Saturday, October 07, 2017

Puppy stuff

Many people told me I'd be better off adopting a shelter dog that was already grown rather than a puppy, because that way I wouldn't have the trials of housebreaking, chewed-up shoes and furniture, and so forth.  I told them I didn't want another dog with "issues" like Iris, and I know what to do about the chewing.  Oh, and housebreaking?  A piece of cake.  

And really, it was going smoothly for the first five days, with only a couple of minor accidents.  Then came the poop-storm on Thursday.  Gabe was very ill and wouldn't eat or drink, but was obviously feeling better that evening, even playing and drinking a little water.  Yesterday, Friday, on his first time outside the house for the day his bowels were obviously back to normal.  Crisis over, right?  He played, frisked, and ate like there was no tomorrow.  I decided to ride to the city with Cliff for his 2 minutes of radiation, so I put Gabe in his kennel, turned on the Alexa Tap and set it on his cage playing country music, and left.  When we returned I opened the door of the cage and released my happy, playful puppy, who ran circles around the room.  Took him out, he peed and I gave him more time in case something more urgent came up.  The only thing that came up was his cat playmate, which distracted him from any business he might have conducted.  Back in the house I started our mid-day meal.  I looked around and didn't see a puppy, so I called him.  He came running from my bedroom, happy to be of service.  A little later I walked through the bedroom to the bathroom and said, "What's that smell?"

Yeah, way over, hidden in the farthest corner, was a nice little puppy mess.  Could have been worse, though.  No diarrhea.    But yesterday evening he went out of sight behind a chair in the living room WITH ME WATCHING HIM GO BACK THERE!!!  Once hidden, he made a puddle of liquid poop there.  I put him outside with a sigh and fetched a bucket of Spic-and-Span water and the Spot Shot.  Cliff remarked that if this keeps up, I'll have the whole carpet cleaned, one spot at a time.  He's a barrel of laughs.  At least, though, Gabe felt fine.  I have seen many toddlers hide someplace to poop, but never a dog.  I guess he's modest.  

Did I mention we've had three rainy days in a row?  If you've ever had a house dog, you know how they hate to go potty on a rainy day, or even just in wet grass.  So there's that.  The first rainy day I looked around at the outbuildings and lean-tos on our place and figured I'd be better off taking him into one of those shelters when it's raining.  It wouldn't hurt for Gabe to do his mess there; after all, the neighbor's dog does.  It was a perfect solution, except that I'd have to walk through rain to get him to an outbuilding, but I'm fine with that.  And then I realized Cliff had put carpet in every single outbuilding.  Yes, he's a carpet freak.  It keeps down the dust, I assume.  But I don't want to train my dog to potty on carpets.  Besides, he obviously has acquired that skill already; I don't want to encourage it.  

When friends or relatives are putting down new carpet, they call Cliff to see if he wants the old stuff and he gladly takes it.  I finally remembered one shelter that wasn't carpeted:  The part of the barn where I milked cows.  So that's where I take my puppy on rainy days, and it works fine except for his feet.  Folks, the only long-haired breed I've ever had before was Brandy, a Chow, and she was mostly an outside dog.  Canines with fuzzy feet pick up mud like crazy; I've learned this over the last few rainy days.  So I now keep a damp washcloth near the front door, carry my puppy inside after carousing with the cats in the barn, and carefully wipe off all fours.  Did I really sign up for this?  (It's worth it.)

So, in an ideal world with no rain and where diarrhea is non-existent, house-training is a piece of cake.  In an imperfect world, though, ones patience is tried.  We'll get through this, but it reminds me of a preacher I used to hear, and his favorite sermon; at least I think it must have been, since over a period of five or six years I heard it at least four times.  It was based on a single verse in the Old Testament about David's mighty men, and here it is:    "Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, mighty in deeds, struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day."  I Chronicles 11:22

The title of the sermon seemed to be "The Very Bad Day".  I never really got the whole lesson from it, since anybody fool enough to go chasing after a lion alone pretty much deserves what he gets.  Poor guy went out on a snowy day, so that was his choice.  He should have stayed home near the fire.  As stupid as he was, I wouldn't be surprised if he was the one who dug the pit he fell into.  

But I digress.  My point is that I feel a little like that man today.  

"I got a puppy.  The puppy got diarrhea.  And then it rained."  Donna 73:10 (my age and the month of the year).  

