It’s a boy!

Two weeks ago, when Mike and I went to pick out our puppy, there was only a little boy and a little girl left in the litter that we wanted, and we picked the little girl. But yesterday when we went back to pick her up, Soumontha told us that the little girl had met with an unfortunate accident underneath the wheels of a landrover. The only one left was her little brother.

Her little brother who whimpered and moaned whenever we picked him up, and who let the other 14 puppies walk all over him. Literally. Most of the litter was smaller than our little fellow but I saw more than one of them standing on him and biting his head while he just lay there and cried.

“I think maybe he just need some love,” Soumontha said, a trifle uncertainly, as she looked at the groaning little bundle in our arms.

“What type of puppy is he?” I asked her as an afterthought.

“Oh,” she said. “Mother medium. Father large.”


As we were driving home Mike and I talked names.

We were briefly tempted to name him khao niao (sticky rice), but then I vetoed.

I liked Jabulani (which means happiness in the Zulu language), but Mike vetoed. 

“We sure didn’t end up with the alpha of the litter,” Mike said, looking sideways at the tiny, motionless, bundle of fur in my lap. The puppy had stopped groaning, presumably in the hope that if he lay still enough we might forget that he existed.

“Maybe we should name him Beta,” I said.

“Maybe we should name him Zulu,” Mike said.

“He does sort of look like a lion,” I said, laughing, “a very timid little lion. But maybe he’ll turn out to be an African prince after all.”

“Oh, I was more thinking that Z is the last letter of the alphabet and I don’t think he’s the sharpest knife in the drawer,” Mike said.

“He may have been standing last in line when they handed out brains in this litter?” I asked.

“Maybe,” Mike said.

“Are you going to defend yourself against this assertion?” I asked the puppy.

He rolled his eyes back and looked up at me without moving. No, he clearly wasn’t, and Zulu it was.

The first thing he did when we put him down inside the house was to go look for a hiding place. He started out behind the stairs, in among piles of my books (we’re still waiting for bookshelves to be made) and every time I went to check on him during the next three hours he’d somehow managed to worm his way further back into the stacks.

All he did all afternoon was sleep, squeak (he makes the most peculiar un-puppy like sounds), and scratch. I started to wonder whether he might be attachment disordered in addition to everything else. But perhaps he’s not as dumb as we thought he might be, because in light of the three scrubbings and the thorough de-ticking we subjected him to later in the evening his instincts to hide may have been serving him well.

He was so traumatized by the whole day that he stayed in his crate for the first night, downstairs alone, without a peep.

Yesterday, however, after we rolled around on the floor with him, napped with him, sat outside with him, and petted him all afternoon, he started warming up to us.

“We love you,” Mike proclaimed, nose to nose with him on the floor. “You will love us.”

“You might as well give in then,” I advised Zulu. “Once Mike decides to inflict love upon you there’s nothing that can be done.”

“That’s right,” Mike said.

By last night Zulu was wagging his tale and begging loudly not to be abandoned, despite the bottle of water we’d heated up and then wrapped up in a towel to serve as a fake sibling for him. We had to bring the crate upstairs to our bedroom, where at least he slept peacefully until 5am.

“Go back to sleep, Squeaky Z,” I said, when he woke us up this morning by sounding remarkably like a large guinea pig.

Apparently my voice does not carry as much authority as Mike’s, which is why I’m yawing as I write this.

We haven’t yet figured out whether he’ll earn his name for being a princely African warrior of a dog, or a lovable and squeaky dumbo. On the one hand we’ve seen him tumble himself backwards off a ledge and into a pile of stones, and squirm under the door of his crate rather than figure out how to go around it. On the other hand, he’s already toileting outside like a champion (though I guess it’s possible he just lacks the willpower to resist Mike’s enthusiastic exhortations to, “go poo in the grass, that’s the boy!”). Either way, it’s sure fun to have him around.


20 responses to “It’s a boy!

  1. Boy oh boy, that dog is going to be BIG. Look at the size of those paws.

  2. Such a cutie. Puppies almost trick me into forgetting they turn into dogs. 🙂 I love the Mike/ Lisa dialogue. It cracks me up every time. From what I gather Mike’s enthusiasm is a formidable opponent not often defeated.

    I’m happy you have a new little friend to spend your days with! 🙂

  3. He is adorable, Lisa, and you guys are going to shower so much love on him. In return, I promise you, he will shower much love on you as well. What great fun and how heart-warming it is to own a wonderful puppy dog!!

    • It is fun – he’s adorable, and it’s so much fun to see his personality coming out. He sure is timid. Mike spanked him this morning for chewing on the computer cord and you’d have thought he shot him with a BB gun. He sulked for an hour.

  4. Gorgeous story and UBER-gorgeous photos (says the photographer)- really lovely and I hope you guys have heaps of fun and joy together. He looks like an adorable little pup. And I imagine he will have a very happy time with you guys, knowing how much collective love the two of you manage to inflict on the world around you. 🙂

    • Thanks Tris! Yeah, he’s cute, though I can’t believe how much work he is! Now I see why they say you shouldn’t get really little puppy unless someone is at home all day in that first phase. He’s so needy.

  5. I love this post. That little face is just too much! Also, I noticed his crate made it to your bedroom. So much for confining the dog to downstairs, you big softies. 🙂

    • Yeah, we’re still going to train him to stay downstairs, so he’s not allowed to walk around upstairs – we carry him up and down – but he howls and cries if we leave him downstairs alone. We did get him to stay down there last night to start with, and then he woke us up at 11:30 a very unhappy puppy, but he settled down again when I brought him upstairs. We will eventually get him to sleep down there alone, just not this week probably. Sigh. Which means, since Mike’s away for the next two nights I’m a “single parent”.

  6. Too cute, Lis 🙂 He’s going to be a big bundle of love and trouble 😉

  7. Pingback: You owe me grace | Wandering. Wondering. Writing.

  8. Hi Lisa! Cute photos!
    I’m going to avoid my soap-box on what sounds like a terrible way to breed and raise puppies and just ask, can you get tick meds, dewormer and vaccines there? It sounds like your darling baby needs some medical care soon.

    • Yeah, it’s a bit of a problem. He did get a de-worming shot the day we picked him up, and he’ll get another one in a week and a half (administered by an expat here with an interest in animals, but I don’t think she’s a vet), so that’s the extent of the care available right now. We can’t get vaccines here. We did get some tick shampoo down in Vientiane and I know you’re not supposed to use it on puppies but the situation was pretty dire. We pulled more than a dozen ticks off him and I’m sure we missed some. So, in summary, I’m still trying to figure out how best to proceed.

  9. Zulu is so cute and I love your photos of him. Are you adjusting to the 3 am play/whine times? Have their been little accidents hiding in corners of your place? Hope you can find a way to keep him shampoo’d so he doesn’t tick you off 🙂 Sorry, bad pun. In Calgary we were lucky as fleas and tics are hardly a problem. Other things, like parvovirus were more of a concern. When we got Pokey we thought she would be able to sleep outdoors as that was what she had done as a puppy. We didn’t understand that she always slept with her 4 siblings and mom. The first two nights outside in a crate under our back deck, she cried, alot. Even though we went out to soothe her, by morning a number of neighbours stopped in to see the puppy that had kept them up all night…She quickly moved indoors, in a kennel in our bedroom and has stayed there ever since. Puppies know how to get their way!

    • He’s actually being quite good, I have to give him that. This morning he stayed quiet until 7am. No 3am wake up. And so far we’ve had only one pee accident in the house. He’s a champion at going to the toilet outside – I guess because he was raised outside on grass. But, yes, he’s still sleeping int he bedroom.

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