Parent Pathways

Dog tired, but who can resist?

May 7, 2013 

After you’ve been married a while, a kind of checks-and-balances system evolves. One spouse can apply the brakes on another’s decision if it seems outlandish or unwise.

I was counting on the hub to veto my decision to go look at shelter dogs in deference to our ancient 19-year-old dog.

Here’s how it all started: I had spotted a Great Pyrenees/Lab mix in the grocery store parking lot. I was mesmerized. It was the calmest puppy I’d ever seen – and beautiful.

“There are eight more just like her at the SPCA,” the owner said.

After some research on the Great Pyrenees breed, I dragged my husband and child to the Wake County SPCA the next day, “just to look.” The shelter had put a pup in a room all by herself because she’d been getting bullied by the other puppies. That little black puppy rolled onto her back and looked at us with big brown cow eyes, calm just like her grocery-store sister.

The hub forgot all about his veto power.

That’s how we got Magic, or Madge, our now 4-month-old pup, a sweetie pie that is built, quite frankly, like a Shetland pony.

She was 17 pounds when we got her, and she’s now almost 50.

She’s like a drunken sailor walking through the house, crashing into things, grabbing my eyeglasses off the nightstand, clearing a table with the swish of her tail.

When she gets hot, she plunges her paws into her water bowl, an instant swimming pool on the tile floor.

My husband keeps lamenting over how fast she’s growing. I’m in denial. It’s definitely a fly in the ointment of my plan. When he showed me pictures of full-blooded Great Pyrenees, I said, “That’s been Photoshopped. God doesn’t make dogs that big.”

In four short weeks I went from picking her up and putting her in the front seat of the car to luring her with a treat to put her front paws on the floor board and hoisting her rear end up behind her.

And then there is the relationship she has with the old dog, Sister. They do pretty well together for the most part, but I do have to separate them when Madge gets wild. Then again, Madge shares her food with Sister, which I think is pretty nice.

Of course, Madge often gnaws on Sister’s bony little heel, dropping it like contraband when I walk into the room and make the noise the dog trainer taught me.

We’re completely dogged out. We’ve got the crate, the dog-park membership (genius!), the puppy training classes and daily walks. I’m exhausted. Madge, not so much.

Ever the drunken sailor, she crashes for a while and then is ready to go carousing.

It’s almost as much work as a toddler. Except that I can put her out on the screened porch and shut the door. Madge has a big project going on out there, chewing a wicker rocker, which I’ve decided to let her have, largely because I don’t have the energy to stop her. Besides, it’s old.

Still, as much work as she is, she comes and finds me every morning and flashes those brown cow eyes, and I’m hooked all over again.

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