In the fall of 2012, my kids and I said goodbye to one of the most gentle, friendly, intelligent and loving dogs I have ever known. He was our 12 year old Collie/lab and he was like a best friend to me. I miss him everyday.
Christmas of 2012 my children received what most children would love for a gift, a 3 month old puppy. I however, received the world’s most stubborn, hyper, neurotic, anxious and food obsessed puppy. The kids were happy, I on the other hand was not so happy.
I stupidly assumed the mix was a guarantee that he would be a wonderful dog like our first collie/lab. He was good for one day, the day he came home. Then all hell broke loose.
Having the new puppy was like having a new baby but worse because you can put a diaper on a baby. I was convinced that this dog was going to give me puppy postpartum depression.
The new puppy was impossible to house train, even with a 10 year old Bouvier as a role model. I would let him out 200 times a day. He would run out, try and eat poo, eat grass, sticks, the sandbox toys, bark at nothing then step 2 feet INSIDE the house and do his business on the floor (thank god for no carpets!)
Since the puppy was a lab mix he was convinced that he had to eat everything! He would eat, no sorry inhale a whole bowl of his food then 10 seconds later grab a new loaf of bread off the kitchen counter. He would eat the entire loaf, bag included before I could catch him. Once he took a 4lb bag of apples off the kitchen counter and ate them all, bag included again! The puppy broke into the porch and ate an entire bag of dog food, this was after I fed him! He looked like he swallowed a beach ball but that didn’t stop him from eating an entire box of cereal 5 minutes later. I looked but there is no puppy over eaters anonymous groups anywhere.
The puppy’s appetite is not limited to food. He loves any kind of poo (dog, cat, bird, his own) he loves shoes, boots and socks. He has chewed the thumbs off the oven mitts, eaten countless numbers of the kids toys, books, crayons. He ate the limbs of the kids doll house people too.
The puppy ate 4 seat belts in my van because I was being a responsible pet owner and had him buckled in his “doggie seat belt”
He has a storage container addiction. He smashes, shreds and chews every size of storage type container from snack size to large storage size. Then he eats whatever is inside the container.
He ate the stairs halfway up the stairs. Not while he was lying at the top, not while he was lying at the bottom but half way up! It was as if he was on his merry way up the stairs, stopped halfway and said “this is as good as place as any to start chewing something I’m not allowed to chew” and ate the stairs.
When the pup was a few months old I had him fixed. Apparently this would calm it down. It didn’t work!!! I dropped him off at the vet, I’ll admit I was a little excited that he would be “tired” for a few days. I know it sounds mean but the puppy never slept he was on a mission to destroy all day and was up all night barking or shredding the house. He was so out of control and unruly that I even had die hard dog lovers say why don’t you get rid of him (put him down or give him to a farm) and start over. I couldn’t do that, my kids loved this 4 legged tornado and he did have some good qualities.
The plan with getting him fixed was I needed to call at noon to see how he was doing then pick him up at 6pm. I called at noon and spoke to a very exasperated employee who told me “He is fine, he is better then fine. Don’t wait until 6pm , you need to come and pick him up immediately. He is howling, jumping and trying to climb out of the cage”
The vet says if the puppy was a human he would be a triathlon athlete, lucky me.
His first near death experience was when he ate a bottle of my daughters natural seratonin pills. The pills were in her backpack. This means he had to eat a hole into her back pack and find the bottle of pills and eat the bottle. I came home one day to find a VERY relaxed puppy and I was confused until I found the bottle open and broken capsules all over the floor.
His second near death experience was when he chewed, punctured and inhaled my brand new asthma inhaler. It was in a box, in a bag, in my suitcase under a bed and out of everything on a 4 story house he could have chewed that day he choose the inhaler. Ventolin is a steroid. When a dog inhales an entire inhaler worth of ventolin their heart rate jumps to over 200 and it can be fatal. He needed to be rushed to the vet, put on heart stabilizer medication, potassium medication and monitored. That cost this single mom $500 for an afternoon to keep the puppy alive.
Another near death experience the puppy had was when he chewed up and down the air conditioner cord (must have got zapped repeatedly) He eventually chewed completely through the cord, while it was plugged in and on. That day I had taken him to the dog park for almost 3 hours of non stop running as I had a BBQ to go to 2 doors over. I assumed he would be tired. I was very wrong.
I had my own unfortunate experience when he ate an entire large can of infant baby formula that was in the kitchen cupboard. This causes the puppy to have diarrhea. I didn’t see the diarrhea. I slipped in it and broke my wrist in 2 places. For the full story please read my “This single mom’s crappy yet funny situation” blog.
Most people are probably reading this thinking why the heck did this dog not get crate (cage) trained. My friends, I tried that. I bought a brand new cage. I put him in it. He pooped, peed and rolled in it. He threw the poop out of the cage every time he was put in it. That meant that the hyper puppy, his bed, the cage, the floor and sometimes the wall would need a bath every time he was locked in a cage. He also had such bad anxiety that he would ram the cage over and over with his head to the point he almost split his head open. I’m not an expert but I think a lot has to do with him being a pet store dog and spending his first few months of life in a cage.
I also spent hundreds of dollars and tried every pet training device and product pet valu sells. Nothing worked. The only thing that has worked is my never ending patience and time.
The puppy is now 16 months old and he has come a long way. He no longer jumps up and pulls the ponytail elastic out of my hair when I come home due to his anxiety.
