People cope with loss and change in different ways.
Some would stay in bed. Some would go on journeys for self-discovery.
I’d normally binge on my favorite food 🍫 , watch a bunch of anime shows online, or shop online 🛍️ with absolutely no restraint.
I agreed to go with the most unideal, impractical, and downright dumbest way to get through the loss of my grandmother.
J and I got two new puppies.
Not one. Two.
Having two adult reactive dogs that had history of fighting and lashing at each other, I was so fearful of having another problematic dog that I wanted a second puppy to fulfill their socialization needs.
I realized it was a stupid and ignorant assumption, and have beaten myself up for it multiple times.
But, here we are. We now have four dogs in the house. 🤦♀️
So NOT prepared
It was your typical “Mommy, I want a puppy!” wish.
The kids rallied for a new puppy in the house.
Well, we naively thought having one would be a good way to teach them responsibility. We thought the new puppy would be a playmate to keep them company.
I spent many hours, days, even weeks doing research, making sure I knew what we needed to raise a behaved and well-mannered dog.
- I read lots of articles on raising a puppy, potty training, dog food, and socialization.
- I watched lots of YouTube videos on how to teach your puppy basic commands and manage them in your home.
- I visited the local PetExpress branch multiple times to stock up on supplies.
- I created a new Instagram account (already deleted) just to post about the dogs and this new family member.
- I sat down with the family to clarify house rules to follow once the puppy’s home.
I thought I was prepared enough.
Heck, I was too excited to the point I got frustrated when the breeders weren’t posting a lot of updates about our puppies.
None of the things I watched, read, and took note of prepared me for the amount of work, sacrifice, and time that I had to put into caring for these animals.
I broke down about 5-6 times since both puppies came home. When I’d have an episode, I’d go to my older dogs, cry in front of them, and wished I could turn back time.
They were all that I needed. Why did I agree to bring in two other dogs just because the kids wanted a new puppy to play with?
Spoiler alert: the kids didn’t willingly help with raising the two puppies.
But J didn’t want me to punish them for their lack of participation. They didn’t know any better, and I should’ve expected that.
We ended up devoting a significant portion of our daily lives raising these puppies. I told him about littermate syndrome and we had to agree to feed and train each of them separately. Thankfully, J cooperated and we’ve agreed to do our specific tasks and responsibilities throughout these puppies’ lives.
We’re (puppy) parents again
It’s been three months since we brought home our first puppy, and almost two months since having the second.
It’s been extremely difficult for my physical and mental health, but I’ve pushed through and kept going. I’ve seen progress and have learned to manage their schedules and needs as each slow day passed.
Knowing that none of these animals are leaving the house, I think it’s time to officially introduce the puppers here on the blog:
Sappho’s my working Cocker Spaniel. She’s 8 years old as of this writing.
I got Sappho after I finished my requirements for graduation back in 2013. Holly was about 3 at that time. Born in Nueva Ecija, she traveled to Manila to be with me, then to Bacolod city, then to Cagayan de Oro city where we finally settled down.
Sappho’s fearful, nervous, and sound reactive. She’s specifically reactive to rain, thunder, motorcycles, and trucks. She also barks non-stop at the mail man, the FoodPanda man, and every other dog that walks by our house.
Sappho’s had three “surprise” litters since we moved to Cdo that I spayed her as soon as she was done raising the third one. Spaying wasn’t something people in this city would think to do for their dogs, so I got quite a bit of backlash for it. But I was firm with my decision, and knew Sappho would be better off without puppies.
Despite all of Sappho’s behavioral problems and the many mistakes I’ve made raising her, she’s the sweetest and most docile dog anyone could ask for. She’ll flop to the ground for a belly rub, and if you’re busy, she’ll just sleep under the desk.
It’s hard to rationalize, but I’d like to believe Sappho forgives me so long as I’m with her and provide for her.
Scarlet is a 4-year old tiny Doberman Pinscher.
I call her “tiny” because I think she’s pretty small for her breed. Lots of people would ask how old she is or if she’s a puppy.
Unfortunately, we didn’t do any research before getting Scarlet. We got her from a backyard breeder, and she’s suffered from multiple fungal infections since living with us.
The only commands Scarlet knows is to sit, go down, and wait for her food. She’s super reactive to cats, kids passing by, and the delivery man as they are about to leave the house. Yep, it’s that specific.
But Scarlet is an angel. She loves it when you give her a good scratch on the chest, under her chin, and on her belly. She’d put her head through your arm so you could snuggle with her as she stands in front of you.
