If you ever want to check how young you actually are, then babysit a puppy!
Puppies will test you to your physical, emotional and mental limit. (in a good way, that is!)
It's hard work! And I'd forgotten just how hard. But the 'sunbeam', known as 'LEXI' has arrived in our household.
There's the endless task of picking up poo's, cleaning up puddles, watching my step, realising how un-childproof my house is, etc, etc. As a committed puppy owner, I go the extra mile - watching my voice tone, my responses, body language, nuances...where to praise, where to ignore, ensuring that every experience she has at this impressionable time of her life is a good one.
This means that I am relatively housebound - at least for the first month. Safety is also one of my biggest priorities because puppies get into EVERYTHING! They are explorers of note. Their sleep cycles clash with ours and we use their 'sleep' times to catch up on our own daily household chores. By the time our chores are finished, the puppy is awake and the whole process starts from the beginning. It's a contrast between exhaustion and exhilaration.
Having two senior dogs in the house adds a further dynamic...I have to recognise the hierachy that exists and honour the matriarch. I have to put the cuteness factor of Lexi aside and remember that this little fluffball will become older, bigger, wiser...very soon! Whatever I do now affects her behaviour in the many years to follow...and I want to entrench gentleness in my pack.
Remember, my puppy is growing at an alarming rate. I have to introduce her to new sounds, equipment, people, dogs, strange situations - brooms, washing machines, hair dryers...for a puppy, everything is an adventure! Puppy socialisation classes will be the essential 'first step' to her training - and they have been booked to start early in March. I have to be on my toes and feet at all times. Lexi is always around my ankles...and I need to be vigilant. Yes, this is testing my youth big-time. The good news, however, is that I am likely to get very fit, very soon....and I am happy about it.
When I look at this dear little Golden bundle, LEXI, with all her emerging potential at the tender age of 8 weeks, I remember my promise to all my dogs;
"My dog, I will teach you to be the dog you were meant to be."
She is the cutest, energetic, affable bundle we've had in a long time. Toby has adopted her (Like 'Jake' who imprinted on 'Renesmee' in the Twilight saga). He's found his partner in crime and he is bowled over big-time! Aunt Tam, as predictable as ever, is taking all this commotion in her stride. She has the wisdom of the mature citizen.
"Yes, I've been here. Ignore this whirlwind. When she settles, I'll play with her on my own terms"
But in the early morning, when the sparkle of dawn is still a dream, I lie with all my dogs, on the soft mattress on the floor of our bedroom, absorbing the moments of gentle bonding and happy mouthing. I become their jungle-gym, their guide...and the love is palpable. They are happy and so am I.
In the end, it is all worth it! What I put in, will be returned to me seven-fold. What a joy this is - to have a glimpse into the culture of a different species, and what a privilege to be part of this whole process. Here are some pictures...
A short video of the beautiful interactions of a new puppy in the 'Maxdog' household:
With lots of love from a household filled with 'puppy-breath',