Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gone Gone Gone

Dylan captured these shots of Ryker jumping through the snow.
December 13, 2015

Why is it so easy to get attached and so hard to let go? We only had our new puppy Ryker for two weeks, but in that time he became part of our family.

After the first week, Dylan decided he just wasn't ready for the challenge of raising a puppy. I resisted for a few days, but I finally had to admit the timing simply isn't right. With Dylan being a full-time student and working at Walmart most days, and the rest of us working full-time jobs, it was difficult to give Ryker as much attention as a young pup requires. And the loss of sleep was taking its toll on all of us.

Part of me would have liked to wait until the end of Christmas break. Possibly, after I was able to work with him for two more weeks, he'd have been more mature and well-trained enough for us to keep him. But, the truth is, it would have been even more difficult to say good-bye after a whole month together, for Ryker as well as for myself. And, the fact is, it's a whole lot easier to find a new home for a cuddly two-month-old puppy than a three-month-old. As it stands now, Dylan's friend Justin is very excited to welcome this adorable little guy into his life.

Here's my version of Ryker's romp through the snow (30 seconds).
(The flashes in the foreground are caused by snow blowing off the trees and roof.)

Ryker takes a nap in his little bed on the couch, his favorite spot.
December 15, 2015

Besides, Ryker is still very much a puppy, with a lot of energy and a desire to play hard, even when the humans in the house are busy at other tasks. And he still needs to chew and bite with those youthful pit bull jaws and sharp puppy teeth.  Our hands and arms are scarred while our socks and hems are pocked with tiny holes. Not to mention two phone chargers, an Xbox controller, and one of Mark's flip-flops that have bitten the dust. (I did warn everyone to put their stuff up out of the puppy's reach. Puppies are going to do what puppies do.) 

Come January 4th, when we return to school, Ryker will still be too young and it will still be too cold outside to banish him outdoors all day. I can't have the house destroyed during our absence, so Ryker would still be trapped in his playpen all day most days. I hope his situation in Justin's home will be better. 

Sometimes it's just hard to get comfy.

Both Sarah and I have shed tears over Ryker's going. Dylan has struggled with the decision, too. Sarah would have taken him, but there's really no room for more pets in their little apartment. I even toyed with keeping him myself, but there are still all the problems listed above, as well as the fact that I can't even keep up with everything on my plate these days, from the extra duties I've taken on in my job to the inability to simply handle household duties as I hobble around on my painful right leg. Taking on the sole responsibility of chasing after and training a puppy day after day just isn't realistic right now.

Ryker battles a vicious, crunchy-spiked, blue monster and single-handedly saves our home!
(53 seconds)

Still, we made a lot of progress in the two weeks he's been with us. I bought some Christmas bells to hang on our front door, specifically so he could learn to ring the bells whenever he wanted to go outside, rather than barking or scratching at the door. At first he rang the bells because they were something new and interesting to nip at and play with. However, he figured out within one day that someone opened the door for him any time he made the bell ring, and he quickly began nosing the bells for that purpose.

After he learned how to let us know he needed to go outside, the number of puppy puddles and poopy piles dramatically decreased. And those accidents that did occur were due to human failure, not a bad puppy. For instance, waking to a whining puppy at 5:00 a.m. and letting him out of the bedroom, but not taking him outside to do his business, means a cleanup on aisle one later on. Not that I'm naming names or anything... 

Ryker rings the bell to be let outside.

It took less than two hours on Saturday night to teach Ryker to "Sit!" He has a very healthy appetite, so he was motivated to figure out why I kept shoving his hind end down each time I gave the hand signal and said the word before he could eat the treat. I was sure I'd have to do a refresher course the next morning before I showed off his new skill to Dylan, but I was pleased that Ryker remembered exactly what to do as soon as I called Dylan in to see his new trick. He's one smart puppy!

December 22, 2015: Ryker demonstrates that he knows how to "Sit" for a treat!
(1 minute 18 seconds)

We will miss you, sweet little Ryker. We wish only the best for you in your new home, and may your new family give you all the love and attention you deserve!

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