Sunday, 19 June 2016

Things I didn't expect about getting a puppy

My husband has wanted a dog of his own pretty much forever, but whenever he mentioned it to me, I just didn't get it. Don't get me wrong, I like dogs, but I didn't understand the concept of bringing an animal to live in our house. It struck me that it would make our house messy and smelly and we would lose the freedom to live day to day with no one else to worry about.

He eventually convinced me and I thought I'd give it a go. I have to admit, it's a scary prospect, someone else to look after for fifteen years, not just that, but being responsible for their wellbeing and training to make sure they're a good citizen of the dog world.

And so Barney arrived. It's been nearly two weeks, it helps that he's utterly adorable (he's currently asleep on my left arm), and I seem to have settled into puppy ownership better than I expected. That said, it's early days. There have been a number of things that I wasn't expecting though...

The noise
Oh, the noise. I expected him to be upset on his first night. What I wasn't expecting was the hours and hours of howling, crying, whimpering, you name it... I don't actually know when he found the time to breathe. After two nights though, we didn't hear a peep from him from 10pm to 6am. I have to admit I did worry he'd died in the night...
How much noise do you think something this size can make??
The constant attention
I don't think I quite appreciated how much attention my little bundle of fur would need. I need to keep an eye out for toilet trips, either to get him outside in time, or to praise him if we're already outside, but it's also making sure he's not eating anything too unsuitable, whether it be the sofa or roses. It's pretty much a full time job.
Mmmm, moss
The laughs
He makes me laugh so much, it's great for my pelvic floor. Whether its chasing Andrew around the garden, running off with his soft toy at such a pace with no concept as to where he's going or why, or falling over because he lost balance whilst chewing his tail, it's great for lifting family spirits when you're feeling sleep deprived.
I'm not quite sure why Andrew's rugby shirt needed a trip through the dog flap, but it did
The sleeping
He sleeps a lot, just not when we want him to! Perhaps eighteen hours a day? I guess all these new experiences, smells and growing he has to do takes it out of a young puppy. That said, when he's awake he can be like a crazed beast. We end up running him around the garden just to quieten him down!
Asleep with his face in my slipper, crazy animal
The companionship
When anyone told me why I should get a dog, they all mentioned loyalty. Don't get me wrong, I value loyalty as much as anyone else. I love that my husband doesn't chase other women or moan about me behind my back (much), but I couldn't see how that would translate into a positive quality in a four legged friend. Now I think I get it. There's nothing he loves more than being next to me. He sleeps on my feet and if I get up (assuming he's not too sleep fuddled), he'll leap up to accompany me wherever I'm going. Admittedly it'd be nice if he didn't keep tripping me up, but it's nice to know that he's settled and quite likes his new family.
My little shadow
Communication issues
I hadn't realised how difficult it would be to live with someone who speaks a completely different language. It's like having a lodger from a different world who wants to eat the curtains and your clothing and you can't explain to him why he shouldn't. We're booked in for puppy classes in a month's time, I can't wait for us to find a common language.

The biting
When we chose Barney at six weeks old, he was part cockapoo, part piranha. It's amazing how sharp those little puppy teeth are. The breeders worked on his training and whilst he mainly just mouthed, he's now starting to catch us more often as he's teething again. He's now part velociraptor! We're still working on bite inhibition, I didn't even know that was a thing two weeks ago. Whilst he's learning not to bite hands, that hasn't yet translated to clothing or soft furnishings. If only the curtains could yelp.
Biting the hand that feeds
The poo
Picking up poo isn't as bad as I thought. What adds an extra dimension is that it seems I need skills for speed poo collection. If I'm not quick enough at grabbing it in the bag and whisking it away, I end up with a puppy attached to the bag. Whoever put a smell on these bags which attracts puppies is a mentalist.

