They are disarmingly adorable and of course you fall in love with them. You are powerless in the thrall of their adorability. You’ve fallen into a quicksand of cuteness and it’s a good thing that they are so cute. Like babies, they were no doubt made that way for a reason. By the time you realize the truth, it’s way too late. You are done for.
The pile of puppies
The first time we ever laid eyes on Ollie and his 11 siblings they were all just a writhing mass of fur, brown eyes, and squish. Memory suggests that they were around the four-week mark, give or take. Very fresh and cute. Anyway, we were just there for a preview. They varied in colour from white to toffee and each had a different colour ribbon around its neck to identify it. All but five of the litter of 12 were already reserved. It was a self-evident truth that we would be taking that number down to four before leaving. Somehow a little beastie with a turquoise ribbon was placed in my son’s hands and that was the extent of the selection process.
My wife and I spent the first couple of weeks taking turns spending nights on the couch. This point, Olli resembled a potato with legs. Unlike a potato though, he had very limited bladder control. He would wake and need to be promptly gathered in one’s arms and taken outside. The available window of time was narrow so you had to be on your toes. Otherwise, relief would be taken on some patch of carpet or other. For that reason, the quality of sleep that we got on the couch was fitful at best. After about a week and a half of sleep deprivation I realized that I was basically wandering around in an impaired state.
Doing the math
Beyond taking care of number 1 there was also number two. There seemed to be a constant tally of when and how often. Each deposit that occurred outside of the house was considered an achievement to be celebrated. Keeping track of Ollie’s bodily excretions became the focus that we had obviously and so desperately needed in our lives.
We were motivated to get the dog into a crate and he took to it surprisingly quickly. With Ollie in his crate we were able to return to the bedroom and enjoy some solid, although somewhat abbreviated, sleep. Our days tended to start around 4:30 or 5 am but it was still a lifesaver. We quickly began to alter our nighttime routine and started going to bed early. We began to feel like functioning humans again.
Stomach on legs
Ollie will get into everything and by ‘get into’, I mean eat. He likes to chew paper, plastic, leather, nylon, lumber, sticks, rocks, and asphalt. This is only a partial list but you get the idea.
We have been cautioned by amateurs and professionals alike about the perils of obstructions in the digestive system and the surgeries that often follow. We do try to discourage it, typically through distraction or offering more appetizing alternatives like treats. At some point in the day though, it becomes too tiring and we just give up.
He is joy and frustration all rolled into one mischievous but very handsome package. He is still a very busy little guy and the centre of our time and attention. Young labs have energy to burn and burned it must be. Walks amuse them and give them opportunity to send and receive pee-mail but ultimately do not wear them out.
Ollie is almost 10 months old now. He has completely lost interest in sleeping in his crate and we just as quickly lost the will to enforce the rule. He sleeps at the bottom of our bed but please don’t judge us. The good news is that he sleeps like a teenager so everyone is well rested.
It is still difficult to find 5 minutes in a row and we still find ourslelves working around the dog’s schedule. You do things when the puppy is sleeping. Or you choose to put the puppy in doggy day care so you can have a sustained block of time to tackle chores. Certainly, there is little time or energy left to devote to writing blog posts.
There it is – I’ve blamed the dog for my inability to launch a blog post so my work is done.