The Puppy Is Coming – Switching Gears

Blanche the beagle is adorable.

Goodbye, Sweetie. We’re going to miss you.

It’s happening. And I’ve got to get ready.

The puppy is coming.

Returning our latest foster dog, Blanche, to the SPCA and picking up a new puppy will be like turning that pleasant float downstream into a ride through raging rapids.

Everything in the house looks different when you see it through the eyes of a playful, energetic, and curious puppy.

Let me tell you about it.

Getting Ready For The Foster Puppy

Honey is the easiest dog in the world. And Blanche, our foster beagle, is in a tight competition for the same title. But the new puppy?

To Honey and Blanche, a trash can is a vessel with mildly interesting smells.

To Puppy, a trash can is a Tootsie Pop—crunchy wicker on the outside with a chewy, garbage center.

Scooter on the drafting table

I have no idea how Scooter got up on the drafting table. One minute he was on the floor. The next he was practically at eye level.


To Honey and Blanche, a dog bed is a soft place to rest when you feel too lazy to jump on the couch.

To Puppy, a dog bed is a chewie, tug toy, and landing pad for when you jump off the desk no one can figure out how you climbed onto in the first place.


To Honey and Blanche, a bath mat is where you lie down to wait for someone to get out of the shower and take you for a walk.

To Puppy, a bath mat is a pee pad thoughtfully placed in an easy place for you to relieve yourself.

Cute puppy Buster eats everything he sees.

Just call me the puppy vacuum. If it’s on the floor, it’s in my mouth. But if you take me for a walk, that might distract me.


To Honey and Blanche, a walk is a great way to check up on p-mail, meet new friends, and get a little exercise.

To Puppy, a walk is a chance to work on one’s bouncy ball impression—go this way, no that way, leap off the neighbor’s steps, now ricochet off those legs at the end of a tight leash.


To Honey and Blanche, teeth are for chewing. On food. Or maybe a bone. Perhaps even to hold onto a tug toy.

To Puppy, teeth are tiny samurai swords whose sharpness needs constant testing. On sweaters. Or maybe a chair leg. Perhaps even an occasional finger.

Honey the Golden Retriever plays tug with the Basset Hound foster puppy plays tug with Honey the Golden Retriever.

Wow, these teeth make pretty good grippers for tug.


To Honey and Blanche, a baby gate is a sign to stay away from whatever it is blocking.

To Puppy, a baby gate is the playground equipment you need to get stuck in before tumbling down the stairs.

Honey the golden retriever puppy goes to work.

I wasn’t sure I’d survive Honey’s puppyhood. Visits from foster puppies give me that “hit” of puppy breath without the months of stress.


To Honey and Blanche, a day’s work is to be sweet and loving and to just enjoy spending time with their people.

To Puppy, a day’s work is to play, grow, and learn to become even more sweet and loving and able to just enjoy spending time with her people.

Now we just have to help them do their jobs.

Ask A S’Wagger To Find Lost Things

Catholics ask for help from Saint Anthony to find lost things. I’m not religious so I’ll ask my S’Waggers: where the heck is my camera patch cord? It’s been missing for days.

And I never lose things.

If you have any sure ways to find lost things, let me know.

As an added incentive for your suggestions and help, know that I can’t post any new puppy pictures until I find it.

In other news…

Do You Look Like Your Dog?

Do you look like your dog?

Does Ruby look like her person? Or does her person look like Ruby?

We’ve started our experiment to see if strangers can recognize you and your dog belong together just be looking at eyes.

What do you think?

Hop over to the lab and put your answers in the comments. The guesser with the most correct answers (or the one chosen randomly from the most correct answers) will win an Amazon gift card.

We’ll announce the winner next Thursday, October 2.



Your turn: While I’m frantically puppy proofing and trying to do all the work I won’t get done with a puppy in the house, share your best tip for staying sane with a puppy in the house. Wine recommendations work too. 

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  1. My best tip is, when a puppy picks something up (which is always, for the golden retriever puppy I have!), praise, and encourage her to bring it to you for a tiny cookie, even a piece of kibble for a food-motivated dog. Tess, 6 months old, brings me the rock she picks up in the yard–good girl! No swallowing! No surgery! Within the past week, she has brought me (all from the kitchen counter, so we definitely have to work on that) a sample packet of dehydrated dog food (unopened), a tube of Bacitracin, undamaged, and the unpeeled half a banana, the open end only slightly squishier than it was when I put it waaaay back on the counter. She is no longer getting a treat for everything she brings, but if she brings it to me and hands it to me, she still gets praise and compliments. If I catch her with her feet up on the counter, that’s another story!

    • Sounds like the golden “soft mouth” makes counter surfing a little less painful to deal with. When Honey was a puppy, she stole a box of hair dye out of a grocery bag that I didn’t realize she had punctured until I saw the dark dye oozing all over my newly painted bathroom walls. :(

      I love your idea for working with Tess, though. It manages a behavior, trains her, and becomes a fun game all at the same time.

