Are You Furever in Love with Puppies?

Puppies. Puppy faces. Wiggly puppy bodies. Puppy breath. I can’t get enough. Are you furever in love with puppies like I am? 

I’ve had an on-and-off relationship with dogs my whole life. I’m told my first dog was a Cocker Spaniel named Buttons. Sadly, as a toddler, I helped let him outside once too often. I remember little of my childhood. I was in grade school when we got our next dog. Sammy was a pound puppy—okay, not really a puppy—but to me all dogs are puppies. But four kids and a day care and a rambunctious sixty-pound dog was too much for my mom. Sammy stayed outside. So I liked dogs, but I wasn’t overly fond of them.

Months after DH and I married, he spoke about his love affair with a tiny pekinese mix named Bear. Bear had been “lost” to his first wife in their divorce.

NEMO

Image of my Miniature Schnauzer puppy, Nemo  whom I'm furever in love
Baby Nemo

He talked about Bear a lot. So when post-op depression took hold of DH, I decided it was time to get a dog. Since DH is allergic to everything, I researched “non-allergenic” dogs. Surfing puppy pictures, a funny feeling started growing inside me. I found a Miniature Schnauzer pup and brought him home. Nemo (2001-2011) was the perfect dog at the perfect time. (Have your tissues ready and read my goodbye to Nemo.)

My salt-and-pepper mini schnauzer all grown up and handsome
Nemo, miniature schnauzer

COSMO

Cosmo, a blonde schnauzer mix

We soon decided Nemo needed a friend, a pack mate. I found an ad for a Schnoodle (Miniature Schnauzer-Poodle mix). We brought Cosmo (2002- 2015) home. I hadn’t done my due-diligence and when we finally got papers on Cosmo. He wasn’t a Schnoodle but a Standard Schnauzer-Bichon Frise mix. That explained both his size and his tendency to walk on his hind legs. He could walk all the way around the table or along the counter and never touch it. But he could snatch a goodie from either surface and snarf it down in a second. My vet called him my clown dog. And he was a lovable clown all of his days.

Cosmo and Nemo posing for the camera
A clown who adored his big brother.

ASTRO

Baby Astro sits pretty for a treat with big brother Nemo watching

I loved all my dogs but still had puppy fever. And Astro (2005 — ), my first Yorkshire Terrier, came into my life. At less than five pounds, he was and is my first furever puppy. In early 2017, he began having seizures. The vet said he probably had a brain tumor. She warned us that our time with him was limited. His condition grew worse. I blogged about that in my post, My Dear Old Dog. I’m happy to report that his health turned around and he’s still with us. Still an independent little guy who loves to have his head scratched.

Astro, Nemo, and Cosmo ducked between the curtain and the front window to stare out into the yard.
The three amigos loved watching the front yard from atop our loveseat in the window.

GIZMO

Gizmo hiding near mom on his first day
Gizmo’s first day with us.

In 2014, Unleashed, my local pet rescue folk advertised they had a Yorkie available. They estimated his age at around 3 or 4 years. I couldn’t help it. I went to see him. Poor thing quivered and cowered in the crate he was in. He practically jumped into my arms and promptly nestled up against my chest and sighed. You know I had to bring him home. We named him Gizmo (2010?—).

 NEO

baby neo

With Cosmo gone, my little pack of fur babies needed another companion. We brought Neo (2017 — ) home. I blogged a bit about him in We Interrupt This Blog. Neo is energy and love and energy. He can barely sit still for a treat but he wants in your lap and both your hands petting him for the thirty seconds he can sit still.

grown up neo still a puppy

Furever in Love

My three dogs I'm furever in love with these puppies
The bed was in the empty shelf but they wanted to be closer to mom working at her computer.

I admit it. I am furever in love with puppies. Luckily, Yorkies are furever puppies. Now with three Yorkies at my feet or in my lap all day, I am —content. Just don’t tell me about a Yorkie that needs rescued or a Yorkie pup for sale… But do tell me about your fur babies or puppies or other critters you love.

