Changes, as with most things in life, happen imperceptibly. So it was with some astonishment that we noticed the following developments in our little Pickle recently.
1. She has lost her puppy teeth! Those razor sharp little nippers have been replaced by proper Big Dog teeth. She still mouths us, but with, generally, less effect. Where did those baby teeth go? Judging by the amount of gnawing and chewing going on, I would have expected to find at least one or two scattered around the house.
2. She has filled out, becoming less weasel-like and chunkier. She feels heavier, more solid, more.... more....more... DOG-like. Puppy fat never came into the question with this slim little lady - more like puppy thinness. Anyway, she looks - and feels - much more like a Real Dog now. The nickname 'Weasel' is no longer quite so appropriate, though Jonny will probably still be calling her that the next time he comes home.
3. Her coat is no longer puppy-smooth and soft, but thicker, more rough-haired. The whiskers are still pronounced but now there are ruffles appearing on her back -which sound more fashionable than they look.
4. She seems 'taller' when she stretches up on her hind legs. Stop right there, Pickle - we don't need you any bigger than this.
5. Puppy chewing has turned into adolescent destruction. All her soft toys have now been completely disembowelled. The ferocity and dedication with which she has done this has been quite alarming - teenage angst and determination. (I don't want to use the S word - as in stubborn.)
6. She now has her first (boy) friend. Howie, a Boston Terrier who is just a month older, comes round to play regularly. After an inauspicious start (Pickle's response to a canine intruder on 'her' turf was to try to take him out) the two now enjoy each other's company. 'Play' consists of non-stop wrestling in one black and white messy ball of fur, teeth and paws, interspersed with brief panting rests and top-speed chases round the garden. They keep this up for HOURS.
Some things, however, don't change.
She is still incredibly feisty, especially in the mornings. Dancing for attention, racing around the garden, trying to nip - the vinegar-and-water spray is so effective in deterring her from doing this that we only have to glance meaningfully at the bottle.
She still sits very nicely on command.
She still objects to the 'halti' which encourages her to walk properly.
She is still intrigued by new things and is still afraid of sudden noises.
She is still beautifully calm and soft in the evenings, being quite happy to curl up companionably next to us.