Love.

I love this photo of Keira.  It perfectly shows the few puppy wrinkles left, along with the giant paws she has yet to grow into.  She is no longer as awkward as she was 9 weeks ago when we first brought her home.

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She is sporting a new harness which I decided to splurge on, mostly because the weight range is 31 to 55 pounds, and she is still at the low end of this.  Hopefully this will get some good use until fall, perhaps?  Regardless, I take her on some long walks and she is starting to have a pretty powerful pull on her leash.  So far the little jaunts around the neighborhood have been with far less pulling.  (And I figured the hubby would like this harness because of the little bells and whistles:  flashlight holder, attachments for little bags and custom labels, etc.).  Oh, and I’m guessing Keira likes it as well, from what I can tell anyway.

So we have one more day of puppy kindergarten.  She’s one smart puppy, and I can see how she will be very trainable.  However, that smartness also has a bit of capriciousness in the form of stealing socks, baseball caps, shoes and flip-flops – all which belong to me.  Hmm.  I will just call this a sign of affection for the person who likely spoils her a little too much.  As she gets older (and stronger!), I’m realizing there are plenty of things we need to nip in the bud now.

That face.

Becoming a new puppy parent has had its share of challenges over the past couple of weeks, though some habits shared by the hubby and I are probably best broken, such as eating dinner on the coffee table while binge watching HGTV.  I was told puppy-raising is a lot of work, and it definitely has been, especially the hourly outdoor potty breaks and my need to put on layers of clothing so I don’t freeze in the process.

And sleep?  What’s that?

But just like with each of my three children, the frustrations are quickly forgotten when you look at that sweet innocent face.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to endure the rigors of newborn babies, and thankfully this time around isn’t nearly as physically demanding.  Plus the hubby has been such a help, taking two weeks off of work to help us all acclimate, and providing some much-needed discipline for what otherwise might become a very spoiled dog.

Although from the looks of this photo, I wonder who actually does most of the spoiling.

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The 8 Week Visit

Last Saturday the hubby was able to swing by the farm to visit Keira and her siblings.  They’ve definitely grown and become much more sociable since our last visit four weeks ago.  Personalities have emerged, with two choosing to wag their tails from afar (while yawning, might I add), as the remaining three begged for attention.  One puppy in particular was quite vocal for acknowledgement.

Aside from the lightest colored puppy which we know is female, hubby couldn’t tell the genders apart.   Though a fox red in color is recognized technically as a darker yellow lab, we can see the variance in color since mama dog is half yellow, half fox red, while papa dog is full fox red.  We had our hearts set on a darker colored dog, which is why we have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this litter of puppies, however, the hubby indicated that the lightest was also the most calm out of the five.  On Saturday we will have a good hour to hang out with the three females to see which is the best fit for us, or as my dog-owning friends have indicated, which of the three will choose us.

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We made great progress in puppy-proofing the main floor and installed gates to keep the two remaining floors puppy-free for the time being.  It was a task I didn’t look forward to doing because we have somehow managed to amass a ridiculous amount of stuff in the five years we’ve lived here.  But I have to give ourselves some credit, the place looks great and we are definitely ready for Keira’s homecoming!

Almost 7 weeks old.

During the basketball banquet for the Teenager last night (where she was recognized as Most Improved Player for the second year in a row, yay!), we received recent puppy photos from Fabrizius Farm.  As the the little fur balls approach 7 weeks in age, they’ve grown significantly HUGE since the last time we saw them.

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Tomorrow we plan to purchase gates in order to establish some “puppy free” zones, amid much protest from the kids, especially the Youngest who is on an unsuccessful campaign to reserve the extra twin bed in her room for the dog.   However, since they have no idea what it’s like to have a little human or animal in the house, both of which would try to ingest every little thing left on the floor, be it a Lego piece, ear buds, or bobby pins, we decided it’s best to be safe than sorry while simultaneously preserving our sanity.

I’ve successfully blocked out the challenging and not-so-fun parts of the Toddler Years with each child, but if I think hard enough I seem to remember the ongoing diligence when the Teenager was 3 and the Boy was brand new, and then when the Boy was 22 months old and the Youngest was brand new.  I was elated when I bought the last box of Pampers at Costco.  And Preschool was met with a celebratory Pumpkin Spiced latté from Starbucks, which I sipped for a total of 30 minutes on a park bench before my quiet time was up.

But admittedly, the sweet squishiness is what I miss the most.  Seemingly overnight the Youngest cringes when I try to give her a hug.  Hence, the need for a puppy.  Or at least that’s my overarching reason for what will likely be some trying months ahead of us.  I know my husband is much more realistic about this new endeavor since he grew up with dogs.  But I will continue to live in this puppy fantasy land full of slobbery kisses and unconditional love until the first chewed up shoe or first pee accident on the living room rug that will require Herculean strength to remove.

(Note to self: Consider removing that rug this weekend.)

Sixteen more days!

In the very beginning…

On January 6, I had a sudden urge to visit Fabrizius Farm to “say hello” to the expecting parents.  We’d been on the wait list for a previous litter which unfortunately did not work out, so we were offered the first pick of an upcoming litter, with an anticipated arrival around the beginning of January.

The usual anticlimactic post-holiday lull was setting in.  Winter session had just begun for me while the kids were still on their winter break.  There was no rushing to and fro, no deadlines looming overhead.

Yes, I was a little bored.

Unbeknownst to me, Keira and her siblings were born that day.  Judy was kind enough to arrange for us to visit the following day, though we were not able to hold the newborn puppies just yet.  Mama dog (Hannah) was especially protective, but she didn’t mind the picture taking and admiration from a distance as long as Judy was nearby.

So here is Keira and her siblings, just 1 day old.  She will be 6 weeks old in a couple of days, and maybe Judy will send us an update of their latest adventures while exploring the farm.

March 11!  Hurry up!

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Not so tiny.

Late Sunday afternoon we made our way out to Fabrizius Farm to visit Keira and her siblings.  The Teenager stayed home with Lola Lou while Antman and Izzy accompanied us.  I was surprised at how much the puppies had grown in just a few short weeks, though I have to remember she is still very tiny compared to her expected size as a full grown lab.

Needless to say, we are all smitten.  Judy Fabrizius cautioned us to commit to our puppy in 5 weeks when we return for the big homecoming, for they will start to develop individual personalities.  I have a feeling we already made our choice.