The Growth and Development of the Puppy Are the Same as the Novelist

As readers of this blog know, I have a puppy. His name is Neo. He’s almost 9 months old now. He’s still a baby. Neo entertains me, delights me, and sometimes frustrates me. And being a puppy he grows through developmental stages. But I’ve also realized that the growth and development of the puppy are the same as the novelist. Now you’re looking at me like I’m stupid. Bear with me, I’ll explain.

Neonate (Week 0-2)

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The puppy is blind and deaf and toothless. He can touch and taste but cannot regulate his body temperature. Growing fast, he needs to eat every two hours. He interacts with mother and her siblings and starts learning simple social skills.

The neo-novelist can read and write. She is hungry and consumes copious amounts of how-to-write books, blog posts, paper, and office supplies. She stays close to home and may interact with a mentor and fellow writers. Simple writing skills develop.

The Transition Period (Week 2-4)

The puppy’s eyes open. He starts to respond to sounds, and lights, and movement. He usually crawls but he can stand and stumble around. His baby teeth begin to come in. He also begins to realize when he is passing waste.

The new writer’s eyes are open when she realizes that she’s written dozens of story beginnings that go nowhere. The awful beginnings are a pile of—are shoved in the drawer. She can string sentences together into paragraphs and pages. Her sense of story is beginning to develop. She understands that writing is a skill. She reads tons and experiments with different kinds of writing. A wobbly first draft is written. The draft morphs into something that has little walking power. She learns that there are layers of writing and when done well her words bark.

The First Socialization Period (Week 4-7)

It’s time to introduce the pup noises, people, and other pets in your home. Good experiences will shape how the pup interacts with these things later in life. Mother teaches the puppy not to bite all the time and she begins to wean the pup. At about 5 weeks of age, the puppy begins to enjoy playtime.

The young writer learns to play with words, with ideas, with concepts. She practices her skills. She interacts with other writers, with readers, and people in general. Positive reinforcement is critical to her continued growth. She gets guidance from reading, from critique groups, and/or from mentors.

The Second Stage of Socialization & The Fear Period (about Week 8-12)

The pup may go through a fear stage. Everything frightens him, even things he has known and tolerated in the past. He learns simple commands. He sleeps better through the night and has better control of his bladder and bowels.

The young writer fears she’s too isolated and that her creativity and will shrivel up. She’s afraid she’s an imposter. Fears send many pages to File 13. Interactions with other people help her recognize character traits and goals. She learns to control her writing and to command the story, though sometimes the story commands her.

The Juvenile Stage (3-4 months)

At this stage, the pup is more independent and may ignore commands. He starts to test authority. He needs gentle reminders that allow him to learn who he is, but remind him of how to interact with others.

The writer starts to write what she wants because she wants to. The story grows on the page. She may go through a stage where she ignores the tried and true writing guidelines. Gentle critiques will help her grow, help her learn when to ignore the guidelines and when to follow them.

The Ranking Stage (3-6 months)

The pup is somewhat bratty, willful, and independent. He’s understanding ranking and testing where he fits in the pack. He is also teething.

The writer looks around and compares herself to others. She knows she is a better writer than some and fears she’ll never measure up to others. She chews on her writing with greater and greater complexity.

Adolescent Stage (6-18 months)

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The puppy may look full grown, but he’s still learning. He is full of energy and exuberance. He may go through another fear period. But he still needs training and guidance.

The journeyman writer writes what she knows. Her writing has matured. She writes with energy and exuberance. She may hit the fear of being an imposter during this time. Her support group offers her reassurances, training, and guidance. Her writing continues to mature.

Adulthood (18 months and older)

The pup matures into a loyal companion who works hard, plays hard, and loves with his whole body.

