Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The First Vet Visit. Dum-dum-dum!!!

Today, Rory went for her first very visit. In the 3 weeks we've had her, she has grown 2 pounds! She is a full 10 pounds. Our wonderful vet, Dr. Bob, a personal friend of the family, predicts she'll get to be about a good 40-50 pounds.

The visit went okay. She gets afraid in new situations, so she cried a little in the car, but was soon okay. Then, she didn't want to come in the vet's office, stand on the scale, or go into the exam room. She did love on the receptionist when she made goofy noises at Rory. Rory can't resist baby talk.

Once on the exam table, she continued to shake and leaned against me, like she was trying to meld into me. She wasn't too sure of Dr. Bob, but once her gave her some yummy liver treats, well, he was her new best friend. She wasn't a big fan of the poking and proding of the exam, but she didn't even notice when he gave her a shot in the neck (see aforementioned treats).

After we were done with the exam and asked all of our questions, we then had to convince her to leave. Our little fraidy dog did very good. Hopefully it won't be so traumatic when we go back in 3 weeks!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cabin Fever Has Set In!

My goodness! It's been cold, the snow has gone no where, and our poor little girl has quite the case of cabin fever! She'll be playing in the living room, and then all of the sidden, it's like a wire short-cicuits in her breain. She starts running laps, nipping and everything and everyone, including the air, before settling down, exhausted, for a nap. I usually have to put her in her pen to force her to calm down. We are big believers in Cesar Milan's Exercise-Discipline-Affection mentality, but we're worried about exercising such a young puppy on the treadmill. Will it hurt her growing joints? We'll be seeing her vet, one of our good friends Dr. Bob Howton, this week, and we'll talk to him about it then.

Ever since we got the potty patch, Rory is out in the living room most of the day. We have created step ups with pillows and cushions to allow her to go up on chairs and couches. Yes, we're one of *those* dog parents who allow dogs on furniture. She will be trained to get off when told, for when comapny comes over, but she is super cuddly and snuggly, and likes to come up and climb on our laps for a pet, a nibble (which we are desperately trying to break her of!), or a nap. Nothing sweeter than a puppy napping on your lap or chest.

Rory got her first bath today. I took it slow, introducing her to the water slowly, not using the shower head, bringing toys in. Yeah, she still didn't want any part of it. I was hoping the lab in her would take to the water, but I guess the heeler in her is stronger. I'll have to look into what I can do to make her less afraid. I ignored the shaking, didn't coddle her, just methodically got it done, dried her off, and put her in the pen for a nap.

Now it's time for me to take a shower because I smell like wet dog.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just a little snow

So, we got over a foot of snow in two days. If that wasn't bad enough, it was also bitterly cold and windy. Snow drifts up past my knees covered our backyard. We had started taking Rory out into the back to give her more exercise in a safe place where there had been no dogs, since she's not completely vaccinated yet. There had been snow on the ground, which she was happy to frolick in, but this mess was too much for her. I would set her down and she would cower between my feet, even though we had shoveled a little area for her to go.

So, what's a puppy parent to do with a puppy who isn't housebroken but it's too cold for her to go out? Go shopping, of course! We went to that As Seen on TV store, and bought her the Potty Patch, you know, it looks and feels like grass? She took to it on the first try. We've had a couple of oopsies where her aim was off - too much to the side - but otherwise, it's been great.

Hopefully, the snow will melt sooner rather than later so our little Rory can go run around like crazy outside once again. Why did we want to get a puppy in the middle of winter?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What a week!

Rory has officially been with us for a week, and what a week it's been. During the first and second night home, Nate had the stomach flu, during the third and fourth night, AJ had it, the fifth night, Mom had it, and the sixth night, Mike had it. So, she had the rare treat of me sleeping with her in the living room, in hopes of me not catching the virus.

So, while Mike was up sick or with sick kids, I was up with a puppy who took advantage of a human being up and wanted out every couple of hours. With my mom sick, we didn't even have anyone to help with the kids, and poor Mike had to deal with sick kids while sick himself AND a new puppy who needed to go out every hour. Then I was on recovering kids and puppy duty over the weekend while he got to actually lay down and be sick. It was a rough week, but we did it.

Rory is doing wonderfully. We get her out often enough that she makes it outside almost a good 80-90% of the time. Not bad for a 9-week puppy. She is able to get out of her pen and around the living room more. She listens so well! We were closing the French doors into the dining room to keep her in the living room, but just a few verbal corrections, and she was fine. Not bad for the first week in a new home!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Welcome Home, Rory!

She's here. Our little 8-lb, Austraillian Cattle Dog / Labrador Retreiver baby girl has come home. It was an intersting trip home. We got her 2 days earlier than we thought we would, so I had to wait while she got her last shot and a bath. Then, on the drive home, she shook, cried, peed and pooped in her cage. My whole car stunk of puppy poop.

Once I got her inside, she got some quick hugs and kisses from me, Mike, and our friends Jeremiah and Shannon, who were over visiting, then she went into her pen. I had to put her in her bed for her to understand what that was for, then she curled up with a squeaky toy plush bone, and fell asleep.

