IT WAS NICE WHILE IT LASTED
30 January 2005
I've had to retire the playpen after only 3 days.
It was really very convenient. When the puppies would wake up they'd all crowd around the door to their cage, yowling. As soon as I would open the door they'd all tumble out in a body. This wasn't a problem a week ago, but they have all matured so quickly that when I open the door, they all waddle out at the same time, each headed in a different direction. It's like trying to catch a flock of rats as they scurry over your feet.
So I got this idea that I would let them all out, and then put the two that I wasn't feeding into Sheila's bed, with its opening blocked off by pushing the bed up against a cabinet. This would give them something new to explore so they'd tire each other out and then when I fed them, I'd put them back into the cage, one by one, and they'd all go back to sleep.
It was working great.
Plus, I was able to let Sheila investigate them without fear of her pawing at them, like she does with Kimba when they play. She really wants to roll them around like a ball, but as long as there is a barrier she's pretty good about just sniffing them.
The more often she found them in "her" bed (even if she never uses it), the braver she got, occasionally very tentatively putting a paw over the top, but she'd take it right back when I told her to. She'd crouch down in her "come play with me" invitation outside the bed, but the puppies couldn't see her, of course.
After two days in the "playpen," it was no longer enough to explore it from end to end. Toby and Jed began to think about scaling the steep walls and escaping.
In fact, Jed very nearly did.
He couldn't get traction on the slick walls of the bed, however, so I figured we were safe. The next time they were in the "playpen," I watched Jed try it again, He could get both of his front paws up over the top and yelp and yelp and yelp, while trying frantically to push himself up with his back paws, which just kept slipping on the plastic sides.
I felt smug.
That'll teach me.
So the next time I sat down, with 2 puppies in the playpen and Toby on my lap. It took Jed about 10 seconds to climb up the wall, hurl himself over the side, land on his head outside the playpen.
Then I had Jed running around on the rug, a frantic Toby in my lap nursing, Sheila wanting to play with the new moving toy, and me not knowing if Jed was under the foot rest of the recliner or not. I was afraid that if I lowered the foot rest, I'd squash him.
Oh me of little faith.
As I was on the 5th (of 6) syringes of formula, sure enough there was that white head of Leo's popping up at the top of the wall. He struggled and struggled and yelped and yelped. He did eventually fall backwards, but it was clear that within another try or two, he would figure out how to climb out, so I sadly have had to accept that there will be no more "playpen" for these babies.
I can't believe how these guys have grown. When I feed Leo and Jed back to back, it's like going from Twiggy to Rosie O'Donnell. Leo is small and petite with these little tiny feet. Then I pick Jed up and he's like a small grizzly bear, all solid and muscular and I swear half again as big as he was when he arrived here a week ago.
They have "awake" moments now too. When I walk by the cage, often the three of them are sitting up looking out, and set up a howl when they know I'm near.
I spent time with each of them the other day. Toby, who eats the most, filled up, but didn't go right to sleep. Instead he put his paws on my stomach, lifted his head and just looked at me, as if he was wondering why his "mom" looked so different from his brothers.
Leo falls asleep while eating. One minute he's sucking frantically, the next he's sleeping. I lower him to my lap, he grabs hold of my little pinky finger and sucks like a baby on a pacifier, less and less as time passes, and then stronger as he jerks in his sleep. He must have slept on my lap for half an hour, since his brothers weren't yelping.
Jed, who seems to get rounder every day, gets sleepy too. He's the one who will snuggle in some nook that he can find on my body, whether it's in the crook of my arm, under my elbow, or snuggled up under my chin, with little puppy breath blowing on my neck.
When I was driving home the other day, there was someone who was out walking a puppy--looked like it might have been about six months old. I wondered what these guys will look like at 6 months, when they are all legs and body. Right now they are little hedgehogs who sleep and eat and suck on each other and not much else.
I will miss them. But I'm really glad that I had this time with them.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Leo wanted to play. Jed wanted to sleep and kept moaning