Life in the 3 rings.

It’s been a while so let’s catch up.

My social life took a bit of a change in the beginning of May. My boyfriend and I decided to consolidate homes and he moved in. I was a little concerned that Gunner and Bear2 would take some time to adjust to having another Alpha male around the house. So, for the first few nights, we shared my room with the pups until bed time. Then the boys went to their room and their own beds. I had some expected time off from work so the days were lazy and spring like and J wasn’t alone with the boys. They spent most of their time running in the yard, in the mud and rolling around with each other.

When the time got near for me to return to work I was wondering what would happen. Bear2 has, as we know, always been protective of me and literally herds me away from everyone else. Gunner came to stay when I was the only human living here and kind of took ownership of me as well. Since the new human male moved in, I was expecting some posturing, wariness and perhaps hoping for a little jealousy. On the first day I returned to work, I kept the boys in their room and let J sleep in. That night my grandson DJ came to stay for a few days. Early the next morning, I was tip-toeing around trying not to disturb anyone. After putting coffee on, I re-entered my bedroom to find DJ in my spot, Bear sprawled out across the foot of the bed, with Gunner under the covers between my Little Man and my big man.  I was gone for less than 5 minutes! I guess I thought I played a bigger role than I actually do. Even if I think I am the head of my household, I have to admit, I’m not. I have been relegated to the role of keeper of the kibble and opener of the door.

I am still lucky enough to be allowed to bring my menagerie to work. Bear spends most of his time under my desk, while Gunner visits the kids accompanied by some of the Recreation Department’s staff. He doesn’t walk, he actually struts. He has the cutest grin when he’s happy and can’t figure out what to do first when the boys are up and about. He plays Dodge Ball, but hasn’t quite gotten the concept of staying AWAY from the ball and prefers to tackle it. He approaches the pool area, but only stands in the doorway. It doesn’t stop him from voicing his opinion about it from that perch. He loves playing basketball or at least the running part and wasn’t too thrilled at having to sit out the final tournament game. He hasn’t visited the girls units too much. I think he saw the manicure they gave Dakota and decided that isn’t a fashion statement he needs to make.

Much like his predecessors, Deycon, Gia, Mulligan and McKenzie, this Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet has stolen most members of my family. We weren’t sure how Gunner would react to a smaller child, but from the looks of it, I don’t think we need to worry too much. DJ and Gunner are fast and permanent friends. So much for dangerous Pit Bulls! He may not be fierce and scary, but he makes a nice pillow.

He’s an athlete of all sorts. Being the little powerhouse he is, there isn’t enough play time. Though he moved into and took over my home in March, I’m still learning a lot about him. One of the sports he enjoys the most and truly excels at is blanket wrestling. Bear and I were in the kitchen recently when I heard a frightening disturbance in the bedroom: Gunner was snarling, growling and obviously fighting with someone. We had a home invasion last year and the uneasiness is still in the air. I had the cell phone in my hand with 9-1 already dialed. I don’t know what I was going to do if I was confronted with an intruder, but I hadn’t thought that far ahead. I peeked around the corner and saw Gunner flying through the air, diving onto a pile of bedspread, thrashing about, pouncing away, jumping off the bed, running a few steps, flying back onto the bed, tearing at the blankets all the while snarling and snapping. Do you want to know what he was snarling at? NOTHING!!! Using sheer will, I got my pulse rate down under 200 and called him; he stopped dead in his tracks and gave me his classic “What?” look. Without missing a beat he dove back into the linens and finished the fight. Shaking my head, I went back to cooking dinner.

Staying on the theme of athletics, the village baseball season is in full swing. We live across the street from the fields and can hear the excitement from the house and yard. Though Gunner has stopped jumping and/or climbing over the fences he still wants to be part of this noisy action. I was thinking it might be fun to take him to a later game when the afternoon is cooler. I don’t know what made me think that it would go smoothly. In hindsight, I should have known it would probably involve an ambulance.

This white and brown munchkin is amazingly strong and can drag me along while he’s on a lead so I drove the block and a half to the diamond. We all know he also likes the running, shouting and cheering that go along with the games. While the village does permit animals in the park, they don’t allow them to be attached to any of the park structures or equipment like benches or the bleachers. Not a problem I thought in my naiveté, I’ll just bring my own chair and tie his leash to that. (You can see it coming, can’t you?)

