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Posts Tagged ‘puppy’

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at home with my recently neutered and in pain puppy, and I found myself looking at Bentley and thinking about all the little things that I have learned in under 6 months of having him.

I’m a worrier.
I’ve always known that I am a silent worrier, but being responsible for a life, has amplified that trait. I find myself being ridiculous and sometimes checking on Bentley while he naps, just to make sure I can see his belly go up and down and know he is breathing.

When they hurt, you hurt.
Bentley’s neutering procedure wasn’t quite standard. He had only one ball descend, which meant our vet ended up having to fish his second (and apparently larger) ball out of his abdomen. He was shaved and stitched and not allowed on long walks or day care for a minimum of 10 days, all without the help of any drugs. He was moping around, whining, and looking rather helpless in his inflatable cone. If it was someone else’s picture I’d laugh, and yet I would have done anything to make him happy and healthy again.

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I know it’s quality time over quantity, but it is and it will be a struggle.
I have come to realize that doggy day care on week days is the best thing for the whole family. Bentley gets to play with other dogs, I’m at work and I pick him up after tired and happy. And yet, I can’t stop feeling guilty when I need my own time, and have to ask for help outside of work hours.

Everyone makes mistakes.
There are a 1,000 different schools of thought around raising a dog. For a few weeks we were following advice from a german shepherd site, which pretty much seemed to blame puppies for trying to be dominant and forceful ways to clearly make yourself known as the alpha. The whole way of training made me uncomfortable and so we brought in a behaviorist. In meeting with that behaviorist for 30 minutes we realized how quickly Bentley responded to positive reinforcement and training, and how wrong we had been doing it. We still feel guilty about those first few weeks, but have learned that everyone makes mistakes, it’s forgotten quickly, and what we have done consistently for the last 5 months is more important.

I’m still not a patient person.
I’ve never been a patient person, and having a puppy didn’t magically make me one. It’s an effort to stay calm, and it’s constant work to not get frustrated or mad, and sometimes I lose it. I’ve had to learn, slowly, to become more patient, but I didn’t magically become this naturally patient person just by getting a puppy.

The Husband, while he tries to be secretive and nonchalant about it, has fully committed to being a good dad.
I still laugh knowing that the first day we took Bentley to daycare the Husband “just happened to get a sandwich from the place next door to the daycare, and just happened to go visit Bentley playing outside and watch him for a few”. Or that the day Bentley ran from the dog walker and was lost on his hike, the Husband immediately left work and headed towards the mountain to help find him. Bentley was found before he got there, but it was sweet to realize that he reacted quickly with his heart.

I am, and probably will always be, a cheesy proud Mama.
Bentley excels at training, he is incredibly well-behaved, especially whenever we hike off leash, people always comment on how good-looking he is, and damn – it just makes me so proud. I can’t help but brag about him.

My God, they are expensive, even more so when you’re not good at managing money.
The Husband and I are aren’t horrible, but we’re not fantastic with money. Even though together we make a lot, we spend quite a bit too. Between the necessities, the vet trips, the vet er, and the non-necessities (where we could have and still could cut back) of healthy treats, dog beds, toys, day care, dog walker, training classes, galore – this pup has easily already cost us in the thousands. We knew having a pup would be expensive, but we are quickly learning he will be just as happy if we spend a little less.

Sometimes they need you, more so than they want you.
The truth is, there are days where Bentley just needs us, more than he wants us. Sure he loves us, and seems happy with us, but there are definitely days where I think he’d take hanging with his dog friends over us but needs us for shelter and food. I’ve learned to become OK with that.

There will be moments, quiet and special moments, that will erase the bad right out of your mind.
The reason I have become ok with the above is that there truly are moments that take away all of those tough times. When he burrows into me, or follows the Husband around, or comes over and places his head on my leg and falls asleep, or just sits in front of us and gives us that big goofy smile – those moments, make it all – the hard work, the money, the tough times – so worth it.

