Detroit, US 42 F

© Laurie Bartolo 2021-2023


Moose is my first puppy. He’s also my first experience with a dog who came from a very stable environment. I wasn’t looking to add a third dog to the pack, but a quick sequence of events led me to Moose, and once I met him, I knew I wasn’t leaving him at the shelter.

Moose’s mom gave birth to him and his littermates while she was living in a loving foster home that was working closely with the shelter where I ultimately adopted Moose. His first two months of life were spent with a responsible foster and once old enough, he was put up for adoption. He spent a hot minute in the shelter environment before I went to claim him.

I’ve had a lot of underdogs. I’ve had stray dogs, I’ve had surrendered dogs, I’ve had dogs who were neglected and abused, and I’ve had dogs who bounced around from home to home until they finally landed with me. I’ve never had a dog that was practically a blank slate, with no baggage, no bad habits and no bad luck. Moose is the first.

This is my first time training an impressionable puppy from a very young age and I don’t take that gift and responsibility lightly. I’ve already begun a very structured routine and training plan with Moose to ensure he will be the best dog he can be. We’re also going to have a lot of fun and take a lot of photos along the way. Of course, Moose’s journey will be documented here.

I picked Moose from his other littermates because I saw a quiet confidence in him that I knew was special. I knew it was special because I’ve seen it before in my beloved Charlie (2007-2022). That confidence was immediately helpful in Moose’s first days with me. He was plucked from a cozy kennel he shared with one of his littermates and put into my truck, where he endured a white knuckle ride from the shelter to my house mid-thunderstorm in pouring down rain. He arrived at my house where he was confronted by two very active older dogs, each six times his size, who checked him out thoroughly and continued to put him through his paces. Moose also took a trip to the emergency vet a few days after his arrival where he was unapologetically poked and prodded. He rolled with the punches every step of the way.

His integration was a bit difficult for me as my usually calm and organized home environment became unsettled and chaotic. It was also an emotional experience to watch my existing dogs react to Moose, a sorting out process dogs go through when a new dog joins the pack. On top of the usual disruption a new puppy creates, I broke my foot three days after his arrival, making it much more difficult for me to keep up with him and my other dogs. Each time I began to feel stressed about the situation, I watched how gracefully Moose was handling this new experience, which had to be scary and confusing for him. If a tiny, two-month old puppy could handle it, I was just going to have to buck up and handle it too.

Every one of my dogs has served as a teacher and a source of inspiration. The lessons and inspiration from Moose have already begun. His journey from puppyhood to adulthood will be documented on my blog under the Moose the Puppy category. I have also started a gallery on the home page called Puppy Love to share photos of Moose each week as he grows.