Friday, August 15, 2014

Rocky and Me.

Like Marley and Me, geddit geddit?

Slightly over a month ago on 30 June, we sneaked out to buy a present for Rocky. It was his 1-year anniversary of coming home with us!

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 We got him a whole box of nuggets! His face seems to be telling us, "I am not sharing, humans". HAHAHA.

PS: We don't usually feed him unhealthy treats (if we do feed nuggets, we peel off the fried parts), but this was a special occasion and he deserved to be spoiled, hehe.

Can't believe he has been with us for ONE WHOLE YEAR!!

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This was the first ever photo of him taken at home (at the boy's place, where I stayed over that time), with Rocky curiously exploring the house. He was so so so tiny then!

A little back-story on how we got Rocky. 

This easily went back to over 2 years ago, when I first came across a site called OCD- Obsessive Corgi Disorder by clicking through a link that a corgi-crazy friend shared. I have never heard of corgis before that (somehow I didn't make the link between the Queen's dogs and corgis), and quite quickly, I got obsessed with this funny looking creature as well.

The boy knows how corgis make me really happy, so it becomes a "thing" between us, him constantly sending me corgi photos throughout the day:

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I have thousands of corgi photos on my phone, all sent by the boy! Haha.

Corgi photos even became emoticons or "stickers" to us in our chats. For example, if we want to use a sad-face emoticon, we will use a photo of a corgi with a sad puppy-dog face instead, hehe. Needless to say, even the boy (who used to dislike dogs) became a corgi-convert too, and we started researching more on corgi personality and temperament.

Much to our delight, corgis are actually perfect family dogs! Intelligent, good with children, eager to please. All qualities in a dog that we would love in our family. So although we have never ever thought of having a dog in our future in all 10 years of our courtship, suddenly we started talking about bringing a corgi into our future family. And the boy is damn serious about it. He started contacting overseas breeders ('cause it's really difficult to get corgis locally, especially when you want a high quality puppy), and researching on costs and responsibilities of a pet owner. He even started drafting a contract that detailed the share of burden of caring for our dog between the both of us, hahaha. Alas, soon after, his mom fell ill, and all corgi thoughts were thrown out of the window.

A few weeks after he has lost his mom, he suddenly approached me about the idea of getting a corgi. The family house was feeling empty and lonely, and knowing that dogs make great therapy pets, he is once again contemplating getting a dog. I wasn't too excited about the idea though, mainly 'cause we were not staying together then (although I was staying over more than half the time). I don't think it's fair for the dog to have to be ping-ponged between 2 homes. Yet, if I left the dog at his place, I myself would have to miss out on part of the puppy's growth (when I am back at my own home). But the boy was really keen of getting one, and so partly to pacify him, and partly 'cause I was curious to meet some corgi puppies, we started visiting pet shops and local breeders. It was fun to finally carry squirming corgi puppies in my arms, but I was quite firm that we were not ready for a puppy on our lives yet. Also, while we saw some adorable puppies, they didn't feel right.

Then, one day, I still remember it as 29 June, the boy suggested for us to drop by at a pet shop as he saw a FB post that they have a new shipment of imported corgis. We walked in, and there were 6 corgis greeting us. Immediately, one stood out to us.

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He was stocky and stout, unlike his lanky peers. His big brown soulful eyes stared at us curiously. His ears, oh, his ears, they stood up like Dumbo's ears.We took turns in holding him in our arms, and to our surprise, he just laid quietly while being carried! Most corgi puppies that we have held would be squirming and trying to bite us FOL. There was another couple there looking for a corgi puppy to join their existing two corgis, and when they tried to hold him, he tried to nip them. "He likes you, you both should definitely take him", the couple told us.

We looked at the little puppy who was back in our arms, and our hearts melted a little. The next thing we know, we were paying a deposit for him.

It wasn't easy, the first few weeks of having him. Oh boy, it was hard. The boy's family did not approve of getting a puppy so soon, and we could only hope that they would fall in love with Rocky (who was named Duke at first, then Oscar, then finally Rocky-- fully story here). For 100 days after the boy's mom left us, there were nightly prayers at his home, where all his relatives would join in. Hence, every night there were easily at least 50 people over at his place, and since Rocky had not finished all his vaccinations, the boy did not want Rocky to have contact with the outside world just yet. So he didn't tell anyone about our new dog, and for a few weeks, every night I hid in the boy's room with Rocky for 3-4 hours, pretending that we weren't actually in the house. I could not even go to the kitchen to get water when I was thirsty; I didn't even dared to go to the toilet lest anyone discover that I was there. And when Rocky pood or peed in the room, I would have to clean it all by myself while being as discrete and quiet as possible. I dreaded evenings at that time.

