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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Pets 'n' Stuff | Puppy Love

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."
Bernard Williams

It's been quite a while since my last blog post, but I assure you I have good reason. Well, at least I think they are good reasons. In my last entry I wrote all about minding my cousin's Chorkie dogs and how good I thought they were for me. They are Chihuahua/Yorkie mixes and because they were so small I was able to hold them for cuddles and such. They were also pretty smart, so I could teach them to use a step to get on to my bed and then go from my bed on to my lap, since I couldn't lift them from the floor. Betty and Minnie were quite skittish, so they required a lot of attention to keep them happy. I probably spoiled them a little, but it was nice to be needed. When they eventually went home, it felt like there was a big missing part of the family. And that was only after two weeks of them being here. In my last post I also wrote about how my sister and I wanted Chihuahuas, we have done for a long time. And I wrote how we had originally planned to get them when we move, but family had pointed out that it would be too difficult for me to care for two tiny puppies when I was on my own for the majority of the day. My aunt had said we should get them now so they are trained up for when we move. Initially my dad agreed, until he fully felt what it was like having two Chihuahuas (albeit mixes) in the house and changed his mind. That kind of stressed me out a little. Not only did I miss Betty and Minnie, but I've always figured I would get a Chihuahua in the future as like.. a baby replacement, since I can't have kids. After my parents decided I couldn't get them in the house I live in now, but pretty much agreed I wouldn't be able to handle them on my own, it all felt a little hopeless.

Then came 04/06/14! Eva took the day off (I can't remember why) and we were chilling in my room waiting for the Speech and Language Therapist to come and talk to me about my choking problem. For weeks we were torturing ourselves looking on Gumtree at all the Chihuahua puppies that go on every day. Actually we were looking on there for over a year, but it was always with the thought that one day we would be picking our little bundle of fuzz. Then Eva seen them... two of the sweetest little faces ever. Two eight week old Chihuahua boys. One was exactly what Eva had always wanted. A long coated, blue little guy. I just fell in love with the other. He was brown and had a little dark face. They both looked adorable. Eva couldn't resist and phoned to see if they were still there and they were. We showed them to mum and strangely she said it was up to dad if we were allowed them. I was surprised. Then the Speech and Language Therapist came and I went into our living room to talk with her. During our conversation I could hear Eva and mum discussing the puppies, and my mum on the phone to my dad about them.

The meeting with the Speech and Language Therapist went well. Long story short, she got me to explain everything to her and then tested my swallow by feeling my neck as I ate a piece of scone, a biscuit and drank some juice. She came to the conclusion that there's a slight delay in my swallow, but once it's initiated I have a good one and that my problems were related to my anxiety. Basically I choke because I think I'm going to choke. She didn't warn me to stay away from any foods, but to try and rationalise and realise that it's in my head. She said if I can eat a sausage roll without any problem, I can eat anything. I was really relieved and I think I've been eating much better since.

When the meeting was over I came out of the room and Eva was smirking and acting all weird. I asked her what was up and she told me dad said we could get the puppies and I was going up to get them with my parents, but Eva couldn't come because she had work. I didn't believe her at first. It was so out of the blue and unexpected for either of our parents to agree. Although dad had agreed, he'd also said he wasn't taking anything to do with them and he wouldn't help us. He's usually full of empty threats, but since we didn't want him to have to do anything before we went and annoy him Eva and I decided to go into town and buy some supplies. We needed something for the puppies to sleep in, some blankets, puppy pads and food etc. We left over two cages at Argos and went down to pick them up. I stupidly thought they wouldn't be too big or too heavy for us to carry. I was wrong. They were incredibly heavy and Eva could just about manage one of them. She was very inventive and found away to attach one to my wheelchair. We'd hoped after we picked up some puppy food, puppy pads and blankets that she would be able to get a taxi home with the shopping and that I'd walk home myself. However, our timing was a little bad and since it was the time schools were getting out we couldn't find a taxi anywhere! We ended up having to walk them home. Luckily we got there in the end.

