The first I heard about fireworks was when a piece of paper was put through our letterbox one evening. I sniffed it and it seemed as boring as most of the things that came through the letterbox. But when one of the bipeds picked it up and read it, he said it was about the village firework display. I had no idea what fireworks were. But I knew that my bipeds considered my socialisation very important and they took every opportunity to introduce me to new experiences, so I was confident I was going to have an interesting time.
I was five months old and we still lived in England, when I enjoyed my first Halloween. My bipeds started talking about it a couple of weeks beforehand. They said that it had become quite popular with the children in our village and we should be prepared, so that we could make it a positive part of my socialisation.
My bipeds talked to a few of the village children about it, when we were out on our walks. I heard them say that I was in charge of the treats this year, so I was really looking forward to it! They also said that there mustn’t be any tricks at all. That puzzled me because I often did tricks for treats, but I wasn’t worried as they’d said the treats would be special this year.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a dog of a young age must be in want of socialisation, as Jane Austen wrote in “Pride and Prejudice” – or she would have, if she’d been writing about puppies.
My bipeds certainly believed that there is no such thing as too much socialisation for a puppy. I was pleased because I enjoyed meeting different people and animals of all shapes and sizes. At the time of this tale I was six months old, so I was almost as big as I am now, and I thought I’d seen everything there is to see and that nothing could surprise me. Well, this is one of those rare occasions when I was wrong – it happens to the best of us!
I kept hearing my bipeds talking about when they could take me for my first walk. I didn’t really understand what this was, but they were obviously looking forward to it. They carried me wherever we went. When we went to puppy training classes, one of my bipeds carried me to the car and then from the car into the hall. We went to see the vet a couple of times and I didn’t even get onto the floor there!
I had a vaccination at nine weeks old and a second one at eleven weeks old. I heard the biped that went with me for my second vaccination talking to the vet about when I could start walking. She said that she didn’t know how much longer she was going to be able to carry me as I was growing so fast. It seemed very odd to me because I could walk perfectly well already – when I was allowed to! He laughed and said he could understand it was a bit of a challenge to carry me about. He said that the next few days were very important and each day after that helped a little more. He then said that thirteen weeks was the ideal, but not to worry if she couldn’t quite manage the whole time. He showed her a chart with something called percentages on it – it looked very dull indeed, but she was interested. I heard her explain later that it showed how effective the vaccinations became as the days passed.
I was proudly wearing my rucksack on a long walk recently, when one of my bipeds told me how clever I was and I remembered the day my first rucksack arrived. I always keep an eye on what arrives in the post. There isn’t often anything of interest, but you never know your luck – occasionally there’s something nice.
It didn’t smell like a particularly interesting parcel when the female biped started unwrapping it, but she was pleased about it. She pulled it out of its packing and I still didn’t have any idea what it was. She undid some straps on it and opened some zips to look inside. She then went to the cupboard where the treats are kept – now she had my full attention! She put a selection of treats inside one of the pockets on the rucksack. She let me sniff the rucksack and gave me a treat. I was right, she was quite excited about this thing. She put it down on a chair and left it, which was a little puzzling.