She’s everything I could ask for in a big, goofy dog and can’t wait for her no-pull harness and leash to arrive, so we can finally go on some enjoyable walks around the neighborhood.
Okay, fine. This is a hilarious photo of him. But it’s my most recent one of Brooklyn, a 5-month old Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are pretty rare in the Philippines, let alone Cagayan de Oro city. The only way to get one during the pandemic was to research on breeders in Manila.
When our vet recommended we talk to his classmate-friend who bred Corgis, I didn’t know anything about the breed standard, that “fluffy” Corgis were the X-men of their breed and shouldn’t have been bred to begin with. I also realized too late that this was another backyard breeder, though more profitable because of his large number of breeding males.
We never learn, right?
Brooklyn flew on an airplane on September 25th, and has been such a handful since he arrived. He wasn’t that good with house training for the first month, he got sick with giardia that he had to drink antibiotics for almost two months, and he’s now barking in his crate and pulling on the leash.
But Brooklyn is J’s dog, no longer Holly’s. J takes care of Brooklyn’s morning walks, his meals, his training, and his brushing. He laughs at his antics, fumbles with his training games, and has made tremendous progress with crate training.
Although I taught Brooklyn basic commands during his first month, I believe he’s developed a special bond with J, and in return J’s found meaning and purpose in his life. Brooklyn forces him out of bed every 6am and out of his computer chair 3-4 times a day for potty breaks and training.
Windy’s our other Pembroke Welsh Corgi. She’s turning 4 months old tomorrow and is a red-and-white “standard” Corgi.
She comes from a line of PWCs that have gone to the show ring, but with her bat ears and narrow face, her potential career as a show dog may never happen. 😅
But Windy’s eager, alert, willing to work for food, and intelligent. She knows sit, down, paw, going under, touch, and is improving on her recall and fetch. Right now, I’m focusing on her “leave it” cue (she eats bugs and rocks when on our short walks) and loose leash walking (not so great when other dogs are around).
Although she’s not as quick to pick up on new cues and tricks as Brooklyn, and although we don’t really have that same bond as Brooklyn and J have, I find Windy to be a joy to work with. Each day that I spend with her, I’d hope and pray that she’ll learn to trust and listen to me, so she’d be a calm and sweet dog to have by my side.
What’s it like in the house
I admit that I’ve battled thoughts and desires of rehoming the puppies.
The “puppy blues“, as people in the US call it, hit me so hard during the first two months that I’d retreat to the bathroom just to get away from the work that needed to be done for them.
Although I was in a constant internal tug-of-war with myself over that decision, I couldn’t do such a thing.
We’ve made the commitment to raise them for the next 10-15 years. And I have to protect them from eager, greedy people out there who’d want to take them for their breeding potential and profitability.
We’ve adjusted our lifestyle for these new babies. Each puppy is on a feeding, playtime, and nap schedule so we’d have time to work, shower, eat, and tend to the kids.
None of the older dogs have interacted with the puppies. J doesn’t want to risk it, knowing their history and behavioral issues—Sappho, most especially. So each dog is cared for in shifts, which makes life much harder and creates mental load for me.
The kids would come to play when they feel like it. There were afternoons when the boys wanted to interact with Windy, and I took it as an opportunity to capture moments when she’d choose to lie down beside them instead of nipping or jumping on them.
Overall, it’s been a huge struggle, a marathon I need to emotionally and mentally prepare myself for. I lack sleep everyday and have not had time for any of my hobbies.
Despite the sacrifice, I try not to miss out on Windy’s training time when she’s out of the crate. I try to look at her positive moments, her small wins, and our calm and quiet moments over the mistakes and disappointments. I do my best to imagine these puppies as calm, sweet, and loving dogs who’d we’d walk and chill with in the future, just to motivate myself to get out of bed and do this all over again.
This brings me to the next chapter of Diwa Daily: the Dog Journal.
This is where you’ll find all the posts involving the dogs, including reviews and features of dog products (my new obsession) I’ve used and would recommend.
It took a long time for me to find the courage to write about this part of my life. I initially wanted to wait till Windy’s 6 months old before writing any of this in case I was weak and decided to rehome her. But at 4 months, I’m confident none of our dogs are leaving this house and we’re committed to their care and well-being.
If you’re somehow reading this, and are shaking your head at how terrible we’ve been in our research and dog care, I won’t take it against you. It’s something I’m always angry with myself over, moreso when these two new puppies came into our lives. But rest assured these dogs aren’t going anywhere and that this is the last time I’m ever owning puppies.
Cheers to this wild 🐾 ride I’ve gotten myself into. Let’s see where it goes.