I love my Chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy, Hashi. Her full name, is Hashiru, Japanese for run. This is a great name for a lab who is full of energy and often runs as fast as she can. We have had Hashi in our lives and our home since she was eight weeks old. She is now eleven weeks old. She is part of our family. My husband and I LOVE and adore this puppy. This is as it should be and it is also good because she is destroying the fuck out of our house, pissing off my cat, and depriving me and my husband of sleep on an ongoing basis. Nature, the Universe, God, whatever you are comfortable with, had it right when He/She/It designed puppies, human babies, and baby animals of every kind. Nature, the Universe, whatever, made them so cute and loving that despite the immense amount of energy it takes to care for them, you don’t mind at all. They are so loving and sweet, that you are happy to spend your time with and on them.
You want to hold them, cuddle, feed, them, teach, and as in the case of a puppy, walk them, clean up their urine and shit, even if that shit is on the kitchen floor for the third time that day because housetraining is not going as well as you had hoped it would. You want to or are at least willing to tell them to leave the cat alone….again. You are willing to play the game, “Is it water or pee on the kitchen floor?” repeatedly. She loves to play with ice cubes, and she looks really cute chasing them around the floor, plus it keeps her busy, so it COULD be water. It could be. It is sometimes.
You redecorate your house in ten week old puppy chic. They are puppy toys everywhere. I tried keeping some of them in the really nice basket that I kept my previous dog’s toys in. The puppy tried to eat the basket. I put it away until she is older, much older.
Body pillows are stuffed under the front of your sofa so that the little, ummm, darling can’t get under the sofa and chew the wooden legs or the lining under the sofa. She started to do that. We needed a new sofa anyway, eventually. The large plastic container that holds her dog food, another pillow, and an air cleaner , block her entrance to one end of the sofa, and the other end is pushed against the wall. You move the end table FAAAAR away from the chair so that she can’t climb from it onto the table and look out the window. Yes, it is cute but this is not something you want her to continue to do, not that she will be able to for long at the rate she is growing. She can still climb onto the chair and look outside and that is cute and allowed.
You place the cover over the cat door to the garage where you keep the cat food and the kitty litter box because the puppy discovered she was just the right size to fit through the door and eat the cat food and cat poop with great enthusiasm, which is gross. Now you get to let the cat in and out of the garage via the door. Your husband takes turns when he gets home and fortunately the cat likes to be out there for a long time so this is not a frequent activity. You put a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs while you are downstairs with the dog to keep her from going upstairs to pee and to give the cat some space alone during the day if she so chooses.
You strategically place the vacuum cleaner, which you have gotten into the habit of leaving out as you use often to keep the dog from eating every DAMN thing that drops on the floor, on top of a corner of the carpet near the kitchen that she started to chew to keep her from pulling it up. You place a kitchen chair over yet ANOTHER spot on the carpet that she decided to chew. You are getting great use out of the carpet cleaner you purchased years ago when your last dog was a puppy and housetraining wasn’t going as well as expected. You leave that out in your dining room for frequent use also. You needed/wanted a new carpet anyway and wished for hardwood floors, but that is not happening anytime soon.
You unplug every electronic thing in your home that you don’t absolutely need and plug it back in only as needed so that the puppy can’t chew on the cord. All other cords are pushed behind the television stand, appliances, etc. and you find out just how creative you can be. Who needs a light on in the living room at night? I don’t, apparently.
All movies and video games have been moved from the shelf on the television stand and put away where she can’t reach them. The dining room table is used for storage for well, everything, because while she can put her paws on it she can’t actually reach things on it YET. Remote controls are HIGH up out of reach as she has put them in her mouth, changed the channel on the television once, and attempted to run off with them. Shoes, shoes for FUCKS sake are all up where she can’t reach them.
I love my puppy, as I said. She makes me laugh. She makes me happy. I do get tired and frustrated at times, of course, but I don’t take it out on her. She is a puppy and she is doing exactly what she should be doing. She is exploring the world, learning and using all that energy to do just that. A lab puppy is not for everyone. They are high energy, relentless, curious, smart, and mischievous. You have to put things up and away and be smarter than the dog, which I think I am, so far. You have to make sure they get the exercise they need. They will do something with all of that energy. It can be good. It can be bad, but they have to get rid of the energy. You choose how it goes.
It. Does. Not. Stop. It does not stop until they exercise, get tired, and they take a nap, that is, and then it starts all over again. The naps cannot be long enough for someone who truly does not love all of this and you must also see the humor in it or at least I think it helps. So don’t get a lab if you don’t really, really want to do all of this puppy stuff for at least seven years or so. I am simply taking about the puppy stage of their lives, not their whole lives and all dogs deserve to be loved and to have a home for their entire lives, however long it is, fourteen years, longer or not as long.
Labs are puppies for a very long time, for seven years or so. I am not kidding. The intense puppy years, the chewing years, well I can’t remember when they end, but I am experiencing it now, I tell you. And puppies love to chew everything AND wood. I simply try to keep her in the room I am in. If she is not in my sight, I call her as that usually means trouble. When she starts to chew something she shouldn’t, often something made of wood, I say, “No.” Then I give her one of her toys and play with her some more. It is time intensive,of course it is, she has to learn EVERYTHING. She is new.
I also take her on walks, try to prevent her from eating everything or actually anything she finds during the walks because dogs and babies think like this. “What is it? I don’t know. I will eat it and see what it is.” I introduce her to my neighbors and their dogs. The latter is a lot of fun and she is happy to meet everyone.
For now, she has met our family and a few friends. She loves my five-year old nephew and loves playing with him. I think they will be great friends but for now I am there keeping her from hurting him with her little puppy teeth and making sure that play time is fun for both of them. I will always supervise but for now I SUPERVISE. It is still fun.
She has not had her third set of vaccines and has no immunity to protect her from diseases, so I can’t take her to the park yet. That will be the next adventure and she will need that for the exercise, the socialization with other dogs and people, and the pure joy of it.
We exercise her in our home, playing with toys, including playing fetch down a long hallway and giving her lots of attention and cuddles. She runs around the house as fast as she can, and as we did with our last dog, Loki, we call this “crazy puppy”. She chases the cat sometimes, but the cat doesn’t really enjoy this game. The cat is not afraid but she is annoyed, clearly very annoyed. The cat is also incredibly patient and kind, choosing very clearly not to make the silly puppy bleed. We talk to her a lot. We have taught her to “sit”. The puppy has a pretty good life and our lives are better with her in it. And she adores my husband. When he comes home from work, she is so very happy and excited. She hears the keys in the door and she runs for the front door. It is very cute.
The puppy loves to be held, cuddled, petted, and belly rubs are one of her favorite things. After a good long play session, she will often fall asleep while you rub her belly. She also loves water, which makes sense as she is a lab. She usually walks into the shower to play in the water. We have a step in shower so it’s very convenient for her. She gets soaking wet going in and out as she chooses. Then she loves to play with the towel when you dry her off or try to.
We lost our beloved lab/German Shepherd mix in August. We mourned her loss and I thought we would never heal. I still miss her so much and even felt guilty at times that I am so happy with this little puppy. I think Loki would understand, though. I was heartbroken when she died. This puppy has healed my heart and my husband’s heart. All the neighbors, friends, and family who loved Loki so much and were so sad for us have been so happy that we have this sweet, mischief puppy to love. It’s important to grieve, but it is also important to move on with your life and continue to experience joy and love.
I think we may have needed this puppy more or at least as much as she needed us.