Elsie's First Year
Finding Your Puppy
Puppy Mills
AKC Breeders
Breed of Their Own
This is Elsie's story as dictated to her Mom. She is very happy to finally have a home that she doesn't have to leave and a Mom she loves and loves her back.
Month One:  January 6th ~ February 5th
Holy Climate Change Underdog! One day I am warm in Texas, the next I am in cold, snowy, windy, worst day ever Central New York. I don't know what's going on. All I know is I am not such a fan of this weather! And looking at this new person, I don't think she is either, today anyway. This first thing I had to do was walk around in it so I could go potty!

I got in the smaller truck. The woman said to me "I belong to you and you belong to me. I am your new Mom and your new name is Elsie Bond Critz". Boy, things sure do go fast around here. It was what Mom called a white knuckle drive home. She said it was taking longer than usual. She told me the white stuff was snow and on the road you couldn't tell that day by looking but it was icy too. I was shacking nervous and stressed out! all the way home and so was my new Mom.

I got to my new home. We had to walk around to go potty again. It looks like a nice house and cars can only go down the street one way. She said I would see the village I lived in tomorrow as long as it isn't so darn cold. I had to learn a lot and quickly. I am very scared, nervous, anxious, in a panic but my new Mom was calming and the small house is quiet. I have a sister cat named Magy, two brothers and a sister-in-law who I don't know when I'll meet. They aren't here very often because they work so much. A lot of stuff happened this first month; I'll try to keep it short as I can and not really in order when they happened. I don't have a great memory:
I learned how to go up and down stairs.
One step forward and two steps back.
Went to the vet for shots and rabies. Said I had to go on diet and lose 15 pounds. Mom started diet and I hate it.
I met the Village Policemen, the ladies at the bank and village, went to Post Office and the library. Later I met Mom's mechanic and plumber. I also met some of the neighbors.
I don't like buildings but Mom hasn't figured out why yet.
Mom says because of the snow in the back yard where she would normally train me, we have to start walking around the block three times a day. I don't like this because of all the traffic. However, every time I make it, I get a treat when I get home.
Our real daily walk around town isn't bad because of less traffic but I have to go over big bridge with a creek below and a nice park. I can't wait for the snow to go away so I can walk down there.
I didn't eat or poop for three days and that had Mom worried but she called Aunt Louise and she said don't worry about it. I drank lots of water though.
I defended Mom from a too excited dog on a leash that was trying to jump and climb on her. I jumped right up on my hind legs and pushed that dog away with a big deep growl. He won't bother Mom any more and she told me how great I was and how much she loves me. She says that all the time.
I am still pretty stressed out. This is scary. But I did finally learn to walk with Mom on the left side not the right.
I didn't know any commands so we have been working every day to learn sit, stay, come, and lie down. I get a treat after each time I can do it plus a hug
Mom's a bit disappointed because I don't kiss, lick, hug, get on the couch or sleep on the bed. She says she has never had a dog like me but she's going to kiss me anyway.
I feel like I like her and my new home because she is always there and it is quiet. I have a sister cat called Magy who doesn't bother me so I don't bother her.
On weekends, we walk around the school. Instead of going into the Erie Canal trail we just go straight a little then turn a big circle around to the back. The back is huge! Mom lets me off my leash and I can walk, run, do what I have to and start to see what this snow stuff is. Boy I like the freedom. Near the end I get nervous and have Mom put my leash back on so I feel safe.
She has a certain whistle she calls me by. I know that whistle and I come.
One day we got home and inside she took my leash off (dark out) but hadn't closed the door all the way so I decided to do a walk about around the neighborhood. She wasn't happy but let me go for about five minutes, whistle my call and I came right home.
I didn't like that real dry food she gave me so I didn't really eat it. I get treats though. I now know to get a treat I always have to be sitting. She changed my food from real dry to a more softer one and I like that.
I am still scared by myself so I follow Mom from room to room. Thank heavens there aren't too many rooms.
Mom has a back disability and can't use her cane because she has to work my leash. I have been pulling her around which isn't good so she changed my collar to a Martingale collar. Now when I pull it stops me but doesn't hurt me. I don't mind this collar and have learned to walk closer to her. I did cause her to fall down once and she cried a bit because it hurt. I tried not to do that again.

