Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Do not attempt this at home

Doreen and I were a little worried because Dempsey hasn't been eating very much at mealtime. Our teacher said that maybe the treats we're using for training are too big; she suggested offering smaller pieces.

We've been using carrot sticks and a crunchy treat called Charlee Bears. The carrots I diced up a little smaller using a knife, but the Charlee Bears presented a challenge. Although the ingredients are benign (wheat, turkey liver, cranberries, salt, and garlic powder), I thought Doreen might be icked-out using our kitchen knives to cut doggie treats. So I decided to use scissors.

As I said, the treats are crunchy, and therefore hard to cut. When I squeezed the scissors, half the treat burst into a cloud of Bear dust, and the other half flew up and nearly hit me in the eye. Fortunately, I always wear a pair of thick safety goggles -- okay, they're actually glasses -- so the half Bear bounced harmlessly off my goggles and onto the floor, where it landed in front of the cat.

Bailey gave me a disdainful look and said, "I can't believe you're in charge here." She sauntered off to the fireplace.

So, lesson learned: Do not try cutting Charlee Bears with scissors in front of your cat.

Snow day!

We're having a snowy, slushy day here in Minneapolis, but it's all fun and games for Dempsey. He enjoyed sliding around in the slush on the deck. I tried getting a video, but he cleared the deck before I could get the camera ready.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Trading spaces

Puppy, for some reason, is quite fond of Bailey's bed.

Bailey is not too happy about that.

Cat food rustling

We used to wonder who but the cat would eat her stinky canned food. Now we know.

Puppy doesn't care much for his kibble, but Bailey is still the boss. I love how puppy waits till Bailey is done before he makes a dash for the cat food.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This get-up makes me crave a minivan.

Puppy is definitely a boy, since shopping wears him out. Here he is in aisle 33, after about 15 minutes.

Puppy Paparazzi

After a full day and a half getting acclimated, puppy seemed ready for an adventure. We decided to combine adventure with the mundane and headed to PetSmart for a little shopping -- puppy really needed a toothbrush.

There's something about having a puppy that really sets off the parental instinct. Even though PetSmart is only 5 minutes away, I packed everything except the kitchen sink:

  • a Ziploc of kibble, in case he got hungry
  • a Ziploc of carrot sticks, in case he was hungry and didn't like the kibble
  • a bottle of water, in case he got thirsty
  • a blanket, in case he got cold
  • his favorite toy
  • two baggies for poop
  • disinfecting spray
  • paper towels
  • hand sanitizer
  • camera
  • clicker on a lanyard
  • a fanny pack to hold it all
Even now, as I write this, I find myself craving a minivan. Will someone please tell me this is normal?

Naturally, we didn't use anything except the camera. And as you would expect from a Helping Paws puppy, he was a hit! Puppy quickly assumed the role of store mascot, greeting every shopper and hamming it up for a couple of cell phone pictures.

He is so good natured! He greeted people, but never got nervous or excited. He watched the other dogs without getting excited. He followed us wherever we went and would sit quietly. He watched shopping carts, pallet jacks, and cars without getting nervous or scared.

I know we had the nicest, calmest, friendliest, cutest, bestest puppy in the whole store. We're so proud of him! As much as we wish we could take credit, with less than 48 puppy hours under our belts, we have to applaud Team Cheers who obviously spent some time teaching puppy his social skills. Bravo!

And now a word about our sponsors

Doreen and I mentioned earlier that we wanted Bailey to have greater public spirit. We think we've found a way to make the puppy blog "volunteer-oriented" too.

We've added Google ads to this blog and will donate the proceeds to Helping Paws. Since we've never done this before, we're not sure how it works or how much it will generate. But we're hoping it will be a relatively easy way to raise funds for one our favorite organizations.

Neither we nor Helping Paws choose what ads are displayed; a big computer at Google does that. So we have no idea what ads you're seeing.

Our "Terms of Service" prohibit us from encouraging you to click on the ads, and honestly we would discourage you from buying Nigerian time-shares, anyway. However, we can encourage you to visit our blog often and to share it with your friends and family! We'll try to keep you posted on the latest and greatest puppy news.

If we don't get enough visitors, we may have to start posting gossip about Britney Spears to make this blog more popular.

I think we all want to avoid that. :-)

Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed

That is the puppy at 5:30 this morning. Paul and Doreen, not so much.

But we're happy because the puppy slept in the crate the whole night! No whining or whimpering.

Here's puppy with his new favorite toy. He still has no interest in the toys we bought, but he likes the old sock, a random plastic ring, and now, a cat tail. Cat tail?

Bailey is being very, very patient with this new creature.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wanna Trade?