Just before we were due to leave Eva to work and set off to get the puppies, my mum gave the people a call just to make sure they were still there. That's when a slight blow came. They only had one left. Eva had forgotten to mention to the woman she wanted both and when she called back she told the woman's husband, who had forgotten to tell the woman. So basically while we were waiting for dad to come home, someone came and picked up one of the puppies. We'd agreed that if there was only one puppy we would wait until we could get two together. However my mum asked which puppy was left and it was the blue one, the one my sister had wanted. Even though the puppy I was supposed to get was gone, I told Eva I didn't mind if she got hers before me. After all, he was exactly what she'd always wanted and I'd have felt awful if she missed out over something so silly. My mums always said to me 'what's for you won't pass you' and I like to believe in that too. I think she was supposed to get him. Eva felt terrible that she hadn't told the woman we wanted both, but I didn't really mind. For some reason I wasn't too disappointed.

We went and we picked him up while Eva was at work. The couple were pretty nice. They weren't proper breeders or anything though. Not like backyard breeders, but they had a family pet they loved and wanted her to have a litter. They were keeping one of the girls, they'd given another to their older daughter for her birthday and they were selling the two boys. He was just as perfect in real life as he was in the photos. They put him in my arms and he just stayed there, quiet as a mouse. He didn't even put up a fuss when he left his mother and we took him open. He was really placid and it was hard not to fall in love with him. He basically just let me hold him until Eva came home. When she did, she fell in love too. Though I was a little worried because once we'd got home I realised he had an overbite that I hadn't noticed when we went to pick him up. Eva was relying on me to decide whether to get him in case anything might be wrong with him or the people seemed dodgy etc. And although Eva wouldn't be superficial like that, I wasn't sure what problems an overbite might cause in the future for him. Luckily she agreed that it wasn't something that would have put her off buying him. She was a little more worried when she went to the vet for his check up and vaccination and the vet pointed it out and said it was quite severe. She also said there was a possibility that he could have dental problems in the future because of it. Although Eva's worried about what it might mean for him, she doesn't regret having him. We're very alike in the sense we're more likely to go for the pet with problems to make sure they get the best care.

The next couple of days were a little weird. Eva was at class or placement during the day and then working at night. We'd got him on Wednesday and Eva's first full day off would be Sunday, so I had to look after him while Eva wasn't here. I just felt myself falling more and more in love with him. And although I wasn't disappointed I hadn't got mine already, I was slightly worried that when I finally did get mine it would have a lot to live up to because Berty (oh yeah, I forgot to mention his name!) was so perfect. Still, I had a fun couple of days looking after my little fuzzy nephew.

Then came Friday night (06/06/14). I was doing my usual Gumtree check while I was mooching about online. Then I seen it. A new advert. There had been a few that day and I had considered ringing, but had decided against it. I was worried about rushing into it and just getting a puppy because it was the first that came up. I wanted to be sure I felt how I had when I'd seen the one I was supposed to get first time round. But this advert just jumped out at me. Admittedly I'd been refreshing the page all day waiting for something to come up. After reading the advert and feeling it seemed legit, I rang up right away. I must have sounded so stupid because I was so nervous. I asked were any of them boys as I wanted a boy, and she said one of them was. She sounded so lovely on the phone. I told her I would like to come and see them, but would have to call back and tell her when I would be able to come as I was a wheelchair user and my dad would have to bring me. My parents were out and I had to wait for them to come in. It was the longest half an hour or so ever. I just kept thinking that someone else would ring up and book him, or even get there before me the next day. When dad came in I got him to call and arrange for us to go to their house the next day. I thought it was better he rang so he could get directions and such. It was around this time I realised that these puppies had already been up for about a week. I had really liked them and had talked to my parents about them but they'd said they were too far away, even before my parents had actually agreed to let us get puppies. They had still been up after I missed out on the other puppy, but I didn't bother ringing as I figured they'd all be gone. They had taken down the old advert and put up a new one with new pictures, that's why I hadn't realised right away. Even with how far away they were, my dad agreed to go see them for about 3pm the next day. Like I said, I was still convinced he'd be gone before I got there.

