Year One With Our Puppy, Drake by Garden Girl December 18, 2013

Year One With Our Puppy, Drake by Garden Girl December 18, 2013

 

 

drake ballCFN – On June 20th, 2013, my then fiancé (we’ve since got married), and I got a chocolate Labrador retriever puppy. I have never had a dog, so, my husband and I talked about it, and came to the decision of getting Drake together. (He is named after a male duck, not the artist!) My husband had one years before, but sadly, he died young due to disease and D couldn’t bring himself to get another one, until now. He told me about how great Gunner was and how smart he was and how easy he was to train. It all sounded really nice and I looked forward to the day that we could pick Drake up.

The first couple of weeks with him were interesting for me, a whole new experience… There was no sleep the first few nights. He thought super-puppy-playtime was at 3 am…. My husband entertained him a couple of times, but we had to get him out of that routine. I would wake up at the slightest noise to take him out for a bathroom break, sometimes 4 times a night… I never wanted him to wake my husband during the week, he needs all the rest he can get, as his job can be dangerous, made even more dangerous by an un-alert mind. Our idea of puppy-proofing seemed to be to put anything he showed interest in chewing that he should not be chewing, up on the table. (We have barely seen our kitchen table since…) As well, we would keep him in our room while we slept with the door closed so that he could wake us up for bathroom time and generally cause less trouble in the house. We got toys for him to play with and destroy, but they didn’t seem to interest him in the least. Every time he “did his business” outside, he was rewarded with a treat. Pretty typical from what I understand. It was cute at first, I will admit, when he would massacre a roll of paper towel, usually left about to clean up after his “accidents”, but that cuteness wore off as the massacres added up.

 

drake destruction

Then he started chewing underwear and D’s socks. (I am happy to say he never liked chewing my socks, something I didn’t know I appreciated until this moment!) D never minded his being chewed to spider-web looking pieces of fabric, but it annoyed me to no end. We started closing the laundry room door, and being mindful of where we left our laundry, but that was no deterrent for Drake. He got to them anyway, anyhow. When it got to be around the tenth pair of mine, I went out and bought 7 more. When the number went over twenty, I simply started getting used to wearing ragged looking ones. It was apparent I was not winning this war. Shoe chewing began to be another of his favourite things. Again, D didn’t mind when Drake would chew his work boots, sandals or shoes. I, on the other hand minded very much when he chewed a pair of my tweed fabric heels, or when he chewed my maid of honour’s sandals while visiting during our wedding. I wished very hard at that point that he would learn the difference between D’s and my stuff! If D didn’t care, I didn’t want to be bothered with it. It always seems to upset me more than Drake when I get upset with him. And I could never stay upset long, his youthful, innocent eyes would get the better of me and he would be on me, lapping up all the love he could get. Then, one day D and I went out, and for some reason my Lululemon pants felt weird, when we got home I realized he had chewed the crotch out of them. I hadn’t even worn them ten times yet. I was very upset. I attempted to put my foot down with D. I reasoned that just because he didn’t care if Drake chewed his stuff, he needs to be disciplined because I can’t be the only one to give him crap for chewing things he shouldn’t be. I was starting to feel like the evil step mother, and that was not sitting well with me.

drake paw

Time went on and things progressed. One day while vacuuming, I took a break to greet a friend, and when I went to finish the task, the vacuum cleaner wouldn’t turn on. I took it apart, and even had D look it over when he arrived home from work. Then we discovered that Drake had chewed through the cord during the 10 minutes it wasn’t in use… Next was my phone charger cord. (I should mention that at this point he has chewed both and now I am reduced to using a mickey-mouse repaired one…) Although, we sense the cat and him were in cahoots on that job. Anytime the cat looks like it is enjoying something it’s playing with, Drake is sure to destroy it. Yes, he may have a touch of innocent jealousy due to his age, but still, really??? We have even caught him up on the kitchen table a few times! And, did I mention he has chewed the seating of our new kitchen chairs? There doesn’t seem to be anything he won’t chew! When travelling around Europe I bought a beautiful miniature soapstone carving in Utrecht inspired by “The Thinker” by Rodin. I have treasured it for many years, the sight of it brings back many happy memories, but alas, not even soapstone is safe around Drake. It seems it was knocked off its Drake-proof perch, and then was decimated to something that only I can now recognize. I was furious. The worst part about being upset with Drake, is that he knows he did wrong. While I was venting my disappointment in words I shan’t type, he just looked at me with eyes that said his apologies. I nicknamed him Schtoopy that day. He is a smart puppy, very cute, but he can be sooooooooooooooooooo schtoopy. Now, he responds to Drake AND Schtoopy, as if he understands and accepts it. I shake my head. The worst part is, I know he is smart. When he realized he would get a treat for going to the bathroom outside, he started faking it!!! The worst was him waking me up to fake it… I caught on eventually… Ugh…

