Thursday, February 24, 2011

Part V - Growing Up

Nyxie's awkward puppyhood seemed to be zooming past me at break-neck speed.  There were days that I'd look at her adoringly in the morning, then by evening, she'd look older.  I loved seeing her develop, but I also realized how much I was starting to miss that fat-bellied little pup who first came home with us.  She was becoming more agile, more able, even graceful.

Nyxie Noodle (One of our silly names for her - an offshoot of Noodle Cart Nyxie - don't ask, we're not really sure.) never had that super lanky, noodly GSD look, though.  And her ears stood pretty quickly on their own.  As she grew, she looked like a tiny version of what I see today.  A mini German Shepherd with fairly even proportions.  This was something we were surprised by after watching so many other GSD puppies go through the long legged, ears falling into themselves and every which way stage.  Unmistakable adolescence - you can see it a mile away.  We've been told this was due to her diet.  The raw diet being more appropriate for a dog, so therefore the stages of growth were more even.  Maybe this is a myth, but we saw it in action.  Her head, especially those enormous ears, and her paws were the things that stood out and gave us a hint as to her future stature.

In an effort to socialize this growing girl, and blow off puppy energy with zoomies, my friend Jamie and I had weekly play-dates with our pups at one of the Portland dog parks.  She would bring her delicate (but speedy) little Italian Greyhound, Vinnie.  And I would bring my clumsy little pup, eager for playtime in the grass rather than on pavement.  They were about the same size, and when Nyxie's excitement would get too much for Vinnie, he would let baby Nyx know in no uncertain terms.  Puppy Lesson # 3681 learned.  "THAT was too much bitey-mouth..."

Another good friend, Heather would occasionally bring along her Springer Spaniel, Napoleon, to these play-dates.  Poor Vinnie now had 2 wacky pups to contend with rather than the one.  Mostly, though, the 2 pups would entertain each other in a jumbled ball of puppy energy.  Colliding over and over, toppling clumsily into legs and fur, with tails, teeth and ears flying.  Dog park days were magical - there's nothing more joyful than watching puppies play.

The water bowl was in constant need of refilling.  Nyxie discovered the art of digging and loved the feel of the brown earth on her paws and nose.  We practiced recalls, sits, stays and walking heels off lead.  My little Nyxie blossomed!

Nyxie loved to tear around the wide open spaces and play chase with the other puppies.  If an adult dog chased her, she'd run until they overtook her, then she'd throw herself on her back and scream.  A long recall and a treat would usually snap her out of it.  Back she'd fly, her little puppy legs betraying her and sending her sprawling.  She'd bounce back up, shake it off and bound over to me.   She played well with Vinnie and Napoleon.  As always, she was loyal to her pack.   

On one such dog park trip, Nyxie went to hop back into Jamie's van and into her crate.  Her paw got stuck in the slats at the bottom of the crate door.  

She screamed.  I screamed.
She panicked.  I panicked.

Jamie calmly reached in, pulled her paw back and released her.  I cried like a weenie.  That's when I knew how deeply I was in love.  Like a mother whose child gets hurt for the 1st time, I felt her pain, her fear.  I'd have to learn to toughen up.  Nyxie shrugged it off, lay in her crate and sunk those puppy teeth into a big rubber ladybug that protested loudly with each chomp.

"I'm ok, mom, I've got this ladybug!"

We hadn't left the parking lot before she was fast asleep.  


  1. You so beautifully captured the joy of discovery that everyone who ever is truly owned by a pup experiences! Life never looks better or more exciting.

  2. Look at that beauty!!! Nothing better than a happy puppy!!

  3. I love puppies! Your post makes me want two things- to recount the story of Sophie as a baby (and she was a handful of a little labrador!) and to find my next pup to add to the family... but not yet, it's way too soon!! :) Nothing like puppy breathe and cuddles, right??

    Jen and the Black Dog Crew

  4. Life through the eyes of a puppy is such a beautiful thing. I love hearing all about that girl.

  5. What a lovely recount! Eva was on my lap while I was reading your post with one of my hands on the mouse and another hand stroking her. I felt so blessed to have her with us and I think I know how you felt with Nyxie too.
    I'm afraid I've a little puppy fever now :)

  6. It is so easy to see your love of Nyxie shining through your words. You just have to love that big ear stage:)

    Thanks again for checking for the stuffie. Mom says we will be just fine without one more pack addition:)

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  7. How fortunate you are to have Nyxie and how wonderful for her that she has a Mom so devoted as you.
    Lovely story and beautiful pictures.

  8. We are so enjoying all the chapters!


  9. You are bringing back so many memories of my dog's puppy days. I agree -they fly by so fast. It sounds like you and Nyxie seized the time to have so much fun and bond! I love her puppy pictures!

  10. looks like such a fun day! nyxie is gorgeous. i miss puppies!

  11. What a beautiful pup you have! I've always been partial to blabk dogs and I'd never even seen an all black GSD before. I can't wait to follow along her adventures!

  12. Hey there
    I had to pop by and visit you buys after reading your comment on "Heartbeats" blog.
    I wanted to encourage you with your German Shepherd doggie. It's the difficult doggies who enrich our lives in ways we'd never expect.
    Your pup is beautiful (although I expect he's grown somewhat)
    Romping and playing doggies are a sight, aren't they! Sometimes their playmates entice such abandon.
    Anyway, nice to meet you.
    Sending lotsaluv

  13. aww beautiful puppies!
    so cute. Tjam says I was cute like that once...

  14. Your love for Nyxie comes through so clearly in your writing. It's beautiful. And the photos are wonderful!

    I'm way behind on your posts but looking forward to catching up...


The girls and I love to hear from you - please leave us a note!