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I wanted today’s post to be all happy and wonderful, with a new month, a new (birthday year) and all. Full of delicious Thanksgiving eats, beautiful wood hikes and happy one year anniversary thoughts. But instead, as usual, I have to write exactly what’s on my mind. And really what’s creating this awful pit in my stomach.

It all started on Wednesday when I got a call to my work from the dog walker at 3:00pm. I pick up and from the tone of her voice I knew something was wrong.

No one went to walk Bentley today she says.

What? He was put in the crate at 7:30am, it’s 3:00pm and you were supposed to have been there twice today?

She’s so sorry she says. A mishap between her team and schedules.

He’s been locked in a crate for over 7 hours without a bathroom break then?

I call the Husband and wake him out of sleep and he runs down to his crate. I can hear Bentley crying through the phone. The husband takes him outside quickly and says he actually appears to just be happy to be around him, and somehow, maybe because he hadn’t had water or food all day – he held it and didn’t mess his crate.

I get home Wednesday night upset and feeling awful for the poor puppy. Then I start getting anxious about the next few days of events. I don’t know why because I love seeing and spending time with my family, but I always get overly anxious near holidays with my family – the planning, the driving, trying to make everyone happy and now dealing with the puppy – can sometimes just send my anxiety through the roof.

So Thanksgiving morning the husband, Bentley and I start driving to his parents where he’ll stay in the crate for a few hours while we are at my Grandfather’s. And then we started to fight.

The sad thing is, I honestly cannot for the life of me, remember what started the fight.

All I know is not even a few miles down from our house we were screaming at each other. Saying nasty mean things. Voices getting louder and louder not even saying truthful things anymore, just saying things to hurt each other for a solid 10 minutes.

And then I turn around to a whimper and I see Bentley in the back seat. He looks at me, with sad helpless eyes, and saliva streaming down the sides of his mouth. Something is wrong, very wrong.

I immediately stop the fight, Jim stops the car and we turn around in time to see Bentley start throwing up. Twice he throws up all the while looking at us with those sad eyes.

He normally loves the car. What he clearly doesn’t love is his parents screaming at each other.

The rest of the weekend was in fact, pretty nice. The husband and I immediately regretted the fight and the words that were said. I held Bentley for the rest of the car ride, then we let him off leash to run around the Husband’s parent’s acres of backyard before feeding him a hot dog out of guilt. He seemed to easily forget the car ride. Us, not so much.

Later that night Bentley had Pesto, my cousin’s French bull-dog, sleep over. They didn’t stop playing for 24 hours straight.

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He went on 3 hikes through the woods. Friday morning with Pesto, Saturday morning with me around the 1.8 loop and then on Sunday, with me around the 1.8 mile loop plus the .4 mile climb to the summit. He played and ran along happily.

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And the husband on Sunday morning, our one year wedding anniversary, came home from work at 5am with a card, a framed wedding photo and a 1 year Christmas ornament. Thoughtful and loving. Sure makes that fight seem damn silly now. It really made us wonder how people can fight like that, often, in front of kids.

But even so, I just can’t get Bentley’s face out of my mind. The helpless, sad, slobbering face I saw as a I turned around in that car. The sickening pit in my stomach that keeps making its presence known.

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The Husband and I promised Bentley one thing. One thing that I without a doubt, know I’ll hold true to. That will not happen again anywhere near him.

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Umm life has been crazy.

Family/friend trips to Buffalo and Baltimore. Work trips to New York. Last minute emergency surgery for my Mom who’s retina detached and is still recovering. Sad news about my Grandmother’s dementia and her permanent move into a home. And figuring out how to have a puppy and not give up our lives completely.

We’ve started to nail down a routine. And family emergencies have hopefully stopped for now. And travelling isn’t going to happen until Thanksgiving, thank God. And Bentley is finally sleeping (most nights) for 6-7 hours straight without any wake-ups and we’ve hired a dog walker to help us through puppy stages.

