Posts Tagged ‘dog’

Lessons Learned from Rex


Rex is quite smart. When he wants to go out, he brings you a shoe. If you don’t respond quickly enough for him, he brings you the match. Subtle, no? He brings you what you need to help he take care of his need.

He teaches me compassion everyday when I think how fortunate we are to be his family.

He teaches me to be playful when he brings me the knotted socks for a game of tug-of-war.

He reminds me that a treat isn’t a bad thing if you deserve it.

He reminds me that beauty comes from within even when there are imperfections on the outside. When I scratch his neck scar for him, he looks at you with an expression that seems to say thank you for understanding.

He reminds me to lean on others when there is something (just about anything) that scares him and he needs comfort.

He reminds me that having others depend on you gives you strength and purpose each day.

He shares unconditional love everyday and happily receives it in return.

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On Sunday, after we got home from church, I told the boys they would be helping me around the house. I gave them options to choose from, like sweeping the floor, dusting, helping me in the laundry room. Nope…what they fought over was who gets to clean the toilet. I feared they would get to fisticuffs! Younger son claimed cleaning the entire bathroom and we avoided injury. Older son reluctantly took dusting and sweeping the rest of the upstairs. This left me free to work on the laundry room and reclaim parts of the family room for me.

The kittens now have their “rest room” in one location. Since they are huge six month old kittens, we don’t have to dedicate a room to their potty needs. I then moved their food to the top of a cabinet. They can work their need to jump on EVERYTHING and the dog can’t reach it. Another project I have to do soon is repair where the kittens tore the curtain rod out of the wall. That’s one way to get me to change the curtains.

In a very real sense, I have brought my work home with me. I am accomplishing all this fabulous housework by breaking the work in to small manageable tasks and completing all of it using the “tolerable ten”. Anyone can stand to do anything, even moving a litter box, for ten minutes.


(Note the baseball hat for size reference. Cujo is one big six month old kitten!)

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Our home is full of furry and not-so-furry creatures.  Rex joined us in June and he’s a  fantastic dog.  Three little kittens joined us in December and they are too adorable for words.  Then for Christmas, each son received a bearded dragon kit from Santa and the next day each son picked out his beardie.  Obviously this means there are crickets in the house as well.  Solid and steadfast through all of these changes has been Shemp, the 13 year old matriarch cat.

IMG_8041Rex got a new bed from Santa for Christmas.  He likes to rest his head on it as he adores pillows.  The bed was lovingly chosen by Santa to perfectly coordinate with our bedroom.  It doesn’t spend much time there because…





IMG_7988Shemp has decided she likes Rex’s bed and prefers it in the living room.






And the kittens…
TJ is the orange one, Cujo is the fluffy one on the right, and Loki, little fur ball of mischief, is toward the bottom of this photo just about winking at you.


Photos of the beardies will come soon enough.  At the moment, they are asleep with their night-light bulbs shining a purple glow on their habitats.

These little creatures do fill one’s heart with love.  Even the reptiles.

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Our dear, sweet, little Rex has settled in quite nicely.  Dare I say he is getting too comfortable?  He found the package of little rawhides on the counter and decided to help himself today.  Hubby thinks he found all of them.  He also has begun taking “lovees” from the boys’ rooms.  Rex has his own lovee-a little pig/frog toy.  Plus we bought him a toy chicken too.  But he loves to steal a lovee and run to the living room with it to see if anyone noticed.

Rex has also started snooping in corners, exploring all the nooks and crannies of his home.  He’s almost destroyed my beautiful comforter.  And he enjoys trying to chew on the decorative pillows that match the almost-destroyed comforter.  He doesn’t chew to tear, mind you, but as if it’s a chew toy.  I almost miss the scaredy dog that he was.  Not really, I am so happy he feels comfortable here.  He feels loved.

He makes the rounds if he hears people outside, day or night, and then barks if he feels there is a threat.  Scary bark, which I don’t mind.  Sounds way bigger than he is.  And when he is ready to go to sleep for the night, he jumps up on our bed and gets in his spot.  His spot is actually my spot.





