Monday, November 9, 2009

Chew toys

Today I dropped the oldest daughter off at a birthday party and took the younger one with me on an exploratory trip to a nearby pet store.

We don't shop at pet stores as a general rule. We have a cat, but I can pick up food and cat litter when I do my grocery shopping. No extra stops required.

It, however, occurred to me today that November 22nd or 23rd will be here soon. As in just over a week and a half. As in *next weekend*. What's happening on that fateful day, you ask?

We get a dog.

Not just any dog. A puppy. A puppy that we're raising for Southeastern Guide Dogs. For the next year or so we'll provide basic training and lots of exposure to different environments. This puppy will go with us on errands and field trips. We'll hang out with other puppy-raisers and do plenty of group training and events.

I've had dogs before. Growing up, we always had at least one, but we lived in the country and our dogs had no training and were free to wander at will. We never had an inside dog that we had to walk or teach to behave. It's been making me nervous. I have a comprehensive training guide that gives specifics on *everything* - from how to word commands to what kind of food dishes to use. That in and of itself is nerve-wracking to my little rule-following heart. How will I remember everything???

During our trip through the pet store today, we looked at pet gates with special doors that the cat can get through. We discussed the pros and cons of different crates with an associate. We priced food and water dishes. We talked about brands of dog food (did you they make food specially formulated for labradors?) I'm going to have to go back with one of the other puppy-raisers to see what they suggest. Then L and I got to the fun stuff. We looked at collars and leashes and we checked out the chew toys. Curiously, they looked a lot the chew toys for babies.

We picked out a chew toy that fit what I remembered of the guidelines from the manual and we made our very first purchase for the puppy that will be here next weekend. Seeing that chew toy makes the whole thing more real. It's actually going to happen after months of waiting. It has the dual effect of making me even more nervous and calming my fears a bit. It will just be a puppy. A cute cuddly romping puppy that needs a family to take care of her.

You want to know what else helped?

Go to the Southeastern Guide Dog website puppy cam and watch their current litter play. I don't know if it's the litter that will be coming to Charlotte or not, but they're really really cute. I was also extremely heartened to see that some of the toys in that pen violated the rules in the manual. When it comes to puppies, you have to be a little flexible.

1 comment:

Sarah @ said...

What a wonderful thing to do, training a guide dog. When I was a kid, our neighbors did that. I hope you enjoy it with your kids as much as they did =)