New Puppies Mali and Benson’s Journey with Small Friends

We are very excited about having a new pup join the family. It’s been quite some time since we’ve had a puppy but I think we’re up for it. My name is Samantha and my partner Stephen and I would like to share our new puppy experience with you – particularly the journey she takes through the first few months with Small Friends Veterinary Hospital.

Mali aged 2 weeks

Decisions, decisions…. So we’ve chosen our pup (a Border Collie), now we just have to get everything ready for the big arrival. She’s still with her mum and brothers and sisters for now, so we’ve got a few weeks to get everything we need.

As I said before, it’s been a while since we’ve had a pup, so it’s time to get down on our hands and knees and look at the house and yard from a pup’s perspective – so much mischief to be had! So step 1 is to ‘puppy-proof’ the house. There’s a bit of room behind the tv unit, and those cables and plugs look pretty inviting, will have to block access to those. In the kitchen, we’ll have to find a new home for the veggie bin under the open bench – don’t want her getting into the onions – which are toxic to dogs. Now to the yard – while she’s little, she’ll fit through the pool fence, so will need to come up with something for that. There’s just enough space behind the shed for a pup to get stuck – but now we’ve covered that she shouldn’t get into it.

That was no easy feat and I’m sure we’ll soon find out if we’ve missed anything! The cats will have to be introduced to them as well, they’re used to older dogs but we’ll take it slowly with an energetic pup.

Now we’re looking into pet insurance – there’s so many options now, so best to research them now while we’ve got time. Some people think pet insurance isn’t worth it, but they’re called ‘accidents’ not ‘on-purposes’ so we’d rather be prepared. Murphy’s law and all – Murphy, that’s a good name, perhaps not for a girl though… still we’ve got time to think of a name.

Stephen with Mali on the left, and Benson on the right – how could we say no!

We’ve been to meet our new ball of fluff and wouldn’t you know… we’ve decided that there’s room in our home for two – so her brother will be joining us too! We can’t wait to bring them home – they will turn our lives upside down.

Coming Home

Mali and Benson have now joined the family and we’ve had a few sleep disrupted nights. We’ve got them into a routine about where they’ll sleep and we take them out during the night when we hear them wake up. So far they’ve been really good – no accidents during the night. Except we’re wondering if we’ve now gotten them into the habit of going out twice during the night – better check with Dr Matt when we take them in next week.

It’s cuteness overload, we’re so happy we got the two of them – they’ll be best friends for life!

Toilet Training

Toilet training is going well – we take them out when they wake up, after they’ve eaten, and just before bed (as well as any other time they have that ‘look’) and ask them to go in a certain area of the yard. They’ve caught on really well. They’re not perfect (nor are we at reading the signals) so there’s been a couple of puddles but after a couple of weeks, they are asking to go out – or at least sitting by the door. We’ve now learnt constant vigilance is the key! And boy do you have to move quick.

Puppy School

Mali and Benson are going to puppy school at Small Friends Veterinary Hospital so they can meet other pups and learn a few things. They’ve got each other to play with, but it’s important they are well socialised with other pups too, as well as being exposed to other real life situations. Here’s a photo of Mali and Benson from graduation night with the whole class: Bailey the Cavoodle, Truffle who is also a Cavoodle (but she’s all black and a bit hard to see), unfortunately Zeek the Labrador wasn’t feeling well so he didn’t make the last class. We highly recommend bringing your new puppy to puppy class – it’s a great experience.

Vaccinations and Check up

Mali and Benson are coming in today for their last vaccination and a heartworm prevention injection – they’re not sure what’s going on – this isn’t the room for puppy school! Again, it’s good to get them used to all kinds of situations and coming to Small Friends is a part of life they’re going to have get used to (although hopefully it’s only for routine check ups).

Benson weighing in

First we have to get weighed, then it’s into the consult room for a thorough check up from Dr Matt.

Mali sitting quietly for her check up with Dr Matt

Dr Matt scanned our microchips and checked the registration to ensure we are listed on a national database. That’s important so we can be assured that if they go missing anywhere in the country we can be reunited – provided of course we keep our contact details up to date.

Then it was time for the vaccinations – we thought they might object to the needles, but they didn’t even flinch! The liver treats may have helped to distract them. Dr Matt told us they might be a little sleepy after their vaccination so we thought we might get a full nights sleep – but no, they were their usual rambunctious selves and showed no sign of anything being amiss.

Benson was too busy eating a liver treat and didn’t notice the needle!

Mali sits for her vaccinations.

A bump in the road – or the gastronomic misadventures of two mischievous puppies

Ok, so it’s a good thing we got the pet insurance I talked about above. Turns out we didn’t puppy proof quite as well as we thought we did and it also turns out that puppies eat EVERYTHING and I mean everything. They’ve both been a little indiscriminate with their foraging habits in the back yard – nothing is off limits, rocks, sticks, old plum seeds from the plum tree…. Mali however took it to a whole new level when she figured out how to break into the cat door, into the house and found the hidden (or so I thought) horde of cat toys. We didn’t even notice they were missing til she starting vomiting them up one by one. By the end of the night she had thrown up six faux fur covered mice and a small squishy ball (which was Mango the cat’s favourite toy!) so off to Small Friends Veterinary Hospital we went. Dr Melissa gave her a thorough check up and she had to have an injection to stop her vomiting. I was of course worried that there was something stuck in her tummy somewhere that couldn’t come out on its own and had visions of emergency surgery in the middle of the night, but as it turns out she was very lucky and things got ‘moving’ on their own (I won’t add any photos cos it wasn’t very pretty). She was pretty flat for the rest of the day and had to miss obedience school that night. It’s taught us to be even more vigilant than we have been!