      I hope I can encourage similar retrieving instincts in the pit bull we’ll be hosting.

      Thanks for your idea and encouragement. :)

  2. Excited for the puppy and living vicariously through you…wish you had smell-a-vision.

  3. Oh, I just love puppy time :) I’ll probably be one of those crazy people that fosters puppies non stop. I love nothing more than nuturing little ones and helping them grow into confident dogs. The carpet may get ruined and my sleep may suffer, but that puppy breath gets me every time 😉

    • I decided to get my first purebred dog from a breeder because I wanted to raise Honey to help me in some kind of dog volunteer work–either fostering or being a service dog puppy raiser.

      After surviving Honey’s puppydom, I discovered I am NOT a puppy person. Although I agree that training and socializing a young dog to grow into a superstar is tremendously satisfying.

      I said good bye to thoughts of being a puppy raiser and decided to foster. And my first several fosters were all puppies! :)

      I’ve come to love having puppy fosters. But I wish I could figure out how to get work done and raise a puppy at the same time. It feels like an incompatible goal.

  4. I absolutely ADORE the puppy stage! I can’t imagine skipping it. Plenty of exercise and a crate make it a breeze! Wilson came to me at 14 weeks already house broken. I think we had like 3 accidents and those were all my own fault. Jimmy came at only 11 weeks so not trained yet, but learned in a hurry. I do agree it’s hard to get work done because all I want to do is play with the pup!

    By camera patch cord, do you mean it’s USB? Those are usually sized the same, so if you have one from an old camera or other device, it might just do the trick.

  5. For us the hardest part of a puppy is our routine getting tossed out the window, the rest is easy to deal with. Since they are so sweet, it is all worth it, but it makes life rather a mess those first few months. Enjoy!

  6. I can’t wait to “meet” the puppy!!! Although puppies make me insane, their cuteness defeats me every time. (After Cooper, though, we’ve committed to adult dogs only… at least, until time erases all those horrible memories.)

  7. I can’t wait to “meet” the puppy!!! Although puppies make me insane, their cuteness defeats me every time. (After Cooper, though, we’ve committed to adult dogs only… at least, until time erases all those horrible memories.)

  8. I can relate to it all Pamela – but I must say, I cant’ wait for you to introduce yours to us!

  9. Yay! Puppy it’s so exciting yet so stressful. So much to teach them and I’m sure you’ll do a great job. I would love to foster dogs (young and old) but I work full time so it’s not really a good time for me right now.

    I’d like to do it in the future perhaps when I am at home more. I have so much space in my house and so much love to share before they go off to their forever home.

    Good luck!

  10. I hope Blanche finds a new home quickly! I’m excited to see the new foster puppy though.

  11. Oooh, a PUPPY! So exciting!

    (check in the couch for your camera cord)

  12. I would start off with a box of good wine, I always buy Black Box. Then, I don’t know. You’re a brave soul though. Puppies are a wonderful source of mayhem, and mirth.

  13. I’d forgotten that puppies put everything on the floor in their mouths – ugh oh now I’m feeling all pupturnal!!

  14. Take them outside as much as possible! We were very consistent with taking Luke out, and his house training went the best ever (not perfect, but pretty darn good).
    Luke turned 11 months old today and our house is still not back to normal. Brand new furniture is still stashed away, and trash cans still sit high up on shelves. Slowly but surely, things are getting back to normal. But since yours is only temporary, you’ll be able to get back to normal far sooner….lucky you! :)

  15. Good luck with puppyhood! Try to get some sleep before the puppy arrives. The good news is the puppy will give you plenty to write about on the blog :) Oh yeah, and they’re adorable…

  16. After Callie’s and Shadow’s puppyhoods, we “swore” we’d never get another puppy. Or at least I did — I got no help from certain male member of the house cleaning up after their accidents — but then 7-month-old Ducky stole our hearts. Having spent most of her life in a crate/kennel at the shelter, she wasn’t house trained at all. Thankfully, she was a fast learner! Now if I could just get her to stop chewing on everything she’s not supposed to! No matter how many times I play trade me with her, she still insists on chewing on things she shouldn’t. Like dog bed covers, sheets, pillow cases, bedspreads, towels, her bedding. She doesn’t swallow any of it, she just chews on it. Crazy dog! Maybe she’ll grow out of it.

  17. You are courageous! Puppies are nonstop work, but the good thing about them is that they sleep soundly and snore adorably. Will Honey play with a foster pup? I have found that Fozzie is my best asset with Daria, who is an adult but acts like a puppy. He’ll play with her for a while before he’s done with her, at which point I work with both of them on some training and calming skills. A handful, but kind of fun and very rewarding as well. Look forward to hearing about your adventure!

  18. Maybe your cord fell off the desk and is between the desk and the wall. Or maybe Sweetie was really a klepto and took it with her 😉 Have you checked out Dr. Ian Dunbar’s free books “Before you get your puppy” and “After you get your puppy”? My puppy advice is don’t ever turn your back on them 😉