Juney is being crate-raised / crate-trained. I don’t know that I believe in this method. It actually sounds quite cruel, probably because I have claustrophobia. But her numerous medical conditions required that I keep her with me for constant nurturing and medication. So her headquarters is a little purple kennel crate. It is about 10 x 16, more than enough room for her. The heating pad fits perfectly in the bottom. Because she is still on timed feedings, she comes to work with me every day. She has progressed from every two hours to every four hour feedings. I’m sure it won’t be long before she can go the whole day (with some dry food in a little dish for a snack). And then we can cut these apron strings. My boss has been unbelievably generous about me bringing a dog to work every day. Luckily, Juney is so quiet during the day. The total amount of time I spend administering to Junebug is probably less than 30 minutes, but she’s here all day, every day. Most employers would not tolerate that. How lucky am I? Actually, it is wonderful having this little love-bug at work with me. When I find myself alone, I pull her out of her crate, take her to her spot for a quick potty break, then spend a few minutes rocking her in my swivel desk chair. She soon falls back to sleep and gets returned to her crate. Those little times make my maternal instincts quiver.
Let’s be honest. Junebug is not beautiful. She is not the most handsome specimen for her breed. But she is cute as a bug (pun intended). She gets smarter every day. And, hopefully, she gets healthier every day. Let me take just a minute to ask a question about dog eating. Why do (some) dogs take a mouthful of food (wet canned food and/or dry kibbles) out of their bowl, walk away from the bowl, and eat the food a little way away from their food bowl? My other dogs do this and Junebug is also doing it instinctively. Drives me a little bit crazy and makes me a lot curious. I’d love to know the answer to this.
For this article I wanted to have a lot of photos, all different poses, showing her growth progress. Well now that she’s become a squirmy little puppy, it is all the more impossible to handle her one-handed and handle my camera one-handed. Most of these shots were taken on my bed with her on a blanket in my lap. Being out of her crate, on my bed, in the evening is her time to wiggle and squiggle all over the place. I wish I had a photo of her latest and greatest social accomplishment. My smallest Pom, Harley, is the doggie version of Norma Desmond. For those not familiar with that wonderful movie character, Harley is the consummate drama queen. And he is supremely disgruntled at this uninvited dog-thing invading his spot as Baby of the Household. I do my best to give Harley tons of extra hugs and kisses, but he is not fooled, not one bit. Of all my dogs, Harley has been least gracious to Juney, even snarling and snapping at times. So I was quite surprised last night when Harley was right at the crate door when I took Juney out for her evening visit. Even as I opened the grill door, Harley jumped into the crate with Juney. I fought my initial instinct to grab Harley by the hindquarters and drag him out. I think I did something like pet Harley’s body and talk gently, the whole time (maybe six seconds) hoping Juney would not get her head bit off. Harley backed out of the crate on his own. I quickly and smoothly reached in and extracted Juney. Then Harley cautiously came over and sniffed Juney’s genital area, something that had never happened before. I don’t know what it means, but it didn’t end in a fight. Harley got a lot of hugs and sweet-talk. Juney commenced to dancing around on her blanket as if nothing happened, and I thanked the Lord for tiny victories. Okay, before this article gets ridiculously long, let me ask you knowledgeable people how you deal with puppy biting. Well, chewing, actually. I’ve had this problem before with other puppies, and was advised by the breeder to deliver a quick and firm finger tap to the snout and a loud and stern “No Bite!” It works quite well, eliminating this habit in 1-2 weeks, depending on the intelligence of the puppy. Well, as you can imagine, I’m not about to hit/thunk/tap any part of Junebug’s head. Her favorite thing to chew on is anyone’s hand. Play-with-me time always includes finger and hand chewing, which gets more painful as she gets stronger and bolder. She has chew toys and rawhide stix, which distract momentarily. But nothing is more enticing than chewing on the person playing with her. Do you think she’ll grow out of this common puppy habit on her own? Any secret methods to handle this problem that don’t include head banging?
Okay, if we go with the age originally quoted to me, Junebug is now a little over three months. Head trauma aside, she has systematically overcome hypothermia, dehydration, all the worms, an ulcer in one eye, being a preemie, lung congestion, and being dropped onto a cement floor.Oh, I didn’t tell you about that one. The original dog owner let me know – a few days AFTER I took the dog – that Junebug had been dropped onto a cement floor the day before I got her.Another little news flash reported AFTER I took the dog – all of the other pups in that litter have died. None of them ever received puppy shots, most of them contracted severe diarrhea, at least one of them died from seizures. Head trauma aside, I’d say that Junebug is doing quite well. She acts, eats, yips, and smells like a real dog. She voices her displeasure loud and clear. She mercifully falls asleep soon after a half hour of lively play. One can of dog food lasted nine days when I first got her. Now she can empty 2 cans a week (she eats like a PIG!). She knows her name. She proudly and dutifully goes peep and poop and then waits for the resulting praise. (I must say, it’s just so seldom I get to discuss dog poop in a formal article.) She looks you straight in the eye and waits to see what life will be like in your arms, then gives you a firm puppy kiss and/or bite if you take too long to please her.
I must admit, this commitment had taken an exorbitant amount of money and time. I can’t be the only one who thinks that vet charges have become outrageous, much on the scale of gasoline prices. And it feels like Junebug and I are attached at the hip. Truly, I must be the only Harry Potter fan on the planet who has not finished even a third of this last book; no time to read with puppy in hand. So to sum up this update, I think Junebug will be with us for a while. How long? For as long as our luck holds out. She doesn’t have a cloudless sky ahead of her, but we can definitely see the sun shining.
Junebug and I would like to dedicate this article to my dear friends Debbie G. and Tonia G., and their wonderful dog Buddy. Buddy is struggling with some severe medical problems right now. Your prayers and positive thoughts for this wonderful guy are greatly appreciated.