The Puppy Days of Summer
Our dog, Abby, died in March at the age of ten and a half. We didn't have much time between diagnosis (cancer) and her passing.
Her death marked the first time in 25 years that I've not had a dog; for the past 19 years, I've had two dogs. There was always another dog in the house to ease the loss of one. No empty bed, no empty dish, no quiet. Always the sound of toenails on the floor and barking at the door. Always someone greeting whenever we arrive home.
It's been weird. My morning walks have been lonely. Coming home from work, I'd have to gather myself before opening the garage door, knowing there was no Abby - waiting for me at the top of the stairs. There were so many habits to that were suddenly arrested, like walking through the bedroom to the en-suite bathroom and saying hello to the dog sprawled out there.
We knew we would get another dog, we just needed time to grieve Abby, and to find the right dog.
I wanted to get an adult dog, one who was ready to go for walks, but our attempt to adopt a rescue dog fizzled when she was deemed cat-unfriendly. With three cats whose nice life in our home I don't want to ruin, and being Boxer people - it's the breed I've always had - we decided on getting a puppy.
Timing mattered, too. I wanted to bring the pup home at the start of summer, when I would be home for two months to do the work of training and feeding. My husband, affected by a stroke, can't do this alone; besides, we know his roles are manager of cuddles and manager of treats! So it's up to me to be the trainer and the nourishment specialist.
Two months away from teaching -- and I'm going to spend the summer teaching a puppy how to live in a human world.
So meet Rosie, our little sparkling Rosie. The surprise in a litter of ten (they only saw nine babies on the ultrasound) but smart and feisty and a little handful.
Right now, as I type, she's complaining loudly about being in the crate. Dwayne is mowing the lawn and I wanted to write this post so it's a good time for some crate training. I thought someone would fall asleep quickly after her trip to town in the truck but her vocal objection at being in the crate is keeping her wide awake.
I have to make sure this pup and her integration into our household doesn't interfere with my summer of creativity. With three book projects to work on - just three, not as onerous as it sounds, no novels to write or anything - I have been looking forward to this summer since the end of April. It's what kept me going through the last couple of weeks of June.
And with a long walk every morning (leaving the pup snuggled in bed with Dwayne), there will be plenty of creative thoughts to pursue.
Like the two I had on my morning walk yesterday that I haven't had the chance to write down yet. We've only had her since Thursday (June 30), so we're still getting to know her and get into a routine. It's nice to be writing this and getting my brain in gear for this summer of creative writing.
And just as I finish typing that, and get ready to finish typing this,
the pup has fallen asleep, her little face smushed up against the wires of her crate.