The adventures of a veterinarian with lots of practical advice but no practical experience on raising a puppy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Darcy and JJ

Hey wait, Darcy is supposed to be MY best friend. I am so torn - as a vet I'm so proud that Darcy is a happy well-adjusted puppy that LOVES everybody but as THE owner I kinda wish she liked me the best! I'm the one putting in the hours here - OK, I'll admit she's being raised by the village but still, she's MY dog. I know - get over it. I'm trying. It would probably drive me nuts if she followed me everywhere, cried when I left the room, wouldn't let anyone else hold her, etc. I'd be embarrassed that my puppy was so dysfunctional and would make up a crazy syndrome about unbalanced hormones or something.

Today, Darcy spent a sunny afternoon playing outside with all the Hard Luck Hounds in our rescue program. I know she has developed such trust in other dogs because of the special bond she has with our lab, JJ. He is 10 and pretty slow but let me tell you she doesn't care. He is her BFF and will sit for hours while she growls, jumps, chews and pulls on and over every part of his body. He glows with love and reminds me of a grandpa watching over his grandkids. He is so patient and they are forging such a sweet, tender relationship that I can honestly say I'm not jealous. Seriously, do you think I'd admit to being jealous of a dog?

I've posted two pictures of them posing together and one of Darcy sleeping in my friends baby carrier. It took her 30 seconds to realize it was warm from the baby and she made herself at home. Luckily my friend is a vet and didn't care one bit!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Puppyhood is passing me by...

As a mother I find myself either oblivious to the fact that my kids are growing up or acutely and painfully aware that they are becoming little people right before my eyes. Sometimes you look at them and think, "Wow, when did that happen?". Other times you slow down and really take a moment in because it might be the last! EVERY time that Owen falls asleep in my arms I worry that he will soon be too big and it will never happen again.

Darcy is growing like a weed and so I am forced to stop and realize that all too soon I am going to have a real dog - not this clumsy and fuzzy little pup. I don't know if I should be sad the puppy is going away or excited the dog is coming? Will it really be any different?

I'm like so many of my clients in one respect - we all LOVE puppy fur. It's just so amazingly soft, fluffy and adorable that we secretly hope they will stay like that forever. I have had to break the bad news time and time again - their hair just doesn't stay like that! Bummer! So I'm rebelling by refusing to cut any of her hair off.

Darcy has mastered jumping off my bed, jumping up and down off the couch and dumping all of the toys out of her basket. I'm still pondering how to teach her how to put them back. She usually walks from my car to the clinic every morning which some people may fail to see the significance of. However I'm sure some of you know that some puppies do very little actual walking! She can sit for a treat and has really been working on developing a real bark. I'm glad that she has a cute little warble and usually only pulls it out when engaged in full on cat wrestling.

Today in itself was quite a milestone. Our rescue group, Hard Luck Hounds, had a dog returned to our program yesterday. "Alice" is an adult female standard poodle and didn't understand why she wasn't with her family anymore. They had their reasons for returning her but she was confused and scared. My parents have agreed to foster Alice for a while so this afternoon my Mom, Alice, Darcy and myself all took a nice long walk. It was actually Darcy's first real walk and she took right to the leash. She likes to walk herself by holding the leash in her mouth, a phenomenon usually displayed by Golden Retrievers. She was happy and excited because dry, blowing leaves are her favorite toy! Darcy did a great job of showing Alice the ropes and would have made the dog whisperer proud.

So I'll embrace these fleeting displays of puppyhood but also note and treasure these accomplishments. I know that I want my kids to be well adjusted and confident so I must have set these goals for Darcy as well. I am never at a loss to tell Harper and Owen how wonderful I think they are (Mom's prerogative) so we continue to lavish Darcy with verbal accolades and praise. I really think she has earned it - don't you?