Doggie days of spring

As if I didn’t already have enough sideshows in my neck of the woods, a nine-week-old puppy has been added to our family circus.
“Griffon,” a border collie/German shepherd mix, was introduced to this household 14 days ago and with him came that unbridled, unabandoned gusto known only to puppies and toddlers.
He wasn’t planned. I can say that with accuracy—since it was me (during a lapse of intelligence) whose spontaneity suggested we take in the small fry after reading about a puppy giveaway in the newspaper.
“Are you sure you want another dog?” Pete queried, knowing full well it was not he who would be getting up in the night.
“Sure, why not?” I replied, forgetting full well that I would.
However, when that cute little mug attached to that woolly little body came waddling out of the barn to a whistle, what was left of my logic was unravelled.
He was quiet and lovable, and so what if he smelled like a cow pasture. He was coming home with me.
But could I not have picked a cleaner, drier time of year in which to pitch my resolve to remain a one-dog family? Sometimes, my strong will is really stupid.
I was reminded of this when standing outside in the freezing cold at 3:30 a.m. night after night while that smart idea I had took a pee in the snowbank.
And when Griffon came bounding into the house after a romping play with Dot in the backyard pool of melting yellow snow, I am reminded again.
Especially when he took a detour through the flower bed, stopped, dropped and rolled, then left a skid trail across the kitchen floor—one side of his body covered in old, dried flowers and wet mud.
It also took him exactly six minutes to figure out that humans eat better food than dogs—though not by my hand did this occur.
It was “he-who-sleeps-all-night” who corrupted the animal’s taste buds with the crispy edges of a fried egg and a slice of cheddar cheese. Now stare duty from canine brain power has doubled every time I set foot in the kitchen.
Blankets with fringes are no longer safe. Telephone cords, toilet paper rolls, slippers, socks, candles, old newspapers, and the wooden ends on my blinds are all askew. Sacrificed are a select few and unloved stuffed animals in the name of the puppy.
Oh yes, and one for Dot—just to keep things fair.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a patient woman. I may be short-tempered by muddy footprints, frustrated by a pile of doggy poop on the livingroom floor at 5 a.m., and frowned by teeth marks in my leather shoes.
But I love dogs and there isn’t anything they can do that will change that. Besides, my dogs really are the smartest in the West. I figure that if a purebred border collie can learn 600 words, and I have two half-breeds of the same, I’ve got it made.
I tried out my theory on Saturday while curled up in my chair in the Tuscan room reading a great book in the afternoon sunshine. The dogs bounded in and began a teddy bear tug-of-war complete with over-compensated sound affects.
I looked up and said rather sternly, “It’s mother quiet time.” No word of a lie—they dropped the toy and left the room.
I was right. They were border collie genius.
Of course, I didn’t count on the open bag of flour, left out by a budding baker, that they found on the kitchen floor after that.

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