Posts Tagged 'dog'

One Day at a Time

Sleeping It Off

Out with my puppy early this morning, I was thinking about how the expression, “One day at a time,” applies to the process of housebreaking a dog. Today I slept half an hour later than usual (until the lazy hour of 5:30 a.m.!) and woke to find that, like an addict in recovery, Eddie had slipped, breaking a streak of four days and nights clean and sober – that is, without an accident in the house. Disappointed in my dog, I was also angry at myself for letting him down by oversleeping. And he had been doing so well!

With Eddie sleeping it off under the kitchen table, I sought the support of my resident expert in recovery, my husband Peter. Peter is a substance abuse counselor who works with addicts at all stages along the recovery spectrum at a wonderful nonprofit clinic called Right Turn. He ran through a checklist that he uses in his weekly relapse prevention group. As Eddie’s sponsor, I will be discussing the following points with him to ensure that this morning’s slip does not turn into a full-blown relapse: Continue reading ‘One Day at a Time’


“And they called it puppy love…”

Eddie at 5 weeks old

In the month since we adopted Eddie, I’ve been reliving the elation and exhaustion of being a new mother. It’s been seventeen summers since I brought my youngest child home, but the feelings are so familiar that I’m constantly having to remind myself that my new baby is… a dog. Some people dress up their pets; I prefer to think of Eddie as a small boy dressed in a dog suit. I half expect to find a zipper when he rolls over for a belly rub. I imagine these are the same emotions that Stuart Little’s mother experienced when she noticed her second son “looked very much like a mouse in every way.”

In the lexicon of technology innovation, Eddie is what’s called a “disruptor.” Like a Fortune 500 company in a mature market, my family has had to rethink the way we do business and to adapt following Eddie’s arrival, starting with a few facility changes: guests will notice the absence of rugs and the addition of some rather unsightly plastic barriers blocking off part of the living room and the stairway. We’ve all had to become more nimble, dodging Eddie’s razor-toothed assaults on our shoes and pant legs and clearing the floor and low surfaces of objects that might attract his rapacious jaws. I’ve had to adjust my daily routine to accommodate his need for frequent walks and close supervision, and stock my pockets with dog treats and bio-bags. During this time of transition, the old (feline) technology has retreated upstairs to sulk and plot their re-launch strategy.

And yet, despite the disruption and the considerable time-sink that housetraining a puppy poses, I am utterly smitten. Puppy love: I’ve got it bad. Continue reading ‘“And they called it puppy love…”’

Joint Custody Dog

I didn’t want a dog.

In 1998 I was a single mother of three young children (ages 4, 7 and 9), trying to find my emotional and financial footing following an explosive divorce. I had just started a new job as a real estate agent, and was trying to juggle being on call 24/7 to my clients with the demands of motherhood. Space and privacy were at a premium in our 1,000 s.f. condo, and we shared a postage-stamp-sized back yard with our upstairs neighbors. It was early summer, and the kids were out of school and in day camps; I worked until about three o’clock and spent afternoons ferrying them around to play dates and playgrounds and running errands while compulsively checking my office voice mail.

I didn’t have time for a puppy.

But seven-year-old Cecily never missed an opportunity to remind us she wanted-deserved-couldn’t-live-without a puppy, and that summer she finally wore her father down. George informed me that he had decided to get a puppy, and proposed that we share it. I reluctantly went along with the plan, so long as this “joint custody dog” was small and non-shedding. We settled on a cockpaoo (or “cockerpoo” — there’s no consensus on what to call a cocker spaniel-poodle mix). George picked out the puppy from a breeder and left it in a friend’s care until the following weekend, when he planned to surprise Cecily with “her” new puppy.

I remember the puppy’s entrance into our fractured family as vividly as I do the days when my children were born. The kids and I were waiting on the front porch for George to pick them up for the weekend. He climbed the steps cradling something small and yellow, which Cecily initially mistook for a stuffed animal. All three kids squealed when they realized that it was a real dog, one not much larger than the Beanie Babies they collected. Soft, cuddly and button-eyed, “Teddy” all but named himself.


Continue reading ‘Joint Custody Dog’

Bedfellows, Canine and Political

E. B. White’s purports to have penned his February 1956 essay “Bedfellows” from his “sick bay” at home in New York. The sickbed is a clever conceit that gives him license to muse somewhat feverishly on the political and canine bedfellows, comparing Harry Truman, Dean Acheson, Adlai Stevenson and President Eisenhower to his late dachshund Fred.

He sets the stage with grudgingly fond memories of Fred, whom he calls “the Cecil B. deMille of dogs,” “a zealot” and “an opportunist.”

The word “faithful” is an adjective I simply never thought of in connection with Fred. He differed from most dogs in that he tended to knock down, rather than build up, the master’s ego….Fred devoted his life to deflating me and succeeded admirably.

Continue reading ‘Bedfellows, Canine and Political’

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