gracie the grown up.

If you look to the top of the page, right under Frannie Loves Marie, you will see the line treasures, dress ups and stories of a wonderful life. Well, caring for my puppy Gracie means that the treasures and dress ups don’t come about as frequently as they used to for fear of their destruction and lack of funds, but the life becomes becomes even more wonderful. I last wrote about Gracie graduating from puppy school over 3 months ago and boy has she grown from a fluffy little youngin’ in to a stinky, slobbery real-life dog!

Here’s a FLM update on her canine capers of late because I know you all adore cute dogs as much as Marie and I do…

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my favourite time of the day.

If there’s something I have learnt since starting a blog, it’s that there are weeks when I have trouble finding the words for what I would like to say. In those weeks, it is often best for me to say nothing at all – the people have probably had enough of my ‘if superheroes were real’ ramblings. I did come to a realisation today though that keeps bringing the most ridiculous smile to my face. In a bid to highlight the small joys of life to even just one other person, I thought I would quickly share said thought with the readers of FLM.

I realised what my favourite time of day is.

If you had asked me yesterday what time that was, the answer probably would have involved bed time or meal time, but now I know for sure that my favourite time of day is waking up in the morning. I am not a chirpy earlybird and am barely coherent before a coffee, but these days when my alarm goes off in the morning, I could not be happier. I generally hit snooze but am lucky to get another second of shut-eye before my girl Gracie is waking us up with a loud yawn or hiccups or pleads for us to play. CB kisses my forehead, then jumps out of bed to let Gracie outside. As I watch them walk out of the room together, I smile a little smile knowing I am about to begin another day filled with the love of my two favourite beings.

What’s your favourite time of the day? Have a think about it and I’ll bet you can’t help but smile either.

my loves.

gracie the graduate.

My Gracie is now just over four months old and last Sunday, she graduated from puppy school! They grow up so fast.

proud puppy papa.

We took Gracie to puppy school with Urban Dog Training, coincidently-not-on-purpose the same place Marie & AK took their gorgeous Mia when she was a youngin’. She fast became the lovable rascal, even being the only student to be ‘timed out’ during class (or ‘red carded’ as CB and I announce it as at home).

If you’re wondering whether you need to take your precious pup to pre-school, well I’m here to tell you that your life will be made easier tenfold if you do.

As you know, baby Grace is a border collie x kelpie and I don’t feel shame asserting that she’s faster and more coordinated than me, probably more intelligent and definitely more mischievous… must get that last trait from her puppydaddy. This is a killer combo that could have brought about some really frustrating teething problems within the first couple of years of Gracie’s life. In fact, it did bring on some early frustration when we simply could not settle her down or stop her from play-biting and excitedly jumping all over guests, accidentally scratching them as a result.

We learned a stack of invaluable info over the five-week course of puppy school, that only takes an hour out of your week (and is actually lots of fun because you get to ooh and ahh over all the other precious pups there). After a short excited outburst at the sight of new humans, Gracie now knows she must sit still if she wants someones attention. Gracie can sit, shake, drop, roll over and stays put if you ask her to wait. Puppy school taught her manners and that was the one outcome we really wanted to see.

Puppy school is not just for working breeds and naughty pups either. We had every size of dog in our class from dalmatians to a chihuahuas and everyone benefited from the lessons. Some needed to learn how to stop their tiny pups from barking and crying all day long, others had dogs who were terribly shy and needed a bit of confidence. I feel that puppy schools also teach the importance of positive reinforcement and ‘punishment’ in the form of a time-out rather than smacking your pup. If you have an older dog at home who is a bit cheeky or you want to adopt a dog that is older than the puppy age bracket, then most companies (like Urban Dog Training) have classes suited to mature pets as well.

There truly is something for everyone in these canine classrooms!

sit pretty.

paranoid puppy parenting.

As you all know I recently became a proud Puppy-Mama to little Grace Everton. She is now 14 weeks old.

dirty nose.

Having Gracie home for nearly two months has brought to my attention my scary potential to become an overbearing and overprotective mother to my future human babies. Gracie is a dirt-loving and adventure-seeking sports animal with endless amounts of energy. We have learnt pretty quickly that the ‘kelpie’ is strong in this one and as a result she at times talks back, nips at our heels to herd us and definitely has selective hearing; choosing only to respond to her name when it suits her. Gracie is also the most loving, cuddly, intelligent and eager to please pup that I have ever known and we couldn’t be more in love with her or proud to show off our girl.

Gracie showing who is boss.

However, the combination of my adoration and her adventurous personality has me on edge. I want to protect her from everything bad in the world but in doing so I risk passing my anxieties on to her (if you’re not a dog person or are yet to own an anxious pooch, then you might think this is ridiculous but it is a very real thing. Especially ‘separation anxiety’).

Gracie had her first paralysis tick over the weekend and this morning as we left for work she hit her head (somewhere outside while sniffing around for a good spot to dig) and cut herself pretty badly. She was unfazed by both accounts… CB and I on the other hand? We were pretty stressed. After a half hour of struggling to get Gracie to hold still, we managed to remove the tick ourselves but that didn’t stop us from worrying and monitoring her constantly.

Maybe it’s normal to worry this much. In fact, I’m certain that it is but I don’t ever want to stop Gracie from having fun or from being the independent dog we first fell in love with. Moving forward, we plan to socialise her with other dogs in puppy pre-school and take advice from dog owners there, hopefully helping to remind us just how resilient these gorgeous animals are. There is plenty of help out there as well online, in bookstores or even through friendly pet store assistants who have provided us with a wealth of knowledge they’ve learned over the years. We do a lot of reading and asking around and have been pleasantly surprised that any naughty behaviour is simply a sign of her adolescence and have found most of what we’re doing so far has created a positive environment for Gracie to grow up in. The important thing is that she is shown love and affection and that we treat her with plenty of time to play and activities to occupy her incredible brain.

