Say hello to Bella, the newest member of our family:
Lookit that face! OMG I am dying from the cuteness!
Bella is an 11 week old shepherd mix pup. She came home to live with us late Wednesday evening, and has managed to both turn our lives upside down and completely endear herself to the family. (Quelle surprise with a face like that, right?)
I found Bella online. She and her sister and brother came from a litter of eight pups. Her dam is a (I think) purebred German Shepherd who got knocked up on her first heat, before her owner could get her spayed. We’re not sure of the breed of the sire – apparently there were four possible contenders, including another shep and a bull mastiff. (What a little tart Bella’s mother is, eh?)
When I heard her story, and saw the photos of her and her littermates, I had to fight hard against love at first sight. I wanted to try my best to evaluate her temperament objectively, but just from her story alone I was hooked. Her provenance is remarkably similar to Katie’s – Katie’s sire was a purebred Golden Retriever who slipped out of the house one day and paid a visit to the shep mix bitch at the next farm at just the wrong (right?) time. Bella was one of two female pups available for adoption, and after spending a little time with both I decided to go with the slightly less dominant dog. Born on Christmas day, her family had named her Vixen, and while I have to say the reindeer theme definitely spoke to me, we found the name didn’t easily come out of our mouths. (We are reading Harry Potter with the big boys, and she was very nearly Luna. I think Bella will stick – but don’t hold me to it!)
Poor Bella had a rough start with us. She hated the car and was sick in the carrier on the drive from Kanata to Manotick. It was after 9 pm by the time I got her home, but the boys were all still waiting up for her. Despite being sick and freshly removed from her family and probably terrified, she showed instant affection for every member of the family – including Willie.
Willie has been funny. He watches her every moment with a wide-eyed look somewhere between caution and being utterly dumbfounded, but only hisses if she shows too much exuberance. I think he’s trying to figure out what we did to Katie to make her so small and energetic!
Another thing that I really liked when communicating with Bella’s first family was that they’ve been crate training the puppies, so she was already quite used to the idea. Still, the first night was long, with Bella crying in the crate at the foot of my bed. I can’t say I blamed her – she had a traumatic transition right before bed time and suddenly found herself without anyone to sleep with! We cooed and comforted her when she cried, though, and although it was a long night, we got through it. Last night, by contrast, was amazing. I went to bed a little early, and Beloved stayed up with her for a while. He put her out around 11 pm and then tucked her in to the crate. I didn’t hear a peep from her until my alarm went off at 5:20. She made it the entire night and only did a wee submissive dribble when I went to open the crate in the morning.
(Also? It is really hard to housetrain a dog when the temperature has capriciously dipped to mid-winter levels. She shivered miserably every time I took her out yesterday – not that I blame her. Dear spring, please come back!)
Even though Katie was the same age when we brought her home, fourteen years seems to have erased from my mind exactly how much work it is to raise a puppy. The first time I brought her out to pee, I was taken aback by the fact that she doesn’t know how to walk with a leash. Of course she doesn’t, she’s 11 weeks old. Oy, we have a long road ahead of us — but I think it will be more than worth the effort.
How could you NOT love that face?
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