Double trouble

The truth is, I was delighted by the opportunity to puppy-sit Apple, Adagio’s littermate. Her puppy-raiser departed on a week-long vacation early Friday morning, so Apple arrived at our house mid-day Thursday. She looks a lot like her younger brother, but Steve and I can tell them apart. Fittingly, she’s a bit smaller and her face is more delicate. Adagio worships her; her arrival triggered paroxysms of joy.

Apple is the one on the left.

It’s also true that living with two 5-and-a-half-month old labradors is more trouble than living with one. The worst thing about these two is that neither one has learned to ask to go outside, when they need a potty break. To avoid accidents, we have to remember to take them both out every hour or two, and that’s more work with two than one.

I think they have taught each each other a few bad things. For example, I’ve caught Apple fishing used kleenex out of my wastebasket (something Adagio had not routinely done before). His sis then shared her plunder with him, and I found them both happily chewing on soggy wads. Another time one of them grabbed a roll of paper towels within reach, and they were unrolling it when I noticed this action and snatched it away from them. “They’re as bad as monkeys,” I marveled. “Oh no. Monkeys would be much worse,” Steve said. “Monkeys have hands.”

Still, the pleasure of watching the two of them interact has outweighed the nuisances. They walk beautifully on their leashes, Apple even better than Adagio, so we have taken them with us to the coffeeshop.

Steve’s been waiting outside with them while I go in.

They have no sense of personal space, so they chew on each other interminably, taking things out of each other’s mouths at will. Each one periodically tries to hump the other. (Fortunately, Apple should still be a few months away from her first heat.) They’re both extraordinarily verbal dogs, so as they wrestle, they emit fearsome growls, as well as yelps, screams, gurgles, and sometimes just a lot of heavy breathing

They seem radiant with happiness to be near each other. And they do periodically crash.


Apple will go to another puppy-sitter tomorrow afternoon. We’ll all be sad to see her leave.











Miss Beverly pays a visit

When Beverly was adopted recently by her family, Steve and I urged them to call us any time they needed a dog sitter. We were delighted to be asked to host Beverly over the New Year’s weekend, when they had a short trip planned up to Northern California.

She thus arrived last Friday morning, and she stayed until last night. We were charmed by how instantly she settled back into the routines of our house.

010318 Bev1

She was eager to go for morning walks and to snuggle with Steve while I ran into my favorite coffee shop to grab a cup. Her recent training by Stephanie up at CCI was evident, as she followed commands more perfectly than ever.

On Saturday afternoon, while Steve and I went on a long walk on the beach, she got to play at the home of Truckee, the new pup being raised by our friends and neighbors the Stuarts.

010318 play date

At our place, she took obvious pleasure in sunbathing, both outdoors and in.

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And she usually grabbed more than her share of Tucker’s beds.

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He wasn’t crazy about that, but he was very happy to see her again and hang out with her.

We were tickled to see that she still did pirouettes every time we were serving up the dog chow. Yet, for as content as she appeared to be here, last night, when her new family arrived to collect her, she danced with excitement, nuzzled up to them, and trotted off to their car, tail wagging. She didn’t look back.

We’re missing her this morning, but we’re also savoring our last week of relative calm before the arrival of Beverly’s half-brother, Adagio. That adventure begins one week from today.

Happy Bday, Beverly!

040917 one year old Beverly

Beverly passed the one-year mark yesterday. She’s grown into a beautiful and pleasant companion — the easiest CCI puppy we’ve ever raised. To mark the occasion, we should have done something special, but I have to confess we failed at that. It was already something of a dog party, however, given the presence of our grand-dog, Felina, here in Southern California on her first big road trip with our son Michael and his pack.

Upon her arrival, Beverly was mesmerized by the corgi. Beverly struck various “puppy play” positions (paws down; butt up in the air), but Felina only barked back, occasionally charging as if to herd Beverly. This launched Beverly into crazy pirouettes and racing circuits, which I tried repeatedly to record.  I finally captured the following. (Forgive the shaky camera work.)

My Movie from Jeannette De Wyze on Vimeo.

Steve and I feel almost as puzzled by Felina at times as Beverly appears to be. We live so deeply embedded in the CCI universe, and we’re so accustomed to CCI puppies, it’s eye-opening to suddenly be living with a dog who doesn’t know all our clubby commands for daily life. (Not to mention thinking like a corgi).

We’re all getting along, mind you. It’s just educational — and fun for a change of pace.

040917 Beverly and Felina
Felina has to be COAXED to eat her breakfast. To Beverly and Tucker, this is… unthinkable.

Society girl

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.

072016 fighting w Kora
Amazingly, puppies are undeterred by being less than a third the size of their attack victims.
072016 out w Kora
Lisa also bravely took both girls on outings — with the aid of our puppy stroller.
072016 Snoozing w Kora
Happily, puppies who play hard together ultimately crash together. 

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.

072016 at S&F's
The social whirl doubtless helped to tire her out.

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.)

072016 w Targe
He’s my buddy!

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.



