There a few things that quickly come to mind now that we have ventured back into life with a puppy in our little town.
1 – Don’t dare bring home a new dog and not immediately introduce it to all of the neighbors and shop owners in town. They don’t have dog teats in their pockets and behind the counter for nothing. (I’m still working on smoothing things over at the Coffee Shop)
2 – Dogs are not pets here. Neither are they simply members of a family. They are an extension of the whole community. (I’ve sometimes wondered if they get included in the census.) Farm dogs … town dogs … big beasties … little yappers … everyone knows whose dog belongs to whom, their names, their favorite type of treat, their birthweight, their barking decibel .. . okay … I exaggerate … but I do think many of us know more about each other’s pets than possibly about each other’s kids.
3 – Photos are a must. If you have a cell phone, you’d better have a picture of your pet especially if you use the word “puppy”. Even dog haters seem interested in puppies. Puppies are immune to the loathing created by grown-up barkers, garbage hounds, growlers, whiners, cat-chasers, poop-in-the-neighbor’s-yard leavers.
4 – People in our community don’t feel compelled to give you advice about your pet unless you ask. Well, usually. I was surprised at a restaurant (not in my town) how quickly the waiter jumped into advice-mode, grilling us with questions when we mentioned that we were considering a puppy. “Do you have a fence?” “How big of a dog?” “Are you home during the day?” “You know they’re a lot of work, right?” The person didn’t even know us or our past experience with dogs yet seemed compelled to dive into what was wrong or right with breeds we were considering and with our living conditions.
We only mentioned that we were thinking about a puppy, yet out poured the interrogation.
“He just loves dogs, Honey,” My Guy said later when I aired my irritation. “I don’t think he meant it personal. He was excited for us.”
Still … it seemed over the top.
It’s been a little of the same on social media too … people jumping in with their advice and loaded opinions about dogs once they learned we have a puppy. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to happen overly much in our circle or in our rural town where dogs are a staple of farm and small town life. The dog-loving souls here assume that if you’re getting a dog you know what you’re doing or will ask for help if you need it. And if you don’t, there’s always our local code enforcement officer who will clue you in upon a couple of complaints. (Wink wink)
5 – Yes, it’s certainly a “more the merrier” feel around here. Until … 1:00 in the morning on a hot summer’s when windows are wide open, an invitation to cooler air. That’s when we all become aware of just how many pooches are in residence. It takes about a day for the disgruntlement to wear off as folks air out their frustrations at the coffee shop or in front of the post office the next morning …
“Did you hear that 101 Dalmations mess last night? Gawd, every dog in the county must have been yacking their heads off .”
“Who didn’t hear it, except my wife who turned off her hearing aids. What a racket … the neighbor said he heard coyotes first tho’. That’ll get everyone started. Coyotes have been moving in closer and closer … people are losing cats, someone said.”
“That so? Well, I guess all those mutts are just doing their job. Gee whiz, tho’. Between the heat and the mutts … how does a body sleep?!”
I guess we don’t sleep on those hot summer nights … but at least we have faithful companions to wag their tails at us the next morning and remind us of how cute they are. How worth it … right?
Bonus observation … a Pandemic is both a good and rotten time to get a new pet.
Good … because the extra companionship in a world of social distancing and isolation is nice. Life feels a little more normal with a playful puppy. Puppies aren’t aware the half the world has seemed to lose its mind in one fashion or another. They just play, poop, and make life a little more fun.
Rotten … because I’m now more confused than ever about what’s in my pockets. Face mask. Hand sanitizer. Glasses. (Face mask on … glasses off and visa versa.)
And NOW, doggie doo-doo bags and dog treats. Life wasn’t complicated enough trying to maneuver all of the COVID rules … now I have to maneuver puppy protocols too.
I sometimes tuck some chocolate covered almonds in my pockets (for me) … but after almost chowing down on a dog biscuit instead, the human treats are not for pockets any more.
I may have to resort to a doggie back pack to carry all of Tillie’s goodies around. Guess there’s bigger problems to worry about in the world, so I’ll end up my complaining with some cuteness. Wishing my readers a bit of hope as we come upon one year of craziness. Hope you are well and that life is settling in good ways for you and yours.
And not to be forgotten … we still love our cats. Sophie is making sure of it, so I’ll let her have the last look.