a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Holy Cow

Friday, April 22, 2005

Holy Cow

I knew that having a puppy would be exhausting, but I had no idea that doing almost nothing could be so exhausting.

At the breeder's: Drove down to Morgan Hill Thursday morning. Played with the puppies just a little bit to be sure--she looked so beautiful when I saw her, I really wanted to take her home with me. Funny, I didn't notice until yesterday morning that she has different-colored eyes, just like her mom.

Signed the papers and asked a bunch more questions about all the things I have no experience with. Puppy got her current shot from the breeder. Then we introduced her to my dogs in the front yard. Now, I walked my dogs past their puppy pen last Thursday and Friday at the agility trial; Jake avoided the pen, the puppies crowded all over each other to try to get at Tika, and Tika walked around the pen a little stiffly, sniffing carefully and examining cautiously. A couple of times made nearly a play bow.

This time, the breeder had Boost on a leash and I got Tika out on a leash. Tika was much more interested in greeting the breeder and checking out the yard than she was in investigating the puppy. Not that she avoided it; more as if it was an insignificant blot that wasn't really worth her trouble. But they did eventually sniff at each other. Boost likes Tika.

Then I put Tika away and opened Jake's door--where he can sit and look out the window. He was trembling. He didn't want to get out of the car. Eventually I convinced him to come out. We kept him and the puppy firmly apart from each other, although it didn't take much effort: Jake refused to look in the puppy's direction, pulled to the opposite end on his leash, very deliberately ignoring the puppy, and tried very hard to keep me between him and it.

I had a crate for the puppy--small one borrowed from previous housemate. It was too small for Casey by a little bit, which is why she left it. I figured it would be a good size for a puppy for a little while. Well, turns out that this 11-week-old puppy is already getting to be a decent-sized dog. The crate is big enough...today. I'm going to have to go buy a full-sized crate in the next couple of days.

I put the crate in the other back seat facing Jake so that Jake could see and smell her all the way home. At first I thought he was going to face the door the whole way home rather than lying down where he can see me, but he fairly quickly adjusted himself and lay down in the usual position.

And she dozed off, too, fairly quickly.

She *has* been around quite a bit in her short life, since her breeders and parents compete a lot in agility. So a car trip was no big deal.

Pet store stop: Puppy has been on a raw diet; breeder gave me a supply for a day or two to mix in with kibble, but I had to get a bag of puppy kibble. My sister came with me to pick up the puppy, so she stayed with the puppy in the car while I took Rem and Jake into the store for yet another episode of Smell the Packages.

Got some small knotted rawhide chews and a solid rubber chew toy; got a long but thin/lightweight leash. (How can I have so many leashes already and none of them be suitable?!)

I forgot to get an ID tag.

As I was starting to look for puppy chow, a nice man with a badge asked whether he could help me and I told him I was looking for puppy chow. He asked what kind; I said that I have been feeding my dogs Nutro Natural Choice and so would probably want to do the same for the puppy. So he led me directly to the Nutro puppy chow and we had a nice discussion about the various types. That's when I noticed that he was wearing a Nutro company badge, not a Pet Club badge. I commented that I apparently had said the right brand, but he assured me that he would have helped me with whatever brand I would have wanted.

He then helped me pick out an appropriate puppy chew toy.

Why on earth is a nice Nutro man being helpful in Pet Club? Maybe he was trying to show them how to do their jobs?

Home again. It's already getting a little foggy. I pottied the puppy. She went very quickly. I fed all the dogs. I was already quite tired, and I hadn't done anything! But I had to go to Foster City for an interview for a contract. Decided to take Boost with me rather than leave h er at home in a crate for more than 3 hours.

On the road again.
Once again, she settled right down and dozed off. It was about a 45-minute trip, with good traffic, but when I got to the job site, there wasn't a spot of shade to be seen. Huge, fairly new parking lot with lots of little trees. Nearby streets were all no parking. I ended up driving into a nearby condo complex, where I found one single Visitor parking spot deep in shade. I stopped the car and glanced at Boost; she half opened her eyes and glanced at me. So I locked up the car and scurried off to my interview, hoping that no Neighborhood Watch resident would call me on it.

All through the interview, I had images of the puppy having woken up and started screeching while I was gone. I ran back to the car afterwards, where a snoozy-looking puppy barely raised her head to see who it was and then dozed off again. I figured I'd potty her when I stopped for gas (running on empty), but she barely twitched at the gas station, so I drove all the way back to Mountain View and my company's offices, where I wandered her around until she pottied.

Later, on the way home, I stopped at my parents' house, where my mom took pictures. She explored the back yard a little bit, but she seemed quite subdued still. Dozed off again as I drove home.

Home again again. Pottied the puppy. Played with my dogs. Gave the dogs dinner. I dunno. Did some other stuff, interspersed with doing dog stuff. Exhausted. Went to bed early. Puppy was restless and occasionally whiney for about 3 hours, waking me half up periodically. Finally, about 12:30, I woke up when Tika jumped off the bed, panting dramatically, and realized that I was sweating, too. How can it be so cool outside and so hot inside? I figured I'd take the puppy out while I let Tika out--but after I put on my robe and slippers and got out the puppy, Tika jumped back onto the bed and closed her eyes.

So I staggered outside, set the puppy down on the lawn (already gone: my resolve to teach her to pee only on the mulch, not the grass), and she had a little tiny puppy pee almost immediately.

Then we went back to bed and everyone slept solidly until nearly 7, when either I or Tika was the first to stir. (Hard to tell, because she always gets up and starts snuggling if I show the faintest signs of consciousness OR if she needs to potty.)

I was still exhausted.

Today: Puppy has been mostly subdued all day. I threw in a trip--by myself--to Mountain View again (so tired ysterday that I forgot to pick something up for owrk). But around 3:00 she started being a bit rowdy. Tore up most of the newspapers in the x-pen that I have set up for her. Tried pottying her several times and she wasn't really interested. Finally she settled down and has been napping (restlessly) for 45 minutes or so.

Herding dog: She is exhibiting classic Border Collie herding behavior with Tika. She lies down with the Eye on Tika, or gets into that half-stalking lowered stance. When I'm playing tug-of-war with Tika, Boost is doing the circling thing, watching her legs carefully. Yikes.

I'm exhausted again. And I haven't accomplished anything useful in 2 days. But I still havent' *done* anything!

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