I don't have any front teeth. Mom got me a real bone from the one store around here that still has a butcher. It took me a bit to realize what it was but then I used my side teeth and tongue and went to town on that baby. Boy was that fun.
Mom thinks I am funny because when I lay down I cross my front leg over the other. She says I am very lady like and took a picture. She takes pictures to send people.
I am starting to like Magy. She stays down stairs with me and follows me around but doesn't bug me. It is nice to have a friend. I am now 11 years old and Magy is 14 1/2 years old. She told me that after her real sister died last October and then her favorite sister dog died in February, Mom had two more puppies that were out of control and they bothered her an awful lot. She had to move her food so she could eat. She says she likes eating with me now back in her old place. She also got Mom to do a little trick to make up for being upset.
Mom gives a squirt of Redi Wip in the morning and at night. Sometimes during the day if Magy sits at the fridge and meows enough.
I have learned many many things and Mom is very very proud of me.
Mom started creating this website. It takes her time at her office desk but I sit as close as I can. She is writing it about the problems she had until she owned me and how she came to own me. She is happy she owns me because I am just her speed.
One snowy cold day we walked our regular daily walk thru the park and after I poop I just didn't want to go anymore. I was off leash for some running but turned around and walked home. I know the way exactly. Mom couldn't catch me but I stopped to look for traffic. When she caught up I was sitting on top step of the porch. She said I was a bad girl for not listening to her commands but she was proud that I was careful and took the exact route home and stayed there to wait for me. I didn't get a treat that time.
Month Two:  February 6th ~ March 5th
I got thru my first month. Boy was it hard! I was so scared, anxious and panicy. I am not use to this cold weather and this white stuff cold snow. Mom is always complaining about it too. She doesn't like it either. She says when spring, summer and fall comes I am really going to like it and we will be outside most of the time. Now that sounds fun.
I am still sleeping upstairs with Mom and Magy but this morning for the first time when she said: Good Morning Elsie, I rolled over so she could rub my belly. That took a lot of trust for me but she kneeled down and gave me a great belly rub (and kisses blah) and told me I am the bestest girl and she loves me. Then we went for our first morning walk. I roll over a lot now.
I keep meeting more people and dogs. I'm telling you I don't like it. I am very polite but I just want to be with Mom. Mom thinks I must of had very bad experiences with them before because I always shake and tuck my tail.
Oh Lordy, have you ever seen or heard a snow plow on the road next to you while walking on the sidewalk? Plus all the cars behind it? I do not like this at all and try to get Mom to turn around. But she won't. She says: this is the time you woke me up to go out so this is the time you are going potty/poop so get a move on.
One morning at the end of our street on the corner; I heard a sound before Mom. Then she saw what was happening. Well I wasn't sticking around to find out! I ran so hard and fast that the leash came unwound from her hand! There is a down hill curve on the left side of corner where an 18 wheeler was coming and a snow plow coming on the right side. They were going to collide, I just knew it. There isn't enough room with trees and a guard rail. Mom like the dummy she can be sometime stayed there to see what would happen until she realized she would be killed if it did, so she started home. Thank heavens nothing happened but I don't like that corner anymore. And shoot, that is where the fire hydrant is! She told me I did the right thing.
Mom has started keeping me home alone for a little bit and goes to neighbors across the street. Each time it is a little longer. I am finally up to the amount she would ever go without me and that is four hours. (getting her hair done and  getting mulch on sale). I do pretty well with Magy. We sleep. I whine some but Magy says it is okay. Every time she leaves Mom says: I have to go ...... And I will be back at ..... You take care of your sister and watch the house. I love you very much and be a big brave girl. I'll bring you home a treat. I love you.
I have my commands down as much as I can. I do pretty well. We have even added stop/go for crossing streets.
Went to vets for last shots and gained two pounds on this diet. Mom said the heck with it. I get breakfast and dinner and a snack here and there. She buys the best food for both Magy and me.
Holy Nail Clippers Magy! Oh, I am not sure about this! Mom cut my nails today. It didn't hurt but being held down I do not like! I know she hates the click click click on the floor but come on! Why don't you just ignore it! But I did get a nice shedding and brush out afterwards plus a good treat.
Mom has started to add real food to my dinner and for Magy for the first time. Boy we love that boiled chicken. And I like the meat. Plus Aunt Louise sends us cool snacks for toppers or in between like lunch. Boy what a great Aunt she is.

