Bruno, dogs, NaBloPoMo, Pandemic, Rocco, Uncategorized

Getting a Dog During the Pandemic

“We never leave the house!” we said.

“We’ll have so much time to train him!” we thought.

“The new dog will keep Rocco company!” we hoped.

HAHAHAHA.

Meet: Bruno.

Gate Houdini. Toy stealer. Chewer of everything.

We are a rescue family. Rocco was rescued last March at 4 months old, and we wanted to do the same for our second dog. Bruno was rescued in July at just 9 weeks old! They said he was a “doxie mix”, and he was available with his litter mates: two sisters, one who was black and brown like he was (but smaller) and one who was completely tan. That, in itself, was a little suspicious. When we arrived at the shelter he was alone, his sisters had already been adopted earlier in the day. He was sleeping peacefully outside, his little round, pink belly rising and falling with each breath. I picked him up and inhaled his puppy smell. Is there anything better than new puppy smell? Probably second only to new baby smell.

We left with “Dallas” as he was named, and the entire ride home, as he slept in my arms, I whispered into his soft, floppy ear: “You are Bruno. Bruno. Bruno.”

Bruno was a surprise for our Little Mister who had NO IDEA we were bringing home a dog. You know who else was surprised? Rocco.

It’s amazing how quickly you forget what house training a puppy is like, even if you just did a year earlier. And, we were right in assuming it would be easier since we were home all the time. But still, house training is exhausting! But my Type A personality ensured we only had a handful of accidents in the house as I watched Bruno like a hawk. The minute he looked suspicious, he went outside!

And, Bruno won himself some bonus points for sleeping through the night in his crate from night one with no crying. He will fit right in here with that kind of behavior.

Rocco and Bruno are still trying to figure out their place with each other. When we first brought Bruno home, he and Rocco (who is full grown) were almost the same size, Bruno being 8 pounds to Rocco’s 10. But any size advantage Rocco had quickly diminished when Bruno started gaining a pound a week. He quickly was taller (and stronger) than Rocco, though he was still a clumsy puppy so Rocco was able to push him around. They spent quite a bit of time wrestling (and still do!), though their interactions have grown louder. And Bruno has become bolder. And Rocco spends a lot of time hiding under chairs.

Rocco – who at the tender age of 2 – is like a grumpy old man. He’s possessive of Little Mister, and getting attention. And most of the time he just wants to be left alone. Bruno – who can’t take a hint – constantly wants to play so he bites at Rocco’s rear end and tail, nudges him off a bed, steals any toy he’s playing with. Basically, he’s an annoying little bratty brother.

Do I love that we have gates up all over the house to contain him until we can trust him? No.

Does leaving a room or going outside cause more drama than we’d like? Yep.

Do we need to each “take a dog” at certain times to keep peace in our house? Oh yeah.

When someone comes in the house does mayhem ensue? For sure.

Is Bruno wiggling his way into our hearts? Absolutely.

When you talk to Bruno, he looks right into your eyes and tilts his head, as if he’s trying to understand what you’re saying to him. Our old dog Vito used to do that, too. Vito was part human, I think.

Bruno is working on learning his commands and how to be a good doggie and a respectful member of our family. He’s scared of strangers and gets nervous in new situations. “You have to socialize him!” the vet said. Well, Dr., I haven’t socialized myself in the last 8 months, let along a dog!

But we’re working on it! Today was a test run at doggie daycare for Bruno. And we didn’t get a call to pick him up 20 minutes after we dropped him off, so to me, that’s a success. Plus, the only other dog there was about 5 pounds and Bruno still behaved himself. Extra treats for him tonight for not eating another dog today!

It’s been 4 months and we sort of hoped that Rocco and Bruno would be besties by now. Spoiler alert: that is not the case. They currently tolerate each other. (Correction: Rocco tolerates Bruno and Bruno annoys Rocco.)

Hopefully things calm down in the KK household soon. And Bruno doesn’t take down our Christmas tree (which is grounds for dismissal, btw).

He’s not a snuggler, or a kisser. But he does like to hog the couch. He’s a little kooky and quirky. But he’s all ours.

You can follow Rocco and Bruno’s shenanigans on Instagram!

dogs, NaBloPoMo, Rocco

Getting a dog after losing a dog.

Two years ago, we lost our beloved Vito the Wonder Dog. It was a soul-crushing experience, and one that I’m not yet truly over. That dog was woven so tightly into our family unit, that saying goodbye was tougher than saying farewell to some humans.

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The Little Mister and Vito, a few months before we said good-bye.

In the weeks and months that followed losing Vito, the hole in our hearts was so big, that I often found myself saying, “I don’t think I could ever have another dog. How could I ever love another dog like I loved Vito?”

A year after we lost Vito, we still never mentioned getting another dog. The Little Mister, who was now 4, would bring him up every once in a while, with heart-wrenching questions such as, “I miss Vito. When is he coming back?” and “Is Vito in heaven? When will he be done up there?”

Our lives had changed a little bit in the year since Vito was gone. I had started a new job that allowed me to work from home. My inlaws also lost their dog, almost a year to the day that we lost Vito. And my father-in-law couldn’t wait to bring another dog into their lives. If there was ever a get a dog, we were approaching it.

Yet, we still didn’t talk about it.

Because as much as we mourned Vito, we had a little bit of a new lease on life. We no longer had to worry about getting home at a certain time to let a dog out. We could go away for the weekend and not have to made doggie arrangements. When one of us was away or working late, the other didn’t have to juggle taking care of a 4 year old and walking and caring for a dog.

