Sunday, 15 February 2009

Cute little puppy…

Two dogs known to us – a cheerful Border Collie and a dark-chocolate Labrador – had eight little babies and my daughter rilly rilly wanted one.

‘Just come and see them, Mom,’ she said and I said no because I know what ‘just coming and seeing’ can lead to (and not only with puppies).

But there came a day when I was dropping my daughter off at these people’s house and she said, ‘Ag pleeeeeez, Mom,’ and for reasons not known to me (aside from the spaghetti bolognaise that is masquerading as my brain) I did.

They were adorable. Beyond adorable. They were fluffy and they romped. They had puppy breath and they wriggled like beetles when you picked them up and they had round soft fat tummies and they nibbled your earlobes. I was savagely tested but I held out: too well do I know that old adage, ‘A puppy isn’t just for Christmas, a puppy is your mother’s forever.’

I turned hard on my heel and left.

But one little puppy wriggled under the fence and gambolled (and I do not use that word lightly), giddy with freedom, after the car.

I was already sold but I wasn’t telling anybody.

A few nights later I had a conversation with my housemate, Dean. (‘After a few glasses of wine,’ he adds, unnecessarily, whenever I tell this story – because more than one person has asked me, ‘For heaven’s sake – why??’)

‘I don’t think a puppy would be a bad idea,’ he said.

Let me tell you a bit about Dean and his take on my children’s pets. Once, when my daughter was much younger, about 10 or 11, Dean made a deal with her that involved something controversial – homework or tidying her room or some such – and it went like this: if you do such-and-such, your mother will get you a hamster. (At the time, the thing my daughter wanted most in the whole entire world was a hamster.)

My daughter did whatever was required and of course I had to get her a hamster. Harriet.

Dean was not living with us at the time, so naturally was not required to entertain the hamster, or clean out its rank cage, or ensure its endless supply of food, water and silly toys, or endure the noise it made while it ran mindlessly on its wheel all night. He was also not present when a large ball-shaped thing rolled into the kitchen one night while I was making dinner, and I was on the point of booting it into touch when a shocked scream rang out: ‘Don’t, Mom! That’s Harriet!’ Someone had given it a hollow sphere in which it could run through the house unmolested by cats, dogs and other sentient beings. I still wake up in a cold sweat, thinking what might have been.

Anyway, apparently intent on not learning by my mistakes, I took Dean’s advice to heart, phoned the pup owners, and booked the one that had run after our car.

Now I have a 7-week-old cross-breed puppy (with eyebrows that are suspiciously reminiscent of a Rottweiler’s) who ‘eliminates’ freely all over the house, screams with outrage all night when put to bed in the bathroom on a thick pile of newspapers, wants attention at 4am, eats shoes, terrorises the chickens (in spite of being a fraction of their size), irritates the cats (and has not been put off in the very least by a good snotklap or two from clawed paws), doesn’t consider a good meal eaten until she is actually bodily in her food bowl, and thinks Sara’s ears are her own personal chew-toys.

But goodness me is she cute.

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tonypark said...

Awwww... I love the "puppy is not for christmas, it's your mother's forever" line.

Dare I ask if there is a touch of the empty-nesting going on here?

Johann (owned by several animals) said...

This from the woman who was a staunch cat-only person . . . you might as well get a pony and a pet octopus too, dear!
Maybe I'll get you a adorable boa constrictor for xmas.

Muriel said...

I already have a boa in the house. It just happens to be in Dean's tummy.

meggie said...

It does look very Rottie-ish! Are they sure of the parentage?
Dogs steal your heart more than any other animal, I have found.
I loved the image of the huge ball thing, that almost got kicked!