I started sleeping at the bottom of the stairs on the landing. Mom is upset I know because first I won't sleep on the bed with her and Magy and now I won't sleep upstairs. She hasn't figured that out yet either. Because I don't budge once I am down, I know it is dangerous for Mom in the middle of the night because this is an old old house and the bathroom is downstairs. I try to make it safe for her.
I love vanilla yogurt !!!! Mom puts it in my bowl or she has taught me how to take it off a spoon like a baby would. I open my mouth for the spoon, close it. Then she gently pulls it out so my lips keep the yogurt in. I also have a great soft spot for her Lobster Bisque. Boy can she cook when she is up to it. Then watch out because boy can she bake too !
Because Mom should be using her cane and hasn't been able to in about a year since Millie (her chocolate lab) died, she has been teaching me to walk the side walk a little at a time by dropping my leash. She knows I know the way home, she just needs to know I won't get too far ahead. We've started at the corner of our street going towards home. Every 15 steps I turn around to make sure she is coming. We are working as a team and doing well. If I can get on complete voice command, the police say I don't need a leash but Mom always has it on because of little children and people afraid of dogs. The funny thing is I am more afraid of them then they are of me. Besides I am still afraid. I only feel safe at home so believe me that is the only way I am going!
Today Mom took me to a private walk on the Canal Trail. We drove (still not real comfortable in riding in truck) to lock 51. The trail has so many trees and shrub bushes that it makes like a tunnel and I really can't go anywhere. So we walk off leash and I love it! My tail is high and wagging; it is so much fun. On one of these walks without her cane, she said she had walked the furthest down and back since Millie died. Painful near the end but boy was she proud of herself! I was proud of her too.
Whining and the Bark! I have different levels of whining. Mom has figured out which one means what but one day I barked at something outside and she jumped out of her skin! Oh she was hot to trot baby! I've learned to stand up on her family heirloom antique wicker settee and bark out the window at everything and anything. She said if Grandma saw me doing this in heaven she would come back and just kill Mom. So she changed the room around and now I can just put my paws up on the chair. She doesn't like my barking unless it is something serious. But I am so bored in the cabin fever house. She lets me bark for a few minutes then when she says to stop I stop but to a low growl. I don't bark out side though and that is a plus believe you me. I get put in the house if I do.

Sounds really bother me. Such as traffic, buses, the kids were out of school and all they do is scream. Loud trucks that hit the manhole covers at the end of the street and bounce making big sounds like thunder! Mom keeps telling me to get use to it because when summer comes there are going to be more sounds I haven't heard. I need to start getting use to them soon and not be afraid. She tells me that she is always with me and would never let anything happen to me. She will always protect me. When I am really bad, she stops, kneels on the ground, pets me and speaks softly into my ear until I calm down. I think I really like her.
Month Three:  March 6th ~ April 5th
I'm only going to tell you two stories this month. They were the most important things that happened to me and Mom for the month. One was where Mom really protected me and the other was Mom leaving me alone to make a really hard and scary decision.

The first story is when she protected me against the lady on the corner's dog. She's not living there right now because her house got damaged and is being fixed. So she just took all her cats and dogs and iguanas and geckos and put them in the garage all day and all night. I know how they must feel. She comes in the morning to take them out (and not for a walk) feeds them and comes back at night.

It was a cold night last walk and dark around 7:30. As we got to the corner and crossed all of a sudden about a one year old regular size dog jumped me from behind! Because of the snow and the dark and Mom's ears covered, neither of us heard it. Mom got real mad real quick. She pushed the dog with her hand off me, told it NO and to GO HOME. Then she said: YOU LEAVE MY ELSIE ALONE - DO YOU HEAR ME! GET AWAY FROM HER!. Mom realized it was young and wanted to play but she knows it was scaring me and I was afraid.

It kept following us so we just turned around to go home. That's when Mom heard that lady calling for it. Its name was Lou. She does not really like this person because she is the type that will call the police about anything. Should would call if your dog was off a leash but doesn't follow the rules herself. So Mom yells over that if she is looking for the dog that is not on a leash and at this moment pooping on the other neighbors lawn and bothering me, then it's over here. Then we had to cross the street. She starts yelling stuff as usual but Mom stopped at the end of her driveway so she would take the dog and get it away from me. She told her to go and get his  leash and get it away from me. She had to push Lou away from me the whole time.

