After taking Roy to his first "well puppy" check last week, I've come to the conclusion that I may never be as in tune with my pooch as I was with my kids when they were the equivalent of his age right now.
I feel like I have a million questions and not a single book on the shelf that will give me the answers that feel right.
Yes, the veterinarian was very helpful, knowledgeable, professional and "zen" (he believes that dogs and cats should exist solely on a diet just like their ancestors did, which equals RAW meat, which equals a very expensive pet food bill, which equals spending the family grocery money on Piedmont Macaroni and Cheese at 29 cents a box for the rest of our lives while the dog enjoys a nice filet. Pass!) and seemed to really know his job very well.
We learned that Roy was vaccinated too early with his 2nd standard puppy shot by the breeder, so he had a blood test to see if he'd need a 3rd (lucky for him, he didn't).
We learned that he still has worms despite the FIVE wormings he received before we adopted him, so he got a different medication that we hope clears this little problem up (maybe it's all those slugs?).
We learned that our little porker weighs 18.6 pounds (and that was last week, so he's probably hit 49 pounds by now!) and is in good general health.
He got micro-chipped (so we will not ever lose him!), had his nails "done" (I was afraid to do this without seeing it done professionally) and even had his ears cleaned out (wish I could get someone to do that for me . . . never mind, ick!).
The vet said that we'd lost the battle on the fleas, that all we could do now was vacuum and cross our fingers and then treat our lawn with nematodes in the spring. What do I do? Promptly purchase some puppy flea & tick drops (the kind applied to the skin of the dog) and guess what? Works like a charm . . . so far.
So I guess maybe I'm getting a little more comfortable in figuring out what my puppy needs, but still, it is so hard compared to humans. And the kids never ate their own feces - which is driving me nuts (and probably not helping him get rid of the dreaded worms). I am about to follow him into the "potty area" in the yard every time he goes outside and hold a bucket under his bum. You never know.
And after much, much reading about the raw diet that the vet suggested, we've decided to offer some tasty raw treats once in awhile, give a raw egg once his system can handle it every now and then (I learned this the hard way after I was woken up at 4 a.m. to a crying puppy with a rumbling tummy and a great need to go outside, NOW!), and mix some cottage cheese in his food as well. We'll also offer raw veggies and fruit (only the safe ones, no grapes) as treats if he likes them, and we'll give him a big 'ol beef bone to chew on when he's been especially good!
But this puppy thing, it sure is harder than I thought it would be. Although Roy has more than met my expectations behavior-wise and temperament-wise (but there are those days where I feel like I've gone one step forward and taken three back), I just wish I felt more like I knew if I was making all the right decisions, and that's hard.
Because he's so stinkin' cute. And he's growing really, really fast. But at the end of the day, when he looks up at me with "those puppy dog eyes", I think he's saying, "Mom, you're doing the best job you can and I'll love you no matter what". At least that's what I imagine anyway.
Now if I could just figure out how to keep him from jumping on the furniture and barking at his reflection . . .