Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lap time > Danger of sleeping dog

Oddly enough, spending the day at work on Friday set Grete back a bit when it comes to Gesso. She's getting more adventurous overall, and as a result, she thinks she can get away with more when it comes to pestering the cat. Gesso is being a good sport about it, and she still has her values straight. For example, lap time still trumps dog hassle. Also, the chance to chomp on grass currently outweighs the danger of puppy antics.

Since I really want Grete to understand that Gesso is off limits, I'm really trying to discourage chasing. (Gesso can totally fend for herself, but she's getting older, and I want her retirement to be a pleasant one.) Grete seems to have a spectrum of states, and depends on the state she's in, the more or less effect a given technique will have. For example, if she's in her calm or semi-docile state, a simple light-hearted "leave it" totally suffices. If she's in her demon state of too much pent-up energy, I go through "leave it" and then escalate to a firmer "that's enough" and finally... I've attempted the shake can. To be honest, I'm really not a fan of the shake can. It doesn't always get her attention, and Gesso doesn't like it either.

I think my current tactic will be to give calm attention to both when Grete is in her "good" state. If she's in her "demon" state, we'll try to get to "good" by taking a walk or playing fetch in the back yard. However, if that doesn't work, I think I'll start leaving her leash on her in the house so that I can stop her and lead her to something else fun when she starts to chase.

Thoughts? Suggestions always welcome.


Grete is totally cool with me messing with her feet. In fact, after we go for walks, I wipe her paws with pet wipes. At first she protested a bit, but now I think it feels good because she rolls over and offers up all four paws for her quick puppy pampering.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Flickr Sets

My set of pictures on Flickr
Maggi's set of pictures on Flickr

One Full Week!

Grete went to work for the first time today! I don't mean to brag, but... I think her cuteness exceeded the expectations of most people.

She did really great in Christel's office. Not one accident. She also slept like never before. I think the excitement of a new place wore her out pretty quickly. If I'm right, and it was just the excitement, then I dread the day when she's super comfortable at work. However, some folks pointed out that dogs somehow know that work is work and home is home -- so perhaps it will be easier to work at work and play at home. We shall see.

Given that one full week has passed, I should review some news and some stats...

She came home on Friday, and we spent the weekend trying to adjust. However, her poop just didn't want to solidify, so I took in a sample on Monday. It turned out that she had a weird parasite, but it wasn't really affecting her. It was a parasite that only affects things like chickens, rabbits, and giant ant eaters. (Eimeria.) Yes. Ant Eaters. I couldn't make that up.

Today the vet called and said her second sample on Thursday showed no sign of the weird non-parasite parasite, so she cleared it on her own. In fact, so far she's had two samples run, and nothing really serious has turned up - which, I think, is really good for a puppy. (Gesso's poop was also clear - so no transmission occurred either.)

Just to be safe from other real doggie parasites though, she's on Panacur Granules for three days. I call it her doggie cocaine because it comes in little dime bags that I mix in with her food.

A week after the Panacur runs out, I'll give her Sentinel Spectrum. It looks to be a monthly thing, but the vet didn't say anything about that so I'll have to follow up.

She does have a little lump to the left of her left shoulder blade. The vet took a sample, and she thinks it might a little bacterial infection from a fellow puppy bite. Grete is now on antibiotics just to be safe.

Although she didn't really sit still, she weighed in at 15.1 lbs on Thursday. If you believe that you can take their 8 week weight and triple it, she may get to a healthy 45 lbs. However, I found a breed specific growth chart, and it make it clear that it's too hard to say at 8 weeks without knowing the parents.

As for me, I've had a couple moments where I've thought, "Oh my god, what have I done?" but they actually pass fairly quickly. I think the first few months are going to be the hardest because there are lot of places we can't go yet.

The vet would prefer that she not meet other healthy work dogs until a week after her second set of boosters, and thus I'll be carrying her around my work to avoid other dogs (and to avoid accidents) until July 19th. Hopefully she doesn't get too big for me to carry before then.

I also got the impression that my vet would prefer we avoid the dog park and puppy classes until she's had her third set of boosters, which means sometime in August. This is a bummer, but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry.

It's late, so I'm going to post this and head to bed. I promise there will be pictures in the next few posts.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Why Grete?

So, last night I started to use Greta as the puppy's name. It was a good name, but I couldn't quite justify why I liked it so much. It was easy to say, and she seemed to like it.

After doing some more research, I'm 99.99% sure that the puppy's name is now Grete. I'm naming her after Grete Waitz, a Norwegian marathon runner. To be honest, I just learned about her today, but it seems right. I stumbled across her name when I was looking up name meanings, and she's an amazing person with an amazing life.