A post-Kyndall puppy

One thing that’s made life after Kyndall easier is that we’ve still had Kora, another CCI puppy who’s being raised by first-time puppy-raiser Lisa Matthews. Lisa and Kora live

051817 Kora2
Unlike most of the the dogs we’ve lived with, Kora appears not to be a member of the Sloppy Sitters Club. She sits beautifully.

just a few blocks from us. Even though Kora is 6 months younger, she and Kyndall became great friends and spent a lot of time together over the past 10 months. When Lisa asked us if we could take care of Kora while Lisa attended a conference and went on a Mediterranean cruise, we were happy to do so. Despite our normal conviction that three big dogs is too many, we knew we’d only have three for about 10 days, because Kyndall was turning in. Then for a week or so, we’d be down to just Kora and Tucker.

And having Kora around has indeed been a comfort. With Kyndall gone, Kora’s own distinctive personality has come more sharply into focus. She sleeps less than Kyndall, and I’ve been fascinated to see how ingeniously she entertains herself. She chews on her toys (only), and one day I watched her play ball all by herself for a solid hour or so.

051816 Kora1She’s less cuddly than Kyndall, who would climb into our laps or snuggle up next to us given the slightest opportunity. Yet she wags her tails in a friendly manner that convinces us she’s happy to hang out with us (even if we’re much less entertaining than Kyndall.)

Most charming of all: Kora does something I’ve never seen from any of the 10 dogs Steve and I have raised from puppyhood (or the countless ones we’ve cared for briefly.) She has a beloved blanket that Lisa told us to put in her kennel every night. Not only does Kora NOT destroy it (as all ourCCI puppies have done with similar blankets), but Kora routinely goes to the kennel and drags the blanket out, hauling it around the house with her and curling up on it. It’s clearly a security blanket, akin to that of Linus from the Peanuts gang.

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051816 Kora4

Kora’s ultimate source for comfort will be restored tomorrow night, when Lisa returns from her travels. I expect it to be an ecstatic reunion and will have a video recorder ready.



Let the good times roll

050216 K&K2
The white stuff scattered all over those stairs is dog hair. Although Steve just vacuumed this room (his office) yesterday, since then it has accumulated a truly shocking quantity of blonde fur.

In less than eleven days, we’ll hand over Kyndall’s leash and she’ll be led off to the kennels at CCI’s Southwestern regional headquarters, to begin her Advanced Training regime. We’re feeling sad at the thought of her vanishing forever from our lives, but we believe for her it will signal the start of a much more sociable phase of her life — living and training with dozens of other young comrades, including a kennel mate with whom she’ll spend all her non-training hours. And through a twist of fate, the party has begun early for her.

I’ve written several times about her great friendship with Kora, the other CCI puppy who lives only a few blocks from us. Kora’s puppy-raiser, Lisa, recently asked us if we might take care of Kora while Lisa is in Italy and Spain for a combined business and pleasure trip.  We said yes, in part because we like being able to help out other members of the CCI family. But we also figure it will take a bit of the sting out of Kyndall’s departure if we have another puppy in the house. (Kora is six months younger than Kyndall, so she won’t begin her Advance Training until November 5.)

Kora has visited us before many times and even slept overnight once or twice, but never has she lodged with us for anything near this length of time — 19 nights/20 days. After less than 24 hours, we’re sort of stunned by the amount of hair that can be generated by three large dogs (the third, Tucker, particularly seems to be shedding copious amounts at the moment.)


050216 K&K1
The girls also play so energetically that they mess up the rug in my office.

It’s also no small challenge to muscle the girls out to the backyard first thing in the morning. Although Kyndall and Tucker normally sleep up in our bedroom, we think the three of them simply take up too much space, so we’re having them all sleep in Steve’s office.050216 K&K3This morning, Kyndall and Kora were so overjoyed to find themselves in each other’s presence at dawn’s early light that all they wanted to do was race around and wrestle, rather than obediently poop and pee. To handle them, Steve and I both dragged ourselves out of bed and trooped downstairs so that each of us could take one of the girls on a leash. That will likely have to be our routine for the next 18 mornings.

Still, we like Kora, and we can see how much fun Kyndall is having with her here. If it also means a bit more disorder and squalor, we’ll have to deal with it (or vacuum a lot more often.)





Steve and I don’t want to say Dionne misses Darby (who went back to her own family Tuesday, after her vacation stay here.) All we can say is: since Darby left, Dionne’s behavior has taken a turn for the worse.

She’s engaged in frenzies of racing around and attacking Tucker; barking at us; snatching shoes and sponges and my portable keyboard cover.  This morning we found her with a GLASS ornament in her mouth. (Thank God she relinquished it in exchange for a Charlie Bear.)

Then there was this, discovered by Steve underneath the dining room table:

On the right is a Scotchbrite pad, ripped in two. On the left (foreground) are the remains of a candle. We have no idea where she got it. But it took a loooooong time to clean up.

What she probably needs is to run around outside for an hour or two. But it’s drizzly and muddy outside. And she has little interest in running round by herself. (With Darby, it was a party!!!)