So down to Ocala we went. When we got to the breeder’s and met the pup and her parents, I could see why she was the last one left in the litter. She was perfectly content with herself and her toys and wasn’t bouncing up and down to see the new people… most people will take the first puppy that comes to them. We found out that the original litter was 10: 5 boys and 5 girls. A really large litter for a tiny dog like a bichon. Two of the boys were lost early and the other three were stillborn. The five girls all survived. The mom was really interested in us…
more than the pup was almost. The breeder liked that we knew the owners of one of his other pups. The pup was quiet the whole time… no yapping or barking at all, like we were afraid of. After asking more questions and cuddling with the pup more, we decided that we definitely wanted to get her. We filled out some paperwork, got the paperwork from him (she’s AKC registered), handed over the money (within our original budget), and after he gave us some food, one of her toys, and a collar and leash, we were on our way back home with our pup.
We put a jumper of Chris’ on my lap and I held her in the car. She whimpered as we pulled away from the breeder’s and I felt like we were doing the worst thing ever in taking her away from her mom. She continued to whimper and whine for about 20 minutes, as I held her and said “It’s okay… You’re okay.” She looked at Chris intently the entire ride. Eventually, she settled and I was able to get a picture of her and post it to facebook. It still felt a little surreal that we had a puppy. That she was our puppy and we were bringing her home. To our home. In the car, we starting brainstorming names a little. I suggested Cecelia, which Chris didn’t like. Katy was an option. And then Chris suggested Elphie. As in, Elphaba… as in Wicked. It seemed to work, but we didn’t want to jump into a name too soon. We brought her home, where we had one of her beds (we’d ordered a second one when it looked like the first wouldn’t ship for a month) and her crate and toys all set up for her.
Yesterday, Chris found some videos on his phone. Check out Elphie meeting her duck (who would become her new best friend).
We got right on exposing her to new things. Our friends Bruce and Nikki came over that first night for dinner and she did great with the new people. Scott, Ashley and their baby came over the next night and so Elphie met a baby for the first time. That Thursday, she went to her first vet appointment and then we took her to meet my parents. A week after we brought her home, she came to a family dinner at my parents and met my brothers and sister-in-law and their baby. Two infants in one week! After a little bit of whimpering and a second “good night” the first night, she slept through the night from Night One and has done ever since.
We had the joys of potty training to deal with. I had a plan… had done ever since the first puppy that we hadn’t gotten. I knew I wanted to crate train her. Since, as a puppy, she wouldn’t be able to avoid accidents, I wanted to have a baby gate set up in the kitchen and keep her to the kitchen (the rest of our apartment is carpeted) when she might have an accident. We got puppy pads and worked on training her to go on those when she did need to go. Accidents happened, of course. And as the weeks went on, accidents on the carpet have pretty much stopped. When we take her outside, we walk her in one patch of grass first. When she does her business, she gets to explore and go elsewhere. Our big issue with her now is barking at other dogs while we’re walking. She’s so excited and she wants to go meet them… but we don’t want to reward the barking. We’re working on that with her. Taking her to the dog park to meet more dogs in a more neutral territory (I think she thinks she owns the whole complex here).
She did not like her first carrier at all. It was small and soft… I thought it would be nice for carrying her around it. She didn’t agree. We got her a larger carrier and she took to it immediately. It was great for when we took her down to St. Pete with us for the day (to see relatives) and it’s great for taking her somewhere with only one of us. She got to meet her brother, Buddy, and even got to spend a couple days with him when we went down to South Florida to see friends. They got along amazingly and need to have another play date again soon.
She’s been to the groomer once. She was practically catatonic when we picked her up. We thought we had the wrong dog. I think she was just overwhelmed and so shut down a little bit. I can relate to that. We’d given her a bath at home before that and I’d been brushing her every couple of days, but I’m sure that there was so much going on, she didn’t know what was happening. We’ve given her a few more baths since. She doesn’t love it yet. I don’t know what it particular… she doesn’t mind rain, so it’s not an aversion to water in general. It’s something we’re working on. We didn’t love the first vet we took her to, so on the recommendation of some of Chris’ co-workers, tried a new vet. The new vet’s office is much better. It’s about 25 minutes away, so less than convenient, but the staff and the vets are much more friendly and they gave us a goodie bag with tons of awesome stuff and information. We switched her from the food she was on to California Natural. There were some bumps along the way, but once her tummy adjusted, the switch was great. And then the pet store ran out and we’ve been having to give her wet food from the same brand this week. They’ll have more in on Monday. Phew. Her breath stinks on the wet food.
She’s pretty much the cutest thing ever. I mean, I might be biased, but I don’t think it’s that much of an exaggeration. And she’s very photogenic. I’ve taken more pictures of her than my brother has his two month old son. She’s getting bigger and bigger every day. And I love her so very much. I think she loves us quite a lot, too. She’s the perfect pup… she’s cuddly, but fun and playful. Too playful sometimes… she’s slammed herself into walls or table legs at high speed a couple times. She’s making us more social as we walk her and meet our neighbors. She’s got a boxer mix boyfriend called Mozart who lives across the way and a min-pin friend named Starbucks on the other side of the complex.
Most importantly, she does give me something to take care of. And something to take care of myself for. I’m keeping the apartment cleaner (well, the Dyson that Chris got helps with that, too), and doing what needs to be done more rather than just sitting on the couch and moping when I get home from work. Yeah, she adds some stress sometimes, too, like the time that she pooped and stepped all in it, getting it all over the kitchen floor, five minutes before I had a telephone interview. But at the end of the day, she’s cute enough to make up for all that.