A Day in the Life of a New Puppy - Part 2
Meet the Davis family, mom, Kathy & dad Henry, their 12-year-old daughter Sarah (who’s wanted a puppy since she was born or so she claims) and last but not least “Oscar”, an 11 week old bundle of puppy love who’s only just arrived in his new home. A fluffy & most beguiling blonde and white puppy, with just a glimmer of understanding of what’s expected of a “Good Puppy”, he begins his journey of bringing PUPPY JOY with the enthusiasm that only a young puppy can have.
7:30 AM Oscar comes out of his crate all puppy love and kisses & is greeted ecstatically by your daughter Sarah and is taken outside for the first of many potty breaks of the day. Sarah gathers him carefully into her arms with an “It’s OK mom, I’ll take him out before I get ready for school, I want to see him a bit before I have to leave!”
Note: Yes, it’s important to pick Oscar up and carry him outside to prevent his getting lost on the way to the door). He’ll need a few minutes to romp and play after being in the crate all night. After about 5 to 10 minutes, walk over to his potty spot and tell him “Go potty Oscar, hurry up, go potty” (Or whatever your least embarrassing command will be for potty training.)
8:15 AM Oscar has potty success & within a few seconds of his finishing you praise enthusiastically (no wildly excited praise please, we are going for happy but calm leadership here puppy people). In your jacket pocket is a fresh supply of yummy puppy treats, you quickly whisk one out and present it to Oscar with a flourish and a “Gooood boy Oscar! Go potty outside! What a goooood dog you are!” (Looong vowel sounds are soooo pleasing to puppy ears).
Oscar accepts the treat happily, you stroke those long silky ears; who would have thought a puppy could be so beautiful you ponder.
8:20 AM Bring Oscar back into the kitchen (in your puppy safe/baby gated Oscar area) if you are certain that he’s done his business outside, you can allow him a few minutes to play and romp in the safety of the kitchen while you prepare your coffee and a bit of oatmeal for your own breakfast.
(Eat healthy Kathy, you need your energy too!)
8:30 AM Put Oscar in his playpen and give his breakfast. (Note: Some little Oscars will protest bitterly going back into confinement and begin yelp and cry to be let out. Using a wooden spoon or a magazine, tap the counter or the side of the puppy pen firmly with “No! Quiet! Oscar No! It may need to be repeated but it’s not unreasonable for you to ask Oscar to wait quietly while you finish your breakfast).
Give Oscar 15 or 20 minutes to enjoy his breakfast and then take away any uneaten food (your goal is for him to eat all but a few kibbles, it’s best for puppies to have just a bit left over at each meal).
8:50 AM Take Oscar back outside for another bout of running around and potty break. It's so important to stay outside with him so you can reward him, each time Oscar performs outside and you give him your warm praise and a bit of puppy treat, the sooner you'll have him housetrained.
9:00 AM Oscar comes back into the kitchen and is put back into his playpen to play with his toys while you enjoy the last of your much needed coffee and finish your breakfast. (You’ll need to keep your strength up trust me puppy people, the first week is a bit strenuous).
10:00 AM IF Oscar is napping “let sleeping dogs (and puppies) lie”. Meanwhile you can tiptoe about your morning routine until baby wakes and you guessed it, potty time and outdoors for another visit. Let’s pretend it’s a beautiful spring morning and you can have a seat in one of the lawn chairs and enjoy a few minutes in the sun watching Oscar try to eat the mulch and generally create a bit of puppy mischief. Between dashing to rescue him from an outraged squirrel and pulling up the tulips by their roots, you laugh at his silly antics and feel the endorphins course happily through your system.
(Puppies are such good medicine)
10:30 AM Oscar is back inside and ready for another short nap after his adventures in the back garden. You pop him in his playpen and head upstairs and get ready for a few errands.
11:00 AM Scooping Oscar up and after a brief potty break, you place him in his snazzy new car carrier and head to Starbucks for a Latte. (Remember, caffeine is your friend)
The nice young guy at the drive-through window spies Mr. Adorable and calls the other clerks to come have a peek at the “cutest dog I’ve ever seen!”.
