Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Winnie's Diary: Introducing Robin

Hi. I'm Winnie. I live with my Mommy and my Daddy and my two bunnies, Luke and Daisy. I used to think Luke and Daisy were strange puppies, but now I've figured out they are really bunnies and not puppies.1

It's a lot of work taking care of everyone - I do all the chores around the house, after all. In the mornings I wake up the bunnies and feed them kibbles, then I go outside and potty and bark at the neighbor dogs. Next door to me lives Emma, my closest friend, and we talk to each other through the fence. We also have "bark offs" with Cody, Brody, and Frody2, who live on the other side of Emma's fence.

When I come back inside the house, I run to Mommy and jump on her and walk all over her back - I call this my "shih tzu massage" (even though I'm actually a Cavachon). Mommy and I cuddle while Daddy gets dressed to go someplace called "work." I don't know where that is, but he says he has to go there to bring home the bacon, and, sure enough, each night at bedtime, he gives me a tasty bacon chew treat. I'm sad that Daddy has to spend so much time away from me, but I'm glad that he finds bacon at work to bring home to me.

After Mommy and I wake up from cuddles, it's time for puppy chores! I put away the bunny food dishes, refill their hay and litter and water, put away all the hoo-man dishes, make the bed, and check if the trash needs to go outside (if it does then I leave the bag by the back door, then when Daddy comes home later I escort him out to the trash can, to make sure he doesn't misbehave). Later in the day I check for mail and packages, before the package thieves can abscond with them. Then I'm ready for a nap! It's hard work being a puppy, and being responsible for an entire house! Oh, and of course, I also vacuum the kitchen floor if Mommy or Daddy drop pieces of cheese, or popcorn ("puppycorn"), or kale (Daddy calls me a "pupster"), or even eggshells! And anytime the bunnies poo outside their fence, I vacuum that up with my tongue, too.

When I was younger, Mommy and Daddy would bring me to a place called "Petco, where the Pets Go," on the weekends for puppy play time, where I got to see all sorts of puppy friends and run and jump and hump and get told "no humping" (actually, usually I was the one getting humped; Carol, the puppy trainer, said I had "sugar butt"). It was so much fun. But then I got too old for puppy play time and so Mommy and Daddy and I would go to the puppy parks instead, where I didn't have to wear a leash! Daddy always says how proud he is of me when we go to the Minnehaha off-leash park, because I stay right next to him for almost our whole walk. I'm a really good puppy.

A little while ago, it started getting cold at the puppy parks and also the sky started falling. First the sky fell in paw-sized pieces of colored tree bits, and then when it got really cold, the sky fell in white powder that got all over my fur. Mommy and Daddy started saying it was too cold to go to the park anymore, so I stopped getting to see my friends and work out all my puppy energy.

Around that time, I took up a new career as a neighborhood watchdog. I perched on top of Mommy's nice couch and looked out the window, pushing aside the vertical blankets so I could see. Every time a puppy went by walking their hoo-man, I barked and asked them to come inside to play with me. But none of them ever did. It made me very sad. After they walked by, I cried for several minutes (even after the puppy was out of sight) because I was so lonely and just wanted a friend to play with. Mommy or Daddy would hold me while I cried, which made me feel loved but not any less lonely. After I stopped crying, I'd go back to watching out the window. Sometimes Mommy or Daddy would ask me what I saw, and I'd tell them, "loneliness."

