He’s finally learning to relax

Relaxation is not a strong point of Atlas’ actually come to think of it, relaxation doesn’t really mix very well in our house.

Atlas can usually be found bounding around our living room pretending the floor is lava or just generally being a goof. Yesterday he threw his toy with that much force across the room that it almost sent the television rocketing to the moon. As I’ve mentioned previously, his newest most favourite pastime is the dreaded digging, we, in our naivety had thought that has ceased. Boy were we wrong.

However recently he has learnt that whining and singing doesn’t get him any attention and he is learning that having the odd afternoon snooze is quite a nice hobby.

Here is Atlas this afternoon managing a five minute lie down whilst Amy ate her lunch in peace.

Atlas

 

Advertisements

Atlas vs Child

Parents with children who decide to get a puppy and don’t lose their shit in the process … I applaud you.

Amy and I don’t have children, remember … we are the “cool aunts” we try to convince ourselves that the kids love us because we don’t have kids and they can colour their eyebrows in with pink felt tip and stay up late but in fact its probably just because we have a toy box. A toy box filled with toys the kids have never seen before and don’t have to share because there isn’t anyone else to share with.

So to conclude, we are the cool aunts.

We also have an Atlas.

Not the fun coloured, spinning educational type, that the parents of said children would probably appreciate, no, an 8 month old giant missile that weighs more than three children put together.

Yes … the fun kind of Atlas.

Now before Atlas came home, Amy and I have become accustomed to a more gentler way of life, with a female dog that was probably as old as your nana. She was not interested in the kids what so ever, she didn’t want their food, their noisy Thomas train nor their bikes and scooters, she absolutely was not interested in being present for a game of hairdressers or having her nails painted. If the kids were there, Jasmine was in hiding and that’s what she liked.

She did actually take part in a re-enactment of Frozen once and played the part of Sven the reindeer because, and I quote “We need a life sized prop”, no she wasn’t as big as a reindeer but she played it very well.

Take us forward to present day and we have Atlas.

Atlas is super friendly, over friendly in fact. I’ve only ever heard him growl once and that was due to a fountain shooting up from the floor and almost taking his top jaw off. I’ve got to hand it to the guy it probably was a very big shock. Atlas loves everyone, the problem we have with Atlas is that he does everything at super sonic speed.

With adults, I’m sure that’s no problem, they get the “please ignore him until he calms down” and we all go about our business, until the children arrive and that’s when the party starts. He has stolen socks of children, stolen shoes off children, ruined a game of soldiers because he’s either knocked the soldiers down or eaten them, sat on them, literally squashed them and then the inevitable, sent them flying. I don’t mean just made them lose their balance, I mean actually sent them flying.

It doesn’t matter how much you say, please stay calm, don’t run, don’t scream his name and head off in the other direction … kids don’t learn, and quite honestly if I had a giant dinosaur thundering towards me at super sonic speed and someone told me to stand still and be calm, Id be hot footing it the opposite direction too whilst shouting some very choice words at the crazy person telling me to stand there.

I get it …

There’s the older child, she’s Twelve and Atlas loves her. She has the ability to comprehend that where Atlas is concerned, at the moment, calm is better. They go on adventures and watch films and just generally manage to coexist quite happily. she strokes him, she feeds him, she cant walk him yet but she gives it a good go. All in all there’s a beautiful friendship blossoming.

~Atlas and Darcey

There’s the middle girl, she’s a little smaller but isn’t in the slightest bit bothered by Atlas and his crazy antics. She’s only seven so we have to be careful but she’s pretty good with him. He respects her which is always good but then again that might be because she wants to do things with him. She generally complains that he’s in her way, he’s usually sat right on top of her to be fair. Or that she cant see the TV, again he’s usually sat in front of her and because he’s a very similar size to her their heads are at the same height. Again … all in all slightly more stressful than the older one but not bad considering Atlas is such a giant goof ball.

Ava and Atlas

And then there are the boys.

The boys range from six to just turned four and there are three of them. Atlas thinks they are the best thing since sliced bread. They scream, they run, they play on bikes and scooters and put up a great game of chase. They play with toys that make loud noises and have cars that shoot around the living room. Sounds great doesn’t it, I cant blame him, occasionally I feel the need to join in. Until we have discounted little humans who have to be pulled out from underneath the puppy before they start to suffocate or very upset little people because the bike tyre has gone down due to mysteries chew holes.

Who am I trying to Kid … its carnage, its the clash of the titans all over again. We have taken to Atlas being attached to me on a house lead to ensure that no children are harmed in the “visit Amy and Sophie” day. He eventually calms down but kids come first, now we know these kids will go home and so we don’t feel so bad that whilst he’s learning he isn’t let lose on them, how on earth people manage with children and a puppy that live in the same house 24/7 I do not know, all I can say is well done to you!