So my advice to those with new pups that find themselves constantly worrying if they’re doing the right thing or keeping them safe enough (read: advice to myself) is simply to stop and breathe. Let them stumble and fall and yelp and play with other dogs and in doing so they will learn the right way to act and the safest way to play. Some little tips and tricks we would have been lost without include:

  • Don’t allow your puppy the opportunity to make mistakes. We keep her out of the rooms she’s not allowed in by closing doors or using a baby gate. If she is chewing something she shouldn’t, we replace the ‘forbidden object’ with a toy she is allowed to chew.
  • Keep your puppy entertained. We knew our girl would be smart, but we didn’t realise how easily this could lend to being destructive when bored. We rotate her toys to keep things different and interesting and recently invested in a Kong Genius toy which makes it hard for her to get to her treats. It has also provided plenty of entertainment for us as we watch her try new ways to figure the Kong out.
  • Puppies under two months can’t have any tick protection and even after that it can only be in the form of a tick prevention collar. Be scrupulous in checking them over for any ticks and make sure that if you remove them yourself, you get the entire tick out.
  • Socialise your pup from an early age with all types of humans and other dogs. It will help them to learn bite inhibition, manners and to stay calm in strange environments.
  • Allow them to have ‘me’ time. Puppies will become anxious when separated from you if they’re used to having you there all the time. If you aren’t actively playing with your pup then place them somewhere safe (we crate trained Gracie and provided her with a playpen) with plenty of toys to keep them entertained and they will learn that being alone is okay.
  • Stick to it! If you feel like a training technique isn’t having any effect then the best thing you can do is stick to it anyway. Changing tact will only confuse your puppy as sometimes it just takes them a while to adjust.

If you have a new pup and want to ask any questions or talk to a fellow paranoid puppy parent, then please don’t hesitate to ask me anything! I’m getting a tiny bit better every day in learning to stand back and have her learn her own lessons in time. I contemplated permanently wrapping her in cotton wool to keep her out of trouble… but when she did this to her bed yesterday I realised she was sending me a pretty strong message of how she felt about my plans to make her a cotton wool baby.

naughty puppy.

and they called it puppy love.

Mondays are hard even for those with the most positive of dispositions. The weekend is over and it’s time to head back to the workplace. Mondays at the moment are especially hard for me because every morning I have to say goodbye to this adorable, freckly little face…
adorable.

My Gracie is settling in very well to her new home and I thought I’d give you all a bit of an update of how quickly she is growing while hopefully adding smiles to your Monday with some cute puppy photos.

grubby gracie.

adventure dog.

first bath.

week 1.week 3. ps. stop growing!fave toys.

Introducing…

Happy Valentine’s Day lovers and romantics the world over! I am the happiest in love I have ever been and so a few people have already asked me, ‘what will you and CB be doing this Feb 14?’ To those people I say, BRINGING HOME A PUPPY OF COURSE!

Frannie Loves Marie readers, please meet our lovely little girl – Grace Everton B.

G.E.B.

G.E.B.G.E.B.Cheeky Gracie.It is something we have both wanted for the longest time and we are over-prepared and beyond excited to welcome little Grace (a farm born border collie x kelpie) into our home, hearts and family.

santa honey, i want a yacht and really that’s not a lot…

I try not to get too wrapped up in having ‘things’… but as Madge once said, we are living in a material world. Every now and then I like to let some cheeky thoughts wander off to a shopping centre when I daydream about all the little bits and bobs I’d love to have in my possession. Of all the lists I have ever written, there is one that is my favourite to compile. Spending all year being a good girl and crossing my fingers that Santa will find me on December 24, these are some of the festive season must-haves that this tries-not-to-be-but-kind-of-still-is-a material girl would love Mr Claus to leave under the tree this Christmas.

First to fill out my stocking, Gucci’s new fragrance Gucci Premiere.

gucci premiere.

Maybe I think wearing this divine scent will make me look like Blake Lively (have you seen the ad? Gorgeous!). Regardless though, one thing I know for sure is that the perfect perfume completes an outfit and when I took my first whiff of Gucci Premiere, it was love at first smell.

Next thing I need (want), are some new glasses frames.

potential new pradas

I have terrible eyesight and I think after three years rocking the same frames I’m due for an update. Something a bit lighter than my current ones perhaps. My laziness means that I cannot be bothered putting contacts in each day so I figure that’s a perfect excuse to replace them. Right?

Now that I’ve got my eyes sorted, I’ll move on to another facial feature – the lips. Santa please bring me a red lippy to match your sleigh?

red lips.The first time I really wore red lipstick, or any lipstick for that matter, was at Marie’s wedding this September. It was a pretty scary addition to my normal make up routine, but now that I have given it a go, I think I might like to try mastering it myself.

I guess all that’s really left to ask for is a cute, new little black dress to team with my red lipstick. Something like this Wish tunic dress…

147099070_fs_1

A bit of sparkle and a bold red lip would be perfect for New Year’s Eve and welcoming in 2013 in style.

While I’m busy writing my list, there is of course one thing I want more than all of the Wayne Cooper dresses ever made. A puppy. As I’ve mentioned before, CB and I cannot wait to welcome a fluffy and slobbery addition in to our world but for now we have to be patient ensuring the home we have created is ready for our new best friend. If you are planning on giving or getting a puppy (or other furry friend) this Christmas, please remember all the responsibility that comes with being a pet owner and that the little darling is a gift for life.

man's best friend.