The Dogs

With all this change, we can’t forget about two of the most important family members: Whiskey and Einstein. As difficult and stressful as I knew it would be, I couldn’t imagine moving without my beloved puppies. Husband and I took them into account when choosing our apartment (ground floor, ftw!), and there never seemed to be a question of whether or not we would bring our boys with us.

Some people have mellow, well-behaved dogs. Not us. Oh no. We were blessed with the crazies. We adopted what we were told were puggles (half pug, half beagle) when they were about 10 weeks old. I liked Whiskey, Husband liked Einstein. As a compromise, we got both. Even with multiple puppy classes, and my ongoing attempts to train what I lovingly call the “terror twins”, we ended up with neurotic, bark your faces off at new noises, the mailman, the door bell, etc, dogs. Needless to say, moving from a single family home with a fenced backyard into an apartment complex was going to be tricky. Add to that the stress of moving (since we got the dogs, we’d moved three times before Helsinki; they knew what was coming), an eight hour flight, and four days of kenneling, and their anxiety level was off the charts. My poor puppies.

The first week in the apartment was rough. Not only did the dogs have to get used to all the new sounds, they also had to contend with people walking RIGHT NEXT TO THE WINDOWS. And not just a front window. Our unit is on a corner, so we get the sidewalk traffic as well as that of the walkway into the courtyard, with windows looking onto both. Being such a walkable area, there are A LOT of pedestrians.

The upside, especially since I’ve decided to take the dogs out at least three times a day, is that the park is just across the street. Remember that hilly, grassy, rocky park? The one with the spectacular views?

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It’s a very popular place to walk dogs. My favorite thing is that it’s not frowned upon to leave the occasional pile of poop behind. Seriously! Nobody judges if, once in a while, you just leave it there. That being said, I do try to do my part and pick up after them as much as I can. But somedays…

I was very excited to walk the boys in that park. They love exploring and sniffing new places. They are part beagle, after all. Just as I’d hoped, they loved it. img_20161003_124255

I’m slowly getting used to the fact that I actually have to work to take the dogs out. Damn that fenced yard for spoiling me! It’s quite the production since I also have to take Little Man along. (You didn’t think I just left the baby behind, did you?)  Most days I feel like we’re a hot mess leaving the apartment. Turns out, being right on the sea is rather windy, not to mention cold this time of year. Little Man does not particularly enjoy getting bundled up and is usually screaming by the time we walk out the door. I probably would be too, if I was bundled into a too-large snow suit and strapped onto someone.

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He loves it once we get outside. I swear this kid is a great traveler.

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And ridiculously adorable. Anyway, being the neurotic pups that they are, Whiskey and Einstein have been forced into wearing gentle leaders. Once you strap a baby onto yourself, you really don’t want two crazy dogs pulling you in different directions. Especially when they’ll pull you towards a rabbit or a biker with equal enthusiasm. Don’t even get me started on other dogs. Off leash, they’re great. But get anther dog within sight of the terror twins on a walk, and be prepared to brace yourself. Even with the gentle leaders, sometimes they still manage to lunge at strange, unsuspecting dogs. So I try to take walks during the days “downtime”. Those peaceful lulls when everyone else is at work, in school, or otherwise occupied indoors. The trouble with Finland, is that there are so many stay at home moms! There is always someone out walking, either with children or dogs. (The boys also don’t like other people’s kids. And those kids walking dogs? Ruh roh.)

Our walks are pretty much games of dodge the people. Cross the street to avoid that dog, change directions in the park to stay away from the kids, keep the leashes short enough to stay away from the cyclist. And hope to g*d the hallway is clear when we get back home! It doesn’t really help in the socialization department (for me), but the walks are really about keeping my babies happy. They love being outside, and now that they’re seven, I want to make sure they stay active.

It’s a challenge (daily), but we’re all adjusting, and I know we’ll eventually get there. If nothing else, Whiskey and Einstein will, hopefully one day, be too old to care about all the noises and people. If I’m lucky.

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