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Posts Tagged ‘puppy’

WE have been waiting two years to get a puppy from the same breeder we got Murphy from. Murphy died just over two years ago, and our other dog, Harvey, died a short time later. It has been a long time with NO pets. I promised I wouldn’t look for a cat until we had a new dog. All we have had are the backyard birds (and squirrels), so when we learned a new litter had been whelped back in September, we were thrilled and begand to make plans for Puppy’s arrival.

Only our plan was to pick him up when he turned 8 weeks old the week before Thanksgiving. We would make a leisurely drive over to La Grande, Oregon, where my husband’s family still lives and spend a couple nights with them. Then a marathon drive to (almost) Twin Falls, Idaho, to pick out the pup and drive back to La Grande the same day – weather permitting. Finally, a leisurely drive home after seeing family again and resting up.

Don had First Pick of all the males, of which there were five.

Last Tuesday, the 10th, the breeder called to see where we were. Somehow, he had us coming for Puppy a week early. There were probably several reasons for the mixup: he had local buyers who were itching to pick out a pup, he was going on a Black Powder hunt the weekend of the 14-15, outdoor temperatures were dropping below freezing, and the nine puppies were getting far too active for a working man to keep up with. They were getting to be a pain in the ass.

Not wanting to lose our First Pick option and wanting to appease the breeder, we decided to go a week early. As in RIGHT NOW. We were late getting on the road (mid-morning) and I had just a smidgeon of time to request travel prayers. We hydroplaned through the Columbia River Gorge and sailed over the mountain passes to La Grande and Grandma’s house, where we holed up over night. Darn Grandma reminded us we were dealing with a Time Change between Oregon and Idaho, and it wasn’t in our favor.

We were up at zero-dark-thirty on Veteran’s Day so we could make out Idaho Time appointment. Snow, snow plows, snow packed roads, rain, and sun glare. We zipped through Boise unhindered (that’s like zipping through Seattle unhindered: a huge accomplishment given Boise’s growing pains). Forgot our Idaho map, but I was beyond certain that we needed to take the second exit into Bliss in order to reach our destination (Filer) on US Highway 30.

I love this stretch of road. You go through a bunch of small Idaho towns, follow the Snake River through the scenic Thousand Springs canyon, and avoid Twin Falls entirely. I haven’t been through Twin Falls in over 50 years but I know Highway 30 like the back of my hand. Only our breeder moved and we had to enter his address into my cell phone: gotta love those Idaho country addresses.

We arrived within our window of time.

Meeting puppies is a crazy business. We have always been last on the list for puppies and got the last pup to leave home. That doesn’t mean we got the runty or the stupid one (well, in Sadie’s case, it did mean we got the stupid one), just that we didn’t have choice in which dog we got to bring home. They’ve all been good dogs (even Sadie who helped raise our kids).

This time, however, we were the first to pick out a pup. And, yes, we took the Pick of the Litter. the big guy. First born. Boldest. Friendliest (although . that was a tie with a smaller sibling). The other three males just weren’t as interested in us and one was more interested in going his own way than in people. I could see him being a replica of our last Griffon, Murphy. Five roly poly busy puppies chewing on something.

Papers were signed, vaccination records passed over to us, and the first puppy to leave home was loaded into the car. He was too little to put in the big dog crate, so he curled up on Don’s lap for the ride home.

And ralphed on Don’s lap before we were back on I-84 West.

He was fine with the four point five hour drive back to La Grande on an empty stomach. Slept most of the way. The snow, ice, rain, and wind disappeared. We were back at Grandma’s in daylight hours some ten hours after we’d left in the morning. Puppy was a little disoriented but being the bold character he is, he was unfazed. Even the 18 year old cat didn’t faze him – too much. She did land a swat on the face that warned him not to mess with her. She’s raised a number of German Shepherd pups in her life and has no qualms about setting a puppy to rights about Cat Social Distancing Zones.