Me and Santy Paws! If you click and
zoom in you can read my letter to him.
When I went to visit Santa Paws, I wrote him a list of what I wanted for Christmas: toys, bacon and turkey treats, a puppy brother or sister, and world peace. We don't have a chimney in my house, and I was really worried Santy Paws wouldn't be able to bring me my presents, so Daddy 3D-printed a fireplace for Santa to use. Also Mommy says Santa used something called "Elf Prime" to deliver a lot of presents in advance. When Christmas came, Luke and Daisy and I all got lots of treats and toys! And I got to go over to Grandma and Grandpa Puppy's every day for the 12 Days of Christmas, and got a yummy rawhide stick treat each time I went!
"Are you bacon?"
I'm grateful to Santy Paws for all my presents, but I was sad I didn't get the present I wanted more than anything: a brudder or sister. I told Mommy and Daddy I'd trade all the presents I got if I could have a sibling. I said this while giving Daddy my big puppy dog eyes and he says it broke his heart. I didn't mean to break anything, I was just trying to communicate. I've learned that when I give Daddy my puppy dog eyes, I can get almost anything I want (except chocolate). Daddy says that's why I came to live with him and Mommy in the first place, is because of my puppy dog eyes.

My first sign of hope came one day after Daddy held me while I cried - I overheard him talking with Mommy about "maybe we could get a second puppy, in spring." I don't know what springs have to do with anything, and waiting is very hard for a little puppy, but Daddy was adamant about something called "pot-training" and not doing it in winter; maybe he was hoping to teach the new puppy how to use kitchen utensils? It didn't make a lot of sense to me. Then I saw another puppy walking their hoo-man and I cried again, and my Daddy held me close and spoke softly to me until I calmed down. I told him how lonely I was, and how all I had were these dumb bunnies. Daddy said I should apologize to the bunnies, so I did: "I'm sorry for calling you dumb bunnies, dumb bunnies." Daddy wasn't enamored with my apology, but let it drop.

A week after Christmas, Daddy went back to work so he could bring me more bacon. Then the next weekend, Mommy and Daddy and Aunty Abby and I spent a couple hours in the basement washing 300 pounds of what I'm sure was gigantic puppy kibble.3 As usual I did all the work, they just watched. I've heard of a puppy named Clifford the Big Grey dog4, so I assumed he was coming to visit. I was exhausted after all that kibble washing! And Mommy wouldn't even let me eat any of it when we were done!

Clifford's dog food

Daddy says this is "hydro-"... "hydro something". But I'm sure it's giant puppy kibble and I tried to eat it!

Another week went by, as did so many puppies outside the window. I heard Daddy telling Mommy that, maybe it would be okay to do "pot-training" in winter after all. I didn't really understand what he meant by that, so I just kept crying while he held me and gave me comforting pets.

A few days later I was napping and heard Daddy talking into his favorite light-up toy; I could barely hear a voice coming from inside the toy, but it sounded just like the Puppy Man's voice from when I was a little puppy and first met Daddy. I could tell because the Puppy Man has a very distinctive way of saying "hello?" that sounds simultaneously helpful and also surprised to be speaking to another hoo-man. Daddy talked to the Puppy Man for a few minutes and asked him some questions about Cavachons, but I was too asleep to really pay attention to what they were saying.

Me and my bunnies, Luke and Daisy
Late in the week, Mommy and Daddy were worried about Daisy Bunny - they saw she had some sores on her feet, and were trying to pick her up to look closer. I know the bunnies don't like to be picked up, so I tried to help by barking and whining at Mommy and Daddy. Daisy might be a dumb bunny but she's my dumb bunny and I really love her. Luke also tried to help by thumping and scratching at Mommy and Daddy. Daddy had to put me in another room because he said I wasn't helping; I guess he just doesn't understand helpfulness. I heard Mommy and Daddy agreeing about how they needed to take care of the pets they already had, before adding another one. I'm guessing they were talking about Clifford again, because he still hadn't shown up to eat all that kibble I'd washed for him.

Sunday morning, Daddy told me it was going to be a big day! Mommy and Daddy put the bunnies into their travel kennel and I helped by whining and barking. Then we all went to get bunny-mani-pedi's and doggie-mani-pedi's at the pet store. In the store I saw my new best friend5 and kept whining for Mommy to let me go say "hi." She carried me to go look at fishies instead. I've learned "fish are friends, not food," and I find it very soothing to watch them swim. I was a good boy for the mani-pedi man as he clipped my nails, and then we all went back home. Earlier that morning, Mommy had gotten out several towels and my poop bags and my travel water dish and other things, so I thought maybe we were going to the puppy park! But then they put me in my bedroom and closed the door and left the house, so I thought they'd gone to the puppy park without me. I was a little sad, because I like spending time with my hoo-mans, but I also like my big bed so I decided just to take a nap all afternoon. I guess the "big day" Daddy talked about was just getting our nails trimmed. Oh well. At least I got a bacon treat.

