Early Days – Lessons Learned & the Unexpected

Having a puppy brings about a new reality. An obvious statement, I know.

Not only are daily routines adjusted, but it also changes you and your family. Some changes you expect, and some changes you could not have imagined, especially if you’re doing this puppy-thing for the first time like we are. You also learn some lessons, big and small, really quickly too.

Here’s our top 3 early lessons – lessons about your puppy and lessons about life-stuff…

1. Yes, it can happen to you too

We’ve had Carter for 11 days, and every so often, I stop and look at the fur-ball and I’m surprised that there is a dog in our house and that he’s ours!  When you say no to a dog for such a long time, and you think we are never getting a dog, that big life-lesson shows up to nip you in the butt: Never Say Never. It can happen to you too.

2. Puppies can’t tell time

Your puppy doesn’t understand, “Just a minute, I’m just hitting send and…” Ya, too late he’s pee’d on your floor. When it’s time for puppy to ‘go’, YOU go. As in, go now… asap… get that puppy out the door already!

3. Puppies can’t multi-task

Similar to the lesson above, when puppy wakes up in the morning he cannot: walk out of his crate, AND hold-on to pee, AND make it all way out the door on his own. He will make a pit-stop inside the house. Who knew? We didn’t. Now we know, you pick up your puppy and carry him outside. That works way better.

In addition to these lessons, there’s also the unexpected. In the blink of an eye, you become one of ‘them’, those people you may have made fun of or just didn’t get. I’m talking about becoming a dog-owner.  Our top 3 unexpected changes…

1. My new never-leave-home-without-it accessory

Are you ready for this? My new accessory is the poopy bag. I guess there’s a theme in this post that I didn’t plan, but housebreaking your pup is pretty much top-of-mind at this stage of pup’s life and yours. Yes, the poop-and-scoop bags are now in every pocket of every coat, in my car, and in my bag.  Did not see this coming.

2. It’s like baby, baby, baby oooh

I squeak and talk in a high-pitch voice to Carter. And call him all kinds of cutesy names. My boys laugh at me, but I catch them doing it sometimes too. I honestly didn’t expect I would talk to my pup the same way I talked to my boys when they were babies.

3. It’s a groovy kind of love

I knew we would love our pup. We loved him before he even came home! But did I expect my boys to be so involved and caring and concerned about him to the level they have shown? Nope. My boys are learning what it takes to care for and be responsible for another living creature that is dependent on you. It’s so different then when they had pet fish!

Just like I’m a new puppy-parent, so are my boys. They are learning early on, how hard and great it is to be a parent. How wonderfully unexpected!

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A Day in the Life of a 9-week old Golden…

You know that saying, it’s a dog’s life? Well, our pup is living it.

It’s one week today that Carter has been at home with us. His first few days, he cautiously walked around the house. Sniff here and there. Play gently with his toys. Chewed not a shoe….

Well that lasted about 2 days! Now he walks around like he’s lived here his whole life!  He is one happy little dude.

I made a quick video of what Carter does all day long,  minus the ‘doing his business’ stuff because no one needs to see that. Take a look at a day in the life of a 9-week old Golden.

As you can see, he plays, eats (his FAV part of the day), and then he crashes wherever he may find himself. By late afternoon, his naps become MY favourite part of the day.

One more sleep!

One more sleep! Tomorrow we pick up our pup. Am I ready? I don’t think so. But ready or not, the countdown calendar says tomorrow’s the day we bring home a puppy named Carter.

1 Day Left 'Till Puppy'
1 Day Left ‘Till Puppy’
Let's go Blue Jays!
Let’s go Blue Jays!

We were recently on vacation in Florida (and yes the weather was PERFECT every single day), and being the baseball-crazed family that we are, we went to the  Blue Jays spring training game last Friday in Dunedin, Florida.

As I chatted with perfect strangers sitting near by, the topic of our Carter came up.  And we chatted about the baseball meaning of his name of course. In no time, my iPhone was out and I was showing people Carter’s photo. Who did I become, and where did this pride come from, I thought?

Before I knew it, my phone was passed around, up and down the rows.  I also showed them Carter’s Blue Jays’ tag and collar.  Between cheering for the Jays, sipping cold beer, and not complaining about the heat, there were a lot of “aw so cute” and “aw so sweet” comments uttered.  The Jays beat the Orioles by the way. And my my younger son snagged Marcus Stroman’s autograph, so it was a fun afternoon for all.