Beaming with newfound pride in dog-ownership: you thank them and firmly turn down their generous offer of “a tiny complimentary cup of whipped cream for the puppy” and taking your Caramel Macchiato, drive away stroking sweet baby Oscar’s head and telling him what a grand little dog he is.
You head for the bank where the scene is repeated when Oscar pokes his head out of your oversized wicker errand bag and charms the tellers with his overload of cuteness. By now, you’re beginning to really enjoy the added perks on this puppy owning journey and take heart that this isn’t nearly as bad as you thought it might be.
12:30 PM You head back to the house, it’s time for Oscar’s next potty time and you both could use a bite of lunch. Oscar runs joyfully around the back garden, routing the squirrel from the bird feeder and after doing “the deed” and receiving more lavish praise and a pinch of training treat, you both head to the kitchen well-pleased with yourselves and the morning’s accomplishments. Oscar has his lunch and after crunching happily on his puppy kibbles. He licks the bowl clean, picks up his frog and starts to chew. A few minutes later he whines and looks at you urgently, wonder of wonders, is he’s “asking” to go out! A brief potty event later and it’s naptime for all good puppies and Oscar is sound asleep in just a few minutes.
2:00 PM You had no idea puppies napped so much, but you're not complaining, you answer emails and sort through a bit of laundry while Oscar slumbers and waves tiny paws deep in a puppy dream. (About that pesky squirrel no doubt).
2:45 PM You slip out quickly to pick up your 12-year-old daughter from school since you will only be gone 30 minutes, as Oscar naps and both arrive home to hear a plaintive “WOOO WOOO WOOO! coming from the kitchen. Rushing in you find Oscar who’s is now wide awake and ready to be entertained, a job your daughter is delighted to take over.
She carries him out the door for that next potty break and you don’t know whether to be relieved or worried. Your trail quietly along behind her and watch from a distance as Oscar hops along in delight at her heels. This daughter of yours has studied every bit of her puppy homework and dutifully takes Oscar out the the designated potty spot, waiting quietly as he finds the perfect area, and proudly you watch as she pops a puppy treat out of her pocket and praises Oscar with a “Goooood boy, what a goooood puppy Oscar!” (she’s pleaded for a puppy for years, and she couldn’t be more ready to help Oscar be a roaring success).
4:00 PM You start on supper while your daughter sits at the kitchen table (and not in her room for a pleasant change), Oscar enthroned at her feet on a small blanket with a toy to entertain him, proudly wearing his new collar and leash (and only nibbling a bit to see what it tastes like). She works away at the stack of homework for a few minutes and then runs and gets her beanbag chair. Back in the kitchen, she moves her books along with Oscar to the soft confines of the beanbag, and works contentedly as Oscar begins yet another nap. You watch them together, the sunlight streaming in the kitchen window, your daughter’s long blonde hair falling into her eyes as she concentrates. Oscar lies next to her, deep in puppy slumber. You remember what made you decide it was time to get a dog, the comment from a friend at church recently:
“This puppy has added so much enjoyment to our family, so much more love, I don’t know what we ever did without him, he has brought our whole family closer together!”
5:15 PM Your husband walks in just in time for dinner and remarks that something smells amazing. You look over and see Sarah & Oscar sound asleep together in the beanbag. Holding a finger to your lips to warn your husband, you lead him to look over the counter and smile at his broad grin of delight at the first view of his child and her new puppy contentedly sleeping together.
(You reach for your phone, this is definitely an Instagram moment, and your mother will be thrilled to see you finally made good on your promise and got Sarah a puppy.)
5:30 PM After Sarah takes Oscar out at a quick trot out for a potty break and a few minutes playtime while you get supper on the table, you all sit down together (with Oscar enjoying his own dinner a few feet away in his playpen). Dinner is full of puppy conversation, you marvel at the sight of Sarah, eyes sparkling, chattering full steam to her father about how smart Oscar is, how beautiful, how quickly he’s learning.
She goes on and on about her plans to train him, can they take him to visit Amy before she leaves, does he think Oscar likes her? The child who often spent her dinner times gazing at her iPad, was fully engaged and laughing, looking like a little girl again. You look over at Oscar, he’s sitting thoughtfully, listening and he looks at you and winks one eye, for all the world like he’s sharing your enjoyment of the happiness that is filling the room.
