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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Iko Needs A Puppy

I've been half-heartedly looking for an Australian shepherd ever since Chelly died two years ago. Greg never stopped looking and he is constantly sending me links for Aussie rescues, but I kept turning them down, saying, she's not the one.

Iko has convinced me I need to get a third dog, not for me, but for him. He is still slightly neurotic whenever Greg has to leave, and he goes into a chewing fit. It starts on the second day after Greg has gone. Maybe that's when he realizes, "Oh no, dad's not coming back. I'm stuck with Godzilla Woman!"

The dog has teeth like a chainsaw. He can rip through thick leather in one bite. It's too painful to recount the things he's destroyed. And although I can time it to the day when he starts to get anxious, I know I can never trust him alone. --and no, I am not going to put him on doggie downers.

Tank will play with Iko early in the morning and after their midmorning snack so he is perfectly content and occupied. The chewing almost always happens in the evening (when I'm trying to write).

The trouble is Iko is so unpredictable. He can go days being a perfect angel, then out of the blue, he'll get anxious and chews on the first comfort 'toy' he sees. So I wondered...what if I got a PM puppy. Someone to keep him busy at night and make him forget that daddy's not here.

Right now, Iko has to be with me 24/7. No fun for either of us because I have to keep whatever room I'm in with a shut door. Poor Tank thinks I'm mad at him since he can't be with mommy whenever he wants.

I will renew my efforts to get another Aussie, and this time it won't matter if she's a rescue or not. She just has to stand up to a frenetic rottie with abandonment issues.

I'm not looking forward to potty training and late night whimpers but Iko was housebroken within three weeks and he caught on to our schedule fast. I'm sure the next puppy will catch on quickly too, especially with two brothers teaching her the ropes.


Now that Greg is getting his shop, we have started talking about goats. I am excited! We've already marked off where their pen will be and it shouldn't be too much work to put up the fence.

Greg was ready to build the fence right away, but it's already late summer. I suggested it would be better to build the fence in the fall and buy the goats in early spring so we wouldn't have to overwinter them.

We're not going to raise too many, maybe two kids and a bred yearling to start. I know almost nothing about goats, so this will be a new animal to me, but I'm sure I'll learn fast.

After raising belligerent pigs, goats should be a piece of cake.

Though the words of a local breeder have been haunting me ever since I talked to him. He says: From the moment they're born, goats are looking for a place to die.


Goats have to be regularly wormed and monitored. And because they like to munch on almost anything, you have to make sure there is nothing dangerous in their pens.

I suppose that's no different than Iko. Except that Iko chews on only the most expensive Oriental rugs. Goats are less selective.

That poor Aussie puppy is going to be busy.


On the other side of the pond, Jayne Ferst is holding a contest to celebrate sending out her first query. Jayne has selected some awesome priz
es, so do go over and put yourself on her Follower list.

I must admit I am relieved that Jayne is finished with her
query. I thought poor Ginger would never get fed.

Isn't she a cute kitty?

I wonder if I can send Iko over there. Maybe Ginger can teach him some kitty yoga.


Marianne Arkins said...

You make me want to hit PetFinder right now to help you look! LOL...

Good luck with your goats. We had them growing up and never had any health issues. OTOH, Suzanne McMinn raises them, too, and has has lost two of hers quite unexpectedly. You should read her blog if you don't already.

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: Suzanne McMinn

I love her posts, but I read so many blogs, and she keeps her posts truncated. If the headline doesn't grab me right away, I rarely click through to read the rest.

I really hate going through extra steps to read blogs--unless I plan to leave a comment.

Ref: goats
We know people who give absolutely no care at all to their goats and they thrive. Other people lose theirs left and right.

I wonder if it might be something in Suzanne's soil. There's a bad bacteria that harbors in soil that can be deadly to animals. Offhand, I can't remember what it's called.

I used to watch for signs of it when we raised rhea and emu.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh my, goats, huh? You are adventurous. LOL

Maria Zannini said...


LOL! yeah, I'm just crazy, er...eccentric that way. :)

Joanne said...

Poor Iko. It's funny the way dogs get nervous like that, and there seems to be no stopping them. Did you ask your vet if there's any behavior tactics, some sort of training, that might help?

Liz Fichera said...

When goats have babies, don't they have multiple births? Or am I thinking of lambs? Hmmm. Can't you tell I'm a city girl? ;-) Either way, it beats have to mow grass.

Maria Zannini said...


Vets today. LOL. Sometimes I think I know more than they do.

We've raised dogs for over 35 years, including a few with emotional scars, but Iko has been a tough one.

At least we know his trigger. Now it's just a matter of venting all that emotional energy.

Falen (Sarah) said...

i LOVE goats!
my sister and i want to buy a farm together so we can have milk goats and chickens and scottish highland cows and gypsy vanner horses and...well the list goes on.

If it makes you feel any better, the last aussie we had as a puppy came to us at 10 weeks and was completely potty trained after day one. So maybe new aussie puppy will be like that?

Maria Zannini said...

Liz: Yup, goats can indeed have twins and even triplets.

