Some cultures don’t name a child. Instead, they wait for a name to find him.
Perhaps that’s what we should have done with Cocoa. When Baby Girl flew in from Paris, we surprised her with an early Christmas present. We’d had this puppy for four days at that point, and had been calling her Baby, Puppy, Little One, and Hey You. The rescue shelter had named her Rapunzel, and the foster family was calling her Honey Bear. Neither of these names rolled off the tongue, and we wanted Baby Girl to have the honor of naming her dog.
With her sister pestering her on the ride home to decide, BG came up with Cocoa–sweet, innocent, comforting Cocoa. If she’d known her longer she might have named her Conan the Barbarian or Cocoa the Destroyer.
BG was headed off to first grade when we adopted Bogart, and now she’s in high school–practically a grown-up.
After all these years, we’re just not used to the trouble, tempered with fun, of having a puppy in the house. Over Christmas, Sweet Miss found Cocoa playing with something, and said that she didn’t know where that little football came from, but Cocoa sure loved it.
I knew exactly where that “football” came from, and that dog was in trouble. I’ve been making little hexagons for a blanket, and dogs aren’t supposed to eat them. I decided to store my footballs in a bowl instead of my project bag and try to keep my yarn up, too.
It all goes really well until I’m knitting late at night and leave things sitting out. Then my yarn ends up in a tangle it take hours to undo.
And those little footballs are toast.
Along with running off with my knitting projects any chance she gets, Cocoa likes to eat the decorative stones and lava rocks out of the house plants. We tried to foil her attempts by wrapping the pots in beach towels. This makes watering a challenge and isn’t quite the look we’re going for around here. I outsmarted her by sprinkling the dirt and stones in all the pots with Death Rain chili powder–it’s quite the spicy stuff. It appears to have dampened her interest.
Nights are also a challenge. Cocoa likes to fall asleep next to Bogart’s bean bag chair. BG gets ready for bed and then goes to find her little fur ball. Unfortunately, the Destroyer wakes up at 4 am and wants out. Sleepy girls don’t always think about what that means, so we wake up to puddles and piles and this–death of a snowman.
Leaving her alone during the day causes similar troubles. We can’t leave her to roam. Not only will she do her business in inappropriate places, she likes to chew on moldings, baskets, books, and chairs.
I tried to let her hang out in the bathroom next to the laundry room. It’s an empty space with just the dogs’ food bowls, but as soon as I closed the door, she started to scratch. These are 9-foot tall, custom doors; I’m not going to replace them because of a silly puppy. So into her crate she goes.
Apparently she feels quite abandoned when we leave her in her box. Half the time, she’s able to shoot the tray out of the bottom, move the crate around the room, and rip up the throw rug–I have since rolled it up out of harms way. The worst part is she tries to escape through the bottom slit and wears the fur off her nose.
So on Super Bowl Sunday, I went shopping with my buddy Kristi for fun things and dog stuff, and Cocoa came, too. She did a lot of hanging out in the car, but PetSmart was one place she was welcome. She made friends with everyone, and the helpful staff was able to suggest lots of things to keep her occupied in her crate and save her nose.
I was gone for four hours yesterday, and her muzzle didn’t look too horrible when I got home. She had a disgusting bone and a kong filled with peanut butter and dog food to keep her busy. The tray was only out a few inches, so maybe my plan worked.
While we’re trying to teach Cocoa important lessons like don’t leave puddles and piles inside or tear up the house, she has been teaching us a few lessons, too. Put away all of your books and papers, or they might get shredded. Pillows don’t belong on the floor, or they might get peed on. And don’t leave your pj’s on the floor in the closet for the very same reason. I learned that one the hard way. Maybe we need a dose of neat and tidy around here.
I bought her a very stylin’ tag at the pet store, so everyone will know her name. On the flip-side, I put BG’s phone number and mine in case she ever gets lost.
Because we love our sweet Cocoa even when she goes into Destroyer mode.
Well, I just chased her off the end table, and now she’s batting about a lava rock. Maybe it’s time for some more Death Rain.
Any puppy training tips? I’d love to hear your stories and advice.