After so much time spent in my own head, it’s interesting to be in someone else’s for a change.
Watching a puppy grow and experience their world is intriguing. I find myself looking at every new sound, sight, or smell as a learning opportunity for Blue. How did she see that? Will this leave a lasting impression – good or bad? How or should I have handled this differently? I feel completely responsible for helping her learn about the world, it’s rules, her place in it. So much of it is about prevention. Like preventing separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, fear of strangers. Some learning opportunities just present themselves, others I have to create.
She’s also had an impact on me. When she freezes or looks up, I find myself doing the same thing. What does she perceive that I can’t/didn’t? She’s old enough now to have started looking up into the trees and sky. She’s following the squirrels in the branches and the birds in the feeder. She’s testing her boundaries and me. She is intelligent and inquisitive, leaping into new challenges with fearless energy. Occasionally, something does frighten her, and she’ll run back to me for reassurance but that’s becoming more and more rare. Her natural, inherited nature is driving most of her learning but I still play a large part in it. Just have to hope i’m not screwing her up too much. Probably what every parent worries about. Doc
That’s me, not Blue Actually, I think she’s quite intelligent, just rather stubborn. My education as a dog owner continued Thursday as Blue and I started puppy kindergarten at the local Petco. Pretty cool. We worked on leash walking, the “off” and “leave it” commands and other stuff which I’ve already forgotten. Our trainer uses the positive reinforcement method which includes tapping into natural, inherited dog behaviors. Blue seemed to catch on quickly, which for some reason, made me giggle and think “damn, this shit really works.”
We have 4 more classes and by the end I hope we’ll both be a little smarter. I need to work on “come” – she usually just looks at me and tilts her head back and forth as well as how to introduce her to my sister’s horses, anyone of which could bite or stomp her to death. She’s too friendly sometimes and i don’t think she perceives them as the potentially dangerous creatures they are.
On a side note, I agreed to restart the Zoloft at a much reduced dose to see if it will again cause intractable diarrhea, etc. Blue was very helpful? and promptly chewed up the written Rx when I left it too close to the table edge while I was upstairs. Maybe she knows something I don’t. Doc
I’m much calmer now. Earlier today, Blue, her cousin Daisy, and I were about to leave the cornfield and enter the wooded part of our daily walk. The dogs ran past it unknowingly, but I saw it. There, partially hidden in the newly fallen leaves was a 4 foot black snake. (I have a bit of a phobia re: snakes.) It was stretched out, apparently on the move out into the sunshine to warm up.
Since Blue is(was) snake-naïve, I called them back to me and the snake for a lesson in snake management. Daisy didn’t see it initially and actually walked right over it. It didn’t even move. However, once I picked it up with my walking stick, both dogs got very interested. I had no intention of letting the dogs hurt it, but having convinced myself that it wasn’t a copperhead, I took the opportunity to introduce Blue to snakes. The dogs started barking, pointlessly, and the snake coiled into a small lump. It struck once at Daisy and missed. I used my stick to hold it back from further strikes and let the dogs sniff, and lunge & retreat, bark and check it out. At one point the snake started to vibrate it’s tail in the leaves – like a rattlesnake.
After 10 mins. I was able to call the dogs to continue our walk and it went on it’s way, unharmed (physically). Hopefully, Blue has learned a valuable lesson. While she found it quite interesting, I think she showed it proper respect and instinctively kept her distance.
Granted, it was a brilliant black and stood out clearly in the leaves, something a copperhead would not do in these leaves of brown and yellow. So, my fear that she will stumble onto a venomous relative of our snake friend, continues to haunt me. But at least she’s now met a harmless creature and hopefully she will use these skills to avoid another snake who might not be as innocuous. Doc
When I wandered outside this morning the temp. was 33 degrees. I had to literally boot the puppy out the door because I knew she had to go. When she looked at me like I was crazy, I remembered her sweater and warmed her sock rice bag and tucked her into her outside dog bed and covered her with a towel to keep the heat in. She quickly stopped shivering and curled up to snooze while I warmed my hands and cleared my head with hot coffee. The house is warm, but we still spend a lot of time outdoors since I don’t have to constantly watch her for signs she “needs to go.”
If I had any money laying around, I would invest in coffee beans.
We drive daily to my sister’s farm for our walk and each day I bring home a load of firewood. I’ve just about got 2 cords stacked and ready to burn as soon as the chimney sweep comes and checks the woodstove for any issues. When it’s cranking I often have to open a window upstairs to let some of the heat out, but Blue should love it warm.
Yesterday, she must have eaten something nasty on our walk because she puked on the ride home and again later while we were taking our post-walk snooze on my bed. Luckily, I had a Tupperware container handy and I managed to catch the vomitus in it instead of on my down comforter.
Blue has definitely forced me to become more active and create and stick to a routine, which my therapist thinks is “great.” I guess so. Honestly, I do kinda miss the freedom of having and wanting nothing to do. I’ve had to reduce my pot use as it makes it hard to keep up with her and her needs when i’m stoned. But I still smoke in the evening to help me sleep It’s definitely not a pleasure I intend to give up completely.
Wolf and I made a pact that he will not hurt her. I hope he keeps his promise. Doc
Today I told my sister of my plan to make a tube sock rice bag that I can heat in the microwave and then tuck it into Blue’s outside bed to keep her warm as the temps drop. She chuckled and then accused me of spoiling my new puppy. I disagree. In fact, I look at this plan as a way to soothe me and reduce my anxiety as I get quite anxious when we’re stranded outside while I wait for her to pee or poop. So really , it’s more for me than Blue’s comfort.
Our daily drive to the farm may look like i’m spoiling her, but when I know she’s “dog-tired” I can relax and enjoy our post-walk snuggle and her nap next to me on my bed.
My therapist asked me if I was bonding with Blue. Honestly (and not for my sister’s ears) i’m not sure. I’m trying and many things she does – like playing with a toy- do make me smile. But, quite honestly, i’m still feeling very overwhelmed by the amount of time, energy, and focus it is taking out of me. I did complain to my therapist that EVERYONE told me that a puppy would make my life better. Since I was sitting across from him shaking with anxiety and sleep deprivation, he – not unsurprisingly – backpedaled and said maybe a PUPPY wasn’t the best idea given my recent hospitalization, ECT, and other issues. I know everyone had my best interests in mind and I do appreciate their concern, but it has been very difficult to manage. I don’t want to be perceived as an ungrateful bitch, but I truly believe I wasn’t ready for this level of responsibility. Nevertheless, I will keep trying to deal and raise a happy, well-adjusted dog. Maybe my self-sabotaging perfectionism is showing.