Driving up to my Aunt Nancy’s ranch in the Trinity Alps in far northern California, where she has stunning views of snow-capped peaks, a few hay fields, a lovely ranch house with a wrap-around porch, chickens, a root cellar, and a litter of seven German Shepherd puppies. My daughter’s idea of paradise.
Keeping our promise of a puppy to our daughter. We made a commitment that we would get a puppy when we moved, then a biopsy made us edit that to: “We’ll get a puppy when the worst of cancer treatment is over.” We make the drive just four days after my last radiation treatment.
Marveling at how much the puppy has grown in a couple months. Jake was about the size of a human baby when we saw him about seven weeks earlier. He’s not-so-miniature dog by the time we pick him up.
Questioning our sanity, as sweet as Jake is. Everyone we meet tells us how gi-normous he’s going to be.
Mediating between the puppy and the other animals in the house. The older dog, Kit, 12, pouts for several weeks, and snaps a couple times over food. She’s now figured out that Jake arrival means a shower of training treats. She even plays with him. The cat, who affects complete unconcern about undignified canines has yet to rake the puppy across the nose.
Wishing the cat would make a clawed statement. The puppy can fit the cat’s entire head in his mouth, for heaven’s sake.
Remembering the joys of house-training: urine remover, old rags, and a turn outside every 90 minutes.
Saying “No bites!” over and over and over. Saying, “Good pee, Jake!” over and over and over. Saying, “No!” over and over and over.
Giving thanks that German Shepherds are so smart. He learns “No bites,” and “sit” in about a day. He’s mostly house-trained now, except for an occasional territorial squirt.Remembering many lovely childhood camping trips at Donner Lake, by going camping there yet again.
Going puddle jumping in Golden Gate Park during a freak June rain storm.
Getting a little stressed about the three weeks of June “puppy camp,” with Erin and dogs and endless time but no time off. How do teachers manage it?
Enjoying fog-free days at the beach. At least 7 or 8 in the last couple weeks!