So it has been since January that I have had my new puppy Millie. I spoke about how she immediately changed my home life since her first time under my roof. There have been many experiences with her since then so this installment of my blog is meant to catch you up with that and to enlighten some of you as to how you can best prepare and respond to all of them.
|The first pic I saw of her on the FB post for |
labs for sale. She is an English Lab according to
|First day home|
|Wondering who I am|
This new experience has taught me one thing more than anything else...patience. I am not a clean freak but certainly no one to let my house turn into a mud pit with dirty floors all the time. And my past pet ownership has never revealed me to live in a place that is not well kept, dusted, vacuumed and smells clean all the time because it is clean all the time. I have had to relinquish part of my diligence to maintain a perfectly clean home somewhat. I am fortunate to own a sofa that is not new but is not beat up furniture either. But it is suitable for pet ownership. Millie being a yellow lab, I am beginning to see where I must vacuum or sticky roll the sofa quite often, lest I dress in my black pants and everyone who sees me knows...I own a dog! Oh well...it is worth it.
Its like early on I came home from work and found Millie had pooed in her crate and spread it all over everything..including the bedding ( a nice pillow that I had mistakenly failed to cover in a plastic zip cover), all of her toys that I had placed in there to stymie any boredom, and a large carrot that was in the crate for her to eat. What a mess! It was poopageddon in no uncertain terms! Further, the crate was placed on an (inexpensive) oriental rug with no underlayment at all,...no drop cloth beneath it, and it seemed like the poop combined with the pee had spilled over the edge of the tray at the bottom of the crate and oozed out the bars of the crate onto the rug.
So I put on the clothing equivalent of a hasmet suit (trust me the smell was as bad as the material I had to clean up) and picked her up. I took her straight to my kitchen which had been cleaned before, the sink free of any dishes, gave her a good bath and dried her off as much as I could. I put her in the bath alone to dry while I cleaned the cage.
I am so glad those trays at the bottom of the cage are slide out removable. I soaked up what I could with a roll of paper towel, thew all of the paper into a double kitchen tall bag and I cleaned the tray further with some Lysol disinfectant wipes. Then, knowing that they may irritate Millie due to their ingredients (pet owners must be aware that cleaning solvents and products can harm dogs/pets) I took the tray outside and poured boiled water over it, let it run down the length of the back and front of the tray and let it air dry. I gave the bottom part of the cage the same treatment.
That is when the perfect rectangle was revealed on the rug beneath the crate. With a quick Internet check I learned that hot water and a tiny bit of dish soap concoction was a good way to clean up a mess like this. A clean rag and a bit of elbow grease and I fouind it worked very well and the rug looked almost new when I was done.
By now Millie was dry and everything was back to normal. The entire exercise took the better part of an hour. One minute away more and she would have rolled in all of that awful stinky mess. A neatnik certainly may not be prepared for this event. I was lucky to not have anything going on after work to keep me away longer. It is said that dogs do not like to be in the place where they defecate and I believe it. Millie was none too comfortable and was definitely cowering in the corner of her cage when I found her. The proof of her "accident" was everywhere. But it proved to me that I must be more diligent about getting her outside to do her thing before leaving for work and even today I cannot prepare her crate to be a soft comfy well decorated dog cave. She is still young and if she has to pee she will. She shreds those pee pads I used to lay around the house so there is no way to avoid that mess if I do not make sure she is empty when I leave for the day.
The argument to crate or not to crate is up to the owner and temperament of the dog. I joined a couple of FB groups to help me along in the dog ownership process. Some people are against crate training or crating a dog even if the owner is not home most of the day. I could not do that with my dog...she could become a chewer and destroy a lot of stuff or even ingest something along the way that will require surgery to remove. I also have to protect the environment from Millie losing control of her bowels..something new puppies/dogs have very little control of as they train. Also at night when I sleep, Millie is in her crate when others are screaming that I should let her be in my room and just take her out when she lets me know she needs something...like to go outside. Well I have found that keeping her in a crate with a cover over it has aided in keeping her at bay for that straight through till my morning. Her bladder will get stronger as she ages and has pretty much done so up to now. I think my method works best for me. You will get plenty of unsolicited advice too from other pet owners. Listen and nod but in the end I learned you must conform to what works best for you and your family.
Belle finds having her around a great challenge. She is after all the lady of the house first since she came along a year ago May, I think it was, and Millie is sure making her presence known to her. But two female animals in the house has gone pretty well. They are wrestling most of the time. I do separate them so as they get alone time with me and to facilitate the bonding process. However it is still a challenge as sometimes they wrestle non stop and I worry that Millie's teeth will be too sharp to keep this up with Belle without an injury. Who knows how hard she is actually clamping down on Belle? I watch them closely and do my best to intervene and protect both of them. Belle seems to always be available for the play sessions and in the middle of the evening I separate them and Millie has me all to herself for a short walk or cuddling on the sofa. Belle gets a breather too. It all seems to be working out nicely.
| Look at me! Another photo op|
|Can we watch something else she seems to be|
|Are you talking to me?!|
So I purchase something new for Millie when I go out to the pet store or the thrift shop. They sell doggie clothes, collars, leashes and doggie supplies. There is no shame in saving money by buying used items. You will need several leashes and one plainly in sight in most rooms of the house just to be sure if you lose one you have an extra. Forget buying a fancy doggie bowl until it is determined how big your dog will get. Millie has grown in leaps and bounds and grew right out of the cute decorative puppy bowl I first purchased...now Belle is eating out of it. And collars? Once time I ordered a cute strappy harness type collar and by the time I received it she only wore it for a week! But good to have several difference harnesses too. And also, know that it is not good for dogs to wear a plain collar when dog walking..because the dog will pull on it and practically strangle herself as she tries to pull ahead.