You can read about her here:
[Her biography at]
[Read about her first and most memorable marathons here.]
[Listen to her speak here]

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Names that I considered instead of Grete

Here are some of the names I considered - in no particular order.
  • Kaylee - Firefly reference
  • Zoe - Firefly reference
  • Jayne - Firefly reference
  • Laika - First dog in space
  • Belka - Another space dog
  • Strelka - Another space dog
  • Charlie - I apparently named all my fish Charlie growing up.
  • Mimosa - Gesso's Hobbit name - Fun, but silly
  • Hebe - Plant name - I just like saying it - but silly
  • Zelda - Duh
  • Arya - G. R. R. Martin character
  • Hela - Like in "Hello Goodbye" by the Beatles - I've had that in my head since I picked her up. However, I think this is too close to Haela, the name of a friend from college's dog.
  • Senka - Serbian for 'shadow' - makes me think of Sanka coffee though.
  • Greta - There used to be a Greta Gretel that worked at Amazon. She was super cool.
  • Beyla - Elf - Cute. Ends in A.
  • Rivka - Allegedly, this is the Hebrew form of Rebecca
  • Emrys - a Welsh form of Ambrose
  • Inta - After my college piano professor. She was a wonderful woman.
  • Tilda - Since people think I look like Tilda Swinton. Also, it has a geeky feel.
  • Fargo - Good name. Does not fit though
  • Onya / Anya / Anja - Perhaps too soft
  • Alma - Perhaps too soft
  • Katya - Fun to say
  • Nadia - Sorta fun to say

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Search: September 2005 to June 2007

I bought my first puppy books in September of 2005.
And today, June 22, 2007, I FINALLY brought home a puppy.

This is just her petfinder picture. I know it seems hard to believe, but she's a thousand times more cute in person. I will be posting more pictures, but she keeps falling asleep, and I don't want to wake her to go get the camera.

So far, she seems like the perfect puppy. She has done her business outside. She seems to know retrieve pretty well for an 8 week old. She also respects Gesso's authority (and mine as well.)

She's not a fan of the crate though. That's going to need some time, I think. She'll go in to get toys and drink, but I shut her in there very briefly to unload the car, and she yipped a bit.


In every dog book, there exists 2-5 paragraphs about how to introduce a dog to your cat. I think I violated every tenant in those texts.

I took the still-dripping-with-stress-drool puppy to the lawn and she squatted again. We chilled on the grass for a bit, and then we turned to the door. Gesso was looking out at us. Her mouth moved in a silent meow behind the glass.

I didn't feel right putting the puppy back into the car, so I risked a terrible first impression with the cat. Gesso - as expected - jumped up on the couch - and then made herself scarce.

The puppy and I sat on the bare wood floor of my living room for a while. I dried her chin and introduced her to some of her toys. She took to them right away. She did not, however, take to her crate right away. Remembering the box full of puppy puke, after a while, I risked putting her in her crate with the door shut and ran out to the car to grab everything. She did not like that, but I'm sure it was the right thing to do at the time.

More sitting on the floor. More toys. More cuddling.... She quickly dried off, and the drooling stopped. We went for our first walk. We made it less than half-a-block to the east. And napping... lots and lots of napping...

The Journey

Even though I was terribly nervous, the drive up to Port Townsend went quickly. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the QFC parking lot, nibbling on a bagel and drinking some steamed milk in an attempt to quiet my stomach.

11:00 popped up on the dash of my car, and I drove back to Jacob Miller road, up Critter Lane, down a gravel path and through some trees -- and pulled up to the Jefferson County Animal Shelter.

I walked in the door, and there she was. A volunteer had just bathed her, and she was being cuddled/dried in a towel on the volunteer's lap. I pointed to her. I pointed to me. The volunteer smiled.

Mazzie, the woman with the lovely accent who I spoke to on the phone, was there at the desk, and she started pulling up the paperwork right away. No interview. After years of prepping for rigourous breeder interviews or aloof rescue volunteers, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that they didn't grill me. I suppose the assumption was that since I had called twice on Thursday, placed the hold, and come all this way, I must be good enough for this puppy.

Eventually, it was decided that I could come behind the desk and hold her. She smelled slightly of damp puppy, and she didn't squirm too much.... until I had to try to hold her and write the check at the same time.

They had a donation box, and they offered me what looked like a cat bed for a windowsill at first. I passed on that. They then offered me a sheet of fake lambs wool as a dog bed, and I took that.

They also gave me some Purina puppy food and some Purina adult dog food. I asked what she had been fed at the shelter, and they said, "it changes every day." (Not a good sign!)

Outside on the grass, she immediately squatted. (A really good sign!) We spent some time getting to know each other out there and then headed out.

She was bigger than I expected, and so, even though I had brought Gesso's carrier and a cardboard box lined with a blanket, I decided to risk it and let her sit on the passenger seat. I draped the fake lambs wool over it first, and she settled right in. (Another good sign!)

I left my right hand on the passenger seat, gently holding the leash in case she started chewing on the upholstery. She never did. Instead, at one point, she turned around and used my hand as a pillow. I have to confess, I almost started crying with happiness at that moment. It was a really, really, really good moment.

We made it all the way to Port Gamble before the first problem... Apparently, she had eaten a huge breakfast of the mystery food. (In fact, since I've brought her home, I wonder if she's even eaten as much as that which came out on the lambs wool just outside of Port Gamble. ) Pulled over, cleaned up as best as I could, brought out the box, put her in that. Then I noticed the drooling. So much drool! Her chin, my jacket arm... saturated.

The ferry ride was ok, and she got lots of admiring looks from kids and ferry workers alike, but as we headed down I-5 from Edmonds, more breakfast came out in the box.

We were less than 10 minutes from home when this happened, and it would have been only moderately stressful if a brown car had not stalled RIGHT IN FRONT of us. Stuck in the middle of a fast moving I-5, sandwiched between a stalled car and a huge impossible-to-see-around Mac truck with a puking puppy -- that isn't my idea of a good Friday. Eventually the Mac truck played linebacker for me and we both pulled out into traffic, and we made it safely home.