August 30: life with Aurora. Living with our little 9 week old German Shepherd puppy has been entertaining to say the least. Before we got her, we listened to a fantastic book called the “The Art of Raising a Puppy.” Monks in New York City raise and train all breeds of dogs and wrote a book about it. It’s a fantastic book if you are interested in getting a puppy. We thought that we were all ready for a dog. We read the books, we researched the breed, we got the supplies. Oh man were we wrong! Aurora has presented so many new learning lessons for us. When to take her out…when to feed her…how much to feed her…what to do when she bites…how to get her to sit on command…what to do when she just doesn’t listen. I’m not going to lie, it has been an experience that has brought both Alec and I to tears from frustration. The first few nights were rough. She woke up every 2 hours crying and looking for her mom. We have now had her for over 2 weeks and she is finally starting to sleep all the way through the night. We did get extremely lucky with her. She came completely potty trained. She knows to cry to wake us up and we will take her outside to go to the bathroom. Every day seems to come with its own challenges. Sometimes she wakes up wanting to be the demon doggie and other days, she is a complete angel. That’s what raising a puppy truly looks like: working with her consistently everyday in the hopes that things will stick and that she will grow up to be a great adult dog.
She really is a great dog overall. She has sit, stay, come, and lay down almost all down. We both told each other that if we ever got a dog that we would work with it everyday. That’s exactly what we have been doing. Everyday, at least 3 times a day, we train her. The training lessons don’t last long (about 5-10 minutes), but we really want to consistently show her what we expect of her. That includes sitting and staying at the entrance of the RV and waiting for us to exit the RV first when leaving. She also has to sit and wait for us to enter the RV before her when going back inside. We are trying to teach her to sit when we stop walking. We are crate training her and are slowly increasing the amount of time we leave her in the crate for. Of course, we are constantly trying to teach her to not bite and to kiss our hands. Puppies love to bite things to express themselves and to understand their surroundings. Our hands and legs are so marked up from her not understanding that we aren’t another dog that she can play with. At times, training can be super frustrating. She gets in this play mode where we can’t seem to calm her down. That’s where her “time out” time comes into hand. We have learned with Aurora that if she is getting too wild to calm her dow, we put her in a time out in her crate. Might seem cruel, but isolation can be necessary for a dog at times.
We have been loving taking her out on hikes. She can’t go too far (even though she would love to) because of her size, but she LOVESSS to hike around.
We have recently been taking her on walks with our friend’s 1 year old German Shepherd, Maggie, and she loves it. Maggie has been really good for her. They can play together and Maggie can teach her some boundaries. Aurora is a very confident dog, so it’s nice to have an older dog kind of put her into her place. It’s fun to watch her explore her surroundings.
September 1: We hit our 6 month full-time traveling mark. I can’t even believe it. I don’t really understand where time is going to. We did something amazing for our 6 month mark. One thing that we had to see before we left Alaska were the Northern Lights. We have been stalking the Aurora predictions page in Alaska for the chance to see it. We finally got our chance with a super high score of Aurora 6. We have learned that that’s insanely high for the Northern Lights to have activity. We decided to get into our car around 22:00 and drive two hours north to Denali National Park just to see them. The more north you go, the better chances you have to see the lights. Plus the weather was reporting clear around Denali. According to the website, the best times to see the lights were between midnight- 03:00. We drove the farthest into Denali National Park that you could in our own personal vehicle (only 15 miles) and set up to watch them. Strings of greens, purples, yellows, whites danced above our heads. It was just outstanding. I just sat there with our little Aurora in my lap wrapped in a blanket, crying out of joy. I was crying for many reasons.
First, I was crying because we officially hit our 6 month mark of traveling. It has been such a crazy adventure so far and I couldn’t believe the fact that we have been able to do this for a half of a year. I really have the best husband in my eyes and I still can’t believe that we have been able to experience this together. I’m so grateful and so blessed. Ahh! Secondly, I was crying because I was holding the cutest little dog in my lap. The dog that I have been dreaming about for many, many years and finally had. Thirdly, I was crying because we were staring at the Northern Lights. They are just so beautiful and unexplainable in person. It was just overwhelming! We sat there watching the Northern Lights for a few hours, freezing our butts off in the process. It was worth it. The entire trip out there in the middle of the night and having to drive home super tired was worth it. It was an exciting time.