That evening, I heard Daddy get home and so I stood up on the bed and wagged my tail when he came in the bedroom to pet me. I love my Mommy so much but it's not a well-kept secret that my Daddy's my favorite. After all I chose him when he and Mommy came to the puppy store to visit me. Daddy told me he and Mommy had a surprise for me in the back yard, so we ran to the door together (which we normally do anyway, because whenever Mommy and Daddy get home that always means it's potty time). When I ran into the back yard, I saw Mommy over by the garage, and... another puppy!!!

Robin: "I'm not sure what to think yet..."
I couldn't believe it, I was so happy and so excited and so overwhelmed! I asked Mommy and Daddy and they said, yes, this was my new sister, Robin!6 In all my excitement, I kept jumping and wanting to play with Robin, though she wasn't very interested in playing with me right then. As a white-furred male puppy, I don’t want to dog-splane my sister's experience, so I asked her if she'd like to write something for you:

Robin's diary

Hi. I'm Robin. I'm a Cavachon and I'm 5 months old. I have a twin sister, whom I still miss, but I'm getting used to my new home and my big brother, Winnie (who's also a Cavachon, though we have different doggy parents).

When my new Mommy and Daddy first met me in the puppy store, I let them pet me while I sat in their laps. One of them would hold me, and one would hold my twin sister, then we'd swap. Then they'd set us down and watch us play with the other puppies. I liked playing a little more than my sister. Then they held me again, talked a bit with the Puppy Man, and handed me to him. The Puppy Man took me in back and gave me a bath, which I did not enjoy, then deposited me back into my Mommy's arms. By this time I could tell something special, and different, was happening, and I was scared. I trembled, and I could tell Mommy felt so sad for me, but I couldn't help myself. I've only ever known the puppy store, and I didn't like the thought of leaving my sister behind.

Mommy swaddled me in a towel and carried me outside where it was very cold. We got into a big moving box on wheels and I sat on her lap. A couple times I tried to climb off her lap, to which Mommy said something about me not understanding gravity. I don't know what that word means, so I guess she's right. But I was pretty emotionally overwhelmed and so mostly I just sat still and tried to sleep.

Mommy swaddling me at the puppy store
After a while the box on wheels stopped and Mommy and Daddy switched spots, so Daddy was holding me. Daddy's okay but I'd already decided I like Mommy better. Daddy and I took a nap and when we woke up Mommy said we were someplace called "home." I like the sound of that word. Mostly I just liked not being in the moving box anymore. Mommy picked me up and brought me into what she called a "yard." It was very cold and there was white powder covering the ground. I found a spot right up against a wall and curled into a little ball. A minute later, another puppy came out and introduced himself. He said his name was Winnie and said how happy he was to meet me, and that I was his new best friend. I didn't know what to say. He seemed nice enough, but I was so emotionally drained from the day and just wanted some space to myself to sort through my emotions.

I'm shy in a new place.

I hide.
Soon we went someplace Mommy called "inside" and it was much warmer there. I like "inside" better than "yard." Mommy showed me two other weird-looking puppies, one was all white and one was gray and white and they had pointy ears and bushy tails, and they hopped. They were very strange puppies. It was all too much for me, I found a small corner between some cabinets and curled up into a ball again.

Mommy carried me to a "kennel" and told me this was my safe space. I loved it. I sat in there and curled up with the blanket, and went to sleep. I didn't cry at all, because I knew Winnie was there if I needed a friendly puppy face. Even though I was overwhelmed, just knowing there was another puppy around really did help comfort me.

