Something that happened while we were gone last weekend was that Dionne turned 6 months old. This is a dark day in every CCI puppy’s life because it means the dogs stop getting three meals a day. They get the same amount of food, but instead of 1 cup at 6:30 a.m., another at noon, and another at 5:30 p.m., Dionne yesterday began consuming a cup and a half at the morning and evening feedings.
|The sun is high. But there’s NOTHING in the bowl!
She’ll get used to it, we know. But in the meantime, it’s pretty depressing.
Steve and I saw one dog in the audience at the film festival we attended last weekend. A golden retriever, it appeared to be very well mannered, but it reminded us of how happy we were NOT to have Dionne with us. Subjecting a 6-month-old puppy to seven hours a day of tight confinement in theaters and rows of bleachers seats would have been torture for us all.
That said, it was lovely to reunite with her Monday afternoon. She seemed ecstatic to see us all, though I’m sure she was also happy in Diana and John’s home. Diana reported that they had to keep a close eye on her, but she did not vomit once or swallow any dangerous objects, “even though we came close!” Diana apparently took “many foreign objects” out of Dionne’s mouth. (We could relate.)
But now it’s back to the old routines. Life is boring enough to drive a puppy to try to spice things up.
One indisputable fact about being a CCI puppy is that you get to go on a lot of adventures. Dionne set off on a new one this afternoon: settling in for a four-day stay with John and Diana Vines. They’re part of the valiant crew of volunteers who help spell the puppy-raisers when they go off on their own adventures, as Steve and I will do this weekend.
I think it’s great for teaching the puppies to be adaptable. (And not too bad at teaching the puppy-raisers not to worry too much about how their charges will conduct themselves.) I’ll report on the latter Monday.
Many puppy raisers deal with barking by squirting their pups. But for some reason, Steve and I haven’t done that much. I think we’ve just been obtuse.
Dionne doesn’t bark a lot. But she’ll start sometimes when she gets excited, as when playing with Tucker or our current visitor, Kenzie. She doesn’t growl. She barks, and we think her voice has a volume greater than any other dog we’ve ever had. Steve today compared it to a cannon.
Mindful that Dionne’s predecessor, Darby, was released in part because of her inappropriate barking, and annoyed by having my eardrums shattered, I’ve squirted Dionne on a couple of recent occasions when she ignored my command to be “Quiet!” Although a mixture of water and vinegar is sometimes recommended, I’ve been using plain water. To my amazement, it seems to work.
She doesn’t slink away, terrified, as Tucker did when we used a squirt bottle to stop him from jumping on visitors. Instead she’s been acting as if being squirted was no big deal. But in every case, she also has stopped the barking. Concept!
We’re supposed to send CCI a Puppy Report every month. I try to do it on the 1st. It’s no big deal, but the most challenging question is the one asking how much the puppy weighs.
Our vet has a nice scale that dogs can easily step up on, and if we pop in, the techs don’t mind our using it. But that makes answering that single question a 20-minute chore. Who’s got time?
Here’s the alternative:
|We bring down the bathroom scale. Steve gets on it and weighs in. Today’s answer: 159 pounds.
|He scoops up Dionne. Weighs in again. Today’s answer: 202 pounds.
Ergo: Five days short of being six months old, Dionne weighs 43 pounds. That makes her on the small scale, compared to our previous puppies.
(Or maybe her habit of eating garbage and throwing up has something to do with her slender frame…)
Steve and I sound like air traffic controllers. Instead of saying things like, “United 949 proceed to sector 27,” (or whatever air traffic controllers say), we make announcements to each other like, “I’m going upstairs to get dressed now. You have puppy control,” or “I’m going out to the garage. You have the con.”
Sometimes we slip up, as when I went to shower yesterday while Steve was bringing in groceries. He thought Dionne was with me, and he left the back door open. When we realized the error, he raced out to the lower back yard and of course she was already there, eating mulch.
We wouldn’t mind this, except that it invariably makes her throw up (and she did again Friday morning).
This morning started off overcast and chilly, but but mid-morning, the clouds had burned off. In our backyard, the arbor is dripping with wisteria. The trumpet flowers and daisies and sage and hibiscus are all blooming. I yearned to sit for a moment on my sofa next to the sliding glass doors, enjoying the abundant evidence of spring. But the doors had to remain closed.
I thought about Easter of 2014. Dionne will still be with us, though her turn-in for advanced training will be just around the corner then. Will we be able to open those doors? Will Dionne have matured; become a free-range puppy? Will she have stopped eating things that make her vomit?
We can only hope.