"Not My Dog": Tales from Puppy Raising

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Stubborn is as stubborn does ....

OK. Murphy has decided that he does NOT want to walk toward the woods at the end of our street. Toward the road is fine, yes, but woods? Oh noo nooo nooo. One is forced to confront the idea of dragging a sitting pup on his butt all the way.
I tried carrying him halfway down, in hopes of persuading him that this isn't bad, but Nina advises not to do that anymore. If it's fear, we're endorsing. If it's stubbornness, we're rewarding.
As someone who has been called stubborn -- and who has a stubborn 4-year-old -- I continue to feel like this is life's karma coming back to bite me. On the plus (?) side, Nina assures us that stubbornness is a good trait for a guide dog.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Murphy wasn't so sure what he thought of Maine's first snow, but before long, he was running around trying to catch snowflakes and playing snowplow with that nice broad nose.

Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to like to "get busy" in the snow, so he will have to get used to that.

I wonder what happens if a guide dog pup were to, say, train in Florida and get placed with a Mainer? Now that would be a rude awakening.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Oh happy day!

Murphy made it until 7 a.m. before needing to go out. This sure beats 5:30!
Of course, much like when Andrew first slept through the night, I bolted wide awake at 5:45, convinced something terrible (puppy SIDS?) had happened to him.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Realism pays

Yep, that spray is a worthy addition to the shopping cart when a puppy comes to stay.
Luckily for him, he's kind of cute.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

And let the wild ride begin!

I have a full-time job.
I have an old house that we really ought to be working on.
I have two cats that think they should have more lap time.
I have a lively 4-year-old who is running around the house pretending to be a fire truck -- siren and all.
And we're about to toss a 9-week-old Lab puppy named Murphy into the mix.
I'm starting to wonder if I'm nuts, especially when you consider this catch:
If all goes well -- if the midnight housebreaking runs, the training, the socialization all take -- then Murphy would leave us in about a year, off to be a guide dog.
We're embarking on our first stint of puppy raising for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and frankly, I think we're both feeling a little bit like we did right before our son was born. We're past the point of no return, and this little creature is coming, and he's our responsibility. And we're not sure we know what we're doing!
Much as my son made an unexpected early arrival, Guiding Eyes called Monday night to announce that the pup was coming Wednesday morning.
Hasty trip to the store to buy leash, food, toys (and the stuff that promises to take away the smell of puppy accidents. I may be an optimist, but I'm a realist.)
I keep telling myself that the kid has turned out pretty ok. And Nina, our coordinator for the pup, keeps telling us this will work ok, too. Nina, I think, is a retired nurse. Whatever she was, she has that practical yet soothing way about her.
We didn't choose Murphy's name; Guiding Eyes names all its pups, and raisers get no say in who they get. But for years, we'd been talking about Murphy being a good dog's name. I knew several weeks ago that we were assigned to the M litter, and I knew there was a Murphy in it. Of course I daydreamed that we'd get Murphy, but I didn't let myself really think we would. In fact, I had to ask Nina to repeat it when she told me his name.
A sign of good karma? I'll take what I can get. And the other good karma: with two black cats, I was realllly hoping for a black Lab. (I can always wear black when I need to look presentable.)
Welcome to the journey, Murphy. Hope it's going to be fun for all of us.