Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Yesterday was a big day. It started with an unexpected and welcome visit from my sister Norah. She called a little after 8am to say that she was in the neighbourhood and could she come by. She knew I was waiting for the car rental people to pick me up and offered a lift with her instead. And she got to meet Rocky for the first time too. He jumped all over her for a few minutes and then settled down and let her admire him and pet him. We had a nice visit and then popped Rocky in his crate for the time I would be away from the house getting the car. She dropped me off at Enterprise and continued on downtown to do some errands for work.

I rented a car which turned out to be the new Chevy Cobalt. The crate fit nicely into the back seat and I was even able to get a seat belt around it. In spite of having driven around with a puppy on the loose 14 years ago, I was glad this time to have a smaller crate that I could put Rocky in to make sure he was safe and confined in the car for a road trip. I was reminded of how we used to drive around with no seat belts whatsoever back in the 60s. Rocky went into the crate without too much fuss, although he did cry for a few minutes as we started on the journey. It’s only 14km out to Manotick and we arrived early for the appointment with the vet.

I parked at the front and went into the front door because I didn't know we were expected at the kennels around back. I was very interested in Rocky’s response to the statue of a Labrador that sits outside the front door. Even though it cannot smell like a dog and doesn’t move, he reacted. He tucked his tail in and his hackles rose up and he fearfully approached the big dog statue. Even though he was clearly afraid he did touch noses with it. Once he’d done that, he seemed to understand it was no threat. But everything else was still all new. When we went into the front office, he freaked out a little as he was suddenly “surrounded” by 5 statutes of the dogs that collect coins! He was just vibrating at the end of his leash. Funny stuff. Then we walked to the kennels and I tried to encourage him to have a pee but he wasn’t interested. As we turned the corner of the kennel building, several large Labs barked excitedly at us but Rocky didn’t seem to worry. Funny how he freaked at statues but not at real dogs.

We went into the building and encountered a pup from the P litter, awaiting her shots. They played as pups do. When Paris (that was her name) went in for shots, we were left alone in the hall with the cat that lives there. I think it is terrific that they have a cat living at the kennels. The cat was patient enough with Rocky but when he got too close, the cat batted Rocky in the head with both front paws. i let him have it for a moment to teach him about cats but Rocky didn’t seem to care that he was being beat up by a cat.

Once in the room with the vet, Rocky settled down very quickly and sat patiently on the table. I have been pleased to note that while he does get excited, he also seems to calm down very quickly. He took his shot without even noticing and was pronounced “looking good!” On the way back to the car, he had a pee and a dump after all the excitement. I wasn’t surprised.

At home, he fell asleep right away and remained groggy, probably from the vaccination. Then my sister Kathie and her daughter arrived to pick up something - and see the new puppy! They were quite taken with him as he is a charmer and Liz played with him the whole time. After they left, we put him in his crate so we could prepare dinner and he slept like a dead thing. We woke him up a few times during the evening to try to make sure he would sleep through the night. But at 2am, he whimpered to go out and then he had a big mushy poo from all the excitement. Today, he has been quiet so far. I am now concentrating on making sure he learns to ask to go out to pee, as we had another “accident” yesterday and I think it’s time he understood about this.


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