Monday, April 19, 2010

Puppy No More!

Friday was Hadley's first birthday. She's a young lady now and I've been waiting for this day since we first brought her home. I've always wanted her to grow up and stop nipping our fingers and peeing on the floor and yipping in the middle of the night and doing all the other annoying things that puppies do.

It was a difficult year in many ways but worth the work. She grew up so nicely. She's obviously gorgeous but also so sweet and playful and well behaved. She's wonderfully friendly, knows lots of commands and, most delightful of all, hasn't peed or pooped on the floor in months. She's an absolute doll of a dog and we love having her.

We fretted so much about whether she eats, how much she eats, will she be the right size, too thin, too heavy... So, over the weekend we took her to be weighed at her vet's office and she is heavier than we expected - 17lb., 14oz. But, she's long so that weight suits her. The doctor said she looks just right and I agree. She's perfect.

And big, year-long adventure of raising my first puppy is over. We had a little party. Her best pal, Cinnamon (a toy poodle) came over to play. I bought some doggie birthday cookies and Cinnamon's mom brought Hadley a new toy. She got indulged and spoiled on her birthday and, although she obviously had no idea why, I'm sure she had a great day.

Today on our walk we ran into a couple of very young puppies and they attracted dozens of admirers...the way Hadley used to. She still attracts people but understandably fewer now that she's grown up. Seeing the small puppies made me slightly nostalgic for when my own baby really was a baby. But it was only slightly and it was fleeting. I still do prefer her grown up.

So happy birthday sweet, beautiful Hadley. You're not a puppy anymore but you'll always be my puppy and I hope you're having a happy life with me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dismantling the Puppy Pen

For months we've been discussing when to get rid of the puppy pen but had mostly settled on doing it when Hadley was a year old. But it just seemed silly to wait at this point.

She's potty trained and has been reliable for months. She never did do much destructive chewing even when she was teething and certainly doesn't do it now. So, with three weeks to go till her birthday, there were no more reasons to wait. In truth, we've been letting her spend the night outside the pen here and there for several weeks now - always nervous that she'll make a mistake. But she constantly proved herself trustworthy.

And so, today, we finally folded up the pen and put it away. Her bed is in a corner of the living room, her water bowl moved to the kitchen and her toys gathered in a low basket where she can reach for them herself. The apartment feels huge without the pen! :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Extraordinary Cuteness

Another storm dumped nearly a foot of snow on the city yesterday. I managed to get this shot of Hadley inspecting exactly why it was that we weren't going out to play :)

Monday, January 18, 2010


When we first brought Hadley home we put on the pretty little pink collar we'd bought for her and promptly watched her scratch like hell to try and get rid of it. She fussed for a long time and we relented several times over the weeks. But she's been wearing it full time for a few months now and it just occurred to me that I can't remember the last time I saw her scratch at it. It comes off every week at bath time, of course, and she doesn't even resist when I put it back on. Ahh.

Over the months, several tags went on that collar (rabies, city license, tracking chip, etc.) as well as a couple of attempts at pretty charms. All were promptly chewed - she was absolutely relentless about that. I finally got her one tag that incorporated all the information as well as her name and bought yet another glittering charm. But I also finally wised up and bought a bottle of bitter apple. A few applications of the spray put an end to the tag destruction and now she doesn't even try. Ahh.

The first time we tried to walk Hadley she flattened herself on the ground and refused to budge. Splat! Tugging on her collar just left her coughing and gagging so we promptly bought a harness. That made it possible to pull her without hurting her little neck but it presented a new problem. She started pulling and made walking her quite unpleasant. Another harness, recommended by her trainer, was a different style and was designed to retard her pulling. It actually worked decently well but was a bit of a pain to put on. I'd always wanted to just be able to walk my dog with her leash clipped to her collar like other dogs. The trainer said that could happen in the future and it seems the time has come. Today, for the first time, I walked Hadley with just her collar. I brought the harness with me just in case but there was no need. She walked as well on the collar as she did on the new harness. Ahh.

My little girl is 9 months old and is, apparently, growing up.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Puppy Play Date

Now I really do feel like a mom - my puppy had a play date :) On one of our walks, Hadley and I got into a conversation with a nice woman and her high energy little toy poodle. Turns out, she lives in my building, just one floor down from me. After running into each other in the neighborhood a couple of more times we decided to arrange a play date for our two little doggies and see if they would like each other. More importantly, we were looking for a way to drain some of their excess energy because, as all dog owners know, a tired dog is a good dog :)

I was a bit concerned how Hadley would respond because she's still painfully shy in the small dog run near our house. Brian was quite sure the meeting would flop but I thought it worth a try. Cinnamon, the poodle, and her mom Karly came up to my apartment so Hadley was on her home turf. Still, for the first 10 minutes she acted submissive and shy. But then, it seemed like those two came to some kind of doggie understanding. While Karly and I chatted and got to know each other better, Cinnamon and Hadley tore through the house chasing each other and playing, tails wagging furiously. A big success! Karly and I both agreed to do it again and have had several play dates since then. Both Hadley and Cinnamon really seem to enjoy it and I'm thrilled.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Where'd You Get That Puppy?

Over the past 7 months, I've been stopped at least a dozen times by people wanting to know where I got Hadley. When I tell them it was from a breeder upstate, they all hand me business cards or e-mail addresses and ask me to send them her contact information. I don't blame them. Cavaliers are both beautiful and engaging and Hadley has both qualities in abundance. And we were happy with the breeder we used. She was friendly and accommodating and we liked the way she kept her dogs. She provided us with a wonderfully hearty, healthy puppy. I'm happy to oblige the people who want her name and happy to refer people to her.

In each and every case I have e-mailed people the breeder information either the same day I met them or no later than the following day. But, not one single time has the person who received the information from me responded with a thank you or even with the courtesy of an acknowledgment. Not one single time! It just drives me crazy.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snow, Shmow

On New Year's weekend, Brian and I drove out to one of the state parks so that Hadley could run off-leash. We didn't realize there would still be so much snow on the ground and it brought back instant memories of how she fussed and carried on a few weeks ago the first time she experienced snow. So, we didn't have much hope as we let her out of the car but, apparently, she's gotten over it. She happily ran and played in the snow until us humans couldn't take the cold anymore.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Making Friends

The closest small dog run to my apartment is not terribly inviting. It's on the river so it's windy and cold on all but the warmest days. It's also relatively small and has vinyl floors instead of soil or grass. Brian and I had looked at it when we first started taking Hadley out for walks and decided it was too dirty, uninviting and filled with overly boisterous dogs. Nope, we won't be putting our clean little darling in there. Well...

Kate, the trainer, felt very strongly that Hadley needed the kind of exercise she could only get by running around with other dogs and that we'd made the wrong decision. So, since I'd followed her advice about everything else, I decided to try this as well.

The first time we brought Hadley in there she was very unsure, barely acknowledged the other dogs or greeted them with her head low and rear end down. Her tail was not tucked...she wasn't afraid...but very submissive and uncertain. The other dogs were very exuberant with each other but obviously sensed her nervous energy and stayed away from her. She spent a lot of the time hiding behind my legs and I felt so guilty for not having socialized her with other dogs sooner. I determined to come to the dog run more often.

The winter weather has been uncooperative but I've still managed a few dog run visits with her and I see an improvement each time. I still wouldn't say she loves it but I'm hoping that one day she will.