Yesterday was Beanie-Day. Here are the gory details of our first 24 hours as beagle owners.
We visited the breeder’s home in Carluke yesterday morning and on the way back we had Beanie, a big bag of puppy food, and a wallet full of pedigree, vaccination worming and feeding docs. The journey back to our place takes about 45 mins which is by far the longest car ride Beanie has ever had, so we were a little concerned about how she’d handle it. Those concerns quickly dissolved – Beanie sat calmly on my lap, looking out of the passenger window and enjoying a gentle cuddle. This was great – she’d been quite wriggly the first time I’d held her, but now she was totally relaxed in my company. Forty-five minutes in the car? No problem for our happy little pup!
Then about half way through she started yawning. Fine I thought – she’s so relaxed she’s going to have a nap in my arms. Then she started panting a bit. Fine – we had the heating up in the car quite high, and she was getting all hot from being close to me too. Then abruptly my happy little fantasy was washed away by a sea of brown, foul smelling barf. Beanie opened her innocent little mouth and unleashed a vomit tsunami all over my stomach, my groin, and the car seat. After this she felt much better and wanted to resume her cuddle, and even give me a nice barfy kiss. Aww, little sweetheart!
I spent the remainder of the journey trying not to wretch, and when we finally arrived home I exited the car like a six year old that had messed his pants big time. Susan took Beanie into the rear garden for a pee, while I indulged my desire for a shower and a change of clothes.
It ain’t like this in the books
After the pee break in the garden, Susan prepared Beanie’s first lunch in her new home – a scrambled egg with milk. Now clean and fresh smelling, I got Beanie’s crate ready in the living room, along with a big paw-shaped bed we’d bought months earlier. I popped a few treats into a puppy Kong toy, and got ready to introduce our pup to her crate. The recommended way to do this is to get the puppy interested in the Kong, pop this into the crate and close the door – with the puppy still on the outside. After a minute or so, she should be desperate to enter the crate, and soon come to regard it as her den. At least that’s what the books say.
In Beanie’s case, the Kong was quite interesting while it was in my hands, but as soon as I put it in the crate and closed the door, she lost interest. Hmm… well so much for that approach.
I changed tack. I opened the crate, made a fuss of the Kong and Beanie wandered in. Great! Except she promptly picked up the Kong and took it straight to her paw bed. I tried the same thing with various other toys – a rubber chicken, a comforter that still had the smell of siblings on it – but each time she kept returning to the big paw. It wasn’t that she was at all wary of the crate, it was just that the paw was clearly way more comfy.
A bit of lateral thinking produced the solution. We stuffed the paw into the crate, tossed in a couple of her toys and Bingo! One happy, cosy beagle in her crate.
Time for the Vet
The afternoon went pretty much without incident. Beanie kept wanting to join us on the sofa, but we held to the rule of not letting her on the furniture, using a mixture of distraction and Dog Whisperer style body language (the latter had mixed results – we’re starting to see how important it is to have body language, intent and emotional state all working together consistently).
Pretty soon it was time for a visit to the vet. We’d booked a session some time ago to introduce Beanie and get a chance to ask the 1001 questions we had about chipping, health care, neutering and so on.
This time, there was no barfing in the car – which no longer smelled of vomit, thanks to some wonderful stain removing wipes from “Simple Solutions”. (They come in packs of 12, and have a picture of a guilty looking beagle on the front – pure coincidence I’m sure).
Beanie was great at the vets – she was quiet and didn’t fret or struggle once, which made us both very proud of her. There was no doubt in our minds that we’d got the most well behaved pup of the litter, a belief we shared with the vet staff. They exchanged knowing glances for some reason.
It’s been a hard day’s night…
When we got her home from the vets, she had a good long sleep to recharge her batteries. I guess they must have been on a very weak charge before because when she woke up, she was Bionic Beanie. Faster, stronger, peskier and well capable of causing six million dollars worth of damage if left unsupervised for more than a few seconds. Every so often she’d run out of juice and fall asleep, only to awaken with even more energy. Clearly she’d been a little subdued when we first brought her home, but now she was relaxing and settling in. A good sign, but extremely tiring!
Before long we decided to call it a night. I set up the crate in our bedroom, but in our exhausted state we decided against the “closed crate with scheduled toilet breaks” method. Instead, we fenced off a small corner of the room and put the open crate in there, along with a housetraining pad and a bowl of water. We’d been warned to expect some crying over the first few nights, and Beanie duly obliged, but this died away after a few minutes. Beanie woke us up a couple of times later in the night, but we assumed this was because she needed the loo. The first time, that was certainly the case. The second time, well either she was just bored and wanting a play, or she didn’t quite need a pee enough to brave one of Glasgow’s typical winter downpours. Regardless, she didn’t leave any unwanted presents in the room, and didn’t use the pad. Not a bad start at all!