Summer, Charlie and CoVid

When I think of summer, July 4th seemed to be a dividing point. Early summer, mid-summer, and late summer. Before July 4th the days were warming up. The country’s government was bowing to the idea that the economy needed to get back to a more normal status. This put some additional pressure on me to move away from self-quarantine and slowly, carefully join others outside.

July 4th came and went. Many firework displays were canceled. I was not too disappointed. The local groups sold “safe n sane” fireworks on every corner. Pride was taken in opening up more windows so fewer people would be waiting next to one another. I am not a fan of these pop-up fireworks stores or the fireworks they sell. Growing up in New York, all fireworks are prohibited. Large firework displays are planned, and I can still remember watching fireworks in the skies on Long Island. Salisbury Park (the name was changed), and over the Sears parking lot from the Gertz-side in Hicksville. One year we were in Boston and watched the display along the river with Tschaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Cannons included. One of the first fireworks display I saw in California was at the Hollywood Bowl. Unbelievable! Picnics with candelabras and more. Here in Sacramento, we took the kids to Cal Expo, and in Carmichael at the closed La Sierra High School campus. Once we went down to Old Sac to watch the display. Unfortunately, the crowds made me feel uncomfortable and unsafe. A lot of alcohol.

Since CoVid 19 got in the way of large gatherings the following images are from a past Fourth of Julys

Folsom parade with costumes, a cattle drive down main street.

Carmichael parade with old cars decked out.

Photographically, I like parades.

For the past 9 years, I have had more concern for my dog. Libby, a calm black lab felt better at home in her crate. So fireworks were watched on tv along with the movie 1776. This year, with my new pup Charlie I was warned by my neighbors that it would be noisy in front of my house. They were right. There was noise also coming from the street behind us. And the smell of gunpowder hung in the air. But Charlie remained calm, and even went outside to do his business! Good boy!

The hot temperatures here in Fair Oaks does not disappoint. I went looking for a small wading pool for Charlie. Scored one on sale at Emigh’s. I just love this store. Service is top-notch. All of the employees know their products. In summer or winter time my photo friends and I have permission to photograph at the store. No money was exchanged for this endorsement. The parking lot is always full of satisfied customers.

The first time I filled up the 45″ pool Charlie thought it was a BIG water dish. I got in and pulled my puppy in. The next time he ignored the pool altogether. The third time, he got into it. Started digging, splashing, and jumping in and out.

Charlie’s first time in his pool!
Enjoying splashing around!

Getting out and socializing in the time of CoVid 19 is not easy. In July the Sactown Doodles Meetup Group planned an event in Rocklin. No need to RSVP, and I decided that Charlie could use the experience. It was outdoors and the description of the dog park made it very tempting. I messaged Gidget’s owner and arranged a reunion. We also saw Kona, Charlie’s great Aunt. An unexpected surprise. I met Jennifer and Kona last summer when I was looking for a breeder. Many people, not quite so many masks, and many doodles participated. At five months Charlie was one of the younger members there, but he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Visited with many dogs and dog owners. Glad I went. Charlie kept an eye on my whereabouts. I only brought my iPhone, and I didn’t even video this one-hour event. Just enjoying the moment with doodles and their owners.

Glad to have this photo of the two of us. Thanks Beth!

Unfortunately, CoVid 19 is not going away, and numbers are way up here in California. Just heard, a teacher I worked with is getting over this virus. He said it was “no flu”. Glad to hear he is on the mend. But with all the new cases, and no testing or contact tracing being done the scary factor is growing.

Just got three masks I ordered from Etsy. I wanted to support small businesses here in the U.S. A. This new accessory will be around for a while, and I wanted to be protected, comfortable, and stylish! This is the first time ordering on Etsy, and it was a positive experience. Orders went in easily, and arrived quickly. I will test drive these three styles, and then order a few more. So when I am out, I will be wearing a mask to help stop the spread of the Corona Virus. And you should too!!!

