Sunday, May 31, 2009

About half way there

Darby weighed in at 13 pounds yesterday at her appointment with Dr. Massey. About half way to her ideal adult weight.

I've teased Erika about starving her Bonnie, but understand why she watches Bonnie's weight so carefully. And, I will be keeping an eye on Darby's weight as well.

It's always fun to take a puppy to the vet (well, always fun as long as the puppy is healthy and thriving) because they make such a fuss over puppies. When the vet tech took Darby to the back to weigh her, I heard all these "ooo's" and "ahhh's" and "oh! how cute's" from the techs in the back.
Last time, they threatened not to bring her back to me.

Darby was much calmer than last time, but still a bit subdued, which is just fine. Better than wild! Or screaming at the top of her lungs like Erika did every, single time she went to the doctor until she was nearly 2 years old!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

To the Vet

Darby and I are off to see Dr. Massey or Dr. Valerie at El Cerrito Veterinary Hospital today. Darby is getting her third round of shots. I'm curious to find out how much she weighs and to see if she is a little less apprehensive than she was on her first visit. We've been taking our animals to these two women veterinarians since 1987--a much longer relationship than I've had with any of my human doctors!

Ear update: This photo doesn't show it well, but her left ear is standing up more and more each day. I'm wishing they will both pop up real soon, but if they don't, the tape goes on tonight or tomorrow. I don't know if I want to be the one to hold her or to apply the tape. I think I'll let Maggie, the friend-of-a-friend who breeds Pembroke Welsh Corgis who has offered to help me, decide which I should do.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Like Cardboard Boxes on Christmas

So, you know the old truism about children receiving fancy toys on Christmas (or whichever winter holiday is celebrated in your home) but forgetting the toys to play with the cardboard boxes they came in?

Well, Darby does something similar. Between my sister and me, Darby has received an embarrassment of toys.
But, what is her favorite toy of all (besides the pink possum that I have since learned is an armadillo)?


Our backyard is loaded with them. It's hard to strike the right balance between letting her play with them and preventing her from getting hurt.

(Ear update--the left ear is nearly upright today, but the right one only comes up if Darby hears a particularly interesting noise. The friend-of-a-friend who is going to help me tape her ears will be coming by soon.)

Darby doesn't do this

Darby does a lot of things: sits when I ask her to; waits for me to go in/out doors first (most of the time;) comes from just about anywhere when I jangle keys and runs to the front door when I say "Let's go get the mail!"

But, Darby doesn't do this--she doesn't lay around and cuddle with me like Erika's Bonnie did (and still does.) These pictures of Bonnie were taken when she was about 3 months old--just like Darby is. But, there is no way Darby will do that! If she isn't running around, she is chewing! (She has chewed the knob end off three puppy Nylabones, already!) And, if I were rubbing her tummy, Darby wouldn't be looking into the camera--she'd be trying to gnaw on my hand!

I hope her new teeth come in and the chewing stops--or at least slows down a bit!

And, I hope she grows into being a lap dog like Leda says her mom, Flirt, is.

But, I sure do get a kick out of seeing those big feet and ears flopping toward me when I jangle my keys!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Middle East peace is important, but right now I would settle for just a cease fire or rather a "cease tease" between Darby and Harry.

I wonder if they will ever be friends like Bonnie and Owen (pictured) were. To be fair, Erika brought Bonnie home and within days, her roommate brought Owen home so they grew up together. It's a little different for Harry who has been king of this castle for almost 7 years now.

(Look at those ears on Bonnie! Maybe if I show Darby pictures of Bonnie's ears she'll get the idea to make her own stand upright!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I have always loved magazines

Guess Darby does, too!

Monday, May 25, 2009

On the horns--er--rungs--of a dilemma

OK. So maybe it was a mistake to jump onto the wobbly, overturned chair. So, now, do I jumped to the left where the dog is and suffer the consequences? Or do I jump to the right and let her think I'm a scaredy-cat?

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Leda warned me about Corgis liking to dig.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

This is harder than I thought it would be!

This puppy business is definitely harder than I thought it would be.

This is the first time we have had a "house" dog. Our three other dogs all came into the house when we were home--one more than the others. But, all three spent their days in a big yard with a dog house. Housebreaking was never a problem--they were outside most of the time.

When they came in, accidents were very rare even when they were really little pups.

But, that isn't the case so far with The Darbit.

I think our large bathroom where she stays during the day is just too large -- she has no need to "hold it" until the puppy sitter comes in the middle of the day, because she has enough room to get away from "it."

I'm getting a work out cleaning the floor and spraying it with "odor be gone" each day--my bathroom floor has never been cleaner and my knees haven't had such a workout since Lent in grade school at St. John's!

