I know, I know – I said Harry was going to be my last dog. But I’ve had dogs for 40 years and really missed them. When I was evacuated from the fire in the Bella Coola Valley, I met a lovely gentle dog who was obviously very pregnant. A few days later, she had seven puppies. So this post is going to be full of cutsie pictures.
A couple of weeks later.
Most of the puppies were fluffy and white – this comes from the mother’s side. In the past I needed dogs with good coats to sleep out in the snow but I won’t be doing that anymore! And fluffy coats can be hard to deal with. Also the herding dogs tend to bark a lot and that I didn’t want. Two of the puppies were brown – this one looked most like her mum. Pumpkin-coloured, Pepita seemed like a suitable name.
Rachelle, the owner.
Vehicle problems kept me from picking up the puppy until she was about 8 and half weeks old. Snow already lay in the high country en route to Bella Coola.
At the bottom of the Bella Coola Hill, the trees were still golden. Birches added to the show.
My hosts at Stuie told me the trees had been gorgeous the day before, but there had been a huge wind overnight and all the leaves were on the ground. Pepita’s owners brought her up to Stuie so I didn’t have to drive the extra 40 minutes both ways.
The yellow dog on the left belongs to a friend of mine. I baby-sat her for a week. She is an old dog and not particularly enamoured of puppies! Pepita, however, made herself right at home.
The old dog was so pleased to have her owner pick her up – what she didn’t realize was that she was also going to have a new puppy just about the same age at home!
I had bought a chew toy.
I thought to tie the chew toy to a bungy cord hanging from the ceiling. She got the toy off in about 5 seconds – but absolutely loves the bungy cord!
A leg makes a pretty good chew-toy, too.
Another favourite game is to have me sweep the floor. Which, because of the dog, needs to be done two or three times a day. She loves kindling, drags firewood round, chews bark – and absolutely LOVES bones.
It was not long before we could go on hikes. She’s going to have a lot of space to run around in.
She is now 3 months old. I still take her out 3 or 4 times a day for bathroom walks, but I have rigged the door so she can open it alone. My house has 2 rooms, the living area, and an outer, storage room. The outer room has a home-made dog door to the outside, which involves a bend and three flaps (made of carpet) to stop the cold winds blowing directly in. She negotiated this both in and out very quickly. The door between the two rooms is easy to open from the living area. She just has to push it. Because of my imperfect carpentry, the door swings shut by itself. I had hoped to encourage her to pull on a rag or something tied to the door handle to open it from the other side. But as soon as I pull on anything, she drops it. I didn’t want to put a dog door in there as it would let in too much cold air – and, probably, mice. However, I noted that, if I opened the door a tiny crack, she would lever it open with her nose. So I wedged the door open a fraction and blocked the crack with the tops of worn-out socks to stop the drafts. I then screwed a piece of 2 x 4 and plywood to the door so she can bump it open even when there is no visible gap. She learned that trick in no time.
Despite the extra work, I am enjoying this puppy. She’s affectionate and smart and makes me laugh. She hates the truck and ATV so far – I hope she will come to at least tolerate them.
I’d had her for a month before I went to Williams Lake and worried she may be timid as we had met no human or dog during that time. But she treated every human as her new BFF, and greeted all dogs with friendly respect. She even got to experience the garbage truck – but that is a whole other story!