Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mr. Dog: A new adventure

The time was never right for a dog. Maybe there is never an exact right time. Still, a series of events propelled us toward taking one on. Perhaps we were in need of a distraction. Or maybe it was just fate. Whatever it was, a puppy Sam dubbed Mr. Dog was about to become part of our family.

The news that Mr. Dog would soon move in was met with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Sam was delighted. I was cautiously optimistic. Tony was apprehensive at best:
            Tony:          Mr. Dog will live outside. Right?
            Me:             Mr. Dog will live in the house with us.
            Tony:          My mother always said animals belong outside.
            Me:             Fortunately for Mr. Dog, my mother never said   
                                anything of the sort.
            Tony:          I'm not going to like this, am I. 
            Me:             Probably not.  
            Tony:          What if it doesn't work out?
            Me:             We'll go with plan "B".
            Tony:          Oh OK.    
                                (long pause) What is plan "B"?
                                (another long pause) 
                                There's no plan "B", is there. 
             Me:             No. Not really.  

About two weeks later, Mr. Dog arrived.

Our first day with Mr. Dog, I was amazed at his sweetness; how quickly he bonded with us. We were instant celebrities on our first trip to Nantucket. Everyone wanted to meet the sweet little chocolate lab puppy. Unsure of his new home, he displayed a meek and gentle nature.

On day two, he began to settle in. Seeing no need for a leash or harness, Mr. Dog showed the skill of Houdini as he wiggled out his harness multiple times in mere seconds. Then he tried to eat it. On day three, I questioned why we didn’t name him Jaws as he chewed his way through our house.  When he ran out of household items, he gnawed my left arm with his needle-sharp teeth. He eyed a heavy cable wire like it was a thick, juicy steak. He ignored every chew toy. He ate my rose bush. For dessert, he ate the power cord to my Mac. He thought the toilet scrub brush was a plaything.

On day four I admitted it: Mr. Dog was a lot of work. He ate like a pig. He slobbered his water. Left to his own devices, he christened any carpet in mere seconds. He had a shrill whine that could wake the dead. Alarm clocks? Obsolete. Mr. Dog reliably woke me at 5:10 each day. Though I managed to protect them, I knew Mr. Dog was stalking my shoes. He was everywhere and into everything.

There were moments when I wondered if Mr. Dog would survive into week two.

Fortunately, like most puppies, Mr. Dog was blessed with the maximum of puppy cuteness. He had the market cornered on happy. It was hard to stay angry at a creature so gleeful. I was also well versed in negotiating the unexpected. After all, the unexpected has been our norm for the last eighteen years.

There was, of course, the Sam factor: I was optimistic about this new adventure for Sam. I was hopeful through Mr. Dog Sam would gain some independence; that Mr. Dog would become a trusted friend.  

I saw early glimmers of magic with Sam and Mr. Dog when Sam took time away from his precious laptop to patiently pat Mr. Dog. He liked Mr. Dog to sit with him at times and laughed gleefully each time he heard me say, “Mr. Dog, you are in big trouble.” As Mr. Dog’s ally, Sam offered some helpful advice: “Mr. Dog, whatever you do, don’t eat the TV.”

Probably the defining moment occured early on as I watched Sam gently cradle Mr. Dog. He leaned over and whispered into the puppy’s ear, “He’s perfect.”

Each time I am frustrated with Mr. Dog, I hear Sam's soft whisper and know though there will be mishaps and missteps we’ve made a good choice.

Mr. Dog, I bid you welcome. Welcome to our new adventure. 

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  1. Love this post...Mr. Dog will learn quickly if you're consistent. I'm so happy for Sam, he is bonding with his new puppy!