I haven’t written much lately, I’ve been busy. A new puppy is a lot of work and the timing of his arrival coinciding with my return to work was tricky. However, thinking about coming home and getting the type of greeting no person or thing other than a dog can offer is the highlight of my day. Despite the sweetness our new puppy, Miles, offers, he is by no means perfect- he’s a puppy.
Let’s start with bedtime…
The first night went as expected. Miles was so tired from the three plus hour drive home, during which he also suffered a bit of car sickness, that he was ready for bed at a reasonable time. We decided to keep his crate in the kitchen. I was determined to start off right after our last dog, Maizie, slept for 17 years in our bed. When Miles whimpered after a few hours, I tiptoed my way down the dark stairs following all the puppy rules- don’t make a fuss, take him outside without interaction, and return him to his crate to sleep. After a bit of fussing, he fell back asleep until dawn. A successful first night- It can only get better, I thought.
The second night did not go as smoothly. I began the same bedtime routine but could already tell there was a bit more resistance. I lovingly tucked Miles in and headed to my room. As the whimpering got louder, I began thinking back to my early motherhood days of hearing my kids “cry it out”- something I never could decide whether it was the right thing to do or not. After about 30 minutes, there was a sudden silence, however I couldn’t sleep, anticipating when he might wake again and questioning whether he was okay in the silence. A few hours later, I was awoken by yelps that couldn’t possibly be coming from this 3.5 lb body. After the quick trip to the yard, the whaling began immediately as I headed away from the crate. “Be strong,” my husband advised. (Says the man who can sleep through anything.) Like earlier, there was silence after about 30 minutes. I didn’t get many more hours of sleep before Miles was ready to play at 4 am.
The third night was awful. Rather than share all of the details, I will share that I slept on the floor of my bathroom just to be as far away from the heart-wrenching noise as I could. I was awoken only when my husband tripped over me heading to the sink. The next day I called friends, Googled how to get a dog to sleep, and drank a bit more coffee than I normally would. Arriving home from work, I had a new plan. I drove my husband and Miles to the pet store to purchase another crate. I would put the crate in my bedroom, covered with a sheet on three sides, and pushed away from my bed but close enough that Miles could see me a bit. The hours until bedtime dragged on anticipating what the night might be like. At 9:30, I took Miles for his final walk of the night and carried him up the stairs to introduce him to his new bedroom. Following the directions I had read from numerous articles and the advice of friends, I gently put him in his crate, pet him, said goodnight, and locked the crate door. I turned out the light and settled myself in as well. Confused by the quiet, I peeked with one eye at the crate to see his sweet little face peering back at me. Then he tucked his head into his rolled body and went to sleep. When my alarm went off at 5:30, I frantically woke up worried that something had happened to him, but he yawned and stretched as I knelt by the crate door. What a difference. I have said people need people especially in this time, but I guess dogs need people, too. We are all sleeping well!