Cold and tasty Landshark beer!
Cold and tasty Landshark beer!
My little ‘Stroman’, looking up to Marcus Stroman.

While in Florida we went out for St. Paddy’s day, and the bar we were at had many funny sayings on the walls.  This one caught my eye and I had to snap a photo of it.

Hum, what does this really mean?
Hum, what does this really mean?

“Sometimes you’re the dog. Sometimes you’re the hydrant.”

I know this is a saying you can apply to life, but it made me chuckle. I think over the next few weeks, with our 8-week old puppy, we will have to be patient and accept that sometimes (or many times) we will be Carter’s hydrant!

So am I ready? Nope. I still have shoes left out and about my house!

Really, how hard can this puppy thing be!?

 

 

 

Blog, blog, blog…. and videos

The other night at my social media class, groups (that were formed the week before) had two hours to shoot, edit and present a short 2-minute video. Each group had to come up with a concept or story, write a script and a rationale for the video, and explain how we would engage a ‘community’ and promote the video via social media.  Talk about pressure.  But all 12 groups did it, and we did it well for a bunch of amateurs!

You might be thinking, what does this have to do with puppies!? At this very moment, nothing really.  But hang on.

One of the videos made by some of my fav classmates, was hilarious and spoke to the angst, yes angst, we bloggers face:

  • what to write about week after week,
  • find the time to write, and
  • (gulp) how many were posts due by Sunday?

Take a look at their clever and cheeky video…

Great video don’t you think? Simple and funny.

Visual storytelling via social media, that is the internet, is pretty easy these days. Anyone with an iPhone can shoot a video and post it very easily. No need for fancy video cameras. See video above.

More and more companies and organizations are using video (and YouTube) to build and engage communities online.

Which leads me to this video. This is where you’ll get your puppy and dog fix! This video was made by a British company to promote the power of advertising.  Take a look…

So there you  have it.  I managed to get a blog post written, used videos to make it more compelling (I hope), and incorporated hilarious and resourceful dogs.

Carter aka Mr. Yellow.
Carter aka Mr. Yellow.

With only two more weeks until we pick up Carter, I can guarantee there will be a few videos made and posted about his first days at home.  Until then, you can look at his cute little face.

Short-lived victory though. I’m back to where I first-started…. I know what I’m going to write about next, but I need to find the time! Help!

It’s Friday, I’m in Love…

The countdown is on! It won’t be long before we bring little Mr. Carter home.

At times, it felt like this frigid February would never end. The Blue Jays have begun their spring training and so there is hope!  Hope of warmer temperatures and with March (finally) around the corner, it won’t be long before a puppy moves into our house.

If you think we’re not counting down the days, you are oh… so… wrong.  Just check out the highly sophistcated countdown calendar that was carefully and lovingly made:

Countdown calendar
Oh it’s on… the countdown that is.

Yup we are THAT close!

Now back to the “it’s Friday I’m in love” just like The Cure song…

We received the following updated photos from our breeder Catharine. Get ready to fall in love.  Here are the pups at almost 5 weeks old.

Ya I know. You want one too. It’s Friday, and you’re in love!

What’s in a Name? Why baseball of course!

When it comes to puppy love and finding a name for your pup, it’s not about love at all. It’s a battle to get your favourite name to come out on top! Just like trying to decide on a breed, choosing a name for our pup via consensus was filled with many passionate debates. Four people with a veto over one another’s names didn’t help the process. But that’s ok.  Naming your dog is one big and important decision.


Harry Styles

My little niece, who is afraid of anything furry that moves, offered her favourite name. She said she will like our dog if we named him Harry, as in Harry Styles from the boy-band One Direction. Well, Harry is cute I must admit. And so is the name. However, my boys didn’t wait a nanosecond to shoot that name out of the water.

The one thing my family agreed on was that the dog’s name had to be baseball-related. Both my boys play competitive baseball, and we spend much of our summer at baseball diamonds and travelling to many tournaments.

At the breeder’s 3 week-old pups visit, we chatted with other families about names. One couple had a name locked up, and chose a hockey-themed name. Their boy puppy will be called Bauer. Great name.