So, I'm off to the pet supply store for "ex pen" panels that I can use to shrink our bathroom a bit and hopefully encourage Darby to act a little more like Erika's Bonnie who never peed in the house even when she was a tiny pup. Of course, when Bonnie was teething, she did dismantle the wooden vanity in the bathroom where she stayed while Erika was in class, but that is another story!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Low Tech Solution

Low tech solution to a family room/kitchen with too many doors.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Playing Favorites

My sister (the one who sent the "Congratulations on your New Baby Girl" card) came over several days ago with a cute little pink package. In addition to a pink puppy Kong and cheese-wiz like stuffing stuff, the bag contained this cute little pink possum toy.

Darby fell in love with it and pounces on it whenever she sees it. I have to monitor her usage of the possum because she sometimes tries to rip the hair off it and I noticed pink hairs in her poop one day!

My baby is getting bigger.
Putting the possum on the coffee table no longer keeps it out of her reach!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Look Familiar?

Same cat. Different dog. (See April 28th post.)

Harry and Darby have been face-to-face several times now. Harry is very interested in the little interloper, but every time they get real close, Darby just can't help herself. She whines or barks and off goes Harry!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Putting Up with Being Tired

Tired is what I am.

I haven't been this tired since nearly 25 years ago when I brought my human baby, Erika, home from the hospital.

Fortunately, Darby sleeps much longer at night than Erika did--in fact she is sleeping from 9:00 or 10:00 PM until 5:00 AM every night now.

But, the big difference is that once Darby is awake, she doesn't do much of what you see her doing here!

When I mentioned being tired to Glenn, he said "You wanted a puppy." I replied, "No, I wanted a dog. I'm putting up with the puppy until it becomes the dog."

(OK--I'm having a lot of fun, too.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Both of My Girls

Erika flew to San Diego for a short visit this weekend. Darby took to her instantly--maybe she smelled Erika's Cardi, Bonnie, and recognized a kindred spirit.

Erika gave me lots of tips and suggestions for taking care of and enjoying my pup.

It is strange and really rather nice to be taking advice from my child.

I guess I did OK with her.

I hope I do OK with Darby. (Those ears sure have me worried, 'tho!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Turn In Day

Here is my friend Jane, just moments before turning in Rinah, the Canine Companions for Independence puppy she has raised for the last 16 months.

Here is Rinah, being walked away to the CCI kennels where on Monday she will begin the evaluation and training that will hopefully one day result in her working as a helping companion to a person with a disability.

Jane was rightfully proud and sad.

Her next CCI puppy --named Tribecca-- arrives in mid-June. We're looking forward to having puppies together!

(Darby is sleeping on the floor next to me as I type this.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Cardigan Welsh Corgis have big ears that they mostly carry upright. One of the most endearing things about Erika's pup, Bonnie, is how she flattens her ears back when she greets someone she likes.

Leda says Darby comes from a long line of big eared Cardigans.

Right now, it seems Darby is working on making her ears stand upright like they should, but only the left ear seems to be cooperating.

Leda tells me that if they aren't upright by next week, they should be taped to help train them into their correct place.


Leda sent me the link to a website that shows how to tape ears. But what if I mess them up?? I think I'm going to try again to track down a local breeder to get some help!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Play Date!

My friend Jane, and Rinah, the puppy she has raised for Canine Companions for Independence came over for a play date with Darby on Tuesday.

Rinah was so gentle with Darby.

Some of the time they were like this.

But, most of the time they were like this:

Poor Rinah! She so much wanted to play and poor Darby was just a little too nervous around the big dog, no matter how gentle it was!

Jane will return Rinah to CCI at a graduation ceremony this coming Saturday so Rinah can begin her serious training for work as a service animal for a person with a disability. It will be hard for Jane to let go of the pup she has raised for more than a year now. Jane invited me to the graduation ceremony. I think I will bring Kleenex!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Like Dr. Brazelton--but for Dogs

Back in 1984 when Erika was born, the "in" baby doctor was T. Berry Brazelton. He had a daily TV show on the Lifetime Channel or whatever it was back then. How I loved watching his show! The information he offered was sensible and reassuring and helped me gain confidence in myself as the primary caretaker of a very important, helpless, needy creature.

And here I am, 25 years later, the (nearly) sole caretaker of another helpless, needy creature.

My guru this time?

The Monks of New Skete (as well as Erika, Jane my CCI puppy-raiser friend, and Darby' first mom, Leda.)

With all that help, maybe Darby will turn out better than Erika did.

(Just kidding!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Our One Week Anniversary

What a week it has been! A week ago today, I was forcing myself to read emails and handle work issues while all I wanted to think about was Darby flying across the United States in an airplane.

I couldn't wait to meet her.

It's been a great week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Darby's Bro

Darby came from a litter of four pups: A boy named Buddy who also flew all the way from Arkansas to California to live with his new family, a sister named Holly who lives in Oklahoma, and a brother named Sammy who lives with Leda in Arkansas.

