“Why did you get a puppy?”
That seems to be the question that immediately follows “awww, cute” when people learn that we have a new member of our household.
The answer, apparently, is that we must have subconsciously decided that our lives just weren’t hectic enough with kids’ activities, parents’ activities, family activities, jobs, the two dogs we already have, and all the other things that seem to fill up our calendar from Sunday through Saturday, and we just needed one more thing to keep us busy.
Actually, we’ve been talking about getting a puppy for a while. Our other two dogs — 1 and 1/2 dogs, really, because we don’t count the pug as a full dog — are getting older, and we felt like it was time to inject a little youthful vigor back into the mix. We planned to get a puppy sometime this spring. We thought the timing would be great because my wife, a teacher, and two kids would be out of school for the summer and could do all the puppy training.
Of course, any time my wife and I plan to do something at some future date, we always seem to decide that, as long as we’ve got it planned, why not do it right away? So, when she called from the grocery store parking lot a couple of weeks ago to let me know that a lady was giving away Lab puppies, my response was that as long as we were going to do it anyway, why not now? And now Lucy is a part of the family.
I’ll be honest, the first couple of days, I was questioning that logic. It’s been 10 years since we had a puppy in the house, and 12 since we had an infant, and I’ve apparently forgotten a lot of things since then.
For example, the time from when a puppy goes down for her nap to when she wakes up and needs to go out is exactly 30 seconds less than the time you need to finish whatever it is you were going to get done — cooking an omelette, taking a shower, getting dressed, watching the end of a TV show or movie. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve burned my eggs a few times, and I’ve abruptly ended a number of phone calls with, “Gotta go, puppy just woke up” — which, depending on who I’m talking to, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I’d also forgotten about the joys of running the puppy outside at 2 a.m. I was going to try to cut back on the amount of coffee I’ve been drinking, but I think that’s going to have to wait a couple more months.
And sometime in the past few years, I lost that third hand I had when my kids were little. I used to be able to carry an infant and a toddler, a diaper bag, other assorted child gear and a bag of groceries to the car and still have a free hand to unlock the door. But during Lucy’s first trip to the vet’s office, I could barely sign the bill with one hand while holding her under my other arm. Where did that skill go?
I think it took us two days to get over that what-have-we-gotten-ourselves-into feeling, because puppies are adorable and, at least for us, it’s impossible to not fall in love with one. She’s got everyone in the family putting down electronic devices to interact with a living creature, which is a good thing. (The alternative is that if you don’t pay attention to her, you’ll need to go find the paper towels and the disinfectant.) Getting away from the office during my lunch break to let the puppy out is probably also a good thing, and while waiting for her to finish her business in the middle of the night, staring at the stars can be inspiring.
She’s even got the old dogs bouncing around for some play time. As a side note, pug tails are great puppy toys. When pugs lie down and relax, their tails uncurl, and when a playful puppy pounces, they curl right back up like a party favor. Lots of fun.
Anyway, our little ball of fuzz is growing fast. She’s seems like she’s going to be pretty rambunctious, so in our house, she’ll fit right in. But right now I’ve got to cut this column off, because the puppy just woke up, and I’m going to need some paper towels …
Reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.