17 September 2014

Adventures in Puppyhood

Way back in spring, Bo and I brought home a puppy we named Clara. She's a chihuahua-pekingese mix. She was nearly seven weeks when we brought her home, and is now about seven months old.

I'd been thinking about getting a puppy, but planned to wait until I was out of the apartment I was in. But a friend of Mimi's had a litter at her house, and offered us one, so we have a Clara-dog.

It's been interesting having a puppy, especially with the munchkins. When we first brought her home, Puck wanted little to do with her and we thought Clara would connect with Tink. But as Clara has grown into her personality, she and Puck have become nearly inseparable, while she and Tink are often at odds with one another. They don't fight, but it's clear that Clara likes Puck better (and sometimes Tink couldn't care less if Clara is around).

I think part of the tension between Clara and Tink stems from their personalities being so similar. I know that one is a human and one is a dog, but so often they react to things the same way or they both get "sassy" or they both have the same look of mischief that prompts me to ask "What are you doing?" Clara and Tink clash because they are so much alike in so many ways, the way sisters clash for the same reason. They fight like sisters, too. Clara gets bite-y when she plays, so Tink responds by trying to push Clara away, which Clara interprets as playing, and bites more.

Since I work from home, Clara and I have been together a lot more than Clara and Bo have been together, and Clara has developed a bit of jealousy when it comes to anyone else having my attention. I'm hers. Sometimes it's not a big deal, while other times Clara tries to physically put herself between me and the person taking my attention. (Lilly does the same thing sometimes.)

Because she's cute and small and still so much puppy, it's sometimes tempting to let her have the attention she's seeking when that happens. But, like two-legged munchkins, we can't form bad habits, now can we?

Now that she's a little older and clearly understands quite a bit of what's going on in the world around her, we're working on training her in a more concentrated way, teaching her basic commands and the Rules of the House. With mixed results.

One of the problems we're running into is that Clara knows she's cute, and tries to use that to get out of trouble. For example, if we scold her for getting into something, she runs up for attention with a look that says, "But you love me! You're not mad!"

Having a puppy in the house has reminded me of what it was like to have a toddler and a baby at the same time, except Clara is much quicker on her feet than Puck and Tink were.

I love Clara, and she's not going anywhere. In fact, one of the first days we had her, Puck asked me if we ever had to give Clara back. When I told him no, she is part of our family, he made me promise that she would be with us, wherever our family is.

Bringing Clara home did not happen the way I thought adding a puppy to our family would. But it has worked out better than I imagined. She truly is an important part of our family, and part of the memories we're making together.

Sometime in the future (years down the road), we hope to add another furbaby to our family. But for now, our rambunctious Clara is quite enough.


Add a little caffeine to my life...