Ok so maybe not chickens – but how about puppies?? I took my sister in law with me yesterday to walk some wonderful dogs at the SPCA. I was reminded that Spring also means an influx of puppies to the shelter. Once we were finished walking our big guys, we treated ourselves with a walk through the puppy room and saw these little angels.
As most of you know, Puppies need to be socialized. It’s so important for them to experience a variety of people early on. I’ve even heard a raw statistic that a puppy between 3 and 6 months should meet 100 people, and have a positive experience with every single one. This will help them be less fearful or nervous later on in life. A balanced dog, can be a wonderful thing. So why not start with them when they are at the SPCA.
“As the weeks go by, exposure to a variety of experiences is crucial to his becoming a well-rounded adult. Studies have shown that a puppy’s experiences in the first three months of life strongly influence what kind of companion he will grow to be and how he will react to the world. ” – AKC
Early socialization is a vital piece of a puppies’ life. I took full advantage yesterday. We played and took these little angels for a walk, hoping to encounter many people along the way. Of course, then we treated ourselves to some snuggles and play time in the front yard.
These little guys are Shepherd/Border Collie mixes. Huge paws and beautiful brown eyes. My heart melts everytime I see them. Need I remind you that “Puppy Therapy” is the very best kind there is?
So upon one of my wonderful trips to the local SPCA this week to snuggle and walk some great critters, I came across this….
Be still my heart!
If that wasn’t bad enough, she waved to me to say “Hi!”
Meet Ellie. She’s a two month old Border Collie mix that was brought in with her four brothers when they didn’t sell on Kijiji (sidenote: I feel the need to attack a punching bag when I hear stories like this – NEUTER your pets people).
Nonetheless, How can you turn down some bonus snuggle time with this little gem!
Her cute little face and eyes got to my soul. My mission (as always), find Ellie a wonderful forever home. I took her and her brother (now adopted) out of their kennel for some fun play time. Introducing them to new places, people, sounds and smells is a GREAT thing.
I took the cutest pictures I could of her and posted to my facebook wall (as I do with most of these wonderful critters). I don’t want to jinx myself here, but low and behold my facebook peeps were as hooked as I was. One of my childhood friends has submitted paperwork, and is pending approval – we should hear back tomorrow.
This friend has a sweet 2 yr old Duck Tolling Retriever mix, who would make a wonderful big sister. Socialized and affectionate with other dogs, this dog would make a great role model for Ellie. I’ve encouraged my friend and her family to come and meet her face to face, and she is this weekend.
I thought I’d share my (hopefully) uplifting news – Thank you Social Media for working for the better good!
Have a great day and cross your fingers that it all works out!
You’ve all been patiently waiting to hear who my newest boarder is. So without further ado, meet Richard (aka – Great News: Part 2) !
Richard is Newton’s brother, former play buddy and identical personality twin. Newton was boarded at his house when we traveled. When his owner asked me to board him for a week or two, I tried to hold back tears. I couldn’t.
They were tears of happiness.
If I’m being honest – our house feels like a home again with a Bernese visitor in it. I love all of my boarders, but this one is obviously a bit more emotional for me.
“There’s something about being greeted at the door by a giant black and white panda bear, full of fur and drool, that warms my heart.”
I see Richard, and am reminded of Newton – This time in a positive light. Great memories pour in as I enjoy my time with him. I am reminded of why I fell in love with Newton in the first place, and also the breed. Those big goofy eyes, giant paws and furry faces exude love. What better therapy is there then that?
You should my other two little fur kids faces!. It was like Christmas morning when Richard breezed through the house. Frankie and Stewart were greeted with “cat baths” from him, which Stewart begrudgingly accepted and Frankie loved (and now receives a few times a day). Now Frank “the Tank” has turned into Richard’s shadow, which I find amazingly adorable.
I honestly wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but happy we were open to the opportunity. I’ve found comfort and joy in being around other dogs (fostering, boarding and training can be healthy and healing – when you’re ready!). It makes me aware that a new addition would not take the place of Newton in our hearts, as we have room for more. I wasn’t convinced of that a week ago.
I continue to miss Newton every single day, which I don’t expect to change. Grief, after all, does not have an expiration date.
My advice if you’re feeling down? Find a cool pup that enjoys a snuggle or two.
A huge thanks to Richards parents for entrusting us for the next little while with this wonderful fur kid, stay tuned for more pics and posts to come 🙂
It’s because I was busy with my first boarder – this sweet pea!!
Yep – I said boarder. I’m in the animal biz somewhat “officially” now as a one-dog -at-a-time kennel/boarding facility. I made the waiver and dog info forms, had a lawyer review and we’re here! We have the space, a fenced yard and the time – so why not?
Merit’s an 8 year old Golden Retriever with a heart full of gold (sorry for the age disclosure dear Merit – its just a number anyway!).
We started by having a trial day two weeks ago to see if she got along with my two rescue cats.
