To help Beverly sleep through the night, we usually cut off her access to water around 6 p.m. That means the first drink of the day is such a happy occasion! She’s glad to share the bowl with Darby, who’s visiting this week. I love to see how long and enthusiastically those two tails wag:
We finally succeeded in getting Beverly to a puppy kindergarten class last night. (She attended once before when she was being fostered while we were traveling, but this was our first time together.) It takes some mental gear-shifting for us to get to the baby class, as it starts so early. We have to leave the house a bit before 5 p.m. and slog through downtown traffic to get there by 5:30. Last night we arrived late. But we found a congenial group assembled, including Keegan from our neighborhood, Target/Tarzhay (Cyndy Carlton’s handsome black boy), and two adorable babies — Weasley (whom Beverly was beating up at last Saturday’s play group) and a fluff ball named Vienna, being raised by first-timers.
Beverly barked once or twice, but for the most part she watched the proceedings and cradled calmly.
She didn’t try to rub her halter off during her turns to walk around the group. I had to lead her into the Down command, but once there (and rewarded with a microscopic piece of jerky treat), she obeyed my “Stay” command nicely. Staying comes naturally to Beverly. She eats even tiny bits of food slowly and thoughtfully, preferably while lying down.
Beverly has a problem. Our sweet, calm, sleepy little girl is a growler! This is only happening when she a) is awake and b) has the opportunity to wrestle or play with some other dog. That doesn’t happen often, and it doesn’t happen every time. But she’s the first CCI pup we’ve raised who’s ever gotten so vocal when playing — something that’s discouraged by the Puppy-raising Powers that Be. Kyndall and Kora would play, silently, for hours. Even wild, rambunctious Dionne never growled.
Here’s what it sounded like just a few minute ago, when Beverly got going with Darby (one of our former CCI trainees who was released and now lives with good friends. We’re hosting her while they’re on vacation.):
I took Beverly and Darby to the twice-monthly puppy play session at Cyndy Carlton’s yesterday, and I asked some of the more experienced folks if they had ever had this problem and how they handled it. One advised me to have my squirt bottle at hand and use it often. One suggested time-outs, when the growling got too intense. A couple shrugged it off, pointing out that it was a very natural thing for young dogs to do while playing. I know that, of course, and have only been feeling concerned because of the CCI puppy’s mission. But I felt reassured to hear about a couple of other initial growlers who eventually graduated.
Another interesting aspect to the play session was that a new puppy joined us. His name is Weasley, and he’s only 8 weeks old. But feisty. Beverly seemed to immediately recognize that this was the only creature smaller than her, and she loved pinning him down non-stop, prompting Weasley’s puppy raiser to intervene several times. I just stood by, taking mental notes.
We got a lovely surprise the other day, when Cyndy Carlton stopped by with her young puppy (Target). She presented us with a beautiful little quilt that she made, explaining that it was a place mat — a portable cozy place to bring along for a puppy like Bev to curl up on. Cyndy is Beverly’s human “grandmother,” having raised Beverly’s real granddam, Emerald, but even with that connection, it seemed to us an extraordinarily generous gift. Beverly, for her part, is taking all the injunctions on the quilt to heart. Especially the third.
When we first learned about the opportunity to raise Beverly, one of my biggest concerns was that Steve and I had long ago committed to attending a conference in Las Vegas in the middle of July. We couldn’t take a 3-month-old puppy with us to it, and it’s not the easiest thing to find puppy-sitters, even within CCI, for dogs that young. But this was one of the many times the CCI village stepped up. With assurances from various individuals, Steve and I took the plunge. And last week Beverly got an early taste of how interesting life as a CCI trainee can be.
First we heard from Lisa Matthews, who’s raising Kora (the former best friend of our last CCI pup, Kyndall). Being 6 months younger than Kyndall, Kora won’t enter advanced training until November. But Lisa gamely welcomed Beverly into the 2-bedroom, upper-story condo she shares with Kora. Although I’ve written a lot already about how sleepy Beverly often is, Lisa reported (after the visit) that being in Kora’s presence electrified our little girl. “She would run across the room and dive-bomb Kora.” Apparently Kora took this abuse in good humor; the two wrestled and played for hours on end.
Because Lisa had a social commitment that would take her out of the house for several hours Saturday and Sunday, I turned to two other devoted CCI puppy-sitters, Susan Miller and Frank Novick of Rancho Bernardo. Susan and Frank have helped us with several previous pups, and they are unfazed even by little ones. They picked up Beverly from Lisa on Friday afternoon, texting me, “We have the package. She is certainly a beauty.” In succeeding texts, they let me know that things were going well. Beverly slept Saturday morning until 6:30 a.m. — a new record for her.
We collected her from Susan and Frank Sunday afternoon. But more fun arrived Monday morning, in the form of a visit from Cyndy Carlton and her current trainee, Target (aka Tar-zhay). Targe is the 11th puppy Cyndy has raised, and Beverly finds him entrancing. (In the puppy-raising world, Cyndy is sort of Beverly’s surrogate grandmother — having raised her real grandmother, Emerald.)
Target only stayed for about an hour. But more fun will be coming to our doorstep tomorrow, when Steve and I will host one of our former trainees, Darby, for a week-long stay while her family vacations in Hawaii. In preparation for that, Beverly is resting up.
We were looking forward to seeing how Beverly would react last night to her first puppy class. But it couldn’t have been worse. When we arrived, the gate was locked and the classroom dark. I called another puppy raiser and learned that our instructor apparently posted a notice on Facebook around noon yesterday, stating that he wouldn’t be showing up (and apologizing for the last minute announcement). That’s the first time I’d heard about this page (or had any clue it should be checked to confirm the classes would proceed as scheduled). We weren’t the only folks who were clueless. I got a call an hour later from another puppy-raiser with an older dog who had just arrived downtown for the Advanced class — to find no one there.
We felt particularly bad about the cancellation because we had given a ride to some new puppy-raisers who livenear us; this would have been their very first class in San Diego. Their pup is a lanky young male named Keegan, just one month older than Beverly. We transported the two of them in side-by-side kennels, but when we arrived and learned the bad news, we let Beverly and Keegan sniff each other. If anything, he seems a calmer and milder-mannered fellow than Beverly (who’s pretty gentle herself). It will be interesting to see how they play — but there was no place to do that last night.
Later last night, I gave Beverly an A+ in Nocturnal Puppy Behavior. Steve and I turned out the lights around 10 pm and she slept well until 5:30, when she began rustling in her kennel and I got up to take her out. The milestone was that for the very first time, I did NOT carry her down the stairs but let her walk down them on a leash, and then out to the lower level of the yard. She waited until she was all the way back there before relieving herself. Today she got the third of her four sets of puppy shots, and we learned that she weighs 25 pounds. So if the days of carrying her are over, my back and I both are very, very happy.
Beverly was three months old on Saturday. This Wednesday, we will have had her for four weeks. During that time she’s changed
She’s more than doubled in weight, and she’s having new experiences daily. Some are not so great. She had her first case of diarrhea Saturday (God knows why), and that combined with a rare accident in her kennel prompted us to subject her to her first bath.
Although she’s perking up a bit, she continues to amaze us with her sleepiness. Previous puppies have jumped to their feet and bounded out of their kennel whenever we opened the door, but if Beverly is snoozing, this is what typically happens even after we open the door:
She ignores us and sleeps on.
She’s now big enough that she can lie down in the stroller and rest her chin on the opening. When we walked with her yesterday, she appeared to like that.
Tonight, however, she won’t be able to curl up for an after-dinner nap. For the first time, we’ll take her to puppy class. We’re curious to see whether THAT keeps her awake.