Thursday, July 02, 2015

Puppy Love

Originally published in the Miami News-Record, May 24, 2015

I’ve written about hamsters and mice and twice about our cat. Heck, I’ve even written about a possum. But I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned much about our dogs. I’m not sure why seeing as how we really love our pups.

Not quite four years ago we got a brother sister pair of German Shepherd pups from my brother-in-law. Boo and Bolt (yes, named after Disney characters) were inseparable. So much so that when they went to the vet to be fixed, the vet ended up kenneling them together because they were both so distraught at being separated. From the get-go we knew Boo was going to be rambunctious, hyperactive, and very needy while her brother Bolt has always been calm, watchful, and incredibly neurotic. He is also claustrophobic. Leave it to us to have a 100-pound dog that flips his lid when he’s enclosed in something. Making the 30 minute drive to the new house last year nearly did the poor fella in. In the winter, he will not get in his custom-made, carpet-lined barrel; he will sleep on the ground in the middle of the yard rather than get in something that might protect him. If it’s super dangerous cold, on occasion, we have convinced him to get into his also custom-made, very large and very open dog house that’s really just three walls, not a real “house”. The things we do for those dogs. When Boo disappeared last fall we were devastated and still every now and then will think we hear her bark from across the field. We miss that girl.

Last spring, our oldest began her campaign for her own puppy. She wanted a dog of her own and was determined to get one. Lo and behold, this extremely dirty, very hungry yellow lab pup just showed up in our yard. Abby didn’t even wait for her daddy to get home to ask if she could keep her – she just gave her a bath and a name and the rest is history. Today Josie is a giant, wiggling 85 pound mass of lab that has her own chair to sit in at the fire pit, but if she’s cold, will heave herself into your lap and sigh contentedly even while you struggle to breathe with that much Josie against your chest.

Our son has been on his own canine campaign since fall, but his dad didn’t want him to try to care for a puppy during winter. One day a woman at Paul’s work said her pups really needed to find new homes because their momma had stopped letting them nurse at four weeks and that the ten of them were eating her out of house and home. That very night Sam became a doggy daddy to a very fluffy, very adorable Husky/Great Pyrenees he named Hero. There isn’t much to him under a massive amount of fur, but oh goodness, is he fun to pet. He’s already learned to sit on command, and he’s a pro at peeing on the kitchen floor and biting toes. He’s a genius, I tell you. We aren’t really pets-in-the-house kind of people what with all the allergies we have, but Hero was just too tiny to leave outside since this spring has been so cold and wet. We know his time in the house is limited (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know this), but man, are we having fun while he’s in here.

In the past two weeks I have stepped on little bits of dog food, tripped over his favorite toy (a stuffed jalapeno wearing a sombrero), and nearly broken a hip when I’ve taken a step backwards and realized he had fallen asleep right behind me. But seeing my teenage son taken such good care of this puppy that makes him lose sleep but also makes him deliriously happy at the same time, makes me a proud momma. And the skunky puppy breath kisses are just an added perk. 

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