He is almost completely house trained. The puppy no longer steals groceries right out of the bag as I walk in the door and inhales them before I can rescue the food. He has been fantastic for both my kids especially my 8 year old autistic son (watch for “boys best friend” blog coming soon) I am no longer regretting the day he came home as he is slowly turning into a really good dog. More funny puppy pics coming soon.
In the spring of 2013 I was a single parent of 2 special needs children. I ran a home day-care and home schooled my 7 year old autistic son. I was also desperately trying to train an neurotic, hyper, anxious 7 month old collie/lab puppy. This dog makes Marley (from the movie Marley and me) look like an angel.
By 7 months old he knew how to open doors and cupboards. Being a lab he was a compulsive eater and ate everything, non food items included. It was so bad I had installed french doors with a pad lock on my kitchen to keep him out of there.
One Wednesday morning the children (5 day-care and my 2) and myself left to do the school run. One of my kids left the kitchen door open and the puppy broke into the kitchen, into the cupboard and pulled out a brand new organic (couldn’t have been the cheap stuff) big container of powdered infant formula for one of the day-care kids. He pulled the plastic lid off, chewed his way through the metal seal, dove in and started eating.
When I came home I found him on the couch with his puppy head buried into the can of powered formula and powder all over the couch. Since he was drooling so much (must be good stuff) it looked like he was foaming at the mouth! I was so mad I pried the can out of his grasp and put him in the back yard so I could clean up the powered formula and dog slobbered mess on the couch and floor.
The day continued as usual, the puppy ran around, played with the kids, tried to eat shoes, chewed on the wall, chased the cat and barked at his own shadow.
After work, my kids and I went to swimming lessons then off to the grocery store. We returned home at about 8 o clock to a puppy who was convinced we were never coming back and destruction every where. Why was this dog not in a cage? That’s a whole other blog.
I put the puppy outside and we brought the groceries in the house. Being a single working parent I am always running so I went running down the 2 stairs to my sunk-in living room, slipped and fell very hard on my arm. I heard a horrible snapping/popping sound when I hit the floor and immediately felt nauseous.
My kids heard the commotion and came running in to find me calmly lying on the floor, on my back holding my wrist. They both started to cry, me on the other hand from having a life that was always full of excitement was cool as a cucumber. I looked at my daughter and said “please put the groceries away so the puppy doesn’t eat them” and looked at my son and said “please bring me my cell phone so I can call your grandparents to come get you both, I have broken my arm”
While lying on the floor and waiting for my parents to arrive the shock from the fall started to wear off. That’s when I realized that I was wet. Oh no, did I pee my pants? I had heard of people going into shock and peeing their pants, I’m going to just die if that’s why I am wet. Then I realize no, I’m cold wet I must have slipped on something on the floor. Gross, its probably puppy pee, that dog was impossible to house train. I lifted my head and looked at my white socks that were now brown. Then I realized what happened. Puppy diarrhea, I slipped on puppy diarrhea and broke my arm?!?!? Ignoring the pain of my arm I jumped up and screamed “Get these clothes off of me!” This was a neat freak, germ-a-phob’s worst nightmare! I marched up stairs to get changed and that’s when I saw the real mess I’ll spare the details but it was me, a broken arm, and lots of cleaning.
By the time the grandparents arrived I had gotten most of the mess cleaned up and changed my clothes. I left the puppy and my 11 year old dog who was giving me a look that said “I never liked that puppy anyways” at my house. The grandparents took my 2 very upset kids to their place for the night, while I got dropped off at emergency.
The 5 hours I waited to see the doctor I kept patients and staff entertained with funny stories. I have always been able to take the worst situation and turn it funny. However when you slip on puppy diarrhea and break your arm it requires zero effort to make people laugh with that.
The doctor finally looked at my x-rays and told me I did a good number on my arm. I broke my wrist in 2 places (the joint and the other bone), so badly the bones were twisted and over lapped. I needed a “reduction” which is a fancy way of saying the doctor is going to pull, twist and pop your bones back together. In the emergency room this requires the patient being put under because it is very painful and gross.
The nurse arrived to put my IV in and as always they could not find a good vein. She tried for about an hour poking me over and over. I have had many operations in my life but IV is the one thing that I cannot stand. After about 10 minutes of being a pin cushion my patience and sense of humor was gone. She gave up after an hour and said she needed to find someone else to put the IV in. Is that even allowed? Are medical professionals allowed to throw their hands up and say I give up while a patient is waiting patiently to have their wrist snapped back together?
A few hours later 2 more nurses arrived and took me to the operating room where they both tried to get the IV in for over an hour! They still hadn’t given me any pain medication at this time. What is NOT helpful to someone who is in pain, tired and gets totally grossed out with IV’s is attacking them over and over with the needle saying “see I can get it in and feel the vein wall but nothing!”
After a very long time of being poked they got the IV in and put me out. Here’s a news flash, when a doctor has to use all his strength to yank, pop, pull and twist a wrist that has been broken in 2 places back together it hurts. I woke up in an arm cast in a lot of pain and very angry. They gave me straight morphine and it didn’t even touch the pain, and I’m a person who doesn’t even take an advil unless absolutely necessary.
I got out of the hospital at 5am in pain, in a cast and had 7 kids (my 2 and 5 day-care kids) to care for, cook for and clean up after starting at 8am. The joys of being self employed. Obviously taking pain medication while caring for 7 kids is a no no so I put my head down and went to work.
What happened to the puppy? I still have him. He has eaten much worse since then and had a few near death experiences because of it. This gives me more to write about. My wrist has never healed properly, I did find some natural medication that helped speed healing and reduce the pain but those are story’s for another time.