Meet My Pet: Onyx

This isn’t actually Onyx, but it looks exactly like him.

Shortly after buying our house we decided we wanted to get a dog. We never got one before because we weren’t sure how often we would be moving from rental to rental. The last place we were in had outdoor space for a dog but there was no guarantee we would find another place where we could have one if we moved again.

The first place we went had a couple dogs we were interested. The first one was an almost immediate “no” when we were meeting it and it went straight for a stuffed animal and started thrashing it around. It was more of a “tear it apart” than a “play with it” and we didn’t want to take any chances with Storm.

The second dog there was a Pit Mix and she was perfect. She was perfectly content to just sit on the couch with us. We applied for her and waited a few days for a response. I called the shelter after a few days of waiting because it seemed like a long time for them to decide. They told me she had already gone to a different home because we didn’t call back when they told us we were approved. I had no missed calls or messages so I confirmed they had the correct number. They did have the correct number and didn’t want to admit they hadn’t actually called us so we went somewhere else.

The second place we went was just a small place operating in a pet store. There were a couple puppies which were nice but we knew we wouldn’t have time for potty training so we wanted an adult dog. There were two black lab mixes that the store said were brothers. We wanted both but had to go with just one. I think we actually put that we would take either on the application.

They required a home visit which was fine with us. We weren’t quite moved in all the way so I was hesitant to show them one of the areas of the house. But it was where we would be taking the dog to go outside so they said they said they didn’t mind if it was dirty at the moment.

The person doing the home visit said she would be recommending we get the dog and there should be no problems. The owner of the shelter told us we could not have him because we didn’t have a fence. My wife wrote them an e-mail explaining how a fence isn’t a requirement to have a fence among other reasons why we should be allowed to have the dog we wanted. We  picked him up two days later. Needless to say we won’t be going through them ever again. All animals in the future will be coming from the Humane Society.

Neither of us liked the original name he had so we decided to name him Onyx since he is almost completely black. He just has a small amount of white on his chest and paws. I actually get confused during the winter sometimes because I think he has snow on his paws, forgetting he has white hair.

According to the shelter he was still a puppy so we got a huge bed for him to put in the living room and a large crate for when we aren’t home. When we him to the vet, they told us he was at least a year and a half old and would not be growing any more. He was a bit skinny for his size though. He was about 40 pounds when we got him, and I got him up to around 65.

He was so small compared to the bed we got him and we have a picture of him from the first day we got him laying on it. He looked so scared at first because he had only seen us a couple times before we took him. He ate the bed and we ended up replacing it with a smaller one. After he ate a couple more, we got one that was the right size and shape for him to only lay in it.

The crate ended up working for a while but we did switch to a smaller one that is better for his size. It also has the advantage of taking up less space in our bedroom.

Meeting Storm was difficult. She was afraid of him and he was afraid of her. But then when he started getting more comfortable he realized he wanted to play with her. She however, wanted to kill him. He would chase her trying to play and she would swat at him because she didn’t want to play with something his size. We would stop him because we wanted her to feel safe in her own home, especially since she was there first.

In order to take him outside we have to go down stairs to get to the back door. It was obvious he had never been on stairs before because he had no idea what to do. I had to carry him down and up the first couple days before he tried going up by himself. A couple days later he tried going down by himself but didn’t quite have it so he just slid all the way down. He got excited and went to run back up and do it again but I stopped him. He quickly figured out how to actually do it.

There were a few times when we first got him when he got away from us. I quickly figured out how to twist just right to unhook the latch on his leash. The first time was the night after we got him. My heart stopped because we hadn’t gotten him microchipped yet and he wasn’t even registered yet. I did manage to catch him after a few minutes when I called him over like I was going to pet him and play. I didn’t put him back on the leash to get him home. I carried him because I didn’t want him getting away again. I went to the store after he got away a second time and got a locking carabiner to hook him up to his leash. Eventually he got to the point where he didn’t want to twist his way off and we can put him on a regular latch if he’s not outside for long.

Shortly after we got him he was having some intestinal issues so we brought him to the vet. They told us he had gotten worms somehow. We got him the medication we needed and he got better quickly. I would suspect he got it from one of the neighborhood dogs. At the time there were a few dogs that would just wander around the area. I only know who one of them belonged to and they were aware the dog would get out of their fence. But they still made no effort to make sure the gate was shut to keep it in. I wish I knew who one of the other dogs belonged to because it tried attacking me one day when I was doing yard work.

There was one night when we needed to keep him in the gym. I think we had gotten sick in his crate or something. It was the only place where we could keep him away from the cat and any other things he could destroy because it was easy to carry everything out. We were wrong about that thought. When I got up in the morning to feed him and take him outside I opened the door and he had torn up the carpet.

I wasn’t upset because we were going to be getting rid of it anyway. I just would have liked to have done the work of redoing the floor during the warmer months because the windows needed to be open. I was pretty busy at that point in time but a couple weeks later I had taken up the rest of the carpet in the room and redone the hardwood so we could put down rubber mats to work out on.

There are a couple more fun and funny things Onyx has done but I’m going to save them for when I write about our other dog, Lucky.

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