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Posts Tagged ‘Puppies’

Pardon the Interruption

Sooooooo…in a somewhat stupid attempt, on my part, to leave Olie alone in the house for about 30 minutes (with the backdoor open so he could use the facilities, of course), he managed to grab our internet modem and chew through the power chord.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t plugged in at the time.

But when I brought the modem to the office that gave it to us, and explained that we have a very “Pa bon ti chen”, or “bad puppy” in Kreyol, they grimaced, and then told me that it would take 2 weeks to get another.  In Haiti speak, 2 weeks means 3 months, so I improvised.  Using some wire cutters and a roll of electric tape we are back up and running.  Let the blog post bonanza begin!

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I quickly introduced the newest member of the Thorp family last Thursday, but it is now my distinct pleasure to formally introduce you to Oloffson (or Olie for short)!  Now that we’ve gotten a couple days with the guy, we’ve learned a lot about his personality, and he sure is a firecracker!

He’s named after the Oloffson Hotel in Port-au-Prince, a place that made it through the earthquake relatively unscathed, and has tons of character.  We wanted to name him something that gave him a connection to Haiti, but that also fit, so Olie (pronounced Oh-lee) seems to be perfect.

But as I’ve learned over the past four days, it’s incredibly hard to take pictures of a puppy, as they are in constant motion.  It’s for that reason that it’s taken some time to accumulate enough photos for this blog post.  Olie likes to do a lot of things, none of which we should be allowing him to do.  For instance, on the patio outside, it’s practically his full-time job to rip apart decades of beautiful gardening work that grows almost exactly at his eye-level.  He clearly hasn’t been told about Haiti’s deforestation issues yet.

But when not destroying the foliage, he likes to play, and by play I mean mercilessly bite your appendages.  We’re in the process of teaching him that he can nip and not chomp down, but unfortunately he’s having a hard time soaking it in.  Take the picture below.  He looks so cute and peaceful laying on his back, but just as you go down to pet his belly and tell him how you just want to take a bite out of him because he’s so adorable, he lunges at your face and rips off your nose.

And while Jillian and I have found is that raising a puppy is not a fun and glamorous as it looks, we are learning as we go.  For instance, he has a hard time staying upstairs without barking when it’s time to go to bed, so our inexperienced solution is to just stand in front of him saying “NO!”, shuffling back and forth so that we are always standing between him and the barrier that blocks the stairs.  It seems to work, even if it means you have to stand there for 20 minutes before he gets it.

So while we haven’t really gotten a good night’s sleep since he’s arrived, there have been some major victories in the training department.  While Olie clearly has no control over his constantly exploding bladder, he now no longer poops in the house!  He saves that for our walks around the property that we now do about 10 times a day.  He’s also learning to fetch, but it’s become clear that he really only likes the part where he gets to jump on you when he returns the ball.

So there you have it!  I promise I won’t be posting every time he does something cute, but we’ll keep you updated on how he’s doing, and how many plants he has destroyed.

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No, we’re not pregnant!  But my Dad and Tammy arrived in PAP this morning with Jillian’s birthday present to me in tow.  And let’s just say the fact that it was in a crate made for animals was a little unexpected!

The chocolate lab feasting on my cell phone above is the newest addition to the Thorp household!  Because he is Jillian’s gift to me, it’s my responsibility to name him and I’m finding this harder than I expected.  I want to name him something with a Haitian twinge to it, like Prestige (after the Haitian beer), but it’s still up in the air.  But one thing is for sure, Jillian really one-upped me on birthday gifts this year, as I gave her a small handbag as her gift, and she gave me a pure-bred chocolate lab.

He’s eight weeks old today, and weighs in at just over 10 pounds.  He likes prouncing around aimlessly, playing with car keys, and long walks on the beach.  If interested in arranging a date with him, please call 1-800-D8 OUR-PUPPY.  I’ll (obviously) be posting WAY more on him later, so check back for more pictures, but right now we are just going to play with him, because he is SO FREAKING ADORABLE!

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We went for a little day trip to Crouix de Bouqet with our friends Bryan and Sharon last weekend, and on our way back to Port-au-Prince we decided to make a stop to see the puppies! It had been 2 weeks since we had last visit them, so we were excited to see six bundles of puppy joy prouncing around waiting to be taken home.

You see, a wopping 60% of you voted for us to bring home both a puppy and a kitty, and to be honest, that is exactly what we planned to do.  Maybe having both is not the smartest decision to make, but we were excited at the prospect of having a pair of fluff balls running aimlessly around our Ti Kay.

So when we entered the grounds to the World Food Program warehouse that held the puppies and met with their caretaker, we were shocked to hear that all the puppies had died.  BAM! That hits you like a ton of bricks, doesn’t it?  All six of the puppies, every last one of them, had died.  In fact, the last two had died earlier that day.

