Executing Project Penguin

Part I: Bringing home puppy

Our conspiring paid off in full parental entertainment. Bringing home our penguin, ahem, the German shepherd puppy was fun.

I met the puppy at the farm where he was born. I met his mother, took video to show the family later. I was taking my time visiting with the breeder and her teenage son, the one who wanted to raise German shepherds. I learned how he cherished (yes, he used that word) his puppies and was sad to see them leave. This was his first litter, after all.

Then, I got the call, the “Where are you?” call. Michael sounded stern and impatient, but I know it came from his own excitement to meet the puppy. He was trying to stay distracted, trying keep our girls busy with a movie.

When I got home, I parked the van where the kids wouldn’t see me and sent Michael a text to come outside so he could meet the fur ball before we introduced him to the rest of the family. I liked this part of the whole adventure: to introduce my husband to a puppy he’s been waiting for since he was twelve.

Michael brought the puppy in the back door and let him loose in the kitchen. Then we waited.

It took a few seconds for our girls who were watching How to Tame Your Dragon to get off the couch and check out the scurry of movement on the floor.

Melisandra entered the kitchen and said, “What the–” and stared a second before realizing the black woolly fur didn’t belong to some varmint but to a sweet puppy. She looked at her Dad to see if it was true. “How did this get in here?”

Reece got right to the floor, squealing with delight. “Keep this?” she said. “Mommy, do we keep this?”

Corrigan remained on the couch. Bewildered. Staring through the kitchen door at all the commotion of a wiggling tail on four legs and her sisters’ excitement. She cried. And I learned that surprises like these can be too much.


Part II: Getting Acquainted

We named our puppy Archer.

When Archer sits at attention in the yard, I can see the adult dog he will be. He tries to demonstrate his ferocious power with a focused stance on the threat that is the guy from the rental house getting into his car. He looks convincing until he barks in his yippy puppy voice. This is good entertainment. It is like watching The Lion King again.

We’ve taken him with us to Petco to shop for accessories–chewy toys and bowls and shampoo. We’ve taken him to the vet and to my parents’ farm. We brought him with us to tour one of the larger boarding and training facilities in our area. He travels well. No whines or whimpers. He just hangs out with us in the van.

He loves his treats, especially during training time. He is learning “sit” and the all important “off” as in get off your mouth off my hands, arms, feet! I can handle the biting on my hands but Archer’s tiny teeth on my ankles makes for intense pain. I have to resist the urge to kick off the little piranha. He is a preschooler wanting to play and doesn’t deserve to be dismembered or hurt.

Our life happens in two to three hour increments revolving around eat, play, poop, rest. We feed Archer his kibble and encourage tugging and chewing on his toys. We stay near the kitchen, watching for when Archer wakes or makes any sign of needing to empty his bowels. Every two to three hours, I take him out, hoping he gets the hint that Outside is the place to put his pee and poo.

Prior to bringing Archer home, I imagined house training a puppy always happened in sunny and 75 degree weather. But house training happens in the wet dew of morning, in the dark with the crickets chirping, and in the drizzling rain while I wait under an umbrella as he sniffs grass and digs mud and postpones any peeing action what so ever. I will admit I am dreading snow and cold.

Raising three infants has trained me well for bring home our first ever puppy. Michael and I have been willing to exchange a bit of sleep in an effort to ease Archer into his new home. We’ve slept near his kennel on the kitchen floor. We’ve slept nearby on the couch. We’ve gotten up to answer his scratching on the metal crate. Now, two weeks in, I will assume Archer is acclimating well to his new home since he’s traded in any whimpering in his kennel for lying stretched out on his back to sleep.





4 thoughts on “Executing Project Penguin

  1. I have been thinking about you and very curious how things have been going with the little Penguin. He is adorable and the name Archer is a dignified name, I feel. I admire your willingness to face a challenge full of lots of hard work…….with rewards too, but for now, mostly work. Keep the Archer stories coming, please!


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