So about noon the next day we set off. We went earlier than we'd planned as Eva started work at noon and dad was dropping her off to work anyway. I was kinda glad since I wanted to get there asap. It was a good thing we did as the drive took longer than expected. Where the puppies were was quite far south, near the boarder. It was quite rural and we had to drive through some little towns and villages. We got stuck in traffic in one, and then in another we got stuck in a triathlon. The people were running down this little country road, basically beside the cars! It seemed so dangerous. Luckily we didn't hit anyone. After we finally got out of the race, our Sat Nav eventually told us we were there. However we were not there and we couldn't find their house. It was proper in the country and I wondered if this possibly was the reason why the puppies were still there after so long when most seemed to be snapped up so fast. I also had a slight worry that maybe it was dodgy. The country is the kind of place you find puppy farms and such. We called the people and she explained where her house was, but we still couldn't find it. Very kindly she sent her husband to find us and we followed him back to their house. Gosh, their house was lovely. It looked pretty new. I always remember the houses in the countryside of Newry always being really lovely. They had sheep and chickens too, and when we got out of the car they had two little runs and in one of them was two chihuahuas. The guy introduced us to them. They were the mother and father of the puppies I was going to look at. The boy was Johnny and he hesitated (I imagine a little embarrassed) when he told us that the female was called Baby. They were named after the characters in Dirty Dancing. I was twice amused as we also have a dog called Baby, and my dad finds it embarrassing too. Johnny was pretty small and ginger, and Baby was a bit bigger and ginger and white. They were both gorgeous. The man and the woman were really nice too. Younger than I expected and they had two children who were there also. They were really friendly and chatty and the man helped my dad lift my wheelchair up the two steps into the house. Then he went and lifted the little male pup and handed me him. He was so tiny! Even compared to his two sisters. I felt a little bad as I was only really interested in getting a boy, but a little white female bounded up to me right away. Still, I fell in love with the little boy right away. He was so tiny, but full of life. He was wriggling and licking my face. Completely different to how Berty had been when we went to pick him up.

I decided pretty quick that I was taking him. And I was confident I was taking him from good people who knew what they were doing. They gave me a puppy pack that had a bunch of stuff and a bunch of information on how to look after him, along with his vaccination card as he had had his first vaccinations. They also gave me a little Dalmatian Jasper stone. Apparently it helps settling them into their new home... if you believe that kind of stuff. As we were getting ready to leave he started acting up. They'd brought his mum in by that stage and I think he wanted to get to her and his sisters. He was crying and wriggling to get away. Again, so different to how Berty had acted. He didn't seem to care at all that he was leaving his mum or being taken away by strangers. My little guy wasn't going without a fight. I felt so mean taking him away from his family.

The couple told us as we left that if we had any problems to give them a call or if we had any questions. We said our goodbyes and when we were in the car and started to drive away I couldn't believe I actually had him. He was still crying and wriggling a lot, and it got worse as we started to drive. It wasn't long until we realised he was scared of the car. Every time we stopped he would calm down and nom on my glasses or lick my face, but he'd start crying when we drove again. Luckily the drive home still felt shorter, probably due to the fact there was less traffic and by then the triathlon had finished. We got to drive through where it had been and see all the people packing up with their medals around their necks. The people were pretty diverse, I couldn't believe some of them had just done a triathlon.

On the drive home I was trying to think of names for him. Originally I had wanted to call my puppy Emmett. I had really liked that name for Berty and if he had been mine I'd have called him it, but it didn't feel right for my little guy. Then the name Edwin came to me and it kind of just stuck. It just felt so right for him. When we got home I put him in the cage I had got him for a little while and he sat and watched us while we ate. Being out of the car had really calmed him. After that I held him and cuddled him, my aunt Facetimed with me to show my grand parents him. I waited for Eva to come home before I introduced him to Berty. Because Edwin wasn't really familiar with his surroundings but Berty was, Edwin kind of ignored Berty and went exploring. Berty wasn't too happy about that, but eventually he took more notice and they've been getting along great since.