Anyway, back in March I requested the first week in November off and the Husband and I had planned to head to Arizona. That isn’t happening since we just don’t want to leave the puppy for a full week after only having him for just over a month. Instead, the Husband will be working some, and I’ll have my very own staycation.

And here’s what I want to do…

  • One night of NOTHING. Pure coach potato nothing. I want to eat dinner with the Husband, put Bentley to bed and watch Dexter all night long without having to move.
  • Take Bentley to puppy kindergarten (first class went well), on some reservation walks, and get some quality time with him that I don’t always get when I’m at work.
  • Go outlet shopping for a few hours, by myself, and find some new winter work clothes and boots.
  • Get up early because I want to, before the Husband and Bentley are awake, and drink coffee while the sun rises.
  • Sleep in one morning. And by sleeping in, I mean 7:00am. Yes that is in fact sleeping in these days.
  • Take a nap. Bentley naps, so Mommy gets to nap too.
  • Go to bed one night before 10pm. And sleep and sleep and sleep.
  • Get a pedicure.
  • Visit my in-laws.
  • Go on a date with my Husband.
  • Write my damn wedding thank yous.
  • Order some wedding pictures.
  • Think about doing something nice for the Husband for our one year anniversary which is coming up in just over a month.
  • See my best friend J and finally get a few hours of true catch-up.
  • Plan some date time with friends. I miss them.
  • Workout without feeling guilty. Go on a run and for a few swims.
  • Bake something delicious and Fall-like.

That’s it. For one blissful week, I just want these simple little things.

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Bentley: 5 day update

Monday at noon we walked into the vet in New Hampshire and asked for our new puppy, “Michael”. The vet tech looked at us almost sadly and said she’d be right back.

Out came a yawning, shaking little guy. At first I thought, is that actually our puppy? The recent pictures the adoption counselor sent had made him look so big already. But this guy wasn’t, at 10 weeks he is tiny, and in that moment was clearly so scared.

He was also sick. Kennel cough and parasites. Apparently quite common, especially after the stress of transport but he had two medications we needed to give him.

I quickly picked him up and cuddled him to alleviate the shaking. The collar we brought, the one that everyone said we should just buy normal size so he can grow in it, at its smallest loop fit around his stomach. At that moment, I felt nervous and like a failure.

The car ride home wasn’t bad, he was still scared and slept a little on the seat across from me in the back. He seemed leery of us and exhausted.

Once home, he quickly fell in love with his bed, and slept. However, each time we moved he would wake up and follow us. We realized quickly that would had to keep him on the bed between us on the floor until we were ready for bed.

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The first night… oh the mistakes we made. We felt bad when he started spazzing and crying in his crate so we kept the crate door open, blocked our bedroom loft off and let him roam if needed. We woke up at 4am to poop, pee and running around. Bad, bad idea.

What we’ve learned since then…

He loves being held. It’s really funny because he doesn’t necessary like cuddles when we sit down, but if you pick him up into your arms he relaxes and leans his head against ours. This is one of the few times he likes to give puppy kisses too as he burrows into our necks.

He needs to release energy and he has far more energy now that he is comfortable with us and our house. The second night we ran into about an hour of time where he was chewing our couch, biting at our legs, putting his butt in the air and barking and leaping everywhere. I honestly was scared we had a “Marley” on our hands. We soon realized, if we take him out on many walks and let him decide when it’s time to come in (he runs towards the home stairs) then he gets so sleepy and tired.

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Spawn.of.Satan.

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Happily tuckered.

Speaking of stairs… we are able to get him to go up the stairs now. However, down the stairs is another story. Our stairs are actually very steep and he is little – but if we try to take him near the top of a stair case to go down he FREAKS OUT. I’m talking whining, yelping, running in the other directions, spazzing sideways on the leash. Right now I’m carrying him down the stairs which is fine at 16lbs but… I can’t do that forever!