Ref: grass

I'm looking forward to them eating the poison ivy. They love that stuff!

Maria Zannini said...


Invite me over when you get your farm. I'd love to see it! That would be my dream, though I don't think I have enough pasture for cows.

Chelly, my last Aussie was so smart. She never had an accident in the house. Maybe all Aussies are like that. I love that breed!

Lydia Kang said...

You're having goats? Fascinating! Are you going to milk them and make cheese, or are they purely as pets?

Maria Zannini said...


I was afraid someone would ask me this question. :|

...they will be meat goats. Though at some point in the future, I might try milking and making cheese.

Dru said...

Good luck searching for a new puppy. I'm sure the one that fits you will be found soon.

Renee Miller said...

Poor Iko. My husband works at a place called IKO, that's kind of...weird.

Anyway, Iko's problems just turned a light on in my brain. We have a Boston Terrier and a Black Lab and both are terrible when my husband is gone. Well, compared to when he's here they're bad. They chew, wrestle, bark and the terrier poops in closets. I never considered they were 'anxious' or upset because Kurt was gone. Interesting. Well, they'll have to get over it, I am not getting another dog.

Good luck on the new puppy. And goats?! My youngest wants a goat desperately. She's very jealous.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: I know it sounds silly to be so picky, but that's what happens when you had the perfect dog.

Chelly was my best friend and I can never replace her.

Maria Zannini said...


Dogs are such pack animals and they don't like their routine messed with.

I'm hoping Iko will grow out of it. Greg won't be able to move in with me for at least a year or more. I may be out of furniture by then.

Sherri said...

You're making ME want to go find another Blue Heeler *sob*

Good luck with the goats, all I can think is cheese and milk, yum *g*

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: I love blue heelers, but I'm afraid that's one dog that would be too smart for me. LOL.

They're very popular down here.

jackie b central texas said...

Maria know just what you mean about having had the "perfect dog" and it is not a matter of replacing Chelly but allowing yourself to open up your heart to the love and affection that will be yours once a pup is picked and brought into the fold. As far as Iko and all his nervous energy being tamed by having another playmate, I hope it works out for you in exactly that way.
Goats, may work. My husband has a friend with goats, he pastures the herd with guard dogs and they are pretty much left to their own devices and do fine.
BTW, cabrito is supposed to be pretty good. Let us know when you have some from your own source....

jackie ^_^

Maria Zannini said...


Cabrito is the reason Greg is so gung-ho on raising goats. LOL.

I'm looking forward to it too.

Anonymous said...

I've lived with a very neurotic dog before. It's not a lot of fun. He'd jump to his feet if either of us moved, and he even drove our other pets crazy with his pacing and his nervous tension. Good luck with your little neurotic.

Maria Zannini said...


Iko is a year old, so I have high hopes he will eventually grow out of it.

Either that or I am going to change my decor to zen-empty.

Guinevere said...

I miss having a dog, but your post reminded me of what I don't miss - the stress that can go with caring for them!

Of course, my cats are semi-destructive as well, but we used to have a rottie and a high-strung husky and man... they could do some damage.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! It's nice to meet you. :) Goats sound exciting... I can't have them in my community (boo, mowing is no fun) but I look forward to reading about your adventures. :)

Maria Zannini said...


For me, it's either kids or dogs. Dogs are less trouble. LOL!

Ref: goats
Looks like we'll be learning about them together. :)

Jayne said...

Oh poor Iko. I hope he gets less anxious soon. And raising goats sounds so exciting, and different! Will be looking forward to reading about how that goes. :)

And thank you for shouting out my contest, and putting up the picture of Ginger! He is a cute kitty, isn't he? Although he is not much of a zen cat for kitty yoga!

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Jayne!

Ginger's a he!

Sorry. Let me go back and give him back his manhood.

...Okay, all better now. It's a BOY!

Thanks for stopping by!

Stacy said...

A friend of mine used to raise goats and I was there a few years ago when the babies were born and I was able to hold one just after it had been delivered - it was incredible! An experience that I will always remember and feel lucky to have had. I love that you are going to do that.

A cousin of mine raised a certain breed of pygmy goats that are also known for having bad hearts - but she stopped raising them after the second time that one of them suddenly keeled over dead when one of her dogs unexpectedly barked and scared them into having heart attacks! But I'm sure that won't happen to yours. :)

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: pygmy goats that are also known for having bad hearts...

Those aren't the fainting goats, are they?

The goats we're looking for are Boer or Boer/Spanish.

It'll be interesting to learn more about them.

Lynda Young said...

I always thought that taking on goats would be a brave move... I don't know why. lol

Maria Zannini said...


Ref: ...taking on goats would be a brave move...

Brave or stupid, time will tell. :)

catie james said...

Yeah, one thing I know about goats (from my increasingly frequent trips to the Avila Family Barn) - they STINK worse than any animal I've ever encountered. Bleh! Oh...and my dad helped raise goats throughout childhood.

Maria Zannini said...

Catie: That 'delightful' odor comes from male goats--most notably during August through March.

I'm not planning on getting a male right away. If I can, I'd like to breed my females with a male of a local breeder.