Another family we met was in the same boat as us; close to finalizing a name. This family looked to their favourite movie characters for inspiration. They threw out names like Bilbo, Frodo and other characters; then tried more standard names like Max and Cooper and finally landed on Reilly. But I’m told, they are not sure if it will stick.

One name that was often suggested to us was ‘Homer,’ which would be awesome if it didn’t remind me of Homer Simpson. Doh!  (No I’m not including a photo of Homer Simpson.)

Just like trying to find the perfect baby name, with meaning or a great story behind it, there are many websites to get you started. A quick google search, and ka-pow, you’ll find a whole lot of help: Names for Boy DogsMost Popular Dog Names 2014

The list of names we went through included: Jackie and Robinson after the first black person to play in the major leagues; Robbie for Toronto Blue Jays’ Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, and Joey for Canadian-born Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

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Jackie Robinson
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Roberto Alomar
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Joey Votto

In the end we decided on Carter as the name for our puppy. Carter, as in the Toronto Blue Jays’ Joe Carter, who hit THE  home run in dramatic fashion during game six of 1993 World Series. It was the bottom of the 9th, runners on first and second, Toronto was losing 6-5, and on a 2-2 pitch, Carter sent the ball over the left-field wall. With that home run, the Jays won their second consecutive World Series.

Maybe our very own Carter will bring good luck to my boys this summer. There’s nothing like hitting a home run, and nothing better than watching your kid hit one out. This summer I’ll have someone helping me cheer on my boys from the stands.  Can’t wait.

For all my 20-something classmates, here’s Carter’s home run in case you missed it the first time.

Puppy Open-House! A meet and greet with 3-week old Pups

Almost every morning when my younger son leaves for school, he will say to me, if Catharine (our breeder) emails and sends more photos, text me right away. He’s not supposed to have access to his phone during school hours, but he sometimes manages to sneak a text and ask if I received any new puppy pics.

We eagerly awaited for the pups to turn 3 weeks old!  Because that’s when we could finally go back to Braefield to meet and hold the pups for the first time.

WARNING … CUTE PUPPY PHOTOS AHEAD

When we arrived, another family and two couples were already in the doggie-bedroom. All it took was one look around, and I knew everyone was in love with the pups. The pups were beyond adorable. They were barely awake and hardly did anything, but they were so darn sweet and cuddly.

Mr. Yellow and Miss Purple. (Photo courtesy of Braefield.)
Mr. Yellow and Miss Purple. (Photo courtesy of Braefield.)
3-week old pup. (Photo courtesy of Braefield Goldens.)
3-week old pup. (Photo courtesy of Braefield Goldens.)

We were encouraged to grab and hold a puppy, and to share and pass them around.

A few sweet family moments…

At first, my older son was nervous to hold a pup as it was quite squirmy and he quickly handed the pup to me. He eventually got comfortable and held a pup the whole time we were there. He fell in love with Mr. Black.

Mr. Black chewing on my son's finger.
Mr. Black chewing on my son’s finger.

I took hold of a pup and immediately began to rock back and forth. The instinctive “rocking-mom stance” came back to me. It was like holding a newborn.

My husband’s pup started to whimper and mama Flora came marching over to find out why her pup was upset. That was pretty amazing. Flora began to vigorously clean (lick) the pup and the pup settled. Mom knows best!

Mama Flora taking care of her pup.
Mama Flora taking care of her pup.

My youngest took to the pups like he’s done this every single day of his life. He fell in love with Mr. Yellow and at one point had two pups in his lap. Adorable!

M loving the 2 puppies on his lap. But we're only taking one. Photo courtesy of Braefield.
M loving TWO puppies. But we’re only taking one. Photo courtesy of Braefield.

It was great to meet and chat with the other families that will also take a pup home. I already planted the seed for a puppy play-date over the summer with one family, who doesn’t live very far from us, and a  young couple, who does live far from us but said they’d come too!

Our visit was full of aww-moments, but we quickly realized we had a lot to do before our pup comes home.  Catharine asked if we had vets picked out. We don’t, so I need to get that figured out.  Then her husband Grant asked if we had names yet. Ahhh, the great name-debate!  Stay tuned for that story.

We reluctantly left after our two-hour visit with a to-do list, and already thinking about our next visit in 3 weeks time.

The pups will be completely different by then. They’ll be bigger and more active.  My younger son made a count-down calendar. And his daily reminder to me for an immediate text should new puppy photos land in my in-box, continues.

