Kate comes by her love of animals honestly. She grew up on a farm where she made her mother crazy by adopting a feral kitten. She now lives in Central Vermont with a number of rescued critters, mostly dogs - the cats have to live in the barn and a squirrel lives in her bedroom ceiling.
She began the Bree MacGowan Mystery Series based on a swank mystery hotel in the woods near her home. In the series (Moonlighting in Vermont, Califorina Schemin' and Crazy Little Thing Called Dead) Bree shares Kate's weakness for abandoned animals and owns a number of the same animals as Kate. The skunk incident in California Schemin' (the skunk tries to steal the beds out from under Bree's dogs) actually happened on Kate's porch.
I invited Kate to join us and tell us a little bit about her latest animal adventure, taking in another pup.
KATE GEORGE: I was going to wait until spring to get a new puppy. That was the wise and wonderful plan. But the thing is this puppy looks just like Bree MacGowan's Chihuahua, Beans. Bree is the protagonist of my mystery series and when I saw this baby on Petfinders and I could. Not. Resist. How could I not adopt Beans's döppelganger?
Now, I know better. If anyone ever asks me, I’ll tell them not to get a puppy in the dead of winter. Or at least don't get a puppy from the south when you live in Vermont and there’s snow on the ground.
How in the world was I going to housebreak a puppy that can't stop shivering long enough to pee?
My husband got pretty cranky about the little presents the puppy’s leaving us in the house, so I did what I vowed I never would do. I bought the baby a jacket. I swore I'd never be one of those doggy mommies . . . and yet here I am with a pipsqueak of a dog with a pink parka (with a hood) and a blue sweater.
I'm so embarrassed and she’s still not doing her duty outside. Except every so often she’ll get my hopes up by squatting in the snow –only to dash them again when she puddles in the house.
When I first started taking her out I'd put her down in the snow and she'd give me one look of scorn and head into the porch and sit at the kitchen door. The leash works a little better, but only if none of the other dogs is out. (Yes I am a multiple dog family, and the largest dog could just about swallow the smallest dog whole.)
I was hoping that when I took her out with the other dogs she’d noticed what they’re doing and learn by imitation. No such luck.
These are the conditions required for the new puppy to pee outside:
- There must be patches of ground without snow. (I live in Vermont, people. It ain't happening.)
- The temperature must be above twenty-five degrees.
- She must be on a leash and no other dogs can be out.
- The horse next farm down must not neigh.
- Coydogs and fox cubs may not yip. No smells, cars or people can waft by on the road.
Of course in a year she'll be twice the size of Beans. Not that she’ll be big - ten pounds or so of bigness is all - just bigger, noisier, and a lot less potty trained than Beans. You know I think I'm jealous, Bree never has to house train her dogs. I do that for her.
Too bad I can’t find someone to do the same for me.
HALLIE: I do love the name "Beans" for a Chihuahua. You can see that Kate lives up to her motto -- "Mystery with a side of laughter" -- even when the joke's on her.
My adventures in housebreaking are confined too potty training my kids, and I had one (not sayin' which) who was a challenge. We tried every kind of bribery just to get her to sit, and sit, and sit on her little potty chair which she did (for hours) with a book in her lap. Then she'd announce "All done!" Stand. Wipe her belly button. And pee on the floor.
So let's keep it clean, but anyone out there want to share their housebreaking story?