Cino - The Toddler

29th January 2014

I have just made my puppy cry. After spending twenty minutes outside with me to do her wee and poos, she followed me into the bedroom, sat upon our floor cushion, and weed. I caught her in the act, smacked her lightly on the rear end, said “no” very gruffly, picked her up and deposited her outside. She cried so pitifully, I feel like a monster.

I have been doing some reading and some thinking about the life span of dogs compared to humans. So now that Cino is 10 weeks old, she is officially a ‘toddler’ if you compare her growth and development to the growth and development of a human being. If she was a human she would now be about two years old. At 6 months to 18 months, she will be an adolescent, that’s when they dig holes in the garden, rip the washing off the line, and chew everything they are not supposed to chew, like teenagers, testing the limits. Isn’t that amazing?

I’ve also been thinking about when our son was a baby, and how desperately both Gerald and I wanted to get everything ‘right’ for him, how we feared that even some small thing may have long term unpleasant consequences for him. Like a wet nappy causing a painful nappy rash; did I get to him in time when he cried – or will he think we don’t respond when he needs us? OMG I bumped his head, will he survive? All of these doubts and fears are right here with me again, and I am 64 years old, and haveraised  ten well behaved, polite, considerate dogs. And come to think of it, Joshua at 37, is well behaved, polite and generally considerate, so we must be doing something right.

I guess it's called love.

Did you specifically tell me that cushions weren't for peeing on? 

Did you specifically tell me that cushions weren't for peeing on? 

Our puppy cried a LOT yesterday when she had her 10 week innoculation. Oh MY, did she cry. She screamed as if her leg had been amputated, poor James, the vet, using the finest needle imagainable, had to stop half way through, and do it again, which was a great accomplishment, as she wriggled like a handful of live eels.

We clearly have the most intelligent dog on the planet however (apart from the little issue with toilet training, that is). She comes to her name, will sit when asked, is learning very quickly about how to walk on the lead, heel to the left, and even sit and beg. She has the nose of the working Italian dog she heralds from, the Lagotto Ramagnolo, and can smell something valuable at 30 feet, and despite attempts to distract her, will head straight back to the exact spot. She digs frantically, as Gerald shouts frantically “No, no no!”, as he observes his carefully tended garden beds turn into mud holes.

The Truffle Hunter  

The Truffle Hunter  

We gave her a chicken neck a few days after we came home, and were alarmed when our little golden fluff ball turned into a wolfish snarling beast as she attacked it, attempting to swallow it whole, so we removed it, and fed it to the fish in the river. Yesterday, when I asked Kate, her breeder (and a vet, remember), she said ‘Let her enjoy her primal instincts, its good for her teeth and calcium and its fun!”. So yesterday, in an enthusiastic burst, we bought a kilo of chicken necks, and several lamb ribs, sufficient for a pack of wolves, all of which now lie like little penises in the freezer, individually packed and frozen. A chicken neck a day keeps the doctor away. Cino spent a happy hour licking and gnawing and chewing, finding a rare spot of shade in the garden, as today the temperatures are in the high thirties. She dragged some bloody remains indoors, and that too, landed up in the river for the fish.

She is now eating ‘almost’ dog food. And what a diet. There are billions of children in the world …. don’t go there Sandra, don’t go there. You worked for the underprivileged children of the world for 20 plus years, Sandra, its OK, its OK …..

She has chicken mince, grated raw carrot, and a mixture of either cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, green beans, chicken or beef broth, grated cheese, and natural yogurt. Twice a day. And puppy biscuits.  No wonder she has put on A KILO in two weeks. I swear I can watch her growing. After a meal, she lies there, satiated, barely able to walk, digesting. If she continues growing at this rate, she may become one of those huge dogs with red eyes and salivating jaws in horror movies.

We laugh at her all the time. Her antics are so ridiculous and she is so earnest about everything she does. She barked two days ago, a tiny but definite bark. She jumped, surprised, as if to say, where did THAT come from? Today she barked again, excited and playing a game with Gerald. She looks around, I can see her thinking “Hmmmm? There’s a dog here somewhere, I just need to find it ……”

We are getting more sleep. We go to bed and she lays contentedly in her ‘cot’, the puppy crate, alongside of Gerald. Last night, I took a photo of Gerald, my gruff and manly husband, with his beard and glasses, reading his book in bed, twelve inches away from his puppy in her cot, alongside of him. He made me SWEAR it would never go to facebook. The light goes out about 10.30 pm (earlier and earlier I might add …) and she sleeps until about 4 am, when one of us take her out for a wee and hopefully a poo. Just like parents of new born babies, we are obsessed with our dog’s poo. Then its back to bed until hopefully 5 am, when she is up, another wee, and we struggle to put her octoupus like body through the section of her cot we have unzipped, praying we may get another hour or so of sleep. Mostly not. I am having nana naps during the day to survive.

We have not left her alone yet. She still cries if we close the door and she cannot see us. So yesterday instead of going to my yoga class, I sat in our yoga teachers garden with her husband and her dog, whilst Gerald did downward dog indoors. This was another ‘socialising’ experiment in which Cino participated wholeheartedly, driving 7 year old sweet natured Honey to distraction, so much so, that after twenty minutes of Cino leaping all over Honey, we had to give Honey some respite, and allowed her to rest indoors. Our yoga teacher has a young daughter, who has a friend, and so Cino also got to play with two little girls. And I got to sit and talk for 1.5 hours with my yoga teachers incredibly handsome and suave French husband. Another socialising experiment. Someone has to be responsible.

I went to yoga one morning, Gerald was doing some coaching at home. Cino was very good, she even went into her cot to sleep at one point. She is getting to enjoy travelling in the car, preferring to lie on the floor behind Gerald on her towel, rather than my lap.

I cannot resist burying my head into her sweet, fat, pink, velvet, distended puppy tummy. She smells good enough to eat. Her sweet puppy breath, and lipstick pink tongue are the things of story books. Her golden curls are often wet, as she loves to follow Gerald around when he is watering the garden, and runs in and out of the spray. She is unafraid of the small waves at the edge of the beach, and will run joyfully along the sand, following me. She will also run joyfully in ANY direction of ANY person, ignoring our calls. We must still keep her on the hard sand at the edge of the ocean, as she has not had all of her innoculations yet, and is not fully immunised.

We talk to her all the time, we talk about her all the time, we are madly, crazily in love with this little doggie, and so so grateful for the gift of her in our lives. 



Sandra GroomComment