Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Mixed Bag of Feelings

Hadley was spayed yesterday. Brian and I dropped her off at the vet in the morning, she was examined, weighed in at 13 lbs. and was taken away to be given a sedative and prepped for surgery.

We were told to call after 4:30 for an update and, when we did, were told that she's doing fine and can be picked up in the morning. I had been very stoic about the whole procedure but suddenly had a weepy moment questioning if my puppy was in pain or frightened or wondering where we were and why we'd left her. The finality also hit me. It was done. She was spayed. She would never have any puppies of her own.

I knew this was for the best but couldn't help being a little sad about what might have been. It's true the world is full of puppies...even Cavalier Spaniel puppies. But there will never be any Hadley puppies...beautiful, sweet-tempered, happy, boisterous, playful Hadley puppies...and that is certainly sad.

She's home now, lying on my lap as I write this. She has stitches in her belly and is a bit out of sorts but mostly appears less traumatized than her mommy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

High Octane Puppy

Hadley has all kinds of great doggie qualities but is definitely extra high energy. Puppy exuberance is all well and good but even her vet recently suggested some professional help. I've spoken to the trainer she recommended and I liked her on the phone. Hadley is due to be spayed next week and, once she recovers, I'll set up a training session.

She never went to puppy kindergarten and I'm still not sure if that was foolish or not. I've taught her a lot of the basic commands and, being a city dog, she's had heaps of socialization. Perhaps this way is best - a personal trainer, focused just on those areas that need improvement. And, at six months old, I know what they are. She needs to be calm on a leash and when greeting people and she needs to respond to my calls even when she's engrossed in play. I think it likely they're all related and she needs to learn to focus on me. Of course, it's not really Hadley that the trainer will train. I suspect that it's me who needs the training :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Forget the Nutritionist...Send in Mom

Oh, it was so nice to think the food issue was resolved, however fleeting the thought. When she was boarded at her vet's I left them enough food for the days we were gone. They returned half to me, uneaten. I wasn't really surprised, she's fussy at home plus the new surroundings...made sense she wouldn't eat well. The first night back home she wolfed down her dinner but has barely eaten since.

She's gained weight since her last doctor's visit - now 12 lbs., 6 oz. up from an even 10 lbs. in August. But she's also grown much taller and longer and her weight has not grown in proportion so she's thinner than she's ever been. She's not emaciated...we can feel her ribs but not see them which is how it should be. But her hip bones are a bit prominent and she looks as if she needs a few more pounds to be in proportion.

Last night, Brian (never an alarmist) and I pondered if she might actually be sick but decided to conduct an experiment. Hadley loves Cesar's Grilled Chicken dog meals. They're little more than junk food for dogs but I always keep a container on hand because it's how I ensure she takes all her heart worm preventative medicine each month. So, I opened the tin and gave it to her. We agreed that if she didn't eat that she was actually sick and would be taken to the vet this morning. But...she ate :) Gobbled, actually. So she's not sick, just a stubborn, fussy little princess. The regular, healthier dog food is back on the menu today and we'll see who is more stubborn. But I do want to discuss this with the vet. If she were an adult I would wait her out but as a puppy her organs are still growing and developing and I want to make sure she has adequate nutrition. Of all the problems you anticipate when you decide to get a dog, not eating was not one of them!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Boarding Lesson

I was concerned that, when I boarded Hadley while Brian and I were on vacation, the other dogs would teach her bad habits. Well, they apparently did teach her something but it certainly wasn't bad. I'd been having trouble getting her to understand that it's good to pee and poop outside when we go for walks. She's always had a potty box at home and was reasonably trained to use it. But when were were out on walks, she had a tendency to hold it in until we got home and she could use her box. I tried giving her the "go potty" command when we were out, I tried bringing newspaper with me and laying it down on the street but nothing had worked yet. But it seems her canine companions were better teachers than I. The boarded doggies are taken out three times a day for relief walks and Hadley obviously got the message because the change was immediate once she came home. Now, when we go for walks, she always takes care of business, sometimes more than once. It's almost as if she thinks it's her duty. Good lesson :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Her Majesty

When I got Hadley I promised myself that I wouldn't let her develop "small dog syndrome" and become a spoiled fussy little diva. I'd watched many dog behavior episodes on television and read many articles on dog rearing and believed that, what wouldn't be acceptable in a large dog shouldn't be tolerated in a small one. I was determined. But...

My favorite thing to tell people when they ask about "typical" dog behavior is that, although I read many articles on the subject, my puppy didn't read any. She does what she does and some of it is what was predictable and some of it isn't. And, in the case of my little Hadley, she came pre-spoiled for my convenience. She didn't want to eat dog food or walk on a leash or tolerate tags on her collar or lots of other things you take for granted in a dog. It felt like I'd spent a large part of my time with her working on un-spoiling her.

I also came to believe that a lot of it was me...unintentionally, of course. I was an insecure, novice dog owner and she was probably picking up on that and taking advantage. I'd almost looked forward to boarding her while we went on vacation so that she could be handled by experienced people for a while.

Now, you know this is building up to something, don't you? When Brian and I got back from Vermont and went to pick Hadley up, we were chatting with her doctor and one of the vet techs, whom we hadn't met before, offered to go downstairs and get our dog. She asked which one was ours and when we said Hadley, she paused, smiled and said "oh, yeah, the princess." I just had to sit down on a chair and laugh.