Puppy Love

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”
Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?

As I’ve briefly mentioned in quite a few of my previous posts, I have a Golden Retriever named Daisy.  She’s going to be two on the last day of February.
I bought her in early May of 2013, about a week before my birthday.  Admittedly, I rushed into it a little bit.  When I get an idea into my head, I have a very hard time convincing myself to slow down, wait or not do it.  The fact I have no self-control is also why I’m now having to diet, but that’s been discussed plenty in other posts.
Anyway, my then-best friend decided he wanted a dog.  He isn’t very organised, so I’d often be the one to help him out when he got his latest big idea.  I spent hours looking for options to suit him, and even longer looking through “puppies for sale” ads, my heart melting with every picture that came with them.  Like most of his big ideas, he changed his mind.  As quickly as the idea came, it went.  I should have seen it coming (I guess subconsciously I probably did) but I was annoyed.  All that research for nothing.  I couldn’t get those little furry faces out of my mind.  I’d grown up with dogs, but had moved out of home a year before, and I missed the cuddly company.  I lived in a first-floor apartment, so it wasn’t by choice I didn’t have my own.  It just wasn’t feasible.

The days dragged on and my mind kept going back to those ads I saw.  Finally, I decided I couldn’t ignore them any more.  My lease was coming up and I knew I’d be moving (my housemate had to move out due to changing jobs and I couldn’t afford to live there alone), so I decided if I saw an ad go up, I’d bite the bullet and go for it.  I hadn’t completely made up my mind between a Goldie or a Lab, so I also left that up to fate.

Now that I’d set my mind to getting a puppy, I couldn’t think of anything else.  I was constantly on websites that listed ads, even when I was working.  I was on the shop floor when I stumbled upon an ad that had only gone up a few hours earlier, advertising golden retriever puppies.  This was happening faster than I’d anticipated (it had taken months for mum to find our first dog all those years ago, though looking back, it’s because she’s the opposite of me, and meticulously plans everything) but I also knew that retriever puppies were snapped up extremely quickly.  I called the number on the ad straight away, and was surprised to find out that they were the next suburb over from work.  They were keen to sell the puppies ASAP (I could tell that over the phone) so I agreed to go to the address after work and check out the furbabies.

I told myself that there was no pressure to buy, even if they were keen to sell.  I don’t know why I bothered though.  The second I saw the chubby, fluffy babies, I knew I had to have one.  I specified I wanted a girl (I’d grown up with female dogs so I thought it was safest to stay with what I knew) and they showed me two sisters.  The old man who was there was nice enough, but didn’t seem hugely interested.  I guess his mentality was that if I wasn’t going to buy one, someone else gladly would.  I asked what the differences in personality were between the sisters, and he shrugged and said nothing.  Obviously, I didn’t believe that but maybe he just couldn’t tell them apart.  They looked like the spitting image of each other.  He gave me one to hold while the other toddled around my feet.  The second he put the little girl in my arms, I knew I had to have her.  There was no way I could say goodbye to her.

He wanted me to take her on the spot, but everything had happened so quickly that I told him that wasn’t possible.  I was happy to put a deposit down but I would have to come back on the weekend after I’d bought a bed and collar and lead and food bowl and food for her.  I had none of that.  Once he knew I was serious, he didn’t mind holding onto her for the next five days.  I was grateful for that.  I didn’t know what I’d do if he wasn’t willing to.

The next five days dragged on for so long.  I stocked up on all the dog things I could get my hands on.  I still wasn’t sure of my short-term plan for her.  I lived in an apartment, I worked full time.  Still, I’d make it work.  I had to.  My original temporary plan was to buy a big puppy pen, leave her in it during the day, come home on my lunch break to let her out, put her back in, go back to work for the last few hours, then let her out when I got home.  Not ideal, I knew that even at the time, but I only lived five minutes away from where I worked so as a short-term solution I thought it would work.  I bought the biggest puppy pen I could find so she’d have room to move around in, in preparation for this plan.

