The pup has been with us for a year now. When he arrived last Christmas, I promised that I wouldn’t be that crazy dog lady and bore you with canine tales. However, after reflecting on the past challenging year as it rolls to its end, I realized that having the pup has been a learning experience, as well as value added, and worth sharing.
Having a puppy is like becoming a parent all over again. The first shock to the system is the loss of sleep, as the baby needs to be potty trained. The whimper in the night signals the call, followed by the early morning repeat. Doesn’t help that in Mazama the snow in January is several feet high and a path has to be shoveled to the potty spot or the pup disappears in the white stuff. Until the little guy learns how to ask to go outside to do his business, parents are on high alert to prevent unwanted “accidents.”
Reading puppy training books and attending puppy-training classes is imperative for first-time parents. The smart little fellow learns some responses quickly. Others he chooses to ignore. Surprisingly, like a toddler, he begins to grow his recognized vocabulary to the extent that we have resorted to spelling some words like “s-n-a-c-k.” You can’t help but laugh when you realize you are spelling for a dog!
I think the dog must be inherently Buddhist. He is a lesson in “living in the present.” You don’t tell him something that is going to happen in an hour or the next day such as naming someone who is coming to visit. To the pup, that means NOW, which elicits a flurry of activity waiting for the door to open. Any reference to time other than the present is not in his wheelhouse.
It’s been said that “curiosity killed the cat,” but the same could be said for the dog. Anything accessible is intriguing. A firm “no” is understood, but sometimes, the second half of the saying makes it worth the try. “Satisfaction brought him back.” When the prohibited inspection of the curious object takes place outside of the presence of the human folk, he proudly prances to where we are, item in tow in order to inform us that he has something he’s not supposed to have. Good boy! Now, drop it. Yeah, right!
Everything becomes a little more complicated with a pup. In this year of extremes, leaving pup in the vehicle while shopping, riding horses, eating in a restaurant, or going to a movie has frequently not been an option. This week, for example, would be child abuse to leave the little man in the car when the temps are freezing and below. On those occasions, we’ve had puppy sitters. Every dog owner says the pup will grow out of the chewing frenzy and eventually will take a nap while we are gone. That day will be heaven.
Traveling with a canine brings another set of circumstances. For a trip to Montana in September, I had to sign my life away to have the pup in the VRBO house. He was perfect, though, and I didn’t have to make a claim on the required insurance. While attending an all-day event during the July 100-degree days, I discovered rover.com. Of course, there are vetted dog sitters out there anywhere you need one. Pup-a-dup didn’t like staying with a stranger, but he survived (and so did I).
The summer fire evacuation was another story. Our benefactress had her own little Corgi, so she welcomed us (maybe later with some regret). The two dogs had a ball chasing each other and playing till they dropped over. However, little Teddy, being somewhat older and knowing better, didn’t have to have a puppy-proof house. Here comes Jacco with a mouthful of wrapping paper from its storage spot under the bed. Oops! Thank you, Mary Pat, for your patience.
For all the hassles, there’s nothing like a welcome tail wag from a loyal companion.
Jack’s Hut is open from 2-8 p.m., Thursday through Monday. The Inn at Mazama is open for burgers today (Wednesday, Dec. 29, 5-7 p.m.), dinner Thursday (Dec. 30, 5-8 p.m.), and brunch Sunday (Jan. 2, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.). Woodstone Pizzeria at Wesola Polana is open every day except Tuesday and Wednesday. Please support these Mazama businesses so they can continue to serve us.