Every New Beginning
Comes From Some Other Beginning’s End
April 6, 2017
Today is a day, unremarkable, just like any other. It’s cold (to me). Rainy. It’s a Thursday. Yet, today stands out to me because today is April 6th. Meaty’s birthday.
He would have been 7 years old today. I think of how I would have come downstairs in the morning, and he would have trotted up to me – tail wagging a mile a minute, smiling wide, tongue hanging out. I think of the completely unnecessary toys and treats I would have bought for today’s occasion… the time I would have spent making him a birthday cake/cupcakes/whatever Pinterest recipe I had stumbled across this year. After dinner, we would have sang him happy birthday, and then utilized my unwilling husband into helping me get that obligatory shot of him with the candles for Instagram. Meat would have scarfed the cake down, sulked about having to share his dessert with Zippy, and then laid at the end of our couch – bitter, ready for his 12th nap of the day. Unaware that today was any less regular than the day before.
Since he passed on September 22nd, 2016, there hasn’t been a day that has gone by where I haven’t thought of him. I’ve had many dogs in my lifetime, but this one changed my world. I’ve been meaning to make my final edits on the Mighty Meaty blog to fill in the many gaps, but with Moose and life, I simply haven’t had the time. And I’ll be damned if I do some half-assed version of it. Meaty deserves the whole-assed version.
Because I’ve already started to ramble, I’m going to sum up this prologue by thanking each and every one of you for reading right now. For every kind word you offered and every prayer sent to Meaty and our family during his last few months. The world is an ugly place, but you guys remind me daily of the beauty that remains.
[Bullmastiff] Puppies For Dummies
April 20, 2017
At the time that I am FINALLY writing this blog, Moose has been in our lives for 2.5 months. I wanted to write a little Puppies for Dummies guide, not necessarily for you all because I clearly don’t know anything about puppies, but more so to remind myself of what to expect if I’m ever idiotic enough to do it again.
If you haven’t done so already and you’re bored enough or need some material to help you fall asleep, go check out my Puppy Fever blog. It makes the connection between how Moose came into our lives… and how it was because of Meaty. But after reading that, you will understand why I am so emotionally invested in this little hellion. I also saw the movie “A Dog’s Purpose” right before Moose joined our family, and aside from it being emotional torture, it really made me think about Meaty and his purpose, and what Moose’s purpose would be in our lives.
Before Moose arrived, I had mentally prepared myself for how much work a puppy is and how life was going to change (see blog Life Is About To Change)… or so I thought. I feel like it’s probably similar to having an actual nonfurry human baby. You can’t ever possible prepare. You just get flung into the whirlwind and hope you can make it out alive and not kill this little life.
Crate – check. Duplicate food from the breeder – check. Brittney (the breeder) had mailed us a blanket with the puppies’ smell on it so Zippy could get used to it prior to Puppy’s arrival. We laid the blanket down on Meaty’s old bed, and she took to it immediately. Good sign, right?! We had a plethora of old toys and carcasses so no need for any new ones, but I did buy him a caterpillar because I saw a humongous one in the puppies’ pictures so figured it would make him feel more like home. I also got about halfway through Cesar Milan’s book “Pack Leader” and was convinced I was the next dog whisperer, armed with my newfound “good energy” (HA!).
The night Puppy arrived, he was so scared. Which was to be expected because he had been so attached to Brittney. He had watched his brothers and sisters leave the nest, one by one, and then got thrown into a tiny crate on a noisy plane. With a layover. And then another noisy plane. And now this crazy lady was driving him to the great unknown.
It was 35 degrees with 40mph winds that evening (and pitch black when he landed), so our initial plan to have Zippy meet him in a neutral area like the park near our house didn’t quite work. So instead, they met in front of our house briefly. Zip gave him two sniffs and then darted back toward the house. Puppy was too scared to explore and spent most of his first night under a table (which has about 3-4” of height).
By the next morning, we agreed that Puppy would need a name. Although yelling “PUPPY!!!” 450 times that day was starting to sound catchy. “Moose” had been the fan favorite, but wasn’t necessarily ours, but it seemed to fit him the most. And so, Baby Moose finally had a name.