And having a puppy was very much like having a baby-- we got very little sleep during the night in the initial stages. He had a pee pan in his pen, but being a puppy, he needed to poo every few hours, and we needed to clean up his poo immediately if not he would step all over it. So for the first few weeks, I barely slept, always straining my ears for the slightest bit of movement, hoping to catch him in his act so I could immediately clean up. There was once that Rocky was having diarrhea, and after I cleaned up his mess in his playpen, I realized that he pooed again in the box that I placed him in, and when I lifted him up from the box, he shat all over the parquet floor of the boy's room. There was also this other time when the boy and I overslept by half an hour (Rocky tended to poo around 5am), and we woke up to Rocky and the playpen all covered in shit. And every other day we were cleaning his pee puddles all over the house, 'cause it wasn't easy to house-train a puppy so young. Those were the days...

In fact, it was so tough having a puppy in the beginning, that in the first week, I approached the boy heavy-heartedly, and told him that I couldn't do it anymore, that I think we should give up Rocky. I said it amongst sobs and sniffles, 'cause I felt like SUCH a terrible person!. The boy just hushed me, and told me that things would get better. And he said that if things don't improve in a month's time, then yes, we will consider to give up Rocky.

Well, things did get better. It didn't take long for us to house-train Rocky, and soon we established a routine, and things got a lot easier. The idea of giving him up completely went out of the window. Though at times I do feel sad, 'cause Rocky wasn't an affectionate dog. He didn't like being patted or touched, and definitely did not like being carried or cuddled to. I have always imagined having an affectionate dog who comes up to me for belly rubs and loves to cuddle up to me, so I felt somewhat cheated, 'cause I felt that we were having a one-way relationship wtf. The boy made fun of me though, saying that if I wanted cuddles or hugs, I should have just gotten a stuffed toy. -_-

Also, another secret insecurity of mine is that Rocky didn't like me as much as he likes the boy. I was still staying at my parents' place at that time (though I spent half of my nights at the boy's place), so Rocky sees less of me, and as such, there were times that I worry Rocky would like me a lot less. T_T

Nonetheless, I tried my best to be a good dog mama, and it was so fun going through the whole growing-up journey with Rocky!

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Bathing Rocky for the first time. He doesn't like baths anymore now than he did the first time, haha.

From the trepidating experience of bathing him for the first time, to slowly learning to be more calm, to singing lullabies to him (my favorite being Rockabye Rocky :P) and having him place his head on my knee while I bathed him. That was such a triumphant feeling!

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Rocky taking the steps for the first time. He was SO scared, and didn't know what to do! In fact, he was on the step for awhile and gave up, and went to sleep. -__-

We had to teach him to get up and down the stairs (sometimes he would miss a step and roll down, poor thing!) by luring him with treats step by step. Nowadays, he can take the steps like lightning! In fact, he can even pee and climb the stairs at the same time (outdoors, of course). -__-

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Rocky wearing SOMETHING for the first time, hahaha. This is actually a monkey suit, but he looked more like a cow here wtf. And his privates looked like the udders, hahaha FHL.

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Rocky at the vet for the first time.

While Rocky is an extremely good and easy dog, especially for us first-time dog owners, he did have a lot of health scares. He always had diarrhea in the early days, which was actually due to worms. Then there was the incident where there was (a lot of) blood in his poo, much to our horror. Turns out that he ingested part of his rope toy, and the abrasion of the ropes against his intestines caused the bleeding. -_- He also bled when he peed before!!! Which turned out to be UTI, and he has some small crystals in his urine which caused the bleeding. Also, we discovered that his eyes have little lines in it, and we were worried that there are scratches on his cornea. Turns out the lines are actually membranes which didn't dissolve properly when he was an embryo (but does not affect his sight), and is quite common in corgis. At one point, I felt like I was at the vet's on a weekly basis. -_-

But the good thing is, he is not scared of the vet! In fact, he thinks the vet is a play school or something, where he can meet a lot of dogs. -_- He is always trying to invite other (sick) dogs to play, and obviously the dogs tak layan 'cause they are grouchy from not feeling well. -_-

He doesn't really like the metal tables at the vet's though, 'cause he has associated it with uncomfortable probing, haha.

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Rocky on the first day of obedience class!

I HIGHLY recommend for all dog owners to send their dogs for obedience class! We went for the one by MNAWF. It's only like RM30 for the whole course, and I cannot stress on the importance of it. There seems to be some misconception about dog obedience classes, because when I first talked about bringing Rocky for classes, many people were asking me, "what is wrong with Rocky? Is he very naughty? Is he a very bad dog?" 

The answer is no. In fact, Rocky is a very calm and easy dog, and we did basic training at home way before we attended the classes. However, we saw a lot of value in having him socialize with other dogs, and reinforce/ fine-tune the training we did at home. We picked up a lot of very good tips of handling dogs, which we wouldn't have learned otherwise. For example, immediate correction of a dog's undesired behavior is CRUCIAL. If you even miss the correction by 1 second, forget it. There is no use, because your dog won't make the association. Also, calm and assertive energy is of utmost importance when being with your dog. Subtle ways to reinforce yourself as the pack leader, for example, is to never feed your dog before you eat. He should always eat after you-- for you are the boss!

