Life with Riley
  The Diary of a Spanish Water Dog

Monday 28 December 2009


Finally the day has arrived when we can collect Riley.  After two weeks in the Caribbean we are both tanned and rested and confident (fairly) that we can cope with our Spanish Water Dog puppy.  In fact we haven’t been home yet; the suitcases are still in the boot, from when  we flew back yesterday.


After more than two hours spent with Rita going through the paperwork, together with lots of advice on looking after a SWD puppy, we leave with one small white female puppy with a tail, a large mound of paperwork, a large bag of food, and a load of goodies (including a collar and lead, bowls, toys, a piece of vet bed, a fleecy blanket and a flashing LED light).  Although she momentarily seemed subdued as we walked to the car, within seconds of being placed in her crate in the car she is playing with the toy dog (“Dog”) we had put in the crate earlier.  We had also pre-sprayed the vet-bed in the crate with DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone).


Although Riley did cry and howl for the first half hour, as we had been advised, we didn’t attempt to comfort her, and she settled down and went to sleep. When she started crying again later when Radio Five Live was giving the football results, I said that Mike now had to put up with two females that won’t let him listen to sport (Mike has to put up with me talking through the sports news on Radio 4 every morning).  He joked that she was in fact complaining that she couldn’t hear the results as the radio was turned down fairly low, and turned it up … immediately she became quiet.  He turned it down and she howled, he turned it up and she shut up and went to sleep. She now seemed quite content – perhaps her team had won?


The traffic was slow, but apart from the odd whinge, she seemed happy, and slept much of the way home.


We eventually arrived, and after showing Riley the garden, and letting her charge around for ten minutes, she was put in the bath.  She howled through the entire bath – I think we have the only SWD who doesn’t like water.


At around 11.00 pm we put Riley into her crate in the hall, added Dog and settled down with a night cap.  Riley howled and was still howling when we headed for bed.  We had also left her with a night light, an alarm clock next the crate that sounds like a heart beat and a plug-in DAP diffuser.  Expecting a sleepless night, I was surprised after around 20 minutes when it went quiet.  She slept through until 2.30 pm when she started whimpering.  When it went quiet, we both crept down stairs.  It was like a military operation; I picked up Riley, Mike covered lights and doors and we headed outside.


She clearly wanted to play, but we were careful not to speak to her, and after about five minutes, we placed her in her crate and headed back upstairs.  Although she whined for about 10 minutes, she settled down, went to sleep and didn’t wake up until we went downstairs to make a cup of tea at 6.20 am.  And her crate was completely dry!   Jayne


Tuesday 29 December 2009


A big day – snow forecast and Oscar the cat to collect from the cattery!


We decided to take Riley along for the ride, if only to prove to her that not all car journeys last over 3 hours.  The cattery is only 5 minutes drive, and by the time we arrived she was laid down and dozing in her cage.  Oscar in his travel box arrived and though they eyed each other up, all was quiet.


On arriving home, we let Oscar out to explore as he’d been away for nearly 3 weeks, and anyway, by now Riley was fast asleep.  This gave us the opportunity to manufacture some plant pot covers, as she’d already shown a desire to dig out soil from the ones she could reach.   When the job was finished, we woke her up and brought her inside to properly meet and greet Oscar.


Their first encounter was at the back door, Oscar attempting to enter, and Riley attempting to exit. Both seemed surprised to meet and stopped in their tracks. Surprisingly, as we suspect she’d never seen a cat before and Oscar formerly lived with 4 dogs, Riley seemed the less fazed. Though a little wary of each other, within a few minutes Riley was playing with her toys scooting around the kitchen floor, while Oscar sat in the middle hoping for more food to come his way.  A couple of hours they were happily sleeping on the same rug, Riley holding on to another squeaky toy who we’ve named “Sidney”.


This seemed to set the pattern for the rest of the day, play and sleep, play and sleep. Only if she was alone when she woke up did she whine and howl. But even if it was only Oscar that was around she’d be happy and quiet – we seem to have recruited a third puppy sitter!


When she did create, she proved to us that she has a decent pair of lungs, but we resolutely followed the advice of ignoring her, and though difficult at times, so far it does seem to work.   Mike 


 Wednesday 30 December 2009


Jayne had to go into the office today, so it was just me and Riley.  It was her first trip to the vets for her check up and first injections. 


She was given a clean bill of health, and again took everything in her stride, including the injection.  Next injection in 2 weeks time, and then 10 days until she can hit the ground!


Though the vet isn’t far away, it’s been a horrible wet day so I again took her in the car in her cage. After the vet I had some shopping to do, she again travelled well and soon went to sleep. When we’d parked, she just looked up as I locked her in, then it was head down again. She didn’t cry and was asleep when I returned 30 minutes later.   Mike


Thursday 31 December 2009


New Year’s Eve.  I had to work today, and couldn’t get out of the office until after 3.00 pm.  As we didn’t feel that we could go out and leave Riley, we had a quiet evening in rather than the ball we had been invited to; Mike cooked scallops and chips and opened a bottle of champagne.  Riley was happy with her usual Royal Canine Medium Junior dog food.  She was so unfazed with the fireworks going off at midnight, that we opened the door so that she could hear them better.  She is a lot more confident than I was expecting of a SWD.   Jayne










Riley and Sidney


To January 2010