It’s a dog’s life after all

Feeling inspired after watching Marley and Me on the weekend, and intrigued that puppies like to eat mangos – yes, turns out it’s true – I decided to put together a snapshot of life with a puppy. Here at RedBalloon we are a bunch of dog-lovers, many of us have dogs, or have contemplated taking the leap. And you all know about our resident pooch and head of security Dexter. So, in a tilt of the hat to all you doggy devotees, I give you, the doggy diaries

You might remember from my first post that Indi, an English staffy, arrived just two weeks after I started working at RedBalloon. That first week was my idea of hell as I juggled a new job that I loved, a torturous commute and a screaming puppy that sounded like I had a pig-skinning operation going on inside my unit. Thankfully an extremely flexible work environment meant I was able to work from home for a few days until everything settled down – and now the story is great fodder for Naomi when she describes the type of workplace we have at RedBalloon…

Anyway, since that rather “testing” period, we – that’s me and my husband Damon – have enjoyed the ups, downs and in-betweens of dog ownership. From the clockwork wakeup call every morning at 6am, the vet visit to clear up a rather unsightly bout of conjunctivitis, the embarrassment of being unable to get Indi to come back at the dog park (yes, we are those people), to this weekend discovering the secret society of the local kennel club…Seriously, I like to think of myself as a dog enthusiast, but these people are dog extremists. They come armed with training collars, gourmet dog treats that would be more at home on a nibbles platter – cabanossi and gouda anyone? – and those weird clicking devices that sound more like the creature from Predator than any type of training device I ever imagined. It’s the underbelly of the dog world.

Indi was put in the ‘beginners’ group, which also included a chocolate lab with some version of ADHD; a staffy that looked more like a wombat and sounded like Darth Vader; and a German shepherd that was big enough to put a saddle on and ride home at the end of the session. The dog trainers here aren’t paid – they give up their time every weekend to teach ‘mutley crews’ like ours a thing or two about “rewarding the behaviour you like, and ignoring and redirecting what you don’t like”. This will be a cinch I figure, I do the same thing with Damon all the time.

We decided to take Indi to some more dog training classes because she’s starting to test her luck – the experts call it becoming a ‘teenager’. Ring any bells? No? Anyway, apparently a key sign of this is starting to assert dominance, which we thought was isolated to male dogs. No, turns out the girls do it too, and a common method of asserting said dominance is, brace yourself, weeing on their master’s bed.

That’s right people, here I am, on a sunny Saturday morning, full to the brim of weekend optimism, folding the washing with my beautiful, well-behaved, wouldn’t-put-a-paw-out-of-place-puppy looking on, when the unthinkable happens…she wanders across to the edge of the bed, and squats. I fling my arms around like a maniac and scream “uh uh uh”! But it’s too late. I contemplate teaching her a lesson by returning the favour, but decide it would be too undignified…

Then after all of this had unfolded on the weekend, this morning I awoke to a sound not unlike that made by an 80-year-old emphysema sufferer. Its 5am, the sun is rising above the balcony in our bedroom, it looks like it’s going to be a glorious day, and there I am, clutching a roll of paper towel crouched over a pool of dog vomit. What a way to start the week.

I get Indi out of her crate, pop her on the carpet where she does a little stretch, then wanders over to the side of the bed and wakes Damon up with a lick on the face. I won’t repeat what came out of Damon’s mouth. Needless to say, it was an early rise for us, and after a short walk where it appeared Indi had recovered from whatever it was that made her sick, we returned home where she went straight back to sleep without a care in the world. We sat on the couch clutching our extra-strong morning coffee debating whether or not we should feed her mangos in the future…

My top tip for owning a puppy (apart from the boring obvious stuff) – take lots of photos! I’m thankful Damon knows how to point and shoot, but if you’re a little creatively challenged take a look at our pet photography experiences. When your puppy, kitten, rabbit or other equally loveable family pet is all grown up and eating you out of house and home, you’ll be glad you took the time to document how cute and loveable they are right now. RedBallooner Kasey did it with her pugs Tinker & Benson…

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