Category: Pets

Ferris Update: October 2020

Ferris took another trip to the vet today, this time for a scheduled visit. He’s 16 weeks old and 24 pounds. Overall, things are going so much more smoothly with him than they were even a month ago, it’s night and day.

These days, he gets very tired by around 8pm, but we do our best to keep him up, because we’d rather be able to sleep a bit more in the morning. (And when I say “we,” I really mean Tomas and Daniela, who have proven themselves to be very capable dog whisperers. More on that in a minute.) He wakes up around 6:30-7:00, with no accidents at night, and none during the day. (It’s been weeks since he had an accident, and that was because he was sick.)

Walking him has become much less of a sled dog situation as well. He does a fair job walking by us and not pulling us along, and he’ll come when we want him to. (More or less. There are still times when he’s just too interested in whatever it is he’s smelling. Probably poop.) We’ve found that as long as we take him on a couple of walks a day (a mile or more), then he’s generally well behaved and not too exuberant. He’s got a lot of energy, but that’s okay. It gets us out of the house more, and I count that as a good thing.

He still can get a bit carried away with wanting to show his love through his teeth, especially with MC. But he generally knows not to nip now, and those situations are limited to times when he’s feeling particularly excited. He likes to jump more than he used to, which is a new problem, but we’re working on that as well.

Really, however, I’m nothing but happy that we got him. He feels like a real addition to the family, and he loves to be doing whatever the rest of us are doing. It’s fun watching how excited he gets at even the smallest of things. It’s also great to see what he’s done for the kids. I think having a dog has really helped Daniela and Tomas up their responsibility game. My girls have both learned how to say “no” forcefully, which I’m very pleased with. MC has a friend who always has time for her. I’ve watched her and Ferris playing with a ball outside for long stretches of time. She’ll get the ball, throw the ball, and then run with him (he’s on a leash) to go get the ball and repeat the process. They think it’s a blast.

If I were to do this again, I would see if I couldn’t get a puppy that’s a bit older than Ferris was when we got him. Even a few weeks makes a big difference. 10 weeks might be perfect. You still have some training to do, but a lot of it is already done. Those first few weeks were definitely rough, but things have improved so much that it makes you forget the rough parts. (In that way, much like having a baby. Though I do feel this is very much the “baby lite” experience. Yes, babies don’t have teeth and aren’t mobile, but they require so much more attention . . .)

Anyway, just wanted to give an update on the little bounder. If you see us around town, he would love love love to say hello. He pretty much loves anything that moves. (Or smells like poop.)

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Learning from Life: Puppy Edition

I tend to think in terms of whatever challenges I’m focused on most at the moment, especially if they’re new. When I’m dieting for the first time in a while, I look for lessons from that experience. As I raise my children, I figure new things out as I come across new situations. For me, it’s all just a part of the process.

So it should come as no great surprise that I find myself learning all sorts of things as we work on raising Ferris. In many ways, it feels like a streamlined version of raising a child: it’s so much easier to see different tendencies and sticking points, probably because a dog goes from a puppy to fully grown so much more quickly.

Ferris has energy. Lots of energy. Many times, he just doesn’t know what to do with all that energy. He’ll spend it up running through fields or chasing after bugs or sniffing the remains of squished frog in the middle of the road. He’ll also spend it trying to bite MC (his version of playing). It can be very frustrating to deal with all that energy, but once you recognize it for what it is, it’s also much easier to be understanding of him. Lots of energy paired with little experience is a recipe for a lot of trouble now and then, but at the same time, it’s also plain to see he wants to do the right thing. He just doesn’t always understand what the right thing is.

Unfortunately, it seems to be much easier to be forgiving of a puppy than it is to be forgiving of a person. (Again, likely because the puppy grows out of it so much more quickly than a human does.) But I think it’s important to remember those same principles are at play, especially when it comes to our kids. There’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm there, and if we direct it and nourish it, then they can really grow up to do incredible things.

These days, Ferris has calmed down around me a great deal. He likes coming to sit on my lap (even though he doesn’t fit nearly as well as he used to). I’ve got a fair bit of practice at enforcing rules consistently, and it’s been rewarding to see that consistency pay off. He knows what to expect: what’s allowed and what will get him into trouble. And by knowing those boundaries, he’s a happier puppy.

I’m not saying raising children is just like raising a dog. I’ve had to speak to Ferris in a tone I would never ever ever use with another human being, but he’s not a human. He’s a dog. A week or two before we were picking him up to bring him home, we had a chance to visit his whole litter. His mother was in the process of weaning the dogs. One of them really didn’t want to be weaned. She growled at him like she was about to rip his throat out. There was no reasoning. No gentle reprimands. There were stark boundaries. Of course, she didn’t actually rip his throat out, but it was an experience that helped me realize dogs handle things differently. That’s okay.

