Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Dog's Life

Yesterday marked the first time in our pup's life that he was completely alone. At his original home, he was constantly with the family or with his brothers.

At our home, he has been with one of us, non-stop, since arriving. Steinvic did a nice job during his time at home with the pup, working upstairs and letting the pup have some downstairs time. But our dog still knew someone was home.

However, yesterday, Steinvic was off to C-bus, and I had to work, so we had everything in place for Puppy Survival while we were away:

  • puppy gates to safely keep our Pup in the hallway

  • food and water bowls, filled

  • crate open with our worn t-shirts inside and his blankey for naps

  • toys, toys and more toys

  • newspaper for potty time

  • talk radio to soothe him (and hopefully not disrupt his belief system)

As soon as the gate went up, the shrieking began. Not barking, not whimpering, not crying... screaming. It was disturbing. And it made me have big tears in my eyes.

"Did we make a mistake?" I asked Steinvic, trying not to ruin my work makeup with the big tears. "I feel like we're being mean to him."

"No,'s okay. He'll be fine," Steinvic comforted me. "He isn't suffering or anything...he just isn't used to this yet."

I was the last one out of the house. I could hear his shrieking in the parking lot of our townhouse. I worried.

I worried that he was terrified and would cry out like that all day.

I worried that the neighbors would call the police.

I worried (a little) about being a bad neighbor.

I worried that someone would come in and take him, since that is apparently legal to do in Ohio if you have cause to believe that an animal is in trouble (and our Pup's calls sure make it sound like he is caught in a beartrap.)

I worried.

I went home at lunch to find that he'd turned our doormat into a toilet. Doormat, meet washing machine. I cleaned the floor, sprayed a bit of "pee encourager" on the newspaper, cuddled him, gave him a treat and he started freaking out as I walked toward the gate, crying and shrieking.


But, I was fortunately able to leave a little early from work and there was never a happier puppy on the planet...licks and wiggles and wags and squeaks.

Squeaks because he was so cries left.

We played all afternoon and evening between chores. I emailed his former family and asked some questions and got some good suggestions to try in addition to what we'd done.

I tried them today and it was a little better.

I know he'll learn...he is brilliant and is already making it through the night. But it's getting there that is tough.

I have discovered that I am a softie at heart. I can be strong to help him learn, but inside...argh!

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