Bringing home Milo

I’m not going to lie to you, taking care of a boisterous puppy is no picnic. The problem is, my one is just so cute that I would literally wade through pee for him. In fact, I have done. Several times today in my stocking feet.

We had an appointment to see Milo and his six littermates yesterday at a breeder’s house just outside Portland. (Look, I know buying a puppy from a breeder is worse than stamping on a kitten, but after the infamous Mini Aussie debacle of 2011 these were the only dogs Eoin and I could agree were cute. I’d just like to state for the record that I would have been happy with any shelter puppy, but certain other people are harder to please. I got major bitchface from two pontificating girls in PetSmart yesterday for my sins so consider me punished, thanks.)

Anyway, I had been perving on the breeder’s website and lookswise, Milo was definitely doing it for me (although his white and tan brothers are all painfully cute too). When the nice lady brought us into the puppy trailer and opened the gate, seven shrieking little furballs came at us like torpedoes, but he was the one I kept my eye trained on. When they eventually calmed down, after ripping my arms to shreds first obviously, I was finally able to pick him up for a cuddle. Yes, he was Milo alright. We also got to see his ma, a fawn puggle (that’s a pug beagle hybrid for all you cat people) and his dad, a tri-coloured Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, in situ too. You might recall me previously mentioning that Cavaliers (as they call them over here) are my favourite dogs of all time. They’re good people, ya know?

And so, after doing some awkward money swapping, we were free to leave with Milo and a gas gift bag, containing his papers, vet info and, er, birth announcements, in tow. (Remind me to send one of those to the New York Times, will you?) I had planned on holding him on my knee in the passenger seat for the 35-minute journey home and had cleverly (nay, luckily) brought a towel to put between us in case of accidents. So with Milo, who is 12 weeks old and weighs 13 lbs, freaking out, off we went. Let me tell you, the dog can squirm. He howled, he cried, he tried to jump on Eoin and eventually he puked twice before we got to the apartment. Let’s just say everyone was a little distressed by the time we’d unpacked his bed, food and new toys and were waiting for him to relax his proverbial cacks.

But Milo never relaxed those cacks. Instead he barreled around the gaff for several hours, peeing and pooping on the beige carpet as he went. Eoin and I helplessly trailed after him with wads of newspaper but he didn’t, as I had hoped, instinctively know to use it as his toilet. In an effort to be The World’s Most Patient Puppy Trainer, I brought him outside for a little walk every hour, again assuming that he would know what to do once we got there, but no. In fairness, he was excellent on the leash, and learned how to negotiate the stairs on the first try, but he had no interest in relieving himself outside. He did puke again though, which was something, I told myself.

As it got later, and bedtime loomed, I started to get worried about what to do. My initial plan was to move his bed, toys and water bowl into the bathroom and leave him there with the door closed overnight, but he couldn’t hack being separated from us for more than 30 seconds. He bawled his head off. Plus I felt bad, it had been a traumatic day for the poor little feller. Also, our neighbours would have us evicted and maybe even jailed. So we resorted to Plan B. We dragged his bed into the bedroom, the one room we vowed would be off-limits to the dog, and shoved it up against my side. In doing this, I decided, I could comfort him if he cried, plus he would be getting used to having his own bed, the one place a puppy apparently won’t soil. It was a genius plan, but since Milo is the most unpredictable person I’ve ever met, I expected it to fail.

But fail it didn’t! After half-heartedly trying to jump up on the bed a few times, Milo barely cried at all, he simply settled down and (mostly) slept through the night like a perfect little puppy. And the best part is he didn’t sneak out of bed to go elsewhere in the bedroom either. He held in his business! And when I took him out for a walk at 6am, he actually peed on the grass for the first time. Although, despite going on numerous walks today, he still generally prefers to evacuate on the beige carpet. He is a (very cute) work in progress.


Milo, and the way he might look at you. He likes to pee in his sleep. On the couch.

If you have any advice on house training a puppy, cut me some slack and share, won’t you?




It finally happened: I got my puppy! His name is Milo, and when he’s not peeing like a racehorse, pooping or vomiting all over our beige carpets, he’s the best dog ever. And I’m not just saying that because he’s mine. He’s 1/4 pug, 1/4 beagle, 1/2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and 100% adorable. Wanna see a picture? Of course you do!

