It has been three months since I wrote a blog post! The time has gone so quickly I can hardly believe it. It turns out I disappeared not because of lack of things to write (I had blog topics galore, in fact), but just because of an utter and amazing lack of time.
It all started in October, when the first thief of time arrived on stage. His name was Baxter. He was a handsome black fellow, with one white glove and a solemn face. He liked to eat and sleep and take gentle walks and then sleep some more. In short, he was a puppy.
I can’t complain about the time loss, though. The puppy was my idea. Our last family dog died two winters ago, at the ripe old age of twelve. My family was caught flatfooted by her sudden illness and she died swiftly and shockingly and left us all traumatized about getting a new dog. Besides, she had been a wonderful, loyal pet, but also a total pain. She could escape from anything (literally - dog runs, dog chains, fenced pastures, heavily barricaded gates, combos of chains AND gates), and the thought of another dog who would tax our tempers and then break our hearts was overwhelming.
But then this past summer I realized I wanted a new dog. Just on cue, my hairstylist’s black lab had an affair with his neighbor’s boxer, producing nine puppies. I promptly claimed one. I wanted a male, because I’ve always preferred boy dogs, and he was ready to go in mid-October. My brother and I drove forty minutes to pick him up and were smitten with him at once. He was a chubby little thing (though little is a comparative term when it comes to Boxadors, it turns out), and his white front paw looked ridiculously large and endearing contrasted against his shiny black body.
After three wks, he grew 10 lb. and got even cuter!
It’s only been two and a half months since then, but Baxter has already made quite a splash. He dragged me out of bed at two in the morning for a while, for night-time bathroom trips. Then he outgrew that, for which I was deeply grateful, but settled on a morning routine of howling at five AM if no one came to play with him. As a compromise, therefore, he gets to come inside for a few hours every morning, so that I can sleep without a puppy shrieking in my ear.
He’s had trips to the vet, baths, adventures with cats, adventures with other dogs. He’s put on weight as if he’s in a competition for fastest growing puppy. He got mange and has been receiving daily doses of medicine to get his coat back to its proper luster. He’s discovered that snow is amazing fun, and that ice is even more fun, since he can jump on it, break it, scratch it, bite it, lick it, and then move on to the next spot and repeat the whole process. He broke a baby tooth. He learned how to sit, lie down, shake both paws, (more or less) come, walk on a leash, and now he’s trying to figure out how to catch treats in mid air. He gets one occasionally.
|Then he put on another 15 lb in 4 wks! (half-way through the growth spurt here)|
He adores my cat, Spinoza, but unfortunately in a much too ardent way, which may eventually threaten her life, so I’m working on convincing him that he can’t sit on top of her and try to put her head in his mouth. She thinks it’s fun to wrestle, only realizing too late, after she’s already let him capture her, that perhaps she'll get swallowed. So far, so good, though – Baxter likes to please, so he picks up on my training quite quickly. Spinoza will be safe soon enough.
My other cat, Charcoal, is a wise old fighter, and he has no patience for the puppy. There’s no danger of Baxter affectionately swallowing him, since Charcoal knows to keep his face toward Baxter and to whack him across the nose with his claws. Baxter likes to flirt with danger, so he dances around barking and huffing, but Charcoal only hisses and yowls. Then, because he knows his mind, he makes his slow way past the puppy to me, so I can snuggle him out of harm’s way. Baxter bounces around below, hoping I'll hand Charcoal over, but when I don't, he gets bored and goes to look for sticks.
So you see, there has been much to do with a new puppy in the house. I’ve actually accomplished a fair amount of writing since Baxter’s arrival (more on that later!), but the blog had to be put on pause for a while. Now that he’s past four months, though, and reaching adolescence and needing less constant attention, I can return with relief to a normal schedule.
|Then he grew 10 more lb in 3 wks: he's 50 lb now! Half-grown...|
In spite of the extra busyness, though, it’s been quite wonderful to have a new dog around. I was blog-hopping recently, and a blogger mentioned in her Christmas post on her family’s new puppy that ‘A dog brings something subhuman to family, something that must be cared for, cleaned up after, trained, and loved, all with that particular patience that animals can bring out in human beings. I think it can be through learning to love something sub-human that we become fully human.’ I wanted to stand up and cheer after reading those lines. After a few months with Baxter, I know exactly what she means.