Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Daphne’s Do’s and Don’ts


            My online “shelter stalking” finally caught my husband’s attention.  Either that, or the sweet cat I recently attempted to bring home (which aggravated his allergies until he couldn’t breathe and I had to bring it back feeling all kinds of guilty), made him gift me a puppy last week.
            Our little Daphne came into our veterinary hospital for a first puppy check and one of our technicians showed her to my husband.  He texted me, asking if I wanted a puppy.  I said, ‘Yes!  Yes!  Yes!’.  He said he’d send me a picture first.  I said, ‘Don’t bother.  I don’t care what it looks like.  I’m coming to take it home’.  And I did—two soft ears, four busy puppy feet, and a million needle-sharp teeth.
Her favorite place to sleep is on top of a pile (yes, a pile) of my kids’ shoes by the front door.  Her least favorite place to sleep is inside her kennel at night, but she’s getting progressively better at it—with the help of Benadryl, my Nora Jones CD (based on the theory that her singing makes me feel very, very sleepy), and taking her for a “drag” (the more accurate description of our walks thus far) right before bed.
            Little Daphne has been very good about the house training.  I don’t know why, but puppy potty training has always been so much easier for me than child potty training.  Wait, I know why—it’s called “biscuit-treats”.  I’ve been blessed with dogs that are incredibly food motivated and kids that are just as stubborn as I am.
Now that I’ve got four ‘kids’ to watch over (two dogs, a boy, and a girl—and, no, I’m not counting my husband), I feel like I’m saying ‘NO’, ‘DON’T’, and ‘STOP THAT’ every single minute of every single day. 
“Daphne, don’t yank on Daisy’s tail.  Stop going after Daisy’s rawhide.  Find one of your own to eat.  Don’t annoy Daisy.  Don’t bite my fingers, Daphne.  Here’s a stick.  Put that in your mouth, you little land shark.” 
Of course, I praise her, too.  “Good potty outside.  Here’s a treat, Daphne.”  (Sigh.)  “Here’s a treat for you, Daisy, for standing there and staring at me, with that string of drool dangling out of your mouth.”
I hear my six-year-old son instructing her as well.  “Don’t eat my man-man’s.  Don’t eat my tator head.” 
I inform Fred that if he doesn’t learn to pick up his toys, the puppy will destroy them.  Hey, maybe I can use this to my advantage!
At night, the version is:  “Kennel up, puppy.  Good dog.  Here’s a treat.  Stop barking.  Stop barking.  Stop barking.”  (Sigh.)  “Where’s my earplugs?”
Another problem with the night time pottying is that I hate going outside in the dark at 3 a.m.  It’s not the sleep deprivation that gets to me, it’s the fact that every single horror movie I’ve ever watched replays in my mind the instant I’m surrounded by the solid darkness.  It’s silly, but as my dogs frolic and play I scour the shadows for freaky people wearing paper bags over their heads.
            And, no, my dogs won’t protect me.  They’d be too busy asking for treats.  I’m on my own against any and all Boogeymen.
 (Now Daphne is almost two years old and sweet Daisy will be nine this summer.  They both still would do anything for a biscuit-treat.)




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