Maise – 3 Weeks of History

Much of the genesis for Two Cutes was due to Maise, my second female Keeshond.  I unearthed my writings from 2007 on her first days with me.

Week One
New adventures in Lakeville this week!  I adopted a second female Keeshond that was rescued from a puppy mill.  It has been challenging, comical, and rewarding.  At this point, my neighbor, Ruth, can get closer to Maise than I can.  I’m not letting that fact get to me…much.

She is approximately 5 years old and her name is Maise (pronounced May-zee), my creative variation of the Scottish Gaelic form of Margaret [Maisie, Maisey, Masie (all pronounced May-see)].  A few early observations:

  • Rescued 3-4 months ago from a puppy mill in Wisconsin.  Came to the Homeward Bound Rescue (www.homewardboundrescue.com) shelter pregnant.
  • One of her puppies was adopted by my former manager at Frontier and his wife.  They now have 3 Keeshonds – 2 males & 1 female.
  • Formerly named Dusk/Mama (foster home), formerly Milly (1 day – Saturday)
  • At this point, she doesn’t recognize any of her names, new or old. 

Maise began her life in Lakeville on Saturday, August 4, 2007, in the pouring rain.  I learned that puppy mill survivors don’t really know how to be dogs & need to be taught by other dogs.  For that reason, shelters recommend they be placed in homes with other dogs.  They are also leery of humans.  She won’t come to me yet & keeps 3-4 feet away from me at all times.  However, she does watch and follow me.  It’s getting better every day.  Once I’m holding her, she won’t make eye contact.  I have to catch her to get her into the kennel.  Yeah, that is hilarious at 1 AM in the morning, when she wants to go out, but won’t come back in the house.  She is not yet fully housetrained, according to her foster parents, but I haven’t seen any sign that she doesn’t have a strong command of the basics.  Two accidents this week, once in each spare bedroom.  It seems like she might be trying to make her presence known in the house.  She’s mellow and has only barked once and whined once or twice.  Her fur isn’t in ideal shape.  She looks good from the front, but mangy from the back.  She’s also started the seasonal undercoat shedding, so she’s missing a lot of fur.  Her foster family bathed her on Friday night before I saw her on Saturday.  I expect she was shaven because her fur was matted & dirty.  She was also spayed.  She’s about 5-10 pounds lighter than Izzy & shorter.  Izzy has stopped giving me that evil eye, but may not yet be convinced that this other dog is not just a visitor.  I’ve seen signs that Izzy might like her, but she’s trying not to let me see that. 

Maise’s tail has mostly been down, but there have been times when it’s up and curled.  Her ears are almost always up.  It’s different than Izzy, whose tail is curled very tightly on her back all the time, but her ears are down when she’s uncomfortable or under stress. 

Maise’s jaw is a little out of alignment, she’s missing a couple of small front teeth, and has a fang that juts out a bit, giving her a cute look.  She is now “crooked face” and Izzy retains the nick name “cute face.”  She has a spot on her back that she’s been bothering.  Vet visit next week will determine if it’s anything more than a hot spot.

 This week was spent just observing Maise and trying to understand what does and doesn’t scare her and how to develop trust.  It’s surprising how hard it is to have a dog that doesn’t want to get close to you.  I’m struggling with how to handle the housetraining.  She freaks out when cornered and doesn’t like being locked into the kennel.  She very much enjoys her freedom in the backyard.  The first day, I gave her a small rawhide and she did a little jump dance with her tail up. 

 Week Two
Each day, Maise gets more comfortable with her surroundings.  Sometime this week or last week, she jumped on the bed on her own.  We had two big thunderstorms.  Maise was sleeping on the family room floor and I took her up to the bedroom and put her on the bed to hopefully get some sleep.

Izzy is afraid of thunder and normally barks at the thunder to make it go away.  This makes it difficult to sleep during Minnesota summer thunderstorms.  I guess the thunderstorms and Maise were too much for her.  I had to retrieve Izzy during the thunderstorm from the back yard.  Once Maise discovered the bed, she was hooked.  Izzy gave her some boundaries to consider, as this is her territory.

First vet visit this week.  Vet wanted to look more closely at the spot on her back.  She shaved it and thought it was just a hot spot.  Now Maise needs to wear an old tshirt, so she doesn’t scratch at it.

Week Three
Maise seems to be developing some non-positive patterns.  She still won’t come in the house when I’m near or in the doorway.  I need to outsmart her in order to get her into the house.

Maise went to Mom’s for the first time.  It took me almost an hour to get a leash on her, and that was only after Ruth helped me by coming in behind to close the back door.  She did well at Mom’s, but we had the same problem in retrieving her.  My brother, Jason, finally nabbed her as I walked by with Maise following the treat in my hand.  Izzy stayed at Mom’s on Saturday for a break and to play with her best pal, Sadie.  Maise was much less social without Izzy.  I decided I needed to keep her constrained while outside to avoid the chase.  I took her for a walk alone and didn’t get very far.  She resisted and I wasn’t able to get further than a few houses south and not even to the corner at the north.  At one point, I was walking backwards, talking to Maise, and motivating her with a treat in my hand.  A bicyclist rode by me with a wide, knowing smile. 

Izzy had to come home on Sunday for steak dinner and to help Maise.  I’m trying the technique of a tie-out in the backyard for Maise, but having trouble limiting her.  It is hard to limit one dog and not the other.  As a result, Maise is out in the backyard on Sunday night when everyone is going to bed.  At last, I resort to going out the front door and sneaking around to the back door to close it.  Fortunately, it worked, as there was a thunderstorm that night.

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