Just a thought: The heartwarming joys of puppydogdom

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There is something about puppy dogs. Every dog out there was once a puppy. It’s a short season in each dog’s life, but one that is a joy to experience.

Whether it’s watching a puppy’s hind legs run faster than his front legs or having the puppy sleeping on his back with all four legs straight up in the air, puppydogdom is a wonderful and unique experience.

My wife and I got a Boston Terrier puppy a few months ago and he suddenly changed everything in our home. We named him “Brodie O. McGee.” Ever since he arrived it seems like we’re saying his name hundreds of times a day, sometimes with affection and sometimes without affection!

Our puppy is basically a pink tongue with a body wrapped around him. He will lick your face as long as you let him. I think his tongue is more dangerous than his sharp little teeth!

To have a clumsy off balance little critter running around our house, going wherever he wants, brings color to our world. Every day is a new beginning for him. He doesn’t know right from wrong. He doesn’t know what to chew on and what not to chew on.

Living life with no rules is always an adventure. The whole world is a playground to be explored and experienced. Unfortunately, the whole world is also a bathroom. We keep telling Brodie that dogs are to go to the bathroom outside!

A new puppy enters a home with a clean slate. He has no boundaries. He can do anything he wants and get away with it the first time. He has no historical knowledge to draw on. He comes unprogrammed and it’s up to us to do the programming. This can truly be a challenge and an exercise in patience.

His awkwardness grows on you. His curiosity grows on you. You can be sitting in the living room and suddenly he begins dragging one treasure after another into the room. Most things he finds do not belong in the living room and sometimes we’re grateful we don’t have company over when he does this. He can drag treasures as big as he is. Nevertheless, in his little brain each item is important to him.

The life of a puppy is living the extremes. When he is awake and playful he is 100% all over the place. When he is tired, he is 100% asleep. It seems very little of the life of a puppy is lived in between.

A puppy dog can sleep in any position: on his front, his side, his back, with his head or his legs hanging off the couch, curled in a ball, and so on. When he is tired, which is most of the day, he just plops down where he is at and often his eyes close before his body touches the ground. The whole world is a bedroom also.

A puppy needs to have something in his mouth at all times. After all his face licking, he wants to lightly chew on fingers. This is alright if it stays light, but he has learned the word “ouch” yelled very loudly from both my wife and I repeatedly. He has sharp little teeth. I am constantly having to find a toy to replace my fingers for him to chomp down on.

A puppy changes your attitude on life. It doesn’t matter how bad of a day I may have had at work, when I open the door to our home from the garage I see a black and white blur moving at rocket speed towards me down the hall way. Who can not come home happy when a family member is so overjoyed to see you?

A puppy dog will reflect your attitude if it is good or try to change it if it is bad. Your happiness gets multiplied when shared with a puppy. You sorrow can’t last too long with a puppy who wants you to be happy.

We have an eleven year old Boston Terrier also and he doesn’t know what to do with a bouncing billy goat whose sole existence seems to be get in his way to try to get him to play with him. When they go out into the back yard our older dog simply wants to head out into the yard and then trot back to the back door. Instead, our puppy makes a game out of this sprinting in front of him and causing him to have to move right or left and sometimes even stop to avoid running into the bouncing target. He’s brought new energy to his “big brother!”

The impact a new puppy has on a sixteen year old cat is another story. Our calico cat broke in our last dog almost a dozen years ago and now she is having to do it again. Her first response when we brought Brodie home was what any cat’s would be, denial. She assumed he would be around for a few hours and then gone.

Well, hours became days and days became weeks. After hiding out in the formal dining room for a week or so, our cat had to recognize we’d added to our family. She decided to get back to her old routine. Or at least try. With her ability to jump up on a counter, she always has the ability to escape from the little furry critter.

It seems like every day involves a first. We walked him around the neighborhood and it was the longest walk of his life. He threw up for the first time a couple of days ago. He woke up to snow this morning.

There are truly some things that are magical about puppies. There is nothing like puppy dog breath on your face or feeling the softness of his fur. Watching him open his mouth fully for a yawn is to fully experience his tiredness. He likes to be close to us and his wanting to cuddle makes this world a better place.

I tell my wife regularly, “He’s just a little guy waiting to grow up.” What a great season to experience of a dog’s life!

My challenge to you today is to experience a life of new awareness. Not everyone of you needs to go out and get a puppy, but there is something about a puppy’s view of the world that I think we can all learn from.

We get so wrapped up in our repetitive routines that we don’t often awaken the wonder within us. We become numb to new experiences.

How about imagining each day being a learning experience in a new world? A time to be amazed at little things, yet not let other things get in the way and drag you down.

Life is really an attitude. It is about how each of us views the world. There is something we can learn from the way puppies see the world. Run down the hallway to great a family member coming home. Curl up with someone special. Live hard and then sleep hard. Don’t let little things get you down. Nevertheless, maybe you should avoid the face licking!

Just some puppydogdom thoughts...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.orgmailto:thekraftlawfirm@aol.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.

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