Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cherry Nips

I wrote a 6 page letter about getting Cherry and our first few weeks with her, sent it out to family and friends, with these two photographs included. These all were people who for Christmas gave us money instead of gifts to help pay for Cherry. I just wanted to let them into my life and see a little the joy and the pain the puppy has caused.

It has been a joy because Cherry is so cute and loving, but a pain because I'm not getting the amount of sleep I used to be getting. Maybe part of the problem too is that I'm over worked - hard to believe that a puppy could make a fully grown woman cry at the end of the day with exhaustion - but I do have the schizophrenic illness. Another symptom of how over extended I become, - at the end of the day often my face turns red like a lobster. Nose red, cheeks red, forehead red, not just a pretty flush but a screaming red.

There is a little less pressure on me because it seems like we have housetrained our puppy. She hasn't had an accident in the house for about five days. We do take her out frequently. And whenever she rings the bell we take her out. Hanging next to the door is a pink ribbon and at the end of the ribbon is a bell. Cherry knows now that if she shakes it I will come and we will go outside. Sometimes she shakes it every fifteen minutes, especially after a meal. So I put on my snow boots and coat and gloves and out into the cold we go. I do think sometimes Cherry just is bored and wants some excitement, but she always pees first thing out the door, even when there is just a little in her. She understands the command "get busy" and will squat too when she hears this and try to pee, even when there is nothing left in her. We are also training her with treats, and she knows sit and down. Not bad for a ten week puppy.

So I'm not constantly watching Cherry trying to catch her in mid squat in the house. I know that when she's quiet this isn't a sign that she's trying to go to the bathroom. That takes a little pressure off me. I was getting really good at spotting her and stopping her in mid pee or poo and then whisking her outside. One morning I ran out in my pajamas and stocking feet. Outch, that was cold.

Right now my hands have tiny little maroon scabs all over them, more on the right hand than the left. Cherry is nipping. She wants to play with her mouth. I met a man shoveling snow and he played with Cherry and told me he had a six month old Rottweiler puppy and he showed me his hands and they looked the same as my own. So I'm wondering how long this phase is going to last. Whenever we play with Cherry we have a toy with us and when she tries to nip we shove the toy in her mouth, and as she chews it, we praise her. There is no doubt in my mind that she knows the toys are hers to chew on, but we her owners must be irresistible subjects. As I walk across the floor sometimes I am dragging her little body because her teeth are sunk into the bottom of my jean leg. When she tries to put her mouth on my computer cable I give her a "time out" and lock her in her crate. Only for a few minutes. It is enough time to disrupt her behavior, and she does not return to it when she is let out of the crate.

My kitchen table has brown kraft paper covering it and then a table easel on it with a gessoed board on the easel. This is my next painting. Also on the table are decorative tins with paints in them. Each decorative tin has a different word on it; Blue, Yellow, Red, Green, Black and White. All my oil paint is in these tins. I've chosen the colors for my paintings but the tops are so cemented to the tubes of paint (after all I haven't painted for over a year) that my husband is going to have to twist them with a pair of pliers. I can open almost nothing by myself.

So I should be able to return to painting next week. It will be a sweet homecoming.

Until I start painting I am spending short amounts of time working on an ongoing stenciling project. There is a beam in the center of the kitchen, painted cream, that leads to a beam across the ceiling, painted white. I want to stencil in green designs that I've made myself. Of course at a craft store you can buy laser cut stencils, very fancy, but I have an artist's kitchen, and I want my talent reflected in the room around me. I am an artist, I should be able to make my own stencils. I am not telling my mother the landlord about the project, I figure in the summer I'll just do it, and if it looks nice, it should be appreciated. I've got a sketch book that I sketch designs. The fun part is that I will make many designs, and then just use the best. And the more I do, the better I think they look. Practice makes improvement.


  1. Hello Karen! I think you're doing a fantastic job with Cherry. I understand the joy and pain of taking care of a baby animal. Obviously in my case it was three kittens and then a few months later three more kittens. There were some moments of regret at the loss of freedom, mainly in the first month of taking care of them, but then the joy resurfaced. At first I kept them in a back room and then I let them loose in the house. They had so much energy for months they seemed to be bouncing off the walls. I even wore sunglasses to bed because I was afraid that they would accidentally land on me and perhaps claw my eye. They came that close to my face.

    I am sorry that Cherry nips your hands. That's got to be pretty painful. When I had two full grown dogs (that I had no clue about training) they would continually jump up onto my chest and make my breasts sore. They were so happy and loving when they did it that I couldn't get mad at them.

    I am also sorry that your sleep has been disrupted. Mine was too. You will get through this training period and remember you are fortunate to have your husband doing his share of the work with the puppy. Hopefully that gives you much needed breaks.

    Returning to painting next week is a great idea. I am excited about it and look forward to seeing photographs of your work as you progress. I think it will be good for you to put your focus of attention on your art work so that you are not purely puppy obsessed and you will also feel a sense of accomplishment, meditation and self expression.

    Kate : )

  2. Hey, hang in there. I'm sure it'll get easier. (This is Stand, I finally got a separate ID to leave comments on your blog.)


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