But even with all that freedom, I still was in the habit of checking the floor for poop when I came around the corner. Or rushing to pick up a fallen M&M or grape or piece of onion from the floor. We didn’t physically have a dog, but mentally, I still felt like we did.

One cold Friday night, while Mr. KK was playing in his monthly poker night, I started scrolling through petfinder.com. You know, just to see what was in our area. We hadn’t really yet talked about getting another dog, but it had almost been 2 years, and I know at some point we would get one. We knew we’d rescue again, and who knows how long it would take to find the right fit?

On that very first night, I came across Rocco – at that time, named Nikki by the shelter. He was a 3 1/2 month old mix, some combination of chihuahua, dachshund and miniature pinscher. He was in a foster home 2 miles from our house. He had the cutest little face. His ears were so big and alert, he looked like a bat. And the clincher: he was black and tan, and looked a lot like Vito.

I emailed the rescue, and 3 weeks later we brought Rocco – formally known as Nikki – into our house, and our lives.

At first, I was a wreck inside. Rationally, I wanted Rocco to be part of our family. Emotionally, I felt like I was betraying Vito. On the third night of Rocco being in our home – and me chasing him around to make sure he didn’t pee or poop in the house – I broke down. “What if I can’t love him like I loved Vito?” I asked Mr. KK.

We had never had a true puppy before. We rescued Vito when he was about 8 months old. I was living in Boston, and Vito was with Mr. KK and his parents (before he was Mr. KK as we weren’t married yet) in Connecticut. My father-in-law house trained Vito in about 3 days.

When we picked up Rocco from the foster home, they informed us that he used pee pee pads and tended to just “poop by the back door”. Um, that would not fly in my house. From the minute he came home, I was in full puppy potty training mode. I took him out constantly, monitored his intake – and output, and made sure he was never left unsupervised. It took a bit of time but eventually we were on a schedule and I didn’t feel the need to freak out if he was out of my sight for more than a few minutes.

As the months passed, I began to feel less like Rocco was replacing Vito and more like he was becoming an addition to the family. Little Mister absolutely adored him, and Rocco was so sweet and gentle with him. During Rocco’s teething phase (that felt like it lasted forever), Rocco would chew on our hands but he would only lick Little Mister’s.

It was no surprise that Rocco was attached to me, mostly because we spent so much time together.

He’s my daytime work buddy, who often sleeps on my desk chair, snuggled up behind me. He’s the ultimate cuddler, often making it hard to get out of bed in the morning.

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Little Mister enjoying a quiet moment with Rocco.

This little boy wiggled his way into my heart, when I thought I couldn’t love another dog again. I can’t imagine our lives without him.

dogs, Kids will be kids, Life, Rocco, Uncategorized

Where do babies (and doggies) come from?

We recently dog-sat my in laws’ doggie, Enzo, for a few weeks. Like Rocco, Enzo is a rescue dog. He came to them earlier this year, was around 2 years old, and is hand’s down the softest dog I have ever felt. Guys, this dog is like CASHMERE.

Enzo and Rocco are both some variation of a dachshund – Rocco is mixed with a Min Pin and/or Chihuahua, and Enzo might very well be 100% dachshund (do doxies have odd 6th toes, because this dog has weird extra toes hanging off his feet).

Enzo and Rocco – the Italian doggie mafia – are still feeling each other out and getting used to each other. They LIKE each other, but most of their time together is spent wrestling, playing tug of war, and then power napping.

One of Rocco’s and Enzo’s favorite past time is doing this:

FYI, that’s my innocent boy, Rocco, on the bottom trying to play with a stuffed rabbit while ENZO, the manipulator, takes advantage of him.

“What are they doing?” Little Mister asked me one time.

Me: “Enzo is giving Rocco a super special doggie hug.” (I know. I’m sorry!)

Little Mister: “Do they do those hugs at night?”

Me: “Sometimes.”

Little Mister: “Do they do them when they are in bed?”

Me: “Umm…sure?”

Little Mister: “Do you and Daddy do those special hugs in bed, too?”

And…scene!

Fast forward to the night we had just picked up Little Mister from school, when he was telling us about the babies and astronauts.

Little Mister: “So there’s this astronaut who goes into outer space, and he saw me as a little baby and grabbed me! And he held onto me while he floated down to earth and then he carried me to the hospital and gave me to you.”

Yes, that’s exactly how it happened.

(Can someone get me a drink?)

Rocco and Enzo really do love each other:

IMG_1253Rocco is on the right, Enzo is on the left.

Most of the time, they fought for my attention…and my office chair.

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For 3 weeks I was surrounded by wieners in my house; I was completely out-numbered.

And Enzo – god love him – was attached to me. He followed me to the refrigerator, to the bathroom and to bed. He whimpered when I put a gate up and he couldn’t come down the hall and see me. He spooned me at night in the big bed like we were on our honeymoon. And above all, he gave me those puppy-dog eyes that just melted my heart.

Unrelated – I think – was the night Little Mister asked me at dinner whether or not I was going to the hospital to “buy another baby”.

Flustered, I told him that, no, we weren’t going to buy another baby (has he no idea how much babies costs these days??)

To which he replied, “Ok. Can I have a snack?”

If that’s the worst of it, then I’m totally ready for the next stage of parenthood.