Good idea to keep in good standing with the neighborhood as well. If your new pet needs to go, better be ready to clean it up. I remember one time I did not have the poop bags yet and so I took my snow shovel down the road as I walked with Millie. Someone drove by and laughed..I could see that the image of me with this huge snow shovel over my one shoulder and Millie on a leash with the other may have indicated I was being responsible, but looked awfully funny to the rest of the world on that 10 degree F morning at 5 a.m.
|Awesome paws! And even bigger today!|
|Take your dog to work day with my son Alexander. Word|
is everyone loved her!
I take lots of photos, all of them in my phone, and I post pretty regularly on my friends FB dog ownership pages. I am learning allot through my own experiences and from the postings of others and I am always surprised to learn each day that I have done the right thing or prepare for what I do not yet know about dog ownership. I have had pets before an a yellow lab back in 1994 and trained it to become the best pet my family has ever known. But times were different then. FB did not exist then to seek out advice. Today you can actually buy gourmet dog biscuits, attire, and all the accessories a pet may want to have through pet supply stores and actual boutiques set up for pets. There are pet spas and day camps and people treat their pets like their kids now more than ever. There are a lot of people who advocate for pets in their effort to protect them from abuse. Pets are considered one of the family and held in very high regard. Costs to have them have increased exponentially. Everyone is there to give you advice and has knowledge of full pedigree dogs and there are dogs that are more desirable to have than others. Temperment of certain dogs, safety with kids, and other pet related topics are reported each day in the news.
|Take me outside!|
Pet ownership used to be just taking in a stray and feeding it and keeping it out in the barn or on a chain in the yard with a dog house. Now dogs are pampered beings, companions to many and to the retired who like to travel, Fido is right there with them. Well I will probably have to curb my travel but most hotels take in dogs knowing that they are constant traveling partners with their patrons. How nice!
And another issue that has come to light is that many dogs are rescues from shelters. People are more apt to frown upon getting a dog from a breeder as I did. I tried to adopt a West Highland White Terrier like the one that now lives with my family and their black lab that have become so close they cannot be separated. But that was almost as tedious as adopting a child. After eight months of being vetted and waiting there were none. After I paid fees I found that the rescues that they had did not get along with cats or children or other things. And by the time I got done with the fees associated with a rescue I felt safer getting a dog with no history of violence or abuse. I am an advocate for all dogs but getting my dog from a breeder just seemed like a better fit for me and in my defense...Millie is everything I wanted and have familiarity with and for her I think its the right fit too.
So today Millie is so big she grew out of one of her pet collars before she wore it even a week! She is going to have a big barrel neck, top over 65 lbs I am afraid..but that is what I bargained for so it okay with me. I left her this morning and hated to go and have taken PTO time so that I could be with her for Fridays and have her three full days to aid in pet training. That is the best I can do. I think my love an personal attention is the path I optioned to take with her. Be kind to her, never rub her nose in her waste to "teach her a lesson" like some people have resorted to...and feed her and give her enough water to be hydrated but not belly full. This has worked for me so far. And do not deviate from a sound meal plan with a good quality dog food. Changing up her dog food because of what is on sale week to week is not good for dogs and they will respond by a change in their BM and not always in a nice way. I tend to stay with the same dry food which keeps her BM firm and easy to clean up in the yard and gosh forbid...in the house. Animals like to be clean too. I wipe her paws with baby wipes when she comes in from a romp outside and soon I will begin brushing and vacuuming her. Also, I have been advised that feeding her raw pumpkin from a can is good for her coat and nutritious as well so I have several cans of that on hand. Dogs like bananas too, at least mine does so I give her one once a week or so. Now, if I suddenly notice that any of these additional foods changes her BMs in any way I will discontinue. Everything is up for experiment. And as I said before it's all a learning thing and it doesn't pay to be so staunch that what happens is you have a very bored dog that is starving for new flavors and textures. I do not see my Millie thriving if I do that.
I hope this installment with photos taught you some things. I hope it helps you to think about getting a pet if you do not have one. I am excited about this process and look forward to milder temps when I can take my dog for a full blown walk and actually congregate with other dogs. My vet advises I wait until she has had her third set of shots which will be this week...i am a week or so late actually. Then she will be adequately protected from any health issues like eating something with bacteria in the grass or mud or catching something from other dogs. Spring is in the air and with it comes my getting in better shape with my new companion which was part of the reason I took ownership of Millie.
|So in love!|