We looked at the caretaker in disbelief, “How could they all be dead?” we asked.  This was going to be our puppy!  We even chose a name for him: Sebastian (if he was a boy, of course).  He explained that they had all died in succession, each puppy getting the one next to him deathly ill until they all retired.  To me, this sounded ridiculous, he probably just wasn’t feeding her!  I mean, look at their mother:

But how would we ever really know.  Turns out there were actually nine puppies total, and three had died before we had even met the last six.  We sat there is disbelief.  I walked around to the opening of their little enclosure to make sure this guy wasn’t just messing with us, which would have been SO not cool, and sure enough it was empty.

So we walked out dejected by a turn of events that none of us had seen coming.  Not even JeanBa, who owned them, knew it had happened, as we had spoken to him that morning to ask if we could visit.  And so now what was a major decision for the Thorp family just days ago was one that had been made for us.  We won’t need to worry about assimilating our puppy with the other dogs in the complex.  We won’t have to worry about buying expensive puppy food.  And we won’t have to worry about transporting him back to the States.  There will be no puppy, and we have no say in the matter.

And while this can’t be blamed on “Haiti”, it’s reflective of how the way things here just don’t work according to plan.  In Haiti, huge dump-trucks break down in the middle of major thoroughfares and create miles of traffic for hours.  In Haiti, you can never rely on power coming on regularly.  In Haiti, you go to the grocery store and sometimes they have the staples you need, and sometimes they don’t.

And while many of these things happen and are completely manageable (and sometimes fun), the fact that these puppies died is a reminder that not all this stuff is cute, and that the cracks in the systems here aren’t just anecdotal.  We can ride around on Pinotage and see dozens of cars waiting at gas stations because there is a gas shortage, and be like “Man, Haiti is wild!”, but this seems to cut much deeper, in a way I wasn’t expecting. (BTW, our friend Bryan wrote a blog post about this which is totally worth reading HERE)

You live life in Haiti always one step from the edge.  At any moment things could change completely, for better or worse (probably for the worse), but most of it is doable.  The fact that there is traffic makes driving a motorcycle so much more interesting, as you can weave through the jam-packed streets and come out victorious on the other end, cutting your commute in half.  Not having power all the time causes you to find things to do that don’t need it, so Jillian and I are reading and cooking more.  As I tell people that visit here, Haiti makes every day interesting, which isn’t really a bad thing at all.  But when the puppies died it hurt, and all those other things don’t hurt.

In the end, I was probably hit a little harder than Jillian.  Because I was at home so much more, the puppy was likely to be my responsibility, so the big question was if I was ready for it.  I had decided I was, so I was excited to bring Sebastian home and teach him how to eat from Jillian’s Cup-o’-Noodles, and not mine.  But now we’ll stick to a cat (or cats…), which was probably the more responsible, and reasonable, decision in the first place.  It’s just a bummer that we can’t make that decision ourselves anymore, but I guess that’s just Haiti.

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Hmmm, this makes things a little complicated…

As you know, Jillian and I will be adding a kitten to the Thorp family any day now.  Luna is about twice the size she was before getting knocked up, and we are anxiously awaiting the call from our friends saying, “Luna exploded and there are kittens everywhere! Hoorah!!!”

It’s something that we’ve put a lot of thought into.  After looking at our family budget and figuring out if a new kitten was even economically viable for us, we weren’t really given a choice in the matter as we were party to Luna getting pregnant.  It’s therefore our responsibility as the irresponsible temporary parents of this cat to take one of her bastard children in an effort to alleviate the responsibility from her (semi)responsible permanent parents.

Well, we thought we were going to have our hands full already until Jillian got a non-kitten-explosion related phone call.   Jillian’s old co-worker, JeanBa, has thrown a kink in our spokes, and it’s is in the form of a cute ball of puppy goodness!

“Awwwww” is right!  JeanBa’s dog just had 6 puppies that are waiting to be snuggled and posted on youtube for all our family and friends!  Their mother is a mild-mannered Rottweiler mix, and the father is whatever mutt that got lucky with her about 3 months ago.

But now the debate begins, a dog is clearly more responsibility than a cat who could care less if you are home or not.  Transporting a dog also creates it’s own roadblocks as Jillian and I only have our trusted Pinotage at the moment.

You also can’t leave a puppy at home for an extended period of time, and add that to the work of having a kitten, you have a full time job.  It’s almost as if you would need a husband who works freelance and is home most of the time to be able to handle all of this…….WAIT A SECOND!!!

The puppies need to grow for another three weeks before they can be harvested, but we’ve already put a hold on the spotted one above in the event that we decide to convert our house into a baby animal farm.  It doesn’t help that Jillian’s parents have just purchased the cutest little puppy in the world, named Jack.  You can see a picture of him, and more of the puppies if you click the “Continue Reading” link below.

I think we have made a decision, which I will not post here in a brash attempt at creating suspense.  We are definitely still getting one of the kittens, so that’s a lock.  But we would love to hear what you think, and I found this cool button on our blog’s website that allows you to create polls, so vote (OR DIE!)  Just kidding….

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