Kirby has arrived! He is a 9-month old black lab mix that we adopted from a local animal shelter. He had been picked up as a stray so they didn’t have much information on him. When we walked up and down the aisles looking at the dogs, we were struck by the fact he wasn’t on his hind legs barking, but was politely standing at the front of his cage and as you knelt in front of him, he eagerly wanted to lick your hand. We took him into a visitation room and he just sat down right in front of us and with his eyes asked for attention. Soon he was lying on his back asking for a tummy rub.
We filled out the application and after the shelter checked our references, we were able to adopt him several days later. The shelter had him neutered but he had chewed out the stitches before we picked him up, so he had to have staples put in and had an Elizabethan collar (cone) on his head. When we got him home, he was a bit like a bull in the china shop as he explored his new surroundings, bumping into everything with his cone.
He currently weighs about 47 pounds, and we expect him to grow a bit. As a puppy, he has a lot of energy, so between my husband and I, he gets about 5 miles of walking a day. Kirby loves to chew, so we’ve gotten him a number of different types of chew toys to keep him occupied. He understood immediately what his dog bed was, and spends good times on it munching happily or sleeping.
The shelter said they were uncertain whether he was housebroken, so we are regularly taking him out to the same place to do his business, saying “Go potty” while he does, and giving him treats when he’s done. So far he’s done marvelous. No accidents (knock on wood).
He was reluctant to go in his inside kennel at night and when we were leaving. At first he would whine and scratch at his crate pad for 10-15 minutes. We’ve been teaching him to go in the kennel by saying, “Kennel” and coaxing him inside with dog treats (and a little prodding). We also feed him in his kennel so he starts to associate his kennel with good things. Last night he went in his kennel without a big fuss and was quiet through the entire night, so he’s made great progress.
Kirby is learning to ride well in the car and we are trying to introduce him to a lot of new sounds, sights, smells, and places. He’s met a number of dogs and people in the neighborhood, and has done great with them. He was even very polite when a cub scout and girl scout came to the door selling popcorn and cookies.
The one area that needs some work is his relationship with our cat, Eddie. The shelter said he was good with cats, but unfortunately, we found out he likes to chase them. So for now Eddie and Kirby are kept separated with a baby gate in between so they can see each other and get used to each other. We will be working hard on our “down-stays” and are using a Gentle Leader to help him learn to be calm and quiet when he sees Eddie. Eddie is cautious, but is taking things in stride, eating, purring, and playing with his laser mouse toy. We are just going to have to take things very slowly.
On the medical side, Kirby has been started on his heartwormer/intestinal wormer and on flea/tick prevention since the ticks are out in abundance here in Northern Wisconsin. He’ll get his booster shots in a week and although he’s been “wormed” once, we’ll run a fecal sample for intestinal parasites as well. The staples have been removed now and the cone is off. He’s had a bath and we’ve trimmed his nails, and he did great. The next adventure will be to have him get accustomed to having his teeth brushed.
After a week, we are all enjoying our new relationships and getting used to a new routine. We’re laughing at Kirby’s antics, like sleeping on his back with all 4 paws in the air. Having a new puppy is a challenge, but it’s wonderful. We’re looking forward to many happy years with Kirby.
Other Articles That Might Interest You:
Keep That Joy Your Pet Gave You Alive (about Dr. Holly’s previous dog)
In The Market For a New Dog (about Dr. Holly preparing for a new dog)