Bye-bye Bev (briefly)

In my role as a puppy-raiser, I think it’s easy to slip into denial. I want Beverly to succeed (as so few of her predecessors have), and I’m impressed by all the ways in which she seems promising — her low-key charm, her failure to get into all the trouble that so many of her predecessors have gotten into. She’s an elimination machine — give her the command and she poops and pees almost without fail. Except for the figs, she hasn’t seemed driven to chew and swallow every stray item in the yard, with the resultant vomiting and diarrhea that such behavior invariably brings.

So when she threw up her breakfast two days ago, I brushed it off (in denial). It was a fluke, I told myself. Some minor hiccup of her normal digestive perfection. And indeed, she showed no sign of wanting to throw up her lunch or dinner that same day.

But this morning, at 5 a.m., I was jolted awake by the very loud, roiling sounds of a dog in the process of regurgitating something large. An elephant? “Which dog is that?” I demanded tersely of Steve, still deeply asleep next to me.

“Mrgff,” he replied.

I crawled to the end of the bed and squinted into the gloom. Tucker was curled up in his bed, looking vaguely mortified by what he was hearing. The gross-out sounds were emanating from Beverly’s kennel.

Down at kennel level, I shone in my flashlight. Beverly batted her eyelashes at me, giving me a “Who, me??” look. I saw no elephants, nor any piles of doggy vomit. There was a small slick of mucus near the front of the kennel, however, with a small brown object in it. Later, I retrieved it and determined it to be part of the palm frond that Beverly had pounced upon the night before, out on the patio. Had the tiny fragment of it provoked that disgusting noise?

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I added the penny to show the scale. (She didn’t eat that.)

Once again, we threw caution to the winds and fed her breakfast. And we’ve heard nary a burp since then.

So that’s good news and bad. The bad is that Beverly isn’t perfect. But the good is that she’s really not very bad.

Good and bad, she’s about to embark on a huge adventure. Steve and I had the opportunity to go on an extraordinarily long and complex trip to Asia. If all goes well over the next several weeks, we’ll visit the 4th and 7th tallest buildings in the world (in Taipei and Kuala Lumpur, respectively), and stand at the foot of the tallest mountain (Everest in Tibet). We can do those and other things only because of the extraordinary generosity of the CCI puppy-raisers and puppy-sitters who are willing to take Beverly in our absence. She’ll spend time in the care of at least four such homes.

I’ll transport her to the first this evening, along with assorted gear and paper work.

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It’s quite a load.

 

After I got up with Beverly this morning , I sat on one of the steps in Steve’s office. Beverly came up and rubbed herself against me. She’s never been an affection-greedy pup, but this morning, she seemed to need some reassurance. She wagged her tail slowly and buried her  face under my arm. If I’m honest, I have to say I probably won’t miss her while we’re traveling; there will be too many fascinating sights and experiences to distract us. But I’ll be very, very happy to reunite with Beverly when I return home. Even if she’s not perfect.092916-affection

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Mental block

Life with Beverly continues to be mellow. And she’s making some progress learning new commands. I love the way she now dashes into her kennel every mealtime, then Sits and Stays patiently while I put down her bowl, close the kennel door, and lock it. Only when I announce, “Okay!” does she spring forward to gobble down her serving of kibble.

She’s also gotten quite good about obeying the Wait command when we’re about to enter the neighborhood coffee house. But she also had a couple of maddening mental blocks.

The worse is her response to the Down command. If we hold a morsel of food and lead her into it, Beverly seems perfectly content to sink into the position. We praise her effusively and make it clear that our praise is in response to her going DOWN! We’ve done this now, conservatively, At least 10,000 times.

But when we release her and order her Down without using the lure, she sits and stares and acts like we’ve just addressed her in Bantu. Sometimes she cocks her head in puzzlement, like a cartoon puzzled dog. Eventually, we use the lure again, and she responds instantly. Here’s what the whole burlesque looks like:


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/184239710″>Mental block</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user25079241″>Jeannette De Wyze</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

What’s going on? What IS she thinking? I don’t think she’s slow-witted, but it’s moments like these that make me wonder.

She’s similarly resistant to the Jump command — won’t jump out of the van or into it or pretty much anywhere else we’ve try to lure her to.

In addition to everything else, raising CCI puppies continues to provide amazing lessons in how different doggy personalities can be. (But you’d think I would have learned that one a long time ago.)

 

 

New fun

Beverly is neither the most energetic nor the most creative puppy we’ve ever had — but she definitely has her moments of brilliance.  The other day, bored with her old toys, she discovered a new one in my office. Fun for a few seconds (even if she did quickly move on).


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/182487093″>My Movie</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user25079241″>Jeannette De Wyze</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Good girl, bad girl

Steve and I were shocked a few weeks ago to notice that all of Beverly’s puppy teeth appear to be gone. She HAD a mouth full of puppy teeth when we got her back in June, but now here’s what we see in her mouth:

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What happened to the lethal little daggers? Did they  fall out one by one and get vacuumed up, without our noticing any of it? Did she swallow them? She’s not talking.

What we did notice is that Beverly, more than any other puppy, never gashed our hands or chomped on our other body parts while she was going through the teething process.

That’s one sign of what a good girl she has been.  Here’s another: one day recently, we found her curled up on one of our soft chairs, looking extremely comfortable.

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This is NOT a good things; CCI puppies are supposed to stay off the furniture. Steve is much sterner a disciplinarian than I am, and he immediately ordered her Off! It happened a couple more times in short order, and I shrugged my shoulders. (We never succeeded in breaking Kyndall or Dionne of the habit, once they figured out how cozy they are.) But Steve persisted in making Beverly get down. And she now seems to have completely stopped doing it! Can she have learned that climbing onto the furniture is unacceptable… and be obeying us? The mind reels…

Still, it’s too early to reach any conclusions about just how good a girl she will continue to be. This morning, I unwittingly dropped a $20 bill on the floor of my office. A moment later, Beverly began leaping and rolling around ecstatically, flinging something in the air and then pouncing on it. My twenty. I leapt up to save it, but found a piece missing. Pried open her jaws. Found a big chunk of the missing piece. Searched around in her mouth again and found the last bit.

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I’ve taped them together and am hoping the bank will trade me it for an unmolested one.

Movie mutt

There’s comes a time in every one of our puppies’ lives when we take them to the movies for the first time. I mean, of course, to a real movie theater with big screens (not just our friend Alberto’s Friday Night at the Movies gatherings in Hillcrest). For Beverly, it came last night.

Having nothing else to do, Steve and I and our younger son decided to catch a screening of Hell or High Water at the Fashion Valley mall. I bought tickets online, so we got there at the very last minute, and to our dismay found the only empty seats were in the first row. But since we had Beverly with us, this turned out to be a blessing, particularly as the seats weren’t horribly close to the screen, the location gave us lots of room to spread out Beverly’s “place mat,”and it was easy to keep an eye on her.

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The screen was several feet in front of where she was lying.

I needed to pay attention. Although she stretched out and snoozed for one 20-minute period, she squirmed a lot and spent a lot of time trying to explore under my seat, where I can only assume popcorn morsels were present. She paid almost no attention to the screen (except for one moment when the Jeff Bridges character’s coonhound appeared. She thought that was interesting.)

Still, we’ve seen a lot worse behavior, over the years. She didn’t make a sound. Didn’t have any toileting errors or stick her nose into anyone else’s affairs.

With the improvements in home-based movie-viewing and programming options, we don’t get out to the big screen as much as we once did. But after last night’s experience, we wouldn’t hesitate to take Beverly with us again.