Today I had a friend and her daughter stop by. They were kind enough to pick up #1 after her club meeting after school today. It was nice to talk to her. Adult conversation can mean so much more when you're with kids all day every day. Then we invited my parents over this evening. We played some SkipBo and chatted a bit. It's nice to get to invite them over to "our place" once in awhile, even if it's a hotel room for now.
Moose had been doing well in his duty as Service Dog. Unfortunately, I think that perhaps he, like Nadia before him, has picked up on something else about people that even I can't explain. Moose is the most friendly dog. He loves kids and people, other dogs, he's curious about everything. He was very well socialized as a pup, even visiting the Renaissance Fair in his "in training" vest (goodness it's so tiny, he was so little). But so far in our stay at the hotel, he has run into a couple of people he didn't like. The first housekeeper to come in on the very first morning, he wouldn't stop barking at her. I thought that it might be because he wasn't used to random strangers coming into our home, and despite putting his vest on him (wearing the vest means he has different rules to abide by - no barking, no eating, no getting up on furniture, etc.), and keeping him on the leash at the far end of the room, he distinctly did not like her - and I don't know why. All subsequent housekeeping staff have been met with a single woof of acknowledgement, a sniff, tail wags, and kisses. Likewise, fellow hotel patrons are met with the same greeting woof, and if they're close enough, he sniffs them and then is fine. But this morning when we got into the elevator, two men got on with us. The first man was greeted with his customary woof, but when the second man boarded the elevator, Moose changed completely. His stance changed to slightly hunched down, leaning against my leg, the fur above his shoulders stood up, he barked once and then growled at the man the entire elevator ride, despite me trying to get him to stop. I've never seen him growl at anyone before this except that first housekeeper and that was more of a whine. I wonder what he's sensing that I'm not.
Nadia used to have strange responses to people sometimes. She was always the friendliest dog, she loved everyone. But sometimes around certain people, she would avoid them, refuse to go near them, cower, or cringe away from their touch. It wasn't until she had responded this way to several people while I had her at work with me over several weeks time that a coworker pointed out that she only did this with people who looked or smelled stoned, or had pot in their purse or pockets. She was responding to marijuana! I had no idea, since I don't use drugs and don't associate with people who do (I'm clueless). It made me wonder what her previous home was like that after years of love and training, she was still terrified of that smell. I wonder now if Moose is picking up on something similar. There must be some reason for his sudden change in behavior toward certain people. It's certainly not very good for a dog trained to be a service animal to be growling at people, and I can't have him growling at people, regardless of why he's doing it. I'm not sure how to avoid the behavior. With Nadia we would just walk a different way or stay away from those people that she found to be scary. But what do you do with a dog who growls at people? This guy in the elevator, he wouldn't go over and sniff him like he usually does - he was adamantly distrusting and showing body language I've not seen him do before. A fear response perhaps, trying to be bold to intimidate someone he's scared of? I'm not sure, but it's got to stop.
Anyway, this ear issue I think has been going on for a while. I've been feeling a little off balance lately. Kind of like the feeling when the elevator stops and you feel for an instant like you're still moving. Or that hesitation when you have to recalibrate your movement and balance when you step off of an escalator. I've been having these moments sporadically for several days now. A sure sign of inner ear troubles.
I'm really proud of Moose. He came to me a (literally) broken little puppy, and he's become such a handsome and very helpful dog. He's so intuitive. I feel like he was really just meant to be with our family. We're so lucky to have him. He has proven to be immensely and incalculably valuable during some stressful events with six Aspergians. His closest bonds seem to be with me, #3 and #5. He can read us like a book and knows just when we need him.
It barely got above freezing today. I was at the house about 10am to feed and water bunnies. The tarps were frozen stiff, what water was left in their bowls was frozen, and there were icicles hanging off the bunny barn. Brrrr! I did see movement in Charlotte's nest box, but didn't dare dig through the box to check further. I did not check in Gretchen's box. I did add straw to Alice's nest box space, and a nest box with pine shavings and straw into Snowflake's cage. They're both due around the 29th. Of course, this cold snap and my inability to check their cages multiple times throughout the day to warm kits may mean two more lost litters in this cold snap. Both have lost a litter due to the cold previously. This should have been good planning with litters due the end of April into May, but this is just poor weather at just the wrong time. I'm hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Both of these litters should be George's.
No word on either house... No idea when our current house will be repaired so we can go home, and no word on the new house or how the mortgage company is doing with their inspections and such. I guess we're really just waiting now on both ends. If push comes to shove, the close date on the new house is 22 days away, which is only two weeks before the last day of school for the girls (and three weeks before the last day of school for #2 who is schooled online). That's not too much of an overlap before we can get moved into the new place and put this flooding mess behind us one way or another.