I've also been dreaming up designs for a leather collar for FH to carve. Something with Celtic knotwork or some cool conchos.... or two leather collars. Not sure yet.
As to why I've got collars on the brain, meet Gus!
Gus is my new ESA (emotional support animal), not to be confused with a service dog. He's limited to places where pets are allowed, the cabin of airplanes, and (if I was renting my dwelling) he'd be permitted to live with me regardless of their pet policy. He will be filling in the gap of time between now and when my turn on the 2+ year waiting list for a PTSD service dog comes up. Gus just turned 10 years old, so we're hoping that with lots of good care and love he will be around until I'm paired with a more mobile K9 partner, if not longer.
FH and I specifically looked for a senior dog from our local no-kill shelter for a few reasons. 1) He's already trained on several commands and housebroken, so less stress for us. 2) Not many people adopt the older dogs, many of whom lost their previous humans due to death or moving into an assisted living home. The lucky ones end up at the no-kill shelter, but have no idea why their set-in-stone routine has been up ended. 3) A senior dog is more settled than a younger dog would be, making it easier on the cats and us to get used to having a dog around. 4) In this case, the shelter was offering a break in the fee for people willing to adopt animals who have either been there for more than a year or who were older than seven/eight years of age. This meant we had more money left over to get a kennel, food, toys, etc.
We met Gus Thursday night and he came home with us 30 minutes later. I fell in love with his sweet face and gentle demeanor. He's a big boy... a Labrador-collie-beagle mix. I figure he has to be that big just to fit his heart. He loves car rides, walks, and rawhide treats. Oh and carrots. He really likes carrots.
The cats are adjusting to him so far, but it's not been easy. For his part, Gus ignores them. He'd love to cuddle with them though, if given the chance. He was in a foster home and that family has a pet bunny. Apparently Gus believes bunnies should be snuggled and kissed. I can't disagree there. Artie, on the other paw, believes that Gus is the Antichrist and should be both loathed and feared. Pixel tends to waffle between fleeing in terror and sauntering past a snoring Gussie to get to us. Pollux doesn't come up from the basement unless Gus is outside or we carry his up to bed. Like I said... it will take some time.
Gus prefers to sleep at the foot of the bed, but on the floor. That leaves the cats their usual spots with us, undisturbed. They finally slept in our room again Saturday night. I'm taking this as a sign of future détente.
In the picture above, we're headed to the Christmas tree farm that friends own. We spent the morning watching Gus explore new smells, meet new people, and find something absolutely foul to roll in. Needless to say he got a bath when we got home.
That's all for tonight. It's been a long weekend full of walks, the dog park, and learning to live with a dog. See you next week, hopefully with some dyed linen.