A close up of Velvet standing on the couch and looking into the camera lens.Some readers have been asking for an update on Velvet Lady, who joined our family on January first. Between amazing growth spurts and eating enough to feed a small army, Velvet has also been learning at a phenomenal rate. Learning new things about the world around her, about becoming member of a family, and how to be a smart and resourceful dog. There is so much learning at this point that you try to incorporate some sort of learning into everything. One of the most important things to learn for any puppy, in any situation, is who leads the pack and where they fit into the pack hierarchy.

Willy sitting, alert with ears cocked, waiting patientlyIt wasn't long after we brought Willy home that we began to suspect he was a bit smarter than the average puppy, or even the average black lab. Labrador retrievers, as you may know, are considered very smart dogs and the breed ranks in the top ten for intelligence. Still, Willy had a lot to show us and our realization of just how smart he was didn't happen until he got older, even though he began demonstrating his intelligence at a very early age.

It wasn't just one thing. I could point to many things Willy did and you'd say, "Oh sure, but that doesn't really make him special, does it?"

 

Velvet curled up on Mike's jacketIt has been a while since I updated Velvet's progress. The last five weeks have been an amazing period of growth, learning, and bonding. There have been a few very trying moments as well. Clearly the reason God makes puppies so cute is so that you don't strangle them before they grow up and become well behaved family members. She has been very bratty at times in the last couple of weeks, but has made some momentous strides as well.

I mentioned in my last post about Velvet that I was making her puppy food. This was turning into a monumental undertaking as I had to make a batch of food for a week and freeze half, or make it twice a week. At the rate she was eating and growing, it quickly became too much. I think it was the right choice at the time because she was underweight and needed to catch up.

 

Velvet at 8 weeks sleeping on Mike's shoulder.It's hard to believe that today marks Velvet Lady's third week with us. We brought her home on January 1, New Years Day. In that time, she has grown by leaps and bounds, not to mention her own leaping and bounding.

When she arrived, she was a bit skinny and weighed approximately nine pounds. As the smallest pup in the litter (I hate the word runt), she had to scrap for her food and learned to be a bit of a rumble tumble puppy. She is feisty, there is no doubt about it.

 

Velvet get her first taste of Mike's beard.Every new puppy is a new adventure that lasts a lifetime. Just like people, all dogs have their own personality and they will surprise you with how smart they can be, and also how literally they can take what they have learned and apply it.

Two of the most amazing things about new puppies is how fast they grow and how fast they learn. Velvet is seven weeks old today and has been with us eight days. We've been having a lot of fun, making a lot of trips outside and yes, we've cleaned up a few messes. Messes were expected of course. A new puppy has no idea it should ask to go outside since previously, its mother cleaned up the messes.

 

Calender page for January 1, 2013 Most mornings, I pour a cup of coffee and sit down to check my email, log on to the social networks and in general, start my day. We had stayed up just long enough to ring in 2013 with a yawn and a hug. The new year always seems to hold a promise of good things, and it seemed that 2013 might just be a good year.

So as usual, on New Years Day I woke up, did the usual stuff and headed to my office with a cup of coffee. I wasn't there long when Marg came in and started to talk to me. I can't concentrate and talk at the same time, so instead of trying, I decided to distract her with puppy pictures and clicked the bookmark for the puppy for sale ads. And right there in front and center were four black lab puppies.

"Are you going to make me look at puppy pictures?"

"Look. Lab puppies."