Can a puppy be organized? Of course not, you say. It's a puppy! And you'd be correct. But what about his humans?
Yes,they can, and they should be. Why, you ask? If you've ever brought a puppy home to a house that has adult dogs, you would understand. Puppies can't just show up at your doorstep, and everything will be rosy, empty home or not.
So when we decided to purchase a bloodhound puppy, we knew it would be a lot of work, both before he came home and afterward. This wasn't our first puppy. We already have three adult dogs, all of whom came to us as puppies. Two grew up together (they were born in July and December of 2002) and one, born in January 2006, we introduced as a puppy to our then family of four adult dogs. Two of those have since crossed the rainbow bridge.
We've had experience with dogs, both young and old. So we know the basics. We pulled out the dusty crate, grabbed the dog blankets, and found an old dog dish from a previous puppy. We found an adorable bloodhound online in Louisiana. Once we put a deposit down, we started looking at names. Naming a dog is like naming a baby. It has to be easy to say, not too many syllables, and easy to spell. We like two-syllable names, because it sounds good when calling them in from the yard. We also like names related to mythology. So far, we have a Bera (Norse for spirited), Loki (a mischevious being) and Raven (a black lab mix.) We scoured the books for an ideal name, but not many seemed right for a bloodhound or for yelling across the yard.
So what did we end up with? Belde. It was against all our rules, but the perfect name. It's an old Germanic Scots word for Bold. A dear friend wrote a hound into her Tudor historical, but knew nothing about bloodhounds. So she interviewed me about our Marley (since passed). Her dog was named Belde in the book. She was sweet enough to mention Marley in the book's credits, so it seemed fitting that we name our new puppy Belde in memory of Marley.
Name chosen, he was ready to come home! He was supposed to fly in at eight weeks old. So being born on June 27, he could fly out on August 22nd. Simple enough. We planned to take the day off work, if necessary, to drive to the airport and pick him up. We waited and waited for a phone call with flight details, but it never came. We learned a week later, that the sudden heat wave in Chicago prevented his flying in. And it was supposed to continue for several more days.
Spontaneity is not my usual mode of action. I'm an organizer, a planner! What on earth made me suggest to my husband that we drive down to Louisiana to get Belde ourselves. It was only a 13 1/2 hour drive, and the Labor Day weekend. So we made the decision to take a road trip.
It wasn't as easy as it sounds. Having three dogs at home, we needed to see that they were cared for in our absence. That should be easy since my younger daughter lives with us. She'd be home, right? Nope, she was going out of town on Saturday. Back to waiting for a flight? Thankfully, I have a lousy memory. I forgot my older daughter was flying in from Buffalo on Friday night, and leaving early Sunday. We'd be home just a few hours after she left. The dogs would be safe.
Except we didn't plan on major thunderstorms blowing through Chicago on Friday, then heading east toward Buffalo - her spot of origin. Her flight was delayed, then delayed again, then cancelled. So was the next flight she was able to book. Finally, all flights were cancelled for the night! And we were already on our way to Louisiana by the time we knew this. Those weren't the text messages we wanted to read hours from home and hours from the new puppy.
But luck seemed to be on our side for once. My younger daughter, who was supposed to be out of town for the night, was coming home after her concert instead. She would be there to feed the dogs and let them out. We could relax, event though that we wouldn't see my older daughter before she had to fly out again very early Sunday - before we'd get home.
We put all that aside as we continued to drive. Everything went well, until GPS and mapquest both took us off the interstate because the distance was shorter, even though the time wasn't. We went through some pretty interesting neighborhoods - with doors locked!
But we finally arrived at our destination. We went into the house, where two puppies were running amok. One was a Boston Terrier. The other was much larger - a bloodhound. As we watched the bloodhound get into all sorts of mischief, we realized he was ours! It seemed we'd picked a lively one, even though he was yawning in his photo on the web site.
After signing paperwork and taking a tour of the yard to meet Belde's parents, we were back on the road. Belde was a little scared of the cage at first. But he settled down to sleep. We drove, stopping every couple of hours along the way to let him out to do his duty and give him water. He wasn't interested in food. After we slept for a couple of hoursin a rest area , we were back on the road, finally pulling into the driveway about 8:00a.m. Sunday morning.
It was all unfamiliar territory to Belde. He'd lived outside for his entire life. Grass? Stairs? A doggy door? Oh, but look at all those leaves I can eat! And rocks! What an adventure!
Then the fun came of introducing the dogs to each other. We kept them all on leash that first day. They were leary and curious at the same time. Who was this intruder? Who were these big dogs that looked nothing like mom and dad? Why are they barking at me?
Once inside, we kept him in his cage when the others were in the house. We filled it with soft towels for sleeping and fuzzy toys for playing with and bones for chewing. But we didn't want him to be in the cage all the time, so we brought a board in from the garage and put it up to block the opening into the living room where we spend most of our time at home. At least he could get out of the cage more. We eventually ordered a gate so he could see us, and we could see him. It was also easier for us to swing open a door rather than step over a board.
Add in visits to the vet, and visits to the pet store for puppy food and chew toys, it has been an experience. A very pleasant one. If we hadn't been prepared with his cage, puppy food, food dish, water dish, gates, leashes, and schedules, the experience may not have been as enjoyable.
Training will be next, but that's a story for another blog...