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A Puppy's Perspective

Wow it’s exhausting being a puppy!

There is so much to learn and so much going on at our house.                                                        

I love my family, but boy are they busy. It’s hard to know what all the commotion is about.

They come and they go, rushing about, always in a hurry to get to one place or another.

I haven’t lived with them long, but they are already very special to me. I wish they would slow down, so we could spend more time getting to know each other better. I think if I had more of their attention and time I would be able to understand where I fit in and what is expected of me now. Most of the time I’m just confused. I want to be a part of their family, and I really want to make them happy, but it seems that I only manage to get in the way or behave in a manner that upsets them.

I wish they understood how different and challenging things are for me now. I’m adapting as well as I can. Some days I think I’m even getting things right, but other days I still struggle to understand my new life.

Everything is so new to me now. My new house is really big. I have so much room here. It’s so different to the small house I used to live in with my puppy siblings. I knew where to lay and how to play there, but now the rules have changed. Now I don’t know where my place to lay is, and when I play with the little family members, I get in trouble for playing the way I used to with my puppy siblings. Oh, and getting to the toilet here is so much harder. It’s a long way to the grassed area here, and sometimes I just can’t hold on. Other times I try to let my family know that I need to go, but they are too busy to notice, and I can’t speak their language to let them know. It’s terribly embarrassing when I have to go to the toilet inside my nice new home, not to mention the fact that having to clean up after me makes my family very upset.   

I used to greet my siblings face to face and give them a nice lick to say hello, but my new family are so tall and I’m so little that I mostly see feet. I don’t get to see my family’s faces often. I’d love to greet them properly like I did with my siblings, but that means that I have to jump up, and when I do this they say “No” and look upset. I decided to then try get their attention by nipping at their shoes and shoe laces, but they also say the “No” word when I do this too. I’m not exactly sure how I’m supposed to greet them now. Then I thought perhaps my name is “NO” as I’m not even quite sure of that. I know I should have a name, but right now I’m not certain of what it is. When they feed me, they call “Ralph” every time. I’m guessing my name might be Ralph.

We never had many visitors where I used to live, but my new family have lots of visitors and they all make a fuss of me. This is lots of fun! I feel loved and know that I’m good at this part. Even though I like it, I must admit that sometimes I feel overwhelmed, and after a while I just want to be left alone. When I tell them how I’m feeling by gently using my mouth and teeth, they use that “no” word again, so I tried using my language instead. I flick my tongue, yawn, scratch and shake, but they don’t understand what I’m trying to say. I know that they would listen if they understood because they are very kind people. I’ll keep trying.

Even though I’m still working hard to figure it all out, the inside of my nice new home has become my world.  So you can imagine my surprise when my family put this funny thing around my neck and took me out the front door into a place that was sort of like an enormous backyard, except it was much louder and there was so much more to see. I wasn’t expecting this! There were so many strange noises and loads of things that I’d never seen before. Things that zoomed or flew past, all sorts of different families with more little family members running about on things that rolled and scooted by. I even saw another me! Well it looked a little like me! I was so excited and a little worried. I haven’t seen another me in a while. I wanted to go over and ask what “No” means and if he had worked out how to get his family to understand him. I had so many questions, but I must admit I only really wanted to play! I don’t think my family liked the other one like me though, because they used the “No” word again and pulled me away. Maybe I’m not supposed to like the other ones that look like me, or maybe my family were just in hurry again and didn’t have time to think that doing this might have confused me. Things got more confusing and concerning as we walked on. I wish they moved more slowly, I didn’t have time to take it all in and to adjust to what I was experiencing. I started to get worried and I tried to tell them. I barked, shook, and scratched, but I forgot that they don’t understand my language.

I was so relieved to get home. That outing was all too new and too fast for me to understand. I felt a little wound up after such an exciting yet confusing experience. It made me feel like running around. I found it hard to calm myself down.  My family used that “No” word again and this time I was put outside. I wasn’t sure why, but I know that I didn’t like it.

They let me back in after a while and I took myself to my soft place because my family look very pleased with me when I do this. I was also really worn out after I calmed myself down. I needed a sleep. I wish the little family members wouldn’t run around and make so much noise while I’m trying to sleep. It makes it really hard for me to be well behaved and rest. Sometimes they pick me up while I’m sleeping. This scares and startles me as I’m not expecting it. When they wake me, I join in with their play time, but I never seem to get play time right. They stand on their hind legs and play their front paws. I’m so different, I have to use all four legs to get around, and I use my mouth to play. I think that sometimes that’s the part that they don’t like, but this is the only way I know how. Play time is lots of fun and I love the little members of my family because they are the most like me. They are small and like to have fun. I get very excited when they are together running about. I thought it might be fun to grab their pants as they ran by, sort of like a game of “gotcha”, but even though I tried really hard to get it right, I was told “No” again and sent out of the room. It’s so hard for me to get it right. I thought they wanted me to play, and I thought we were having fun.

After all of the confusion, I decided the best idea was to try and get my family to understand me better, so I started using my own language more and more when I was feeling unsure about what to do, instead of getting it wrong all the time. This wasn’t as successful as I had hoped it would be. They used the “No” word now more than ever. After every bark intended to explain my feelings, I was told “No”.  Boy was I stumped. I had run out of ideas.