The journeyman writer writes on a professional level. She works hard at something she loves with her whole being. And she continues to learn and grow. Now she’s aware that her next spurt of development will take her skills to a higher level. The journeyman writer recognizes that this is how she grows in her craft and leans into the process.

How Long Does It Take?

Puppies don’t become adults until they’re 1 to 2 years of age. Remember we claim that dog ages are the equal of seven years of adult human life. Does that mean 7 to 14 years must pass for us to become mature in our creativity? For some, it may be shorter and others it may be longer. How can you speed the process? Stay open to learning new things, read and read and read, and write and write and write.

Now you know how the growth and development of the puppy are the same as the novelist. You can be a puppy novelist, too. Work hard, play hard, and love the process. I know I do.

My Dear Old Dog

Astro is my first Yorkshire Terrier, my first Pocket Pup. He’s my dear old dog, the oldest dog I’ve ever owned. (My cat lived to a dignified 22 years young.) Astro will turn 14 next month. Our time together is running out.

I have had dogs off and on for my entire life and I’ve loved them all. But Astro stole my heart. Dogs, heck most pets, give unconditional love. This tiny Pocket Pup has more love in his tiny five-pound frame than all my dogs put together.

The breeder allowed me to visit Astro when he was six weeks old. I was smitten immediately.

My dear old dog at a very young age. Now I prepare to say goodbye.

He was a tiny bundle of joy when we brought him home.

We nearly lost him to dehydration when he got sick a week after he came home. Thanks to the emergency vet, he survived.

 

He loved his big brothers Nemo and Cosmo.

Nemo crossed the rainbow bridge first.

When we brought home a rescue dog, Gizmo, Astro cuddled right up to him.

Astro loves his pack. He cries when one of his four-legged ‘brothers’ leaves to go to the vet or grooming or a walk. He was despondent when his older brothers passed. Gizmo comforted him.

Being with his people is almost as important as being with his brothers. When he was younger, he jumped fearlessly up onto the sofa to be with us. He’s slower, frailer now. We lift him up to sit with us.

He’s lived a pampered life with plenty of treats, lots of petting, and tons of adoration. I’ve learned to groom him. I swear I cut off at least two sweaters worth of hair when I groom him. I don’t know what he’d weigh without his hair. I say he’d look a lot like a chihuahua. My husband says he’d look like a tall rat. He’s not that tall.

During the past few years, his signs of aging have increased. There are more gray hairs. He has severe cataracts. And he’s lost most of his front teeth (he still has his molars and still prefers hard food.) Sometimes he sleeps a lot.

The thing that is most worrisome is that he has seizures. At first, we thought he’d eaten something bad. But the seizures continued. We thought he might have epilepsy. But that’s not the case either. The vet believes the seizures are due to a brain tumor. He was old enough when this started that we chose not to subject him to frightening or painful procedures.

We watch over him during his seizures. Make him as comfortable as possible. Watch that he can breathe and that he doesn’t hurt himself. And we give him the space and time he needs to recover. And he does recover. He still loves to cuddle, and eat, and drink. He roams the yard and ‘protects’ us from dangers on the other side of the door (postal service employees, delivery folk, even neighbors, and family).

It’s hard to watch him have a seizure. What’s most difficult is that he’s losing his way. At first, he acted dazed after a seizure. Usually, that would last less than five minutes. Over time, that dazed period has grown longer.

Now, he gets lost. He gets up to get a drink of water and cannot find his way to the water bowl. Or, he cannot find his way back to his comfy doggy bed. I’ve tried calling him. Sometimes he doesn’t hear me. If he bumps into anything in transit, he gets ‘lost.’ He turns a wrong direction and walks. Sometimes, he’s stuck in a loop of walking. He doesn’t know where he’s going, but he must walk. Sometimes I herd him toward the water bowl or the door or his crate. Sometimes he stumbles around until he finds his way.