And that's the stories of how we ended up with our little bundles of fun Edwin and Berty. I was a little worried that Edwin wouldn't take to me. I kind of forgot the difficulties of having such a small dog when you're in a wheelchair. Chihuahuas tend to be a one person dog, and I was worried he would take to someone else in the family. Admittedly I've been a little paranoid and probably driven my sister Eva crazy with it. Then I was reading a lot of dog training stuff and such and I realised he could probably sense all my worrying and that was probably effecting our relationship most of all. Once I stopped worrying so much and trying to force my idea of what our relationship should be on him, we've been a lot closer. He's very independent and only listens when he wants to. Berty is much more of a people pleaser. They're both really smart though. They both learned their names in a couple of days and after only having them just over a week they already know how to come when they're called and sit.

We're planning to take them to puppy classes for socialisation and hopefully training. We want them to be very well socialised and well adjusted. Berty has already started to show some issues with strangers which we want to nip in the bud. He's very bonded to Eva and you can see he really is a one person dog. At first I thought I wanted Edwin to be like that, but then I realised it's more of a healthy relationship if the dog doesn't feel it has to be with you. It's a good thing he's independent because if I were ever have to go into hospital or anything, I don't want him fretting over me not being there. He's such a little character though. So cheeky. And obsessed with food. I'm hoping him being so food motivated means it will be easier to treat him. I can't wait until he's allowed out for walks and stuff. Hopefully we'll get a nice summer and it will be an excuse to get out more.

They mostly get along with our other pets. Gracie has gone for them a couple of times when they pester her, mostly around food. She doesn't intend to hurt them though, just scare them off. Can't really blame her. She's 16, so her puppy days are long passed. One of my cats is a little scared of them and the other just doesn't care. Scared most of all is my Labrador, Baby. It's hard to believe such a big dog could be scared of something so small. They're not scared of her at all.

The Sunday after I got Edwin, Eva and I took both of them out to Pets At Home to buy some puppy supplies. We got them their leads and collars, harnesses, treats, toys etc. Even got them a little jumper each. It sounds silly, but we always see people bring their little puppies to Pets At Home and we've always said one day we'd do that. Not going to lie, it's nice having people come up to you and tell you how adorable your puppy is.

I've been meaning to write this post since then, and it probably wouldn't have been as long if I had been keeping my blog a little more up to date. But things have just been hectic since we got them. Every minute has been filled with checking they're not getting up to mischief. Also we've been taking them out some, obviously not letting them walk but carrying them. Getting them used to the noises outside and such. I'm also just trying to be more active and spontaneous, which has given me less time for writing. So yeah, I've been working on this post for maybe 4 or 5 days now. Please forgive me for the long winded post. Just a lot has happened. I can't believe we finally have our babies. I even made Edwin an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook page, Google+ page and blog. I'll link them in another entry when I have them up and running properly.

So yeah, this is my little dude Edwin.

Edwin in Berty's bag when he was scared in the car when we went shopping and what I bought him.

So yeah, that is my little man. I love him so much. He is actually my little baby. Just like all my pets are. But your relationship with a dog is a lot different to that with a cat. With my cats everything is so much on their terms because they're very independent. My Labrador is very much my dad's dog now. When it comes to financial stuff, she's mine. I pay for everything, but when it comes to who she actually wants to spend time with and is loyal to, it is my dad. That's why when I move she'll be staying with him. I'm going to make sure things are different with Edwin. 

Anyway, he's going for his second vaccinations today so I have to go and get dressed. My first trip to the vet with him since the breeder had already had him vet checked and vaccinated. 

So yeah, until next time.

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