We lost our precious family dog, Charlie, unexpectedly at the beginning of 2017. It hit me harder than I expected and I have greatly missed him. I have also missed having a four-legged friend in the house in general. I didn't think I would ever want to add another puppy to our family again after such heartbreak.
The weekend after I returned from London, we were out and about as a family and met a couple with the tiniest, cutest, sweetest dog I had ever seen. She was a Yorkshire terrier and the more we talked to our new friends about her, the more I knew we were meant to bring a little girl like her home with us. It was just one of those feelings. I knew we could never replace our Charlie, but I was finally starting to remember how much joy a dog brings to our family. It was time.
So began my search.
Days later, I started my research. Yes, a tiny Yorkie would work well in our family. She would be pocket-sized and affectionate and good with kids, so long as she grew up around them. Check, check and check. I found a breeder close to home and lo and behold, she had several Yorkie puppies to choose from, who would be ready to go home a few weeks later. I found the cutest female (because gender was non-negotiable for me this time around) and called the breeder that day. We talked for quite a while about "Jackie" and by the end of the conversation, I knew she was meant to become our new family member. She wasn't cheap, but I had a birthday and anniversary coming up. A quick call to the hubs and we were all set to make "Jackie" ours. It all seemed to be happening very quickly, but I really did put a ton of thought and consideration into this decision. We were ready to bring our girl home!
What's in a name?
The first thing I did once the deposit had been made was declaring that I wanted to name our puppy "Piper." Cooper told me flat out he hated that name and he wasn't calling her that. Tessa Kate quickly picked up on her brother's disgust. After reminding my sweet children that this puppy was technically mine and I could name her whatever I wanted, I compromised by making a list of all the names I found acceptable for our new puppy. Cooper crossed several off right away but was okay with "Charlotte," or "Cece" for short. I figured that would be a nice little tribute to Charlie. Tess latched on to "Cece," so by the time Coop came around on "Piper" (as I knew he would), she was set on that. For the remaining weeks, while we waited to bring her home, Tessa Kate would tell anyone who would listen that she was getting a puppy named "Cece." Finally, by pickup day, we had talked her into calling our dog "Piper Cece." Now that she's home with us, TK calls her "Piper," but her given name is officially Piper Cece.
Preparing for Piper.
Jay and I kind of randomly got a puppy together while we were dating in college. Gracie was the best dog, but we had no idea what we were doing with her. Neither one of us had grown up with dogs, although we both loved them. A puppy is a lot of work. They're not much different than newborn babies. We rescued Charlie as an adult dog, so it has been a very long time since we have had a puppy around. Merry Melton at Alabama Toys and Teacups Boutique was extremely helpful throughout our preparation process. She talked me through everything I would need to get and what to expect once we brought Piper home. She was available for questions at any time before, during and even after the pickup process. When I first mentioned finding a nearby breeder to Jay, he had misgivings about it being a legit business. Unfortunately, that's a common concern about breeders today. I assured him that Merry Melton was, in fact, a real person who bred and sold real puppies. We even had several mutual friends who 100% vouched for her. She is all about the health and safety of her puppies, which I appreciate. They are all beautiful and well taken care of, so take a peek at her website if you are thinking about or wanting a puppy. You don't even have to be from the area because she will ship your new family member to you!
Getting back to how we prepared for bringing Piper home:
Merry Melton said her toy puppies are all pack ‘n' play trained, meaning they eat, sleep and potty in a pack ‘n' play. Thankfully, we still had TK's, which she outgrew at least a year ago. We were provided with a diagram of how everything should be laid out and we followed it to a T. Puppy pad went in the middle, bed and food/water bowls on either side, plus a couple toys and a blanket. We purchased the Royal Canin food that was recommended, plus some other goodies, like a teeny tiny brush and a vitamin we bought from the boutique the day we got Piper. I was fully prepared to have an all-inside puppy for the first 4-6 weeks who lived in a pack ‘n' play and really didn't depend on us for anything other than filling her bowls and changing out her puppy pad. Seemed like a dream come true!
Bringing Piper home.
The four of us had anticipated Piper's arrival for weeks. On July 11, the big day was finally here! Cooper, Tess and I took a quick swim in the morning to burn off our pre-puppy energy, ate lunch and then drove to Toys and Teacups Boutique. We had our laundry basket ready to bring her home in and the vet knew we were stopping by for a checkup on the way home. The boutique is the cutest little house/office, with lots of cheery rooms. We all immediately felt comfortable. Merry Melton greeted us and then brought Piper out to us. She was so tiny and shaking like a leaf, poor thing. Merry Melton told us to let her smell our fingers first and to be quiet and gentle and make soothing sounds. If you know my daughter, you know "quiet and gentle" are not really her thing, but I was impressed by how well she did. And Piper seemed to take to her right away. When Tess stopped talking, we could tell Piper would look all around to find her. We spent some time getting to know her and learning about her care for the next several weeks and then we were off. She did great in the car and at the vet, who gave her health his seal of approval and let us know we "got a good one." Just what we wanted to hear!
We fell in love with our sweet little Piper the minute we laid eyes on her. Cooper bonded with her right away and they are true BFFs. I think he will have a hard time being away from her once school starts back in a few weeks. And she is very patient and playful with both kids. Watching both Coop and TK with her melts my heart; they love her so much and they are both much better with her than I ever thought they would be. We all love cuddling with her and she is definitely a true lap dog. She sleeps a lot and is playful and quiet and follows us all around while we're home with her.
While we were uber prepared to bring Piper home, we weren't as ready for what followed once she settled in and started feeling more comfortable in our family.
Piper, the headstrong.
One of these days, I'll write a super informative (and probably hilarious) post on how to deal with a highly intelligent, strong-willed Yorkie puppy. Not today, though. Today, I will continue to clean up miniature pee puddles and come running when I hear, "Mom, I found a tiny poop over here!" I will fish toys out of my dog's mouth or redirect her from chewing on the wires to Cooper's XBox. I'll research and order yet another kennel or crate for her to stay in at night and while we're out of the house because she clearly was an escape artist in a former life. And I'll continue to close off rooms that she has either been destructive in or uses predominantly as a potty. If anyone is keeping tabs, she is not allowed in our sunroom without us, nor is she allowed in the laundry room for any reason. Last weekend, we left her in there while we were gone for the first time and she somehow got behind our washer and dryer, tore up the aluminum output line and scaled the countertops, making a giant mess. The pack ‘n' play lasted two nights before she figured out how to climb up the side and throw herself over, so the laundry room was an interim space before her little pink, enclosed playpen was delivered. Once she was in what I thought was a perfect solution, it only took that first night for her to figure out how to unzip one of the fabric doors. On night two, she chewed through the fabric around the zipper and got out. We are currently using Charlie's old kennel and I have one of those big wire crates on the way. We'll see if this one does the trick.
Yes, one of these days, she'll stay in something we put her in and she'll never have an accident in the house and she'll only chew on her approved puppy toys. And that's when I'll write that amazing post, filled with all the wisdom of a weary puppy owner who has made it to the other side with an adorable, well-behaved dog. She definitely has the adorable thing down. Now we just need to work on some basic housekeeping and we'll be all set. Wish me luck!