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Picture of the Day: little people, big stalker

This morning I had yet another driving lesson (I know I have my license but I’m thinking of going pro* ). My instructor Steve was pretty fricking cool, we had some good chats. He’s a professional stunt driver and has worked on movies like Die Hard, The Fast and the Furious, Short Circuit and the TV show Dukes of Hazzard amongst millions of others that I pretended to know. And he was the guy who drove the whale away in Free Willy. Impressive, no? We passed the Roloff’s farm on our little excursion and I forced him to pull over so I could take a pic. Yes, he was driving. I know that’s weird.

*Naaaht, obviously.

Downtown Portland in pictures

Last weekend we took our first trip downtown. (Our stuff from Arizona, including my computer, only arrived today and I didn’t have the patience to try and blog from Eoin’s laptop. Soz!) The weather was dire so we didn’t stick around for long but I did manage to snap a few pics as we walked around. I LOVE Portland. To me, it’s how a city should be: plenty of people on the sidewalks, lots of atmosphere and best of all, bars. So very many bars. It’s worlds away from Phoenix and a lot like Dublin. No wonder I like it so much.

We stopped in hipster hangout Stumptown Coffee Roasters for a quick latte and it was there I realised just how old and uncool I am. I think I was the only person not using some kind of Apple device. The shame.  Then we hit up Powell’s Books, which I believe is the biggest book store in America. Or I could be making that up. Anyway, it’s mahoosive, covers an entire block and is four stories high. You need a map to find anything. After all that, and some yummy noodles, we headed home which is exactly 20 minutes away by car. My aim for next week is to get my shizz together and go in using public transport. It will involve one bus and one trip on the MAX. I think I can handle it.

I’ll leave you with this Portland themed gem, as sourced by the incomparable Doug Whelan. It’s quite accurate!

And before I go, I want to say thanks everyone for your support over the whole dog thing. It has consumed me all week. One minute I’m 100% sure it’s not meant to be and the next I’m searching frantically on Craigslist, refreshing the page every 30 seconds. Get it together, emotions!

Application: DENIED

Last night I found out that my application to adopt a dog from the Mini Aussie Rescue Shelter (MARS) in Oregon was denied. Believe me, I was as shocked as you are (assuming that your jaw has just hit the floor, that is.)

I emailed in my application on Friday and when I hadn’t heard anything back by Monday afternoon I re-sent it to the local Oregon address (MARS is a national organisation). When I hadn’t heard anything back by Wednesday, I emailed again to see if my application had been received at all. I got an immediate response directing me to the info on about incomplete applications, which basically says that if there’s anything missing, MARS won’t reply to tell you because they’re just too busy. Fine. So I re-read my app and realised that I hadn’t included a letter from my landlord to say I was allowed keep a dog in my apartment (when we were choosing a place to live months ago we requested that our community and building were dog friendly so I knew it wasn’t a problem). I had included the phone number but that obviously wouldn’t suffice. So I headed over to the leasing office and asked lovely Lissa to send me through the relevant document, which I forwarded on to MARS straight away. The response I received was that the letter wasn’t ideal, but it would do. But then the MARS rep declared that there were so many other things wrong with my application that she didn’t have time to go through them with me as she is a volunteer and is plenty busy with her own paying job, thank you very much.

Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. I’m not being big-headed, but I thought that my application was pretty damn good. I even said that I would consider taking a partially blind or deaf dog. As a responsible, mature, educated adult, who sits at home alone all day, surely I could be trusted taking care of a dog? I owned a pony when I was 11 and managed not to kill her. Even homeless people are allowed to have dogs, I wanted to roar back in block caps.

And then, not surprisingly, the rage came. I wanted to find that girl and bawl in her face. I wanted to tell her how I read my new dog training book from cover to cover on the beach on St Stephen’s Day. I wanted her to know how many hours I’ve spent researching the best dog bowls (stainless steel because they’re less likely to harbour germs) and the most nutritious dog food ( a brand called Blue Buffalo. Expensive, but worth it because of the meat content). And still I wasn’t good enough to take care of a dog that someone else had dumped? Bitch, please.

Looking on the bright side: there’s obviously no shortage of people trying to adopt dogs from MARS, which is a good thing. But it isn’t providing much comfort this morning. There are other shelters here I can apply to, but to be honest, I’m a bit scared in case I get rejected again. Of course, I could just go online and buy a puppy right now. Breeders don’t make you fill out an application, they don’t give a shit who you are or what you do. But my conscience would give me a terrible time.

Maybe I’ll just have a baby. Much less paperwork to do. Weird, that.

Picture of the Day: hrrrrrrrnk!

Spotted in the Whole Foods carpark. I so would.

(PotD is going to be a regular feature, by the way. For when I’m lazy.)