I thought I was prepared, but I was wrong.
What happened during the night? Nothing! From my perspective, at any rate. Balrog didn’t wake me during the night at all, so I came down, thinking “GREAT! I’ll just wake him, carry him out and let him do his bidniz. What a great start we’re off to!” But what met me was an enclosure with diarrhea EVERYWHERE. In the crate, on the toys, on the newspaper. Crusted and dried on Balrog. There were three “source puddles”, one in the bed, one on the floor and one, with an extra helping of pee, on the newspaper.Not the tiniest bit on the grassy patch. It was like a joke image. Next time some big accident happens, I’m taking pictures, because this is the side of things you rarely see on the web.
I gave him a bath, took him out, nothing. Of course not, he’s empty. Then I discovered the vet ordered in the wrong food. It was adolescent food, not puppy food! I wonder if that’s got something to do with the tummy, in addition to the stress of moving house, separation from mum, etc. I couldn’t get his cordon cleaned out because he was wild with energy and even when he wasn’t, I didn’t dare take my eyes off him in case he went again.
At this point, alone in this situation, having had no time to eat or drink any sort of liquids, I think I hit “bottom”. I sat against the wall and just cried. I’m not generally a crier. Some movies do it, but aside from that, I haven’t properly cried more times than I can count on one hand in fifteen years. So why did I? I felt like I was letting down Balrog, like I had made a huge mistake. I care so much. All I ever want is to give him a good home with people who can make him comfortable and happy. The plan I was following was NOT working, and I felt completely overwhelmed there and then.
Thank His Noodliness Lizi was here to help. Once she arrived on the scene this morning, I was able to get some food and coffee in me, and even get the area cleaned out. I brightened up a bit. Liz even did me a massive favour and went out to get me a housetraining spray that teaches pups where they’re allowed to smell, as well as a pet-appropriate disinfectant and odour remover, for cleaning up stains. She got new food, proper food bowls and some extra chew toys, since he seems completely obsessed with hair and furniture for some reason. I don’t know if this is a breeder-taught habit, but it’s yet another thing I have to keep in mind.
We’ll get this sorted, though. I’ve clawed my way back up, thanks in large part to Marit – who was there on Google talk, my lovely dog-owning friends on Facebook – who’ve been very supportive and made a lot of good suggestions, and finally Liz – who was incredible and helped me get to grips with everything by taking care of everything that I couldn’t right then. She’s even furnished me with ready meals for the next few days, which is good as my body seems to forget telling me I’m hungry today and I don’t have time to MAKE food, which is usually my wont.
We’ve had plenty of lovely time together today. We’ve played a lot, he likes his new toys, we even practiced sitting for about two minutes before he got bored. I can see more clearly that things will be all right with the right adjustments, but I can also see it’s a lot more work than I expected, even though I expected it to be more than I thought… If you get me.
Puppies are cute and lovely and adorable and so much fun… But – like a child – that’s only 20% of the time. The rest of the time is hard work and constant watching in the early days. From now on, I’ll take photos of any large mishaps. Because you know what? 99.99999% of puppy photos are cute and clean and lovely, but that is NOT representative of what owning a puppy is like most of the time.
If you want a puppy because of internet photos, don’t get a puppy. Just don’t. I came into this with lots of reading material and lots of preparation and having raised a golden retriever with my family and lived with an adult one was I was little, and still it’s a LOT harder than I could ever have imagined. It probably wouldn’t be so hard on me if I didn’t care so much, but that’s not an option.
So be warned.
In more positive news, he has finally started to accept the grass outside the house as his toilet. He now consistently goes for the grass to toilet both inside and out.
To let him get accustomed, I’ve let him kind of have the run of the kitchen/ livingroom area of the house, which is probably a mistake in hindsight. The cats have no “safe” path from the back door to the stairs in that arrangement, as they have to go through the kitchen. I made a day-time cordon at the sofa so he can’t access the areas the cats need to get around. He was an asshole about it for a bit but accepted it reasonably quickly.
Tonight, I’ll cordon him off again, but I’ll sleep on some cushions just outside the enclosure so I can hear him and he can hear and smell me. Hopefully, this will work. If that’s still not enough, we’ll see what I do.
EDIT: As an added bonus, someone made the connection between that shot and The Shining. Well, that set my Photoshop finger itchin’. The result: