Puppy Love

So I’ve been MIA for… a while. My bad. But, there really wasn’t anything interesting happening in the world of ME.

I had knee surgery. It went fine. Yay for ACL repairs. And thank you to the kind person who donated the tissue. The recovery is going a lot slower than I had hoped but that’s life.

Mom got injured at work. Opposite knee. It sucks but we’re lucky enough to book our appointments with the same doctor on the same days, so, small victories – right?

And then Riley passed away. That was sudden and.. awful. And not something I really wanted to talk about.

Mom, Dad and I were devastated. It’s difficult to handle that loss when some little fluffy personality becomes such a big part of your lives for 13 years. Not having Riley around was a huge adjustment. And the pain was so strong, Mom swore she didn’t want to get another dog. Ever.

I talked her into the idea of adopting a dog in the future. The spring, maybe, once our hearts had healed and we were feeling open to starting over again.

That lasted a month before we started looking at dogs up for adoption in our area. By mid-November we were submitting applications.

The first week of December… we met Charlie Brown.

First of all, I know there is a LOT of push for pet adoption over buying from a breeder but it’s a lot more difficult to do than I had realized. Where we live there are several non-profit pet adoption agencies who are constantly rescuing and shipping dogs in from Korea, the Middle East, and – oddly – Texas, but the process to actually ADOPT one of them is mind boggling. Each agency requires a specific, very detailed application. They post photos of the dogs they have available and list their behaviours and histories and they’re all pretty adorable. Of course, living in a condo, strata bylaws regulate the size of the pet we’re allowed to own so we were limited to smaller breeds. Which appear to be the most popular and hardest to get – and having just lost Riley we didn’t want to adopt an older dog who might be closer to.. um… not living long. But if you find one that you like, you fill out an application and then you wait.

And when I say ‘wait’ I mean… my surgeon’s receptionist waited 6 months just to get shortlisted for an agency IN KAMLOOPS.

Once ( or if ) you get shortlisted you must meet their requirements for happy dog parenting. One of the agencies required three references. Another wanted proof of your financial situation. They ALL needed to do a home inspection to determine your living conditions and to ensure you don’t have a torture chamber or shitty interior design. If you passed all of those tests THEN you were allowed to schedule a visit with the dog of your choice if it was still available. Because these dogs are all privately fostered. Hopefully you both would be a good match and you could go home once you paid your adoption fee of anywhere between $300-$1300 (depending on the dog).

I applied to three different agencies and still haven’t heard back from any of them. But that’s okay. Because… Charlie Brown.

There was an ad on one of the pet sites and I gave them a call just out of curiosity. The guy said we could swing by anytime to see his puppies. Still expecting to hear back from one of the agencies I didn’t really see the harm when Mom said, “Looking doesn’t mean we have to buy one, let’s just go see!”

Which is how we ended up with an 8 week old lump of fur. A noisy, fearless, hyperactive lump of fur.

Okay look, it has been ten years since Maggie was a puppy and all I remember about that time is how we nicknamed her Houdini because she could NOT BE CONTAINED. She would stack her toys and scale the little fence we put around her play area. It was hilarious. And I don’t recall much of Riley back in his early days.

So this is suddenly brand new again. AND OH MY DEAR LORD GAWD WHY DOES IT DO THE THINGS IT DOES?

The barking. THE BARKING!!

Is he hungry? All the damned time. But I can’t just keep feeding him to keep him quiet. He’s ridiculously smart, had only one accident the very first night we brought him home but was instantly paper trained after that. He likes his toys and started sleeping through the night completely after the third day.

BUT THE BARKING!!!

I scoured every ‘how to stop your new puppy from barking’ article I could Google and they all advised me to ignore it. That he’ll learn to ‘self-soothe’.

Yeah… about that. Ha. I’m fairly sure we owe our neighbours a few bottles of wine.

And ear plugs.

The next suggestion was to teach him how to ‘speak’ on command so that he can also learn the ‘shh’ or ‘quiet’ command. He already ‘speaks’ ALL THE TIME.

I finally gave in and put some water in a spray bottle and squirted him whenever he wouldn’t listen to my firm but still positive sounding, ‘No”. The little bugger just tried to catch the water in his mouth! Fun new game!!

So I had to get more forceful with my voice. And continued to use the spray bottle. For the record, my aim is shit. Every so often the water would land near him and Charlie Brown started getting annoyed with me.

SO HE BUILT A WALL WITH HIS PILLOW.

No word of a lie, he rearranged the items in his playpen and created a barricade that he can duck behind if he sees the spray bottle. Which he does. AFTER BARKING AT ME.

I wasn’t joking when I said he was smart.

He does NOT like it if he notices when one of us leaves the room – even if there’s still another person in the room with him. Which means Mom and I have taken to sneaking in and out of the living room when he’s busy. This is incredibly difficult because Mom’s bones crack when she walks and I am just clumsy and bump into things.

I decided to write this post because an hour ago I nearly wet myself trying to edge slowly towards the bathroom without him noticing just in case he exploded into sound again. How has this become our lives?

It took two weeks for this four pound fur ball to train US.

As I’m writing this, he is tucked into Mom’s neck, for his evening quiet-cuddle time, before he goes to bed in his crate. He’s painfully adorable now that he’s settled.

Hm. I guess he can stay.

But that barricade he built is totally coming down tomorrow.

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

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