Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ava's Gotcha Day - Part II

This is extremely image heavy. Just to warn you =]
And the first bit is actually a repost of the first part of this blog, but I really screwed up that one so I thought I'd just redo it. I uploaded the wrong version for a scheduled update while we were out of town, then I needed to actually finish the blog. So, here it is! Enjoy!

I’ve always wanted a husky, at least since I was in the second grade. That’s when I read the Call of the Wild and I was hooked on the idea of a husky. About five years later, I got Snickers, a mix with mostly German Shepherd in him, and then a few years later, I finally got Ava. I spent a few years reading up on huskies and found out that they were much more than just really pretty sled dogs, but I found all of their weird quirks endearing – and I still do. I contacted some breeders, and because of that I learned that there’s a huge difference between a “good breeder” and a “breeder.” Because of Ava, I learned everything about the world of dog breeding, about holistic care, and even about good foods because, before I started researching for a husky, Snickers was eating Beneful. I was saving for a husky from one of three or four breeders (in fact, I dubbed my first bank account The Husky Puppy Fund). Then I spotted her on petfinder when she was 8 weeks old and that was it.

Two days later, my Dad took a few days off work so we could drive from WV to SC to pick her up since I’m so bad with directions that I’d never make it there alone. We finally made it to the rescue about three hours later than we’d planned – and four hours later than mapquest had said we would. The rescue was really based in someone’s house. He was a musher who had several huskies himself, as well as several rescued huskies up for adoption, including Ava’s two littermates and her parents, and a few wolves rescued from people who thought they’d make cute pets. It was storming so bad that we’d had to stop several times and we still couldn’t really see, so we had to run into the house where he already had her inside and waiting. He was cradling her when we came in and dried off a bit. We talked for a little while, although I don’t actually remember any of the conversation because I was locked onto her and resisting the urge to snatch her and cuddle her myself. He stopped midsentence, looked at me and smiled, then went, “Here, I suppose you want this?” and handed her to me. We stayed for about an hour, just talking about huskies in general before finally deciding to head home. She spent the entire 13 hour ride home curled up in my arms. Even the guy from the rescue said he’d never seen a puppy take to someone so fast and so completely.

And here’s the weird thing, or perhaps the perfect thing. As we were leaving to get her, I had the extreme sense of déjà vu, reminding me of a dream that I’d forgotten. In the dream, I had been going to South Carolina to pick up a small female husky puppy, with a red coat and blue eyes. And there wasn’t a single breeder in South Carolina that I’d considered going to.

When we finally did make it home, she immediately made herself at home and stole Snick’s bone while he was trying to figure out what the little ball of fluff was, why it was in his house, and why it kept wanting to chew on him. It took him about three weeks to completely warm up to her. First of all, he’s a pretty shy, timid big guy – really the epitome of a gentle giant. Secondly, Ava had no concept of the hierarchy of the house, so to speak. She moved right in like she owned the place and was absolutely merciless to Snickers when it came to playing. He was almost too nice to put her in her place, but he finally did.

Back when she was small enough to fit in the bathroom sink, she had her first bath. That was also the first time I heard the Husky Death Howl.

The next week, we had some family drop in with their min-pin mix, so he and Ava got to play while they were about the same size. This was also when she discovered that she loved to swim in the waterbowl outside.

From when she was just home with us, I made sure that Ava was on the furniture often because I wanted her to know she was allowed there. Luckily with Mom’s limited knowledge of dog training (even more limited than mine), she didn’t see a problem with it and just assumed that Ava would just stop getting on stuff when she was slightly bigger. Nope! She’s still a furniture dog and is currently napping on the couch, with her head resting on a pillow.

From an early age, she also learned to attack Mom’s knitting. This is her showing off her trophy from battling an afgan and apparently winning.

She’s always known how to use a pillow with no problems!

Ten weeks old! Just a week after we brought her home.

The very first hole she dug. D’awww! Coincidentally, this is also the very first hole in the backyard that nearly snapped my ankle…

We still had Teddy, a puppy that someone dumped at our house, at this point. She absolutely adored Teddy and they played so much! Teddy had a lot of issues, but over the few months that we had him, we were working them out and trying to find someone to adopt him. One of his bigger issues though was that he absolutely panicked if he was confined to a fenced in yard for more than a few minutes, so he stayed outside of the fence most of the time. These pictures were taken just a few days before he was hit by a car and had to be put down. Ironically, the person who ran him over was a regular in the neighborhood and had to have seen him before, plus they were on their way to the church up the road and never even braked before or after running him over. People can be so worthless, can’t they? But that’s another story.

