Pet Friend

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Emma is Home

Emma needed a good rest after her long car ride and meeting her new home and family members. She was 9 weeks old in this photograph.

Lin Hainlen, owner of Copper Ridge Kennel, had done many things to make our transition with Emma easier for everyone. She does this with every litter and every puppy in every litter. Before Emma was ready to come home with us, she had been socialized to be a healthy family member.

Emma's socialization and road to good health began with her birth. Lin and her family were present from the puppy’s birth, which happened in a special room designed for whelping, located in the Hainlen’s home. The litter of eleven was raised in the same room where they were born. The room where they were born has a large dog door built into the wall so the puppies can begin their own house training, as they are ready. There were no accidents after the fifth week. Lin, her family members and many visitors, handled Emma from birth, so she thought people were important to her wellbeing. Everyone entering the baby room, had to spray their shoes with disinfectant, and wash hands with disinfectant soap. There is a television and stereo in the puppy room, and one or the other plays regularly so the puppies are socialized to a future home environment. The puppies are provided with a play yard equipped with tubes and tents, rocks to crawl over, and a clean grassy yard. When puppies become dirty from playing, they are wiped down with a damp cloth and their feet cleaned. Each week their ears are cleaned and teeth are brushed.

The day Emma was ready to travel to her new home, she had been given her first shots, and had been screened for worms and other unwanted intestinal visitors. She had no adverse reaction to the vaccinations, and the fecal tests were negative.

We arrived at the Copper Ridge Kennel before 3 p.m. Thursday, April 5, 2007. We began with the paperwork. There was a contract to read and sign, a check to write, AKC registration paperwork, identification chip information to fill out as the new owner, and many other valuable and supportive items to review in the folder. I do wish the information could have been e-mailed ahead of the trip. Once in Emma's presence, all I wanted to do was pay attention to Emma.

A family from New Mexico arrived a few minutes after we did, so Lin showed us the basics at the same time. She made take-home bags for each puppy filled with samples of calcium and multivitamins, food and toys, one toy had been played with by the litter so there would be familiar smells for the puppy. Lin showed us how to clean our puppies with non-alcohol baby wipes, and brush their teeth. Lin made certain the identification chip functioned and checked the numbers. She also showed us how to trim toenails, and the tool to use.

We were on the road home with Emma by 5:30 p.m. My daughter went with me to keep Emma company on the ride. Twenty minutes out of the driveway, Emma vomited, and I had not prepared for such an event. We stopped to take care of Emma and clean up as much of the mess as possible, then continued home. Emma slept soundly the rest of the trip.

Pippin, our black and white Sheltie, welcomed Emma immediately, after all, the two are the same height and weight, and Pippin is only twenty months old. We hope the two will grow up together, and Pippin can establish her position while Emma is still small. I think both puppies are not alpha, however, our Cairn Terrier boy, Buster, who is nearly ten years old, is very alpha. Buster was aggressive at first, perhaps assertive is a better term. It took him until the next morning to decide Emma was okay. Now, only two days later, the three are a pack, and I seem to be pack leader. Enough for now, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Lin and I had been in communication for the past several weeks, so I had most of the items to make Emma comfortable and the house puppy proof. I want Emma to know what a kennel is and how to relax through the night when kenneled. I want her to be safe, and a kennel is the safest place for her when no one is home. As she grows older and matures, there will be no need for a kennel at night, but she will be able to recall kennel time if she ever needs to be in one for any reason.

Emma had been in a kennel during trips to the veterenarian, so when we put her in the kennel the first night, she didn’t quite know what to do. We made certain that she had a good dinner and a good play before bedtime. I put her kennel next to my side of the bed, gave her a nice soft bed and a treat to calm her. She slept six hours before awakening with a little whine. I let her out of the kennel and walked her to the outside door. Within ten feet, she was relieving herself. I praised her for “doing her chores” and we went back inside where Emma and I returned to bed to sleep another four hours.

Friday was a busy day for all of us, including Emma. She had a veterinarian appointment with our medical providers. Dr. Christian gave her a clean bill of health, as I thought she would.

Friday night, April 6, 2007, Emma was sure of how the household operated. She didn’t object to being in the kennel at night, after all, she had played until she was very tired. She slept until 4:00 a.m. this morning when she needed out, and was very hungry.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

4-4-07 Diary of Emma

Emma is the middle puppy. She is dining with two of her ten siblings. Reese, their mother looks on.

Emma is 8 weeks old in this photograph taken at her birth home of Copper Ridge Rhodesians. She had many things to contemplate that day.

Emma comes home tomorrow, April 5, 2007. The car ride from North Scottsdale to Gilbert will take approximately an hour. I know this experience will be life changing for her, mostly because she truly loves her mother, Reese, and doesn't really know us, yet. I know the day will be fun and go quickly for Emma, it is the night that concerns me.

I have a large dog wire kennel all set up in the master bedroom where my husband and I sleep. It is also where both cats and Pippin, the little Sheltie sleep. My hope is to calm Emma while in the restless stage, and not let her mood escalate to the frantic stage. I have learned some of the Tellington Touch techniques, and plan to use them to help her calm down during the night, if need be. There is a plan for play during the evening, and a nice dinner, after all, a tired, well-fed puppy sleeps all night, so they say.

Emma is eating The Honest Kitchen brand Embark with Natural Solutions kibble by Van Patton, three times per day. We already feed our dogs The Honest Kitchen brand, so adding the kibble brand is easy. We have arranged our schedules so that she will be able to eat and play mid-day. We use distilled water from our own distillation unit, so everyone has clean water to drink. I also like to give the dogs raw, whole carrots to chew on, and a little peanut butter inside a Kong for time in the kennel. I think she will have a good diet to grow up on, not too much protein, as most of the processed puppy foods provide.

Tomorrow, we will do the paperwork transferring information about Emma, payment for her, and plan for her future health. Emma has an identification chip in her, instead of a tattoo, and I will need to register that number to us. She has a veterinarian appointment Friday for a check-up and a "getting to know your doctor" visit. She will also visit our groomer's shop, just to get acquainted. Car rides and play times away from home are part of our plan for her socialization.

I think we are ready for Emma to come home. The house is puppy proofed, there are plans for the other animal introductions, she has a bed that is safe and secure, good food to eat, clean water to drink, and a loving family that is very excited about her arrival. I will let you know how it goes.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Adopting Emma

I am bringing Emma home on Thursday afternoon. I have waited 16 months for a Rhodesian Ridgeback girl from one special breeder. She is nearly 9 weeks old, and ready to join our household of 2 dogs (a 9 year old Cairn Terrier boy, and a 16 month old Sheltie girl) and 2 cats (brother and sister, 10 year old Abyssinians). I have never known a Ridgeback, though I have done extensive reading about the breed, and have learned to appreciate the 9 adult Ridgebacks at the Copper Ridge breeder's home. They seem to be such placid, loving and sensitive companions, though very large.

I would like to read the wisdom you all have to share about successfully blending Emma into our family for many years to come.

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