Foster Home: Sheila
Update: Opie was adopted in November, 2004. Opie was Veronica's third born pup of the litter. He was the shyest of all his siblings, preferring to follow another's lead.
12/3/04 We had our first vet visit last weekend, where Opie was the doted on by the vet-techs. He was munching on a cookie, during vaccinations, and hardly even noticed. Opie has settled right into home life here in Howell. He's learning to use the doggie doors to let himself out for potty breaks, though he still needs a parent to go along with him more often than not. Our older dog, Browsie, has warmed up to Opie very well, and aside from a grumble now and again if Opie gets too close to a favorite bone, Browsie has no problems. As a matter of fact, they play together several times a day. This usually involves a game of chase in the backyard around a patio chair we've set outside. Opie is more agile than Browsie, but Browsie is a little smarter at the game. It's quite funny to watch. Browsie growls loudly during the chases, but her tail is always wagging. He has also taken to her style of play and barks and growls at her when he is initiating play time, just as she does. The only time Browsie puts Opie in his place is if Opie nips too close. There's only so much a dignified dog like Browsie will take, after all! Opie, however, has gotten in the habit of observing what Browise does, then tries to copy the behavior (which is what we were hoping for).
We glance at each other every once in a while in 'fear' when Opie grabs a toy and prances away with his ears pinned back, or wanders into the bathroom and looks at the toilet. These are Browise habits - if you have watched your allocated amount of television, she takes away the remote and if you forgot to put the toilet lid down she has to inform us of that as well. So (fortunatley) he's learning her 'bad' habits as well as her good ones. Opie is not a bold dog, but he has turned out not to be a "fraidy cat" at all. He's getting better at going on leash walks, and when he encounters something new, his way of dealing with it is to sit down and watch it for a little while quietly. Stairs are no longer a problem for him, though he takes them very slowly right now, unless he's following "Big Sister" down. As far as his day goes during the week, Opie has been spending time with his grandfather until he becomes more comfortable to hang out in the laundry room by himself during the day. He spends the night in his "apartment" and usually makes it through the night without fussing, unless he has a nite-nite treat and loses it then he cries until he gets it back. We're going to see about training him to have the entire washroom to be free in during the day in the next few weeks, so he doesn't have to be contained in the crate at all. He's usually very calm about everything.
We have seen Opie's shy and timid side, although it seems to be fading more every day. We have also seen his protective side. When Browise's friends come to visit her, Opie growls and barks while running toward them, runs back to the house for the "safe touch" and turns around and runs back after them. He has also been found sitting in the dog house just outside the dog door when they were wandering around on our property and growling protecting them from entering his new house. It may not be possible to see from the pictures, Opie is changing and growing up! He has developed dark brown spots on his nose and over his eyes. His "stripe" has not developed any more than it was before. It also seems that his ears are beginning to perk up a bit more - it looks like they will stand up! When he lays on the floor getting belly rubs, his ears lay flat against the floor, and we can tell he'll be quite a handsome man with his ears erect.
12/5/04 Are you talking about that Opie that's in my house? He's ok- he chews on my bones, plays with my toys and gets loving from my people. He's fun to chase outside - we play chase around a chair outside and he's not smarter than me and I always tag him first. He follows me everywhere - I don't even get peace when I go poop. He used to make messes in the house, but he figured that I go potty outside and so he follows me out my four-legged people door. I guess he can stay. At least now I have someone to lay on the rug and chew bones with together. Browsie
Sorry, looks like Browsie got to the email first. :) Opie is doing wonderful in his new life and Browise seems to tolerate him. She seems to be more comfortable with him everyday. Right now they are taking a nap together on the doggie couch. We are very pleased with his progress in going potty outside, right now 9 out of 10 times he goes out the dog door by himself to our backyard. The other time, he's having too much fun to walk ALL the way outside, so he's swept up and taken outside. With all that he's had to adjust to in just 2 weeks, we're very proud of him. His foster said he was shy/timid and he was the first couple of days, but he certainly keeps coming out of his shell. He protects his yard by growling and barking at Browsie's friends when they come over to visit. He's also getting used to Grandma and Grandpa - found out that Grandpa likes to walk and give treats.
One curious thing - my husband pays more attention to Opie, but Opie pays more attention to me. We think because Browsie treats me as the alpha Opie picked up on that and follows through. Here's some photos of them at Thanksgiving. Thanks for helping us find a good dog for Browsie!! He's gonna keep her on her toes! (Us too, for that matter).
12/02/2005 We promised we would send some pictures of Opie's one-year old birthday trip to Mackinac Island with his sister Browsie. We've tried taking pictures of him while he's playing Frisbee and flying through the air - he jumps nearly six feet in the air to catch it (if it's thrown well). But the little guy is so fast, unless you want pictures of his feet or rear end, the pictures just don't do him justice.
He had a great time exploring the island with his sister, except for being introduced to Lake Huron. He hasn't seen THAT much water before and didn't want to walk in the water until big sister showed him it was ok. We found this quite strange because at home he has no problem jumping in his pool and laying right down. He really liked the hiking portion, we hiked about 10 miles a day and he was so interested in all the smells and the horse poop. We were worried Browsie would inform him of the great tasting horse poop, but he found out how wonderful it is on his own. We also found out that he has difficulty in walking in a straight line - to the right and smell, to the left and smell, to the right and smell...
He is still a bit scared around people, but did very well in the downtown area and on the ferry ride. He did pee all over the ferry deck when he first got on the boat, but soon found looking over the rail fun. He wanted no part of riding in a horse drawn carriage with us, so Browsie (who loves going for a ride) and I took a ride downtown while the boys walked. As soon as we got off the carriage, Opie jumped up as if to say 'Okay all ready to go'. Maybe next time he'll go for a ride.
9/7/05 Our family (mama, papa, Opie and Browsie) attended the picnic in Westville, IN. It was great fun to show how well Opie is doing. Being the frightened boy he is of all people and dogs, he had NO problems, he was even running up to complete strangers and dropping his Frisbee at their feet for them to throw. We've been working with him quite a bit in public places and he is remarkably better with strange people. As long as they go about their business, he goes about his. He has turned into quite a wonderful little buddy.