Anyway. Glad the little bounder is feeling better after his escapade with a UTI last weekend. It was seriously upsetting to see the poor puppers in such bad shape. Last night, we took him upstairs to watch television as a family; the first time we’ve watched TV together since we got him. (Up until now, we didn’t trust him in the movie room.) Once he realized the huge people on the 104 inch screen weren’t going to come out and play or threaten him, he calmed down, and a fun time was had by all.

Looking forward to more of that in the future.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

The Puppy McPupperpants Song

There are many, many things I want to say today. It feels like that pretty much every day now. But I don’t see the use, and so instead, I’m going to share with you the Puppy McPupperpants song I made up. Honestly, the melody has to be from some song I heard somewhere at some point, but I don’t know what it’s from, and I’m not going to sing it for you, so you’re just going to have to imagine what it is. Sort of like a song in Winnie-the-Pooh.

I like making up song lyrics. I like it even more when I can remember what the song lyrics were that I made up. And since I’m sitting with Ferris a fair bit at this point, I have plenty of time to make up song lyrics. We’ve been calling him Puppy McPupperpants when he’s actually behaving, and so this is the song he gets from me when he’s sitting in my lap and not trying to gnaw off my hands.

PUPPY McPUPPERPANTS

Puppy McPupperpants

Lives in the south of France.

Puppy McPupperpupperpants! (Puppy pupperpa-ants)

Puppy McPupperpants

Just give him half a chance.

Puppy McPupperpants!

(Second verse)

Puppy McPupperpants

That dog can really dance!

Puppy McPupperpupperpants! (Puppy pupperpa-ants)

Puppy McPupperpants

I liked him at first glance.

Puppy McPupperpants!

From there, you can the song veers off into unknown territory, in which I explore the true breadth of the words that can rhyme with “pants.” Here are some potentials:

  • “Goes on some Twitter rants.”
  • “Digs up his mother’s plants.”
  • “Puts me into a trance.”
  • “Master of world finance.”

If you’ve got a phrase that ends with a “pants” rhyme and has six syllables, you too can add a verse to the Puppy McPupperpants song! Give it a try!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Puppy Update: Mid-September

Well here we are: September 18th. Ferris Drooler is now just over 12 weeks old, and he’s been with us for a bit more than a month. How are we doing?

The first few weeks were rough as you’ll remember from the blog. We had issues with him barking and biting and peeing and pooping all over creation. None of this was really surprising to us. He’s a puppy, and we knew that came with the territory. However, there’s definitely a difference between knowing the theory of something and seeing that theory in practice.

Those first few weeks were quite stressful. There was just so many other things going on, and a couple of times I really wondered if we would be able to sustain puppydom for the long term. I’m a fan of animals, but this felt like too much. The worst was when he regressed from being clean in his cage every night to suddenly pooping it and refusing to sleep.

Since then, however, we’ve learned to adapt, and things are going very well with Mr. Drooler. What did we change?

  • We take him on walks now. Not extremely long walks (usually just 15 minutes or so), since we’ve read it can take puppies some time to work their way up to being able to handle longer distances. But walking with him gives him an outlet for his energy. (True, this means there’s another thing to teach him, as he constantly needs to be reminded that he is not a sled dog, and I am not a sled. He also has a penchant for acorns, and there’s only one spot on the walk where he can get his fix. He looks forward to that spot a great deal, and would happily stay there for an hour if we let him.
  • We’ve got him on a regular eating routine. Food at 6am (we’re hoping to move that to 7am eventually), noon, and 6pm. This generally lines up with his sleeping routine, as well. We let him nap during the day, but after about 6pm, no more naps. Then he goes to bed at 8:30pm and wakes up (hopefully) at 6am. We’re working on that. The middle of the night poop walk has been eliminated. (Yay!)
  • Tomas and Daniela handle Ferris detail in the mornings and at night. This lets Denisa and me sleep, and that’s hugely helpful in keeping me sane. I do feel guilty at times that I’m not doing more with the dog each night, but I know my limits, and I was already past them. Thankfully our kids are old enough and responsible enough that we can all tag team as necessary. (And it’s often necessary.)
  • We have been working on training him consistently. Setting boundaries for what’s acceptable and what isn’t, and figuring out ways to communicate with him. (To make sure he understands us and we understand him.)

