We have a new arrival in Casa Young! Allow me to introduce Lyra, our nine-week-old Hungarian Vizsla puppy, who joined us just a couple of weeks ago. She’s gorgeous, has ears that feel like velvet and loves cuddles. What’s not to love?!
The decision to get a family dog has been nearly 20 years in the waiting, as Ben has wanted a dog ever since I first met him. Every so often he’d bring it up, but the conversation has been getting more and more frequent over the last couple of years. Then earlier this year I offered to dog-sit a friend’s cockerpoo, hoping that the experience would put Ben off the idea once and for all. All I can say is that my plan backfired spectacularly, and we all cried when we had to give the dog back at the end of the weekend. And so the ‘let’s get a dog’ idea suddenly got a whole lot more serious.
So why a Hungarian Vizsla? I met my first vizsla on a work photo shoot a couple of years ago, and I was immediately smitten. She was stunning, and so affectionate. The more research I did, the more I was convinced a vizsla was our perfect dog, described as gentle, friendly and loving, with key characteristics including playfulness, intelligence, and an affinity with kids. Vizlas have the nickname ‘velcro dogs’ because they like to stick close to family members. We did look at other breeds, but always ended up coming back to vizslas.
I’m not sure quite what gave us the final push to go ahead and find a puppy (apart from the near-constant badgering from the kids), but back in October we went for it, paid our deposit and started the final countdown. We managed to keep it a secret from the kids (despite looking at endless pictures and videos of the newborn litter on a Facebook group), until we could go up and visit in October half term, when the kids met eight three-week-old vizslas, and discovered that one of them would be ours! Seeing their faces was completely priceless.
So, everyone warned me a puppy would be Hard Work, like having a new baby. And it really, really is. We picked Lyra up aged just over seven weeks two weeks ago, and she’s settled in brilliantly, but it is really full-on, and I’m pretty exhausted.
The good bits:
- Puppy cuddles rock. Seriously rock. Lyra does a lot of sleeping, and is happiest when that’s on your lap or at your feet (under my desk) which is all kinds of awesome.
- Toilet training has been a lot less painful than I expected (so far, anyway). Not too many accidents in the house at all.
- She is so soft! Honestly, her ears feel like velvet – I could stroke them all day.
- Seeing the kids bond with her. Two weeks in, they still regularly say with amazement, ‘I can’t believe we have a dog!’ Ez has been busy reading the puppy books to get training tips and Fonz is great at playing with her.
- Watching her learn. It’s pretty incredible how quickly she picks stuff up.
The not-so-good bits:
- Lyra’s play-biting and nipping is hardcore, and her teeth are little little razors. None of us are enjoying this part of puppyhood at all. She’s especially bad with the kids, and so I often have them in tears, or they jump up somewhere high to get away from her. Really hoping this phase passes soon (although we haven’t even started the teething, chewing the furniture stage yet). It’s also not great when you have enthusiastic visitors come to meet her, and all she does is nip them!
- The ‘mad five minutes’, or in our case the ‘mad hour’, when a puppy goes completely loopy and nothing you do or say seems to make the slightest difference. Stressful.
- Cabin fever. Lyra can’t really go out properly (apart from in our garden) until she’s had her second vaccination. We’re an outdoors family, and I think we’re all going a little bit stir crazy not being able to get out and about like we usually do.
- That awful self-doubt you’re plagued with when you have a newborn – are you doing it right? What are you doing wrong? It’s like being thrust back into those early months of a baby when you’re convinced there’s a special secret to a chilled-out, contented baby, and you’re not in on it.
Like any new parent, I’ve been getting very snap-happy with my camera, so here are some from the last fortnight. She changes daily though, so I think she’s already looking very different! I can’t resist the temptation to flood my Instagram stories with puppy porn – she’s all-consuming at the moment, so I make no apology for being completely obsessed!