Our family is growing! Meet Cali, the newest member of the Hogle and Elliott household. Except, of course, she’s in California with me and Jana now, not home in Florida with Deni.
Single puppy parenthood is a challenge! Cali is wonderful about asking to go out when she needs to … but that means that I have to be quick to respond, whatever the time of day — or night. How do parents survive months of this? After just over a week, Cali is waking up pretty consistently around 1 a.m. and again between 4 and 5 a.m. The second time, I just let her cuddle with me until it is time to get up at 5:15 or 5:30.
Yes, mornings begin early with a puppy. She’s full of energy, happily greeting her toy box like a long-lost friend, bouncing from one end of the small studio to the other, trying to get Jana to play, turning somersaults, and generally being a puppy. All while I am trying to find the ON button for the coffee pot.
By the time dogs go out, dogs come in and wipe their feet, I build a fire in the wood stove and take a shower, dogs have breakfast, we all walk down to fetch the paper (Jana does all the work here), I have breakfast, we play, puppy goes out again … well, I am ready to go back to bed. And it is only about 7 a.m.
The good thing about puppies is, they take a lot of naps. But, many of these are power naps, which means that, after 20 short minutes, Cali is wide awake, full of energy, and eager to play. I, having tried to get 3 hours’ worth of work done during those 20 minutes as well as pay some attention to Jana, am less refreshed and eager to play. Sometimes, she’s lucky she’s so cute.
She uses her cuteness on others as well. At Bergin U, where I am teaching this semester, Cali has charmed the students, staff, and volunteers. She is easily the most popular girl on campus. The benefit for me is that, the more people who come play with her, the more naps she takes! In fact, she’s taking one now, having been thoroughly worn out by a dedicated volunteer who drove in from more than a half-hour away — to play with Cali!
I was a little worried about her the first few days she was home. She didn’t show much interest in eating and even left food in her bowl! She has adjusted quickly, though, learning the attraction of food-filled Kong toys, solving her Brainy Bone puzzle (to get at the hidden Charlee Bear), and begging for meals and training treats.
Speaking of training, this puppy is clearly a genius, well on her way to learning several cues and tricks. I think she’s a lefty; she shakes with her left paw about 3 times out of 4. She’s got a nice “sit” and is catching on to “down,” “turn,” and a few others. She’ll even pick up a wooden dumbbell, but is not quite reliable about giving it back to me yet.
Most miraculous of all, Cali seems to be on her way to charming big sister Jana. She is definitely the annoying little sister sometimes — clamoring for attention, bugging Jana to play, appropriating Jana’s bed and toys. But, yesterday morning, something momentous occurred. Jana asked Cali to play. The two romped and tugged with her for a few minutes before Jana remembered her older-dog dignity and her opposition to puppies and went back to bed. The puppy tires her out too!