We know his time with us is drawing to an end. But for as long as he loves to cuddle. As long as he eats and drinks and is part of our pack, we will love and hold him close and give back unconditional love for as long as he needs it. Saying goodbye to my dear old dog will be hard. Remembering his playfulness, his joy, and his love is easy.

13 Things For Which I Give Thanks

I give thanks for many things. This week of gratitude would not be complete without listing these in particular.

FAMILY

I give thanks for Family--Image of family members posing with the Grinch

I give thanks for family--Image of extended family members around a round table, enjoying Chinese food,

INCLUDING GRANDCHILDREN

Near and Far

(in no particular order of preference or date)

Image of my grandson and I mugging for the camera, one more of the  13 things for which I am thankful
Images of three of siblings, grandchildren who are one of the  13 things for which I am thankfulone of my youngest grandchildren in the park--another of the  13 things for which I am thankful

FURRY FAMILY

Image of my young pup snuggling with my oldest yorkie, more of the  13 things for which I am thankful

FRIENDS

Imagine YOUR photograph here.

You thought I’d try to put in photos of all my friends? I love you all! I would not want to miss any of you.

HOME

that shelters me from all kinds of weather

Photo taken from my front door shows my porch & neighborhood in near white out conditions. A roof over my head is one of the  13 things for which I am thankful

 snowmagedon 2013

FOOD3 homemade pumpkin pies on my counter, food is one of  13 things for which I am thankful

COFFEE

the elixir of my life!

A cup of coffee--definitely one of 13 things for which I am thankful
Latte Art by Morten Rand-Hendrickson Flickr CC

MEDICINE

and how modern medicine has sustained the lives of those I love

Image of a 1920s medical office, photo taken at the St Joseph Hospital museum. Medicine is another of the 13 things for which I am thankful.

MUSIC

all varieties


Treble cleft and notes, Music is one of 13 things for which I am thankful

TECHNOLOGY

icons on iphone, another of the 13 things for which I am thankful

image of an open notebook with a pen, an open laptop computer, a cup of coffee and an iphone--more of the 13 things for which I am thankful

NATURE

in all its variety

an image of a waterfall surround by lush greenery and pink flowers--nature is another of the 13 things for which I am thankful

My Health

FINISHING MY EVERLASTING MANUSCRIPT!

 I give thanks because I could type these words image of the words THE END.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Have a safe and happy day and, of course, stuff yourself with all your favorite foods. But also, take a moment to be grateful for the people, places, animals, and things that make your life better. Need some ideas? Here are 20 weird things I’m grateful for. Remember, you are one of the 13 things for which I give thanks. Thank you for reading, for coming back, and for all your support.

 

We Interrupt this Blog. . . .

Sometimes Life gets in the way of creation. Life with a capital “L.” I’ve had more of those interruptions in the past ten years than there are flowers in the field. Yes, that’s a slight exaggeration. Unfortunately, it’s only a slight exaggeration. Today, though, the interruption is fun!

Last Sunday we brought a new puppy home. I’d like to introduce you to Neo.

He’s a purebred Yorkshire Terrier, eight weeks old, and a little shy of two pounds in this picture. He’s a bundle of joy and energy. (I’d forgotten how much energy a puppy has and takes!) He’s adapted to his new life and family well.

He slept through his first night (and each one thereafter). He loves to snuggle with the stuffed dog we got him. (The blanket is from Motley Kennels–thank you!) 

Our two older yorkies sleep in the crate next to his. They are adapting, too. They are old enough they don’t appreciate the puppy’s energy and are jealous of the attention he gets. They try to avoid him and at the same time get equal attention from me and hubby. But when they’re sleeping, their buddies. lol

In addition to the new pup, I’ve been working on the final scenes of My Soul to Keep and taking an online class on an update to this website. I can’t wait to reveal to you what I’ve been learning in my class.

Next week we resume the Reader’s Interview series with answers from Cindy.

Stay tuned for a re-designed website coming in November and an announcement about my WIP, My Soul to Keep.