Living With Animals: News From The Front Lines
By Hope Bidegainberry on November 26, 2018
A few weeks back I introduced readers to Lola, the newest addition to my family. So news from the front lines of life with puppy, here’s the first of what I imagine will be an occasional series of updates.
As someone who prefers when friends have swimming pools, small children and puppies (all wonderful but all arguably best enjoyed when others have the responsibilities), things are actually going quite well with our now approaching 3-month-old, approaching 3-pound Chihuahua-mix. (You may recall, mostly Chihuahua mom gave birth in a precarious utility yard, she and her litter of six rescued and raised by the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA. Current theory regarding paternity tends towards Maltese. Try to wrap your tongue around Malhuahua.) Best news ever, she loves her crate (a safe place for most dogs, naturally denning animals, when introduced slowly and supportively) and is currently sleeping through the night, a skill that took our human daughter years to develop.
Hooray for the pluses, but when awake little Lola has two selves: the much-preferred snuggler, and the not-so-fabulous puppy piranha. Remember the James Bond villain with the literal teeth of steel in “The Spy Who Loved Me”…? While Lola’s are fortunately much teensier, we continue to work on what behaviorists call “redirecting” which is essentially shrieking in pain when the arch villain snares a nostril or earlobe, followed by shoving a chewable toy (one which is not part of your body) into the pup’s gaping maw. We’re getting there, with about a thousand chewable toys and a lot of Band-Aids to prove it. Stinky Louise, our cat, has so far managed to keep above the 4-inch tall puppy with very stubby legs, and you can see Lola wonder when she too will be able to leap seamlessly from floor to kitchen counter. Potty-training is also a work-in-progress that Lola seems to understand but only when she stops to think about it, such “thinking” on the increase but by no means yet perfected. So why does one do this? Why does anyone fall in love at all? Because it is the best thing for both people and dogs!