I have seen so many cases of dogs not being handled correctly (as we visit the dog park very frequently). For example, when a dog is being fierce to other humans or dogs (undesired behavior), the owner hugs the dog and baby-talk to him, "it's okay, it's okay". This is totally wrong! Because the dog sees it as "oh, when I am being fierce, I get affection", so he will continue to be vicious to other dogs/ humans. -_- It's really important to learn how to control your dog, because it will lead to a much enjoyable process of owning a dog. I know of cases where owners give up dogs (leading to strays) because they couldn't control the dog. But really, it was all a simple change in the way you handle your dog. One thing we have learned is, there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.

So please, please, do try to attend these dog obedience classes! Rocky and I enjoyed ourselves immensely. :)

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First time Skype-ing with Rocky. He was so confused why he could hear me but not see me! :P

Whenever I travel, the boy will put Rocky on Skype, hehe. I love to give him instructions over the phone:  "Sit", "Down", "Roll over" etc., and he would do all of them albeit with a confused face, haha.

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It shocked us to see how fast he was growing!! He was still only a few months old in this photo, but compared to when he first came home with us....

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.... he was so so small then! :O

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Rocky celebrating Movember last year, haha.

This is a felt mustache that I bought from Korea, and initially I stuck it on his nose ('cause dogs have no upper lips haha) and he couldn't breathe WTF!

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We always try to go for dog events, because we know that Rocky LOVES to meet dogs.

This was at Dogathon at UPM last year! Most likely we will be going for Dogathon 2014 in October as well. :)

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Ever since we taught Rocky the "Balance" tricks, we have made him balance an obscene amount of things. Including: tissue box, orange, stuffed toys, miniature Christmas tree etc.

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The boy was in China during Christmas, so I sent him this photo of Rocky and I for some Christmas cheer! :P

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Rocky receives more Christmas cards than I have received in my entire life.... -__-

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The amount of fur that Rocky sheds in a single brushing session. -____________-

Before we got Rocky, we actually did a lot of research on whether corgis are a suitable breed for us. One of the cons of corgis is that they shed.

A lot.

In fact, there was one article that we came across that said: Imagine the MAXIMUM amount of fur a dog can shed. Multiply that by 5 times, and a corgi will still shed more than that amount.  I read that, and laughed, thinking to myself, "what a witty writer!"

How naive I was. -____-

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This is a special photo to me.

This was probably about 2 months after we got Rocky. We went to pick him up from from the groomer's, and he was in an extremely manja mood. He kept on nuzzling me, snuggling up to me, and hiding his head into any my arms. It was the first time I experienced such affection from Rocky, and it was honestly quite a moving moment for me. :)

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Another special photo. :)

I came home one day, to find him in an affectionate mood again. This time there was no groomer's after-effect, and I really think it's 'cause he genuinely wants to be affectionate with me. :)))

It was a slow process, but slowly Rocky became more and more affectionate and manja with us! :) Partly 'cause he trusts us more and more, I guess. And also, I think in the beginning, he was acting like a teenage boy. Like, he didn't mind affection, but it had to be on his terms. -_-

But nowadays, he actively comes to us for some lovin', haha. Like he will rest his head on our feet (sign that he wants to be petted), or do a belly-up right in front of us so that we will rub him, or just curl himself up against us. :)

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Rocky graduating from his obedience class! :D

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Celebrating Rocky's first birthday with a special dog cake for him. He finished the cake all by himself!! Over a week la, hahaha. Everyday we gave him one slice of his birthday cake, hahaha.

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Rocky swimming in a pool for the first time! Remember I said that we go outdoors a lot more after Rocky? We find that we do more out-of-the-norm stuff nowadays as compared to just hitting the malls. :)

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Another special photo. :)

This was taken by the boy's sister when both the boy and I were in Singapore. Apparently Rocky spent the whole night waiting by the door for us to come back. Even when she switched off the lights, and asked him to follow her upstairs, he refused and just waited till he fell asleep. T__T

That's when we realized that we meant something to Rocky. :) Finally, it's a two-way relationship! :D

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And somethings never change... This was Rocky when we first brought him home.

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... He still sleeps the same way, hahaha.

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We included Rocky in our Save the Date shoot. :D

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He was also part of our wedding invites. :)

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And of course, he was also present at our wedding ceremony (I looked really short here 'cause I was already in slippers at the end of the wedding, haha). It meant the world to us that he was there, because we got to start our lives as a family. Together. :)))

Occasionally, the boy and I will joke about how Rocky will be like when our family grows... Whether he will steal soiled diapers and run around, whether our kids will try to ride him, whether we will get more dogs to accompany him...

But no matter what, it will be an incredible journey.
Us, and Rocky, our first dog. :)

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Iola said...

so cute :D rocky is such an adorable looking

revel in me said...

lola: Thanks dear! :)