He was basking in the pre-game attention and entertaining the 12 year old boys’ team. We were answering questions about Pit Bulls, fostering and Guardian Angels for Soldiers Pet. He was getting head pats, ear scratches, and kisses and snuggles. He completely won the crowd over when he rolled onto his back for a hundred belly rubs. Oooh’s ahhhs and awwwws were the sounds on the sidelines for a good 5 minutes.

The team took to the dugout and Gunner sat quietly next to me. I later realized that this was just his way of lulling me into a quiet confidence and making me believe all was well. What I didn’t realize was that he was hatching a diabolical plan to make me participate in a gymnastic program that I have been skillfully avoiding since 12th grade.

First batter up took a walk to the base right in front of us. Gunner gave a cheer and was acknowledged. I’m guessing he was coaching first since he was constantly offering advice to the runner. The second player struck out. So far so good. Next young man also walked to first and was also given canine sideline encouragement and instructions by the pittie. Gunner was able to launch his evil strategy and put it into action when the clean-up batter hit a line drive to centerfield. The crowd stood shouting and cheering, the base runners flew to the next bag, the team on the field sprang into their defense and Gunner zipped into action. If I had followed the lead of the other fans, I would have jumped up. I could have jumped up. I should have jumped up. I guess Gunner didn’t like the fact that I didn’t jump up because he ripped the folding chair out from under me tossing me backwards over the canvas seat and flopping onto my way too broad bottom. He dragged the portable camp chair parallel to the foul line by the leash, clipped two parents, almost toppled the water cooler, and had a third spectator jump over the chair before he slammed into the fence.

I don’t know if our team scored. I don’t know if they were tagged out. I don’t know if folks were laughing at him or at me or at both. I don’t know who won the game. I don’t even know if there were any other casualties. What I do know is not to become complacent around an avid baseball fan with four legs that’s stronger than I am while he’s attached to my seat. This foster parenting stuff should include combat pay.

After recovering from the baseball incident… (That’s the second one if you remember) I decided that swimming was a more acceptable sport. I know you’re all snickering and shaking your heads, but don’t get ahead of me here. I bought DJ a 6 foot diameter, 10 inch deep kiddy pool. I also bought a 3 foot by 6 inch pool guessing that my 4 leggers would enjoy a dip every now and then. Mrs. Gunner’s mom alluded to the fact that he likes kiddy pools so I was confident that it would be ok. I put them both up on my deck, assuming I would be avoiding a mud issue and filled them up. They were a big hit with DJ, Gunner and Bear especially with the short heat wave we had. Proud of myself and smirking, I believed I had the issue contained. Oh! Silly me! Think big top! Think tightrope walking!

DJ was splashing around the edge of the pool, chasing Gunner and being watched by Bear. DJ lay down in the water, Gunner lay down in the water. DJ splashed, Gunner splashed. Suddenly DJ had to go potty, so he jumped out of the pool dripping wet and dashed into the house. Gunner did too. DJ was trailing water onto the tile floor and Gunner was following suit. My fault again, I was unsuspecting and headed toward the deck at the same moment DJ and Gunner were spilling past me. As I was calling to them to see what was going on, I began sliding through the puddles. I managed to grab a coat hanging on a hook in the hallway before my right foot was level with my waist and my left elbow hit the wall. I had yet to regain my balance as DJ and Gunner rounded the corner. I want kudos here because I AM learning and did remember to continue to dangle from the wall so as and not be bowled by Bear the caboose.

The tray of snacks was barely saved as I hung from the coat hooks like some bizarre rag doll and attempted to regain my footing. As luck would have it, at the same moment J walked to the head of the hallway and observed the disaster in progress. He took one look at me, the puddle, the foot prints and the floor, shook his head and walked away, eyebrows raised and mumbling to himself.

Considering, I have yet to tell him that Deycon and Dakota are coming for a 2 week visit this month, I’d say the new human fit right in.

– Written by Eileen, Foster Mom in New York.

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