Puppy blues
This was the bit I really wasn't expecting. I was left alone with Barney for about nine hours on Saturday and it was just about the toughest experience of my life. He was trouble from the start, wanting to jump up, pull at my clothes, eat the curtains, claw the sofa, you name it... Nothing would distract him and when I tried to, he'd just snap at me. I ended up putting him in his crate to calm down, but he'd be just the same when I took him out. It didn't help that I was exhausted after only six hours sleep. I didn't give up, I kept taking him out to play with him, but he was just impossible. I was fed up being stuck in the house on my own with an ungrateful hound and he probably missed Andrew. As a result, we were both thoroughly miserable. It made me realise what a huge project I'd taken on, with no training, and I was worried that Barney was an unhappy as I was. He's been much better since, but if you feel a bit helpless after a week or so, its not unusual. You just have to remember, it will all be worth it.
Sorry for biting you

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Photo an Hour - June 2016

Sunday June 13th was the date set for this month's Photo an Hour project. It's organised by Jane and Louisa, you'll be able to see more details on their blogs, as well as details as to how to sign up for reminders if you'd like to join in.

We're a week into puppy parenthood, so puppy pictures feature heavily!
10am Laundry time!
11am Barney had worn himself out and so took himself off to his crate for a sleep

12pm Not quite a photo, but a bit of post sleep training
1pm Lunch!
2pm Time for an old film, Clockwise, partly filmed where I grew up
3pm Still in front of the film, but with a nice cup of tea
4pm A cuddle in the sun
5pm Relaxing in the kitchen
6pm Watching the football whilst Barney attacked his cuddly chicken
7pm Barney managed to get one of my shoes away from me. I'll get it back damp and nibbled.
8pm Time for Top Gear 
9pm Bed time

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Barney the Cockapoo, the first day in my new home

I was spending the morning in the garden enjoying the sun with my brothers and sisters when some nice people came to see me. I think they've been before, they tasted familiar when I chewed on them. They played with me, signed some papers and then carried me away. Yay, I'm free! Hang on, what's this big, hot metal box they've put me in? It's making a chugging noise. It's really, really hot even though there is a wind blowing in me. Maybe if I climb up in the man I'll get more breeze. If I howl will the others hear me and come and pop me in the shade? No, that doesn't seem to work, what am I meant to do then? It's a bit boring here, maybe I'll give his finger a nibble, ooh, this belt holding him in tastes nice. Ah, that's better they've put my favourite radio station on. Maybe I'll lie down and have a little sleep in this shaded area under his arm. Ah he's stroking me, that's nice... That was a nice sleep but I'm still in the box. Boring! I'll have another nibble. Clearly I shouldn't, he's given me a fake bone to chew on instead. Ah, I've worn myself out chewing, back to sleep after a little stretch.

Hang on we've stopped. We're getting out, hurrah! Ooh grass. This is nice. They're very friendly here. They don't mind me following then around. I've had a bit of an explore, now we're going inside. This is odd, not like the other inside I knew. They've made a den for me, it's nice, but not like my old one. Hang on, the nice man has brought me Stinky Pheasant that I used to play with in my other home. I love Stinky Pheasant! I'll give him a bit of a chew, actually maybe a little sleep, this bed is so comfy. 
They've taken me outside again, honestly I must be out here twice an hour. I did a poo and got so much praise, do they not poo? Back inside again. Yay dinner time! I'm starving! All gone! Now I'm outside again. I pooed again and they loved it. They're weird. 

My den's moved, it's in a darker room now, I'm not too sure. They left me alone for a little bit but I howled. Luckily they came back when I stopped. The lady gave me a cuddle whilst the man organised things noisily. He took me outside and I had a wee they cheered at that too. They were in the kitchen eating so I had a little nap and dreamed about food. When I woke up they took me out again, but then back in. I wonder why they keep bringing me to this bit of grass? 
There's even more inside! They've given me a fleecy area to lie on. Hurrah, they've brought Stinky Pheasant through. The lady didn't look pleased when I tried to climb into her lap with Stinky Pheasant. Maybe I should stay down here. They're watching moving pictures on a box on the corner. Maybe I'll have a little nap. It's the only time that they don't drag me outside. Sneaky!
After my looong nap they took me outside again, it was really odd, the man was running about the grass so I followed him, I can't let him get away. I only have tiny legs, but I'm really, really fast, I kept catching him. He gave me lots of attention when I did. I got tired after a bit though, and the sky was getting dark, so they popped me back in my den. The lady sat with me for a while, I howled at her to play with me, but she didn't. After a little while the lady left and the man came in and the room went dark. Did they forget I was in here? I should howl to remind them. Maybe if I howl a bit louder? How about a shriek? That's not working. It's a bit lonely here, and a bit odd without all my brothers and sisters. I have got Stinky Pheasant though. Maybe I'll try and have a little sleep, hopefully they'll come back for me when I wake up.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

