Adjusting to the Truffle Invasion

It’s like being a first-time mom all over again. Yes, we’re dealing with a different species, but I’m exhibiting the same obsessive attention to behavior, bowel movements, eating patterns…I am decidedly too old for this.  But Truffle is just so adorable, it’s hard to resist him.

It’s been a long five days.  And I feel just as exhausted now as I did when Chloe and Sophie were newborns.  As I write this through my puppy-induced haze of sleep deprivation, here are some initial observations about the Truffle invasion.

(1) Would someone please invent puppy diapers?  Oh, they have.  All it takes is a split second of inattention and boom.  He’s peed or pooped on the floor.  I’ve been hyper-vigilant.  But even so, he’s managed to escape my supervision at least once daily to use our house as his toilet.  Our wonderful trainer from K9 Problemsolvers tried to reassure me that the housebreaking process can take up to two weeks.  And don’t get me wrong, we’ve had plenty of successes so far.  But every time Truffle tinkles or craps in the house, a tiny part of me fondly recalls last Friday, which shall forevermore be known as the last day of the BT era.  In this case, BT stands for either “Before Truffle” or “Before Trouble.”  If Truffle is being irresistibly cute, it’s meant in the spirit of “I can’t believe we survived this long Before Truffle.”  If he’s crapping on our floor, it’s more like “Life was so much easier Before Trouble!”

(2) My husband is warming up to the little pup despite himself. When he arrived home last evening, he at first tried to ignore the dog but soon couldn’t resist picking him up to give him a hug.

(3) Chloe and Sophie are responding to Truffle in two very different, but predictable ways.  Chloe will not hesitate to say how cute he is, but you won’t find her voluntarily approaching the puppy to play with him.  She’s willing to take him to the yard to do his business, but hasn’t yet mastered showing Truffle who’s boss.  And she’s been frugal in her displays of affection. As she has repeatedly reminded me with a well-timed “Get over it, Mom,” we are not the first family to own a dog.  It’s not rocket science.  Sophie, however, is all about the cuddling and concern for Truffle’s well-being.  When he whimpered and barked in his crate the first night, Sophie woke up and came running into our bedroom in tears because she was afraid for her new friend. She loves to play with him until she decides it’s time to watch more episodes of “Malcolm in the Middle.”

(4) I have been washing my hands so much since Saturday that they think it’s the middle of February.  They’re painfully dry. And I’ve probably destroyed any natural immunity I’ve built up since last winter.

(5) I should probably consider napping while Truffle naps.  Just like I should have done with the girls when they were babies but never did.  Same goes for puppy-proofing.  We never baby-proofed the house, so why would we ever puppy proof?

(6) Because I’m essentially homebound with the dog until he’s better adjusted to his crate during the day (we’re getting there, but he’s not happy about it – not one bit), I’ve been saving a lot of money. No frivolous shopping, no lunches with friends…This self-imposed exile cannot last forever, however. I’m already plotting my next outing. Later today, I will be going to the supermarket. Joy.

(7) I very much look forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when I’ll be able to take Truffle on real walks.  Until he’s sufficiently vaccinated (we’re looking at sometime in November), he’s essentially relegated to our yard. I’m still plenty active, though.  Between studiously following him around the house to make sure I catch him before he squats, taking him out to relieve himself at least a million times a day, and running around with him in the yard like an idiot, Truffle is the best exercise equipment ever.

(8) The breeder feeds her puppies a raw diet. We are transitioning our beast to a high-quality kibble, but he’s still getting some raw to ease the change.  Dealing with raw chicken and ground beef is truly not my cup of tea.  And it’s expensive.  Truffle is tolerating kibble, but it’s crystal clear what he prefers.  I keep reminding myself that he won’t let himself starve, but it sure would be nice to see him lust after the kibble the way he lusts after the raw meat.  

(9) He’s a mouthy son of a gun.  Training him to stop nipping us with his sharp little puppy teeth is going to take some time.  Our trainer taught us to let out little puppy-sounding cries when his fangs touch our skin, but his emotional intelligence is still developing, I think. To him, it’s all a game.

(10) Truffle’s light green eyes are to die for. Chances are they’ll turn brown before long, but I hope they stay green forever.  So that every time he looks up at me I can better see into his little puppy soul.

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