Annie - Victoria/Bart 2020
Hi Rhonda & Stephanie!
We thought you might like to see what our Miss Purple (from Victoria and Bart) is up to these days – today she is 16 weeks old. Her name is Annie Rose, although we have shortened it to Annie. She has been a wonderful addition to our family. She is a fabulous puppy. Annie is so smart, attentive and intuitive, and friendly and very affectionate; every time someone new sees her their first reaction is “aww, look at that beautiful puppy.” She just makes people smile. Looking into her eyes could soften the hardest heart. She is so earnest in her desire to do what you want her to do. A few people have asked me if they could take her picture, and a few have asked where we got her.
She just fit right into the family the way a new baby would – it’s almost like she had a built in routine that fit right in with ours. She woke up in the night (around 2, 2:30) to go potty for 9 days, on the 10th night I woke up and was so startled that I checked to make sure she was breathing! I would carry her downstairs, take her outside, and as soon as her feet were on the grass she would go potty. I’d carry her back in, back in her crate and we both went back to sleep for another few hours. She’s had a few liquid accidents in the house, because of us forgetting that playing with Mellie is still vigorous play and she needs to go out right after. I’m still carrying her down the stairs (she’s 27 pounds) but I think she will master them in the next few weeks. She can go down 4 or 5 steps ok, but it must be too intimidating to start at the very top. I don’t mind carrying her – she snuggles in and doesn’t wriggle around, and when she’s sleepy, she puts her head down on my shoulder. Doesn’t that just make you melt?
Mellie, our 5 year old Lab is so good with her and is helpful in teaching her the ways of the world. From Annie’s first day at home, Mellie has not been too far from her. (picture above) I think Mellie has boosted her confidence in approaching the world – for example, on one of our first walks, Annie (8 weeks) was spooked and growled because she saw the plastic 3 feet tall guy that holds a “Slow” flag that a neighbor has at the end of his driveway, but when Mellie walked up to it and sniffed it, Annie followed her to sniff it alongside her. Mellie has probably seen the plastic figure 1,000 times, she never goes to sniff it anymore – I know in my heart she was showing Annie it was ok to come and sniff! If the trash truck doesn’t bother Mellie, it doesn’t bother Annie. It’s fascinating to watch. Same thing with introducing the doggie stroller; Mellie was fine with it so Annie was fine with it! (Pictures of that attached) We use the stroller for Annie on longer walks, so she could walk a bit then ride a bit. We are trying to be so careful about her growth plates and knees and hips! We still have several carpet runners down and different mats so she won’t slide on the hardwood.
There have only been a few things that have need extra treats for bravery -- learning how to ride an elevator, and how to walk across a swinging bridge. All it takes is one or two times, and she’s got it forever. We have accomplished almost everything on the socialization checklist – despite Covid, Annie has gone into stores to meet people, playgrounds, parks, parking ramp, my office. City streets and suburban streets. She has met people of all ages and races. I started carrying my hand sanitizer on the leash because people want to pet her. Thank goodness I have no problem with asking people to use it – we had to do it for therapy training. Teenagers love her (this always surprises me, I tend to think they are “too cool”. We caused a pick-up basketball game to stop because the guys had to come over and make a fuss over her.) Everyone on our street loves her. Mellie basks in the extra attention. Annie has, of course, gone to the vet for her shots, but she has also gone to the vet for a friendly visit where they let her ride on the table, sniff equipment, greet all the staff, and get treats.
We go in the car to go to different parks to walk and to go to our classes so she associates the car with good things to come. She is always up for a new adventure. She loves our son and his fiancé and has spent some time at their apartment in the city. Anisha, our future daughter-in-law, has longed for a golden retriever since she was a child. She adores Mellie, and is loving Annie to pieces. She has said that she wanted a dark honey golden, but she said last week, after spending the afternoon with Annie, that she is changing her mind and personality is more important than color and they want one like Annie. Maybe for a wedding present next summer, if they can find a house to buy! Their apartment, even though it is a two family house with a fenced yard, it is no pets allowed ☹
We have attended puppy kindergarten (currently in our 2nd session of 4 classes, she only has 2 more because then she’ll be too old) – not so much because we needed the basics, but because we want Annie to have proper socialization with other puppies. She has played with Mellie from day one – although Annie was doing the playing and Mellie was doing the tolerating. We were actually worried that Annie might be too rough with puppies because she is used to Mellie, but she was the exact opposite! She was the most gentle one in the class. She doesn’t like to be chased by other puppies and will run straight for our feet and sit between them for several seconds, until her curiosity gets the better of her and then she’s on her way back to the other puppies.
At the same time we started training classes at the Animal Humane Society; the first class was virtual – it was actually pretty good except for having to move the dining room table every week. She moved up out of that in a few weeks; we started Level 2 in in-person classes (masked, following good safety protocols) and she passed out of Level 2 in just 3 weeks. First picture above is at AHS class. When the instructor said Annie was moving up, and gave us her certificate, I said I didn’t think she was ready! Her loose leash walking in class is fine, outside in the real world it is not so fine but we are working on it. We walk 3 times a day, so are getting lots of practice. We have had our first Level 3 class, and it is going well. It seems like when we follow the instructions for the skill, she’ll do it twice and then she has it mastered.
Lest you think she is perfect, however, she is sometimes a puppy on a mission. I was worried for a few days that she has ADD! She had two speeds – fast and off. The “sleeping with pink duck” picture is an example—she an Mellie had been playing with it, next thing Annie’s sleeping on it! She is very busy, but able to play with her toys on her own, as well as with Mellie. She loves mulch, too much! Sticks. Pine cones. Loves to dig. (The playground picture above is where we discovered that digging in pea gravel was as much fun as digging in dirt.) For the first few weeks we were constantly fishing things out of her mouth. We also had to pay attention when she was using a chew toy – it was easy for her to slip from the Nylabone to the leg of a chair. Fortunately, she did not chew any furniture or sneakers. She loves to pick up sneakers and carry them around before chewing, but since someone is always keeping an eye on her, we have time to redirect. Fortunately she is excellent with us substituting a toy for the sneaker. I actually bought her last two toys based on their fabric – if it felt like sneaker fabric or rubbery, I got it. Worked somewhat ☹ Larry suggested giving her an old sneaker to chew and play with, but I feel that she won’t know “her” sneaker from mine, so that’s just asking for trouble!
She is getting over the mulch fascination as she discovers bigger sticks. She loves to sit outside and watch the birds at the feeders. This week squirrels are the new novelty. All normal puppy behavior.
We love watching her grow and discover the world. She makes us laugh with some of her antics. When she does a head-tilt I turn into mush – she’s just too cute. She is absolutely fascinating to work with because she catches on so quickly. The picture from 7-20, with the two of them running in their playroom, is the most recent photo.
Annie sleeps in her bedroom crate at night (probably for a few more months) and last month we started daytime crate training because I’ll have to go back to the office at some point. She goes in her crate from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m., then our next door neighbor, teenage dog-sitter comes over to take her out and they all play and have lunch, and I’m home by 1:00. In the afternoon when I am working at home, and I say that I have to go do email, Annie comes to sleep by my feet, with Mellie just a few feet away.
Having some experience with our dogs has probably helped with a smooth transition for Annie, but the bigger reason, we think, is because she is simply a fabulous puppy. Thank you so much!
I hope all is well with you and your family, both human and canine! We will be in touch as Annie grows through the year!
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