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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Time to Change – Day Fifty-Three

Before I talk about my day, I just want to say a massive thank you to all the people that take the time to read this blog, comment, like and basically just show their support.  I’ve hit four big milestones all at once: 500 likes, 100 followers, 100 blog posts and 1000 views.  All within the last three days.  I know that doesn’t seem like much compared to other people’s blogs, but keep in mind I only started this three months ago.  I think that’s pretty awesome!  So thanks guys.  Your support means a lot to me!

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Anyway, today went better than yesterday in pretty much every way.  Although I struggled to get out of bed (the struggle seems to get worse every morning!), I managed to get into the car by 8, and thankfully the traffic was pretty good today, unlike yesterday where it was the worst it’s been in a couple of weeks.  I rocked up at 8.45, and despite being rostered to start at that time, I took the time to google ‘is it better to eat an unhealthy breakfast or none at all?’, the verdict being unhealthy trumps none.  So I took another five minutes to grab an apple and cinnamon muffin from the closest coffee shop, then headed into work.  As expected, nobody even noticed I was technically five minutes late (I put this down to the fact that I’m not on their roster so they just trust that I’m rocking up and leaving when I’m supposed to).  The day wasn’t crazy busy like yesterday, so I felt more relaxed and got everything done I needed to, plus I learnt a few things I hadn’t managed to touch on yet.  That always makes me feel like the day was worth it, as I know soon enough I’ll be chucked into the deep end when I start at my “real” store.

I ate healthy at lunch, aside from a Coke Zero.  I’ve only had two soft drinks in the past two weeks, and while I know they’re bad, I think me going almost cold turkey on them is pretty impressive.  Six months ago, I would have Diet Coke at least once a day, sometimes more.  While I never felt addicted, I know when I initially stopped, I began getting migraines a lot more frequently.  I guess I was kind of addicted.  Since starting this diet journey, I’ve cut back a lot and honestly, I don’t miss it much.  I mean, I still love the taste and occasionally I crave them (like today), but mostly drinking water or milk satisfies me and I don’t really think about it.  The only reason I really craved it today was because two people at work got bottles at lunch and I was staring at them while I was on break.  Like I’ve spoken about previously, advertising is a lot more powerful than I realized.  All it takes is for me to see a logo at the wrong time and I really struggle.  I’m definitely getting better at fighting it and breaking habits though.  Every day I’m feeling stronger and fighting it is becoming easier.

As I left work, I was thinking about the advertising thing again.  As I walked through the carpark to my car, I could smell take away.  It smelt exactly like McDonalds (though I’m pretty sure it was actually coming from the Red Rooster nearby) and all I wanted right then and there was McNuggets and fries.  As I’d just been thinking about the whole advertising thing as this happened, I knew exactly why I’d been struggling so much these past few weeks.  I’m sure subconsciously each night after work I was smelling that smell and my brain suddenly wanted nothing more than my favourite junk food.  That alone wouldn’t matter, however the drive home requires me to drive past my usual Maccas pitstop, and it’s extremely difficult for me to control myself.  Tonight though, I did.  Tonight, despite having wicked cravings, I refused to give into them.  I knew breaking the habit required me to overcome this pattern, and I knew it had to start now.  And you know what?  Once I drove past, it quickly left my mind.  Despite knowing that there are Maccas everywhere – including 3kms from my house – once I went past my usual store, I no longer craved it.  It is all about habits, and I am starting to break this one.  I was extremely happy with myself.  Diet, 1, Junk Food, 0 (not counting the Coke at lunch…if it’s an constellation, it’s zero calories?  I know, I know, it’s still terrible for you.  But gimme a break).

Once I got home, I had to decide which Lite n Easy meal I was going to make.  This is a tough choice for someone so indecisive!  I finally landed on the “tortilla stack”, mostly out of curiosity.  I mean, I knew what they were, but this was one of my riskier choices as Mexican food is full of so many things I’m not generally a fan of.  My mind wasn’t put at ease once I’d zapped it microwave and pulled it out.  There were three kinds of beans, and some green vegetables that I didn’t recognise.  The old me probably would have said “nope!” and make spaghetti instead.  The new me said “fuck it, let’s do this” and I didn’t regret it.  It was delicious!  The beans didn’t have much taste (even the chickpeas were okay and I usually detest the yellow devils) and the sauce/salsa was awesome.  Plus, I really felt like I was eating healthy food.  I mean, I know that’s the whole idea behind LnE, but I could see the beans and veggies.  Needless to say, after five meals so far, I’m extremely impressed with the quality of the food this program offers.  For microwave food, it’s actually really great, and the variety is second to none.  Living by myself, I’d alternate between about four different dishes and that’s it.  There are only so many options that don’t require a lot of cooking (that results in leftovers for days) or crappy microwave meals.  While I know LnE is slightly more expensive than making dinner at home (okay, a fair bit more), I’m okay with the price knowing it’s healthy, it’s quick, it tastes great and it’s convenient.  And no, I’m not sponsored by them.  I wish I was.  Then I’d get it for free and I’d love that.  No such luck though!

After dinner, I spent a whole hour cleaning the house.  That is a long time for me, but I was in a good headspace tonight so it actually felt kind of good.  I vacuumed, and was amazed (as usual) at the amount of dog hair I got up.  Retrievers sure know how to drop hair!  I also cleaned up the backyard, wiped down the windows, cleaned the benches, put away the dishes and took out the rubbish.  I’m so domesticated!

Ha, not really.  But the house is looking pretty damn good.  I think the inspection should go okay tomorrow.  If it doesn’t, I’m not too concerned.  They can’t do very much…nothing is actually damaged, and given that, I’m sure if they find anything I can fix it up.

I’m in the city tomorrow for training.  My third round of this.  I did a whole day on the topic three weeks ago at induction, a refresh last week and now I have another whole day on it.  I’m all for learning new things, but I think a third day on the same stuff is a little overkill.  Oh well, nothing much I can do about it.  At least I’ll know all the answers!

I probably should wrap it up here.  It’s getting late and I have a few more things I tidy up before I leave tomorrow…and because I’m in the city, I have to leave earlier than usual.  I feel a long day coming on.  At least my step count will be higher thanks to public transport!

Have a great day tomorrow 🙂

-JD