Before the beginning.

My children and I had wanted a dog for years. This had always been vetoed by my wife. She couldn't put up with the mess dogs tend to create. She explained that when she was a child her father had brought a dog into the house without asking anyone about the idea. She told us that she hated that dog. And then, when she met me she discovered that I shared my house with my dog (Pippa) and so again a dog was 'imposed' upon her.

As we now live in a flat she was against the idea of a dog. The subject had been raised many times over the past couple of years - but intensively since the end of last year. Our two children (aged 12 and 5) kept mentioning their wish to have a dog.

Every visit to a shopping centre involved a trip to the pet shop to see the puppies for sale. On many occasions these visits were just me and the children, ant they would invariably fall in love with a puppy there and ask me to buy it. We would phone my wife to ask for permission - which of course was denied and denied and denied and denied ............ until:

2 weeks ago - my wife was in Warsaw and the children and I were in the pet shop. We were looking at a beautiful puppy - an English Cocker Spaniel. My son went through the routine of phoning my wife, and as usual the conversation was a short one. With our heads down we left the shop as we had done so many times before. I decided to phone my wife, and explained to her that this really was a super looking puppy. I suggested we send her a photo of it. She agreed so we ran back to the shop and started clicking away.

My expectations weren't high though, as we had been through this all before. Then my son phoned her and she said 'YES'. We couldn't believe it - so there and then I paid for the dog - and after dealing with some paperwork we got to take our new puppy home.

I was delighted, the children were delighted and I think the puppy was quite happy too. This was on Saturday 9th April around 6pm. My wife was coming back from Warsaw late on Sunday evening.

When we got home I put some newspaper on the kitchen floor and was surprised and relieved that our new addition seemed to know what it was there for. This was looking like it was going to be easier than I had dared hope.

My wife got back from Warsaw late Sunday evening. She thought the puppy looked adorable - we hadn't chosen a name as we wanted to do this together, and on Tuesday evening we all agreed on the name - SANDY.

The first two weeks haven't been plain sailing though. Sandy loves to bite and chew, and the newspaper skills didn't seem to last for long. I took her to the vet for her 2nd injection last week, and the vet told us not to take her out of the flat until she has had her 3rd injection. This is putting extra strain on the situation as my wife is getting increasing fed up with the inevitable mess. We have assured her this is a temporary situation, and that once we can take Sandy out floors in the flat will stay a lot cleaner.

I also have a slight challenge with Sandy. There was an odour emanating from her ears. The vet showed me how to clean them and gave me some liquid in a syringe to squirt into the ears and then use cotton buds to clean them. Well, I'm afraid she's having none of it. The amount of noise she makes when I try this - you would think that she was being tortured in the most painful way imaginable. I'm afraid I have only managed to do this twice so far.

We have to take her to the vet tomorrow for a check up on the ear situation - I hope he will be able to provide some advice so I can get the job done.

I'll report back on how we get on. In the meantime here's what she looks like:
Sandy - first evening at home - 09.04.2011

1 2
Sandy is gorgeous and I'm so happy for you all! I hope your wife will accept and love her eventually. Emotion: smile There was a similar story with my dad if I may mention it here. At first he didn't want pets in the house but mom and we (the kids) persuaded him to take Barsik. The first several months were difficult as he used to be strict with the kitten if the latter misbehaved (though it was a necessary process of setting rules but as a kid I didn't realize that, hehe), but eventually he got used to the cat and loved him as much as we did. Good luck! Can't wait for more updates.
Thanks for your encouraging words Lana - we will persevere!

On with the story so far:

Well, yesterday was a difficult day. Got off to a terrible start when my son allowed Sandy on his bed - the ensuing mess was unbelievable.

So yesterday we bought a collar and lead and took Sandy out to a patch of grass close by. Result - zero, zippo, nothing, nitz. Within 5 minutes of going back inside? Yes, you've guessed it ...............

Undeterred I was up early this morning and took Sandy straight outside. It's now 11:15 and we are STILL waiting for the first action. Fortunately it's a lovely sunny day - I wonder how long we will have to wait before she gets the hang of it.
Our patience was finally rewarded - after some long spells outside we spent a while inside so Sandy could have a sleep in her bed. When she woke up I spotted the tell-tale signs and whisked her outside again. Lo and behold! Finally, after 9 hours of waiting...........

Of course she will need a lot more supervision/encouragement but it's a start. The start we've been waiting for ............
Not such a good day today Emotion: sad

Took Sandy out for a short walk, but it's like she prefers to be at home. She showed no interest in the walk - and as for any toilet action, it was like she was just waiting to get back inside to be able to go (which is just what happened). In fact the neighbourhood is spotless today - our flat took all the hits!

She shows much more excitement on reaching the front door from the outside than she does when reaching it from the inside.

So looks like things are a little mixed up at the moment. I'm hoping once we create some kind of a routine things will change.
Well this morning we got off to a better start. I realised yesterday how eager Sandy is to get back inside just so she can relieve herself (even in her bed). So this morning I kept her outside and when she started screaming to get back in I moved her away from the door. I didn t have to wait long. She received due praise and a treat immediately. That was one battle to me. There will be more battles to fight I'm sure before the campaign is won.

We are also working on discouraging her from biting us. I'm sure this is just playing for her but my wife and the children don't like it. I'll keep you updated woth our progress on this area.

Now let's see what the rest of the day brings.
Here we are, two days later - and no change - Sandy still prefers to be indoors. I'm still going through the motions of taking her out regularly, just hoping that somehow things will fall into place.

On a more positive note, although she is chewing, she does spend time chewing her chews and toys, so damage to anything else has been zero - fingers crossed it will stay that way. We do have to watch her biting though, it's getting a bit painful!

She walks nicely on the lead - in the short walks we've tried so far - no pulling which is nice (probably because she has little interest in being outside) .
Got off to a bad start today. It was totally my fault.

I was trying to clean Sandy's ears with a cotton bud. She created an amazing fuss. Neighbours must have thought I was chopping her up into little pieces. That was before I could get anywhere near her ears.

I was holding her collar in my left hand and the cotton bud in my right. In an effort to calm her down I tried stroking her with the cotton bud on the top of her head, on her back and on the outside of her ears. She was still in a frenzy and despite my calm reassurance she remained so.

Then suddenly she took a chunk out of my right index finger, drawing quite a bit of blood. It wasn't her fault, she had been snapping and snarling and I was careless. I thought persistence would get her to calm down, especially as there was no way she was experiencing any discomfort from my gentle stroking with the cotton bud.

I will need to buy a muzzle before I can try ear cleaning again.
Sorry for the break in news – it’s been a rather busy time.

Last weekend we went to a country show and took Sandy with us on the Saturday. The weather was very good, and Sandy got plenty of exercise. There were lots of different noises and distractions and there were plenty of people there so Sandy had a useful learning experience. We were careful to keep her away from any other dogs. Nearly everyone we met wanted to stroke her though.

Here’s Sandy at the event with my daughter.

We took Sandy to the vet's today for her third injection. The vet decided that we should wait until next Friday for it. She gave Sandy some banana flavour liquid, apparently against worms. In any case Sandy seemed to enjoy it. The vet tried to clean Sandy’s ears, with limited success in the right ear (She didn’t attempt the other ear!). She then promptly invited us to a talk next Sunday afternoon. I think it’s an introduction to dog training – I won’t understand anything as it will be in Polish, but I will go with Sandy and the children. I’m sure it will be very useful for them (at least they will be able to understand it). Sadly, due to business commitments, my wife will not be able to attend.

We can see that Sandyi s getting bigger and she weighed in at 3.90 kgs this afternoon.
Show more