‘Speak’ing Out

Get it? Like the command? My people haven’t taught me this one yet, but what kind of puppy would I be if I didn’t already know how my way around a bark? I’ve given them “sit” and “shake,” but I’ve gotta keep them on their toes, and thinking they’re smarter than me.

It seems they’ve been telling you all about me and the antics I get into, but you probably want to hear what’s been going on from my perspective. From my low-to-the-ground line of sight, I see a lot of things, but I’ll tell you what, these people sweep and vacuum too much… not enough crumbs and morsels for my liking. They only feed me three times a day, and won’t even share their popcorn on movie nights. Woof.

They may not let extra food get away, but I’m pretty stealth when it comes to snatching socks and undies. Laundry day is definitely my favorite of the week. They think they’re being so clever closing the laundry room door, but once its time to change a load, I slip right in and get my paws on some goodies. Even when it’s not laundry day, I have no trouble finding a nice pile of clothes to curl up on for my afternoon nap. Dad’s are the best for snoozing because mom’s kind of obsessed with putting her clothes in the hamper, but don’t think that means hers are off limits… her basket is right at snout-height.

Obviously their wardrobes are awesome, but they keep me looking dapper too. After weeks of being collarless, Grandma Michelle took me and the ‘rents to the pet store to pick out a collar. I was only 3 lbs. then, so they thought only cat collars would fit around my tiny neck. No. thank. you. I’m no feline. Good thing Grandma was there to pick out a stylish black collar with dog bones meant for my kind. It looked great against my black, tan, and white fur and fit perfectly until a few days ago. I’ve grown up some (10 lbs. some) so mom and dad decided it was time to switch to the collar they bought for me before they even knew me. It’s a little thicker, just plain gray, has my rabies tag, and suits my more mature 3-month-old self.

What do you all think? (Don’t be shy.)

Wags&Kisses

Wattles (& other quirks)

One thing most people can agree on is that all puppies are cute, but what’s the fun in that? It’s the silly mannerisms that give these fluffy friends unique personalities and really makes them a member of the family. These idiosyncracies emerged from Watson as soon as we brought him home, but they were eclipsed by the possibility of health problems. With an A+ on his first vet checkup, we started to relax and enjoy the company of our pup, and we were finally able to pay attention to his little ticks that make him our Wats.

First of all, he stumbled, which works perfectly into one of his nicknames — Wattles. He’d run into walls, chairs, and us like a drunk detective (think Watson’s counterpart, Sherlock). Sometimes running into a leg, human and/or furniture, so hard that he’d have to shake his miniature head to straighten out his marbles.

Speaking of marbles, this little dude has seemed very bright since day one. At the jingle of keys he’d be waiting by the front door. The crinkle of a bag of chips or the crackle of popcorn, Watson would come sliding into the kitchen, sit straight up with his left paw out and trembling, ready to eat scarf. And his cage became his bedroom within a week! (We hear from the vet that this typically takes longer to stick with such a young pup.)

Before and after naps in his beloved “bedroom” or in the most uncomfortable-looking positions:

Watson has always shuffled out with his ears back, his half-opened eyes rapid-fire blinking, and what looks like a grin on across his snout: AKA the sleepy face. When this expression appears, we know we won’t be seeing or hearing him for about an hour.

We love that all of these behaviors are specific to our pup, but our favorite mannerism by far is what we affectionately call “The Awkward Watson” (see below for illustration). If you’re at all familiar with the awkward turtle, then you have a pretty good idea of what we’re talking about. “The Awkward Watson” consists of Watson gently (or sometimes not so gently) placing his paw over our mouths as if to say, “Shhhh…” or  “You’re a dummy.” This happens at least once every day. Just Watson’s little way of reminding us that, yes, even puppy parents are embarrassing.

Wags&Kisses

Not-So-Silent Night

Apologies for the lateness. We started this blog knowing we had a lot of catching up to do and the last thing we want to do is get behind. And we did. To make up for that, we’ll be firing off short blogs left and right, so make sure you check back daily.

It was our first night with “Watson” (he hadn’t officially been named as of yet), and although we thought we knew what to expect, we weren’t quite ready for what was about to take place. We’ve both grown up with dogs, and all we remember is the first couple nights are filled little pee spots, yelps, and sleepless nights. We expected this. What we didn’t expect was staying up with a puppy that wouldn’t stop crying and vomiting all through the night.

After the first night, I was afraid this little guy wasn’t going to make it.

As first-time puppy owners, we had to rely on the internet for any concerns we had. When we got “Watson”, we noticed his stomach was bloated, and he seemed lethargic, even though he’d been under someone’s care for a couple of days. He was found in someone’s driveway under a truck tire, and who knows how long he’d been there. We did know that this house was right next to a woods and with the tick we found in his ear, we guessed he made his way through there. With this in mind, we looked up everything from ticks to intestinal worms.

We assumed he had worms, as most puppies do, so we tried to focus on those signs and symptoms. They all matched up. We set up a vet appointment for the next day, so as long as we made it through the night, he’d be okay in the morning.

We bought him a medium-sized cage with an insert that could reduce the area, while still allowing him enough room to stand up and turn around. Doing this will reduce the number of messes he makes in the cage. The cage is supposed to serve as their home, a place where they feel safe and comfortable. If they have an accident inside, they have to sit in that small area until someone lets them out. This teaches them to hold it to avoid those accidents. To this day he hasn’t made one accident in his cage. (Go Wats!)

With all of this in mind, we put his cage by our bed so he felt close to us, and so we could reach him easily if anything happened. It wouldn’t have mattered if the cage was on the bed, he was going to yip anyway, which was expected. Because Mackenzie was teaching the next morning, I decided I would take over the night shift. I grabbed a pillow and a blanket and laid on the floor next to the cage. Anytime he started to whine or yelp, I would put my hand through the cage just to let him know I was there. This worked perfectly until he started dry heaving.