When I go to bed I have to move him, which is easy enough.  I just slide him across the almost-destroyed comforter.  Once I’m in bed, he sneaks back over so he is right up against my legs.  Hubby says some nights he has to move Rex because he has slowly pushed me over to the edge of the bed.  Impressive considering I weigh quite a bit more than the 46 pounds Rex weighs.



Hubby says Rex pretty much sleeps all day.  Then when I get home…puppy olympics!  The boys and I take him outside and Rex runs in circles at dizzying speeds around me.  The boys keep him moving until finally Rex collapses on my feet, the sign that he is done and ready to go back to the couch.  This sign usually happens 8-10 minutes after we start.  He is quite the couch potato, except for those 8-10 minutes.

With his gigantic ears, Rex could have been named Gizmo, Gremlin, or Dobby, for a more current reference.  I should get Rex a Dobby lovee!


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After a brief rough patch with a lot of accidents in the house, I used the beloved internet to search for tips on house-training a rescue dog.  Every article I read said to treat it as if he hadn’t been trained at all.  It truly helped me reset my brain.  I spent a day walking Rex every two hours and stuck by him in the house so I could look for signs or signals that he needed to go out.  You need to remember that this is the dog that rarely barks.  He certainly knows how to bark when he wants to, but not to indicate that he needs to do his business.  We discovered that he looks like he’s tracking a ghost and then does laps to one corner of the living room rug when he needs to go poop.

As there is no bark to go with the poop dance, it is critical to either watch Rex the whole time or listen for the clicky sound of his nails on the wood floor.  But the clicks of his nails could also be Rex chasing a cat.  Or his tail.  This morning he did all of his business outside as if he had been doing it for years.  He came in and even ate his breakfast.  Tonight, after a busy day of playing with a tennis ball and lots of love and attention from the boys, he even ate his dinner.  So when I heard his clicky toes on the floor, I thought he was chasing El Tigre.  I was wrong.  But that accident is on me.  I had a hunch he was almost ready, but he’s never gone poop twice in one day.  He also had never eaten both meals in one day.  Today he had.  I should have known.  I am sure that he is very excited that he won’t have to sleep in his crate tonight, since he pooped.

Not that you could tell that he’s excited by looking at him right now.  If there is one thing Rex is really good at, it’s sleeping.  When he is done for the day, he sleeps and there is no waking him up to do anything.  He makes little groaning noises as he falls into the deep sleep.  He also farts as he falls into the deep sleep.  Clearly, he is very relaxed and comfortable here.

Rex is settling in and so are we.  IMG_6860

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We had been talking about what kind of puppy we would want to get.  We all felt ready to start looking for the dog who would not replace Briggs, but fill the spot in our hearts the same way he did.  Lab or collie or lab-collie mix…back and forth we went.  Then a friend messaged me on facebook about a dog and Rex found us and filled that spot before we even met him.  I just couldn’t get him out of my head.  So when I got home that night I told Hubby that I found a dog.  We looked at his picture and description.  Hubby figured out why I couldn’t stop thinking about Rex.  He smiles just like Briggs.


He’s a shepherd mix, beautiful, sweet, knows how to sit and shake his paw.  He’s had a couple of accidents in the house, but he’s truly starting to figure it out.  We’re starting to figure it out too.  We’ve had to reshape our thinking because he’s not Briggs.  He’s not driven by food, he has complete control of his bowel, and he can go up and down the stairs.  He loves to cuddle, doesn’t like wind, but actually enjoys walking in the rain.  We did that last night for two hours (still trying to figure out the poopie schedule).  I have said so many euphemisms for poo this week in an attempt to figure out if he has a “trigger” word.  I’ve even tried merde.

The boys ADORE Rex.  Rex was even the perfect name for our dog.  The boys gave him a formal name…Canine-osaurus Rex.  And many hours have been spent cuddling with him on the couch.


Our hearts are filled again and we’re enjoying being a dog family again.  Even the cats have taken to him.  They are staking their territories, but generally it’s been friendly.  Tiger guards the door to our bedroom because that’s where he sleeps.  Rex just curls up on the couch, or the chaise, or on the floor in the corner of the couch and chaise. 

Lab or collie?  Nope, Rex.  IMG_6859

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“…but not Ferdinand.

He liked to sit just quietly

and smell the flowers.”

(from The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf)

Still missing that big yellow dog.

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