Get a puppy they said. It’ll be fun they said.
So we did and so she is, though “fun” is but one of dozens of serviceable ways to describe the arrival of a warm fuzzy ball of canine fury into a home already sufficiently messy.
Introducing a puppy, or at least this puppy, transformed our once-slovenly house into a domicile officially labeled “Health Department Sanitation / Habitation Code Violation(s) 7:24c.” As if some kid outta county health knows “housebroken” better than me. And if it’s only a citation, why the 16-page supplemental attachment, with photos?
Today we live in a nonstop one-dog playground filled with (formerly) stuffed bunnies, ducks and bears the pup hauls into everything and under everywhere, down the stairs and into the kitchen, knocks over the refrigerator, jumps on the counter and disembowels a nice stuffed turtle that an hour ago was very cute and cost me $9,000. (Per insurance claim.)
There’s an ongoing dispute about the dog’s name. Trophy favors “Sweet Pea” but to me she’s “Sweetie.” This illustrates cooperation and compromise working in tandem to sustain a healthy marriage, at least until we get to the Conservatorship part. And aside from the needle-sharp teeth and the puncture wounds they inflict she’s good-natured. But she does raise hell.
She also eats. She’s a world class eater and has a gift for gaining weight. All she requires to pack on the pounds is fall asleep or breathe or jump around like a dolphin on meth in her little blue plastic swimming pool.
We took Sweetie to the Ukiah Veterinary clinic on South State Street for vaccinations. When we checked in Sweetie weighed 28.3 lbs; when we left 15 minutes later she weighed 31.5 lbs. As of yesterday she was officially at 42 lbs.
Five months old? Forty two pounds? Let’s re-name her Seabiscuit.
But seriously, how can a dog get so big so soon? Especially when you consider her spindly back legs, no bigger around than my thumbs. Those long, skinny legs make us think she’s part Flamingo, but her tail suggests she’s half-Kangaroo.
Sweetie’s breeder has definitely got some explaining to do.
Still, dear Trophy thinks she’s the Best Dog in the Whole World and she’s welcome to her opinion. I think Sweetie might be the best dog in the house, but not by much.
On the plus side the li’l pup thinks I’m smart and good-looking. From the time she was no bigger than my shoe she’s forever thrilled to be in my presence. I can say the same about no other creature on earth. She falls apart when I leave the house, if only to wheel a garbage can to the street. She starts yipping and wailing and clawing the front door like she’d been abandoned at the orphanage.
From the front window she looks to see which way I’ve gone, then hurries to the side window to wail and scratch until she realizes I’m already back on the porch and opening the door. So she flops on her back and wiggles and rolls in relief: At long, long last I have finally returned.
Wish my kids had missed me so. Once, even.
Sweetie fetches bunnies, balls, rocks and branches whether you throw them or not. She loves water, especially running water, as when I fill the backyard swimming pool with the garden hose. She snap-snap-snaps at the stream, then pops up on back feet, leaping and snapping at the hose nozzle. Big fun.
She never risks being without me. When I leave a room she hustles ahead and is sitting, waiting for me when I get to the kitchen or back deck. Always wanting to be with me is another way of saying she’s always underfoot, except in bed when she lays on my feet.
But yeah, otherwise she’s underfoot. Last week I was yawning my way to the bathroom for a morning shower with Sweetie prancing alongside. I paused at the porcelain bowl to drain my lizard.
Standing next to me, eyes up, she gazed at the water-like stream, then snap-snapped at it. “Eek’! I shrieked, and that was before she spotted the hose itself. Rearing up, she snap-snap-snaps at the (quickly withdrawn) dangling hose. A short hose, but still.
The downstairs bathroom sustained only modest liquid damages to the floor and one wall, both quickly addressed, with limited structural damages (per the $11,000 home insurance claim).
Would now be a good time to vote in that “Best Dog in the World” contest?
From the moment you started this column until reaching the end Sweetie gained five ounces. Tom Hine, who often writes under the TWK byline, thinks it’s time to switch her to an all-leftover Halloween candy diet.
Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.