May round up

May has been exhausting, I think that's the only way of describing it. I'm so glad we had a holiday at the end of April as at least I went into the month feeling refreshed. Working for a travel company, it's our busiest month, things are always a little more fractious in the office and my desk was often completely obscured by paperwork. I've managed to just about keep my head above water in the knowledge that things can only get better. It's been exhausting though and sometimes felt like an impossible task. Still, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
This was just one week's cost invoices to process, and that's only part of my job

We went to our Village Show at the start of the month, you can read my post about it here. Predictably, it rained and rained, but it was still a great event and I came home with a rosette. I wore it proudly.

We also went to a fiftieth birthday party, a definite sign that we're getting older. It was really
nice, I finally got to meet a friend of my husband's, and his wife. We've already made plans to meet for a dog walk, just the minor hurdle to overcome that we don't have a dog yet. Oh well! The party was at the birthday boy's house, it was a relaxed affair, polite conversation, his best friend spontaneously playing the grand piano, great food and a free casino. I'd managed to get my £200 stake up to £1,700 before blowing it again on the roulette table, mainly because my birthday kept coming up and then throwing it all away by going crazy with my stake. Good job it was only paper money!
Like no birthday cake I've ever seen before

My parents have been looking to move house so we did a house viewing with them in the last weekend of the month. At present I think it's a case of trying to work out which of their criteria they can compromise on, but the best way of doing that is by looking at real houses, rather than just images on Right Move. They seem to have had a mindset change and are keen to move rather than just mulling it over, so we just need to hope something suitable comes up.

We met up with friends on the Sunday night (the joys of a bank holiday weekend!) for a meal at the Wild Duck in Ewen. It's a well known name around these parts as it used to be a royal haunt back in the day. It's now changed ownership, so we didn't quite know what to expect. It was certainly an experience, like eating a restaurant meal in a nightclub, but probably not an experience I'd rush to repeat!

Apart from that, we've made a big dent in the jobs that needed doing around the house. We've replaced a blown extractor fan and light fitting, put all our pictures up, reorganised the utility room and tidied up the garden. We've still got one box room, but as it took us five years to clear the box room in our last house, I think we're well ahead of the game!

Now onto how I'm doing against my plans for the year...

Read sixteen books
No further progress on this, I'm still working my way through my audio book on my phone when I'm at the gym. Unfortunately work has meant I've not made it to the gym for the last couple of weeks, hopefully this weekend.

Find one hundred geocaches
Again, no progress on this (are you seeing a pattern?!) 

Try three gym classes
Still not made any progress on this one. I did actually book a gym class but had to cancel it as it was early on a Sunday morning and I was desperate for a lie in. I'm such a failure! 

Meet up with an old friend
No change with this, but it's been good meeting up with new friends, which is just as important. Perhaps a life lesson there! 

Blog once a month
I've been on fire this month, obviously being stuck at my desk is motivating me, there's a few new posts on here if you've missed them over the course of the month. As well as my post about the Village show, I'd blogged about our trip to the Isle of Wight and how we went about selecting a puppy breeder. It's nothing if not diverse this blog!

Watch a new film once a month
I think for the first time, no progress on this one either. My television viewing comprises pretty much solely Supervet, Deep Space Nine and NCIS. In other words, something that it doesn't matter too much plot-wise if I fall asleep in front of it!

Take two holidays
Nothing booked for holiday number two, the events of the next month or so should reveal whether we'll get a chance to get away or not.

Take six day trips
Again, no progress on these but hopefully we'll catch up over the remainder of the year. 

I'm not really sure what June will hold, definitely more mountains of work, but hopefully something more exciting too. You can be sure I'll be back to let you know!