Home alone

Throw the fluffy bone again! Please!?! Pretty please??

I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry.

You see, today was not an ordinary day. It was the first time we left Charlie alone all day long.

I’m not on the couch. Seriously! I’m not on the couch.

I imagined a hole in our couch. Teeth marks on my Mission-style furniture. A fresh pile of poop on my bed.

Instead, I was greeted by a wiggly Charlie, who begged/dared me to give him an “I’m home!” rub. He triumphantly waved a chewy bone in his mouth.

Not a thing was disturbed. In fact, neither Lexie nor Charlie even touched a morsel of their kibble. Hmm. Impressive.

We moved to the yard, so I could throw the fluffy squeaky bone to Charlie. Somehow, this is his favorite toy for fetch. It’s absolutely awkward: a stuffed bone that weighs next-to-nothing and is almost impossible to throw more than 10 feet. Still, the sight of it makes him jump up and down like … a puppy!

Lex saunters at her own pace in the yard. Her wrestling days are over.

We tried tennis balls, but Charlie soon lost interest. He would zoom after them, then take a sharp right turn and attempt to tackle Lexie. Now that she’s a delicate 14 years old, we were not going to allow any of those shenanigans. We quickly declared Lexie a no-fly zone, and ….

Hey! What are these wood chips on the couch? And what happened to the front picture window? Are those teeth marks in the wood? What the ….???

So yes, just as I was about to present myself with the Most Awesome Puppy Owner award for Least Destruction in a Single Workday, the ceremony was quickly aborted. I couldn’t deny it, or even hide it. Charlie had chewed the front window.

The evidence.

The good news is that this window and sill were significantly damaged many years ago by another unruly dog. And I plan on replacing the entire unit with something without teeth marks (and more energy efficient) in the next year or so.

The problem is that for the next week, with Matt out of town, I have no way of correcting his behavior. I could hope really hard that he just won’t find the front window tasty anymore. Scientifically, I think that’s my best bet. In fact, right now I’m closing my eyes and thinking NO EATING THE FRONT WINDOW! and amazingly, Charlie has not left his bed.

See? It’s already working.



Charlie’s looking for a toy. Why are there no toys?!?

I think we’ll keep him.

It’s been a week, and we are madly in love with Charlie. Overall, I’d call it a successful transition. He and Lex get along famously, Matt has taught him to sit and he’s housebroken. Well, not really. He still really likes to take a poo in the basement. But he’s close to housebroken.

Magic bowl: Polaroid, tooth, tokens.

And last night, the Tooth Fairy came! Charlie lost one of his baby canine teeth. He got my attention by neurotically licking his nose (or so it appeared) and then it just flew out of his mouth. At first I thought one of his nails fell out, but upon closer examination I saw he lost a baby tooth. I put it in my magic bowl on top of the TV, and made sure to hide a dog treat in his bed.

In the first week of living with someone new, peculiar habits may surface. For Charlie, he has a thing for staying clean. Particularly, he likes to slip into the bathtub while Matt or I take a shower.

At first I noticed his little nose poking through the curtain. Then it was both paws on top of the tub. Then front legs hanging in the tub … and next thing you know, he’s soaked! Must be that Border Collie curiosity!

Now that Charlie has a name (thanks to everyone who suggested names and voted!) we had two tasks to accomplish. First, we had to teach it to him, and secondly, we had to get a cool name tag!

Somehow the stars aligned perfectly and Matt was able to get Charlie to answer to his new name AND teach him how to sit, all in one day. Matt says no magic was involved on teaching the command; he simply watched a YouTube video. To celebrate, we went to PetSmart and bought a bright red dog bone name tag. Fancy-schmancy stuff, indeed.

Throughout this week, Lexie has been a gracious big sister, gently (and geriatrically) showing young Charlie the ropes. Lex gave up her favorite spot on the couch (until we put a stop to that), she holds her ground as he zooms around her in the yard and does this odd yawn-thing each time Charlie goes in for a kiss. We Googled “dog-yawn-kiss” and apparently it’s a calming signal to indicate that everything is OK and there is nothing to worry about. Awwe.

In exchange for all of this, Lex gets to eat unlimited amounts of puppy chow. Not that we would want to encourage that, or anything. But she’s still quick on the paws, and able to gobble down quite a bit of kibble before we realize she’s in the wrong bowl.

And given that she’s a tad underweight, I’m tempted to let this play out.

In the meantime, Charlie is busy emptying the dog toy basket. The same basket that sat idle in my house for years. He’s discovering the red squeaky bone, the two-foot ropey, the stuffed giraffe, the Kong. He pulls them all out, piling up his favorites on the dog bed, then squeaks the giraffe for like 10 minutes straight.

Oh yes. Music to this mom’s ears.