You may remember we lost our eight-year-old Sheltie, Jet, a couple of months ago. There are those people who get another dog right away (me) and those who wait a long time (John) and then there are those who compromise (us, usually). So when I saw the picture of an eight-month-old Sheltie on a breeder’s website and learned she was selling him because he was growing too tall to show in the conformation ring, I was ready. And when John met him, he was ready, too. (Here’s how I really knew he’d be our dog even before I met him: when the breeder spoke to me on the phone and told me his name was “Cole”, I got a chill up my spine. My dogs have often been given a name connected in some way to my books. The main character in my very first novel was named Cole. Who names a dog Cole? It was meant to be. And yes, he looks a lot like Jet but that was not intentional. A little spooky, though.)
We’ve had Cole a little over a week, now, and we’d forgotten what it’s like to have a young, energetic, unhousebroken, unneutered pup around! It’s been an adventure and a lot of work, but he’s really a little doll. Smart and sassy. He’s skittish like many Shelties, so we’ll have to work on that. At first I was afraid Keeper wasn’t going to take to him, since Keeper was born somber and old, but when I let Cole out of his crate this morning, Keeper’s tail, usually immobile, was going a mile a minute. Relief!
There are issues, of course. He’s a chewer and I’d forgotten (obviously!) how watchful one must be around a chewer. (How long does that phase last?? I don’t recall my other dogs being destructive chewers, but there’s a lot about puppies and young dogs I’ve apparently forgotten!) Keeper’s a barker, so Cole’s decided that’s a cool thing to be—only Cole’s been debarked (Many breeders debark their Shelties, a notoriously barky breed. I wouldn’t have done it, but I have to admit, I’m not really sorry it was done), so his bark sounds like he has a terrible cold and is hard to listen too. He hasn’t had a single accident in the house (we’ve been obsessively careful not to give him a chance) and he’s now neutered (yay!). It’s been quite a week for the little guy.
I’d love to hear your puppy/young dog advice and anecdotes. And remember, anyone who comments is eligible to win a $100 bookstore (online or bricks and mortar) prize on December 23rd.