We do have the odd moment of utter cuteness …

Noah and Atlas

We are obviously aware (or secretly praying) that he will calm down and we try not to hide him away from them because the children and Atlas need to learn to be together shutting him away and not continuing our lives as we would, would only exasperate the situation and then maybe one day there will be a child living in the house, what would we do then? The bottom line is he has to learn not to react to the children and the children have to learn how to respect the dog.

We have a long road ahead but we are trying to subject Atlas to everything and everyone to enable him to become a well rounded member of the family. He comes to as many places with us as we can take him and has training sessions frequently (not that his obedience is getting any better).

The main part is he is a baby and is still learning, but in the interim, jokes aside we are very cautious of what situations we put him in where children are concerned, mainly due to his size. That’s our responsibility isn’t it? To ensure the children don’t get hurt and become frightened but to teach them how to be kind and to have respect which will then hopefully enable them to have their very own best friend when they’re a little older.

Please, any tips on how you deal with high energy clashes between children and puppies is much appreciated.

p.s. no children were harmed in the making of Atlas vs Child !

 

 

 

Our journey to finding the Regal King

So your family decides to get a dog. I would have imagined by this point that there had been some discussion about what type of dog you want, old, young, small, big, even giant in fact and lets face it guys its big thing! This creature is going to invade your home for the next decade at least … you’ve got to make sure its the right one, and so the search begins, easy right ?? Absolutely not … its the most difficult, heart wrenching, frustrating ordeal I’ve ever encountered and let me tell you, it didn’t even last very long.

We already had an idea that we wanted to get another German Shepherd and I’d ideally have liked a long haired, not that it was too much of an issue, but everywhere you look you find stickers and posters with big bold writing “ADOPT DONT SHOP” and “STOP PUPPY FARMING”. So we did what any normal animal loving couple did … trawled the internet and set up play dates with the dogs in the dogs home.

Now did you know its easier to foster a real life human baby than it is a dog? There’s checks for your house, checks for your income, checks for your past conduct with animals, checks for your immediate family and if your working you cant work more than four hours a day. Now I’m not criticising and obviously jokes aside the people in the rescue centres and the rehoming shelters do an amazing job and they have to follow certain procedures as these dogs have 99% of the time had a pretty rough time. Added to the fact that they have to cover themselves, because you and I both know, as sad as it is, in todays society … where there’s a blame there’s a claim.

We don’t have children but we do live in a fairly busy home and there is usually a random child or three dotting around (we fancy ourselves as the cool aunts … we’re not, we’re just unpaid childcare, we know this and choose to ignore it anyway). So we knew we wanted a big dog and were open to any kind of larger dog, we’ll not go into my BMI but lets say a teacup Chihuahua probably wouldn’t look right, and we had it in our minds that larger dogs are harder to place purely because of their size. It became a common occurrence that the larger dogs were to be placed in homes with children over 12. apparently dogs over 60 inches high have a child phobia!?! Of course we get it … we’re fairly intelligent, these people have to make sure some poor child wont be mauled by a stressed out dinosaur. After many conversations with shelters and a especially one very strange lady who wouldn’t give me details of on certain dog for, and I quote “data protection reasons”, since when did dogs care about GDPR?? we decided to rethink and so we went down the puppy route (for our sins).

Jasmine came from a reputable stud and so we thought ok we have a starting point so we looked on the stud dogs and came across the stud that we wanted, I say “we” in this part but I am very aware that poor Amy (mum number two, if you didn’t know Atlas has two mums, you do now and yes we will go into that at some point and no he doesn’t wear a rainbow collar … yet !) ended up just agreeing because I was probably a little overbearing and had reached the end of my tether with the dog search and wanted something sorted. We then searched for a litter that had been born, nothing technical, we used Google and an iPhone, and found a litter.

They were black and tan, mainly short hair but one that looked like he was going to be a plush coat. and let me tell you, they were the cutest thing id ever seen. They were only two weeks old but the breeder said to come along anyway and if we wanted to we could have second pick of the litter … Perfect. He had mum and grandma there to see also but said out of 8 puppies there was only one girl that he was keeping. Ok now until this point …. shockingly we hadn’t ever discussed whether we wanted female or male so we decided that although the male would be bigger we weren’t too bothered and agreed a time to go over to the house to meet the puppies, and turns out the whole family and the two adult dogs.

It was the second week of December 2017 and freezing. Turns out the family lived in the most beautiful location right in the heart of the Cheshire countryside, which is all lovely and nice until you have to find it in the dark, is there a reason they don’t have lights in the country?? So we go in and have a chat with the breeder and his wife, who by the way was such a lovely couple!

We had cuddles with mum and grandma dog (at this point I feel like I’m writing a story for a children’s collection, but let me tell you … this actually took place) and then the breeder stood up and said the famous last words … “would you like to meet the puppies”.

 

This is what he presented us with  … two weeks and two days old ❤

baby Atlas