If you’ve followed these blog posts, you’ll know what a personality Deycon has. He has adapted to many changing situations around here as well as relocating from his parents home to mine. Now he’s become part of a pack.
He and Bear2 have become wrestling partners, buddies and friends. When Deycon came to my home, his mom had warned me that he was a “toy thief.” In Bear2 he has met his match. There isn’t a day that goes by that one or the other is teasing the foster brother with a stuffed animal, ball or toy. Thankfully, almost all of the squeakers have been disabled but we’ve begun accumulating that white fuzz all over the house again. My grandson DJ is usually right in the middle of it. Have you ever seen a 3-way tug of war? Deycon moans, Bear2 growls and DJ squeals!
The three amigos spent the latter part of the summer in and out of a small child’s pool. At first I had it in the back yard away from the house and partially under a tree: half shade and half sun. With the three of them in and out of it most of the time, it was filled and refilled daily. The problem is that the water, of course, settled around the base of the pool making mud. Now Deycon is dignified (and well trained) and he would never jump on the furniture. Bear2 is another story…. He has absolutely no qualms about running up the deck stairs through the screen door and across my bed. He has left paw prints on the sheets, comforter and bed spreads.
On the third day of changing linens, I decided to put the pool back on the deck outside my bedroom door. I knew there would be no getting away from pawprints, but at least they weren’t muddy any more.
At one point in the summer Deycon was in the yard and jumped and sniffed at his left rear leg. I didn’t think much of it because running my hand over the area, I found nothing. I’m not sure what it was, but about an hour later, he came to me and looked like a Greater Swiss Mountain Shar Pei! His face was all swollen and his eyes were barely open. We hopped into the car and made a visit to Otterkill Animal Hospital where, I swear, he was embarrassed and wouldn’t look at anyone. We were, after all, laughing at how he looked. A dose of cortisone and two doses of Benadryl later and our boy was fine. The staff are amazing and called a few times to make sure he was okay. They felt it might have been a bee sting even though I found nothing on his leg. Whatever it was I do keep a supply of Benadryl around the house now.
Our twice weekly outing to the dog park continues and I still take every opportunity to talk about Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet as much as I can. Deycon is a great advertisement inasmuch as he’s a huge placid pal. I have to say that his behavior reflects so much on his mom and dad. He’s kind, patient, and so full of love.
Late last month, we visited our vet and, of course Deycon garnered all the attention he could. DJ was with us as the Dr. examined and vaccinated Deycon, which didn’t bother him. Deycon was great but got a little fussy when the vet was clipping his nails. DJ was a typical over active 3 year old right up until that point. All at once his hands went into his pockets and he sat in the corner.
“What’s the matter DJ?” asked Dr. Zgoda.
With wide eyes and hidden hands he said, “Nothing. I just don’t want you to cut MY nails.” It was very hard NOT to use that as a behavioral modification phrase after that.
Both dogs are so playful, but gentle with My Little Man DJ. They run around the house, play with toys, pots, pans, laundry, whatever they can find. The playful growls, howls and laughs make every day bright. I always hear people telling storied of “hero dogs” but Deycon and Bear2 will be my heroes for a long time to come. I was sitting on the deck, which is 9 steps above the yard, while DJ and the dogs were playing. DJ went near the compost pile and several things happened all at once: DJ screamed, Deycon launched himself at DJ, Bear jumped straight up in the air and both dogs began growling at DJ and pushed him. Deycon barked and Bear ran to me as DJ was screaming. It shocked me so thoroughly since neither dog had EVER shown any aggression and especially not near DJ. I’d seen him pull their ears and poke at them and they never reacted negatively.
I heard DJ’s high pitched yell again as I flew down the stairs and grabbed him only to see bees flying around us. Bear and Deycon were both covered in the insects and I’m talking 30 or 40, but were standing between DJ and the compost pile. It seems DJ disturbed their nest and the bees were swarming. I wrapped DJ in my arms and we ran for the deck. I literally ripped his clothes off and got the insects off him. Deycon and Bear were hovering over the screaming child, barking and nuzzling him. I swept the attackers off them and we all headed into the house. DJ was almost inconsolable and both dogs were still barking and upset. Getting them all calmed down was a bit hairy, but I realized the dogs were anxious about DJ. After a bath and Benadryl all around, DJ fell asleep. Deycon stayed right with him and the whole time there was a slight moaning noise coming from deep in the big guy. Bear2 gave a slow rumbling growl every time I went near DJ to check on him.
Bear had a few welts on him and I had expected another emergency trip to the vet for Deycon, but that didn’t happen. Those two dogs knew their “pup” was in trouble and protected him. Deycon stayed with DJ and Bear2 came running to get me. No one is ever going to convince me otherwise.
In case you didn’t know, LOL!! We had a rough couple of weeks here in New York. First we had an earthquake that left both pups quite shaken up. While we didn’t suffer any physical damage, but those two fierce looking imposing appearing canines ran so fast and so hard it was worse than the quake itself. Deycon jumped onto my lap, Bear tried to get under the bed, behind the couch and then practically went through the bathroom door to finally end up in the tub. It shook me up a bit too, but it was over quickly and they calmed down eventually.
I was scheduled to fly to Florida to bring DJ back to his mother and have a vacation at the end of August. Now I’m not sure if anyone heard about it, but we had a hurricane here on the east coast. Irene was due to hit New York two days after I was to land in Florida. We got the house pretty well storm proofed and my sons were prepared to evacuate and take the dogs to safety. I brought the deck furniture and grills into the house and the furniture went under the deck. I know some people think that animals are oblivious, but Deycon is so very aware of everything. He could sense our anxiety and stuck right by me and DJ for the week before we left.
DJ and I flew over Irene while she was pelting the Carolinas and we had gorgeous weather on Florida. My mind, however was in New York. I called and texted so often that my boys were a bit annoyed. More than once they said laughingly, Yes mom the dogs are fine…. By the way, we are too. Although the dogs completely despised the weather and all the wind and thunder, they made it through like champs. The house however, well…. It could have been worse. I decided to leave the water in the basement and just tout it as an indoor pools when I go to sell the house.
Though his mom says it’s the nature of the breed to be gentle, I think Deycon is especially sensitive. Last weekend a few of my boys went camping and were on a site next to some less than attentive people. They had with them a small 3 month old golden haired puppy. They neglected the little girl for most of the week and she was scrounging around for food and attention. During one of their “parties” James asked if he could have the puppy. I’m still not quite sure what the answer was, but “Momma” lives with us now. Bear2 plays way too rough, so they don’t spend too much time together. Deycon, however is a comical site when she’s around. He sniffs at her, does his famous pounce and practically dances for her. She sits and watches him patiently with her pointed ears at attention. It’s plain to see he wants to play. She will walk over to him and let out a yip and startles the giant. Then it’s game on! When he’s close to her, she will chase him. If he backs away, she launches at him. If he’s close enough, she bats him with her front paws like a cat. It is so clear that he’s not quite sure what to do. He has Bear2 in height and weight, but this little one is only about 6 pounds and thinks she’s his size. He will slap the floor near her, bark at her and moan his high pitched wail but never touches her other than to nudge her with his huge nose. Deycon’s mom mentioned that they are thinking about getting him a sister. I’m glad she will be the same breed, he needs someone his own size.
I got a note that Deycon’s Dad arrived back home a week or so ago and we’re waiting on the word that the house and yard have been Deycon-ized. Friends of ours and FaceBook Deycon fans have all been asking what I’m going to do when my constant companion goes home.
Actually… I don’t know.– Written by Eileen, current Foster Mom in New York.