Ahh, that puppy smell…
Growing up we had a hamster whose name escapes me, a parakeet named Petey and a cockatiel named Raquette (in honor of Raquette Lake, NY not because he made a lot of noise). None of these animals was particularly memorable, except for the mess of seeds underneath and around their cages. In fact, my most distinct association with the birds was my father’s tireless and unsuccessful quest to teach them to speak. His patience was admirable, especially since the pay off was nil.
My sister pined for a puppy. We never did get one though, due to our crazy swim schedule and my mother’s utter fear of dogs dating back to an unfortunate encounter as a little girl. There was merit to my parent’s rationale – we swam at 4:30 am, started school at 7, and our days ended late with another swim and homework. My mom would have been left to care for the dog, which is tough to do when you are cowering in a corner.
Since I never grew up with a dog, it never occurred to me to want one. My sister, on the other hand, did not outgrow her childhood longing for a dog. She brought home Buster, a yellow lab shortly after college and Bailey, a chocolate lab, came a few years later (my parents tended to them for a few months which helped cure my mom of her dog-phobia). I always enjoyed their company when I visited, but the hassle seemed to outweigh everything else. The thought of picking up after the dog was incredibly disturbing.
Everything changed when Mark and I became doggie baby-sitters for Bogart, the cutest Goldendoodle. At first we watched him for an evening here and there. Then, we graduated to weekends. When we had him for three weeks in November, I was convinced we needed a dog. I was convalescing from surgery and Bogart gave me purpose and joy. It was almost winter, so I got firsthand experience walking him when it was dark and cold and snowy.
I was ready. Mark needed cajoling. A lot of it. I even threatened to bring a puppy home. He was not amused.
Unbeknownst to him, I read about different dog breeds and stalked the Humane Society website. With so many puppies and dogs needing homes, adoption seemed like the best choice for us, if and when we decided to get a puppy.
The last few weeks I could tell his armor was weakening. Speaking to our friend Susan Sarubin, who is a dog trainer in Baltimore, allayed many of his concerns (i.e. should we fence the yard, what is the best training method). And, I think Mark realized that a puppy would be just the right medicine for me while I am dealing with my “issues” (since I always have “issues” of one kind or another, his presence will always be appreciated!).
On Sunday, we headed to the Boulder Humane Society. There were some new puppies on the website and I just had to meet them. When Mark acquiesced, I knew we would bring home a puppy. How can you hold a puppy in your arms and then leave him there?
A trio of lab/border collie mixes had just been moved to Boulder from Oklahoma. Three brothers designated Happy, Pete and Tippy.
Mark wanted to meet Happy. The name spoke to him; an omen, perhaps. We took to Happy right away. We did visit with another puppy, but ultimately, Happy stole our hearts. Mark dubbed him Diesel, and the name stuck even though a friend lobbied for Oreo (I thought the other dogs at the park would make fun of him with a name like that).
Now begins our journey with Diesel. After forty years, I am finally a dog owner.
Diesel is only 9 pounds, but he walks right up to the bigger dogs without fear. He loves walks, which bodes well for his future as a running partner.
Diesel is so happy when I come home. He wags his tail. He licks my face. He paws at me. Nobody has ever been so excited to see me.
Share some information about your pets.