drake busted

It is now December, and his massacres and “accidents” are fewer and smaller, I am happy to say, but, they still happen. Recent issues are that he has chewed a large section of the drywall in our newly renovated livingroom and he likes to “visit” the neighbours. I can always tell when that happens because in the quiet country air you can hear the neighbours toddlers scream all of a sudden, which tells me he has mown them down…again… He loves children, maybe a little too much. He seems to think that they like it when he runs them over and drowns them with his kisses. The crying doesn’t seem to bother him either, if anything, he takes it as a sign to lick more… Oh, Schtoopy. It is hard to prevent him from visiting, as they always seem to have food out for the birds, which he seems to think is a treat for him, for going to the trouble of going over to visit. This was not good a couple of weeks ago when he inhaled bird seed balls formed with macadamia nut butter around noon. By eleven pm he was bloated beyond recognizable and whining. Every time he would stand up, his back legs would collapse. We stayed up and rubbed his belly, D looking up scenarios on the internet as to what is wrong and what can we do. Needless to say, that didn’t help, and by one am we were on the phone with a vet. The vet assured us he should be ok, and if he is still not well by morning, to bring him in. Around two-thirty am he left the hugest cow patty of bird seed either of us had ever seen. And the gas, it actually echoed in the quiet winter night! He seemed to be mostly back to his normal self after that! A few more bathroom breaks and thankfully, by noon the next day he was totally ok. This experience taught me that birds will indeed eat seed that has gone through a dogs’ digestive system, as there was no evidence of Drake’s patty’s left later that day…

He has grown to almost 70 lbs now and still thinks he is a lapdog, which can be irritating at times, but adorable. He uses his weight to dominate his position on our bed in the middle of the night. He lays between one of us and the wall, then pushes against the wall to secure the most space on the bed. Sometimes we wake up and send him off, and he goes obediently, but as soon as we’re lost in sleep, he makes his return. Persistent can definitely be used to describe Drake… He has become a great travel companion, although he can cause havoc when we arrive at places, whether it’s mowing down children or traumatizing a cat to the point it avoids using its litterbox for days after we leave. (Oh, and his new love- “kitty-crunchies”, yes, we have actually caught him eating the cat litter!) He does play well with other dogs, often tiring them out long before he himself is tired, which tends to annoy older dogs……

drake tryp

In the past few months, we have lost our almost 2 year old cat, Chi-Chi. He went out and has never come back… He was always independent, sometimes we wouldn’t see him for days. But, this time he never returned. We called him for days, nothing. Our friends were visiting and we spotted a mole in the couch. It was definitely time to get another cat. A few weeks ago we decided to adopt a kitten, who we named Le Mew. She is so adorable. She purrs like a motor boat…and likes to try to put her whole head into my nostril when I sleep, questionable behaviour to say the least, but still cute… It’s evident now that this kitten taunts Drake. Spurring him on to the point where he verbalises his hurt when Le Mew dodges him by running under the couch or jumping up onto the desk. Le Mew can be quite the terrorist, concealed in cute, fluffy fur… And the two of them are like rampant children, adorable and cute, but are totally capable of mass destruction. They have tag-teamed my house plants, amongst many other things, like my phone charger…

It has come to the point where we have decided that this is not the year for us to put up a Christmas tree, it seems we can barely trust the two of them as it is, never mind a twinkling tree with baubles and tinsel hanging from it, beckoning at the two of them to join forces and attack. Every day I come downstairs to some form of “surprise” left by either or both of them, adding a Christmas tree and decorations to the mix would just make mornings that much worse… Oh well, I guess this is life, with pets. I hear it gets better… I’ve been told that when a dog reaches two years old it will practically be a saint. I have also been told that when Drake is neutered (next month!) that he will settle down… However, I have a dear friend with 3 dogs, a six year old German shepherd, a three year old German shepherd and a Jack Russel of unknown age, and she still has to lock them up at night and when they’re not home due to their destructiveness. I guess time will tell what our situation will lead to…

le mewA picture of Le Mew, busted while attempting to tease Drake…
Coffey

 

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