Even if you've already done something before but it's been twenty years, and this time around you have the benefit of experience and hard lessons learned, it still counts as a new experience, right? Three years and eight months ago, I lost my little love, a long-haired chihuahua named Kahli, after sixteen and half years together. So it's actually been twenty years since I've had a puppy.
Until last week.
Her name is Reyki, or Reyka, depending on who she's walking or playing with, a name clearly influenced by our very recent trip to Iceland. She's practicing walking to the lead, heeling, sitting, being calm enough to get her food, and I am definitely practicing patience. We didn't enter into this relationship lightly. It's been four years of getting the timing right, finding the right dog for our needs, researching polite and safe dog behavior and training, and being prepared to invest the time and patience to make us all happy in the long-run.
When I met her, I did my best to be sure she was a calm, healthy, submissive puppy, but I actually spent more time with her parents at that first meeting. Sweet, calm, and companionable temperaments. Her mother is a smaller sized standard poodle, her father a rather large golden retriever.
There've been beloved goldens in the family before, and the poodle in her seems to be helping greatly with my allergies, which have been significant with most dogs I've met in the last few years, since not living with one for so long. She was raised outside with her nine siblings and parents, which seems to have helped her understand what the outside is for: eliminating and playing. There have been accidents in the house but due to her age (one of my checklisted hopes for her was that she was 10 weeks or more when I brought her home), her upraising, and our diligence, it's been pretty minimal, and she's learning. The significant behavioral problem I haven't made any progress with yet is biting/chewing our hands, which is becoming more assertive, but we're all working on it with advice from the veterinarian.
It feels both so strange and yet also familiar to have a new companion in the house. I think we're all quite happy all around.
Thyme is like catnip to her.