Launching into Orbit: Vol. 1


After some weeks or months of consideration, triggered by my first actual bout of puppy fever, we decided to get a dog. I took the boys to the library, and we got a fat stack of dog books. While I devoured some Cesar Millan, the boys huddled around breed books and learned about favorable characteristics. Finally, we decided we’d never be ready, but we were educated.

Yesterday, we went to PetSmart to check out the rescue adoption gig they have every Sunday. There were lots of cuties there, annnnd plenty of other ones. Two adolescent dogs caught our attention. One was a brown and white Pointer mix, with big light eyes. The other was a Black Lab mix that Brian found and learned he had started some training to be a support dog for a young boy with balance issues. His foster family said his name was Diesel and the woman who found him said he had to have been born around March or April of 2012. We were permitted to walk him around a bit. He walked very close to my side, and wanted to lead a bit, but he was patient and pretty quick about redirection. His temperament was very calm and steady and only once “verbally” corrected another shelter dog who had been harassing him all day with bad dog manners. We haven’t heard him bark since. The boys fell in love with him and I think he reminded Brian of his childhood dog, Pete. I thought he seemed like a very cool dog, but I mentally weighed the pros and cons of the hard work of raising a puppy from scratch vs. the hard work of training/rehabbing a dog with baggage. He sold us with his temperament and personality.

When the store says adoptions will be held from 1-4 p.m., they apparently mean it will take you from 1 to 4 to get through the process. After many forms and many questions, the foster mom was almost in tears to have found a good fit for Diesel. We grabbed a few supplies, snapped a few pictures and we all walked Diesel to the Flex, where he happily leaped in the back.

As soon as we got home, we took him for a long walk and discussed alternative names. He had been adopted once by a family that left him tied to a tree

He’d been adopted once by a family that left him tied to a tree for extended amounts of time, so he developed a habit of winding himself around the tree. If you stand still, he might wrap you up in a leash. So we zeroed in on some circular themes and landed on Orbit.

By the home stretch of the walk, he was getting the hang of who was boss and even walking nicely with Elijah. By this morning, he’d forgotten his walking manners again, but by the end of a long walk, he was heeling nicely.

Last night, we put a blanket down for Orbit in the boys’ room. He followed anyone who walked out, except for Brian. We think a tall guy was mean to him at some point. He doesn’t panic about Brian, but he’s not that interested in him yet either. Orbit followed me from boy to boy as I tucked them in. Then he relaxed on his blanket. When I got up to turn on the boy’s story CD, he followed me. When we went downstairs to bed, he followed. Brian dashed back up to get my phone, and Orbit didn’t care to follow him back out. As far as anyone knows, Orbit and the boys stayed upstairs in their beds all night! That’s a first for the boys!

Brian got up early, and Orbit was downstairs waiting to show Brian how much he didn’t care by going back upstairs to the boys. Orbit came down a while after I got up. He heard a sneeze upstairs and ran to check the boys. But they were sleeping, so he came back out. Someone sniffed so he checked again. This is just to say, he’s been keeping very close tabs on everyone and greets everyone that emerges or migrates. Except you-know-who.

Orbit pays no mind to having his food or toys removed from him (though rumor has it he objects to sharing toys with other dogs), or having scarves tied on him, and is patient about having his feet and face touched. All good signs. Today on our walk, a yappy dog came running out at him and he paid little mind. He sniffs at food we make, but doesn’t beg. He doesn’t jump up on people much, unless he gets excited playing, and then might do it once or twice, but he listens pretty well.

I’ve brought his toys out one at a time. He keeps thinking he can play with our happy face volleyball, so we have some learning to do there. He has a big goofy bunny toy. When the boys gave it to him, he began to “orbit” the house with it. He walked/trotted the circle of the living room and kitchen a zillion times. Wasn’t sure if he was on a quest and didn’t realize he kept making right turns or if this was great fun to him. Then he went the other direction, I guess to unwind.

The blur with the bunny
Hello down there!

After catching onto the amount of chicken nuggets he is accustomed to getting, it’s no wonder he has little interest in his actual food. I mixed it with a tablespoon of chicken salad and he gave it a few munches, but clearly, he’d prefer a Big Mac.

Orbit gets no end of joy out of running up the stairs, across the catwalk, and back down again. Maybe a loop around the house and back up again. Last night it included a really impressive bed jumping finale at the end of the run that sort of doubled as a springboard for a return run. It took two runs for us to catch up and halt the bed leaping part. It was also fairly priceless to gauge his amusement with being able to see down from the catwalk.

Ian tried to take Orbit out in the back yard this morning, but Orbit wanted them to go wave at a school bus, so they did. We’re working on getting the boys some pack leader presence that a 75 lb dog will listen too. They’re all really doing great for the first day. I’m sure we’ll have lots of great antics and adventures together.

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