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what to expect when you're expecting a puppy

In a half-awake moment of clarity this morning, I realized that my own obsessive-compulsive need for perfection has been preventing me from updating my blog. You see, I have a Weetacon entry to write, and another one about the state of my To Do list, and then another one to talk about how the transition from Cat Household to Cat + Pug Household has been, but you know what? I’m just going to bareback this baby and go in for the kill with what’s happening right now. Almost like Twitter, but no character limit! Weird!

So far, Aveline has basically changed my life, in that I now sit in the living room with my laptop during the day rather than in my office because the office hasn’t been puppy-proofed and has a much nicer hardwood floor and I suspect any puppy accidents would cause me to weep, whereas the living room floor has been already given “character” through numerous scuffs and one rather mysterious 12-inch gouge. In twelve days, there have been four accidents, which is actually pretty optimistic, considering how many times various fluids and semi-solids are coming out of this puppy. Just as I was typing that, she threw up on a couch pillow. Clearly I need to cut back on the size of the “positive reward” treats that she gets for successful outside potties. And yes, I’m baby-talking to the dog.

Jincy has decided that Aveline is the best and most fascinating toy we’ve ever given her. Between the tasty new soft food that she can steal from Ave’s bowl or the appearance of totally attackable stuffed animals, Jincy has been entirely hip to the puppy. There have been several episodes of domination, but Ave is standing her own and they’ve now started playing with each other. Jincy is a lot better at the play-attacks and a million times more flexible, so she can usually grab Ave from behind and bite the hell out of her. Ave wiggles out of the hold and then knocks Jincy off her feet. They’ve been kind of crazy.

The only downside to this is that we’ve been crate-training the puppy. We started by copying Ward and June and placing the crate under my bedside table. The puppy was cool with it, but on night 1, she was still terrified of Jincy, who enjoyed the idea that she could mock-attack the puppy or whack the side of the cage to wake her up and make her whimper. We didn’t want to just lock Jincy out of our bedroom and further increase any resentment, so Esteban took Jincy and slept on the chaise the first night, hoping that it would get better as the puppy got used to the cat. This is a good theory, but basically the puppy learned that when the cat looked at her and her eyes got big, then it was t-minus three seconds to getting totally pummelled. After the third night of Esteban on the chaise with Jincy, we needed to come up with a better solution.

Ward and June employed the use of a baby playpen for their puppy, which they had offered for Aveline’s use. We had the idea that we could put the crate inside the playpen, so that Jincy couldn’t actually touch the crate and wouldn’t be able to see the puppy as well. Brilliant! However, their playpen was jammed and wouldn’t apparently fold, and was about two inches too wide to make it through a door. After struggling for 30 minutes, we ended up taking the door off the hinges. Then the puppy could still see Jincy glowering at her from the other side of the netting, so we had to put up a cardboard blind system on TOP of the loose towel we had over the crate.

Then the cat jumped over the walls and directly into the playpen. Ahh.

Puppy Containment System v1.5 involved a card table resting on top of the playpen, along with a giant fleece blanket stuffed into the opening that wasn’t covered by the card table. Excellent. It worked for about four days, until one night, Ave wouldn’t stop whimpering after she had been put to bed. Normally, she goes in without a peep and only whimpers if she had to go outside, which she just had, so it wasn’t that. I finally lifted the card table to try taking her out again, and was shocked to find Jincy sitting in front of the crate, taunting the puppy by rattling the door. It seems that I hadn’t evenly folded the blanket, so she was able to push her way in at the corner. FUCKING HELL.

Puppy Containment System v.1.7 involved two extra pieces of cardboard blocking the top, covered by the blanket. Jincy, sensing a weakness in the system, has taken to lying on top of the cardboard portion, but so far, it has held. Needless to say, taking the puppy out for her middle-of-the-night-piddle and putting her back is not really something I can do in my sleep. There’s got to be a better way that doesn’t involve shutting the dog away from the cat, but I’ve not found it. Any suggestions, commenters?

Ave also has a daily play date with June’s dog, Cricket. It took three days to go from Ave having extreme terror to chasing Cricket around the living room. Cricket is apparently a little jealous but she seems to really love the fact that she’s got a playmate. Cricket and Ave weigh about the same right now, but Cricket is almost twice as tall (poodle legs) and about a million times faster, to the point where she can literally run circles around Ave but they seem to have fun. Ave has yet to bark at their house, but I think it’s because Cricket barks nonstop while they are playing so Ave can’t get a word in edgewise. We’ve all known people like that. Their last two playdates lasted more than two hours of continuous playtime. I’m going to start bringing my laptop, because I’ve basically gotten little to no work done on anything since we’ve gotten this puppy. At home, I’m more or less glued to the sofa or the floor, playing either ball-thrower (she fetched on the first attempt) or referee and when she’s napping, I can either shut her up in the bedroom (where I can’t hear her) or let her sleep in the doggy bed, where I have to keep an eye on her to make sure that she doesn’t decide to make a deposit behind the chaise. I have never before had so much sympathy for parents’ of newborns, because wow, you guys, at least I can throw her in a cage and go to Target.

I’m probably babying the dog too much.

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