Short version: my son is great, my husband survived Easter (while we survived my parents being with us for a week!) and we have a dog.
Long version: Wow. What a month or so!
- My son is smarter and smarter every day. He is such a hoot and a love bug, so this is wonderful. He told me. He told me that he loved me more often than ever. He's great.
- Lent and Easter were difficult. It is the most busy period of the Christian year and this year coincided with the end of the academic year, Chaton's birthday and so many other things, my head is still spinning. I was supposed to go to Chicago for the PCA, but there was no way we were going to afford it. I stayed home. My parents were there. It helped but I was ready to strangle them by the second to last day. Oy. I was able to work while they took care of Chaton. Mamou was out of the house most days and nights, of course. Chaton is great.
- And we got a dog. On the day my parents left, we got a dog! We had put ourselves on the SPA waiting list weeks ago, but on Easter Friday, I got an email from my sister-in-law telling me that the breeder she got her miniature schnauzer from had a dog returned to her that needed adoption urgently. The old lady who had gotten him could no longer take care of him. We got into contact with her and arranged to meet the dog on Easter Monday. We dropped my parents at the train station and we drove to somewhere deep on the South shore of Montréal. The dog is a 10-month-old male, salt-and-pepper miniature schnauzer, dumb as a door nail but adorable. He was originally named Cognac but we dropped that name right quick the second we imagined my four-year-old son calling “Cognac!” out loud in the street. We named him Igrec (as in Y in French) and he already answers to it. Or at least to my tone of voice when I call him. He is completely fused to me. He follows me everywhere and cannot bare to be separated from me one second. Honestly, he thinks I'm his mother.
And there lies the problem. We saw a vet last week and she confirmed what we suspected. My dog is developmentally delayed. Although he is physically 10 months old, he reacts, behaves and has the reflexes of a 5-month-old. The reasons are unclear, but they could be a combination of lack of stimulation and bad nutrition when he was with the old lady. He could also be naturally dumb, but it's impossible to tell. We know that he did not get much exercise before and that the old lady fed him mostly treats and tried big-breed adult kibble. In fact, he would not eat much at all during the few days he was back at the breeder and it took a couple of days before he ate at our house as well. He only ate his proper enriched puppy kibble when I held it in my hand. The vet suggested I mix the kibble with a light coating of wet dog food, which I did, and boy is he eating all his food now, licking the bowl clean every time. That's good.
This leads to the biggest problem with Igrec: he is not yet clean. He still goes everywhere in the house. He's better now that he is eating regular meals and having regular walks. His bowels are much more regular and predictable (to a point), but the peeing is not yet predictable. He does not understand he can't pee in the house, does not ask for the door; just squats without notice and wets my floors. We have puppy mats: he sleeps on them. It's going to be a challenge. The old lady never really scolded him for not using the pee mats because she believed that a 10-month-old dog being still technically “a puppy” meant that it was normal for him to wet the floor. Not surprisingly, he was the first puppy she ever had, She only had had older, fully house-trained dogs before. Yeah. So we are (I am) walking him four times a day. We are also engaging his brain as much as we can so we can bring him up to speed. Hopefully, we can overcome the delays. As I am writing this, we are outside and he is eating leaves. And grass. And dirt. Just like a 5-month-old puppy would. He is duuuuuuuumb.
He is also really cute and adorable and a great addition to the family. Even the Chaton is warming up to him. Chaton still does not like being sniffed or licked, but they do play a lot. I got rid of most of the squeaky toys (the few remaining are outside) and we got a Kong. Chaton likes to throw it and say “ping pong!” and the dog runs like hell to get it. He almost always returns he in time for my son to throw it again. Igrec has the attention span of a gnat so if the Kong or ball leaves his sight for even a second, he's already forgotten it. Thankfully, Igrec does not have the instincts of a gnat, at least in terms of other dogs, and runs behind my legs if he does not like any particular dog's vibe. In terms of humans, he's completely brain dead. But what a charmer. I got two girls to what him for a few minutes while I got something at the café and they were so ecstatic to help and pet “the puppy!!!” He cried for me the whole time.
We are starting beginner obedience training next week, because he needs it, and we will certainly do all the classes from there on up. He needs it. If I can't get him to stop peeing everywhere before the end of the summer, we are going to potty training class too.
The only darker spot in sight is that Mamou is away in Seattle until Friday night and Chaton and I are leaving for Québec on Thursday morning. Gillian is coming to puppysit on Thursday night, but she is working on Friday and will have to leave him in the morning. In short, Igrec will be alone for most of a 24-hour and getting only two walks in the meantime. Instead of seven or eight walks. Yeah. I'm expecting the neighbours will be angry with us. I also expect some set backs in terms of development. Knock on wood and Gillian is a saint.
We will survive. Somehow.