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Puppy daycare memories

“Once upon a time there was a magical place where puppies got to play with other puppies, in the presence of gentle adult dogs, whilst their human families needed to work.” began Bluebell who was surrounded by a variety of captivated dogs of all ages and breeds.

They do like a good story, Bluebell  thought.

“Remember the last litter of 11 Labradoodle puppies, that you all got to play with?” said Bluebell. “I remember the silver one. That one chewed on my ear,” said Olive, a visiting wire head fox terrier, as she pawed at her ear, in memory of a few months ago. “I was scared and Barnaby was so brave,” said the wide eyed Pug Juno. Bluebell threw her head back and laughed at the memory of Barnaby walking into the midst of 11 pups and Juno cowering behind the door. “Barnaby was only 12 weeks old at that time I think,” said Bluebell looking for confirmation from the Frenchie. “Don’t ask me,” said Barnaby, “I don’t know how old I am now!” He said looking puzzled.

“There was Trompe,” called out Huxley the mini Yorkie. “He was a teacup Maltese and only 10 weeks old. Tiniest dog I ever saw,” said Huxley. In unison the dogs looked down at the minute dog sitting in their midst. “That’s a bit like the kettle calling the pot black,” remarked Luna the Chihuahua.

“There was that Labrador puppy … what was her name again?” asked Jack. Jack, a stunning black and white Collie, had been a visitor of Dogzcreche the longest of them all. “Mmmmmm … Melody” remembered Bluebell. “Yes that’s it … She was bat crazy at first, running all over the place. Then she calmed down.” said Jack. “And remember Toffee the Jack Russel and his sister Butter. Toffee was so tiny, 8 weeks old, when he arrived and played all the time with Pearl. Pearl wasn’t that much older around 3 months then.”  Jack said looking down at his best friend Pearl, the Cockapoo, who was snuggled up against him. Jack had been friends with her from day one. Pearl was the youngest of the resident dogs at Dogzcreche so he was guaranteed to see her each time he visited.

Bluebell dozed off to sleep leaving everyone reminiscing about the puppies that they had all played a part in socialising at Dogzcreche. Her last thought was that she would have to finish her story another time


Rufus and grace

Rufus and Grace

At the morning briefing Claire had mentioned that we were getting two new doggy visitors to stay for the day. Bluebell was a little concerned to have new visitors, her litter of pups were seven weeks old and at that playful age. She wasn’t convinced these Hungarian Vizsla’s would be up to the challenge. Claire said their humans were at their whit’s end. Rufus and Grace had begun to get destructive when left all day whilst their humans had to go to work.

Well they certainly won’t be bored here, thought Bluebell as she broke up a scuffle between her two babies for the umpteenth time that morning.

Today was going to be a long day, she sighed.

As rush hour was tapering off Claire left in her car to roundup the dog visitors for the day. Whilst she was gone Bluebell checked everything was ready for their arrival.

Some dogs require the initial meeting to be on neutral territory. Claire had mentioned to Bluebell that this was probably also a good approach to take with these guys because of her puppies. A few minutes before Claire was due back Jade, Claire’s daughter, got Bluebell, Sweetpea and Peaches ready with their leashes on. Jade patted her pocket to check she had remembered the treats. Claire planned a quick walk around the block as she didn’t want them going for a run in the park, they may unintentionally return home with germs and it would be a disaster if this was passed on to the puppies. Bluebell was disappointed but agreed with the sentiment. Jade opened the gate and off they set. Ahead of them Bluebell picked up a scent that she didn’t recognise. She lifted up her head and clocked two reddish brown dogs that looked like they needed a hearty meal, walking ahead of her on leashes, and there was Claire.

That must be them, Bluebell decided.

She strained on her leash to catch up. The larger of the dogs turned around, seemed to notice them, he dropped his tail and squished up close to Claire’s leg. Bluebell barely noticed Claire, her focus was fully on these potential new friends.

So this is what a Hungarinan Vizslar looks like she thought. What a huge size difference between the male and the female.

They walked separately for half the block, Jade was positioned a meter behind Rufus and Grace. After she observed Rufus’s tail was up and he looked relaxed, she caught up with Claire and they allowed the dogs to familiarise themselves with each other. Bluebell made sure she got a good sniff of them.

All good on that front, she decided.

By the time they arrived at the gate of Dogzcreche, the doggy day care, all five dogs were walking side by side with their tails up.

Prior to leaving, Bluebell had helped Jade put the puppies in their box, so that when the doggy day care new visitors arrived they wouldn’t be overwhelmed as soon as they placed their paws inside the gate. Bluebell observed Rufus walking around the garden with his snout pointing skywards most of the time.