I was awakened by this unfamiliar sound and didn’t react fast enough before I heard the final hack. He puked up some of his food. No big deal. At the rate he inhaled it, we expected to see it sooner than later. But I didn’t expect to see it 10 minutes later. Then 20 minutes later. By the 4th time, we had a pretty good routine going. I’d pick him up, put my hand under his mouth, and take him to the bathroom sink. It was either my hand or the sink. With dogs, I’ve seen it all, so a little puke wasn’t going to deter me. (It probably would have made Mackenzie join in with Watson.)

At this point, I knew something was wrong. With the loose stools, the bloated belly, and the excessive vomiting, everything from the internet was coming full circle. The worst case scenario was coming to mind and it seemed like our time as puppy owners was going to be short-lived. If only he could make it to the morning for that 8:40 appointment, we’d be alright.

After a total of puking six times, we made it to the vet’s office, where he not only got his name, but we found out that he was in perfect health. No worms. No parasites. Just a healthy puppy lucky enough to find himself a good home. And thankfully, our time as puppy owners wasn’t over! There were plenty more sleepless nights and early mornings, but it was the first sleepless night that stays with me. Watson’s health greatly overshadowed the lack of sleep I got that first night. All we wanted was a healthy pup and that’s exactly what we got.

Wags&Kisses

Arf Madness

When it came to picking out a name for our furry friend, we expected to choose one from our always growing “Names for Puppies” list, but as you might expect, it was not so elementary. The first two days he was with us, we called him Hugo, Reuben (in honor of our Arby’s parking lot pickup spot), and even Capt’n Crunch. We tried out names from our favorite T.V. shows: McLaren (the hangout in HIMYM) and Haverford (a crazy character from Parks and Rec). We enlisted friends, family, and our “tweeps” for suggestions, but nothing seemed quite right.

Finally it came down to this:

In the spirit of March Madness, we knew his name could only be decided by the fate of a bracket. Here were the rules: Names were placed in a hat and picked at random. The two choices picked in succession were now the head-to-head match-up for each region. We then wrote down our choices for each match-up (see bottom corners for chicken scratch). If both of our choices agreed, the name moved on. If not, we flipped for it. The name claiming the side of the coin advanced to meet its next challenger.

If you follow along with the bracket you’ll notice that Watson never made it out of the first round, and Captain Crunch ended up being the winner. But could we really name a dog Captain Crunch?! My sister’s already taking a lot of heat for what she should name her baby, so how could I name a dog after a favorite childhood cereal? It didn’t seem right, and we didn’t want to explain to EVERYONE why his name was Captain Crunch. So there you have it. Arf Madness was over and we still didn’t have a name picked out. Even bracketology couldn’t solve this case.

It was getting to be Captain crunch time (told ya… we’re corny) because he was headed to the vet the next morning. Of course, the first thing they were going to ask was, “What is his name?”. Before the vet visit, we tried to justify the names we really liked… Hugo? Hadn’t even seen the movie or read the book. You’re outta there. Reuben? Goes perfectly with the story of how we adopted him (not to mention it’s a delicious sandwich!), but we kept shortening it to Ruby… no thanks. Watson? He is very curious, seems smart. What about Sherlock or Holmes? But his little whiskers are frazzled and do look a bit electrocuted (watts!). So without hesitation, I confidently told the vet tech that his name was “Watson.”

Case closed.

Welcome Home

Not only are we welcoming you to our new blogventure, but this first post is all about welcoming dear Watson into our two-bedroom doghouse. He’s been with us for almost two months, but you haven’t, so we want to start at the beginning.

Jake and I had been talking about getting a dog for some time. Evaluating costs, time, space, weather, and pretty much everything else that goes into a more-or-less life changing undertaking such as adopting a pup. We’d checked out local shelters, looked online at rescue centers throughout the Midwest, and spread the word to friends and family — probably to the point of annoyance (sorry!). But all of that pestering paid off.

Late one night in March 2012, I received this text from a coworker (CW):

CW: Are you and Jake still considering getting a baby?

My internal response: H-E-double hockey sticks NO!

CW:

My internal response: OMG! OMG! He looks like a bernese mountain dog! Of course!

CW: Friends of mine found this little guy… He’s free…

Look at that fluffy black fur, dipstick tail, stocking paws, and milk mustache. Who doesn’t love a puppy milk mustache?! Needless to say, I giddily squealed, jumped all over the apartment doghouse, and told Jake we had to meet him asap (despite the fact that he looked huuuuge for only being six weeks). Two days later we were set to meet the little fella in an Arby’s parking lot north of town (don’t worry, it was in broad daylight). On the drive there,we agreed that we were about 80 percent sure we would take him home that day. In hindsight, we both know he was 100 percent coming home with us. There was no way we’d be able to say no to an adorable abandoned puppy. Well, maybe it isn’t so much in hindsight… we did stop at PetsMart to get a collar and leash (color-coordinated to his fur, of course) before we headed north.

Pulling into the parking lot, we spotted two women standing outside their car holding what seemed to be an empty towel. Once we approached them we saw the smallest pup nestled inside. Right then he was ours. The women, who had been calling him Theodore (this was even more meant to be — we are “How I Met Your Mother”‘s number one fans), explained how they found him under a truck in a driveway, couldn’t find any of his brothers and sisters in the nearby woods, and took him to a friend’s kennel for a few days.

We held him, let him walk stumble around, and obviously, said YES! With no pedigree, no name, and no known history, we decided it was now or never, and seriously, could you have said “never” to this milk-mustachioed face?:

Wags&Kisses