Thursday, October 29, 2009

Not a puppy!

A couple of days ago my neighbor telephoned me for some advice. This is the same neighbor that Mi was going back and forth to visit. The same neighbor whom I had spent some time discussing the care and training of cats, the same neighbor that in the end couldn't make the decision to adopt Mi.

"Tanya, I need some advice... My daughter brought home a puppy yesterday. I don't know how to take care of a puppy. What should I do?"

I spent some time talking with her and making suggestions (though I haven't raised a puppy since I was a child). And I said I'd come over the next morning to visit their new family member.

Yesterday I ran into the mother in front of their house and she told me a little about how it was going with the puppy. Not well. She was very frazzled but said that her daughter was so adamant about keeping the puppy that it was probably there to stay. Ah yes, the daughter. When Mi came back from being spayed, my neighbor and her daughter had come over to adopt the kitty and the girl had been so happy to cuddle Mi and listen to her purr. She REALLY wanted to take Mi home.

This is no storybook little girl with apple blossom skin. My neighbor's daughter is a lanky teenager with orange hair, sloppy clothing and heavy makeup. I have known her since she was a baby and she used to come for English. For all her bravado she is still fairly congenial to me and will smile and greet me on the street (more than some of my very serious students will do!) I like the girl very much and watching her with the kitty and seeing her eyes sparkle made me think that the girl needed the kitty as much as the kitty needed the girl. At one point the daughter got irritated with her mother's wishy-washiness and blurted out

"Are we going to adopt this cat or not? That's what we came for!"

But they ended up not adopting Mi.

Yesterday the neighbor invited me into her house to see the puppy and maybe give her some more advice. We went upstairs to the daughter's room. The whole room was COVERED with taped down newspaper! On top of the newspaper were maybe 20 potty training sheets flown here and there. The puppy had not figured out what potty training sheets were for and so we stepped around puddles and piles until we got to the sleeping teenager in the middle of it all (not really on the bed... sort of scrunched onto her futon on the floor) and of course the puppy was jumping on everybody and everything and making a real mess everywhere!

I don't know, but I don't think this is the correct way to potty train a puppy. I suggested buying a cage or fenced in area and focusing on praise for correct potty habits and confinement for misses. The mother was half holding her head and kept saying over and over

"I've never done this before... I had no idea puppies were like this!"

I went home half-smiling to myself. I think the teenage daughter took matters into her own hands when mom wouldn't make a decision about the kitty. I don't want to be mean but I think mom would have had an easier time adopting my kitty.

Oh well, good all around. The neighbor girl got a puppy. The puppy got a new home. And I got Mi.

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