My Portuguese Water Dog: The Ultimate Turkey!

I was very excited this weekend. Excited because we would be hosting 15 people for Thanksgiving Dinner. Excited because my (out-of-town) sister and her family, as well as my Mom, would be staying overnight with us. Excited because I was going to be trying out different recipes on my finicky family... but most of all, I was excited to see the reaction of my six-month-old pup in the midst of this commotion. The sights (different faces), sounds (my family is one loud bunch!), the smells (pies, turkey, ham), might be too much for him.

I wanted to make his day as normal as any other. Unfortunately, not one iota of his usual routine was followed. I wasn't able to go on the morning walk with him as I had some last minute cleaning to do. He did not nap between his morning walk and his afternoon walk as hubby and I were in and out of the house. I was preparing hors d'oeuvres, while hubby was out back mowing the lawn. Pup had to walk with our son. After their walk, pup didn't experience peacefulness and quietude, as the music was on as hubby and I laughed, prepared, and stuck the turkey in the oven.

Besides, how's a pup to sleep when you have all these delicious aromas wafting by? How's one to pass up licking the floor when so many crumbs have fallen off the cutting board just waiting to be gobbled up by someone who's nose is about a foot off the ground!! Pup was really happy!!! Never having given him "people" food before, he was entranced by the different smells and flavors.

I was nervous when the doorbell started ringing, and, as the hoards of family members piled in, everyone was instructed to ignore pup for the first five minutes of their arrival. This being done, pup was totally cool and relaxed with everyone. He was a dream dog... never jumped up, never came to the table, sometimes lay down and played with his bone... but he was never a pest. Not once did we have to ask him to leave the room. Not once did he bark, or get hyper -- what a dream dog!!!


It was time for bed. All the dishes had been washed, the extra chairs and tablecloths had been put away. The guests were gone. e sat in the living room, the out-of-towners, my mom, hubby and son. Pup sat dutifully on the floor by our side and never said a word. He seemed to be perfectly OK that he had never napped during the day, nor that it was already over an hour past his bedtime.

Hubby and I brought his crate up to the living room (from the basement), while sister and her family inflated their makeshift beds, cleared a space to put down the mattresses. We put the last wine glasses in the dishwasher, hugs and kisses were in abundance, and we all went to bed.

Woof... (5 seconds)... woof... (4 seconds), woof... 3 seconds... whimper, whimper. Upstairs, my husband and I tensed up. After all, although pup is extremely high energy, he never, ever, barks. What was wrong? Woof, (louder), woof-woof-woof (whimper). I got up, went down the stairs and stared at him. His tail was wagging and he was super excited to see me (by this time, close to midnight). I took him outside and brought him back in, put him back in his crate, and upstairs I went. Woof... woof... whimper... "Don't go downstairs" I pleaded with hubby. "If he gets use to us running down to him, he'll never want to stay in his crate again!" (BTW, he's been crate trained for four months, and he absolutely loves it)

Woof, woof, woof, louder and more agitated. Trying to ignore him, I put the pillows over my head. I knew that sister and her family couldn't possibly be sleeping with all the commotion. I felt really bad for them as I knew they had a long drive ahead of them. Woof, woof, whimper... All of a sudden, mom comes out of the guest room. She's gone over to speak to pup. I can hear her trying to reason with him. She's telling him it's late (around 2 a.m. by now), that people need to sleep. As the dog gets more and more excited by her presence, she starts telling him what bad owners hubby and I are for giving him a place of his own to sleep in. I try to ignore this, hoping mom will come to her senses and leave pup alone. Woof, woof, woof, pump, splat. Yep, pup puked in his crate. Somehow, I guess ham juice, turkey, apples, and dog-food didn't mix.

Down come hubby and I. Out come the rags and the cleaners. Sister is sitting on the stairs holding her head. I imagine that the circles under her eyes mirror mine exactly. We clean up, take pup out one last time, put him back in his crate, and off we go back to bed (around 3 a.m. by this time). Woof, woof, woof, woof... then it hits us. Hubby and I have an epiphany. Pup has no problem with his crate at all. Pup is upset because we "moved" his crate to make space for sister and her family. He was upset that he was inconvenienced. I don't know this for a fact, but I'm pretty sure he didn't give a second though whether or not he was inconveniencing us!!!

And so it went. At 6 a.m., he was still barking... 7 a.m., same. (Keep in mind there was always an hour interval -- pup would wait until we were blissfully back to sleep before starting to bark again). Hubby and I finally got up at 8 a.m. after having had a combined total of three hours sleep. We got up and tried to make pup's day as "normal" as possible. Pup took a long nap after that first walk... in fact, he never looked so rested and refreshed!!

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