Dog gone it

There’s a new dog in the house and it’s the first time this family has acquired a puppy. Life is certainly different today from a life and home shared with a genteel and ageing 12 year old hound and a cat who is soon to celebrate its 20th birthday. It’s because of these ageing two pets that we felt (or more accurately, I felt) that it was time for some succession planning, as home really isn’t home without a dog in the family. And most of the time I am working from home, and we are soon to move to a place in the country, so the time seemed right.The first few days with the pup were full on. Unlike coming home with a baby, he played for hours and hours then slept all through his first night. But he woke really early at about 100kmh, full on and ready to play. Thus the pattern was set. Sleep ins became a dream from days long gone. But over the first couple of weeks we got into a routine – up early, doggie breakfast, back to bed with breakfasts in bed for the humans, and trying to coax the pup into another short nap. Then for me it’s shower, hat, sunglasses and hit the street with pup and old dog for a sedate genteman’s stroll around the block. Then we drop the old gentleman back at home and set off for Round 2 and another stretch out. His Lordship joins us on weekends, and rain or shine we have missed only one day since October. Now the pup sees the hat and bounds around in excited circles barking joyfully.

When the walks are done, then and only then I have the chance to get some work done while the pup has a nap and the old fella chooses a bed to lie on.

This is the fourth dog his Lordship and I have acquired and like all the others, this one is also a rescue dog. He came to us from the amazing people at Auckland Puppy Rescue who give you a week or so to try things out and bond with the puppy, and then a formal doggie adoption takes place. It took a wee while (about 48 hours), but he has won my heart and he’s still working on His Lordship.

Yes, life is different now. With the old dog it didn’t matter if we missed a day’s walk. Sleep and dinner are the main things on his mind these days, although he does love his outings when we go on them. But the new dog expects a walk no matter what.

After dinner play times can be trying, mainly because the old dog barks his excitement as he saunters after the leaping pup who explodes through the ranchslider and bounces off the back fence before taking another lap of the lounge.

Last week the pup had a try out at Barkley Manor, a wonderful doggie daycare centre in Grey Lynn where the school motto is “In dog we trust.” While I will be with him most days when we are in the country, I have picked up some work in the city, and I want him to be stimulated and to enjoy the company of other dogs and humans one day a week.

Well, he loved it. After the initial interview and assessment at which we were both so nervous and on our best behaviour (although I later found I was so nervous I had put my dress on inside out), the pup was taken into one of the sections for biggish pups called Budleigh Gardens, and I was invited to watch on the closed circuit television. Other dogs were let in one by one, and after approximately 30 seconds my boy was away, butt sniffing and chasing with the best of them, and this doggie mum left, happy that her boy was going to have a great morning and proud that he looked to have settled in so well. He had a ball and was so exhausted that when I picked him up he flaked out on the floor while I paid and got the puppy assessment feedback. He slept all the way home in the car and most of the afternoon too. He’ll be back there next week.

I won’t lie. Puppies can be hard work, and as he gets bigger he gets quite strong and his excitement takes some curbing when we are out on our walks. But I love the look of joy and excitement on his face at anything from a stick or a rock in the garden to a butterfly or a bird. Anything and everything catches his eye. I love the happiness that oozes from the twitch of his nose to his happily wagging tail as we head for the beach. I love how he joins the groups of other dogs playing on the beach and the huntaway in him tries to both make friends with them and round them up like sheep.

He’s a great little guy, and he loves us to bits too. I hope we will have many happy and fun-filled years with him.

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