Philomena. busy

This week’s pupdate:

Philomena is a very busy young dog.  We are all about redirection around here as well as making sure our new puppy gets enough exercise to keep her energy at a reasonable level.  While it is tiring, as she still wakes a time or two for a tinkle in the middle of the night, we are also having a tremendous amount of fun.  Philomena makes us laugh.  A lot.  (ps. a frozen wet washcloth is great for teething.  Better than toes, frozen or otherwise.)

Philomena is engaging and curious and quite a quick learner.  Last night at bed time, she didn’t even whine when she was placed in her kennel den for the night.  She then awoke once at 530 am to go outside, only to go back to sleep in her den until we were ready to get up for the day.  She’s figuring out her routine amidst our lives here, and trying her best to make friends with Charlie.

Charlie is having none of it.  We respect her in this regard.

After all, Charlie did not choose to get a puppy.

Yesterday Philly walked all the way around a neighborhood block here.  It took some coaxing with small bits of chicken to get her to come along, but in the end I think she was glad she did.  She is getting to know the neighborhood a bit.

After her walk, which required her walking with the leash, she was given a bit more freedom.  Philomena used her free time to chew on a stick.  It’s life’s little pleasures, isn’t it?

Today, a work day, Philly donned her leash once more for a neighborhood jaunt.  On this walk, colder and more windy, she was carried a bit of the way.  But there were still bits of chicken for paying attention to me and for listening when I call her name, and all in all this too was a fine walk indeed.

In a time which seems like a lifetime ago, I used to run marathons as a sort of side hobby.  I ran the weekdays with babies in a stroller and managed a long run on the weekends.  In the end I took on 7 of these races and while I was no Olympian, I managed to place now and then.  More importantly I made some friends and kept in touch with the self in me that had nothing to do with early motherhood.  Raising small children, while undoubtedly a most rewarding and important job, is lonesome and occasionally mind-numbingly dull work.  Marathoning gave me a balance amidst it all and enabled me to be a bit of a better mom.  Essentially, I ran marathons to survive early motherhood.

Now it would seem that coin is flipped.  The pandemic we are experiencing in the world is no sprint.  It is definitely more of a marathon.  I heard from friends in the UK that lockdowns are in place once more there.  There are no lockdowns here, though we are experiencing a difficult season indeed. .  The United States is once again acting like the lawless wild west of old, relying on people to make up their own rules along the way.  As a result, we are dying in droves.  While the vaccine roll-out does bring some hope, there is no end in sight to this pandemic.  As Kristin Wigg of SNL fame put it the other day, “the trouble with a light at the end of the tunnel is that finally we can see how bad the tunnel really is.”  I agree with her.  And so we trudge along this marathon route, step by step, day by day, best we can.  And to weather this marathon, we got a puppy.

Something about the structure that raising a new puppy requires, as well as the constant navigation of a fairly steep learning curve (each dog is a new universe in and of itself, is it not?), takes us outside of the panic in the world at large.  Much like the structure of marathon running helped me deal with the panic of being a clueless young mother so long ago.  I am so grateful for this.

And so here we are.  A week in.  Already in love.  Registered for puppy kindergarten in January.  This may or may not lead to some agility work for this little pup who is, indeed, a handful as we expected her to be.  But while she is a handful at times, she is also the sweetest little thing.

When she settles down I enjoy doing a sketch of her.

There is no better way to get to know a dog than to draw them.

Ever moving, growing like a weed, it is hard to keep up.

But I aim to try.

 

Mischief and Moxie

We begin a new chapter in recent days.  One filled with the sweetness of a puppy’s young breath while haunted and hunted by the pandemic.  The weekend saw us driving northward a bit to collect a new dog whom we now call Philomena Amaryllis.  A big name for a big personality.  We are still getting to know her.

We encountered her through a local heeler group as I’ve been keen to get an Australian Cattle Dog mix of some sort.  A dog who can keep up with my miles in the morning, Hub’s miles in the evening, and everything in between. They called her number 9 and something in her eyes reminded me of our wild and wise Iris Rose whom we lost last winter.  We still grieve, but life goes on in spite of that.

We inquired about this young pup in particular and I enjoyed getting to know the young woman who would bring her to us once she was ready.  Along the way she sent us routine photos of the pups and their parents, apparently from a farm home.  I didn’t ask too many questions.  Puppies are puppies and they provide us with a blank slate of possibility.  They were clean and well cared for, what more could we want?

We made our decision to adopt number 9.

And so we brought her home a couple of days ago and things are fairly puppy centered in our home just now.  I’m feeling a bit sleep-deprived and depleted with night-time puppy scheduling on top of some recent health challenges.  But we are really happy with our new puppy.  At least most of us are…..

Charlie, our sweet “canine house-cat” is not too keen on Phil’s addition to the family.  But they occasionally find a peaceful moment.

We remain diligent in making sure Charlie’s quality of life and personal boundaries are respected and maintained, even with the addition of a rambunctious new pup.  We give Phil plenty of time and space to run.  I find her enchanting and engaging.

Phil was in a motley way when me met her, smelling of regurgitated puppy food as her brother had gotten a bit car sick on the drive down to us for the hand off.   So much for her pre-trip bath!

We got her cleaned up and wrapped up and headed for home.  She hardly moved a muscle the whole drive.  Except when she was nursing in her dreams.

Arriving home we are already figuring out our schedule again as a household.  We’ve dealt with the changing landscape of early puppyhood in the past and know that nothing lasts long.  We simply spend time observing and correcting, training and treating.  It’s a fun and fleeting time. 

This week our talented builder, who’s been singlehandedly rebuilding our back room, tested positive for Covid-19.  We have not had much indoor contact with him, and when we have it was always masked, but this is nevertheless quite worrisome.  And so now we quarantine here with our new puppy.  Socialization with neighbors and friends outdoors will have to wait until we make sure we are all healthy and well.  Soon the spectre of the coronavirus will be made slightly less grim by the arrival of a vaccine.  We merely bide our time in the meantime and try to keep hopes high.

This is not difficult to do with a new puppy in the house.

Today we are walking out in the yard more, allowing Phil to explore while teaching her that we are the source of all good treats and pats.  We learn that she is really into traipsing through dried plant life in the garden and this brings her endless pleasure.

It is my sincerest hope that this activity will make for a restful night.  But we shall see.  This is puppyhood after all.  We remain patient and diligent in equal measure.

You’ll be seeing a lot of Phil on this blog in due time.  Drawings, paintings and the like.  Dogs are my muse after all.  Such a close tie to Nature itself.  They remind us of our wild selves, all the while weaving themselves into our domestic lives and reminding us to root down into a settled life in the moment.  We needed more of this concept in our lives after this devastating year.

Dreams, it would seem, do come true…..