7:00 PM You find your lawn chair and watch as Sarah sits gently down in the grass and Oscar climbs up in her lap and snuggles down with a huge puppy sigh.
“Oh mom, he is the most wonderful puppy ever, I can’t thank you and daddy enough for letting us get him!” she says with tears in her eyes. You gaze at her with tears in your own eyes, suddenly having a puppy after dreading the work of it, is beginning to seem like such a good idea. Your daughter has had a rough year, a move from middle school, her best friend Amy getting ready to move to California…. Perhaps she really needed a puppy; maybe you all did...
8:30 PM Everyone is in the family room (with it’s hardwood floor it’s an Oscar approved space for short periods, with supervision). Sarah is proving to be a big help with Oscar, she took him out to “his spot” right before bringing him inside for a bit of playtime to be sure he was empty. Now she’s playing with him, this time she is has an assortment of his (many!) toys and is trying them out one at a time to “see which one he prefers” Oscar enters wholeheartedly into the decision, and so on the game progresses to Sarah tossing a toy across the floor and Oscar running after it and bringing it back to her.
Everyone is laughing and praising him and he bounces back and forth to each of you happily, tail awag, eyes shining, enjoying the fun as much as you all are.
After about a half hour he suddenly stops and looks a bit puzzled, he begins to walk in a small circle and as his little nose drops to the floor Sarah cries “Oscar No! Potty outside!!” Oscar looks up surprised and as Sarah gathers him quickly into her arms she looks at you and says “Mom, remember? The puppy book says if they are playing and stop and walk in a circle, sniffing, you have to hurry to distract them or they’ll have an accident!” Out the door she goes with Oscar, lecturing him gently on the errors of his ways. You look at your husband with disbelief, who would have thought that your daughter could become such a little puppy whisperer.
More of the conversation with your puppy owning friend drifts back to you...
“Our daughter is engaged with the family again, she’s come out of her room, we can’t believe how it’s changed her, getting a puppy was the best decision we ever made!”
10:30 PM Everyone is in bed, even Oscar who’s napping (again) in the playpen, looks like he’s down for the night. You remember the puppy book said that to enable small puppies to sleep through the night, it’s essential to give them a last potty break right before tucking them into their smaller crates for the night.
You scoop sleepy Oscar into your arms, his warm puppy body melts into your shoulder, he gives a huge yawn and the sweetest fragrance drifts up, puppy breath! You’d heard one time that is was this delightful perfume, and it is, the tension in your shoulders begins to melt away, you look bemused into his soulful dark eyes and feel your heart begin to open even more...
Out to the yard, the moon is up and shining clear as crystal, Oscar drops his nose importantly to the grass and you whisper, “Go potty Oscar, hurry sweetie”. Oscar does the deed and looks up at you for that pinch of biscuit. You laugh (when did you laugh this much in a day you wonder?) and pick your new puppy up and cradle him in your arms as you wander back into the house to close up for the night.
Tiptoeing into Sarah’s room, you laugh (again) as you see Oscar’s crate open on the floor beside her bed.
Inside are his three favorite toys, a carefully folded puppy blanket and a pink t-shirt that Sarah has obviously decided Oscar would enjoy snoozing with. You tuck Oscar who’s almost asleep in your arms, into his tiny abode, and he gives you a small lick on the hand, your heart melts a bit more.
You lean over to turn out the nightlight, and there on the stand you see it, a card with Sarah’s exuberant handwriting across the front. “Mom & Daddy” You open it read the following:
“I just wanted to thank you mom and daddy for bringing Oscar to live with us. I promise to help take care of him and help train him. I can’t believe how much I love him already, it’s like a dream come true!"
Who would have dreamed that after just a few hours of being a dog owner, that the entire dynamic of your family could have shifted in such a positive way? You know in your heart that yes, getting Oscar was a wonderful idea. There will be a bit of puppy pandemonium along the way, but you can already see more love and laughter and a child who will learn life skills along with her new puppy, that will change all of you for the better.
“Good night sweet Oscar” you whisper and he opens his eyes to blink sleepily at you, his chin on Sarah’s t-shirt, he closes them again, no doubt to sleep and dream puppy dreams (and re-charge his puppy batteries for another day).