Ava loved the little water dish that we had outside and, whenever she played and got hot, she’d run to it to cool down. It was the official Husky Cooling Station. Just two or three months after the first picture, she’d gotten so big that we had to upgrade her to the Husky Cooling Station Deluxe – aka a big tub filled with water that came up to her neck.

I also used the tub to get her to chase a diving ring. She actually caught it…Amazing…

Yup. Still a furniture dog!

And yes, still stealing things from Snickers. I love the before and after pictures though!

Passed out after running in circles in the new living room arrangement.

Queen of the Couch.
And the recliner.
And often the loveseat.

For her six month birthday I bought her a new crate. Up until then she’d been using Snickers’ old plastic crate – which she could escape from pretty easily. I wanted a wire one, so I started shopping around and pricing. And then I saw it – a hot pink crate with all the little extras that I wanted like the dual doors, decent size, and amazingly cheap price. Gotta love ebay! I was a bit worried though, thinking that since it was cheap it’d be crappy, but it really has stood up wonderfully.

For her first Christmas, she went to go get her picture taken with Santa at the local petstore. Well, not exactly local, but only an hour away…Anyways, she hated Santa. It took us about 15 minutes to get a decent shot with her because she just wouldn’t hold still – and she kept trying to get behind Santa in his chair. For Christmas, they dogs also got tons of stuff. Ava got to pick out a huge raccoon toy at the petstore after dealing with Santa – and she actually did pick it out herself! She pulled it off the shelf and everything. It was, of course, the most expensive $20 plushie in the aisle…I think the favorite was the box of five 36” bully canes though. Definite keeper!

We finally moved the furniture away from the window because she was ruining it. But we gave her a table so she could sit and watch the birds. She really is just a big cat….

Fast forward to Easter and Miss Ava has channeled the spirit of the Easter Bunny. But what the picture doesn’t show is that afterwards I gave her a yummy dehydrated rabbit’s food to gnaw on. Very festive, I guess?

For Ava’s birthday, which actually was on Easter, I insisted on taking her with me to the family dinner at my grandparents’ house. We took both dogs so they could run around since my grandparents have a ton of property, although they didn’t get to play with their dogs because everyone was convinced that there would be a dogfight if two dogs that didn’t live together ever got to meet. Sigh. But it was fun nonetheless, although Ava isn’t allowed back because she scared the chickens so badly that they didn’t lay for a week…

Then for Ava’s birthday dinner she had pupcakes – basically meatloaf minus the onions and ketchup, with canned “cheese” for frosting. And a slim-jim candle, of course! Snickers had one too, but I didn’t have time to take more pictures because he ate it so fast. He literally took the whole thing in his mouth and it was gone. Ava, on the other hand, took about ten minutes to completely polish off hers. When I set a plate of food down on the little folding table in front of her though, she was obviously confused and thought it was some sort of test/trick. It was adorable!

Petsmart was having a huge sale on dog sweaters to clear out the winter ones, so I couldn’t resist buying a few for them. They were $3! And actually big enough to fit Snick and Ava! Granted, the hot pink one is Ava’s but its sized really big so it fits Snickers as well. You can really see how big she’d gotten, as opposed to when she was first home with us.

Also for her birthday, we outfitted Ava’s crate with a bed and bumpers that Mom and I made for her. We thought that she’d be old enough to not shred them. She did a little bit of shredding though, so now we’re sans one bumper and some of the stuffing from her bed. So now she’s down to her old bed that she isn’t so pleased with. She also got a custom – made collar/harness/ID tag holder from the lovely 3pooches on Etsy. She finally stopped having massive growth spurts long enough for me to decide that it was “safe” to buy a big girl set, so to speak. Its made exactly for her, from the sizing and color and fabric choices down to the pink hardwares on the buckles and all.

Click me!
Just a few days after her new walking outfit came in the mail, we went to the Walk-n-Wag for the local no-kill shelter. I won’t bog down your internets with all of those pictures, so you can click on the picture above to go see everything from the Walk!

Up until just a few weeks ago, yes, she’s still a furniture dog!

On Ava’s actual Gotcha Day we were on a roadtrip with her (which is why this blog’s posting is so screwed up and has taken me so long to get it right…), so I won’t include all of those pictures here. You’ll just have to wait until I get around to posting all of the pictures from it!

And that chronicles Ava’s first of many years with us. I can’t even begin to tell you how great it’s been, or even how much her mere presence here has changed the feel of our house and made it into more of a home. She’s every bit the husky I thought I’d be getting and a whole lot more!


  1. What a great year in review! Ava is beautiful!

  2. Thanks Bella! Ava's had a very special first year with us c: