Chiswick has a new inhabitant – an eight week old Cavapoochon called Cassie. Like so many people who bought puppies last year, owner Sharon works from home and was looking for some company in her small flat.
So what will Cassie make of Chiswick? Over the next few weeks Sharon will be introducing her to the neighbourhood, training her and getting her jabbed and ready to strut her stuff on the mean streets. You can follow her progress on The Chiswick Calendar, beginning with how to puppy proof a flat.
“I’m going to Wales to get her” Sharon told The Chiswick Calendar. “I would have liked to get a rescue dog but I live in a one bedroom flat and I have lots of friends with small children and all those I looked at were either too big or not good with children.”
Instead she checked out about 30 Instagram sites and asked around for recommendations of a good breeder, which is how she ended up in Blaina, South Wales on a wet Saturday in February.
“You could tell it was a home with a lot of love” she said. “The breeder is a hobby breeder, so Cassie’s parents are the breeder’s own dogs. She sent me off with a hamper full of toys and treats.”
A Cavapoochon, for the uninitiated, is part Cavalier Spaniel, part toy poodle and part Bichon Frise. Cassie was the only girl in a litter of seven.
“I wanted a dog that was clever – poodles are clever – but I also wanted one which was friendly and good natured, as cocker spaniels are. I wanted one that was not as active as a cockerpoo, but not one that was not too needy.”
Puppy proofing the flat
Even though she works at home, Sharon has taken the week off to settle her in (‘peternity leave’ if you please). Last week was dedicated to puppy-proofing the flat, which involved installing a ‘piddle patch’ on the balcony and fixing netting round the balcony so she didn’t fall through the bars. (At six floors up, you don’t want to be nipping out with the dog on a cold winter’s night).
Take one roll of turf, a planter with a gravel bed and a tray underneath and lay it out so you can water it after it’s served its purpose and empty the tray after (best to check there’s no one walking below at the time). Sharon has also installed bells on the doors and plans to train her clever puppy to ring the bell to go out. She has bought reusable puppy pads for that other bodily function.
For food she’s gone with wet food pouches from Barking Heads (‘we’re potty about our pooches and use the best quality meat’).
So what does Cassie make of it all?
So foul was the weather, a journey that had taken two and a half hours in sunshine took four and a half on the way back in driving rain, but she didn’t complain once. She was “overwhelmed and excited” with the flat, loved her play-pen and the cage she will sleep in, and happy to use the lovingly prepared grass patch on the balcony, though she was a little skeptical about using the loo with a view at first.
The dizzy heights of the sofa
You are supposed to put a puppy down to sleep for the first time in the place you want its permanent bed to be. Although she liked her playpen / cage arrangement, she was lonely on her first night alone in the big city. As she is not allowed on the bed, there was only one thing for it. Sharon slept on a mattress on the floor in the lounge.
Originally from South Africa, Sharon has grown up with dogs, including one, a Yorkshire terrier, who was her own personal pet for 17 years. She has also studied Zoology at university, so she seems to know what she’s doing.
The bed may be out of bounds but the sofa is already a lost cause. She can’t jump so Sharon has to put her up there and watch she doesn’t fall off, but once there she likes to get as high as she can, to the top of the pile of cushions. She makes quite a good neck warmer too.
Day two – out on the town
Sharon has started training Cassie, rewarding her if she sits when told to or responds to her name. She has also taken her out. Not allowed to go down on the ground until she’s had her puppy shots, she was carried around like a baby in a sling on Sunday. (How much has this tiny scrap cost so far?!)
On a trip to the High Rd, and a very daring ride on the train from Gunnersbury Tube to Turnham Green, she met her adoring public, posed for photographs and generally got the lie of the land. As Sharon works in marketing, Cassie has of course got her own Instagram account already – @cassie_the_cavapoochon.
“It would be great to get some fellow furfriends and to set up some playdates in the area, to help her socialise. So that would be great to ask people to reach out to me” says Sharon, which you can either do through Instagram, or if you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org we will forward your message.
Once she is allowed to put paw to pavement, she will be visiting the neighbourhood, checking out dog-friendly places and giving them her Paw of Approval – or not, as the case may be.
See how Cassie got in in her second week here – Cassie makes herself at home.
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