Kubo meets a puppy

Kubo has always been a submissive creature and even sometimes slightly nervous, but he is super friendly and playful and so when my friend got a puppy this week we thought Kubo would be one of the best dogs for him to meet.

He will almost always roll onto his back when greeting another dog unless it’s a Labrador … for some reason he is nervous of them and whenever a Labrador approaches our boy he hides behind our legs (no, he has never had a bad experience!). We had never seen him meet a pup before though so had no idea how he was going to react.

He bounded into my friends’ house with all of the energy and then sees this tiny 8-week old puppy and his whole demeanour changed; he became cautious and acted scared. He sniffed it and ran away and when the puppy got too close he hid behind us! I had not expected this behaviour at all. We thought he would be excited and playful rather than fearful.

It didn’t take him long to come out of his sborder collie and puppy boxerhell again but he did not want to interact with the puppy – all he wanted to do was steal the pup’s toys and run around with them, playing with the humans and avoiding this small creature at all costs. I was devastated! I had gone on about how playful Kubo was but he wanted to do anything but play with this unknown beast! The pup was desperately trying to get involved but clearly didn’t know what to do. It was so super cute watching his little tail wag furiously whenever Kubo walked past him.

Once we took them out into the garden however everything changed. The puppy had gotten braver by this point and Kubo was finally happy to interact as long as it involved chasing! He grabbed and stick and tried to get everyone to chase him.

It was so nice to see him finally relax and behave like the dog we know.

Back inside he then did the cutest thing I have ever seen our dog do: he laid down on his back and let the small puppy climb all over his face, play-biting and swiping, all the while being as good as gold and letting him do it (with the occasional gentle push).

It melted our hearts to see him being so gentle and playing so nicely with such a tiny creature!

I still don’t know why he was so afraid initially. I have read that older dogs may be fearful of puppies due to them getting more attention, intruding in their house or v27747269_10156112019476350_226570463_oying for status but due none of these seemed to relate. I guess it was just being in a new place with a new dog who had never met anyone but his siblings before. He was probably behaving strangely and I can only imagine Kubo, not being the most dominant dog, didn’t know how to react to this. If anyone has any insights into why he was so nervous I’d love to hear them!

They will keep socialising and hopefully grow up being friends as Kubo will not be the bigger dog for long!

(it was impossible to get a decent picture of these two once they had started playing!)


Barky Box: a review

Why a subscription box for pets?

smells good

It’s a good question and to be honest I don’t really know. I stumbled across this article by the Independent and thought I’d give it a go. I used to (many years ago) get a beauty box subscription for myself and I really enjoyed it: it was like getting a random present every month. I’m past the years of treating myself to such things (I know the products I like and am not into experimenting!) but as Kubo is my first dog I thought it may be a good way to explore what offerings there are. I joined Barky Box back in October for a 3 month subscription.

Initial Impressions

I started the subscription in October and I was excited as my three boxes were themed; Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night and Christmas. I was a little disappointed that my first 2 boxes arrived so late in the month (I actually got my November one on 1st December) so I contacted Barky Box via Facebook and they promised they would do their best to get the December box to us before Christmas – they did indeed– top marks for responding and following through! 🙂

I really love the way their boxes are hand written and personalised. I likehalloween dog biscuits their social media presence and friendly tone – sharing pictures and commenting on various platforms made me feel like part of a family. I don’t know how big a company they are but it felt like a start-up – in a good way – I wanted to support them and be a part of their journey! The toys have been high quality and the treats have been really interesting: I adored the Hallowe’en themed ones!

Kong Bear
Kong Knots Bear (and the bandana) – November

I was a tiny bit disappointed with the November box: we received a bandana with ice creams on it (in Winter?) and a bag of coconut treats that I had already received in the October box. I was worried that I was going to get the same things repeatedly in my Barky Box. On the flip side we did get a Kong Knots bear which I was really happy with and some great biscuits.


December Box

december barky box by benji dog treats
Box of goodies minus the Guru bone Kubo already nabbed – December

Kubo was desperate to get inside this box and it was all for a bone by Guru! I now need to buy more of these as he loved them so much. (Thanks Barky Box!!)

We also received a durable toy made from recycled plastic bottles which I really liked as a concept, Kubo enjoyed it too – he has torn out almost all of the stuffing and ripped off all limbs but still plays with it and I don’t know that there is a dog toy on Earth that would survive him!

bybenji biltong
ByBenji Biltong – too good for dogs?!

The biscuits in the box were great and we also got some biltong by ByBenji which smelt too good – I actually checked it wasn’t for humans!

Perhaps the most interesting thing we received was the bake-your-own doggy peanut butter muffins. I have never considered doing such a thing but what a good idea!

I was chuffed with this box, especially after my concerns from the one before, it was full of variety and high quality products.


In my three months of being a subscriber I have really enjoyed getting the boxes and actually discovered several brands that I will now be looking into buying from.

I would never buy premium treats normally and there are so many choices out there for things that it’s actually quite nice to have someone make a decision for you and just send a selection of nice things.

I don’t know if they actually take dog size into account (I hope they do!) and I would like to hope that they don’t often repeat the same treats (I’m willing to forgive that once) because I actually really like this company. I do not however have any experience of other dog boxes.

My subscription has actually expired: I did contact Barky Box to continue it but I needed to sign up again on the website and I hadn’t bothered … however since writing this I remember why I enjoyed it so much and although I don’t want to spoil him too much, Kubo is one of my babies and why shouldn’t he get a little gift box every month?

I love my Barky Box
‘Thanks Barky Box!’


What’s in a name?

