Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Nobody Told Me There Would Be Days Like These"

We met a sweet 12-week old, 25 pound-black lab that we knew belonged with our family.

We brought our puppy home and named him “Nacho” as in “Nacho Libre” as in the movie for Ignacio.

The house where puppy lived seemed as if it was as far away as Timbuktu and we only had a two-hour window to get out there pick him up and get my eldest son back for his second of nine play performances. Puppy didn't eat the rest of the day, but we didn't think anything of it sense we just figured he was excited about his new environment.

Our friends brought over their Shih Tzu, a dog we have taken care of several times and does well at our house.

We were dog-sitting him for a week so I covered all the furniture with sheets because he likes to jump on the couches and chairs when we are not looking. All the while our puppy was peeing and pooping all over our carpets, including my white and black one in the front room, so I covered the carpets as much as I could with blankets. Nice look, eh?

By evening I had used an entire bottle of Woolight to clean all the messes on the carpet. We were following Nacho everywhere he went in the house and we split the day up in four shifts. Puppy still hadn’t eaten.
My eldest still had plays to perform while I had to put in my volunteer time, all the while my husband worked endless hours to put up the posts for a fence in our backyard.

Between performances we jetted off to supply and grocery store for son's science project that they had two weeks to work on but it was now due on Tuesday.

Our puppy still hadn’t eaten and was getting weak. So I called the vet and was not looking forward to their location which was near puppy's old home; a long way from here.
"Hello, my 12-week, old puppy has not eaten for four days; can he be seen sometime in the afternoon?"

"Well," the vet receptionist replied, "the soonest we can get him in is at 11:20am. You can come then.”

“Do you have any time in the afternoon?” I replied thinking about the deadline for the rough draft due at noon and I needed all morning to work on it.

Silent on the other end for a few minutes, receptionist not looking up if she had an opening later in the day, “Um, maam, your puppy has not eaten for four days….”

I knew what she was trying to say and if something were to happen to puppy, I wouldn’t want anyone to point the finger at us for not bringing him in sooner.
I then took time off of work and drove puppy to what I'm sure was Timbuktu. On the way over I called puppy's original owner and informed her of the situation. She was very worried. The veterinarian took a couple of tests and deducted that he had a digestive track problem and needed antibiotics and a “bland diet” which meant boiled chicken, cottage cheese, and rice. He was having a difficult time adjusting to his new environment.

That night I bought and cooked the referenced items enough for the next day.

We put “Nacho” in a vacant room in the house while we went to school and work during the day. He chewed through the cable wires and tore down the blinds.

I also had a lot going on with work and was planning a big event the next day that I was worried about the lack of interest and low attendance numbers.

Puppy started coughing – we just thought he was having troubles digesting his food.

It was also the day I had a big event at the DoubleTree Hotel and my husband had to ride his bike over to pick up the kids from school (due to the fact we still don't have a second car - but that is another story for another day).

That night, Nacho was also not sleeping under my son’s desk at night like he did the other days. He went pee and poop in their room during the night and ate through my son's favorite bag with Mickey Mouse on it. We also caught him chewing on the Bernstein Bear's book, "Trouble at School." Oldest child said there will be "Trouble at Home" if he ever chews on his precious hardback books he treasures.

A full day and we couldn’t get home until late afternoon. The longest the puppy had stayed in the vacant room in one day. We opened the door to the room to find that there was a mirror attached to the back of the door that we didn’t know was there and he had scratched the door so much that the mirror came crashing down and broke into tiny pieces all over the room. We were welcomed to three sets of urine puddles and two poop piles. That was just "fun" to clean up.

I also went back to work after dinner and stayed almost to midnight to work on my deadline and came home to find everyone was up and out of bed. Puppy could not go to sleep and was whining and keeping everyone awake. He needed "his" blanket.

The crate finally arrived.
It had been a week since Nacho had been at our home and we wanted to start him on "kennel/crate training" from the beginning, but it took a while for the crate to be delivered and by that time puppy had already started some of his own habits.

I also completed my big project deadline and our visiting dog went home later that afternoon. The dog's owner came into our house to find a big "turd" sitting in a pile in our living room. Lovely. Ended up that "Buddy" left with the “kennel cough” puppy gave him that we didn’t know he had.

No Walks For Puppy
We were finally able to bring puppy back for his veterinarian's “puppy check up” and get his booster shots, only to find out we have to come back in three weeks for more and until then we cannot bring him in “public” places until he has had all his shots. Yes, that means we can’t take him on a walk for three weeks and he is cooped up in our house and back yard which has no fence. My husband had been working more hours on putting up the fence than he ever anticipated!

