Sunday, November 20, 2011

An uneasy houseguest

A year or so ago my niece rescued an underweight, scraggly toy Poodle and named her Quinn. At a family gathering, Quinn impressed us with the confident and friendly way she moved among a new group of strangers in a new setting. Unfortunately, Quinn proved to have the worst case of separation anxiety any of us had ever encountered. The neighbors complained about Quinn's barking all day when my niece was at work and Quinn was licking he paws raw. My niece hired a behaviorist, tried medications, everything she could think of; but nothing helped.

My mother agreed to accept the dog into her home where she already had an elderly Great Dane. With a large dog to hero-worship and a person who was home most of the time, Quinn settled down as an affectionate companion until she decided that one of the basement rooms was her own, private bathroom. The basement had to be closed off and Quinn had to be watched.

Then my mother had knee surgery and had to spend some time convalescing away from home. The Great Dane, who has his own special needs, went to stay with a family he had boarded with before. I brought Quinn to my house. She threw up on the way over.

I know nothing about small dogs. She walked on a Flexi-lead, a thing any Airedale would simply laugh at. She wore a tiny pink jacket. She could not be thumped on the shoulder like an Airedale. Her kibble was tiny! How much was she supposed to eat? She was accustomed to free-feeding but no dog can do that in my house. What about trimming those bangs so that she could see?
When Miro first met her at my mother's house last summer, the two had run in joyful circles around and around the yard. Here, she didn't want to run or play, though she did follow Miro outside. It turned out, however, that Quinn does not like girls. Every time Alanis approached, she growled in her little-dog falsetto voice. If Alanis got closer than Quinn wanted, she snapped and even tried to bite. Fortunately Alanis reacted with a "what the heck is that?" expression while I was able to pick Quinn up and carry her away.

In the house I had to keep Quinn in an exercise pen when I couldn't watch her. She and Alanis might eventually settle but they would need to be supervised until that happened. Quinn could not be trusted not to pee somewhere. (That was another thing about a small dog: she could pee and I might not find the spot until the smell grew ripe.) Yet when Quinn was in the pen downstairs while I worked in my office upstairs, she barked incessantly.

This was not going to be a good situation. So Quinn went off to board near my niece where she'd be with people all day and my niece could check on her.

A small dog is definitely more portable than an Airedale. You can carry a little one everywhere in a sling or pack. Some, you can even stick in your purse and smuggle into a restaurant if it will be quiet. A dog ranging from 40 to 65 lbs. brings more dirt into the house than a small one. It eats more. If it's an Airedale, it has BIG teeth that shred toys. While not massive, their poop is large enough to find easily in the yard. If they pee on the carpet, you'll see the spot. My kind of dog.


  1. Well, sounds like all of you tried to help Quinn. Hopefully she'll have what she needs in her next home. I always say we are very blessed to have Violet as my 1st dog ever. She's wonderful and perfect.....I can even stand the counter surfing now...hahah
    Best of luck to Quinn.

  2. Poor Quinn, sounds like she has had a rough life. That was nice of you to try and help her and hopefully she will find the perfect fit.

    Wyatt's mom

  3. Poor Quinn has had a tough time! That perfect family is out there waiting for her.

    Love ya lots
    Maggie and Mitch

  4. Sorry it didn't work out for her. When my Country is gone, no more house dogs.

  5. aww.. poor Quinn. She must be so confused. Lets hope she soon learns to settle.
    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx

  6. Awww, poor Quinn, hope she finds a family just for her!

    We are hoping through bloggie world and just wanted to stop and say hi! Looking forward to getting to know you!

    Miley and Maggie

  7. Thanks, everybody, for your concern. Both Quinn and the Great Dane will go home when my mother returns to her house in a couple of weeks. They're just being boarded out.

  8. just found your blog. We are new Airedale owners. We have a 7½ month old 'dale called Archie. Although my daughter and I are convinced that Tom Sawyer would be a more appropriate moniker for the little goober. Big goober, actually as he probably weighs 60 lbs. It's late here and I will retire to bed now, but I can't wait till tomorrow and read your blog!

  9. We hope your mom is having a speedy recovery and will be able to take care of Quinn and her Dane soon! We don't need them, but there is a product at Bed,Bath & Beyond that looks like a little portable patch of grass. Also a website that sells similar item is:

    BabyRD & Hootie

  10. Poor Quinn. We are purring and praying that she will find the right situation, and the perfect forever family.