My new dog is probably going to the bathroom downstairs as I write this. He's four months old now, and almost completely potty trained...except when he's left alone downstairs.
Okay, he's laying like a good boy at the bottom of the stairs. We'll see how long that lasts. He's really quite smart, and affectionate in his bumbling way. My little Bear has grown to 23 pounds the last time my dad weighed him a few days ago. It's amazing how fast he's growing, when we got him a month and a half ago, he weighed closer to 10 pounds. His back is only a few short inches from being level with the seat of our couch and he can easily rest his chin on our bathtub. Bear's paws are ticklish and it has taken him a little time to get used to having them wiped off when he comes in from outside. So far, he has been miraculously good at not destroying our things; apart from the occasional bathroom accident, he hasn't chewed up or shredded anything of ours.
He's also been wonderful with the cats, who seem to have mutually decided to not like him. Bennett is starting to accept him and takes most of his attempts to play with her in stride. She is the brave one, and will sit her ground, watching him with her steady gaze until he backs down. If he gets too close too many times, she will raise her paw and hiss as he scoots away. She's actually hit him twice now, the first time requiring a trip to the vet for the scratch she put on his eye. After having an ointment and eye drops put on his eye twice a day and a cone around his neck for 3 days, Bear's eye has healed without incident. The second time she tapped his nose and there was no injury. He has since become adept at dodging and is careful not to get into her space too much, unless he forgets himself in his desire to play.
Fox, on the other hand, is the scared-y cat. He watches Bear from his various perches, appearing engrossed in whatever Bear is doing. If Bear gets too close, the hair along Fox's spine stands on end and his back arches. If Fox becomes truly "frightened," his tail puffs up and he growls low in his throat. I say "frightened," however, because Fox continues to sneak around in order to watch Bear, occasionally appearing to want to play with him. It seems Fox loses his nerve and scampers away only to test his own daring again a few minutes later.
I worry about how Bear will do this summer. His coat is incredibly dense, built for withstanding harsh winters. That's the Husky in him, or as the vet suggested, potentially Akita. The rescue said he was a German Shepherd/Husky mix, but who knows? His fur is soft like a stuffed toy, but it keeps him well insulated. He already gets hot easily in 50 degree weather; what will it be like when it's 80? The vet said to keep him inside during the summer and only walk him in the early morning or late evening. Sure enough, when it's -10 next winter, he'll be begging to go for long walks. Luckily, he seems to enjoy relaxing much of the time, so maybe it won't be so bad.
People always look surprised when I say I got him from an animal rescue; apparently he doesn't look like a "shelter dog." After getting him, I've had many people tell me that a German Shepherd/Husky mix is a great dog, and much better than either purebred. A part of me thinks that I should have done more research than I did before getting him, but I had been interested in a German Shepherd. I did a search online and found him, couldn't get his face out of my head. When we drove down to get him the same day we were moving houses (because that's exactly how life works) I knew it was him the second I saw him. A lady was carrying Bear and his brother in her arms. As soon as I saw him, I knew this was my dog.