Category: Pets

The Big Puppy Snip

My entire life growing up, Bob Barker drilled one fact into my brain. When I had a dog, I was going to get it spayed or neutered. And now that we finally had a puppy, you bet your booties I wasn’t going to let Bob Barker down. Of course, I discovered it was one thing to say that at the end of every Price is Right episode, and another to try and figure out the right time to do it. There are quite a few articles out there telling people that you need to fix a dog at a certain date. Unfortunately, most of them don’t agree with each other. Some say do it when the puppers is 6 months, because if you wait, Bad Things Will Happen. Then again, others say if you don’t wait until the pooch is a year old, then Bad Things Will Happen.

I don’t want bad things to happen to Ferris. After talking it over with our vet, as well as a friend who’s a vet, I took the typical Bryce approach and pretty much split the difference. Ferris went in for his procedure yesterday, when he was about 9.5 months old.

(Mind you, when I say “I took the typical Bryce approach,” I mean what I typically mean by that, which is that Denisa did all the work and I clapped from the sidelines. In my defense, I was at work that day, and she wasn’t, but full points to Denisa for puppy wrangling Ferris to and from his appointment.)

Ferris was very excited to go to the vet, probably because he typically gets to meet different people and pets when he goes, and that one time when they fed him different food as well. So he was on cloud nine when Denisa took him in at 7am yesterday morning. Sometimes you get questions you’re not expecting. “Do you want to pay for resuscitation if he needs it?” was one such question. I mean, how are you supposed to answer that? No? We said yes, obviously, but still . . .

The good news is that Ferris came out of it all very much alive. The bad news (for Ferris) is that it was much less of a fun day than he was really planning on. But he also avoided needing to wear the cone of shame, so he’s got that going for him. (Though we were told if he doesn’t leave the wound alone, he’ll have to don the Cone. Here’s hoping he can resist the temptation.)

Then again, MC was pretty upset with us when she found out the night before that “big snip” was not, actually, a puppy hair cut. Sometimes using euphemisms can be pretty bewildering to people who aren’t fully in on how those phrases work . . .

But the thing that really matters is that I didn’t let Bob Barker down, right?

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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.

Pupper Update: Groundhog Edition

It’s been a bit since I’ve dropped in to say how the puppers is doing, and today’s been a busy morning already (on what I had planned as a day off), so I thought now might be a good time to do that.

Ferris is now over 7 months old. By and large, he’s doing great. On typical day, he gets up around 7 or 7:30 in the morning. Tomas and Daniela handled two days of that, Denisa handles one, and I typically handle Saturday. (Since I can’t seem to be able to sleep past 6:30 almost ever, no matter how hard I try these days.)

Mornings are usually the best time to be on Ferris detail. He has to be taken out a couple of times so he can take care of business, but other than that, he likes to lie around a lot and just relax. He has to, because he’s saving up energy to go crazy when the kids get home from school or ski practice. He likes all the kids, though he seems most partial to Daniela. (Which might or might not have something to do with her propensity to be a bit more liberal in the treat department. With think he’s named her “Treat Girl” as a result.)

MC and he get along great most of the time, except when he’s just too rambunctious. At those points, it’s hard for a 7 year old to contain a dog who’s about as big as she is. (Our best guess at his name for MC is “Squeaker.”) But they like to go outside and play together, and he loves going on runs with the other kids. (His favorite thing to do is to get the leash tangled around his legs, so that someone has to go out into the snow to rescue him. We’re working on kicking him from that habit.)

There are times when he can be very attention-hungry. He has a few toys that he likes people to play with with him. A couple of ropes. A stuffed shark (that he just killed yesterday). Many tennis balls. And if you aren’t playing with him when he thinks you should be, then you might have a pretty tough slog to convince him otherwise.

All told, we’re still very glad we got him. (Even more important now, since our last Degu (Shooting Star) passed away from old age on Saturday. That was a doozy of a morning, but it really helped the kids to have Ferris around to play with to soften the blow. I just looked over at my post from when Shadow died. Hard to believe that was 15 months ago. Shooting Star lived a lot longer than I thought she would. Nine years! She was a good pet, and poor MC was heartbroken Saturday.)

Ferris does a great job of getting people out of the house and moving. True, people don’t always want to go out of the house, but he doesn’t let that keep him down. He also is Not a Fan of watching anything on television. He just doesn’t understand why in the world we’d all want to sit in a dark room when we could be pulling ropes or gnawing the faces off of sharks.

He goes to bed each night at 8:30 and still sleeps in his cage, though we’re debating freeing him up more at night at some point. We’ve also left him alone during the day for a few hours at a stretch. So far, so good.

And with that, someone’s demanding to go for a walk. Have to run!

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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: December

Hard to believe Ferris is already over five months old. It’s been a bit since I gave you all an update on how Mr. Drooler is doing, so I thought I’d fix that right now.

All told, he’s settling in very well. He’s got a routine that he sticks to for the most part. Up around 7am, lunch at noon, dinner at 5, and to bed at 8:30pm. Lately he’s been teething, with little puppy teeth coming out left and right. This also means that his mouth is hurting him, and so he likes to gnaw on things a bit more than normal. (The real trick is convincing him that MC is not a chew toy. He still views her as his peer instead of Someone to Listen To.)

Tomas trained Ferris to ring a bell by the door whenever he needs to go out. This was a very good idea in theory, and Ferris picked it up very easily. However, it also gave Ferris a tool to tell us that he pretty much always wants to go out. If we’re not being entertaining enough, he’ll just go over and ring the bell. Multiple times. Have you tried reasoning with someone whose trump card is “I will poop on the floor if you don’t do what I want you to do”? It’s very difficult, especially when the only way they can communicate is by ringing a bell, barking, or lunging for your seven year old.

Still, we haven’t had any accidents in a long time. (Except for one, when the kids were all trying to get ready for the bus, and Ferris was freaking out. We thought it was just because he was sad they were going. It turns out it was because he had to poop . . .)

He’s very affectionate, and still likes to come sit in my lap, even if he doesn’t really fit anymore. (He’s getting very big, very quickly.) He will happily play fetch with anyone who’s up to the task, and he loves going on runs. That said, he also tends to be frightened pretty easily. We were watching Alone the other day, and there was a bear on the screen. Ferris was not a fan of the bear at all, and wouldn’t calm down until the bear left. Of course, it was on our projector, so the bear was bigger than he was. I guess we can’t blame him.

The older he gets, the easier he is to have around. It’s great having someone there who’s always up for some camaraderie, though it’s true that sometimes I’d rather just sit there and relax instead of entertaining a five month old puppy. But between the five of us, we’ve usually got him covered. Really, if we can get the nipping completely under control, I think we’ll be sitting pretty. We had been yelling at him a ton when he nipped, but I’m beginning to think that’s the wrong approach. It’s like ringing the bell. He knows he can get attention if he does it, so we have to try distracting him instead.

It’s a learning curve, but we’re getting it down. Still very glad we got the little bounder.

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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.

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.

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