Rufus has this regal air about him, thought Bluebell.

Grace was checking out all the scents and once she had completed a thorough check of the venue she approached Rufus and gave him a nudge as if to say all is safe here. Rufus seemed to relax instantly …. but this wasn’t to last long.

Claire had just lifted the door of the puppy box and out spilt eleven Labradoodle puppies, four fluffy white puppies and the rest glossy black. They spotted mom and bounded towards her for some milk. Bluebell didn’t feel in the mood for a lynching so she retreaded inside. She chose to watch the introductions from the lounge window. As soon as the pups had realised the boob bar was closed they looked around for some other entertainment and soon spotted Rufus who stood rooted in one spot in the centre of the grass. The pups sensing his unease made a beeline for him. Rufus looked, to Bluebell, like his legs had turned into cement. The pups swarmed him. Helplessly he swivelled his head following one pup as it ran circles around him. Bluebell saw Claire walk up to Rufus reassuring him and introducing him to the pups. Grace on the other hand no qualms she seemed to be enjoying the little rascals. Bluebell watched her lunging and retreating with two of them and then she rolled over whilst a group of them piled on top of her.

A natural Mom, she decided.

When Rufus and Grace’s humans arrived, late that afternoon, they found two very content yet exhausted dogs. As they were walking down the driveway to get into their car. Rufus mentioned to Bluebell that the best part of the day for him was Massage Time and he asked if that was a standard treatment here. Bluebell reassured him that it was a daily treat. Rufus went on to inquire when the pups would be leaving, adding that he thinks he would prefer to come back when there would be less little pests around. Grace nudged him to be quiet and told Bluebell that she on the other hand would love to come and play with the pups every day. Bluebell imparted a lick on her face as a thank you.


Peaches and Chico


The big day had arrived for cheeky Chico. He was to leave the comfort of his human mommy to spend a few days with The Labradoodle pack and Claire, at DogzCreche day care. Chico is a stunning Pekingese that gathers compliments wherever he goes. Claire picked up that he was quite a self contained confident little chap yet that first day he spent most of the day following her everywhere she went.

Obviously a little unsettled, she thought.

Sweetpea seemed to be unaware of his existance, Bluebell gave him a few cursory sniffs and also wondered off, yet Peaches was intrigued. That first day Claire observed her circling him with a ball in her mouth. After a few turns she would drop the ball at his feet, It looked like she was inviting him to play. However when Chico made to pick up the ball Peaches would give him a deep growl. Chico would step back confused. Peaches would go on to repeat this activity many times and true to form it ended in a growl. After a few tries of connecting with Peaches, Chico stopped going for the ball and snuggled in closer to Claire’s ankles yet he never stopped watching Peaches every move.

Claire decided it was best to continue with her chores as normal and by the end of the day had begun to get quite used to her Pekingese shadow. When she sat down early evening for her first cup of tea of the day, Chico surprised her with his agility by jumping nimbly onto the sofa and plopping down on her lap. Peaches not to be out done asked to come up too. Claire acquiesced and sat trapped under the two dogs. Claire was scared she would spill the hot tea on one of the dogs. The tea went cold. Claire sat for a long while gazing down on this funny pair snuggled up warmly on her lap. As darkness descended the two pooches slipped into a deep sleep with their heads touching.

The next morning it was as if the previous day’s antagonism had never occurred. Peaches and Chico became inseparable. The two dogs played and played until they exhausted themselves, they would then flop down for a brief rest before setting off on another session of play.

Peaches is in her element, Claire thought.

Bluebell seemed relaxed and happy enough to be relieved of the job of entertaining her grandchild. She took her regular place on the patio allowing her an uninterrupted view of the entertainment taking place in the garden. Sweetpea had found a quiet spot and snuggled down for yet another snooze.

During their morning walk Claire discovered an interesting fact about Pekingese dogs.

They are one of the stubbornness dogs I’ve ever come across, even more so than a bull terrier and that is saying something, decided Claire

Chico stopped walking. he just stood rooted in one spot and refused to place another foot forward. Nothing Claire did could persuade him to move. She applied every trick in the book, initially bribing him with dried liver treats which she knew he loved. When this failed she jumped up and down excitedly trying to get him to follow her. But Chico was having none of it and all that resulted were the gathering stares from people around her. By now he had laid down in the middle of the pavement and was still refusing to move a muscle. Some runners ran past them laughing at the standoff. Short of dragging him along by his harness Claire eventually she had to admit defeat, she picked him and carried him home, grateful that he was only a little toy.