Zippy is kind of a psychopath to begin with and is extremely territorial. Anytime Moose would come near me or Darren, she would growl, and the hair on her back would raise. I’m sure you can imagine what a good outcome came from Moose trying to use her tail nub as a chew toy. We feared for him. So badly to the point we knew we couldn’t leave them alone together. It was a sore subject that caused a lot of anxiety… because what if this didn’t work out? We had asked many of our Instagram friends for their experiences and some took months to get along, if ever!
Week 1: “If you come anywhere near me or my hoomans, I will rip your entire face off.”
Week 2: “You’re annoying, and I hate you with every inch of my being, but I no longer want you to be dead.”
Week 3: “Holy shit, you are STILL here?! You are annoying, but you are fun to play wit when I’m in the mood, and I can hump you.”
So we got pretty lucky and Zippy’s Week 3 mentality has pretty much stuck. I wouldn’t necessarily say she likes him, but she doesn’t hate him. So that’s a plus! It’s similar to how Meaty thought of Zippy. We have officially come full circle.
Some tips for introducing a new dog into a household with existing pups:
- Meet in a neutral area… like a park.
- For the first few weeks, be sure to show your first dog(s) equal attention.
- Give treats and pets to the first dog(s) before the new dog.
Where to even begin. Puppies love to chew. It’s pretty much all the want to do. And… not on their toys. Hands, hair, clothes, Zippy- nothing is off limits.
Some tips for teething pups:
- Wet a washcloth in a water/chicken broth mixture, twist into a stick-shape, then put in the freezer. They go ape shit for this.
- Fill Kong with ample amount of peanut butter. Freeze as well.
- Get a lot of dang Kongs.
- Antlers. I was warned to steer clear of antlers until they are at least a little older because they might be too hard to chew on.
- Rubber/plubber (plastic rubber) toys. These are Moosey’s jam. Not as hard as antlers and can massage the gums.
- Water buffalo horns. I had never heard of these until a few weeks ago and both dogs LOVE them. We can only give them to chew for short periods of time because Zippy gets really weird about attacking him when these are around.
Crate-training F’ing sucks. I’ve heard of some magical unicorn puppies that sleep in their crate peacefully. Not mine. Gone are the nights of my 9-10 hrs of uninterrupted sleep. For the first week, I was sleeping in another bedroom and getting up to take him out whenever he would start whining. This was about 3-4 times a night. While I had to work. Full-time. Can we get some pupternity-leave laws in place?! By the end of the first week, I thought I was going to murder somebody. I was delirious. Grumpy. Exhausted. But damn it, if he wasn’t the cutest sweetest puppy I had ever seen.
We hadn’t crate-trained Zippy nor Meaty (because we are lazy/bad dog parents), but this was important to do with Moose because I didn’t want him to take a year to be potty-trained like Zip and Meat (although Zip still has accidents at 6.5 years old).
After much hassling, I convinced Darren to alternate nights with me. By the second week, Moose was only getting barking to get up once a night, but it was still exhausting. It was so tempting to just let him sleep in the bed with us, but I didn’t want him to get used to it because I don’t want a full-grown bullmastiff in my bed. It’s hard enough getting punched in the face by a sleep-flailing human, much less a snoring, farting, drooling tub of love.
However, last night (when I first wrote this on April 6th) … at 3.5 months old, we decided to let Moose sleep in his room (we have a sunroom gated off that is the doggy room… it’s bigger than a college dorm room… #spoiledpups) with Zippy. This morning? NO barking. NO accidents. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m hoping we can keep up with this!
Update since April 6th… no crating at night, so we’ve been able to get a full-ish night of sleep, which is good. The nights are hit and miss with accidents. I’d say he has a puddle about twice a week. I’d like to go back to the crate at night because I feel he can hold it in now, but he is a diva and obviously has won this battle.
Some tips for crate-training:
- Cover the crate with dark blankets
- Play some background noise like a TV or radio. We made a playlist on Spotify called Moose Tracks if you want to search for it. It has 106 hrs of calming dog noises. Not joking.
- Leave the door open to the crate during the day. They actually enjoy being in there.
This is a good transition from the crate-training. We are not very good at it. I think we are miles above where we were with Meaty at this stage, but my memory is most likely failing me. We’ll get there. I know it. (Right?… Maybe.)
Some tips for potty training:
- New pups will need to go out around every 2 hrs. Set a schedule. Stick by it.
- Potty pads are useless. They serve as good chew toys with a lot of clean up later.
- Treat your pup when they go potty outside, and sing praises as if they had just solved an Einstein field equation.