Since we’ve opened our home to accepting boarders, I had an overwhelming response. My March and April are almost completely booked up. I do only take one dog at a time as I still work my 9-5. I want to ensure my full attention is on our new friend.
We have a kennel/crate area set up in one room and require a trial day ahead of time to ensure the dog to get along with cats.
As most of you know, we’re not open yet to owning as we’re still healing. This, like dog walking at the Shelter, is a great option with staying connected to furry friends. My Mr. and I agree, it’s amazingly nice to have a pup around again. We’ve agreed that fostering is a good next step for us, at some point 🙂
We’ve taken time this week to reflect on how our Newton would have loved her. Her gentle and loving nature reminded me a lot of him.
Merit’s also won over my Mr. He’s been home off work from Thursday until Monday, and spending most of his time with her. Here’s the evidence he’s found love with another woman 🙂
We’ve had a ton of fun this past week. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, spent more time outside (as naturally Merit prefers two walks a day, with a longer off-leash hike on the weekends) and tons of puppy snuggles. Proving our theory that “fur-therapy” really is the very best kind.
My fiance and I took another visit to the now two week old Bernese Mountain dog puppies. It was his first time returning since we went to meet and discuss a home for our Newton, 3 years prior. We once again were received with face licks, body wiggles and Berner smiles (From the dogs, not the breeder – haha). After an little while chatting with one of the breeders and snuggling with the 2 week old puppies, we went to a friends’ surprise birthday party.
My mind however lingered on the Berners. I know there’s a long wait list for puppies, so when we arrived home we talked. We talked about our readiness, our commitment, our finances, our time, and of course Newton. As you can imagine, I talked the most. What came out of our chat was that we believe we’ll be ready to welcome our arms up after our big three week trip to Europe in July.
While Newton still has my heart, I think I’m able to share what bits are left. Waiting for a bit longer will also give me more time to work on what I need to.
I need some more time just to honor and remember Newton. It may sound strange, but I feel as if I’m giving him a disservice if I stop what I’m doing now. Also, let’s be serious I could not have a new puppy or dog and leave for 3 weeks. Thank you to my Mr. for making me realize this. There is just NO WAY. Even though we’d have fantastic support, I’d constantly be thinking of everything I was missing out on! If it turns out to be a rescue or a puppy, we need to reintroduce consistency. Leaving for 3 – 4 weeks is exactly the opposite!
I also took my Mr. to the SPCA with me yesterday. He met my new buddy Rusty. Rusty is super sweet, but very timid to strangers and anything new. He’s like the 80 year old woman next door that peeks out from behind her curtains, curious about what’s going on but wants his door closed for protection against life. We’ve developed a special relationship – in the dog runs, he runs into my arms full speed and turns last minute and collapses in them. Always giving me face licks in the process. I really need to work with him on the full speed ahead tactic 🙂 We worked with him meeting my Mr. (new people!), going past with his tail high and wagging, and ears up, rewarding him the entire time. He also went to meet my Mr. once free in the training room all by himself, sniffing his leg and hand, allowing my Mr. to even reward a head pat or two. What a good boy!
Then there’s Des. You’ve met Des before, she puts me through my paces every single freaking time. Walking her is a workout. I can’t even try and manage her until she has run out her energy. We take her to a dog run, play “catch the snowball” and run the excitement out of her. Then we get to work on her resource guarding. Des is like the grouchy old man of my little pack that likes HER things. “Silly youngsters”, I can imagine her saying, “Keep your paws off my stuff!”. She has been letting me slowing get closer to her as she holds her tennis ball. Today she looked at me while holding her tennis ball with her tail wagging, I rewarded her with a butt scratch. She dropped the tennis ball at my feet. PROGRESS!!
So we came home and took one more step forward – We filled out the applications for both the SPCA and the breeder. We want to be ready in case we find the right rescue or the right puppy or dog for our family after our trip. We wanted to get started early as I know some people who have been waiting a year or two for one of their Berner puppies. There are a few reasons for this, first of all, they do not churn out puppies like a puppy mill. Secondly, they only breed dogs that pass their pen/hip score clearances and eye exams. This helps weed out early hip/elbow displaysia and the eye/health issues that Berners are prone to. We’re going to fill out another form for the Bernese Rescue Society of Canada after our trip.
I’ve discovered three things throughout this process so far.
1. I never want to be just a single dog family again. Ideally I’d like to welcome our arms in July/August to a new furry friend, then keep our eyes and ears open shortly after for another.
2. Filling out both forms was both exciting and gut wrenching *sigh*.
3. Our retirement plan will be to Foster dogs 🙂 Long term planning at it’s finest, we’ll see – maybe we’ll be ready before!
