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<   No. 3884   2018-12-03   >

Comic #3884

1 Caption: Morning: {the smoking remains of the inn in the background}
2 Alvissa: Why do I even bother?
3 Kyros: Hey, it wasn't me.
3 Lambert: Nor me.
3 Dwalin: Dinnae luik at me. {translation: Don't look at me.}
3 Draak: Not Draak.
4 Alvissa: Mordekai?
4 Mordekai: Yep, I can vouch for all of them.

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We're back with brand new comics after the puppy hiatus! (More on that below.)

To create the smoke I used a new Photoshop smoke effect brush that I downloaded. It seems that every smoke effect brush you can find for Photoshop is based on white smoke. Although it's easy enough to change it and use any colour you want. I figure that white smoke doesn't really fit the smouldering remains of a medieval inn.

Now, an update on the puppy status:

Newlands Park recline

Here's what Scully looks like at the moment! She's now (3 December 2018) just over eight months old. I believe she's fully house-trained - her last in-house toilet accident was back on 10 October. (And that was exacerbated by me and my wife being too busy to take her outside when she rang her toilet bell. Her last accident before that was way back on 3 September.) We've trained Scully to ring a small bell we have hanging by the front door when she wants to go out for a toilet, and it works well. (We live in an upstairs apartment - she can't go outside on her own.)

There were two main things we did to get on top of Scully's training and reclaim our sleep and spare time. The first, unfortunately, was we had to find a new home for our kitten Mulder. We had hoped that Mulder and Scully would get along and keep each other company, but as the weeks went by it became clear that they didn't have enough personal room in our apartment, and they were squabbling and fighting more often than not. This was affecting Mulder's health in particular, as she was stressed and trying to mark territory by urinating all over the house. For the sake of both animals, we had to separate them. We gave Mulder back to Pet Rescue, where we'd got her, and they found her a good new home.

The second thing was to train Scully to sleep in a dog crate at night. This calmed her down a lot, and got her to hold her bladder for progressively longer throughout the night so we could get some sleep. Over a few weeks I reduced getting up every 2 hours to take her down for a toilet to every 3 hours, every 4 hours, and eventually Scully could sleep for a full 8 hours without needing to toilet. Combined with the bell training for during the day, it became a lot easier to manage. Not having to constantly follow Scully around the house in case she might suddenly pee on the carpet was a huge step forward.

We've taken Scully to beginner and intermediate puppy schools with a professional trainer, about six lessons in each course. We've learnt a lot about how to train a dog, and Scully has learnt a lot too. She more or less understands and obeys the commands: Sit, Down (lie down), Stand, Stay, Come here, Leave it (don't pick up something), Off (don't jump up on something), Okay (stop sitting/staying and do whatever), Touch (touch something with your nose), and most recently Fetch (chase and fetch a ball, returning it to me for another throw). We're still working on Heel (walk by my side) - she's a rather reluctant walker a lot of the time.

She's mostly well behaved. She doesn't bite - she will lick and put her jaws around your hand but doesn't clamp down with any force even though she's obviously capable given how she attacks her chew toys. She hardly ever barks, only when really excited. She is gentle with all people including young children, and with other dogs. And (thankfully) she's never once chewed or destroyed anything in the house that we didn't specifically give her as a chew toy. No chewed shoes or socks or furniture or wires or anything, which we consider a real blessing given the stories we've heard about some other dogs!

If you'd like to see more photos of Scully over the past few months, I have a Flickr album here.

In summary, things are definitely much, much better than when I went on hiatus, and I now have the time again to resume regular Irregular Webcomic! webcomics, a month earlier than I originally announced!

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