Saturday, August 9, 2008

Reasons Why We Needed a Puppy-

I've been thinking about this post for a while, (and, yes, this is me trying to reassure myself and get over my own feelings of insecurity about owning a dog), and please know that I am not stating, by any means, that all you readers of this blog must get a puppy. However, I would like to state, in a somewhat formal way, why it is good for the Young family, in this time and place in our lives, to have a puppy. Here are the reasons:
For Lindy- so that she can get over her crazy fear of dogs, and she can have someone to boss around. ;-)
For Corbin- so that he has a good buddy to play with, someone who greets him exuberantly when he comes home, and most importantly, so that he learns an extraordinary amount of responsibility. He has been extremely diligent and cheerful in his duties thus far (2 weeks) of watching the puppy while inside, cleaning up puppy-accidents, taking him outside often, feeding and filling water bowls, comforting the puppy while in his kennel at night in Corbin's room, and picking up the poopies.
For Kent- to take on walks. This dog is a part of the "Get Kent in Shape" mission. Along with the glycemic index diet he is on now, walking the dog daily will be great for Kent. Plus, he LOVES dogs. He brought home from Colorado two guns he used to shoot with his dad and we got Niko the night we got home. I said, "Now you have guns and a dog, you feel like a man, don't you-" He just grinned.
For me- My two biggest problems in life: a lack of structure and discipline, and my tendency to withhold affection, can be helped with a puppy. I must be home (particularly when the boys go back to school in September) to train the dog properly. Also, he's be waking up like clockwork at 6am- this is good for me. And, I gotta admit, after 30 years of being a avid cat-person, I'm learning to love on an adorable puppy. He really likes me, it's weird. So, I pet, rub and scratch him. He's SO cute when he curls up to nap. Not wanting a dog for so many years was actually just massive selfishness on my part- not wanting to add to my responsibilities. But, it's really great to see the lessons this is teaching our family, but particularly the joy that Niko brings to our household.
He's a lot like a human baby, or toddler, actually. At my parents lake house the other day he was in 7th heaven hanging out on the beach and hiking with the boys. However, our little travel kennel was too small for him, so when we stayed the night we put him in the crib. And, he slept better than he does at home! (OK, probably because there were no cats to taunt him.) It was so cute to see him dozing in a white-painted baby crib.
And I think it really symbolizes a family settling down. Ya know- dog, white picket fence, mini van, swing set. Well, we have a fenced yard, currently don't have a mini van (but I'd love to again!), and no swing set in the yard. But, after living in 7 different places in 7 years, we certainly feel settled at this point. We've been here for over two years now and we aren't going anywhere anytime soon. So, bring on the dog, the dance classes for Lindy, and hopefully another mini van. We are ready to fully embrace the settled-down boring family image. And it's not nearly as boring as we would have thought.
Anyone have any advice for stinky dog smell? It's not his breath, it's his body. And we've been bathing him every few days. The other thing is- any wisdom about cats and dogs? I don't think we can really force that. Hopefully our little family will begin to fold together nicely, including all of our pets. It's a little bit chaotic now, but not too bad. And well worth it.


Katie Cogswell said...

With regard to the doggie smell---check his ears. As strange as it sounds, yeast in the ears is a common cause of that unpleasant “doggie” odor and can be controlled with regular ear cleanings. Look in his ears. If the skin looks brownish, take a cotton ball and gently wipe the ear. If stuff comes off, you’ve got yeast. You may want to invest in some inexpensive ear solution (you can find it at the pet store). The solution acts as a drying agent making the environment in the ear inhospitable to yeast. You simply (or not so simply depending on the dog) squirt the solution in the ear making sure that it gets all the way down into the inner parts of the ear, gently massage the outside of the ear, let the dog shake his head to remove excess solution, and wipe the skin on the inside of the ear clean. Repeat the process a couple of times a week and watch the doggie smell improve.
Another source of doggie smell is the pads of the paws. The paws are one of the very few places a dog sweats. When you give your puppy a bath, be sure to thoroughly wash the spaces in between the pads. Also a word of caution, be careful not to over bathe your puppy. Dog skin tends to dry out more easily than human skin.
Hope this helps some. I recently found your blog and am thoroughly enjoying it.

Gabrielle said...

I agree about over bathing a puppy. Just like a human scalp, if you over wash the skin underneath the hair drying out the skin, the follicles will start to try to overcompensate and your little Niko will end up with greasy hair and flaky skin. You can also combat dirty puppy by regularly brushing his coat. Usually dogs LOVE being brushed and it can help remove loose dirt particles and help him stay clean longer.
Lots of families have homes with dogs and cats. Don't be afraid of it if you really would like to one day add a kitten. Sometimes they get along wonderfully well.
I also remember that certain dogfood brands tended to make our cocker spaniel smell different. Have you tried changing his diet or talking to a vet? Although, unfortunately, I have never known a dog that didn't smell a little "dogish", if you know what I mean. After a little while you probably won't notice it as much.