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​And They Call It Puppy Love…

By Pam Pollock

November, 2018

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For the past seven months our house had been exceptionally quiet – it was almost like the proverbial tale of “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” The silence was almost deafening. There was no barking during the day at the door to be let out for a potty break. No one tracking your every move to see if you were going to get something to eat. We had no warm doggy or kitty bodies to snuggle with us. There was no racing of furry bodies down the hallway. And there was no joyful greeting with frenzied howling and a tail that was wagging like a helicopter’s blades when we returned home.

On the flip side, we did not have to get up in the middle of the night for potty breaks. We could come and go as we pleased. We finally got to take a vacation with the entire family – our first vacation in 6 years and our first one with the entire family in 14 years. There were no costly vet bills for 2 pets and no daily administering of meds. I could get used to this, I told myself.

But dang it, all. The house was too quiet. I kept seeing commercials with cute little beagle puppies. I joined Facebook page groups of beagle lovers, just to look at them. I told myself. “We are NOT getting a puppy, I told my spouse and son, “I can’t endure the heartache of losing a furry family member again.” So, I was content at looking at puppy and dog photos online.

And then it happened, I got a message five weeks ago from my daughter’s sister-in-law with a photo of a cute little Beagle. And it melted my Grinch heart and I immediately phoned my husband and sent a photo to my son. We set up an appointment to visit the puppies. “But we’re not getting a puppy!” I sternly admonished…

Three balls of fur bounced out to greet us and one little puppy with soulful eyes hung back shyly. “He’s the runt,” said the owner “and he’s very shy and doesn’t like to socialize with people.”

I was in puppy heaven as I cuddled three puppies at once and was covered in slobbery kisses. I looked over and noticed that little runt boy had crept up into my son’s lap. Almost 15 years ago, our Gunny had also picked my son as “his person.” Suddenly I piped up and said, “We’ll take this one when he is old enough to come home with us.” My guys were grinning from ear to ear.

I had second and third and fourth thoughts about what I had just done as soon as we got in the truck to drive home. I very loudly vocalized my concerns, but my guys ignored me. “We’re NOT getting a puppy!” I loudly exclaimed. They sent me links to puppy beds and a puppy crate and puppy toys and puppy food. I ordered everything as I continually told them, “We’re NOT getting a puppy!” They brought the puppy home while I was at a birthday party.

“I’m NOT getting attached to this little guy!” I sternly admonished anyone who would listen to me. For the record, no one listened to me, especially the puppy. He crawled up in my lap and licked my face. He chased me around the yard. He whimpered when I left the room. He started to melt my heart, but I was conflicted because, well – he was not Gunny. I was standing outside in the rain while Jager (which means Hunter in German) was doing his business. I was grumpy as I was home alone with this puppy and he had gotten into some rotten birdseed that was on the ground and digested it and had a massive poo blowout in the living room. I got it all over me while grabbing the pooch to go outside. I got everything cleaned up, including myself and picked Jager up again only for him to projectile vomit all over me and the living room floor. I had hit rock bottom. I looked over at Gunny’s windchimes and as I am prone to do, I talked to Gunny. “I can’t do this. He’s not you. Jager can’t take YOUR place. It’s you that I want here with me, not him. “And then Gunny chimed back at me, rather noisily, I might add and voiced his opinion which I interpreted to be, “Just love the darn dog.”

I realized that my guys had brought home Jager exactly seven months to the day when Gunny died. He’s not a replacement for Gunny and never will be but I can love this little guy and enjoy him. My son has laid down some ground rules with this puppy in the hopes that we don’t create a demanding (yet lovable) tyrant like our Gunny was. He already has Jager trained to come and sit and for the most part, Jager runs to the door to let us know when he needs to go potty. He loves to play tag outside and will fetch sticks and toys. He is cute and inquisitive and has a nose that is constantly burrowing and seeking out scents.

I’ll endure the constant puppy teeth sinking into my arms and I’ll buy extra puppy pads until he is fully trained. My guys are the happiest they have been in 7 months and I guess, so am I. The other day my son walked into the house and discovered Jager in my arms, wrapped up in one of his 3 blankets. I had swaddled the puppy like I do with my grandkids and was cuddling him and swaying back and forth whist singing. My son had no words to express his shock. “What” I asked. “His tummy hurt, and he was crying. What else was I to do? For better or worse, a little 4-pound ball of fur has wormed his way into my heart – and they call it puppy love…