What a week for our little Miss Hedy Pawmarr! ‘Twas a week full of firsts.
First time meeting her new family
We drove for over 3 hours to meet “A-1”, the female Boston Terrier pup we hoped to bring home as our new fur kid. When we arrived at the home of one of our breeders, we knew instantly that we were among friends. The home was decorated with cheer for the holiday and there was a bevy of Bostons eagerly wiggling to meet us staring out of the big front window. These pups were clearly part of the family and well loved.
Due to Covid precautions, we had agreed to meet the puppy outside. We found out later that it was her first real time outside because of the recent rainy, cold weather (which is very common this time of year in the Seattle area of course). Thankfully, the rain held off and the chill was minimal, and with everyone masked and keeping distance from each other, we all felt safe and comfortable.
When you are meeting a potential new puppy or dog, you want to make sure that you haven’t “sold” yourself too much on looks and description ~ it’s essential to actually meet and make sure the chemistry is there.
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking -- um...I’ve never met a puppy I didn’t immediately love. And this is true for me, as well, trust me! That said, I learned some lessons with previous puppies that I hope to avoid this time around.
I wanted a dog that was confident and curious, smart and eager to please, and most of all, friendly and good with children. My first Boston Terrier, Penny, was extremely timid and fearful of people (especially men) when I first met her. She was withdrawn from the rest of the puppies up for adoption that day. I am, by nature, a rescuer of poor creatures needing help, and I was drawn to that. Unfortunately, her fears and distrust of strangers only compounded as she got older and made it very difficult to have her out in public.
I’ve known puppies through the years that had problematic personality traits from the start ~ stranger fears, toy aggression, distrust of children, aloofness, etc. And though they all became wonderful adult dogs in their own rights, they still had those problematic traits as adults to some degree, even with excellent training.
I knew that when we met A-1, if she showed a lot of fear (or aggression), particularly with our 16 month old son, and was not clearly confident and friendly, she wasn’t the dog for us...no matter how adorable she was. As the video below shows, she was an instant hit with our family. SO curious and friendly! Confidence? This pup was brimming with it! After just a short while, both my husband and I knew A-1 was our Hedy Pawmarr and we were ready to take her home.
First time peeing & pooing outside
As mentioned above, Hedy was bred and initially raised just outside of Seattle and the weather of late fall is just YUCKY outside. Because Bostons are not really “built” for cold, gnarly weather, her breeders chose to keep the pups inside.
Her very first time outside was actually when she met us! Frankly, this worried me a bit in terms of potty training, but I needn’t have worried, as it turns out. I go into more detail about the potty training in my post about puppy training for week one, but let’s just say, this lil’ girl is no princess. She loves being outside!
On the road trip home, Hedy P. actually got to explore three unique outdoor pee spots, each with its own unique ground cover -- and she “performed” like a champ at each location, no hesitation or fear.
First time playing in her new backyard (and the snow!)
We have a LARGE, three level backyard, with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Hedy Pawmarr and our son go outside at least once a day for a play session. Due to the chilly weather, we keep it short for both of them, but they LOVE it. There was a wee bit of snow left on the ground the day she arrived and she was obsessed with the little pile...and leaves. This BT never met a leaf she didn’t want to attack and annihilate.
As luck would have it, it snowed again on Christmas night. The next day, before it all melted, we bundled up the boy and his dog and went out for a rousing play session. Though Hedy pawed the white flag of “I’m freezing!!” well before the toddler, she still had a grand time in the white stuff. We consider this a MAJOR win seeing as how we live in a ski town, and let’s face it...it snows here...a LOT.
The only drawback to Hedy’s being outdoors, frankly, is that she likely will never be able to be outside alone. Our yard is very exposed on all four sides, and she’s so stinkin’ cute, I just don’t trust that some jerk won’t steal her (cuz it’s been known to happen locally, sad as that is).
And, aside from the danger of theft, there’s the danger of critters that want her for lunch (totally not kidding). You see, we live at the edge of a residential neighborhood actually out of city limits and there’s AMPLE evidence that predators are in the neighborhood.
The second night I took her out for a midnight pee break, I heard coyotes yipping not far in the distance. Christmas morning, a hawk watched from the tall pine overlooking our backyard as she found the “perfect poo place.” And, probably the most spooky, for the last few nights, an owl has been hooting as we are out for potty breaks. We have lots of bunnies in our large yard, and I know those are “good eatin’” for our local hunters...but I have no intention of letting Hedy out of my sight knowing we have at least 3 critters that would love to snack on her. Sorry for the downer, folks, but it is what it is.
First time road tripping
As I mentioned, we had a rather long trip to pick up Hedy, and that meant a long trip back home. To help break up the trip for our son who is a great traveler, but let’s face it, too much butt-time strapped in a car seat is no fun for anyone. So, we took the opportunity to stop and stretch legs a few times, sniff a few new patches of grass, and meet the grand paw-rents (masked and maintaining social distancing, of course). Hedy even got to read a story to our son with her new Grand-paw.
Hedy was a great traveler. We had brought along her crate with a few chew toys, and she snuggled down into the blanket that her breeder had made for her. She only whined one time (so we pulled over so she could explore a new patch of turf).
When we did stop, we made sure to check out the area she would be “taking a break” to ensure there was no visible signs of dog activity (i.e. poo piles) or things that could hurt her (glass, garbage, etc.) and that she could safely explore (away from cars, people, etc). As I mentioned before, she was curious and unafraid at each stop, though she did clearly want to be next to us and didn’t wander away at all.