The puppy is supposed to be eating 1/2 cup of dog food three times a day, but our puppy hasn't been eating much.

For lunch, he ate about 1/4 cup before he walked out of the kennel and pooped. I went to the "nearby" stash of paper towels to clean up, but before I could get back, puppy had eaten half his own poop.

Figuring that #1 is usually close to #2, I took puppy out to the backyard, where he immediately started trying to eat grass, pine cones, and bunny poop. Back in the house he went.

I've just spent half an hour vaccuuming the yard with a ShopVac to get rid of the pine cones for the puppy, which strikes me now as a bit ridiculous. Bailey agrees: She gave me another "I told you so" look when I walked back in.

Doreen, meanwhile, has been mopping the floor. Puppy, of course, thinks the mop is a toy and has been playing with it. We tried exchanging the mop for a real toy, but I think we need some practice convincing the puppy that's a fair trade.

Isn't it time for a nap yet???

Introducing the cat

First bath at home

Puppy doesn't seem to care much for baths...


... but he fell asleep with the blow dryer.

Car ride home

Getting ready for the ride home.

Puppies in the pen

The foster families waiting to be assigned a puppy.

Proud mother

Here's Cheers, the proud mommy.

We got the puppy!!!

We picked up the puppy last night! Although it's only been a few hours, it seems like so much has happened already.

We arrived twenty minutes early at Helping Paws, but I thought we might be late -- every other foster family arrived even earlier. And no wonder: all the puppies were playing in a pen, cute as can be.

We had a chance to meet Cheers, the puppy's mommy, as well as Team Cheers, who did a great job of helping Cheers raise the puppies. Every puppy was healthy, fit, and nicely washed.

It didn't stay that way for too long. As I was holding our puppy for the group photo, he became anxious and had a little accident and dribbled a little on my jacket. That's a puppy for you!

On the ride home, the puppy cried for the first ten minutes, before falling promptly and soundly asleep. When we got home, we saw he'd had another accident, and had been sleeping in a puddle.
We had a plan for introducing the puppy to Bailey, but we knew the princess would not be impressed with a stinky puppy, so we changed plans and gave the puppy his first bath at home, at around 9:30.

With the puppy freshly washed, we introduced him to Bailey. Bailey was not impressed, stinky or not. But at least no fighting!

Since that introduction last night, we've had three more accidents. I think for this blog wallpaper, I should have used puddles instead of paw prints.

The puppy only seems to sleep for about twenty minutes at a time, before he's crying for attention. He does not seem to like any of the toys we so carefully chose for him, instead choosing to chew a blanket, a pair of Crocs, a towel, the recliner, and my ear. He hardly ate anything for breakfast this morning, though he managed to scarf down a piece of poop and a small pine cone before we could stop him. Doreen is a little nauseated and quickly hopped on Google to research. We learned this is somewhat "normal," though cleary this will be number one on the training list.

Bailey gave me a smug, "I told you so" look when I came downstairs this morning. That darn cat, always thinks she's right. I'll talk to her... after I get some sleep.

Friday, March 27, 2009

We're getting a puppy!!!

It is now 2pm. In about 5 hours, we will be picking up a cute little Golden Retriever puppy!

Paul and I will be foster parents to a puppy through a great organization called Helping Paws that trains service dogs for people with physical disabilities. That's right, Paul and I are going to be trained...that is on how to tame a wild puppy! We don't know yet if it's a boy or a girl, or what its name will be. Though this has made nursery decorating difficult, we have opted for gender-neutral colors – green collar, red toys – and are as ready as we can be, considering neither of us has ever raised a puppy.

It looks a little daunting. We were going through the training manual, and the puppy is expected to know about 100 cues, including turning off lights, picking things up, and going to find help.

We've been to a couple of classes, and the really amazing thing is that we'll be teaching the puppy to do everything using only praise and rewards. Paul thought this sounded, well, a little permissive, but it seems to work. The Helping Paws dogs we've met have all been really well behaved, and our teacher said she has trained a fish to do tricks using the same techniques. Pretty impressive!

We're very excited about the new puppy, but we're not too sure about Bailey, our selfish, lazy cat. One of our goals is to teach Bailey to be less selfish and to instill a sense of public service. We had a long discussion with her last night, and she has suggested donating the following items to the new puppy:
  1. The steel brush she doesn't like.

  2. The blanket she doesn't like.

  3. The vacuum cleaner.
Hmm. We don't think she quite gets it yet. This will be interesting!

Bailey is not impressed

Bailey is trying to get more sleep, before the puppy arrives.

Treats and toys

This is the fun stuff for the puppy!