Tuesday, September 26, 2006

First Day of School

I've received a request for more Chewy pictures and am only too happy to oblige. He had his first bath on Saturday. He's taken to digging up the drip irrigation and we were heading over to a friend's house for dinner and bringing Chewy with us to socialize with their lab/rottweiler, Sadie. I didn't think they'd appreciate his muddy paws in their house. The dogs got along famously. The other dog was even more hyper than Chewy and she's four years-old! And Chewy was in love with their two-year-old daughter. It's been really cool to see how instinctively gentle he is with the children he's met. Not so lucky, us adults, as my bitten/scratched up hands and arms demonstrate.

Today I got my CPR certification, finally. Everyone in a hospital is required to be certified, right down to the kitchen staff. It's one of those things I always wanted to do, but it took a job requirement to make me finally get off my arse and follow through on. It was fun.

This weekend DH and I head to Austin for a dear friend's wedding. The icing on the cake is that we'll get to see our brother- and sister-in-law and baby J, who is now about seven months-old. It will be DH's first time meeting him! I'll also get to see another friend from grad school, so all in all, it will be a very efficient trip. This is my first time flying since the liquid restrictions; although, I heard today that we're now allowed three-ounce containers. Not sure that will do me any good, but I guess it's a godsend for those with medications, baby formula/milk, etc.

We got way lucky this week when we finally found a house-/puppy-sitter for the weekend. When we first reserved Chewy from his litter, before he was even born, we knew about this wedding, but just assumed we could kennel him for the weekend. We had no idea until a couple weeks ago when we tried to make the reservation that he had to be 16 weeks old before they'd take him. Otherwise, he could get sick or get other dogs sick because he wouldn't have had all his shots yet. Getting a housesitter in a university town shouldn't be hard, but when your puppy's not housetrained yet and is bound to wake people up in the middle of the night, there are fewer takers. Luckily, a friend offered up her babysitter, whom she's known since the girl was a child. She came highly recommended, so I think it'll work out. She's coming over tonight to meet the zoo and get the lay of the land.

Chewy and I are off to our first puppy class, where he'll socialize and we'll learn some commands and get some housetraining tips. He already knows his name, sit, down, and off, and can walk on a leash. My books tell me this puts him ahead of the class. But he's not yet mastered housetraining, so he better not get too big for his britches. If he does, I'll just show him the bath picture. That should take his pride down a notch. :)

Oh, and someday this blog will return to being at least a little bit crafty. We're getting there with the crate training and I think that will help a lot.

Wish us luck at class.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Welcome to Parenthood

I knew, but I really had no idea, how much this was going to feel like parenthood. Chewy has to be watched every second he's awake, which is a lot given that he sleeps all day when we're gone at work. I now have a deeper understanding of that feeling of relief parents get when their baby finally falls asleep and they can get something done around the house. It's all I can do to feed myself dinner, pay a bill, feed the cats, and get the laundry in the dryer before he's up again!

At least the feeding is going better. I didn't have to hand feed him a bite tonight. He's becoming much more competent with the bones. And no accidents today. And I have a lead on a proper crate we might be able to borrow for him so we can start crate training, which would make life easier.

Yesterday afternoon we tried to go for a walk, but Chewy was really stubborn and wouldn't budge past the neighbor's house. I thought it was just not understanding the "walk" and "leash" concepts, but when we got back inside he immediately put his feet in the water dish, then tipped some water out of the bowl onto the floor, then laid in the puddle. It all sounds so obvious now that I lay out the observations like that, but at the time it took me a few minutes to put it all together and realize his feet were hot.

This morning we tried again. DH and I went together and he had to carry Chewy part of the way to the mailbox at the end of the street. On the way back, though, something clicked and suddenly he was running right along next to us and kept it up the whole way home.

Anyway, I have nothing else to blog about because my life right now is just work and taking care of the puppy. Oh and to the real parents of real human babies out there: I know it's not the same. I know. But it is surprising how much more like parenting this seems than like not having a puppy, if that makes any sense. It's all a spectrum.

An old trick of Ouiser's: Ice + Linoleum = Busy Puppy

Duncan, Clara, and their human, who came to play.

All three puppies together, and human friend feeling overwhelmed.

Bobbers, who is taking the new puppy change the hardest.

