Mavis at Four Months

Mavis will be four months old tomorrow! She has grown so much since I first met her at five weeks old.

Cocker spaniel puppy growth at five weeks to 15 weeks

Mavis is happy, wild, and curious. She is turning into such a wonderful dog, and has blended into our little zoo so well. Sometimes I forget she’s only four months old, because she seems much older at times. She’s very intelligent, and catches on to training and learning new commands rapidly.


  • Meeting new people
  • Chasing Malcolm
  • Playing fetch
  • Food, especially eggs and oatmeal
  • Walks
  • Playing with dogs I pet sit
  • Cuddling with Lola

Dog and puppy cuddling


  • Being held when she doesn’t want to be (still a leftover issue from the attack)
  • Having something she’s not supposed to be chewing on taken away

Other Things

  • She is doing so well in her puppy classes! Jimmy and I are impressed by how obedient she is. The trainer also said Mavis has therapy dog potential, which makes my heart so happy.
  • She has pretty much mastered potty training, and I credit that to being hyper-vigilant and using potty bells.
  • Her crate is no longer the enemy! She was never bad about going in, but now she willingly sits in her crate and enjoys the quiet time when we are out of the house.
  • She has yet to be professionally groomed, but I am excited to she how she looks with a fresh haircut later this month!
  • She is great in vehicles. She will either sit in the passenger seat while I’m driving, or on my lap if Jimmy is driving. She’s quiet and content, which is a relief!
  • Her socialization has been going really well. I hunkered down after she was attacked and brought her with me on all of my pet sitting visits and it has helped immensely.

Cocker spaniel puppy sitting in grass

Hard Things

  • Sometimes I just really want to pick Mavis up and snuggle her, but she has been very leery of it since her attack. It makes me sad, but we are working on it with lots of treats and help from her trainer.
  • Having three pets is not for the faint of heart 😉

Happy Things

  • I love training her and seeing her learn.
  • She is wonderful off-leash.
  • She has a fun, happy-go-lucky personality!

Cocker spaniel puppy

I think that’s everything! Basically, Mavis is a fluffy little ball of fun that has brought a lot of joy to the Zottola household 🙂


It Could Have Been Worse

Mavis and I had a really horrible experience on Tuesday night. Our neighbor’s dog attacked her and bit me. I honestly thought Mavis was going to die. That was such an awful feeling.

Brown and white cocker spaniel puppy

Mavis and I were outside talking to our neighbor when her dog slipped under their fence and attacked Mavis. She pinned her to the ground and rolled her a few times and wouldn’t get off. I eventually had to pull the dog off of Mavis by its scruff because it didn’t have a collar on.

Once I pulled the dog off, Mavis ran to our house crying and whimpering. It broke my heart to see her so afraid, especially since she’s so young and impressionable. I walked onto the porch and she cowered away from me. She went inside and threw up and was even afraid of Malcolm and Lola.

I checked her over for bite marks and she was crying and sore, but walking okay. I didn’t find any wounds, thankfully. I called the vet and they listed some emergency signs to look for and told me to keep an eye on her. Then I realized my hand was bleeding. I literally hadn’t even felt the dog bite me.

Brown and white cocker spaniel puppy

Jimmy was in the shower when the attack happened and I just busted in afterwards bawling my eyes out. He checked to see that Mavis and I were okay and tried to calm me down but I couldn’t stop crying. I kept thinking about how innocent Mavis was and then she was just attacked out of nowhere and was so fearful of everything and in pain.

I was super worried about Mavis. I called my mom to let her know what happened and she and my dad left their house asap and came over to be with us. Hearing my mom say “I’ll be right there” without a moment of hesitation meant more to me than she’ll ever know. My dad must have given me a five minute hug when he walked in the door and I’ll never forget that. It was just what I needed in the moment.

Thankfully my bite isn’t bad at all, just a little painful. It’s a simple puncture wound that I’ve been cleaning out with hydrogen peroxide. Mavis cried (and continues to cry) every time I pick her up since she’s so sore. That night was rough. She cried a lot and hid under our bed because she was afraid. I hardly slept and just kept replaying the situation in my mind.

Brown and white cocker spaniel puppy

I brought Mavis to the vet on Wednesday and he checked her over and said she was bruised and sore, but nothing was broken or out of place. He gave her a shot of pain medicine and told me to call the health department to report my bite, go to the doctor to get a tetanus shot, and make sure to check that the other dog is up to date on its shots.

I hated calling the health department. I felt like I was tattling on our neighbor, but I knew that if Mavis was attacked again I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for not preventing the situation from happening again. The police visited both of our houses and our neighbor’s dog is quarantined in their house for 10 days in case she has rabies.

Our neighbor apologized, checked on us, and offered to pay our vet bill. We didn’t want her to pay the bill, and we’re just happy everyone was okay. She reinforced her fence and we hugged. It was an accident, and it was scary. I knew she felt as awful as I did, just for different reasons.

I feel guilty because I knew that the neighbor’s dogs (she has two) are both aggressive. I feel like I shouldn’t have had Mavis near them, but I didn’t know the dog would slip under their chainlink fence.

Brown and white cocker spaniel puppy

Jimmy told me to remind myself that I saved Mavis. If I hadn’t pulled the dog off of her, she could have died. Easily. I wish I would have reacted faster. I wish Mavis wasn’t in pain and afraid. I wish the attack didn’t happen.

It just goes to show how we aren’t in control of life. Jimmy and I have been trying to do everything “right” with Mavis by socializing her, taking her to training classes, etc., and then a freak accident happens. That’s life. But the amazing thing is that God is in control. And He holds everything in His hands. Nothing we go through in life is without a purpose.

Today, Mavis is doing a bit better. She isn’t afraid of Lola and Malcolm anymore, thankfully, and doesn’t seem to be afraid of humans unless they pick her up. I’m hoping that fear is just from the soreness she’s experiencing and that it will go away with time. Jimmy and I are determined to help Mavis become confident again, and we’ll do whatever it takes to help her get there.

Brown and white cocker spaniel puppy kissing girl

I  know it’s important for me to have a calm, confident energy. If I’m walking Mavis and she senses me feeling on edge or fearful, she’ll react to that. I can’t fawn over her when she’s feeling fear, or else I’m rewarding the behavior. She needs to feel confident and that begins with Jimmy and I being strong leaders to her.

As hard as it feels, I know I need to put the attack behind us and move forward right now. Dogs live in the moment, and they don’t dwell on the past. Mavis will be okay if the attack isn’t made into a big deal and we don’t keep reliving the emotions and pushing them onto her.

Physically, I’m doing okay. I just found out that the neighbor’s dog isn’t up to date on its shots, so that’s kind of scary and I’m not sure what is going to happen. Emotionally, I just need some time to process and heal. I know it will all be okay, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. I’m so thankful that everyone in the situation was safe and keep reminding myself that it could have been worse.