Twenty-Three Minus Seven

Sixteen weeks together with Charlie, my Australian Labradoodle (ALD). My puppy has changed so much in the past 4 months. Hard to believe.

I brought home a seven-pound seven-week-old puppy. I now have a 26 pound twenty-three-week old puppy. Charlie is definitely food motivated. He now gets two meals a day, and plenty of training bits. And by bits, I mean the tiniest crumb of a treat. Some days he enjoys a frozen kibble stuffed Kong in his crate.

It is amazing at how many food-related words he knows. Are you hungry? I get a loud woof! How about a Kong? He goes straight to the freezer. Have some water. Treat. With my Libby, I had a bed close by the dinner table where she would stay while we ate. Tried that, but Charlie put the bed to other uses, and so one bed is gone. So Charlie now lies down under the table near my feet. But there is no begging. My husband would like to see Charlie behave more like the mature dog Libby. Charlie is still in training mode.

After dinner, Charlie wants to help with my dishwashing. It was hard for a while, but since I use the “Place” command, he does a down-stay on his mat and watches me fill the dishwasher. I just don’t want Charlie to get into some food that may be bad for his digestion. Jo started my puppy with Life’s Abundance for small/medium puppies. No digestive issues, no scratching, no problems. So why change? Delivery is simple. An email reminds me of an upcoming order. Changes to the order is easy. I have also used some of their treats, and training treats. All meet with Charlie’s approval.

We finished five weeks of a six-week training class. Baxter and Bella Online Training. Amy provides lifetime live training sessions that are also recorded so I can watch again. After class, an email arrives with homework for the week. Each day I emphasize a different command. Today, the command is “Wait” and “Go to your room” (crate). There is a FB group for member support about anything dog related. Interesting to hear from other pet owners going through the same experience. I have not used the “one on one” video chat with Amy yet, but I know it is there if I need it. Games, podcasts, videos, and written charts/instructions are always available.

Life is ruff, for my boy!

I see such growth in his learning. I know he understands all of the commands. And last week he was put to the test. My daughter left her teacup Pomeranian Max at my house while Charlie and I were out. This afternoon, Charlie was barking. I told him shhh, and down. And he did it with no treats around. There is 1 more lesson to complete the Puppy Class. He has learned – Sit, Down, Leave It, Come, Touch, Wait, and Loose leash walking. Now we practice in a variety of places, with distractions, distance, and duration. Progress is being made. My husband remembers my well trained 9 year-old Lab and still wonders if Charlie will ever get there. Adding bells to my back door, and potty training is on the done side! I have become Charlie’s doorman as my sister-in-law kindly pointed out to me. Though today I learned that if I am busy elsewhere I will hear the bells being frantically rung. Smart guy! Who is training whom?

I caught Charlie chewing on something, and went to investigate. He had lost a molar and was chewing on it. Yes, his adult teeth are replacing the shark teeth. Three canines out, one sharp canine still to go. Our arms are now healing.

Charlie has soft, fluffy hair that started to hide his beautiful eyes.

Charlie before his haircut.

He experienced his first puppy cut, and he and I survived. It was hard to have Charlie away from me and with someone he never met for an hour.

I can see again! Notice his ear is flipped over. It’s cooler this way!

I haven’t decided on a permanent groomer. With CoVid19 it is hard to meet anyone face to face. And smart as Charlie is he can’t talk. So I depend more on recommendations and reviews. My neighbor acts as a “grandparent” to a golden doodle in the neighborhood so I asked where Buster got his haircut. Buster is a standard golden doodle with very curly poodle-type wool hair with hair shaved way short for the summer. Not a match for Charlie who has long, fleece-like hair. But the groomer also had good reviews on Yelp. One price, one hour, one dog at a time, and no cages got me to make the appointment. I brought a paper with my instructions, and photo to the appointment. He looked at it briefly and handed it back to me. The groomer is close so I left Charlie and went home. Returned in one hour and the puppy cut was done. So what is the hesitation to return? My instruction sheet was given a cursory glance. I said not to cut Charlie’s eyelashes, and they were cut. I know, they grow back. His sanitary trim was only so so. I was given a discount since this was only a puppy cut and only facial hair was cut. So I will continue to ask around for Labradoodle groomer recommendations.