Gratuitous picture of cutie-pie Lita, who is taking the puppy adjustment best.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


It's been over a week and I've been dying to blog, but just hadn't been able to find time until now. Last night, especially, I wanted to blog, but I was as exhausted as the new puppy! We've named him Chewy, both because that's all he seems to want to do and because he kind of looks like Chewbacca, in a good way, and much smaller (for now).
I almost had a heart attack picking him up from the airport. We had to go to the cargo area, which is a whole separate building from the terminal...and they didn't have him. And they didn't know where he was. We called the breeder--no answer. DH calls the airline and had to sit through literally about 8 minutes of recording before a live person would talk to him. Meanwhile I'm panicking that either we were scammed out of our money and there is no puppy, or he's been mistaken for baggage and is dying of heat stroke as we sit there, or he was left behind and never made it on the flight. Turned out to be that last worry. He missed his connection in Houston. Air travel's not easy these days for any of us.
They got him on the next flight. We went and had lunch, came back about an hour later and he was there! Of course, he's the most precious thing I've ever seen in my life. I was in love with him before I even met him, but those first moments sealed the deal. He was really quiet and still at first--I'm not sure if the breeder drugged him for the flight or if he was just in shock. We took him out of his air crate, put his collar on immediately, then set him in a cardboard box with some towels and a Nylabone for the ride home. The second he set paw in the box he was all over that bone like white on rice. Not a peep out of him the whole way home, just gnawing on the bone, the box, the towel, back to the bone, etc.
He already seems to know to go to the door when he wants to go out, though that doesn't always mean he wants to go do his business. But at least he's learning that if he stands there, we'll let him out. He had one accident when he first got here, then another while I stood there saying, "I wonder if I should take him out right now?" Yup. Should have. And then two more that were also not his fault, but a result of DH hesitating a moment too long. But we're all getting there. I'm attaching some bells to a ribbon to hang on the door. Supposedly you can train them to ring the bells when they need to go outside. Then you just need to teach only to ring when they need to go, not just because they want to go.
Some friends are coming over tonight for barbecue, and one is bringing her two puppies, so we're starting the socialization right off the bat.
I had a moment last night that reminded me of Ouiser's "Is this really my life?" post. Earlier in the day, we could tell Chewy was hungry, and we'd bought raw chicken wings for him, per the breeder's instructions. They were dethawed. I put three in his bowl, exactly as the breeder had instructed us, showed it to him, and he wouldn't go near them! He acted like he was afraid of them and kept backing away. With encouragement, he licked them, so we knew he liked something about them, but we couldn't figure out what the problem was, so we gave him some kibble, which he ate promptly.
Then later that night, he was hungry again, so we tried again with the chicken wings. Same reaction. Then I remembered that the books I read on raw food diets said sometimes dogs don't know what to do with the bones. I didn't think of this at first because the breeder said he's already been eating chicken wings with no problem. Anyway, one of the solutions is supposed to be to hand feed it to them. So we cut up the bones, stripped some of the meat off, sat on the floor with Chewy, DH holding pieces up one at a time for him to work on. That did the trick! The dog immediately turned into a ravenous carnivore. It was a bit terrifying for both of us watching him swallow actual bones, having grown up with dogs and being taught over and over by our parents how deadly bones are for a dog. The trick is, those are cooked bones. Raw bones are apparently safe because they're more pliable. And the calcium in the bone and all the nutrients inthe marrow are supposed to be very good for him. And Chewy didn't try to gulp any, true to his name he worked forever on those things until you'd finally hear it crunch and down it would go. You could almost hear his jaw muscles getting stronger.
Anyway, he ate three wings in total last night. I offered him kibble this morning for breakfast while DH was still sleeping, and he wouldn't eat it. Since the raw food thing is currently a 2-person job, he still hasn't eaten yet today (DH had a meeting for school) and it's almost noon. But he's been offered kibble repeatedly, so the boy's not starving. Anyway, I guess he's into this raw food thing, so we'll give it a whirl.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

WIP Thursday

The latest romper in progress from the 2006 J line.

This is the new flannel "wall" in my sewing room. For my non-sewing readers, whom I know are in the majority, quilters like to have a big piece of flannel fabric to use as a design wall. The cotton fabric pieces one uses to quilt with can be placed on the flannel in various combinations until the desired design is achieved. The cotton sticks to the flannel, so you can stand back and look at it from a distance for perspective. I didn't have a lot of wall space I wanted to give up, so DH had the brilliant idea of manufacturing a temporary one. I backed a giant piece of flannel with a polyester lining fabric with a sleeve at the top and bottom for a wooden dowel. When in use, it hangs from the dowel in front of the closet. When not in use, or when I need to get in the closet, it rolls up to be tied out of the way with lovely pink ribbons. Ingenious, no?

Bob demands being included weekly in my blogging. She calls this one: Bob in Basket.

And this is the result of an obscenely expensive puppy supply shopping trip. It actually looks like so little for what we paid. It's all but the food though. Including a collar to grow into. We didn't buy food yet because I'm looking into the raw food diet. My parents have been feeding their dog some special, gourmet dog food for years in an effort, not to be fancy, but to avoid all the by-products and give her the healthiest diet they could. The breeder is currently feeding our puppy the BARF diet one meal a day and fancy kibble for the second. I need to learn more about this raw food program though. I'm concerned about how to keep the bacteria under control. I ordered a book from Amazon. My answer to every question in life, after a Google search. By the way, for anyone looking for an excellent puppy/dog training book (you, Daddy-o?), I highly recommend this one. Not even so much for the training info as for the animal behaviorism; fascinating stuff.