Life with Timmy, at Six Months - 12/13/2020
My pug Timmy turned six months on December 11. He has been with me since July 29, a little over four months and 2/3 of his short life. The journey has been exciting, funny, even scary sometimes, but he has exceeded my expectations. I hadn't planned on getting a puppy at this stage of my life. The last time I had a puppy was in 1999, when I was 41. I am feeling all of those 21 years now as I try to keep up with him. But I'm also wiser than I was with my first pug, the beloved Pasha, so I guess it balances out.
When I first brought him home, he was practically starving and suffering from chronic diarrhea. I took him to the vet immediately, who assured me that he was healthy but badly in need of calories. "He will starve," she told me, "unless you find something that he will eat." After frantic shout-outs to Facebook friends and lots of Internet research, I settled on bottle-feeding him with goat's milk every three hours, which lasted about two days. Then I started him on fresh chicken and plain yogurt, which he ate for several weeks. It took a while, but he stabilized, and his health has been terrific for the last three months. He has a beautiful soft, glossy coat, which I attribute to his current diet of Freshpet chicken formula for small breeds, mixed with Purina's puppy chow kibble. He has a healthy appetite and wants to eat some of everything I eat, plus plenty of things that he shouldn't - rocks, dirt, paper, dryer lint, hair scrunchies, ballpoint pens, buttons. He is still teething, so I think a lot of this may go away once his adult teeth are all in. For now, he is a little piranha and tries to chew my fingers every chance he gets. I've yet to find the best way to break him of this.
We finished getting all his shots about six weeks ago, and since then have taken a lot of pleasure in visiting the dog park several times a week. To my relief, he loves other dogs and has no fear of playing with them. He also adores people and jumps up to embrace everyone he meets. This jumping up is another bad habit that we are going to have to work on. He is still so little that people don't mind it, so they don't stop him, but I know it is something that he needs to learn not to do. I've been really pleased with how much he enjoys the park, and especially happy that we have met several other pugs from the area. I'm hoping to start a pug meetup group after Christmas.
Another area that took a lot of effort was getting him house-trained. I have gone from putting down pee pads on the bed and floor, to trying puppy litter and a litter box (a failed effort because he wouldn't stop eating the litter, which is made of paper), to keeping him on a regular walk schedule, which finally worked. He still has accidents, but I consider him pretty well trained as of about a week ago. I'm really proud of this, because I think Pasha didn't reach this point until about ten months. Timmy is a smart boy, and I think he really doesn't want to go in his house anymore. Tonight, I saw him do something that I thought was innate behavior, but evidently not - he cocked him leg and peed on a rock. I think he learned this from seeing the male dogs at the park. My son is becoming a man!
I have documented nearly every day of Timmy's life with me with photos and videos. He has a Facebook page with over 140 followers, and an Instagram account, so I have to create content for his fans! He still draws a crowd when we go out. People love pugs, and they will often ask if they can take a photo of him. He is a beautiful boy, perfectly shaped, with a black mask and chocolate ears. He likes to have his picture made now, and recently enjoyed his first photo shoot for Christmas at a portrait studio. Now I know how Moms feel - I think my boy is so good-looking that everyone needs to see his photo. I know he won't be this little and cute forever - he already looks like a grown-up pug. So I am trying to capture the magic while it lasts.
Having a puppy is a joyful and exhausting endeavor. He makes me laugh every day, and he also makes me want to jerk a knot in him just as much. I am mindful of my role in shaping his personality, and I want him to be a good dog. He is already a happy, healthy boy - now I just need to get him trained to stop biting and jumping up, and to stop pulling on the leash (Pasha never learned this last one). He is excited and curious about the world, and I am trying to indulge him and give him lots of good experiences. He had his first "pup cup" at Dairy Queen after our photo shoot, and he is now in love with ice cream. I hope there are many good things in his future, and that I can be the best pug-mom ever. Or at least, good enough.
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