Not quite the end of the story, though, because I love my puppy and we will work through this and come out smiling (or, in his case, barking) and the rug will be clean.  Unlike Benaiah, I'm willing to admit that I DID sign up for this.  On the bright side, 1500 years from now no preacher will be making a sermon out of my story, and my name will be long forgotten.  Although I admit I have lived through some stories that WOULD make sermon fodder, most of them featuring me as a bad example. 


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Another day in the life of a woman with a new puppy.

First, I'll let you know my husband went for his first radiation treatment this morning, because husbands top dogs in importance.  I won't be going along for the ride most days, since our Little Princess is usually here on weekdays.  Today, though, is a rainy day, there's no child here, and yet I'm at home.  Why?  Because at 5 AM I decided to make my favorite honey-wheat bread in the bread machine, forgetting how long it takes the bread to get done.  Twenty minutes sooner and I'd have gone with him.

On the puppy front, though, my being home may be a good thing:  Gabe is doing fine in the crate beside the bed at night, but I know if we leave him in there at a different time, without my voice to comfort him, he'll be whining and crying for quite a while before he wears out.  I hate to do that to him so early in his time with us.  Not to mention puppy diarrhea!  

Yes, I took him out as soon as I uncrated him this morning and he did all the business a puppy should and could do.  It was dark, so I couldn't monitor everything closely, but I do know he pooped (straining for quite a while) and peed.  I'm glad that when he has to go, he doesn't mind rainy weather and soaking wet grass.  

After I brought him in, he didn't do his usual eating, running, and playing.  He only wanted to lay on my lap.  Odd, I thought, but maybe he's just now settling in.  I took him out again when I went to feed the cats after waking Cliff up.  I put him back inside before I started to distribute the cat food, since I couldn't feed them as usual outside on their table because of rain; I opened the door to the back porch and let them eat there, on the floor.  As I put Gabe inside, I told Cliff, "He just peed, so he should be OK."

When I came he was at the north window watching outside, but five minutes later I saw him sniffing around at the front door and figured he might want out.  That's when I saw poop puddles all around the vicinity of the door.  At that point I realized why he hadn't been so perky earlier:  bellyache!  On the bright side, he chose to do this at the front door where I generally let him out, so he may have already learned where to go when he wants out.  I cleaned up the mess with some Spic-and-Span and Spot-Shot.  

Once this incident was behind us, Gabe got the burst of energy he usually has right out of bed.  I have no idea what brought the tummy issues on, since he's on the same food he's always had at his birth home.  Perhaps the cat poop he ate didn't agree with him?  Or maybe the roly-poly, ugly white worm he had as a snack yesterday.

Yesterday we took him to the local vet for his first visit; one of the breeder's requirements, if we wanted their health guarantee to hold up, was a vet visit within the first seven days.  I had Gabe chipped, and got his first application of Ivermectin.  The lady at the front desk remarked that he was much calmer than most puppies; I told her he seems very smart, and already knows his name and the meaning of "no".  She was quite impressed when later, as we were getting ready to leave, he began chewing at my finger, I said "no", and he immediately stopped chewing.  I felt like a proud mom (I know what you're thinking as you read this last statement, Cliff... don't judge).

Both Cliff's sisters, even the one in St. Louis, swear by the vet at Lexington because he charges so much less than city vets; that's what took me in that direction.  Honestly, I think I like the ones in Odessa better and the prices probably are no higher.  But now that I've started, I'll stay put unless there's a reason to switch.

Once again I'm wondering how people can afford to have two or three dogs:  The maintenance is higher than a non-pet-owner could ever imagine, or maybe they know, and that's why they are pet-free.  I haven't yet priced grooming, four or more times yearly.  I don't have a comb and brush for Gabe yet, or even a real dog bed!  All this expense comes as no surprise, though.  I thought it through before getting a dog and decided it was worth it at this point in my life.  I didn't want a dog that sheds, and grooming is just part of the expense.

I promise this isn't going to be a blog all about my dog, but I'm on a journey I haven't been on since I had my mongrel puppy, Mandy, and she was an inside/outside dog; so there wasn't really any housebreaking to be done.  

So I leave this with you and hope those of my readers who aren't crazy about dogs will put up with my enthusiasm for now.  I'm sure the puppy-blogging will fade into the background eventually.