Today was Belle’s first day home alone. I puppy proofed the laundry room for her and left her with food, water, paper on the tile, six dog toys and a pissy cat overseeing the situation like a big sister left in charge. We have a lot of wood in our house. Wood trim, wood wall in that room, wood door and wood vanity. That’s a whole lot of puppy temptation.
Day one was a complete success. She peed on the newspaper and didn’t destroy anything. I’m pretty sure we got lucky, still I’m hopeful that one of the other pups in her litter got all the Marley genes. We saw one in particular, a boy, who had a whole lot of that potential just oozing from his pores. Fifteen years ago we would have totally chosen him. Mercifully, now we know to leave him to someone else.
We chose the laziest runt of the litter this time and it’s already paying off. Last evening we all three took Belle for her first big walk through our woods along the trail Bryon made last year. We were trying to wear her down so she’d sleep better. It really wasn’t all that long a walk; maybe 3/4 of a mile or so but her belly drug the ground in most places and it was pretty much a continual obstacle course for a 7 week old puppy.
She did pretty well but took a lot of breaks. Anytime Bryon or Grace stopped to pick up an acorn to pelt at one another, she took a little break. She’s big on breaks.
The first night we were up with her every 90 to 120 minutes. She whined. We came and took her outside. She did her business. Repeat.
Last night I took her food and water away at 8:30 when Grace went to bed and she did a lot better. Bryon and I both got up with her 3 times each. A couple of times she faked us out and didn’t do any business but still she did okay and with minimal whining. Tonight, it’s raining so I’m a little skeptical about her going out to do any business in the rain.
The moon has been so full and bright the past few nights it’s been sort of cool to be out there for a little bit. Last night I heard something scurrying around over by the chicken coop as Belle was finishing up and coming back up onto the porch. She got back to me just in time for two little skunks to skitter across the front lawn in a little skunk parade about 30 feet from us. I was glad Belle was oblivious. If she’d given chase, we might all have been having tomato juice baths last night.
Things have already been much, much different with this little dog than with Ruger. Poor Ruger just didn’t have a chance with our family. We were not a good fit. My heart turned hard against him pretty quickly. Mostly because he was an idiot and a furry pinball. HE was a Marley in a Brittany Spaniel suit.
We broke out the books on labradors we have collected over the years and Bryon’s ready to start training her. She’s much smarter already and reminded us immediately what it was like when we first got Briar and Daisy all those years ago. I think we got Briar in 1993 right before I quit teaching. He used to sleep in our kingsize waterbed between us with his head on one of our pillows as he breathed hot dog breath on us all night. He also snored. And farted. We found it endearing.
I don’t plan to have dog hair in my bed anymore. I have cat hair. Pansy sleeps on us most nights. She makes the rounds. I don’t forsee her sleeping with Belle anytime soon. She has been establishing the rules. I worked from home on Monday and Belle slept under the table while I worked. Pansy sat on top of it and growled and hissed all day.
She was making a point. Unfortunately Belle is still oblivious to that point. I have a feeling she’ll find out soon enough.
I know we’ll have our share of chewing and destruction. This is probably the calm before the storm but for now we are just enjoying the newest member of our family. Well, most of us are. Sorry Pansy. We all know you are really the boss.