Friday, December 30, 2016

Not Exactly Over It But Laughing Again

After the events of this past summer and fall I was left in a blue funk. I had expected to experience some of this as a natural part of the grief process. What I didn't expect was to be also grieving about the results of the election. I think that caught many of us by surprise.  What followed for the month of November was a mood that left me on the verge of tears most of the time. By Thanksgiving I knew I had to take some action and out of the blue a voice in my head said, "Get a puppy!"

Lest you think that I am hearing voices that aren't there, what I am describing is that intuitive feeling that I occasionally get that I just know I need to act upon. It doesn't happen often but when it does I know to listen. Sixteen years ago that same voice told me that I should call Rich even though I hadn't seen him for over eight years, and here we are happily married. So when I told Rich what my plan was he knew not to argue with me and I think he was even a bit pleased.

Our dog Callie is 9-1/2 years old and in the past year has been slowing down quite a bit. Her vision is not what it used to be and she sleeps much more than she used to. We got her when her daddy, Gus, was about that age and it revitalized him. Our hope was that it would revive her sense of play and help make her more active and at the same time lift our mood for the holiday season.

I asked many of my dog loving friends if they had heard of anyone who might have a Labrador Retriever that was expecting in the near future. I even put a post on Facebook. Less than a day later my old friend and colleague, Sue G., replied with a notice from an on-line garage sale site. I contacted the dog owner right away. Within days I went out to see the pups. (Just an aside: Never, Never, Never go to look at a litter of Labrador Retriever puppies unless you are seriously planning to take one home.) This is the result of that visit:

DeeDee and her reindeer toy
Our little DeeDee was born on October 22 and is one of 11 surviving puppies out of a litter of 14. I picked her because she seemed less aggressive than some of the others and she cuddled up to me as soon as I sat down on the floor with her. My thought was that she would settle in nicely with an older first dog like Callie. On a more emotional level, when she cuddled, I fell in love with her on the spot. I needed a snuggles a lot right then.

DeeDee has been with us for two weeks now and Callie has been very tolerant of her. However, although still a cuddly puppy when I need her to be, she has proven to be a feisty little pup and is not at all intimidated by the bigger dog. Every evening they treat Rich and I to a tug-of-war show as Callie literally drags DeeDee around the floor on the other end of  the reindeer chew toy that Dee brought with her from the breeder. Those dogs are a constant source of the laughter that Rich and I badly needed this holiday season.

Two dogs, two Kong toys,

It took DeeDee only a day or two to figure out that when I was working at the kitchen counter there was food involved. Even though we had not given her people food she still positioned herself at my feet every time I was cooking. I had to put a stop to that before I suffered a fall and broke something, like one of my bones!

DeeDee at my feet in the kitchen.

Both girls play hard when they are outside:

And collapse and sleep soundly when they are done playing:

Callie and DeeDee sleeping in the sorted laundry piles.

The best part of the whole training process is that DeeDee learned after the second night of being confined in our bedroom by the safety gate across the door, that you don't use the bedroom for a potty! She sleeps about six hours before she cries to get out and that time span is increasing gradually each night. She has also learned that dogs must go to the front door and cry if they need out. Granted, we must react swiftly or we will find a puddle on the floor in front of the door. But I'm encouraged by her rapid learning process. 

The only training issue remaining is the chewing thing. In spite of having a variety of chew toys out at all times she still must be watched like a toddler. She proudly brought a shiny gold Christmas ornament to me in the kitchen one day last week. Thank heavens she has the characteristic "soft mouth" of a good Lab since the ornament was glass. I immediately rearranged the ornaments and placed plastic, cloth and wooden ones on the bottom of the tree. Still, she hasn't touched the tree since the scolding that I gave her. She really seems to want to please me.

We still have some work to do on that chewing thing. Notice the slippers in the kitchen picture above? Someone got bored in the night because I found them dragged to the middle of the floor from their position beside my bed this morning. This is what they look like today:

It's a good thing she's cute.