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Speaking of sleeping… he actually loves his crate. We learned that whenever he goes in he gets one treat inside and a little peanut butter inside a kong toy. He goes in happily now and when we close the door he whimpers for maybe 2 minutes and then goes to sleep. He will stir or eventually whimper if he needs to go out to the bathroom (although we are currently setting alarms to take him out 1-2 times during the night just to be safe). He apparently was tired enough that this morning at 6am (an hour later than we normally wake up) when I went to take him out he looked at me, yawned, whined and walked to the back of his crate and went back to sleep! I gave him another 15 minutes and then turned the light on and he slowly made his way out. He apparently takes after my hubby already.

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Puppy life is SO hard

In terms of training I was a little worried at first that he wasn’t that motivated by food or praise – but he sure is learning. He is great about showing signs of when he has to go potty – he sniffs around frantically in the house or he runs into the kitchen. Most times we get him down stairs on time but (our fault) we sometimes miss the signs and he pees inside. During the day he needs to go sometimes every 30 minutes! He has quickly learned though when he goes to the bathroom outside, then he sits and I click the clicker and he gets a toy and lots of praise. He seems to know “sit” but more so for the treat — now each time he knows we have a treat in our hands he runs to us and sits!

But oh, the chewing and nipping. He’s learning (and when we burn enough energy, make sure he naps, and do “no bites” and stop playing) he now nips less. But gosh the incessant chewing. He loves everything he shouldn’t. Our bathroom carpet, our couch, the living room rug, the wooden stairs, the metal chair legs…we have had to find many toys to attempt to rival what are apparently like crack big chew toys for him. Luckily, I just don’t care about most of our old stuff in this apartment – but I definitely don’t want that habit to start.

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That chair was later removed as it became his favorite chew toy.

Honestly, I never ever imagined the work that went into having a puppy. I just didn’t know that it would be constant watching, constant training, and to be honest, constant worrying. I didn’t know how much of a worrier I would be but I worry – I worry he is still sick, I worry he could get dehydrated, I worry he misses his siblings – I just can’t stop worrying!

And yet through all the constant work and utter exhaustion having a puppy has made me realize…

I never imagined I could love an animal this much. Sure I loved Meatball my cat, but somehow it’s not quite the same. I love this little guy so much it hurts. And I just want him to be healthy and happy.

I never imagined it would make me fall in love with my husband more. To be honest, I feared that since the Husband never had an animal he would like play time but not the rest. However, he has been one hell of a team-mate. After working the overnight he still spends an hour tiring puppy face out in the morning, when he is home at night he does the night wake-ups, he is constantly taking him out for walks, cleaning up after him, offering to do things whenever I appear tired. He calms me down when I worry and even he hugs me when I cry and doesn’t make fun of me (yes, I was exhausted and overwhelmed and actually cried the second night).

Bentley has been one of the most exhausting additions to our life… but one that brings more joy and love than I could have ever imagined. So for all you dog people out there, I get it, I truly now get it.

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❤ ❤ ❤

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I don’t know where I heard or read that quote recently, but it is so true. How on earth is it October?

Life at the end of last week became a little chaotic. My grandmother had a stroke. I immediately thought the worst, but thankfully after a few days in a neuro psych ward, she’s been moved to a rehab facility. I also spoke with her on the phone, and for an 87-year-old, she was actually pretty with it. Good progress, that’s all I ask.

Anyway, I spent a lot of September feeling like I just had to get through it. Get through the crazy wedding season, get through the ridiculous amount of plans and obligations. It was kind of a sad mentality now that I think about it. I don’t ever want to wish away or just get through days.

So October is going to be about enjoying each day. Spending time doing things with people I love. I’ve got lots already planned this month, during my favorite season everrrr, and I can’t wait.

Let’s start with October 1. Yesterday morning before I left for work I put all the fixings for beef stew into the crockpot, set it on low and left.

Right from the train station after work I went swimming. It’s funny, sometimes I think I’m bored while swimming and then a few laps in I zone out, and by the end I’m solving all my problems. I got out of the pool after half a mile and was immediately ravenous and exhausted. I forgot how much swimming takes out of me. It’s a nice change right now to my workout routine though because in the last few weeks I’ve felt so unmotivated.

