Monday, June 20, 2011

Annie the Gremlin Dog

This is Annie, aka Gremlin Dog.

I wrote about her a little in my previous post, but quick recap: she comes from Brevard, North Carolina, where she was at risk of being put down because her gremliny little face didn't appeal to potential adopters. Volunteers helped her get to Philly, where she found a foster home with us. We've had her for a few days now. I've been calling her "Gremlin" rather than Annie, because it strikes me as an appropriate name (just look at that face!), and it makes her stand out to the people she meets. Everyone remembers the little dog named Gremlin.

Gremlin's first hours with us were fairly dramatic. She arrived around 10 pm after a long day of travel and meeting new people, so I figured she'd be pretty tired and bundled her off to her crate with some clean bedding and a tasty stuffed Kong.

Well, she loved the Kong, but she did not love her crate. Not too surprisingly for an ex-stray who hasn't had a lot of security in her life, Gremlin has some separation issues. She doesn't mind being in the crate if she can see a person nearby, and she doesn't mind being alone if she can snooze in the dog bed, but the combination of crating and having no one in sight seems to trigger a big flashing ABANDONMENT!! ABANDONMENT!! RED ALERT!! in her head.

And when she thinks she's being abandoned, Gremlin howls. Loud and long and with great woe. Her sheer vocal range would almost be funny if we didn't have so many neighbors in close proximity who really need their sleep. But we do, and a yodeling foster dog is not a good way to endear yourself to them, especially since a) technically we're violating the condo bylaws by having two furry animals in our place (of course, so does everyone else, but still...); and b) Gremlin got one of the downstairs neighbors' dogs to sing along with her, literally doubling the problem overnight.

So this is where I sleep now. And this is where I will continue to sleep until we work past that particular problem.

Other than the crating issue -- which I'm pretty confident we can work through, and which wouldn't even be an issue if Pongu weren't such a brat that we have to keep the dogs separated for their own safety overnight -- Gremlin has proven to be an easy keeper. She walks beautifully on the leash, barely ever barks (it's more of a muted little "whuff," and even that's rare), and is almost perfect on housetraining, with just one accident in the time we've had her. She has very good manners at the dog park, playing enthusiastically but appropriately with dogs of all sizes. In the home, she can get snappy if another dog tries to steal something out from under her nose, but that's mostly Pongu being a jerkface and probably wouldn't be an issue with a more polite dog.

Overall, Gremlin is an inquisitive, fearless, quick-learning little mutt. I'd characterize her as "medium energy" -- she loves to play, and she sometimes has a few zoomies when she first gets out of her crate in the morning, but after a brisk 10-minute walk she's pretty pooped out. Sometimes on the way home she'll stop cold on the second-floor landing and give me this despairing look that says, very clearly, "oh god you mean I have to go up MORE STAIRS to get home? I can't do this, kill me now." This is definitely not a dog who'll want to run marathons with you.

As far as obedience training goes, she has an excellent Sit, seems to be vaguely acquainted with Stay, and has no idea what that whole Down thing is all about. We're working on learning the new concepts and reinforcing the old ones; Gremlin has proven to be very willing to work for cut-up hot dogs (although she only likes them hot out of the microwave and turns her nose up at cold leftover pieces). She will also work for praise and petting; while she isn't pushy about it, Gremlin soaks up affection.

Things that need work: besides learning to sleep quietly in her crate when no one's around, Gremlin can be a little impolite in her greetings. She gets very excited to see people, and then she likes to jump up and mouth them while flailing her little paws around like the world's drunkest boxer. This is a very common issue, and Gremlin's been making good progress even in the short time we've had her, but prospective adopters should expect to continue training on that point.

And that, so far, is Annie the Gremlin Dog. I'm hoping we can get her adopted fairly quickly, as there's another group of dogs coming up soon that will need foster homes, and it would be nice if we could offer one of them a space. But first this little gremlin has to find a family, so that's what we're focused on now.

No comments:

Post a Comment