How are those precious pups doing, you ask?

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On May 13 my husband and I leave to Spain and Portugal for 16 nights. Our recent trip to Texas was a trial run for our pups whom we adopted on January 7. We hired a college student with lots of experience to watch these special needs dogs and, for any of you who’ve been following, Baby Girl’s adorable antics had me concerned.

Challenge looking strong and at attention on a morning walk with Katie

It might be giving too much away to share that this little princess bit or attempted to bite the gal who watched them. When Baby met Katie I thought things were grand. She hung out for about an hour and a half; walked them both to the field, sat on the floor to seem less intimidating, has lots of experience with other dogs, cats and watering elaborate garden systems (a pretty funny story, actually). Then, as Katie was standing at our front door to leave, she reached her hand out to say good-bye to Challenge. He responded in his customary, affable way. He’s such a lady’s man. Baby Girl thought extended hand meant ‘bite’ which is rarely the appropriate response. I was standing right there. She sounded fierce, she made all the ’right’ moves but, thankfully, when Katie pulled her hand back, there was no redness, no indentations, no broken skin.

Baby Girl with her 'Look, I'm cute and innocent' costume on

Katie was a trooper and offered to come back a week later which was a better visit. So, you can understand my trepidation at her sleeping in the house with Cujo. She had absolutely no problems and Baby’s actually been less timid with strangers since we returned from Texas. Whoo, hoo. I wouldn’t say she’ll be winning any Ms. Congeniality awards in the near future but progress is being made daily.

Challenge is bonding with his boy (Dan). It’s absolutely precious to see him wag his tail once he’s determined via scent that Dan’s come in the room and Baby wags her nubbin of a tail, too. It appears they’re able to see a few feet in front of them but, past that, things are just too muddled for them. I’m sniffed A LOT more than our hearing and sighted dog ever did and in places that are not socially appropriate in the human world, thank you very much.

I let them off leash at the field to the north of our house when no other dogs are around and they’re

Challenge patiently awaiting the return of his boy

terrific about staying close. They seem to track each other better than they can track me. Wiggling my fingers with an outstretched arm substitutes for ‘hi’, or ‘I’m here’ because I can be standing four feet away from them and, if I don’t move, they just stare toward me with this look of failed processing on their sweet faces.

Our day trip to Centralia a couple weeks ago was a grand time. We’d leave them outside within view if we’d duck into a store. When I’d see people approach them, I’d tense up remembering Baby’s encounter with Katie but she’d be either disinterested or polite. Seems she’s just protective of me when I’m around. When we’re reunited with them, they’re uncertain until they can properly smell us and then they’re banging into all kinds of things in their excitement.

That’s a draw back. They can’t hear and Challenge, in particular, is horrible about 5 am every morning. He just bangs into the closet doors, kicks them, nothing fazes him. I am not deaf, however, and it’s just not a cute little habit he’s picked up. He also taunts the neighbor dog. He’s kenneled on the other side of the fence. We call him ‘No’ because that’s all our neighbors ever seem to say to the poor guy. Challenge will stand at the back corner of the yard with his nose at the ground. He can smell another dog but he can’t see or hear him. That dog will be barking his head off (much to the chagrin of the neighborhood, I’m sure) and Challenge will just stand there, making not a peep. I wonder what he’s thinking, what his brain is processing.

It’s an adventure but much easier than the first several weeks when I was crying out of frustration a lot. We’re even thinking of taking them on a road trip to Santa Barbara in the fall. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle 16 nights with Katie. Hope they’re still excited to see us when we return.