The room was still dark when I opened my eyes. On the floor next to my bed came the sounds that woke me up, quiet shuffling and scratching, followed by a small whine. Next would be a quick bark. The first few times I woke up this way, I rushed my new puppy outside in case it meant he had to go to the bathroom.
Instead, all Westley wanted to do was play.
Every morning this happened, around 4:00am.
I began pulling him onto my bed, petting him for a few minutes until he wanted back down. Maybe he just wanted reassurance that I was still there. Whatever the reason, this became part of our new routine. A few minutes at 4am helped hold off needing to go outside until closer to 6:30 – 7am.
Each day it began over again with me stumbling out of bed, tired from not falling asleep until after midnight the night before.
Who is sleep-training who?
At work, I found myself wondering what Westley was up. Some part of my mind worried how he was doing, if he was okay, if my restless puppy was playing enough, if our walks were too long for his little legs, if I fed him too much or too little, what I was going to do with him when I had an upcoming four-day work trip. And more. There was a lot to take in at first, and occasionally I take things overboard.
We started puppy training classes right away so he could start learning the basics. I researched and began somewhat sporadic crate training. The crate training could go better, since he kept climbing on top of it, versus going inside it.
We went to the vet to make sure everything is okay. In short, I worked, worried, walked, researched and played. Somewhere in there I even managed to realize it will all be okay.
On May 14, my job ended so instead of worrying about who would watch Westley for my long work trip, I was suddenly home with him all the time. We had more time to bond and get used to each other. My mom came down to visit and the three of us went on small adventures, including:
- Dog parks with friends
- Morning and evening walks around the neighborhood
- Balboa Park
- The harbor
- Farmers’ market
- The beach
At the beach, Westley ran on sand for the first time. Westley tried to run the entire beach, sprinting across the sand, playing near the waves, stopping randomly to smell the seaweed. I hadn’t planned on taking up beach sprints to keep up with my little dog, but that’s what happened.
At the groomers, I discovered Westley can produce an ear-piercing yelp-ish shriek. You would have thought he was being tortured instead of getting a haircut. I now refer to that noise he makes as his “shrieking eels” sound (only we’re going to assume it isn’t followed by longing for “feeding on human flesh”. Because that’s really disturbing, don’t eat me, puppy!). Now that he’s discovered his shrieks, he also uses them when I put him in his crate for any length of time.
As the weeks go by, we’re getting used to each other, creating new routines and relaxing into them. The time with him has flown by, and even though I am now sweeping my house daily, pulling chew toys from under my couch constantly, waking up randomly to a cute little guy who wants to snuggle for a few minutes, and taking walks every few hours, already I can’t imagine life without him.