My Top 10 List of Reactions to “You’re Getting a Dog?”

When you share news with friends and family, you will always get some sort of feedback. Whether you ask for it or not. When we told our family and friends we were getting a dog, we got some pretty funny responses from both dog and non-dog owners. So I’m taking a page from David Letterman, and present my Top 10 List!  Drum-roll in your head: optional.

You’re getting a dog? Top 10 Reactions from dog and non-dog owners…

(and my thoughts in brackets!)

10. Kiss your freedom goodbye!  (Oh great, thanks!)

9.  Are you ready to poop and scoop?  (Isn’t that what my kids are for? I’m in denial you may say.)

8.  Big dog = big poop.  (What’s with all the poop? I bet I’ll find out.)

7.  Dogs are so much fun.  (Duh!)

6.  Dogs bring so much love into your home.  (Ok fine, but they also bring mud and sticks too.)

5.  Dogs are a great stress release.   (Not really feeling any stress release yet.)

4.  You won’t regret it.  (I will hold you to that.)

3.  What? Why? Do you have too much time on your hands?  (Thanks Dad!)

2. You’ll wonder why you waited so long. (Ya, probably, maybe, we’ll see.)

And the number one, best reaction was from my six year-old niece who’s afraid of any thing that’s furry and moves…

  1. I’m never going to Auntie D’s house again! (Yikes. Going to have to work on you Missy M!)

 ———————————————–

Can you guess which comment came from a dog owner and which came from a non-dog owner?  Some of the answers may surprise you.

Answers:

Dog-owners: 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 2

Non-dog owners: 9, 3, 1

Only time will tell if any of the above comments will prove to be true. I’m happy that most of the comments were positive. Until then, I will continue to focus on what comes next, like picking out a name for the puppy.  Let’s just say, this is also causing a grand discussion around here.

And one more awww-cute puppy photo!  Just because.

Pups at 2 weeks old.
Aww, Miss (Piggy) Pink. She was the biggest pup born.

They’re Here! Pups Are Born

Yes, the pups have arrived!  On January 19, 2015 Flora gave birth to eight puppies: 3 girls and 5 boys. All pups were born healthy and weighed between 15 1/2 – 19 1/2 ounces. The biggest one was a girl – she’s the one with the light pink ribbon. The coloured ribbons, while adorable, serve a purpose. The ribbons help breeder Catharine keep track of the pups that she weighs daily to ensure they are growing.  The pups in the photo below are only hours old. One of these (male) pups will be ours by the middle of March. Wowza!

The puppies are born! Photo courtesy of Braefield Goldens.
The puppies are born! Photo courtesy of Braefield Goldens.

And while mama Flora was a tad exhausted and busy, she’s also doing well.

Flora busy with her pups.
Flora busy with her pups. Photo courtesy of Braefield Goldens.

Catharine has been sending us email updates with lots of photos and video. Here are a few photos of the pups at 2 weeks old. They grow so quickly! To say they are cute is totally not necessary, but they are so darn cute! At this stage, it’s eat, sleep, poop, repeat.

Pups at 2 weeks old.
Pups at 2 weeks old. Photo courtesy of Braefield Goldens.
Miss Purple 2 weeks
Miss Purple at 2 weeks old. Photo courtesy of Braefield Goldens.
Mr Red 2 weeks - 1
Mr. Red at 2 weeks old. Photo courtesy of Braefield Goldens.

We visit the pups when they are 3 weeks old. By that time, they’ll have opened their eyes and won’t be so sleepy. We can hardly wait. I guess there is no turning back now. This is really happening. Oh that was me talking to myself. Really, how hard can this puppy thing be?

Toto we’re not in Kansas Anymore

If you have kids, chances are you have heard this question asked many times over many years: Can we get a dog? Please? Pretty please?

And for most crazy-busy, over-programmed families, the answer to said question and pleading is no, no, and no.

That was my family’s answer for a very long time. But this past fall, the answer changed to yes. WHAT!? What just happened and where to begin? To say I lost some sleep over this decision is an understatement.

This blog is a humble account of my family’s adventure into the world of puppies. I’ll share the process we went through and some lessons learned. I’m pretty sure there will be plenty of cuteness and humour along the way.

I mean how hard can this puppy thing be?