So my life has gone to the dogs! Well, actually only my one and only Charlie.

Charlie meets the world!

As a new puppy owner, I know that all puppies need to be protected from Parvo/Distemper, so being quarantined at home did not concern me. Sunset VCA takes precautions to keep everyone safe because of CoVid 19. We park in a numbered space and call. My vet sends out a technician to carry Charlie into the building. I am surprised that he goes along with this. I have not actually met Dr. Wallace, but my friend recommends all the vets here. At 16 weeks he has all his puppy shots, and Charlie can take walks in our neighborhood.

Master of the backyard!

In the past few days, he met some of my neighbors in a more personal way. My leash is 6 feet long, and he shows interest in the people he encounters. I know that his socialization has been slowed by this pandemic, but I think he is making up for lost time. His tail is wagging, and Charlie takes two steps forward, and three backward. Playing this little game. After 5 minutes he is ready to give some puppy love. That means puppy kisses on the toes.

With Libby, I enrolled her in Puppy Kindergarten at 10 weeks. This time around I relied on some books, and BAXTER & Bella Online Training. I heard of this program from my breeder Jo at Serenity Springs Labradoodles. I tuned into lesson 4 – Puppy Games, and we played some games. The focus of these games were commands for “Leave It”, “Find It”, “Come”, and “Watch me”. I learned a new way to reinforce these learned commands. I just started a 6-week course of Puppy Class with Charlie.

Something spooked Charlie during our first walk around the block. I think it was a truck driving past us.

This truck looks so large next to a puppy.

So now we are taking it slow and practicing loose leash walking to our mailbox. When he is outside, treats have less of an effect. He doesn’t want to lose sight of his house. I usually take one step and stop until Charlie realizes that if he wants to continue to move he needs to watch me. I also change direction on Charlie and we make our way back home in a zig-zag way.

From the end of the road the house looks so very far away from a puppy perspective.

My neighbor has two Golden Retrievers, and the other day Bailey came over for a playdate. It went well. Bailey has a 1-year-old Golden named Phoebe who usually gets her way, so he is used to puppy energy. He chased Charlie and Charlie got nice and tired out.

A couple of times a day we practice various commands. Baxter & Bella describes 4 puppy zones: Calm, Playful, Energized, and Over Threshold. Before Charlie gets wild, I start a training session. Puppy push-ups (sit, down, sit). Touch, Settle, Watch Me. Come. Stay. Quiet (Shhh).

Now when Charlie goes for his car ride he sits safely in the back seat. I have a seat cover that connects with the front seat to create a hammock effect. His harness is buckled into the existing seat belt.

Charlie’s new harness. Looking Good!

A couple of barks, and then quiet. But those sharp little barks are startling to a driver. It takes time to prepare for our time in town. Treats, check. Water, check. Water dish, check but forgot to take it out of the car. Poop bags, check. Not sure if Charlie will need this since he just went.

So the plan was to meet my daughter, and 4 grandsons in downtown Fair Oaks (about 5 minutes from my house) around 10 a.m. In Fair Oaks, I need to take notice of the weather. Too hot, and little paws may burn. Didn’t expect the sensory overload upon arriving on Main Street. Fair Oaks is known for its wild chickens and roosters wandering all over town.

Rooster crowing at the break of dawn, and any other time!

My dog Libby immediately was amused and wanted to make friends by chasing chickens. Charlie heard the rooster’s crowing and then pretty much ignored them.

Cars and trucks passing on the road was another thing. Recognize any of these models?

This car is not going anywhere! LOL

We passed a quiet guitar player sitting on a bench until a pickup truck pulled in with his stereo blasting. The driver left the music on and told the guitar player that he should be playing along with the stereo.