When I woke up the next morning, Daddy said I was a good girl because I hadn't peed in my kennel. Well, duh, Daddy, I'm not going to pee in my safe space. (I'm going to do that in one of the other rooms. I didn't know that yet on my first day, but now I have lots of favorite peeing spots on the carpet, and I love to poop on the kitchen floor. Daddy doesn't like when I do that but I know it's the best place.)

My bed, and my Lambie.
Anyway, that first day, Winnie showed me around the yard, which looked very different in daytime, and told me I could have all his second-best toys. Daddy was gone most of the day - Winnie said Daddy leaves during the days to go find bacon for us; I don't know what bacon is yet but Winnie gets pretty excited about it - so I spent a lot of time with Mommy. I love Daddy, but Mommy's my favorite.

When Daddy got home later, he and Mommy left for a short time and when they came home they gave me some of my very own toys! They gave me a stuffed animal Lambie whom I love so very much, and some chewy bones because Mommy says I'm "teething." Winnie doesn't like to share his toys so it was nice to have some of my own. (we're getting better at sharing over time).

Me and Daddy
After a day or two getting used to "home," I started to feel more comfortable and my real personality started to come out. I think I surprised Mommy and Daddy with how much energy I have. I love playing chase with Winnie, and barking at the weird puppies, and barking the neighbor dog. And I love waking up early - I have so much energy in the mornings that I can't sit still, so I like running back and forth in the house while Winnie cuddles with Daddy or Mommy. I don't feel I have time for cuddling, when there are so many toys that need to be played with! But anytime I meet someone new, like when Grandma and Grandpa Puppy came to meet me, I get overwhelmed and take a nap. Daddy says he thinks I'm an "extreme introvert" like him.

Sometimes Mommy tells me and Winnie we have to play nicer, and Daddy will say "no growlies," or "no barking," but he knows we only pretend to listen to him. It's been about two weeks since I came here, and even though I miss my sister and all my other friends from the puppy store, I do like this place called home, and I really love my Mommy and Daddy and my brother Winnie.

Me and my brother, Winnie

Winnie's diary, continued

It's hard work taking care of a little puppy! I love Robin so much but no one warned me she'd have so much energy! In the mornings I just want to cuddle with my Daddy and my Mommy, but I also know it's my job to take care of Robin, so if she's off playing by herself, well I have to go supervise (remember I do all the work around the house). The first couple days I was so exhausted, I turned to Mommy and told her, "it's so much work taking care of a little puppy, you just can't understand! I know I was never this rambunctious when I was Robin's age!"

Even though it's a lot of work, I still love my little sister. She is very sweet and loves giving Mommy and Daddy kisses, and like me she loves licking feet. Sometimes when she calms down we get to cuddle together. Those are my favorite moments. Mostly, I'm just so happy to have a friend with me all the time. Life is good.

- Winnie


1Once, Mommy convinced me *I* was a bunny! She said, "bunnies have four paws, you have four paws; bunnies have two ears, you have two ears; bunnies have a fluffy tail, you have a fluffy tail; bunnies eat hay, you eat hay; you must be a bunny!" It's true, I do love eating hay, so I believed her! Then Mommy told me she was just joking and I wasn't actually a bunny.

2From Jeremy: the two dogs are named Cody and Brody, and they were dog-sitting a third dog for a while, whose name we never actually heard, so we just assumed it must be "Frody."

3From Jeremy: it was actually Hydroton clay pellets for our new aquaponics grow beds. See a future, not-yet-written blog post for more than you'll ever want to know about aquaponics.

4From Jeremy: "Big Grey" because dogs (and my friend Doug) are red-green color-blind.

5From Jeremy: Winnie thinks ANY and EVERY new dog he sees is his new best friend.

6From Jeremy: Winnie, as you probably know, was named after Winnie the Pooh; Robin is named after Christopher Robin, even though our Robin is a girl.