Friday, June 19, 2020

The Summer Puppy Project

He quickly learned that the place to be is under the daycare room table. He can get pets while the kids color or do worksheets, food falls constantly during snacks and meals, and it's more difficult to see if he's biting the carpet under the table so he doesn't get told no as quickly.

We've learned about the 50 States of America, we've learned celebrations around the world, and we've done theme days (check out summer 2015). I needed something different this summer. Something that would keep the older kids busy, learning, and not getting into trouble. The minis had talked about it for years--I nearly gave in at Christmas time, but I just couldn't do it. It didn't feel right. In late January I had this feeling that this should be the summer. Like most of the world, when the pandemic hit and the world closed, I knew this WAS the perfect summer to get a puppy. But not just any puppy: a puppy for the kids and ultimately, a daycare dog. A puppy that would be raised by the kids (and who are we kidding, me too).

We spent the beginning of June learning how to treat a dog, what toys we could and couldn't have out, facts about dogs, how to potty train. We did a lot of reading and research (our book about Labs came in extra handy and the kids took turns reading through the chapters during our afternoon reading time). All before the puppy even arrived. Then, one week ago, Zeus came home.

We had a long weekend getting used to the puppy and him getting used to us. By Tuesday, we were all ready for daycare to come back. It's been an amazing week. The puppy has given the kids something to focus on, help with, and play with. As a result, Zeus LOVES kids and expects to be in the thick of things. Sure there's been the typical puppy nipping, but the kids have learned to have one of his toys within arms reach to promptly put in his mouth! I'm not really sure what to expect from this summer or what the kids will learn other than how to take care of something other than themselves, but I DO know it will be a very memorable summer for everyone.

The 14 year old cats wondered what the hell walked into their lives. They've actually been great the past week and are quickly adapting to life with a dog. The cats come and find me (by curling up with me and meowing) whenever Zeus is whining in his kennel in the middle of the nights and they like his salmon flavored treats just as much as he does. Sophia (the one observing from the kitchen) sits waiting for a treat next to Zeus every morning after he goes outside.

The 12 year old has stepped up A LOT. I have yet to pick up poop and only feed the puppy half of the time. All of the other times, the kids do it and take him outside during the day. I still have night duty.

He loves his bed so much it had to go in the kennel with him to sleep. By the end of the week, he prefers to nap on mats with the younger daycare kiddos every afternoon.

There's always some petting him or doing something with him. As a result, he doesn't like to be by himself at all.

Nap time is his favorite because if he doesn't have a kid to curl up with, one always comes along!

When he's not outside or sleeping underneath the dining room table, Zeus can be found in the middle of the action playing with toys or running through sprinklers and pools.

Or messing up a giant checkers game...

And just like every other daycare baby, sometimes he gets held for nap times. There's perks to being the littlest.