So today the pups are going to be desexed, our routine is a little out of whack and they are wondering why they haven’t had any breakfast. It’s routine for any surgeries that the patients have to be fasted and these guys are no exception.

What do you mean no breakfast… We’re going where and they’re going to do what?

We arrive at Small Friends and get checked in by Josie, they are both very happy to be here – this is usually where they get to play with their friends and Josie and Laura make such a fuss over them when they arrive it’s like they’re greeting their own dogs and we’re relieved to know we’re leaving them in such great hands.  Josie and Laura marvel at how much they’ve grown, they’re still puppies to us, but looking at the scales they’ve obviously grown!

Then we sign the consent form and have to leave them for the day. That’s almost harder than my son’s first day at school, although I don’t think they seemed to mind as they were getting plenty of attention. In fact I’m not sure they noticed that we left! I’ll try to concentrate while I’m at work…Josie told Steve and I that she would call us just before Mali and Benson’s procedure and again after they were settled back in their beds – which made us feel a lot better about leaving them.

Waiting their turn to go into surgery

Benson’s turn

To be honest I was a little worried all morning and probably didn’t get much work done so I was very relieved when Laura rang me just before Mali and Benson’s procedure and told me they’d been happily sleeping in their beds since we left them. After the procedure I got another call from Laura to let me know that everything had gone well and that they were back in their beds sleeping and getting lots of cuddles from Josie and Laura. I was so relieved to hear that my fur babies were recovering well that I was able to concentrate until it was time to go and collect them.

We were very excited to see them that afternoon and I had to make myself listen as Dr Matt gave us some after care instructions and we made an appointment to have their stitches removed in ten days time.  Dr Matt explained that Mali had been licking her stitches since she woke up from the surgery so she came home with an Elizabethan collar to stop her from causing any damage to her wound – we call it her ‘cone of shame’. Apparently Benson decided he needed one too – he started licking and chewing at his stitches just before we picked him up so nurse Josie gave him his own cone of shame! Mali and Benson were quite sleepy when we brought them home and after a light dinner they had an early night.

Resting after their desexing surgery

Home again – Benson ended up with a collar too and is consoling his sister

Three days later we got a call from nurse Laura to see how Mali and Benson were recovering. We were grateful for the call as we had a question about Mali’s stitches and whether or not she should be running around the back yard with her brother as if nothing had happened. It’s very hard to keep two young border collies quiet for a week! They have both recovered very quickly and act as if nothing had ever happened. I’m glad that we got them done at the same time so they could recover together.

One year on

Wow – Mali and Benson are one year old already! Time sure does fly. They have grown into two beautiful dogs and we are very grateful to the staff at Small Friends Veterinary Hospital for keeping them in tip top condition and answering our seemingly endless questions. They’ve had a few unexpected incidents over the past 12 months and now they’ve entered their teenage years– who knows what to expect. I think that most of the puppy related ‘incidents’ are behind us though.

They’ve continued their obedience training after their wonderful introduction at puppy class here at Small Friends and are doing really well. While they have each to play with all day (and boy do they play ALL day) it’s good to keep them socialised with other dogs.

Happy Birthday Mali and Benson

Another check up

Mali and Benson are now due for their annual health check and vaccinations so it’s time to weigh in again.

Benson is a bit heavier than his sister


Stephen and I are much more relaxed this time round as we now know what to expect at this visit. Yes there are still needles involved but after their puppy vaccinations we know it doesn’t really hurt them. The pups (I know they’re grown up now, but they’ll always be ‘the pups’ to us) also seem quite calm and aren’t apprehensive at all. I’m not sure if that’s because they remember the good times they had at puppy class or simply that they’ve been here a few times and know the nurses here will give them cuddles and treats!

Dr Melissa gives Benson and Mali a thorough physical examination before giving them their vaccinations.


Even though Mali and Benson are no longer puppies and don’t need to be wormed quite as often, they still need to have worm tablets every three months to get rid of any pesky little intestinal worms they might have picked up at the dog park or on their walks. We usually give them the tablets at home, but since we were here, Dr Melissa gave them their dose today. Visit the worming information page for more information.

Mali gets her worm tablet from Dr Melissa

So that’s our journey through puppyhood with the team at Small Friends. I hope our experience helps answer some of your questions about what to expect during a pup’s first year. We’ve certainly enjoyed watching them grow up and sleep well at night knowing we have the team at Small Friends for support.

As I mentioned earlier, Mali and Benson have continued on with their training and have both taken on a dog sport each. Mali is trying her hand – or should I say paws – at agility, so look for more photos of her on the dog agility information page soon.

After a hard day getting spoiled at Small Friends, Benson decides it’s time for a snooze.