Stopped in its place. Flat tire isn’t the only problem.
This truck does not have loud speakers so it was put out to pasture!
Making a very CLEAR statement!

Problematic was the 3 loud motorcycles roaring down the street, causing Charlie’s tail to end up between his legs.

We kept walking, and with my grandson’s arrival, Charlie felt good enough to raise his tail up. Eli really has a way with him. Charlie walked nicely next to the stroller. He met a couple of calm dogs and enjoyed water from a cup. We stopped at O Café and took our pastries to-go. I noticed some social distancing, and some face masks in town. Not everyone is observing this practice though.

Fire Engines roared through town, but this sound didn’t disturb Charlie. Well, only one of these actually drove down Main Street. Can you guess which one?

After this adventure, Charlie went home, had some lunch, and fell asleep in his crate. This was a first. A nap during the day in his crate! Yay!!

No photos were captured today, but all were captured by me at another time or place. Luckily I have my catalog organized in Lightroom Classic. This time I was too involved in the whole adventure. Next time I’ll remember to at least pull out my iPhone.

So as they say, “… I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Here’s to many more adventures, near and far.

Be careful not to bite the hand that feeds you!

This is never truer than when you are home with a 10-week old puppy. Charlie has little, tiny shark teeth. When he is awake his mouth is always busy. Being a multi-gen Australian Labradoodle Charlie takes after the Lab side and is always up for eating! But as his owner, I am not going to be lunch.

Right away I knew that I did not have enough toys to keep Charlie busy. I went online and ordered some toys to fetch and some chew toys. I didn’t remember my last dog playing with many toys. I know there were many destroyed toys. I also forgot how small puppy mouths are. I think I did pretty well with my picks. So if you are adding a puppy these are my suggestions.

Kong Squeak Air balls size x small. They come 3 to a pack. I use two at a time. Throw one. Ready, set, go! And when Charlie retrieves one, I throw the other one. Endless energy released!

JW Hol-EE ball is a great toy for inside fetch. Quiet, and easy for a puppy to grab. It can also be used as a tug toy, or food dispenser when the treats are larger. This ball comes in a variety of sizes, and is easy to catch.

Kong Wubba – Puppy version has proved to be a keeper. Good to chew on, toss, and tug.

Kong Classic Puppy version. Made in USA! Can be stuffed. It’s chewable. When tossed it randomly bounces. Did I say it is made in the USA!

Kong Squeezz Dumbbell is easy to chew, bounces and squeaks. Fun.

Nylabone teething puppy chew. Again made in the USA. Chicken flavor and gentle chewing style. This one lasted about 3 weeks, and then Charlie began making headway and pieces came off.

Nylabone Puppy Teething Pacifier Flexible Chew toy has kept up with Charlie’s chewing abilities. Nice different textures.

Kong Cozies Alligator Toy has a squeaker, and Charlie finds different parts to chew. I am also looking at some of the Kong plush with knots for stuffing. So far his tiny shark teeth have not penetrated the alligator.

Charlie with his Alligator and Teething Ring Pacifier/Bone

Libby loved the Jolly Egg toys. She could amuse herself and tire herself out with these toys. Hard plastic ball or Egg-shaped that she would knock around with her paws. The irregular shape caused the egg to spin around randomly. Charlie is just frustrated with this and barks at the toy while trying to grab it with his mouth. Maybe later he will appreciate it.

At least this Jolly Toy could be grabbed by Charlie.

Serenity Springs sent Charlie home with some toys, blanket, and bed with littermates scent on them. His Snuggle Puppy has a heartbeat, and a warm pack. This is in his crate with him at night. I can’t tell if he feels safe with his Snuggle Puppy or because his crate is next to my bed. Probably, the later. This puppy crate is smaller, plastic and he took to it instantly. For the last two nights Charlie has led me into the bedroom when it was time to go to sleep!

Charlie is getting more charming by the day!

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you can have more than this literal meaning. Right? But not to an 11 week old pup! Lucky he is so cute!