Posted by: ritagone | February 16, 2011

Welcome Sherlock!

What is it about puppies that can melt even the hardest heart?

Yesterday we got a new puppy.

We named him Sherlock (after our favorite current BBC TV series of the same name).

He’s an 11-week-old black and white Havanese male puppy, and there are those who will say – even some who are perhaps reading this – that we are crazy.

Most people our age say that when the current canine “passes on,” that’s it for them with house pets.  They don’t want the encumbrance of a dog or even of a less encumbrancing cat.  No more responsibility or worrying about who will feed the dog while you’re away from home.  No more financial cares about shots and tooth removal (I’m speaking about the dog here, keep in mind).  Nope, they wanna be free, so no more pets for them.

Now we have a dog already.  She’s a 13-year-old Tibetan Terrier named Zuzu, and surely there can’t be room for another monarch in our home, you’d say.  We brought Zuzu into our family when she was 8 weeks old, and she has ruled the roost ever since.  If you have been to my home, you know that Zuzu believes you have really come here to visit her.  She makes the rounds of people sitting in my living room, not wanting to offend anyone, an equal opportunity cuddler.

We got Zuzu before we had grandchildren.  We did a lot of research to make sure Tibetan Terriers (not really a Terrier, which is another story in itself) were compatible with children, knowing that grandchildren would soon be on the way.  Sure enough, within two years our first granddaughter came along, and it wasn’t long before Zuzu experienced that typical infant/dog relationship:  tiny finger in canine nostril.  Zuzu never flinched, never growled.  And thus it was with all four grandchildren: Zuzu was the perfect hostess to the children who came into our lives and our hearts, whether they were related by blood or not.  They were her family as much as Michael’s and mine, as well as the many adults and young people who came through our home.  If you stayed in our home overnight, Zuzu might wind up sleeping on the foot of your bed if you didn’t close the door to the bedroom, because she just knew you wanted her company.  You didn’t have to ask; she just knew.  To her, there is no such thing as a human who doesn’t just love dogs.

Now, as I said, Zuzu is going to be 13 years old in a few months, which is 91 years old in dog years, and she’s showing her age in some ways: she’s harder of hearing and isn’t as energetic as she used to be.  She needs to be let out several times during the night, which is annoying, to say the least, but hey, she’s part of our family, and the bedroom door to the outside yard is on Michael’s side of the bed, so…  You know, when you have a pet, there is – or ought to be – the same sort of vow to that pet to some degree that there is when you marry: in sickness and in health, for better or for worse.  Zuzu has given us so many wonderful years of pleasure and joy (and still does) that we’re not going to complain about a few inconveniences due to her aging.  (I am thankful that my husband treats me with much respect and care as I continue to age and I pray that the people you love do the same with and for you also.)

So the desire to get a puppy did not originate because we wanted to replace Zuzu.  In fact, we thought having a puppy around might give her a new lease on life, a companion who could perk her up and frolic with her in the backyard, chase toys and share opinions on dog food, things Michael and I just can’t or won’t do.

And yes, already, in one day, we have seen this puppy bring a new sparkle to Zuzu’s eye.  This little guy got her to run around the yard like I haven’t seen her do in a long time.  After chasing my five year old granddaughter for a while (and what a lure to get the grandkids to come visit!), he realized that Zuzu was in the yard and turned his attention there.  At first Zuzu looked like this kind of behavior was beneath her, Grand Dame that she sees herself.  But the urge to play was just too irresistible, and before we knew it, they were chasing each other, deliberately not catching one another, and the puppy, about three inches from the ground at this point in his growth, found himself rolling over and over in the grass, while Zuzu would circle and then come back for more.

How can you not smile watching this?  This little furball chasing the senior citizen he’s only just met as if they have known each other for years, as if their lives both depended upon it?  And then, after a few minutes, putting this little guy back into his pen and watching him collapse in utter exhaustion, done in for at least a few hours, until you wake him up for the next romp, when he will be ready and willing to play with anyone, human or canine.

We can learn a lot from dogs about getting along and adjusting to what life brings our way.  There’s Sherlock, dropped into a new environment, adjusting so quickly because he felt the love immediately, with an “Oh well, I’m going to like it here” attitude.  And I think if Zuzu had a bad attitude (go with me on this) about what happened yesterday, she could have said: “I’m too old to adjust to a puppy.  Am I not enough for them?  How could they betray me like this?  I don’t deserve to be treated this way.”  Instead, she jumped right in and decided to enjoy this new little guy, to make him her friend and not be paranoid that Michael and I were going to displace her from our hearts.

So now we’re a two-dog family.  And although having a puppy is going to be a bit of work until he is trained and completely housebroken, I anticipate that he’s going to be a very welcome and fun member of our family.

If you’re in the neighborhood, come by and meet him.  But be sure to say hello to Zuzu also.  I’ve attached a picture of Sherlock but be forewarned: you may want a puppy after you see him!!


Regards,  Rita

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