The day finally came when I could go and pick her up.  I was so excited.  I bought my friend with me so I had someone to hold her on the car ride home.  When I arrived, the old man greeted me again, letting me inside and leading me to my new furbaby.  He gave me a bag of dog biscuits and a book on puppy rearing.  I handed over almost $1000, then we headed off.  We took her back to my apartment where I’d already covered the floor with blankets in case of accidents.  The puppy toddled around, sniffing.  I wanted to cuddle her and play with her; she wanted to nap.  She’d already had a big adventure, and decided finding a little nook to squeeze into was safest so I wouldn’t be tempted to pick her up again.  Smart dog.

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After I let her rest for awhile, I wanted to show her off.  I took her to my work first.  The car ride must have given her a tummy ache, because the second I bought her into the backroom, she starting making the “I’m gonna be sick” noises, and I got her to the sink just in time.  Poor puppy, it had been a big morning.  Everyone at work fussed her over.  After that, I took her to my parents’ place.  I’d been careful to keep all the pictures off social media as I hadn’t told them yet.  I knew they’d be mad either way, but I thought surprising them might help.

I rocked up on their doorstep, the puppy tucked away safely in my arms.  Mum went to tell me off, but just couldn’t do it.  She was just as enamored with her as I was.  The puppy set off to explore the next new place.  Mum’s dogs didn’t know how to take her.  One of them has always hated dogs so promptly got put outside, while the other watched on from a careful distance.  It had been a long time since she’d been around a puppy, but she’d always been gentle so we knew she’d come around to the visitor.

After the initial shock wore off, mum asked what I planned to do with the puppy while I was still in the apartment.  When I explained my temporarily (less than ideal) solution, she promptly said that wasn’t going to happen, and she’d have to stay here while I was at work.  I was pretty happy with that, even though it was 30 mins away.  At least the puppy would have company all day, and she’d get toilet trained early.  I wasn’t sure how the grumpy dog would like the new housemate, but bad luck to her.

That night, I took her over to my nan’s.  I loved showing her off while she was still little enough to carry.  I knew this phase wouldn’t last long.  The puppy was completely worn out, and promptly fell asleep again.  It was then I managed to get this awesome photo of just how tiny she was.  Her paw was the same size as her stuffed elephants.  Within a couple of months, the same toy was dwarfed by her.

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The first few days were spent going back and forth between my apartment and mum’s place.  The puppy wasn’t eating much, which we were concerned about, but eventually she came around once she began to feel settled at mum’s.  She was so playful, constantly carrying toys around in her mouth (or at least, trying her best to) and she loved treats.

While I worked, mum taught her how to sit (she’d learnt how to by the time she was twelve weeks old!) and was on the way to being toilet trained.  She did have a cheeky habit of peeing on the porch though – to her, outside was outside, and it was hard to fault the logic.

While all this was going on, I was looking for a new place to live.  We finally found a few we liked, and set out to apply for them.  We thought it might be tough to land one with a puppy, but the first one we applied for we got, which was great!  Within a couple of weeks, I’d packed up and moved into the new place, eager to have my puppy with me.

Since then, I haven’t looked back.  While I may have rushed into it, I’m glad I did.  I love the company she offers (especially now I live alone), I love how smart she is, I love that she’s often the reason I get off the couch and exercise.  She rescues me from moths that get into the house and from birds in the backyard (she loves chasing them).  Her favourite place is the local dog park where she gets to meet new friends.  She also loves going back to her first home (my parents’ place).  At some point, I’m going to get her a friend, but not until my house is built.  I’d like to say I won’t rush into the next one, but I can’t make the promise.  At least I’ve thought about it for awhile.  I’m in two minds between getting another retriever, or getting something smaller.  I love Goldies but sometimes it’s tough walking her (she’s really strong and stubborn when she wants to be), but I’m worried if I get something smaller, that Daisy might get carried away playing and hurt her.  Decisions.  I have awhile to think about it, so I have plenty of time to think it through.

