On February 5th we welcomed home our new puppy, Alice!
I've had puppy fever for years, even though I'm not the biggest fan of puppies. I've never liked puppy breath or sharp needle teeth but the thought of raising my own baby puppy after only having adult dogs was appealing to me. I agonized over breeds and breeders and rescue puppies. My husband wanted to do another rescue and I wanted to find a breeder.
One thing became apparent to me after knowing my older dogs so well. If I were to bring in a third dog, that dog would need to fit in well with at least Phoenix. Out of my two dogs, Phoenix still has a lot of get up and go in her. Where as Zoe just wants to nap all day and go for a walk around the block, eat snacks and hang out with her dad. Phoenix still wants to play and train. I would need a dog that she would like to hang out with but not be too intimidating for her.
After obtaining my home owner's association's permission, I decided to look at rescue puppies. I knew that Phoenix tends to get along with smaller "terrier" type dogs. Looking for rescue puppies in the Portland area is a huge pain. Puppies are adopted within hours of even arriving at facilities. I would see a puppy on Petfinder and it would be gone. Some were even adopted out the night before arriving at a facility. I was afraid I'd have to go to California or Colorado!
I saw the above photo after weeks of looking at puppies. My husband was still very much on the fence about getting a puppy, especially since our financial situation is always a bit unstable with his job and I had quit my job recently. We were planning on waiting to get a puppy until either this summer or next year. When I saw her picture, I couldn't get her out of my head. I just imagined her being with us. I could see her in my house. I saw her photo a week before we adopted her. I told myself if she was still available by my husband's next day off, we had to go meet her. This puppy even attended an adoption event (she was the kissing booth puppy!!!) that weekend and was still available. That never happens here. I really feel like it was meant to be.
We drove over an hour through the crappiest Portland traffic to meet "Indigo", a 7-8 month old (Yay! adult teeth!) "terrier" mix. The rescue worker brought her out and she ran right past me and jumped into my husband's arms, giving him tons of kisses. It was like she knew who she had to win over! LOL! After she was done with him, it was on to me. I was immediately smitten with her as you can see in the video above. My husband and I looked at each other and it was done. Decision made. Indigo was coming home with us.
After a quick stop at Petsmart to get a harness and some puppy things, we made the drive home. The whole time I agonized over how to introduce her to the girls. We decided that Vince would go inside, greet the girls, get them leashed up and take them outside on a walk, then I'd meet up with him with the puppy. The meeting outside on our walk went really well. Both of the older dogs greeted her politely. Phoenix has always had a hard time with face-to-face meetings with new dogs and I definitely held my breath when they met but Phoenix did really well. Moving to inside the house was pretty challenging for Zoe. Zoe has liked dogs her whole life but now that she's gotten older, she's gotten less tolerant and can be grumpy. Luckily after a couple of months of slow introductions and getting to know each other Zoe is doing really well!
All of our animals have special names, our theme here is scifi/mythology and we wanted to give this puppy a special name, too. We decided to name her after Alice in Wonderland, since this puppy is going down the rabbit hole into dog training land.
We've been doing a lot of training and going on tons of adventures. We try to take her to a new place every week. All of her meals come from me as training sessions and I carry treats on my person at all times. She is reinforced throughout the day, all day, for doing things I like.
She did come with some training already, which was amazing. She was already crate trained, she walks well on a leash, sits for everything and knew what hand targeting was. She gets distracted very easily, so I've been playing a lot of focus games and working on building her attention span. The first week, she couldn't even train for a minute without grabbing a toy and leaving me. Now she can make it through a whole 10 minutes! She used to ignore me the whole walk and now I have her attention. She knows I'm there and she can earn snacks! I'm also working on teaching her to settle and building an off switch.
Alice is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met, she loves to cuddle. If she's not cuddling with me, she's cuddling with the other dogs. Alice is so energetic and she's brought a lot of joy and fun back into our lives. I'm pretty sure she was exactly what was missing in our lives.