First time meeting LOTS of new people
The little side trip to my folks’ house helped us with another important first...meeting lots of new people! As I discuss more in the post about her first week of training, one of the “assignments” is to socialize her -- and that means meeting at least 100 new people before she’s 12 weeks old.
This is challenging even without a pandemic that requires we all stay socially distanced! So we are taking every opportunity to meet people we can, all while keeping ourselves safe. She’s up to 26 people so far, though, admittedly, 12 of them were at the vet clinic!
First time visiting her new vet
It is recommended that you take your new puppy (or dog, kitten or cat) to the vet within the first 72 hours of bringing them home. This is for a LOT of reasons, but for a puppy (or kitten), a big reason is to get them started on their vaccinations and get their invisible identification (aka - microchip, if they don’t already have one).
As luck would have it, our breeder had actually helped us out by getting the entire litter their first round of vaccinations just a few days before we took her home, but we still wanted to get her into the vet within that first three days.
So, Monday afternoon, Hedy was introduced to her new medical team, but not in the way I was used to doing it. You see, Covid-life strikes again, and I had to drop her curbside and then chat with the vet on the phone after the exam. It was a bit surreal (see the video below), but at the same time, I was relieved to hear that she was in great physical shape AND was the belle of the ball inside the clinic and met another 12 people who all agreed she was simply perfect!
First time meeting cats
Okay, so not everyone thinks Miss Hedy Pawmarr is perfect. The jury is still out as far as the cats are concerned, though our boy cat, Tormund, filed an official complaint on behalf of the felines with the office on day one about the intruder we allowed in the house in the form of peeing all over Hedy’s crate blanket.
So far, Houdini, the grand-dame of the household has yet to do more than hiss at her and run when Hedy comes around. However, Tormund seems to be warming up to her (he certainly appreciates the influx of new treats and toys) and we have hopes that a true friendship will form as Tormund is a very friendly and social creature.
That being said...one serious downside to the new addition is that the backdoor is open a LOT more than usual and Tormund longs to explore the great outdoors. Here’s the deal though, he won’t be given the opportunity to be an outdoor cat because of all the predators in the neighborhood -- AND -- cars, etc. He’s bolted out the door now TWICE when we are letting Hedy out and wrangling him back inside isn’t fun for any of us. This is going to be one of our major challenges, I think. Stay tuned...
First time being without her litter mates & sleeping in a crate
I talk about this a lot more in my recent post about her first week of training, but I think it’s significant to mention that once again, her confidence and independence showed when it came to being on her own for the first time without her litter mates.
With both Penny and Ullr (and the puppies I remember from growing up) there would be many LONG nights of crying and yipping, clearly mourning the absence of litter mates and being alone in a crate. Sure, Hedy did a bit of whining and crying the first night. But truly, she quieted down in 15 minutes or so, and even though she was up three times that first night, just a little soothing sounds and my finger tips in the crate door were all it took to settle her back down.
By night three, there was no whimpering at all at bedtime. By night 5 or 6...she was sleeping for more than 5 hours. Last night was her 10th night with us, and she slept from 10:30pm until I woke up just before 7am. AMAZING!
First time celebrating Christmas
Hedy is NOT impressed with our Holiday Shenanigans. Seriously, I think she was considering pooping in our stockings after we put this on her. All things being equal, though, I think Miss HP really lucked out joining our family at Christmas.
First, we were all ready for a long four day weekend (three cheers for Christmas on a Friday!!) and she got so much snuggle time!
Second, all the fur babies were showered with extra toys and treats, so even though she was already getting lots of new things, we didn’t scrimp on the toy loot for her just because she was new -- and now she’s bathing in puppy toys (and on track to be ridiculously spoiled by February).
She enjoyed helping our son rip open packages (on second thought, that was probably NOT something we should have allowed (or encouraged with our giggles...oops!). And, though she did “check out” the Christmas tree, no ornaments were harmed during the holiday...at least not by a Boston Terrier puppy.
First time working on manners & training
- Don’t pet or shower attention on to a puppy that is jumping up (we failed at this...it’s on our “things the humans need to stop doing” list)
- Don’t laugh or encourage behavior (like ripping up paper) that will later not be appreciated but now is stinkin’ cute (as you read above, we failed at this)
- Don’t blame, yell or in any way be negative to a puppy when they make a mistake. Okay, we are pretty good at not doing this, but I did have to take a few “Mommy time outs” and Hedy spent some time thinking about her actions...it usually was related to chewing Mommy’s shoes or nice new sweater --
- Speaking of sweaters, don’t assume she’s gonna be just like your previous dog of the same breed (like she may NOT be cool with dressing up all the time)
- And don’t call her by that dog’s name (admittedly, “Hedy” and “Penny” are very close sounding to each other...and I failed several times at calling Miss HP by her predecessor’s name)
- Don’t always pick up a puppy who is in her pen or crate and crying that you are busy working and trying to get her to enjoy “independent play” with her plethora of chew toys (clearly...I failed at this...miserably...as shown in the pictorial evidence below
And finally, don’t let ANYONE tell you that your puppy is not the cutest thing ever and not going to be the most amazing dog on the planet...cuz they are WRONG.
Bringing Hedy Home chronicles the journey of bringing a new puppy into your life. In this series, PetHub's CEO, Lorien, shares all of the joys (and terrors) that come with sharing your home with a puppy and provides some of the lessons she has learned in her lifetime of being a pet parent. This is the second article in the series and was written by Lorien Clemens on December 28, 2020.