That's how long my landlord waited to tell us we couldn't keep the puppy. When I picked Scout up last Saturday I emailed him promptly explaining that we had this pup in the unit, and that if his owners weren't found we'd like to discuss keeping him. As I learned more about the local proceedings regarding lost dogs I called the fire chief Monday and reported that I was fostering a lost dog. We'd been sharing the word every way we knew how. Through the local rescue group and Facebook and word of mouth. He told us that if by Wednesday the owners hadn't come forward, he was considered abandoned, and we could then choose to keep him or find him a new home. I sent another email to the landlord explaining the timeline and saying I'd really like to have an answer by Thursday morning at the latest, so that we could start treating him like ours, or work on finding him a new home. He told me that he understood, and that he'd discuss it with his "partner"(brother), but never gave me an answer. Saturday night. That's when he finally gave me an answer. Not only a week after I'd first asked, but after 2 and a half hours of working in my apartment. He couldn't have led with that? It's not even like he mentioned it as he was leaving. I had to sit through another two awkward hours of hating on this man puttering around in my home. I was furious. I was devastated. I was depressed. I felt raw and wrung out. I was sobbing big wet tears while the stupid doodlebop was trying to lay tiles in our laundry room.
For those unfamiliar, let me explain all that happens in a whole wide week with a young puppy. It's such a crucial time in their development. And it happens so fast. It's kind of like being with a baby from their first to third birthdays. When we brought him home he was small and scared with a rough dirty coat, shivering and ravenous with a belly empty but swollen full of worms. I made up a batch of home made dog food, thinking he wouldn't be here long, and that it wouldn't be worth buying dog food. He was SO hungry and used to having to fight for his food that he gulped down the whole bowl in about 2 frenzied seconds, biting at the side of the bowl and pushing it clear across the room in his haste. He was insufferable in the kitchen. Any time you went and stood at the counter he'd start crying and leaping up at you, begging for food. He had never done stairs. He had never been introduced to the concept of potty training. He probably lived outdoors. We got him used to the idea of going outside on a leash to potty. That pressure on his collar isn't something to yelp about. We're still not fully potty trained, but I think we're making some real progress in that area. When we ran out of the home made food he'd been here so long that I had myself convinced we'd be keeping him. I bought a big bag of puppy chow. He was already getting better at meal times. He actually pauses to both breathe and chew while eating. I taught him "sit" and I taught him "down" and ask for one behaviour or the other before feedings to help him settle and calm down a bit before he begins eating. He doesn't beg in the kitchen anymore either, and he's pretty good if we eat at the dining room table, but he still makes a nuisance of himself when we eat on the couch.
Since about Wednesday we've taken him for a daily walk. He enjoys exploring his neighbourhood and is very good with all the dogs we meet, including the ones off leash who rush up to him in pairs barking and growling. We've had puppy play dates with the dogs of friends of ours, and he's gotten quite close to Meika. He's had a full course of wormers, and now his belly only looks swollen right after a big meal. He's grown so much that we've had to loosen his collar twice. When we first brought him home he could escape through the slats in the deck railing, but now he can just get his head through comfortably. There is no way he could get those shoulders throught.
I bought a second hand crate for him and taught him to sleep in it at night, and we didn't have one single night of crying and fussing over it. He's also ok with napping in the crate in the daytime with the door shut, but we haven't tried leaving him alone yet and I have a feeling he would squawk about it. Baby steps. The crate looked big at first, but it's just about the right size for him now, and will probably be too small in another few days.
Between proper nutrition and his own grooming and our petting, his coat has gotten much smoother and softer. He gets a bit of oil and the occasional bit of raw egg to help with this. He's a handsome looking dog for sure.
He likes to wrestle with Andrew and snuggle with me. He still bites a little hard sometimes, but we're learning to tell the difference between playing and being mean.
In short... It may only have been a week, but we've lived with this puppy, helped him grow, and fallen head over paws in love with him. Having him leave is going to be so heartbreaking. I miss him already, but he's right here beside me with his head on my lap. If the answer to the question "can we keep this puppy" was always going to be no, I really wish he had told us last Sunday.