By the time I walked in the door around 7:15 I was beyond thrilled to have delicious beef stew waiting. I’ve decided I need to make a crockpot recipe each week.

I then forced myself to spend about an hour and a half puppy-proofing (cleaning, moving, unpacking) things in our bedroom loft area. By 9:30pm my body was aching and I sat down and watched the Voice. It’s a show I used to hate, but somehow I am completed sucked into the blind auditions this year.

Got to see the husband for about 5 minutes after he came in, showered, and left for work.

All in all, minus missing the husband, my first day of October was pretty damn good.

Today I forced myself out of bed at 5:50am (getting really painful as it gets darker and the fact that I’m somehow not in bed until 11 each night) and went in for an hour of strength training at the gym. Tonight I’m really looking forward to spending the evening with the Husband and eating more beef stew. Simple and perfect.

This weekend I head to Buffalo where I get to spend time with some of my favorite college girls and finally meet one of their sons for the first time. I don’t even care what we do, I’m just so excited to hang out and talk all weekend.

Sunday the Hubby will be picking me up from the airport and we head to have a bbq with friends and watch some football. I have an inkling we may find out the gender of one of our friend’s babies at this gathering which makes it even more exciting.

And on Monday…we pick up Bentley! I took off Monday and Tuesday to ensure I can spend all day with him. Going forward I’ll still be working from home on Thursdays, the Husband will be home all day with him and I imagine our schedules will change a bit as we figure out what works best for us as a family. Seriously, I.can’t.wait.

I can’t explain in words how I’ve been feeling lately but let me try. Out of nowhere, I started to just feel really content. Like, less anxious, less controlling, less jealous, less worried about things. This underlying calm feeling of I’m going to do what makes me happy, spend quality time with people, eat delicious food including treats, workout when I’m motivated and when I’m not I may miss a couple of days, and that’s OK. Everything is, and everything will be OK. Maybe it’s a post for another time.

Anyway, I have a feeling October is going to be a really good month.

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A Friday night spent eating dinner and relaxing on the couch with the Husband.

A Saturday morning swimming ¼ mile (16 laps) for the first time in years. I just zoned out and swam and it was amazing. (As sore as my arms are now, still so worth it.)

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A Saturday afternoon shopping and driving around with the husband.

A Saturday late night dinner with my best friend, her husband, and my husband. Eating absurdly delicious food.

Shrimp scampi and braised veal in a port wine and mushroom sauce

A Sunday spent with my best friend, walking through an apple farm, eating a hot out of the oven apple cider donut, then having a “cooking and sharing” day where we each made 2 dishes.

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I made a ginormous sweet potato ground turkey shepherd’s pie and chicken sausage stuffed zucchini boats. She made a veggie and bean packed quinoa and an Afghani dish, Kaddo Bourani (pumpkin with yogurt and meat sauces) which is like lick your spoon a hundred time delicious. We made enough so that we both took about 4 portions of each meal. Meaning I went home with 16 portions of food (well more like 12 with the Husband’s portion size) meaning we don’t have to cook or eat out all week. I have got to spend my Sundays cooking more!

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And finally… the happy news that is making me dance around today…after talking to a breeder a few weeks ago we thought we were set on waiting for the next litter and getting a boxer puppy. But after hearing about the incredibly sickening and awful tortured dog that was found in the town next to where the Husband works last week – we started looking at rescues. I (somewhat dumbly I guess) never knew how many dogs and puppies were out there needing to be adopted. As we looked through the pages upon pages of rescues we came across a lab/shepherd puppy “Michael” and the Husband and I were IN LOVE. We just HAD to take him home. After applications (approved) and talking with an adoption counselor (so much information on rescues and the transport/quarantine process) all that’s left is to schedule his arrival, and then at some point within the next 4 weeks we will be taking Bentley (formerly known as Michael) into our home. I can’t explain the excitement and happiness I’m feeling about the addition to our family right now.

Bentley

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