My daughter has wanted a puppy for as long as I can remember, but I always said "no way." It’s not that I don’t like dogs; it’s just that we already have two of them (including the asshole), and I couldn’t imagine adding another one to the mix.
Well, last month, after years of playing the role of "evil Dad," I caved. I finally said that she could have a dog – and there was an immediate rush to visit animal shelters before I changed my mind.
Visiting an animal shelter is always heartbreaking because you wish you could take every dog home with you, but none was more heartbreaking than the last one we visited. This place was nothing short of inhumane.
Dogs left to sit in their own feces for days, cramped cages designed for one dog holding as many as three, an old, shaggy dog left outside in the heat without shade, etc. I could say more, but I need to skip the rest of the details because we’re working to get the place cleaned up, and I don’t want to say anything here that could interfere with that process.
On each visit to this hellhole, my wife and I were drawn to a white German Shepherd/Husky mix who shared a dirty cage with her nine-week old female puppy. These two beautiful dogs were in sharp contrast to the conditions they lived in. It’s hard to explain, but if you’re a dog lover, then you know what I mean when I say that a dog’s eyes tell you so much about them. The mother’s eyes radiated intelligence, warmth and courage.
So we decided to get them out of there.
Two days later they were in the back of my car taking a ride into the good life. After a brief stay at the vet, they came home and were introduced to the two dogs we already own (who we hope have since forgiven us). And it turns out our initial impression was correct – the mother is a wonderful dog, impressively smart and well-behaved, and also incredibly strong despite being underfed. She loves to take long walks, runs faster than I can believe, and is a sucker for a double-handed backrub.
Her puppy, of course, has the energy of a cheerleader on crack. One minute she’s fast asleep; the next, she’s pouncing on her mother’s head just for the fun of it. The only thing on this planet that has more energy than her is my daughter, who bonded with her immediately.
I had completely forgotten how much work a puppy is, though. It’s like having a new-born baby: it keeps you awake at all hours of the night, and you just can’t believe something so small could poop so much. Like babies, if puppies weren’t so cute, then I’m pretty sure that out of sleep-deprived desperation we’d find some way to flush them. But then they grow up a bit, you get some sleep, and realize they were worth the effort.
PS: We named the mother "Bella," and the puppy was named "Ripley" by our daughter.