Thankfully, it feels like we’re making a lot of progress, and that we’re getting closer to having a normal routine again. What’s still missing? We still have him confined to just two rooms of the house. The rest isn’t really puppy-proof. (Honestly, the office isn’t either, but it’s got junky carpet, so we’re letting him there supervised, working on training him for what’s acceptable in normal living areas of the house, as opposed to the kitchen.) Once he’s proven reliable there, we’ll spread out to other rooms. It would be lovely to get him comfortable up in the movie room, so we might be able to start watching some shows as a family again. I think that’s not too far off.

So now we’re at the point where having a dog is beginning to feel like it’s paying off. It’s lovely to see him get so excited to see people come home from work and school each day. Nice to sit with him and play or pet him (when he isn’t in one of his biting moods, that still happen.)

I think the worst part (so far) of having a puppy was that uncertainty. Doing something where we didn’t really know what to expect. In hindsight, it was just two or three weeks of really rough waters. You get through that, and everything starts to go easier. But when you’re in the middle of that rough water, you feel like it might not end, and that’s scary.

We might not be out of the rapids completely yet, but the waters are definitely getting much calmer. Hooray for that, and thank you all for the excellent advice and support you’ve given. Very much appreciated.

Have a nice weekend!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

And the Poop Just Keeps on Coming

I realize that this title could appear to refer to any number of things at this moment in time. What’s Bryce blogging about today? Could it be the Trump tapes? The wildfires in the west? The Corona crisis? What does he mean when he says “poop”?

I mean poop, folks. As in puppy poop. Which believe me, is a much more immediate problem in my life at the moment.

We thought we had Ferris down at this point. He would let us know when he needed to be let out. We’d take him out, he did his business, and we’d bring him in. At night, we’d take him out one last time, then take him out again once in the middle of the night, and we’d be good to go.

Reader, we were most definitely not “good to go.”

These days, Ferris likes to go to sleep about 8 o’clock each night. It’s a long, tiring slog, biting your family and generally demanding attention for every moment you’re awake. I can relate to his feeling. So he passes out somewhere underneath the table or a chair, oblivious to the world. Last night, Tomas woke him up and dragged him out at 10pm for a last chance at voiding the bowels. Ferris was Not a Fan of the idea. He refused to do anything, so Tomas took him inside to put him into his cage.

As near as we can figure, that was when Ferris decided sleeping was no longer an option. He’d had a nap, and it was time to play. Commence the barking and yapping! Tomas, as instructed, left him in his cage and went to bed. When Denisa got up at 2:30 for the nightly walking of the dog, she discovered a dog that had become encased in a coating of poop. (We think he probably pooped the cage in the middle of all his barking protest at 10pm.) So she took him out, cleaned him off in the bath, cleaned out his cage, and took him outside, where he proceeded to sit down and do nothing. “Poop? What poop? No need to poop, ma’am. It’s the middle of the night. What sort of an animal do you think I am?”

So she did what any right thinking woman would do: she brought Ferris back to his cage. But this was no longer a sleepy Ferris. This was a freshly bathed Ferris, ready for action (as long as it didn’t involve pooping outside). He began barking and protesting again, but Denisa was (naturally) exhausted, and went back to bed.

When Daniela got up at 5:45am to take Ferris out, she discovered (spoiler!) a dog that had become encased in a coating of poop. (Once again, most likely deposited during all his barking protests at 3am.) So she took him out, cleaned him off in the bath, cleaned out his cage, and took him outside, where he proceeded to sit down and do nothing. “Poop? What poop? No need to poop, ma’am. It’s the stupid o’clock in the morning. What sort of an animal do you think I am?”

This is, naturally, more than a little discouraging. The kids are back in school, work is back in full swing, and right when we need all hands ready for battle, the puppy’s stuck on the poop deck.

We have, of course, come up with a new strategy. Tonight, the plan is for Ferris to go to sleep in his cage at 8pm, and for us to leave him there until he wakes up and begins to whine. (Yes, we’re resorting to a baby monitor, the very same technique I marveled that my brother would resort to with his puppy, just a few short weeks ago.) If he wakes up because he has to poop, then (call me crazy) maybe he’ll actually poop when he’s taken outside right away, and then he’ll (theoretically) not be so ready for partying right afterward, because he won’t have taken a bath. (You wake me up at 3am and put me in the shower, and I’m going to be pretty wide awake when I try to go back to bed as well.) This continues to rest on the assumption that Ferris would prefer not to be encased in a coating of poop. I recognize he might have developed a taste for it at this point. If that’s the case . . . we’ll figure something else out.

Wish us luck. We will, most assuredly, need it.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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