When a Pek has had enough, he has had enough it seems, Claire mused with a small smile playing on her face.

Chico’s human arrived later the following afternoon. Chico looked overjoyed to see her. After his very excited hello he resorted to running back and forth between his precious human and his new best friend Peaches. His human said she couldn’t believe how much they had connected to each other. As the humans bid each other goodbye, both of the dogs tails wagged in unison and Claire wondered if that could be dog talk for see you again soon.



Mash’s owners had early meetings planned for the following day. They told Mash they would be dropping her off in the morning at her doggy day care. Mash awoke feeling excited, she loved going to DogzCreche, she only wished she could visit every day of the week. It wasn’t like she wasn’t happy at home but the weekdays could be so boring without her humans. They had been discussing getting her another dog for company, and although Mash loved that idea she still wouldn’t want to give up her days at Dogzcreche.

Sweetpea and Peaches arrived to great her at the gate. They each ran around sniffing each others butts.

Something humans really don’t relate to, thought Mash. But then I don’t get the human act of mouth to mouth activity. What is that all about? Give me butt sniffing any day, she decided and proceeded to draw in another whiff.

Sweetpea seems alert today, noticed Mash.

She is so much fun when she plays with us. I am lucky that I get to spend time with my friends, thought Mash and ran after them barking.”

At nine o’clock Claire vanished for a while but Mash barely noticed because she was playing with the Labradoodles. Jade and her brother were overseeing their fun. Occasionally Mash would cock her ears to listen for the sound of Claire’s car, wondering who else was coming to play today, but if she was honest with herself she was in the main wondering what form Treat Time would take today. The thought of Treat Time made Mash drool. She loved Massage Time and Walk Time but she would take Treat Time over them any day.

Mash heard a familiar sound and the gate opened, Claire had arrived back. Mash ran up the driveway after the car. Claire opened the back door of the car and Molly, Buster, Poppy and Chico jumped out. Mash decided to ignore the butt sniffing greeting today because she had other plans. She arranged her face into a pleading look and tilted her head up at Claire.

“Hello there Mash,” said Claire as she ruffled her head.

Mash tried again this time nudging Claire’s hand with her nose.

“What’s up Mash?”

How do I get the message across? Mash thought.

Then she had a brainwave. She ran in front of Claire and sat determinedly, blocking her way, she looked up at Claire with her tongue hanging out. Claire looked down at her. Mash jumped up and did a few 360 degree circles then sat again with a determined plop.

“Ah now I get it. You want Treat Time.”

Finally, thought Mash and she jumped up and down to let Claire know she had got it right.

“Give me a few minutes.” Claire said and disappeared inside.

A short while later Mash heard Claire calling out her favourite words “Treat Time.”

What will it be today, Mash wondered. Will it be an ice block filled with treats, like the other day? Will they be given to us as a reward for following a command or will they be hidden? I do hope we have to find them. I do like a good treasure hunt.

“OK guys and girls. I have hidden the treats in the Lounge. Use your noses. Go find” Claire said.

Mash didn’t wait for anyone else and rushed off to look for the treats in the lounge. She noticed Bluebell chewing on something out of the corner of her eye.

That Labradoodle has an annoyingly excellent nose, Mash thought grudgingly.

Then she spotted a salmon treat just under the chair and dived for it before anyone else saw it too.

Mmmmm, yum that was gooooood.

Something else caught her eye behind the miniature concrete lion statue.

Could that be what I think it is? She thought.

Mash noticed Bluebell sniffing in the vicinity,
It won’t be long before she picks up the scent. That’s if she hasn’t already, Mash thought. Not taking any risks, Mash made a lunge toward it, reaching there a split second before Bluebell.

My favourite, she thought chewing on the dried raw beef coated in herbs, but no salt.

Mash found three more treats, but she didn’t give up looking until all the other dogs faded away. She knew she had a good nose but Bluebell was the champion of this game. Mash felt that she was at a disadvantage with some of the other games they played at Dogzcreche. Other pooches seemed to find it easier than her when the ice block treats came out. Mash didn’t enjoy the feeling when her tongue got briefly attached to the icy block. It meant that she took longer than her friends to retrieve her treats, which were buried deep inside the ice.

I can’t be good at everything, she decided.

Feeling a little tired Mash selected one of the many dog beds scattered on the patio. She snuggled down into the softness and drifted into a relaxing sleep accompanied by the sound of classical music in the background.