Exhausted but Thankful for Puppy
We are tired and all I can say is that it is a darn good thing puppy is so cute and sweet. He is our new family sock thief, paper shredder, potted plant puller, and food bandit. Puppy also lets the boys drag him around, stick their hands down his mouth to fetch out a non-puppy toy, and he bounds excitedly where ever he goes. And yes, he is cute when he is asleep even though he wakes us up at 3:30 and 5:20 am every morning.

Nobody Told Me It Would Be Like This!
Now my week was out of control for several reasons: I had a hectic week at work; followed puppy around the house all his waking hours; scrubbed rugs and hard wood floors of smelly odor; made homemade puppy food instead of just scoop and serve; couldn't take puppy on a walk or even to our front yard; had to get up in the middle of the night to take dog out; was woken up at 5:20 am every morning; the house became a disaster with torn papers, blankets, and sheets strewn all over the house; and on top of that there were play performances to attend, school projects to complete, a fence that was not up, and deadlines to meet. Whew.

It was too much for me to handle and I have to say I was a royal stress case and I was not pleasant to be around. I'm trying to have a better attitude and enjoy our sweet puppy who really has already become part of the family.

Have you had days like these? What has happened in your life that seemed out of your ability to control or cope? Or please share any puppy advice or words of encouragement.


  1. Oh Sharon - Your post made me laugh out loud. I feel for your family. Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't have any pet stories to share. I hope Nacho feels at home with your family real soon. Best of luck!

  2. Nacho is the bomb!

  3. Yes, I can beat that story Sharon. At 8 years of age my cocker spaniel got a scented razor out of the shower and ate the whole darn thing. Sure enough, an x-ray showed the metal blade as clear as day! One Dr. said "let it pass" and other said "If it tears the intestines he is a gonner". So of course....we opted for stomach surgery. $2K later and a zipper for a stomach, Henry came home "good as new". :)

  4. yikes!!! it sounds like you have a newborn baby and a out-of-hand toddler running your house right now! You guys are brave! Esp. with your busy schedules!

    this entry reminds me a little of Marley and Me. :) pure crazyness, but also pure love and bonding!

    love the name Nacho!:)

  5. Now I know what what to and not to do when getting a puppy.
    Do:* take time off of work * make sure you have crate and toys * put up fence b-4 puppy * make sure buy correct puppy food (can't change diet)* research a vet nearby b-4 bring puppy home * be patient * be prepared for accidents (Woolight) * be prepared to be waken in middle of night * plan on challenges * enjoy your new puppy
    Don't: * Have the busiest week of your lives with work deadlines, big events, playoffs, performances, and the last week of sports * don't keep puppy in a vacant room all day on first week * don't stress out

    Lessons I have learned the hard way.

  6. @ Anonymous. That is so sad about your dog swallowing the razor. Very scary! 2K later. Geez. Glad the dog is alright. It is amazing what dogs will try and chew and swallow. Holy Moly!

  7. Thank you Sharon!! Priceless. I'm taking your list and keeping it near whenever I feel myself about to give in. Maybe next summer we'll be ready. For now, I still like my sleep. :).

  8. Sharon, I found it hard to believe that a puppy could cause so many problems, but when I read the lessons you had learned, I thought, "Yup, you shoulda done that; yup, that too; and that too!" Too bad you didn't know beforehand or research it online. What I want to know is, have things begun to settle down? Also, I like to add that the original owner should have had the puppy pretty well trained to either "go" on paper or outside. In the Philippines we bought a darling yellow lab that age, and he was a complete doll, already so smart and eager to please. Of course he was never really alone - if we weren't home the maids were - and we did have a large fenced yard. Of course you don't remember him because he died a quick, terrible death one night a few months later: There was a large vacant lot next door with MANY frogs in it, and the locals agreed that our poor, litte "Sheriff" was the victim of a "spitting frog". This frog would spit into an animal's eyes and the poison would go directly to its brain. We were heartbroken. If we'd known, we never would have put him out at night alone.

  9. All is getting better, but still very challenging. He hasn't made a "house training" mess in our house for the last couple of weeks, but when we do let him in he goes crazy. Biting everything, opening drawers and taking toys, jumping on tables and counters swiping food, biting kids, jumping up on people, and exhibiting some male tendencies on little boys. He also pulls on the leash and not sure how to train him not to do that. He is still so very sweet and he loves my husband so very much (mutual I'm sure). We are not around as much as we though we would be this summer and he has more energy that my kids can exhaust. If you all have helpful hints, please pass them my way!