Getting a New Puppy

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It didn't work out.

An elderly friend of mine (most of them are elderly or getting close) decided she wanted a dog to keep her company, maybe.

She saw an ad for some adorable designer puppies, at a reasonable price.

A designer dog isn't a purebred, but a combination of two purebreds, like a Maltese and a Shih tzu.

The puppy my friend decided on was a female pup that would weight about 10 pounds when grown.

My friend wanted a small dog that she could transport via airplane a couple of times a year.

She couldn't do that with a Rottweiler or a Doberman.

She was immediately attracted to a five week old pup that seemed to bond with her.

She was the most adorable little thing she'd ever seen.

The dog breeder explained how to paper train the pup, and other particulars.

My friend headed to the pet shop and bought a small travel kennel, some dog food, squeaky toys.

She wondered what she would name the pup.

The first night the puppy slept fitfully and so did my friend.

The pup woke her at 4 a.m., whimpering.

Since my friend had a doctor appointment about 5:50 for a test, she decided she might as well stay up.

But she was extremely tired that day.

I told her I had heard that a ticking clock in the pup's bed might help.

She tried that the next night and also added a soft stuffed toy to the bed.

But the pup woke up early again, perhaps lonesome for its mama and siblings.

My friend bought a super soft rug to line the kennel with. That seemed to help.

"I don't think this is going to work," my friend said on the fourth day. "This paper training is hard to do."

I offered what help I could give but it had been years since I paper trained a five week old pup. Our new pup did whimper at night but my son often put the puppy in bed with him to quiet him. That pup became a part of our family for over 16 years.

On the fifth night my friend called.

She had decided to return the pup to the breeder who sold the dog to her.

"I really think, that at our age, we need to get an older dog, one that is already housebroken," my friend said to me.

Also she had forgotten how pups like to chew on everything, like her leather recliner and such.

I could have told her that puppies chew. They don't care if it's a designer shoe, draperies, rugs, table legs, a human leg, or a sofa.

That reminded me of another dog, eons ago. My friend's daughter was given a beautiful full grown Afghan hound.

It was a beautiful dog with magnificent silky coat that swished when it trotted around the lawn.

She proudly showed the hound to me.

A few days later I ran into my friend's daughter.

"We had to give the dog away," she said.

She had returned home from work, having left the dog loose inside her mobile home.

When she opened her front door she was dumbstruck..

The couch had been half eaten away, with stuffing all over the floor. The venetian blinds were hanging limply, bent and dangling.

Shredded magazines, books, photo albums were strewn from the front room into the bathroom. Dishes that had been left in the sink were now on the kitchen floor, helter skelter.

The hound jumped all over her, happy at last for human companionship.

Here are a few things I've learned, over time, about dogs.

A dog will worship you if you give it one tiny morsel called a treat.

They "mark" their territory, inside or outside their confines. (My mother had such a dog, a Yorkshire Terrier. She named it Puddles, aptly so.)

It isn't easy to brush a dog's teeth or to give it a large pill.

Eventually your dog will claim a certain toy as its all time favorite.

Your part is to sneak upon the dog, grab the toy from the unsuspecting pooch. The dog will beg, bark, jump and insist that you return the toy. But it's just a game. The dog will then approach with the reclaimed toy dangling from its mouth, tempting you to grab the toy again and again and again and again..

A dog will run at top speed to catch a ball that you may or may not have thrown.

Dogs bark at things that move, like a squirrel or a stray cat, but they sometimes bark at inert objects like a paper sack or a flower pot.

Another thing I've learned about dogs.

They will capture your heart if you let them.

They are your best friend.