On the QV every minute since Pup tumbled into the deep end of the pool, I realized that something had to be done to forestall a repeat of that adventure. Pup needs to be able to go outside without Human dithering over her every moment, and Human's nervous breakdown must be forestalled.

What to do that would be navigable for the human but nonnavigable for the canine? And preferably not TOO gawdawful hideous...

At the Depot, I found the usual wire garden fencelets, which kept the golden retriever pup out of the flowerbeds until he was big enough to step over them (this is an animal that could make a fortune in the excavation business, if only dogs could go into business). While Cassie and Pup can't step over these things, their frou-frou designs are generally wide enough that all pup has to do is wriggle through them. This, presumably, is how she got through to the far end of the pool. That disadvantage aside, the things are passing pricey.

Was about to give up when what should I spot, hidden behind a parked forklift, but a bunch of cheap (!!!!) painted wooden flowerbed fence thingies, each piece about 3 feet long. We need to span about 17 linear feet, and so a $4 price tag is a big improvement on the $12 to $17/length price tag in evidence elsewhere. They look to be just about high enough that neither Pup nor the much lazier Cassie can jump over them...but they're low enough that, in a sober moment, I can step over them without tripping myself and falling face-forward on my schnozz.

Flipped upside-down, these things balance on the concrete pretty well. Wired together with plastic zip-ties, they stand up handsomely. And tied to a chair, the patio upright, and a piece of anti-Charlie garden fencelet, they make for a pretty nice little puppy barrier. A-n-n-n-d...because they're made of wood, it'll be easy to staple on some garden fabric, by way of adding some climbing deterrence.

The result:

Hideous, but not horrific, eh?

Actually, it's a great deal less hideous than some of the other pet-control mechanisms I've invented. Most recently, the latest Battle of the Cat Wars comes to mind...

I think Pup must have been more traumatized by nearly drowning than was obvious at the outset. Before she fell in the drink, she was doing pretty well in the house-training department: two whole days had gone by without any cleanup.

But since the tumble-in, the stealth peeing has resumed with a vengeance. Can't count the number of puddles and dried salt-flats I've cleaned up over the past couple of days. Argh. She's doing better today: have only had to clean up two yellow lakes.

Part of the problem is that she was the surviving runt of a large litter (the other died). From what they say on the Web, I gather that a true runt comes into the world undernourished and underdeveloped -- almost like a preemie. And indeed, when we went to pick her up, she was noticeably smaller and much more fragile than her littermates, who were robust and bouncy.

This pup is bouncy, all right, and totally unfazed by the awe-inspiring majesty of the Queen of the Universe and Empress of All Time, Space, and Eternity. But until just the past few days, she's remained small and delicate.

She started to pick up steam as soon as I switched her over to Fromm's kibble, on the advice of the new holistic vet. Just in the few days since we started with that stuff, she's put on weight, her frame has grown noticeably, and her energy level has skyrocketed. She seems to be catching up quickly. Because she truly would rather eat Cassie's real food than dog kibble, I've been adding a little of Cassie's meat (right now she's on hamburger; in another few days it'll be pork, and after that, roast chicken). It's working: pup eats what's put down in front of her as long as it's spiked with a few bites of genuine meat.

And every day she looks better and better.

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Comment by Vicky Hay on March 28, 2014 at 9:29am

@ Mai: That must have been quite a year! :-D I'm thankful all the floors in the house are tiled -- at least I don't have to try to scrub pee out of a carpet, which is no fun at all. Hunkering down on the floor to soak up puddles doesn't help the sciatica, though.

One site on so-called "true" runts (as opposed to pups that are just small) said they may not be fully developed when born, essentially like a preemie because they don't get as much in-utero nourishment. If that were the case, then I figure she might have less much room in her bladder than one might expect, until she catches up in growth. One thing's for sure: if she ever WAS underdeveloped, she's about caught up. Her odd-looking eyes are looking more and more normal, her little body seems less frail and delicate, and she's quite busy these days.

Comment by Mai on March 28, 2014 at 2:13am

Not true. Just because she's a runt doesn't mean she is taking longer to potty train in the peeing department than a puppy that was not a runt. Some dogs just take longer to potty train.

Chucky was totally NOT the runt of the litter and he took FOREVER to train in the peeing department. His first year of life with us I spent on my knees scrubbing the carpet because he peed here and there and there and there and there....I spent so much time on my knees that I developed calluses on my knees and there were two black spots on my knees that I had never had before. It took almost a year of his life. We were nearing his first birthday, to the point where I was like 'Dude! If you turn 1 year old and is still not potty trained then I just don't know what else to do.'

Thankfully my persistence paid off and he didn't disappoint me.One day, it just clicked and he has never peed inside again since the day he grasped the concept.

And then we got Freddy. Freddy was the runt of his litter. Freddy is super tiny. He's 6 months now going on 7 and he weighs only 11 pounds and I don't think he's gonna get any longer. He seems set in his size. But, oh my gosh, Freddy is a dream to potty train! All you had to do was make sure he had access to go out to do his business and that's it! He does it himself.

Comment by Vicky Hay on March 26, 2014 at 7:38pm

As soon as it's warm enough to get in the water (which in theory it already is, for anyone who doesn't live in the low desert), Pup is getting swimming lessons!

Comment by Linda on March 26, 2014 at 7:28pm

That doesn't look bad at all and if it does the job until she's big enough to handle herself in the pool you can handle it.  Glad she is filling out with proper food and lots of love.  I hope you've recovered from you dive in the pool.

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