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#loveme challenge – Day Fourteen

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Day 14 – Share a Fear You Overcame

This one goes back a loooooong time.  When I was little, I was terrified of dogs.  Like, I couldn’t be in the same room as them…or same house…or park.  I don’t know why exactly, though I could guess that being that small they must have looked like giants with big teeth and scary barks.  Plus, even since I can remember, we had this terrifying black dog “toy” that I hated.  It was about the size of an actual small dog, and was on wheels and had a handle.  I still don’t really understand what the point of it was.  Was it for me to ride on when I was tiny?  Was I supposed to push it around like a kiddie stroller?  Was I supposed to pet it like it was a real dog?  I have no idea.  All I remember is, when it was nighttime I had to walk past the playroom it was stored in to get to my bedroom, and all I could see through the darkness were its glassy eyes looking back at me.  I would sprint past the room every night.  Needless to say, I never once played with it.

The fear got worse when I was about five.  I was at a park with my mum and baby sister, and all I remember was being chased by a labrador.  I was terrified and screaming my head off and my shoes fell off and I kept running.  The dog obviously thought it was a game, and chased me.  The owner didn’t step in at all.  What sort of person lets their big dog chase a screaming five year old?  I don’t know.  An asshole, no doubt.

My sister (always the opposite of me) loved animals.  She wasn’t afraid of them, she talked about them all the time…yeah, she was one of those kids.  When she turned 4, my parents decided to get her a dog.  That was the excuse, anyway, though I have a sneaking suspicion the real reason was because they were embarrassed about having a 7-year-old that was mortally afraid of canines.

I remember all the homework my mum did on which dog breed to get.  She trawled through paperwork and books.  She wasn’t sure if she wanted a tiny dog or a slightly bigger one.  She’s grown up with all kind of dog breeds; my dad hadn’t had any at all.  I know deep down she wanted a corgi, but I guess she found too many reasons not to as it didn’t make the final list of options.  I don’t really remember what I was feeling as this was going on, though I can guess I didn’t like it.

The day finally came when mum had found a breed she was happy with, and a breeder with puppies.  We drove all the way to Geelong (which felt like forever at that age).  There was only one puppy left.  I don’t remember any of it, but dad has told us countless times that the first time he met the puppy, she peed on him.  I guess she claimed him as her own, because she came home with us.

On the way back, we discussed names.  I remember that.  It came down to two options, Wags (yes, like the Wiggles) or Patch, because of the big black spot on her back.  We ultimately went with Patch, which is probably a better option given Wags is horribly ironic when she had a docked tail.

I don’t remember how long it took me to come around to her, though I feel like it actually wasn’t long.  I guess maybe because she was so small and the rest of the family seemed to be okay with her, then I was too.

She grew up with me, my faithful furry friend.  She lived for 17 years, passing away from kidney failure last year.  It was tough, but she’d lived a long (spoilt) life, and by the end was blind, mostly-deaf and somewhat incontinent.  She’s the reason I love animals now, and the reason I have my own fluffy friend.  I’m glad she came into my life and helped me overcome my fears.  I’m sure eventually I would have to some degree, but I know I wouldn’t love dogs like I do now.

Thank you Patchy, RIP ❤

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Make Me Smile

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Make Me Smile.”
If you’re feeling blah, what is the one thing you do that you can count on to put a smile on your face?

If I’m feeling upset or lonely, there are two things that make me feel better.  One being my puppy, which is obvious.  She loves cuddles and when I was going through one of the worst nights of my life (to the point I was shaking uncontrollably all night) she cuddled right up next to me and didn’t leave my side, even though she gets really hot and usually sleeps away from me.

  
The second is a present I got for my last birthday from two of my closest friends.  It’s a build-a-bear named Plebalina.  She’s so soft and cuddly, but more than that, it was designed just for me.  They took time out of their day to think about what I’d like, and spent some serious cash on it.  Most of all, the three of us each have one each now.  I always feel close to them when I look at it, and it reminds me of all the good times we’ve had.  Even in my darkest hours, I know they’re always going to be there for me.  Plus, who wouldn’t smile looking at this plushie?

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-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Eight

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I missed doing this for a couple of days but I’m just going to pick up where I left off instead of doing a mass catch up.

Day 8 – “Share a Scar”.

I’ve got a scar on the back of my hand that I’ve had for two and a half years now.  I got it from when my little 12-week-old puppy got a little too playful and scratched me.  When people say that puppies have sharp claws, they ain’t lying.  I love having this scar as it’s like a little permanent reminder of my bestest furry friend.  She’s still as playful as she was back then, but luckily her claws aren’t as sharp!

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