There was a guilt that I felt about moving on to another dog that I knew would be there, but still did not feel comfortable. Newton will forever be a part of me, this I know. I’ve said this once, but I believed he was the daily food for my soul. Sounds dramatic, but true nonetheless. I am trying to consider this next step a tribute to him. A testament to him, making us better owners and dog lovers. Newt would want us to be happy, living life to it’s fullest as he did. Our lives are the happiest and richest when we have a furry friend by our side. Until July, we’ll keep taking it day by day, week by week, month by month.
I did it, I crossed another hurdle. See, I’ve been avoiding places that remind me exclusively of Newton. You know the places I mean – the places I went only because of him.
As some of you have been following, my grieving process has been a roller coaster of emotions. I hope I’ll stay on this positive high for a while this time.
To give you a bit of back story, we bought Newton from amazing co-breeders. One of them lived close to us in Moncton, the other 2 hrs away in Saint John. The last time I had been to visit her partner in Saint John, it was so she could meet and interview us for our new puppy (almost 3 years ago). I was close by for work, went out on a limb, called her up to let her know I was in the neighborhood. She invited me and I went.
The only comparison I can make is it was like “pulling off the band aid”. I was so nervous driving there, so different from how I felt the first time driving up the driveway with my fiance. Unsure, with different nerves, and a different perspective.
All that changed when I walked in and was instantly greeted with tailwags and face licks – by four beautiful Bernese.
I had met most of these dogs before. What I love about dogs, and particularly Bernese in general, is their sensitivity to human emotions. The dogs did not leave my side. I think they sensed how much I loved and appreciated them all, most likely recognizing that I needed them near. What I had thought was going to be a 15 min visit just to pop in, chat about fall litters and give updates, turned into a 3 + hour visit. We sat there, two crazy dog ladies, discussing our love for the breed, how each one was doing and how we both were doing.
I sat there completely covered in long black Berner hair, with two attempting to sit on my lap. I know had a ridiculous crazy smile plastered all over my face. This was the happiest I’ve been in a while.
Funny facts about these lovebugs – they all have zero sense of how large they actually are. I’m convinced they all think they’re Chihuahua size.
Halfway into our visit, she asked me to wash my hands and took me into the back room, I wasn’t sure what to expect. She said she had something that would instantly make me feel better. She was right.
One of her most lovable Bernese, Ivana, had just had puppies 5 days before. Refer to my post “Puppy Love” if you need a reminder of my love of puppies. BERNER PUPPIES?? Even better.
I remembered Ivana from my visit almost 3 years before. This is her second litter, and she makes such a wonderful mother. She did not mind me snuggling with one of her young pups in the least.
My heart melted. I thought constantly of Newton, but could I be sad while looking down at this little furry peanut? This new 1 lb puppy could not hear, could not see, couldn’t use the washroom by itself or even regulate it’s body temperature yet.
During the next hour I learned how amazing a mother’s natural instinct is. Ivana (mom) taught me how to burp one of her pups after feeding. The breeder showed me how Ivana regulates their body temperature, stimulates them to use the washroom and cares for each and every one of them. She talked about the next steps, what she’s looking for in a family for each one of them, and the vet visits that were coming up way too fast.
I then learned that this little girl I was holding was most likely going to a wonderful family in my hometown of Nova Scotia. How amazing is that!! I might see her again.
As I came home and reflected on this day, I realized I had been scared to go visit them. Now I realize how much joy they brought me. Newton would have loved these visits. I promised in my letter that I would visit his friends often and send his affection their way. I realize that through living up to this promise, it’s helped me take yet another step. I thought seeing other Bernese would sadden me, remind me of what I didn’t have anymore.
I realize now, that was silly of me. Of course these visits don’t make me sad. Newton loved them all. How could I be sad about that?
I needed this visit to help gain perspective. I’m so happy that I “pulled off the band-aid” and did it. What I thought was going to be just a step, turned into a wonderful visit with old friends – both human and canine. It reminded me of the simple things in life, and what my fiance wrote about shortly after we lost Newton,
“What I realized is this. Pets, Animals, Dogs, Newton… are generally simple beings. They eat, sleep, play… and love. You. In world that is totally messed up; the desire to acquire; be promoted; to be successful; our pets make life so very simple. Its easy to love them, to humanize them. In grand scheme of things, they dont care how much money you make or what your title is. They just want to be around you, and you want to be around them.”
– kudos to my fiance
Great words to live by. As I go through my own process of grieving, I’m thankfully reminded by Newton’s memories & other furry friends to stop and enjoy simple pleasures. Quit complicating the issues at hand, enjoy great things, stop dwelling on the bad. I’m thankful I’ve included many dogs in my life so they can remind me of this. In this case, it was taking the time to enjoy snuggling puppies and furry mommas alike. Appreciating a helpless newborn, the simplicity of what life can be like. Eat, Drink, Sleep, Play and Love, what amazing things we can learn from our canine friends. I celebrate that Newton helped form me into the dog crazy that I am, encouraging me to pick up the phone and make the call, which led to this wonderful visit.