After years living in tiny apartments and, somehow, even tinier, albeit charming, townhomes, life had some major shifts once we bought a place of our own. Although we didn’t get quite get to call it home right away, after four months of serious renovations we were able to move in. While we slowly filled our house with furniture, decor and lots of love, we knew we had more space than we needed for just the two of us. And that is where we began our search for our furry family member!
We knew immediately we wanted to rescue a dog. It sat right in our hearts to save a dog rather than search out a breeder. After all, we don’t have allergy issues and I grew up volunteering at animal shelters. We could truly make an impact this way. We initially decided to sign up for a greyhound rescue. Greyhounds are tremendous family dogs and known as the 40 mph couch potato. AKA, they’ll run like the wind if necessary, but prefer spending their time horizontal. They’re mostly already trained and seemed like the perfect fit for our first dog. After all, puppies are an incredible amount of work. While we both grew up with pets, it has been awhile since we raised a pup from day one. After an extensive interview process, we passed the house inspection and waited patiently for our greyhound to arrive.
And we waited.
And waited some more.
We were about three months into the process when we felt like we were wasting time where we could be opening our home to a needing canine. We had been hoping for a dog over the summer but the intense heat made it difficult for rescue teams to transport greyhounds up north from the race tracks in Florida, thus the delay. We finally reached a point where we decided it wasn’t meant to be and pulled our application. The next day, we headed out to an adoption event in Montgomery County, Maryland held by Lucky Dog. We didn’t know which dogs would be there, but we knew we would be coming home with one.
As soon as we walked into the event, Dan was pulled by this sweet little furball alone in his kennel. He was the only puppy by himself without any littermates. I continued looking around and peeking in other cages, but Dan had already made up his mind. Once we confirmed that we would take this tiny black puppy home, we quickly filled out the form and gathered everything we imagined we’d need to get through the first couple weeks. Smitty was around 9.5 weeks and rescued from Hurricane Florence in South Carolina. He didn’t have any brothers and sisters, which we later realized cause a steep learning curve when he interacted with others. We renamed him Cedric and couldn’t wait to show him his new forever home.
Although he was as sweet as can be when we first got home, his true colors came out quickly. He certainly came with his fair share of health issues. And boy, was he stubborn. He loved playing every minute of every day…and still does four months down the road. His initial vet visit brought on another host of issues…and expenses. It took a few weeks of medication and a healthy diet to cure his hookworms and mange, but slowly his ribs started to fill out and he gained some weight around his once bony middle.
We enrolled him in Puppy Kindergarten and Puppy Daycare to make sure he had as much dog interaction as possible, given his rough start. We also realized he was one of the few puppies that didn’t believe in naps. We had to make sure we set time each day for him to be in his crate to force him to #selfcare.
Crate training has been the perfect tool for us. Since we both work away from the home, we had a dog walker come multiple times a day to ensure he was getting activity when we weren’t there. We spend weekend at playgroups and socializing in every dog-friendly location we have access to. He woke up a couple times a night the first week or so, but now regularly sleeps 7-8 hours every night…though if he hears our alarms go off, he is ready for his day of play to begin STAT.
There are quite a few moments with little puppy Cedric that have grown to be my favorite things about him. He is such a good player with dogs. He loves romping with big dogs, but when we sees a smaller dog or a very timid pup, he approaches slowly on his belly so he doesn’t frighten them. It really is the cutest thing in the whole world. One of the sweetest images I have of him is when a three pound shih tzu showed up in his class and Cedric sat down next to him and tapped his head with his paw. All the other dogs zoomed around, but Cedric calmly introduced himself and rolled on to his back. He truly loves all people and dogs, so much so that he has difficulty containing his enthusiasm for others. He loves snuggling across my lap and resting his nose up towards my chin. We think he might be sensing his newest sibling, or he just loves being close to his family. No matter what he’s doing, he prefers to have one part of himself touching his parents. Which is cute when it’s his stuffed puppy, less cute when it’s his nasty bully stick.
However, once Cedric began teething, his mouthing and nipping became a real problem. We had difficulty even being near him without him getting a mouthful of arm or foot. Ouch. And to be real, it got really bad for a few weeks where we contemplated our next steps. Immediately, we hired a dog trainer to come to the house to work with him to get some answers. Luckily, Cedric is a smart boy and nailed down touch, sit, stay, and down immediately. He was also potty-trained in about 24 hours, for which we are blessed. He has since mastered his roll over commands and purposefully chooses to ignores drop it. While we now had more control with him since he was so eager to get a treat, we were still worn down every day when it appeared that know amount of exercise or mental stimulation was enough for him to chill. We ultimately took him to the vet which led him to a behavior specialist (which, because it was for anxiety, was covered by our pet insurance!). They diagnosed him with an extremely low tolerance for frustration, which was hard on both him and us. While I was hesitant to put him on medicine, we did ultimately start a small dosage of Prozac that seems to have really improved our puppy-raising lives. While we don’t plan to use it long term, Cedric is finally able to ‘cope’ with normal life occurrences without losing his cool. In fact, he spent most of this past weekend cuddling with me or Dan without the constant need for stimulation.
It’s true what they say, it’s unclear who rescued who. I am constantly evaluating his quality of life and making sure he is able to experience everything he can while he’s young and impressionable. Our trainers were fantastic and I’m so grateful they helped transition Cedric into our home. I am thankful we opted to rescue, and of course already have my plans ready to begin fostering for the shelter we got Cedric from. Until then, half my salary is going to new dog toys and puppy playgrounds, but the joy he brings is priceless.
I honestly just wanted to give an overview on the highs and lows of our puppy journey. While Cedric is obviously the star of my instagram stories for his adorable antics, there were definitely some low points that should be shared with others planning to get a puppy simply because they’re so gosh-darn-cute. Cedric was a huge expense (even rescuing is expensive!), but we had been waiting for the time to be right for months so we had prepared accordingly. As of now, Cedric is the biggest snuggle monster in the world, and will make you think you are seriously out of shape if you try to keep up with him playing frisbee. He is the highlight of my day and I’m so eager for our human little one to grow up with a home that’s only complete with our dog.
Do you own any pets? Would you rescue? If you already have, what’s your favorite thing about your furry family member?