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This is Rylan.

Rylan is 12 weeks old, he’s a Bearded Collie puppy, and he’s currently occupying… a lot of my life right now.

How (Not) To Buy A Puppy

There’s a meme wandering around Twitter/Facebook at the moment:

… though to be fair we have been planning this for a while.

One of the considerations for this house was it has a nice garden suitable for a dog. I’ve wanted to have one for a while, and after a few “trial runs” dogsitting my parents’ dog Marco a few times (including the fortnight before Lockdown first hit) Fyr came around to support the idea.

I like Bearded Collies. My family’s had them for ages now, they’re playful, friendly and fluffy, annoyingly smart and frustratingly independant, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So soon after we moved in – and not long before Covid-19 hit – I signed up to the waiting lists for the local Bearded Collie kennel-club affiliated groups, a couple of facebook groups, and got in contact with Marco’s breeder in case they heard anything.

Nobody did. Lockdown “stopped production” on beardie puppies for a bit. The breed’s not massive, and there aren’t very many studs around at the moment, and while the dogs aren’t carriers of the virus, their accompanying humans prefer not to risk it.

A few weeks ago I was running some dungeons in Final Fantasy 14 as D&D had been cancelled due to illness when I got a phone call from an unknown number. Suspecting another call about PAC testing my business’ computer equipment, I answered, and was asked if I was still interested in a beardie puppy. The breeder had recently had a litter, and a buyer had pulled out, and I was the next up on the local list.

Absolutely honestly, I wasn’t her first choice. They try to keep their puppies local so they can then meet up and keep in touch, and we were outside of their usual “friend of a friend” network for selling puppies, but we proved our bona-fides in a visit that weekend.

That was an adventure all of itself, because they wanted us to visit that weekend (it was Thursday evening at the time of the call) because the time when the puppies should leave their mother was in a couple of weeks, and this was right on top of The Sun being its usual responsible self and causing a run on the fuel network. Fortunately friend Doug has an electric car that cares not for the shade of The Sun, and was able to give us a lift to Bristol where we met some puppies, their current owners, and the dogs in between.

A couple of weeks, some money and some paperwork later, on October 9th, Friend Olivia gave me a lift back to Bristol, and our small overlord returned with me.

Sailing This Ownership

So we went from “One day we should own a puppy” to “We have a puppy” in about two weeks. Since we moved in here we’ve had a “To-Dog” list for all the things we’d need to do before we could have the puppy, including dog-proofing the garden to avoid escapes, rearranging some stuff to get biteable things out the way. Some of this we’d done over the last year, some got done in a hurry, and some (“Aquarion should learn to drive”, for example) were deemed unlikely to be done in a fortnight.

The first week after our “Gotcha day” were fraught. A few days before we picked him up, Rylan had an operation to remove a small umbilical hernia from his belly, which was healing up nicely. However either as a complication from that, or something he picked up on the way home, he developed what we (and the vet) suspect was Gastroenteritis, so our first few days were… messy, and also worrying. We picked up some medically bland dog food for a few days, gave him some medication in it, and he was right as rain a few days later.

First few weeks

The first few weeks of puppy ownership are mostly around getting the dog used to new things. We alternated sleeping downstairs for the first couple of weeks so he didn’t feel abandoned, we’re getting him used to leads, collars, grooming, being on a bus, other humans. That he’s encountering fireworks this early in his life isn’t great, but does mean he’s getting used to them. Still to come: Going on walks, meeting other dogs, more other people, baths and other fun things. Most of these require him to have completed the next set of vaccinations (delayed because of being ill that first week).

So yes. This is our new family member, Rylan, from a gaelic word meaning “Small King”.

Have some more pictures:

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