The whole wide world is still in a state of flux. My world just became very small. I GOT A PUPPY FOR CHRISTMAS!
My neighbor said the best advice she gives to potential new dog owners: “Don’t get a puppy when you are old.” I don’t know when “old” begins in this lifetime when 80-year-olds are still out skiing and biking and doing a myriad of other physically taxing activities. But, a puppy?
A puppy hearkens back to the days (long ago for me) when a new baby entered the family. Sleepless nights, tag-teaming parents, wondering, “When does it get better?” The canine baby, so I’m told, does grow up into a nice obedient pet with the right training.
To that end, my first line of defense was to pick up a free book on Methow Buy Sell Trade. “The Art of Raising a Puppy” written by the Monks of New Skete, had a copyright of 1991, but I thought maybe the “art” hadn’t changed that much. Turns out the book is a bestseller that evidently has established the upper New York State monks as very trusted authorities in America on dog training, canine behavior and the animal/human bond. A 2011 revised edition has been updated to include the latest developments in canine health.
Naming the puppy seemed important. The monks advise not to name it something that rhymes with a command — like Bo that sounds like No. They also suggest selecting a name that speaks to a dog rather than choosing a human name that might lead to anthropomorphizing. Two syllables that end in a long vowel or a soft “a” are clear and easy for the pup to distinguish, they say.
My first name of choice had been Jack. I’ve always noticed that a good portion of romantic comedies (rom-coms) have a main character named Jack — the likable, hapless guy who bumbles his way through to the good-looking girl’s heart. The name has such a crisp sound to it that people like to say it. However, listening to the monks, I settled on Jacco; yes, still a human name, but in Dutch, and puppy doesn’t speak Dutch.
Intensely focusing on the chapter entitled “A New Beginning,” it became quite apparent that after the quiet ride home, there might be a rocky “first night” as the puppy just lost all his siblings and doesn’t know me from Adam. Nothing to do but head into the dark of night and out into the cold and snowy night — once, twice, three times, lost count. Night number two went somewhat better, but I’m not used to anything less than my recommended eight hours of sleep. Eyes at half-mast, I’m not so sure this was a good idea.
In fact, what in the Sam Hill was I thinking? But, he’s so adorable and when he is sleeping, he is just a little angel. Perhaps that’s where the expression “puppy love” came from. So, we’ll soldier on and I promise I won’t be that crazy dog lady and inform you, the readers, of his every new step.
Oh, wait, he did just climb into his sleeping crate all on his own, curl up and go to sleep while I wrote this column. A memorable first!