This weekend marks the year anniversary of when my hubby and I got married at Holne Park House. It’s gone in a flash, but…that isn’t the biggest thing to happen in our lives anymore.
Lots of our friends who have gotten married did something quite big to commemorate their special day. Big gifts perhaps…a trip away. And we? Well…we became responsible of another living being.
We set off on our two hour drive to Portland yesterday to collect our new puppy. The whole way there I felt somewhere half between riddled with nerves and being completely numb; still not really believing that we were off to do what we were off to do…
Our house has been getting very ‘puppy ready’ over the last two weeks. His crate arrived, some toys, vet matts along with other things, but it still wasn’t fully sinking in. I have always been one of those people who doesnt really accept or believe something is happening until it IS happening…
School exams for example.
Oh my God, Bex – are you feeling nervous? I am so nervous…
Nahh, don’t feel anything! * sits down in the exam – panics almost to the point of mini panic attack!!*
This was very much the same.
When Bacco was placed onto my lap from our wonderful breeder and we started to make our journey home, the numbness cascaded away into a flood of panic and nerves. Oh my God…he is mine. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS GORGEOUS LIVING THING.
And oh…that car journey was the longest of our lives! Craig was painstakingly taking corners, we both would flinch when going over bumps as as soon as we did our poor, tired little travel sick puppy would begin panting. I held him in closely to try and take some of the movement out of the car, and he buried his little face into my arms and closed his eyes. “Good boy!” I’d say lightly. Have you ever consciously slowed your heart rate? I did impossible things to keep my little man calm, and it worked. He would look up at me for reassurance, looking deep into my eyes. “Good boy” I’d say again with a smile. This seemed to suffice, and he would push his face back into a crevice.
He was sick when we were almost home.
Once we were home though…wow. He tottered around confidently looking at our lounge, galloped around our garden finding dried leaves and new things to smell (as his new panicked mummy made sure he wouldn’t eat anything he wasn’t meant to!), and took any new toy we introduced him to proudly, with tail held up high, into his crate. Soon enough, he had curled up and started snoring within it.
What? This was CERTAINLY too good to be true, right??
I had read many things about how to crate train your new puppy. How to introduce him to it slowly…how he may hate it so you must make it a positive place (I started this by feeding him inside his crate), but bless our sweet little boy – he happily made it into his den and will voluntarily go inside for some down time, and this is our first full day with him at home. Me and Craig kept laughing in shock as we watched him flicker in dream.
We took him out to the loo, calmed him down, put on the radio and left the landing light on as he settled into slept.
But then night time came.
Have you ever trembled at a sound? Felt as if your heart was slowly crumbling and falling into the pit of your stomach?
Well. I didn’t stop trembling last night. And I didn’t sleep a wink.
We only had three cries last night – he was such a good boy.
One when we went to bed (we stayed up as late as possible as we knew the clocks were going back, slowly crept off without a fuss – but he still didn’t like being left on his own..)
One around 1ish (it broke my heart when appearing on the stairs to *clap* and say “NO”. As when he saw me, his little face lit up and his tail began wagging….)
And then lastly around 4. A mournful howl, one that tore at my stomach with sharp knife like fingers. I simply clapped loudly from the top of the stairs (I couldn’t bare to see his little face again) and he stopped immediately.
I, however, sat on the edge of my bed and cried.
We both decided to get up at 6am (7am from last night…silly clocks going back. Well…and we were awake anyway!) so that he wasnt on his own in bed for more than 8 hours. Our lovely little boy lit up, wagged his tail and we took him straight outside where he did a poo! (sorry…can you say “poo” on a blog?) I had heard horror stories from other people who had tried putting their new puppies in a crate for the night. How they had “screamed all night”, “torn up their bedding”, “messed all over it”. How they “had to bring him upstairs”. And our boy? Perfect.Of course, I am sure cuddled up with us on a bed would have been his first choice (as it would be mine…), but as I write this to you, just after mid day, I can hear him sighing away curled up in his favourite den. And that’s what I wanted it to be for him. I think it is about keeping strong, however awful it makes you feel. He cries because he wants you to come down, so…if you come down and talk to him, and leave again – of course he is going to scream more as it brought you down the first time! And yes, as I cried I mumbled to Craig “what if he hates us in the morning?”, as I felt we were doing something evil in his eyes, but…do you always go to a crying baby? It is a hard lesson, and I am damn sure not looking forward to being “strong” over the next few nights. (Please only be a few…)
We had been advised by our breeder to get vet beds so that if he had a little accident the bed area would stay completely dry, and it was. It is designed for puppies, whelping, and even older dogs who may suffer from incontinence, and it worked a charm. It is what she uses and the feel of it must have felt similar and comforting, and I want nothing more than my little boy to feel safe and happy.
It is crazy how much I love him always. Like…when I meet all puppies or animals in general I “love” them – but not like this. This is a love that kept me awake all night or roused me at the slight noise to check he was ok. This is a love that could leave me staring at him all day. A love that I go completely calm and warm inside when he looks me in the eyes, runs at me with a wagging tail or cuddles up into my lap. I cannot wait to work hard at making him an amazing dog (despite how nervous I am about doing a good enough job for him!), and I am going to look at introducing him to the clicker tomorrow…