This lady is off her rocker so Mom just started for home, said again to get a leash and Lou just started to run thru everyone's yard. This lady just keeps following us down the street to our house yelling and screaming! We go up the driveway, she stops there at the end still yelling all this nonsense while Lou is running all over. She was so loud our next door neighbor came out (she doesn't even know this lady) and tells her to please quiet down or shut up because her 18 month old baby is trying to sleep. This lady says she call that CPS place because she left the baby alone in the house.

Now she is in a fighting match with all of us and Lou comes back. Mom catches him by the collar then releases me and says go. I was so scared and upset I did what Mom said and went up to the porch in the farthest corner behind the chair! While I did that, this woman came charging at Mom screaming to let go of her dog, twists Mom's wrist while grabbing the dog, her glove come off and she scratched down her hand. Out of left field (I know Mom, she wouldn't have done this unless she was really really mad and trying to protect me) grabs her by the hair and pushes her away. The lady starts screaming: my hair my hair. She let go of the dog screaming she's going to call the police on Mom and the neighbor. Mom says: no surprise there! And she left yelling stupid things down the side walk without the dog!

Mom came and got me into the house right away and told me she is a mean person and was I okay and pet and hugged me. She stayed right next to me calming me down. She didn't even take off her coat yet. And of course the police came which Mom knew was going to happen. And they went to the neighbor who told them the same thing. Then that lady got in trouble and they told her that she is NEVER to speak to Mom again. Not even one word.

I am proud my Mom stood up for me even when she knew the police were coming. I feel real safe when I am with Mom. She has been telling me since I came home that she would never let anything or anyone hurt me. She will always protect me. And she did.
My next story was on a daily chore walk. It was late March and it snowed a heavy went snow during the night, Mom said about 14 inches. When we got to the Canal Trail there wasn't a path yet so Mom had to break trail. It was hard for her to do so she let me take my leash. When we got to the top of the aqueducts, I could see and hear all this noise at the other end on the road. I stopped and wouldn't go any farther. Mom thought I was behind her but I wasn't. She was half way across when she saw I was still back at the start. She realized right away why I didn't come. The snow plow was at the other end pulling the sidewalk snow plow guy out where he got stuck and there were lights and loud beeping sounds. I just wanted to go home.

She told me that it was just our friends Ken and Marty trying to clear all the snow away so we could walk and not to be afraid. I just wouldn't move and started to turn around to go home. Mom told me no and to come but I didn't know what to do. Mom said: well I am still going to try and walk thru so come on. She started to walk and I just stayed where I was. She went all the way to the end and kneeled down in the snow calling to me. I wanted to go to her but it was just too much for me and I was shaking all over and now she was about 50 yards away from me and I didn't know what to do except cry.

After Ken and Marty left she tried getting me to come to her again but I just couldn't. She stood up and told me that she was going to keep going and if I wanted to turn around and go home that way it was fine with her because she was going this way and would meet me at home and be careful crossing the road. And then she started walking away! Oh boy I was so scared and had to decide what to do. I decided I wanted to be with Mom. I started running in her tracks but got upset when I got close to the corner so instead I jumped off the 12 foot rock canal wall and ran up the other side to Mom.

When I got to where I could see her, she was standing there looking for me. She realized I jumped the wall and she fell down to her knees and a loud voice said: OH MY GOD I THOUGHT YOU WENT HOME. I STOPPED AND COULDN'T SEE YOU. YOU JUMPED OFF THE WALL DIDN'T YOU. OH MY GOD ARE YOU HURT. HONEY YOU COULD HAVE REALLY HURT YOUSELF. THANK HEAVENS THERE WAS SO MUCH SNOW! BUT I AM SOOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!! THAT WAS A VERY VERY HARD DECISION TO MAKE!  She went on and on about how much she loved me and how proud she was that I made the decision to get to me but please don't jump the canal wall anymore.

Wow! I almost forgot to tell you!!! I had a birthday!! I turned 11 years old on March 20th, the first day of spring. Mom made me a special dinner. I had steak, mashed potatoes and pudding! How great that day was. I was special all day! I've never had a birthday day before. Oh my new Mom is fun!
Mom told me to tell you she'll type this month soon. The weather finally broke and there are many outside things to do outside while she can get them done because the weather here is always changing.

Month Four:  April 6th ~ May 5th