The honeymoon. Puppy went to sleep around 7:00PM Pacific time and slept until around 6:30AM. He whined a few times, looking for one of those eight siblings he’d just left behind, but a soft voice put him back to sleep. He curled up in the big kennel and slept. He made a few mistakes on Grandma’s carpet, but she’s raised more puppies than the cat has trained (and more kittens). Grandma spoiled puppy with a ton of toys, only a few of which we took along home.

There was a big storm threatening to move in on Thursday. Snow in the mountains, wind in the gorge, and copious amounts of rain. We decided we’d overstayed our window of time to make it back to the Portland area on good roads and left early. Over the mountains, through the passes, down Cabbage Hill, and into the fog at Boardman, we sailed at just over Oregon speed limits. No wind, dry pavement, no rain or snow. Puppy slept almost the entire way home.

He didn’t sleep through the night. Don thinks he is still on Idaho Time. He is learning how to tell us when he needs to go outside to poo and pee (some accidents have occurred). He understands the word, “NO!” He goes hard for a couple of hours then crashes for a while. He’s been on his first walk around the block on a leash. He fell in love with our yard during the first ten minutes of his life here. He thinks our house is the perfect home.

He just does not have a name. All the names we thought we would use don’t seem to fit. Don wants to use a single syllable name. Most dog names are two syllables (more is pointless, especially with a hunting dog ). Two of the grandchildren have thrown in suggestions (“Gator” – really? This came from the child whose father – our son – refers to him as “gator bait” when hiking or camping. They live in Florida).

He’s a normal puppy terror: sharp teeth and newspaper shredding. He tries to eat every plant in the back yard (not a good idea). He “talks”. He nips. He sleeps. He plays hard. He’s smart, but not in a devious way: he wants to please. He’s already picked out the pecking order: Don first, me second, him third. He doesn’t challenge me like Murphy did. His wiry hair hasn’t grown in but he promises to be a wiry dog in his adulthood. He is not afraid of anything but he’s not aggressive. He even likes rain.

He’s not my dog. I can’t initiate a dog naming contest because it will only irritate my partner and my husband of 40 years. He’s seven weeks old, born September 24th, 2020. He’s smart, independent, and – I hope – the best dog we have ever had to date. I’m in love.

You can send me your name ideas and I will try to run them past the Man In Charge. Ultimately, though, Don has to decide.

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Two years ago, we acquired (for a hefty sum of money) this wild free spirit of a dog that terrorized my life. He was willfull, stubborn, dominant/aggressive (but not mean/aggressive), and disobedient. He was strong. He chewed on everything (including my glasses). He jumped up on people. He talked back.

One year ago, I wasn’t sure he would ever be a “good” dog, but he was showing some signs of improvement. He still had boundless energy and an insatiable hunger for anything left unguarded. He became an adept thief: store receipts, lottery tickets, hair bands, underwear, boots, tools, gloves… All of which he chewed on or ate.

He’s pooped a lot of paper.

This year, he had his testosterone clipped.

I noticed a difference immediately.

The whole dominant/aggressive act disappeared.

That’s all. He still chews, steals and talks back. But he doesn’t jump up on people (too much) and he doesn’t try to be Numero Uno. He has acquiesced to the Pack Order.

He knows where he stands.

“Help me. I have to share my sofa with little people. They won’t let me sniff little people’s bottoms. I am not allowed to chew on diapers. I have to let the little people pull my tail.”

He’s been so good. Zephan has taken to following Murphy around and popping him on the head, “No! No!” or pulling his tail.

Lately, there’s been a lot more of “No, Zephan, do not hit the doggie” than there has been “No! Murphy!”

Tonight, Zephan was sitting on the sofa watching “Sponge Bob” (who dreams up this stuff??) and Murphy climbed up there with his chew toy and curled up right next to the baby. Practically in the baby’s lap. His tail was in the baby’s lap. Talk about not learning.

“No, Zephan, do not pull the doggie’s tail!”

We moved Murphy to the other side of the sofa.

<sigh>. Quarantined to the far side of the sofa, what is a dog to do but look incredibly sad?

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