Leda hopes Sammy will be a champion in the show ring some day. It will be fun to keep up with him as he and Leda work toward that goal. And, now that he has his own blog, it will be easy to do just that! Check him out here:

I wonder if Sammy has multi-colored toes. Darby does.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I first learned about FRAPing* from Erika.

Her Cardigan, Bonnie does it--in Erika's apartment sometimes!

Harry the cat does it sometimes.

Looks like Darby does it, too!

Maybe we all should do it!

*FRAPing--To engage in Frequent Random Acts of Play

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Gap is Narrowing

This photo of Harry trying to sneak into the hall closet without Darby getting him, was taken yesterday morning.

Yesterday evening, in the same hallway, the gap had narrowed: they were nose-to-nose for a few seconds before Harry ran up the stairs out of Darby's reach.

I still don't trust Harry not to scratch her if she makes the wrong move, so I don't leave them alone.

Harry is significantly bigger and heavier than Darby (the photo is deceptive.) Maybe that's why Harry is getting chummier with her way faster than he did with Bonnie.

Friday, May 8, 2009

She's Not Dead--She's a Corgi!

When I was getting to know Erika's Corgi, Bonnie, one of the first things I noticed about her was her tendency to sleep or just lie around on her back with her belly exposed. I don't remember our Golden Retrievers or Hobie, our Rotie/German Shepherd mix doing that very often, if ever.

Yesterday evening, when I watched the sleeping Darby slowing roll off her tummy onto her side, then slowly onto her back, I thought "She knows she's home; she's comfortable here!"

(Last night she slept from 9:00 to 2:45 when her bladder woke her. Back to sleep until 5:05. I can handle that!)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Darius Rucker

I thought about Darius Rucker last night. At about 3:45 after taking Darby downstairs and out to the backyard for the second time, a lyric from the current "Daddy/Daughter Dance" song sung by Darius Rucker that Erika wants for her wedding this fall, kept running through my head:

"It won't be like this for long..."

Actually, it was a very good first night. Leda, Darby's first human mom, and Erika convinced me to leave the cute dog bed for later when Darby is reliably house broken and have her sleep in her crate.

Leda suggested that Darby might have a hard time going back into her crate after having spent so much time in it on her flight here.

But, she went right in and after a few initial whines and a bark or two, she went to sleep.

She slept for two hours the first time, then after having a nice poop in the backyard, slept for another four hours. Not bad for a baby!

She seems to love the grass. She chased me all over and after she goes out to "do her business" she stretches out long in her Corgi Sprawl and lays in the grass.

In the house, she follows me around and lays down wherever I am.

It won't be like this for long--I'm going to enjoy every minute!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Today's the Day!!

If the weather cooperates, about the time this is posted, Darby will be starting her long flight from Arkansas to her new home in California.

I'm wishing safe travels for Darby and for her first human mom, Leda. With the drive to and from the airport Leda will be on the road today about as long as Darby will be in the air!

I put out some things to take with me when I pick up Darby at the airport--a fresh pad for her crate (in case she just can't hold it the whole flight!) a towel to pad the crate further or clean her up if necessary, a leash, a small cup for her to drink from and a poop-bag bag that I made out of a pocket from Glenn's old jeans.

Guess who took an immediate liking to the fleece pad?

I hope he takes a liking to Darby, too.
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Darby-Eye View of the Backyard!

Here's a Darby-eye view of our backyard:

I hope she likes it!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cool Weather and Little Turbulence

Looks like Darby will come home to us this Wednesday, May 6th!

I can't wait!
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good, cool weather in Fayetteville and Dallas so she will be able to fly and for as little turbulence as possible so her flights will be comfortable.

I'm praying her breeder, Leda, has an easy, safe, weather-free drive to (and from) the airport--2 1/2 hours from her home!! She is leaving home at 4:00AM to get Darby to the airport on time!

Here in El Cajon, all is ready: the gate we'll use to keep Darby confined to our large, upstairs bathroom (until she is reliably housebroken) arrived today, her bed is in place, I'm on vacation for a week starting Wednesday--we're all set! We even got a "Congratulations" card from my sister:

P.S. I feel the need to add that we will keep Darby confined to the bathroom only when we cannot supervise her. Otherwise she'll be with us! Or off tormenting poor Harry, probably!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tethering the Pup at Night

According to the Monks at New Skete, who are famous for raising German Shepherds and helping others train their dogs, "the best place for a puppy to sleep is on the floor [tethered] at the foot of your bed." DD Erika talks about her Bonnie-girl sleeping in her crate next to Erika's bed and how to comfort Bonnie at night, she would poke her fingers through the holes of the crate.

So, we're going to try something in between: a dog bed on the floor next to the bed, tethered to the bed. That way I can reach down and comfort her.

I hope she doesn't chew through a leg of the night stand and collapse it on herself!

I'll let you know how it works!

Friday, May 1, 2009


If Darby has freckles on her nose (which I think she does...) will she have them on her belly?

I hope so!