Without a plan to make things better, I began feeling down. I really wasn’t sure of how to fit into my new family and how to make myself understood. On top of all of this my mouth was hurting and a little white thing, I used to chew with, fell out of my mouth. What’s happening now?

Everything was becoming too much, and I was feeling more and more distressed.

Then one day something really interesting happened.

We had another visitor, but this visitor was a little different, she dressed differently and smelled familiar. She also had something around her hip that the other visitors never had. The thing around her hip smelled soooo good. I was curious to find out what was inside.

This visitor spoke to my family for a while before directing her attention toward me. She did not pick me up suddenly from the floor like the other visitors do, which was really nice. This lady sat on the floor and waited for me to feel comfortable enough to greet her. Guess what? I did not need to jump. I could see her face! I licked her once on the face to say hello. Yay! This lady was not rushing about; she patted me gently on my chest and slowly touched my body. She then gave me a tasty treat that came out of the thing around her hip.  I think I must have gotten something right! This was food that I’d never tasted before. It was so delicious!

Our different visitor had something that made a funny sound. Every time she pressed it the sound it made really caught my attention. ”Click”. At first, I wasn’t sure what was going on. I soon learnt that after the sound happened a treat followed. I liked this. I felt like I was finally getting something right. Then I had to follow a treat in the lady’s hand onto my soft place. When I sat there I heard the special sound “Click” and I was given a treat. Success! When I put my bottom on the floor and didn’t jump the sound happened again, “Click” and then another treat followed. I started to put it all together. The sound and the treat meant I was getting it right. I even started to learn some of my family’s words. Words like ‘sit’, that means I should put my butt on the ground, and ‘drop’ means I need to put my tummy on the floor, and ‘go to bed’ means I have to go and sit on my soft place.

There was so much to learn and I did get a little confused at times while my new visitor was at our house. I decided I would yawn and scratch to see if this lady would understand my language. She did! She stopped making the sound, gave me a pat and walked away to talk to my family some more.

Phew. I needed a rest. I sat on my bed and nibble on the toy that the lady gave me that tasted delicious and also made my mouth feel much better. I was very calm and relaxed after that and drifted off to sleep.

The next day was the most exciting and best day ever!

My family bought me a bedroom all of my own. The walls are strong, and it has a latched door, but the inside is soft and comfy just like my soft place, oops I mean my bed. The door is left open so I can move away from the little family members if I don’t want to play, and they do not bother me while I’m sleep in my room. It’s a special place all of my own. Now the house doesn’t seem so large. My new bedroom is close to the back door too, so it’s easier to get to the toilet now.  Oh and the back door has even changed. There is a hole in it, with a flap that keeps the wind out. Now I just push the flap with my head and take myself out to the toilet when I need to go!

My family have slowed down around me. They now touch me gently all over, sit on the floor to say hello and guide me to my bedroom when they are busy rushing around.  They also have stopped hurrying me out into the huge backyard. Now they take me out but we stop and sit not too far from our home so I can watch all of the new, and sometimes scary things, move past and around me. I like doing this. It gives me time to make sense of things. My family also give me yummy treats while I’m watching things go by. This makes me feel much more comfortable and I don’t feel so overwhelmed anymore.

I saw another one like me when we were out, but this time I didn’t feel so confused about what to do because my family asked me to ‘sit’ and ‘look’, like the special visitor showed me. This made me feel calm and secure. We’ve been practising this at home and I’m getting pretty good at it.

Things changed a lot after the visitor with the treats around her hip arrived. I’m so happy. Things are so much better now.

Since her visit I’m getting pretty good at lots of things and I’m starting to understand what my family wants me to do. This is because they are using the same sound and action every time they want me to do something.  When I get it right I hear the same sound “Click” and then a treat follows just like the special visitor showed me. This is helping me to learn my family’s language. They all seem so happy with me now that I understand them and now they even seem to understand me!

The last time visitors arrived they weren’t allowed to hold me or pass me around for too long. This was because I yawned and licked my lips to show them this was making me feel uncomfortable. My family told the visitor to put me down. I was so happy I took myself to my bed room where I know is now a place where no one is allowed to bother me.

I even have different toys! Food comes out of these new ones and now I don’t feel so lonely and bored when my family are away from home. Oh and some of the new toys even help sooth my sore gums and mouth. I’m not sure why, but when my mouth is sore I like to chew on things. Now that I have these toys I use them instead of chewing on other things that make the “No” word happen at home.

The little family members play with me differently now. They throw me a round bouncy thing that I love to chase after. I’m getting better and bringing it back to them too. I’m going to try extra hard to learn how to keep it in my mouth and get it right back to them every time. They seem so pleased with me when I do.

I feel so much more relaxed in my new home now. I just needed my family to slow down and remember that I’m very young and new to the world. I also needed them to see that I’m different from them which makes it hard for me to understand their ways and their language.

Now that we understand each other I live a very happy life. Sure, I still get somethings wrong, but I’m only little and I’m working on it.  The big difference is now I fit in and feel that I belong.

I now I know I’m considered a part of my wonderful family!

Oh and guess what?   My name IS Ralph!