on the sides of the tub in an effort to distract him and appeal to his obsession with food even when faced with danger.  I am going to try it, along with giving him part of his last sedative in hopes of him relaxing enough not to hurt himself or me.  I have not tried a bath sooner because of his surgery but he really needs to bathe.  I plan to also put pieces of kibble in the water in hopes of creating a bobbing for apples effect, but in this case, it will be bobbing for kibble.  Chances are that all these ideas will be shot to hell the minute "we" get in the water but I will get out my wet suit, flippers, and snorkel and go for it.

After recently talking to my mom about what a cute, loving little being Alvin is, I determined that Alvin is nearly perfect just the way he is and there is virtually nothing that needs to be changed about him.  Alvin is a unique, wonderful little creature and any adopter will be very lucky to have him.  I kind of feel sorry for all the people that pass him up because he has a quality about him that makes people around him be more patient and gentle.  He has an ability to remind humans what is important in life and he models bravery, kindness, and being able to let others shine.  In a world where often things are far too much geared towards, getting ahead and a me, me, me mentality, Alvin models the beauty in sharing and trying one's hardest to face adversity.  He truly teaches humans important lessons in ways that other dogs have not figured out how to convey yet.  With that said, the only thing I hope we can continue to change is figuring out a way for him to be more relaxed.  He seemed happier when he was sedated.  It wasn't just that he was more relaxed but he literally seemed happier. I finally bit the bullet and called my vet to inquire about something like Prozac, which is a non-sedating, non-narcotic.  I have been putting it off because I haven't had to talk to my vet since Timmie died and I know my vet will bring it up and I am going to burst into the ugly cry.  The night that Timmie died, the emergency vet said he would call Timmie's regular vet to tell him and I was so relieved because Timmie's vet adored him.  Even when one of the other dogs had an appointment, I brought Timmie too because he just loved going to the vet.  His vet left me a voicemail after Timmie died and got choked up on the message and for whatever reason, I find that I am most emotional when thinking about making contact with him.  The point of this story is that I very well may have to start taking Alvin's Prozac with him.

The only other issue I wish Alvin could overcome is his issue with food.  I don't know if Alvin wasn't fed enough at some point in his life but when he came in to the shelter he was not particularly thin.  Alvin is obsessed with food and it hasn't decreased a bit since being here.  If given the opportunity, I am convinced that he would eat himself to death.  Every single time I pass his food container, which is probably 30 times a day, he stands there, licking his lips and looking so hopeful for a little piece of kibble.  I have taken to giving him small amounts of food throughout the day, on top of his two regular meals in hopes that his obsession would dissipate but he is as obsessed as ever.  With his propensity to loop and circle, he burns a lot of calories and so I am not worried about him gaining weight.   I used to teach a three hour class to human foster parents about food issues in many children in foster care.  It was my favorite class to teach because so many kids that come from neglectful backgrounds have food issues, such as binge and hoarding.  We had all kinds of interventions and techniques and most were quite successful but they don't translate well to dogs.  Because he tends to eat so fast, he has that very charming, loud burping issue and the other night my mom and I were watching a show about a family where the kids would burp really loud at the table.  As we were watching the show, one of the boys burped and at that very moment so did Alvin.  On the program, the mother scolded the boy and the timing was perfection.  This little guy is good for so many laughs throughout each and every day.   

It is clear that Alvin is ready and able to move on to an adoptive home soon.  He thinks it should be my mom's home but she thinks otherwise.  I think Alvin is ready to start his real life and I hope that someone very special will come forward soon so that he can meet his forever mom and/or dad.  Someone out there is going to be very lucky!  In the meantime, if you don't hear from us, you will know that we are both lost in the bathtub trying to get this boy clean.  Wish us luck because we are both going to need it.

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