Introducing Claire

We’ve been thinking about it for about six months now, and finally broke down. We found some shepherd mix puppies on the web last Wednesday at a rescue organization in Rock Hill, called Richardson Rescue. It is a family owned rescue operation. We fell in love with the puppies from the pictures and we decided to go down there yesterday just to do some recon, not really intending to actually bring one home.

The little girl we fell in love with was the runt of the litter. The parents are a German shepherd, Lab, and Great Dane (!!!) mix, so the puppies all looked very different. There was one that looked exactly like a yellow lab puppy, one that looked just like a German shepherd, and two that looked like they were going to be huge, furry dogs, like a Great Pyrenees (if you’ve never seen one of them…google it, they’re HUGE!) Our girl was smaller than the rest by a lot, and her paws were even slimmer and more dainty than her siblings. I was initially hooked on the one blonde one that looked like a lab, but the one we ended up choosing was shy, but didn’t take her eyes off us the whole time we were there. She “talked” to us through the kennel fence and the deal was sealed.

She has fur coloring like a shepherd, but her face is very lab. She has a much shorter snout than a shepherd, and her ears are floppy, like a lab’s. I don’t see the Great Dane in her, but I guess time will tell.

She was born on November 18th, so she just turned seven weeks old.

We ended up naming her Claire. We spent all day waffling between Lily, Heidi, and Claire (with consideration for Sunny, Honey, Lucy, and a few others). Last evening she just kind of seemed like a Claire. She is a bit on the shy side, but she is warming up fast, and I think she is going to be a sweet, sporty dog. We are already fantasizing about getting her out on the trail and going camping with her.

We are crate-training her, and her first night home, she woke up about every two hours. We had to alternate getting up and sitting outside of her crate and talking to her, soothing her until she went back to sleep. That lasted until about 3:00 am. She got really agitated and we let her out and she slept at the foot of the bed, and more importantly…she let US sleep! All in all, we only got about four hours of uninterrupted sleep that night! We don’t want her to get used to sleeping in the bed, but it was her first night, and she did so good with the crate from about 10:00 to 3:00. Plus, the crate-training material we have says that they shouldn’t come to regard the crate as a punishment or source of distress. The crate is huge, big enough for an adult shepherd-sized dog, so hopefully she comes to regard it as her den and a place of security. The training material says that it is almost a guarantee that will happen, if the training is done right. We want to do everything right.

She is nearly potty trained already! Her natural instincts to not make a mess in her living spaces seems to be really strong. As soon as we got out of the Jeep when we were bringing her home, she pottied in the front yard, and did a number two! We were so delighted. She let us know she had to go by whining and sniffing around on three or four other occasions during the evening and night. We have some potty pads for training that we keep around the house, and she has used them twice, and had only one accident on the floor. She’s already almost there with the house training.

I have a whole other week off from work, so that will be some quality time for me to make progress on her crate and house training.

Her first vet appointment is Wednesday.

Yay! We love her so much already.

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