When Nate woke up and AJ came home from school, she got her first at-home experience with the boys. First, we had them talk to her in her pen and let her get used to them.

We took her outside at least every hour to go potty. Most times, she made it. Sometimes, we were too late. That's okay - it's a new skill. We worked on a little training, although she was easily distracted in her new surroundings, so I didn't push it. Not bad for a first day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

And the name is...

Aurora, the Greek Goddess of the Dawn. It took DAYS to come up with this name. She'll be called Rory for short, and there is nothing cuter than hearing a 2-year-old saying "worwy."

Some names that were considered and discarded: Calleigh Berry (although the true Galeic spelling is way different), which was a Galeic Goddess who protected animals, Casca (again, different spelling), the Incan Goddess protector of women and children. We, very briefly, looked into other, non-mythological names, but it just wasn't us. So, finally, with a lot of digging into smaller, lesser known goddesses, and found Aurora.

The first time I took AJ to the shelter to see Rory, he fell in love. He had been the iffiest on the name, but as soon as he saw her, call her Rory and have her come to him, well, that was all it took.

We'll be bringing her home next week. Can't wait!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Taking the Plunge

Well, we did it. We adopted a puppy. We have been talking about getting a dog for some time now. Mike and I used to own two dogs, Cerbie (a terrier mutt) and Bacchus (a pomerainian mutt), before our boys were born. However, when AJ, our oldest, started crawling and pulling on tails and ears, both dogs began acting out - biting, aggression, marking, destroying baby items. We didn't have enough "dog knowledge" to understand why this was happening, so we did what we thought was best for all involved - we found new, loving homes for both of them. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I didn't have the skills needed to make the situation better.

Now, five years later, we have a 5-year-old, AJ, and a 2-and-a-half-year-old, Nate. We've had friends bring over their dogs, big and small, getting our boys used to dogs, being gentle, not approaching a dog we don't know, how to approach a dog, being gentle, etc. Over Christmas, we "boarded" a friend's Austrailian Cattle Dog, Sebastian, while they worked on getting their house in order. We kept him for a month. During this time, the boys fought over who got to feed him, they played with him until he fell asleep in the middle of the floor, exhausted, and learned on a gentle, 5-year-old dog who was used to being wrestled with by two older boys, how to be gentle. We decided we were ready.

Because we'd had such a good experience with Sebastian, we decided to get an Austrailian Cattle Dog, also known as an Austraillian Heeler. I began looking into breeders, getting cost estimations, including the cost of picking the dog up or having it shipped. We had hoped to get the puppy in the Spring to make housebreaking easier. Then, it happened.

The Miller Beach Humane Society got a litter of Heeler/Lab mixes, 5 boys, 1 girl, who were ready for adoption at 5 weeks. The mother bitch had weaned them at 4 weeks, and the human who took care of them was being foreclosed on and being forced to move. We had the opportunity to spend a lot less money for the type of dog we wanted and to give a home to an abandoned dog. Although it was several months earlier than we had planned, we bit the bullet and went to look at the puppies.

While I had been research breeders, I had also been reading up on raising a well-behaved dog. I watched The Dog Whisperer daily. When there was an episode on choosing and bringing home a puppy, I Tivoed it and watched it almost every day. When we went into that Humane Society, I knew what I wanted, what to look for.

Our timing was perfect. They had the whole litter in a play room to be exercised and socialized with some volunteers. At first, we just stood back and watched. Nate was more interested in climbing on the dogs' toys than the dogs, so we got to see how they felt about a toddler racing about.

One of the males, the biggest and most beautiful of the litter, was HYPER. He bounded everwhere he went, he tugged on Nate's coat, he wrestled with his siblings, he attacked toys. Before I learned what to look for, his "puppy exhuberance" and beautiful looks would have been enough for me, and we would have brought home a dog that would have destroyed our house. We didn't even pay attention to him.

The other males and the female were much more calm. After about an hour, we had narrowed it down to two, one male and the female. We asked the volunteers to put the other four in their cages so we could evaluate them by themselves. What a great idea! What, in the larger group, looked like calmness in the male turned out to be fear. He hid in the corners, startled easily with loud noises, and peed a couple of times when approached. The female, however, engaged in play, relaxed when held, and happily chased after Nate. She took to corrections with no aggression. She was the one!

Of course, we had gone there with a name picked out for a male given how many there were, so we had no name to give her when we filled out the application. I had looked forwarded to having a Loki, the Viking God of Mischeif. We'd have to start brainstorming.

The Humane Society told us it would take a few days before the application was approved. they weren't kidding. They called Sebastian's vet, as he was still with us at the time, to ensure he was up-to-date on his shots The director visted our house and looked at our yard to ensure she was going to a good home. Finally, five days after we decided to get her, we were approved!

One problem, though. We had a dog in the house, and she was being de-wormed. Apparently, most puppies are born with worms, something I had learned. So, we had to wait to bring our princess home. It was a good thing, too, because we had no name. We have always used mythological names for our animals, so we needed time to research.

What are we going to call her?