Monday, February 21, 2011

Why We Get Puppies

Sure. It's because they're cuter than anything else on the planet.

It's also because we forget how much work it is!

Here's the way the morning went for me:

12:30 AM Puppy rattling in crate, light-sleeper Mama jumps up to rush puppy outside. Pee. Cookie. Right back to sleep.

2:30 AM Puppy dropping kong in crate and shifting around. Mama shuffles outside with puppy. Pee. Poop. Cookie. Puppy climbs back into crate and settles right back to sleep with nary a whimper or a whine. GOOD puppy. Think a thought of thank you to breeder Hannah for the early crate training!

2:45 AM Finn groans, and shifts position so his feet are in Mama's face, waking Mama up again... Shift Finn back. Tim gently snores. (Men. They get all the sleep-through-anything genes!)

5:30 AM Finn, Quill and Puppy out. Pee x 3. Puppy baby-gated in kitchen with Mama. Clean cat litters x 4. Pat cats as going. Puppy sits, attentively watching. Tim and Quill head out for a run. Finn is holding down living room furniture, snoring. (He had a tough night...)

5:40 AM Puppy play. Puppy body awareness exercises -- touching paws, mouth, legs, belly. Gentle restraint practice. More puppy play. Puppy outside. Pee. Walk. Sit and watch Mama. Walk. Sit again.

5:55 AM Puppy in crate/play pen while Mama goes to shower. Puppy screeching, "Not FAIR! This is MY Mama Time!!!" Finn gets off of chair and shuffles after me to sleep on the bathroom floor (which he never did in the PT (pre-terv) time).

6:10 AM Negotiate picking up poopy-pawed puppy (oops... should have walked longer) while staying clean (yeah, right!). Outside. Pee.  Carry her to the tub.  Hold wiggly puppy in one arm while getting out puppy shampoo and setting water to appropriate temperature. Bathe puppy and whisper words of thankfulness to breeder, Hannah for getting her used to water and baths. (She's an angel to bathe. Which I know. Because I did it 3 times in the first 36 hours we had her...)

6:20 AM dry off wriggling, wired tervie girlie who then leaps away and back to grab the towel and shake it dead, dead, dead.

6:25 AM Clean up puppy pen of puppy poop-art. Twice grabbing roll of paper towels away from said puppy's exuberant mouth. Tell Odin that No he may not reprimand the puppy for taking his paper towel roll. Puppy and Mama back to baby-gated kitchen to do morning chores.

6:35 AM Clean litter boxes again. Mia (Mama's little helper) into bathroom to await her meal. Turn to look for puppy - playing fetch-and-roll with the dog bed and a ball. Lay out cat bowls, dog bowls, bird bowls. Fill with dry foods. Check on puppy -- sitting watching me and the cats. Stack bird and dog bowls out of harm's (Odin's) way in oven while navigating around terv puppy who has become 3 of herself. Fill cat bowls with canned foods and various pills and potions. Feed the Odin-beast first. Then Aragorn, Mia, Misty, and Freya.

6:50 AM Wash cat bowls.

6:55 AM Finish preparing the dog foods. Out of sight sit-stays with zois x 1 minute while Tim (blessedly back from running) feeds the terv-child. Feed zois.

7:05 AM Tim takes puppy-child outside. Pee. Wash dog bowls.

7:10 AM Make my mocha (it's who I am). Ahhh. Walk around watching puppy and then take her outside again (pee) while I drink my mocha. Play some more - tug.

7:35 AM Make lunch. Make breakfast. Eat breakfast while finishing preparations for work. Puppy outside to walk and play.

Somehow I made it to work almost on time...

And, lest some of you wonder about Tim's role in all of this -- he's at home right now, while I write during my short busy-on-Monday lunch. He's on puppy duty for the middle of the day. Thank the gods for a wonderful and understanding husband who loves puppies.

Tomorrow I get up at 5...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Picking Up The Puppy Terv*

In Finn's opinion, she's all good. Fine if she sleeps with her head on his foot. Fine if she dances around him. He's easy.

In Quill's opinion, the jury's out. Maybe she'll be a good play mate. But the fact that she gets any kind of food toy isn't really fair, he's just sayin'.

In Odin's opinion, no puppy is a good puppy.

We picked up "the puppy" last night. We drove about 2 hours and visited with the canine family and their staff, I mean owners, for a while before setting out to drive back home. We played with the litter and their Mom and Dad and were completely smitten.

We brought two crates with us, not sure of the ideal size for her as she'd grown a lot in the week since we'd seen her. When we asked the breeder which crate she thought would be ideal, she replied ominously, "Which ever one is farthest back."

We place her in her crate with some new toys and started our journey. Puppy terv serenaded us with a volume just shy of a banshee. When, about 45 minutes later (and never a break in the song) I smelled Eau D' Puppy Poop, I was indeed grateful we had two crates. Of course, Murphy's law of Travel with Dogs meant we were on a four lane highway with no safe pull off when the deed occurred. So, being the nimble 20-year-old (not) that I am, I grunted and groaned over two seats and knelt beside her crate in the rocking van. Five minutes later, graced with poopy puppy foot prints, I wriggled back into my seat with poise and dignity. My stoic and patient husband said, "All settled?" I could barely hear him over the renewed screeches of a small puppy severely wronged by being "jailed" in yet another crate. Cruel fates. I'm quite sure she was saying, "This is against the puppy rule book you obviously have not read!!!"

In between screams I said to Tim, "Cookie?"

A Whole Foods espresso chocolate chip cookie was just the ticket to soothe our nerves a tad.

She finally slept and we were afraid to say a word lest we wake the little dear. The rest of the journey was blissfully quiet.

* Terv stands for Belgian tervuren, a lovely medium-sized herding breed

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cat Tails and Mochas

It's not everyone that has a cat with a tail strong enough to tip a mug of coffee.

Let me explain about me and coffee.

I eschewed coffee of any kind until I was in my 3rd year of vet school and discovered mochas. Coffee mixed with (lots) of chocolate I could stomach. More to the point, it got me through grueling Large Animal Internal Medicine. I learned to really love the stuff.

But I've never learned to love plain old coffee. When I arrived on Cape Cod, the first thing I bought was a latte machine. I still have it -- it's chipped and battered and 12 years old -- and I can't imagine life without it. So every morning while Tim's flipping a switch, I'm measuring, and tamping, and steaming. I keep telling Tim that the perfect birthday present would be him learning how to make me a perfect mocha latte. He disagrees.

So, when I make a "cup of coffee" it's really a solid mug of gorgeous steamed milk with 3 inches of foam, Ghiradelli chocolate, and shade-grown, fair trade coffee. What a great way to start the day.

Today, I decided to have a second cup (very rare) while I studied my veterinary flash cards. (Yeah, more on that in a future post...) I'd just settled down, mug beside me on the coffee table, Finn across my feet, my computer on my lap, flipping through my flash cards. Odin, loving morning as much as his Mama, was strolling along beside the coffee table, happy tail brushing its edge when the end of his tail wrapped around my mug and pulled it crashing to the ground.

As my dear mother would have said, blue invective surrounded my head like a cloud. Odin leaped away, Finn sat up to stare, and I about cried. Odin proceeded to have a bath looking imperiously over his shoulder. I'm quite sure he said, "You shouldn't have a second cup of coffee anyway."