I’ve always wondered how people choose a name for their pets as it’s something I have always struggled with.

Hi. I’m Kubo!

If you have children I think it is great to let them decide to get them involved and it also takes the pressure off! If someone judges the name: “well my 6 year old chose it”. How dare they judge a 6 year old. We don’t have a child.


I was lucky with my cats as Soda has a pedigree name (Cream Soda Pop) and the breeder didn’t have Cally’s name to hand but for some unknown reason (maybe because I had been watching Battlestar Galactica) the name just came to me and stuck.

When we chose our puppy and the time came to name him we struggled.

The day we met Kubo

I like order so I wanted two syllables to match the others and I wanted it to end in an ‘o’ to not be too similar. Also, for some reason I am not a huge fan of human names for dogs. I have no idea why! Dave was super keen on Jake as a name but I was dead against it.

We went to a Frankie & Benny’s for dinner and spent the evening brainstorming names. Milo, Otto, Leo, Theo, Rocco, Nico, Draco, Pablo … then I got involved: Lego, Solo, Ghetto, Limo, Cargo. How about a food? We both really like food (I was eating a pasta at the time) Oregano? Too long. Basil! Doesn’t end in an ‘o’. Polo? Mayo? Pesto! Dave still liked Jake (he’s an Adventure Time fan). OK, so instead of food, how about cartoons or film characters? And the only name we could think of was Kubo.

Ironically, despite my dislike of human names for pets, two of ours have them.

People struggle to get the name quite often. Cujo? Oh, Cube-o!? But that’s fine. A helpful friend pointed out that his name actually means ‘sunken ground’ in Japanese. We can live with this too!

Most of the dogs I meet have human names – am I weird for originally being against this? Also I have seen so many dogs called Finn! It’s a name I really like but I just wonder why it is so popular for doggos. Why did you choose your dogs name? What influenced you?

If you’re interested Kubo & the Two Strings is a lovely stop-motion animation film


Puppy Blues

We spoke about it in great detail: the sacrifices we would need to make, the work we would need to put in, the changes we would need to make in our lives. We still wanted a dog. Important to note that we wanted a dog, not a puppy.

Young Kubo

Not that puppies aren’t cute! Of course they are and most people want the small bundle of clumsy fluff but we wanted a dog. We wanted a companion that we would have adventures with. We wanted to rescue a dog. However with 2 Ragdolls (cats) it was imperative that they were kept safe and happy and a rescue would be too risky.

So we got a puppy. And I got the puppy blues.

I will be brutally honest; I cried (hysterically) every night for about 2 weeks (and still some after). We argued. I pulled the ‘it’s me or the dog’ line.

It’s not that Kubo wasn’t cute. It’s not even like he was a complete nightmare, not really. But it was a huge, and I mean totally massive, shock to the system.

First of all my partner had a bit of time off so he was home with the pup all day. He’d send me cute pictures and videos and it looked like what you imagine puppy ownership to be. Then I would get home and the peaceful, cute little creature would turn into an absolute monster. I am not exaggerating. He would tear around the house like a Tasmanian devil, chase my babies (cats) and bite everything.

Doesn’t sound so bad? No, I guess it doesn’t, but it really felt like it was.

The cats are my babies and I could not stand the thought that they could get hurt or upset. Kubo only wanted to play but no matter what we did he would not stop chasing them and that was perhaps my biggest heartache.

His energy levels were to be expected I suppose but he was just so relentless. We would play tug with him or race around the garden for hours to wear him out but long after we were tired he was still going. We later learned that by continuing to stimulate him we were actually making the situation worse. We made him over-tired and ratty. You know when you are super tired but you just can’t fall asleep and are running on adrenaline? That’s what we did to him – and he has teeth! So he was OK during the day but by the time I got home he had turned monstrous.

We have a stair gate up so that the cats have a sanctuary.

I would come, resolved that this evening would be better. I was pleased to see my little pup, I would wear my smile. But it would descend into madness and before an hour had passed I would be sat at the top of the stairs with my cats balling my eyes out. I am not proud to say that there were at least two occasions in which I told Dave to leave and take his dog with him. And I meant it. I had sleepless nights. I didn’t eat.

A week passed and I thought it would never get better.

We were hardly talking. I would leave in the morning without even looking at the dog. While I was at work he was getting toilet trained and bonding and I was feeling more like an outsider every time I walked through my own front door. He would look at me with those big eyes and I would just cry and leave the room. I couldn’t bond with him, I didn’t want to be near him.

It brings tears to my eyes remembering how much I disliked this new little life in my house, how much I neglected him (not physically but definitely emotionally) and how absolutely distraught it made me.

Butter wouldn’t melt

It did get better. Anyone who is struggling to cope: it does get better. I don’t know how. There wasn’t a turning point that I can pinpoint. I just started spending more time with him and slowly building my patience and eventually began to bond.

I felt so alone and it wasn’t until after that I realised I am not the only one who has been through this. I thought I was a horrid person because I really did want to give my boy up but I am so glad I persevered and I cannot thank my partner enough for his patience and support.

I wish I had spoken to someone but instead I smiled and told everyone how wonderful having a puppy was. I tried to be strong and act how I thought I should. The best advice I can give to anyone experiencing the Puppy Blues is to be honest.

You are not a bad person. No matter what you feel: you are not horrible or mean.

There is so much more I could say about that first month and likely I will, but for now I hope this comforts someone else. I wish I had known about the potential for these Blues before we got a puppy. It wouldn’t have changed my mind ultimately but I would have been more prepared (and not beaten myself up so much).

It is worth it in the end. I promise.

He eventually finds a comfy spot to sleep in!