I was asked to bring her home yesterday afternoon, as her mum had stopped feeding the litter about a week ago, & it’s become too much for the breeder to look after the eight pups with individual feeding & other needs. The poor lady was getting no sleep whatsoever!
So, I now have a five week old bundle of joy with razor sharp puppy teeth to look after.
She’s incredibly intelligent, & has already picked up outside toileting, I’ve been advised by a trainer to quickly establish a half hour cycle that just gets repeated non-stop; consisting of feeding, toileting/training, playtime & sleep. She has been tested for reactions to sudden noises & movement, responding with curiosity & not fear, she even passed the fetch test, where you scrunch up a paper ball, throw it about a metre away & see if she will get it & bring it at least part of the way back to you. Fenna brought it right back to me! She follows me around the yard, with little to no enticement, & comes when called.
According to the trainer, she’s about a month ahead of what would be expected of a normal pup being checked for suitability of training as an Assistance Dog.
Last night she slept in a soft carry-case, next to me for the first part of the night, but after about the fourth cycle of taking her outside for the toilet she refused to settle back in, so she slept on the bed cuddled up with us for the remainder of the night. Getting up every forty minutes or so throughout the night is all new to me, I never had children of my own. Apparently, this should only last another few weeks, & she will then sleep longer & longer as she develops more control of her bladder.
Here’s a few frames of her from when she first got back here yesterday evening, asleep on one of my t-shirts. The calm before the storm!
She has accepted her little house as the place to sleep every time! This will make crate training really easy, both as a means of transporting her & having her sleep in it for the first few months.
My partner is the one who keeps reminding me that we are dealing with something nearing the size of a small tiger here, & we don’t have a king-size bed to accommodate her as well. She’s actually really good about it all.
Fenna has really opened up a soft side of myself, she’s melted my heart, so to speak! I’m really looking forward to having her deep pressure application at times when I dissociate. That’s going to be way more effective than a support or peer-worker ever could be for me, with her being with me at all times & she’ll be way better from a financial standpoint too! I can see that she’s going to allow me the ability to get out of the house again too. There’s many layers of benefit to her presence in my life.
I have to actually be the one in control with this though, she is an Assistance / Service Dog and not a pet after all. So once she has fully settled in, as hard as it might be, she’ll be back on the floor beside me again. We’ll just allow her the time to get settled in properly first, I was expecting a miracle putting her on the floor last night, especially for her first night here being away from her siblings. The trainer mentioned today not to put her down on the floor & then pick her up during the night, as it could establish a pattern of her thinking she can get what she wants if she wines, or howls, like she did last night. It’s actually better to have her on the bed for a couple of weeks, just to settle in, & then to put her on the floor, once she’s fully settled in; as she will be able to accept that then. At the moment, she’s still just a baby.
My nose, eyelids, ears, lips & fingers are all battle-scarred already from her waking, then leaping at me when she wants to play. There’s nothing quite like being awoken by puppy teeth firmly latched to your nostril & sharp puppy claws scratching at your eyelids!