For whatever reason, I thought something was severely wrong with Baby Moose when he was so horrible at walking for the first month or so. We would attempt to take him on walks, and he’d go a whole ten feet before plopping down and crying. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the energy; this pup was a frickin’ nut running around the house. I just think he was scared of new surroundings. Each time we’d take him, he’d go about another ten feet further than before. Eventually, we were able to get to the end of the neighborhood. On our first actual walk around the block, a dog ran out of a neighbor’s house and went straight for Zippy. She was shrieking, he was screaming. It was a debacle, and I was sure that he would never go for walks again (don’t worry, everyone was okay). It was about a week later until we were able to walk him again, and he was a dream.
Having Zippy is so clutch because she just wants to walk all day, and he will go where she goes, even if he is scared.
Some tips for walking:
- For the first few times, really exercise your patience. Let them sniff and pee on everything their little heart desires.
- We like using the Sporn harness that hooks in the back. It minimizes pulling and doesn’t allow them to choke themselves out if you have a psycho dog like Zipper.
- Try to avoid interaction with other dogs/humans for the first few times.
For the life of me, I could not get this right. I bought Moosey the 15″ 8-month Seresto tick collar (like he was going to stay this size for 8 months, you imbecile). Which he outgrew in a matter of weeks. Then I bought the adult 8-month Seresto and threw that blickey on him… only to realize it’s for dogs over ___ lbs. Which he wasn’t. And I had already opened the collar so the medicine was activated. (Apparently, I am smoking crack becaus the adult collar only requires the dog to be over 18 lbs, which he was. I guess I can go throw that Seresto collar back on?)
Another thing is that 1800petmeds.com batches a lot of their meds in 6 month packages. Which is great, but Moosey is not going to be 25-49 lbs for 6 months. Alas, a lot of money wasted on pet meds, but I will give away what we don’t use.
So now we have him on NexGard for flea/tick. Zippy is on the Preventic collar for flea/tick which has been great, but is pink. And they are both on Heartgard Plus for heartworm.
Some tips for protecting your pups:
- Read the god damn directions.
- Confirm with your vet what is best for your pup since this breed grows so rapidly.
This is an extremely controversial topic, and I’ve received a lot of heat from both sides on it. So I’m going to try to sum it up as best as I can.
The perfect bullmastiff head has a bunch of wrinkles and jowls, good snout, lots of symmetry… and lastly… the breed-standard ears which are flopping forward, forming a V in front of their head.
Meaty had the breed-standard ears for a little while, but then they began to fly away, and they flew away for most of his life. We never though anything of it, or knew that there was anything non-surgical we could do about it. It was one of his most endearing qualities.
How it was explained to me is that it is fairly common during teething for the ears to fly back due to tension and discomfort caused in the puppy’s head. We started to notice Moosey’s ears flying back around the beginning of April.
I consulted our breeder and did a ton of research. Of course Moose was still adorable and we love him any way that he is, but if it doesn’t hurt them and can be done within a matter of days… why not give it a try?
So we used the velvet-to-velvet aka taco-style tape method. Basically, you angle their ears to flop forward, then fold the ear like a taco where the furry part touches the other part, then tape. We used electrical tape because it sticks to itself but not really to clothing/fur. For the 3 days he wore the tape, Moose didn’t mind at all. We gave him a good chew toy he could focus on while we did it, and while it took a few tries to get it to stay, we were happy with the results.
I’m late to dinner because I really wanted to finish this blog for Baby Moose’s 4-month old barkday, so I will try to finish this part later.
To sum this part up… after Meaty’s whole ordeal, it was imperative we find pet insurance, and not just any kind. The best.
We went with Nationwide on their best plan, which is costing us about $80/month and is surely going to increase with Moose’s age. But the plan reimburses us 90% on all vet visits. This means that if we had this plan during Meat’s 10-day stay at the Annapolis Pet ER, we would have gotten back 90% of the $17,000 it cost us. 90% on chemo. 90% on surgeries. This is HUGE. Especially since this breed has a notoriously short life span, it’s important your baby is covered as much as possible.
If you read this rambling novel, kudos to you! I’m sure I have forgotten a ton of things but I’m going to add more later and refine this so it’s not a heap of jibberish.
Please free to message me on Instagram @meaty_and_zippy if you have any additional tips or topics to add! After all, it was from all of your advice that I haven’t been entirely drowning in new puppy brainlessness. 🙂