Enter, Gracie into our home

We all, or at least most of us, have received those cute e-mails of puppies doing amazing things, which consist mostly of sitting and looking adorable.
They tip their head to the side, roll over on their back, lift a paw and, without hesitation, we are smitten.
We’d like to gather said delightful puppy into our arms, and speak to them in a language and voice that makes us all sound slightly daft.
“Oh, if we only had a puppy!”
My advice to you: drop the puppy and run! Or by all means bend over and gently place the puppy on the floor and then . . . RUN!
Don’t stop running until the idiotic thoughts of bringing a puppy into your home have been eliminated. Run as though being chased by a man-eating lion.
Because, I warn you, this cute, adorable, lovable puppy is a sleep-depriving, floor-peeing, shoe-chewing, plant-destroying, sleep-depriving, sleep-depriving, sleep-depriving . . . maniac.
I’ve had an empty nest for just over a year. After 32 years of getting up at night, waiting up at night, and worrying at night instead of sleeping, you’d think I would have some shred of acquired intelligence that would have put up a force field to protect me when I saw the advertisement for “Bernese Mountain Dog puppies, ready to go.”
I am weak it turns out. No such force field exists in my inventory of protective devices. I saw the ad, saw the photos, and then talked to the owner about her dear lovely puppies and I was hooked.
So on Dec. 28 of 2011, we brought one “Gracie” home to forever change my life.
It started out wonderfully. The sleepy pup tucked into my arms as we drove the two hours to our home. She nestled in my arms and I breathed in her heavenly puppy smell.
Her fur tickled my nose as I snuggled my face into her wonderfulness. She panted a bit in her discomfort at being in the car and having left her mother and littermates for the first and last time, but all was swell.
I had visions of my perfect puppy as we drove towards home. She’d sit outside the door before we entered, always letting me go first. She’d then sit on the mat while I dried her feet, lifting each one to make my job easier.
She’d wander around the house just checking things out and then lie at my feet, ready to be loved should I have the need to snuggle her.
She’d walk to the door and give a little bark that she needed to go out to do her business. She’d crawl into her crate at bedtime and make a slight whimper the next morning at an appropriate time.
Oh, it was going to be just great.
Well, let me just tweak that image with a dose of realism. Miss Gracie didn’t, in fact, sleep the first three nights. She howled, cried, barked, moaned, scratched, and yelped from her crate until I slept on the cold kitchen floor beside her.
She has peed on the floor hourly despite being taken outside every hour on the hour. She may prefer the ceramic tile under her feet to grass or leaves or gravel or wood—or any other material known to man.
She bites on to my clothes with her very sharp little teeth and as I pry them apart, using my calm, stern voice, she grabs on to another part of my clothing.
She wrestles with the cat, who doesn’t even bother to fight back to teach Gracie a lesson. She gets a hold of anything that may fall to the floor and then runs like a wild thing while I try to outsmart her and run the other way.
Turns out her IQ might put mine into question.
When she is done running around the house like a banshee, she finds my feet and cuddles up next to them. She rolls over on her back for me to rub her tummy.
And as I place my face next to hers and breathe in her pureness, she sighs and I am smitten all over again.

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