Friday, April 13, 2012

My Amost-Puppy

While I was away, I had a baby.

I didn't actually give birth to him, that was the hefty task of another poor soul. No this baby was of the canine variety and came to the SPCA at only five weeks old.  Meet Tikki, a Rat Terrier/ a deep slumber and as stinking cute as they come.

In the shelter world, being a puppy that young is many times a quick death sentence.  They are too young to adopt out, yet if they stay at the shelter, any number of illnesses will most likely kill them due to their weak immune systems.  Many shelters opt to just euthanize puppies under eight weeks old if a foster-home cannot be found. 

Luckily this little guy was transferred from that shelter to ours, where foster homes are a little easier to come by.  Of course he showed up late in the day on a Friday and I had the weekend off so I thought,  "I can take him. I have the next two days to dedicate to this little dude, by Monday I'll have found a foster home for him."  Some version of this thought was texted to my husband as some version of a permission request...albeit a very loose one. 

Every week after that he would remind me of my original permission request by re-reading that text to me followed by the exact date and time it was sent.  I would just snuggle the puppy that had just peed on his socks and smile, squealing something about how cute he was.  What a sport.  Remember when he let me bring these cuties home?

Aren't sleeping puppies the cutest? Straight from heaven...

During the month that we had this precious little angel/devil, we learned quite a bit.

We learned that we can't assume just because he peed two minutes ago on the potty pad doesn't mean he's not going to pee again less than two minutes later on the couch. 

We learned that sleeping is done during the day and night time is for hot laps around the living room along with chewing on our faces, fingers, and toes under the covers with a mouthful of razors.

We learned night-time crate training will induce hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours (count 'em, eight) of the most earsplitting crying and wailing.  Multi-million dollar idea...sound-proof puppy crates. 

We learned that when you cave to puppy crying and let them sleep in bed with you they will leave you little presents to roll over onto and will fall out of the bed at least four times per night. 

We also learned that puppies can be one of the most exhausting yet rewarding and fun experiences a couple can share.  Getting ready to have a real baby?  Get a puppy.  It will prepare you better than any book or amount of advice any person can give you.  I don't even have a baby yet and I know this.

A month in a puppy's life amounts to a good year in the human world.  They do a ton of growing and maturing physically.  Watch the ear progression here...

A couple days after I got him home.

Lord have mercy, that little face could bring peace to the middle east.  He was such a roley poley little guy.  Notice how his ears prick up and then fold down.  Then, about two weeks later, look here as they start to get bigger and the tips are making their journey up!

 Another two weeks in and they are standing up front and center and threatening to take over the world, or at least his head.  At one point they were starting to bend backwards and that's when I knew we had a bad case of "chiears" (aka Chihuahua Ears) on our hands. 

At the current date, his ears are still trying to figure out who they are and where they belong in this world. 

After trying with all my might to explain why it would be a good idea to add a puppy to our family, I came to terms with the cold hard reality.  The cold hard reality is very often my husband.  He's very reality driven and many times snatches me from up in the clouds and brings me down to real life, kicking and screaming.  I love him for it. With both of us working full-time and some vacations coming up as well as the fact that we're renters and finding a place that allowed one dog was hard enough, I realized...with some help...that it just wasn't the right choice and wouldn't have been fair for the puppy. 

If I couldn't keep him, it was time to find the perfect someone who could.  There were a few parties interested that came through the shelter but none I felt particularly great about.  It was really stressing me out because this little guy was my baby, my fur and blood, and I wasn't about to let him go to anyone I didn't feeling 100% about.  

It was a fateful day when Bert met Tikki.  Bert works and lives at the barn I board my horse at.  When Tikki got out of the car one morning and started tearing around the grass with the coordination of a new-born calf, he won his dad-to-be's heart.  Bert already had a little Jack Russell Terrier named Mable who was getting up there in years but when she met Tikki she instantly turned into a puppy again and they started body slamming and tackling each other like littermates. 

After a weekend trial run, it was clear Tikki had a new home...and a new name!  "Tikki" became "Wiley", which fits him perfectly.  Not only does he now have a wonderful doting dad, a new sister and the run of a whole ranch, but I still get to see him almost every day!  I'm seeing him grow up into a happy, well-adjusted, friendly, and well-behaved young man who's got the kind of life I could have only drempt of for him. 

To be perfectly honest, being able to hand over the pooping, peeing, crying, mouth razors, sleepless nights and endless energy to someone else and in turn gaining my sleep and sanity back was quite a relief.  He is where he belongs now and I was just the catalyst that could make it happen. 

Happy trails little man...see you tomorrow!

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