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I've never owned a puppy before but in two short months, I've learned that puppies – like babies – should be had when you're young.
Ever since Tom has been on the DL – about a year now – we've bandied about the idea of a dog that would be a companion for him while I am either at work, or visiting grandchildren.
At first, I was opposed. We'd talked about it before, but had decided we'd only consider a dog when we were too old to travel anymore – say in 30 years.
We didn't know that time would come so soon.
I finally relented and began combing rescue website after website looking for possibilities for adoption.
Most dogs were either too big or too old. I didn't want to get attached to anything that might leave us before I was ready to let go.
It went on for months and truthfully, I'd given up.
One Sunday afternoon when I wasn't even looking, I found one I thought would be good for us. He was smiling at the camera. Yes, he was.
"Look," I said to Tom. "It's male, 6 months old, housebroken. This is our dog. He's smiling!"
But Tom took one glance and said, "He's going to get big. I mean big."
It was a breed I was unfamiliar with so I looked it up. Sure enough, at maturity he would be about 80 pounds. Back to the drawing board.
I'd just come into work one Monday, took a quick glance at Facebook before I plowed in and saw the most darling dog ever – for adoption, here in Williston, by one of my friends. And he was smiling too. Before anyone could lay claim, I messaged her and told her with Tom's consent, he was ours.
The reason? He reminded me of Jack. Remember Jack – the dog that belonged to our neighbor but claimed us as his grandparents? The Jack I loved and mourned heavily when he was tragically killed in his own driveway?
We went the next day and met the dog. I was enamoured from the beginning. Tom agreed.
After buying supplies, we went to claim him as our very own. Not only was he Jack-like, he also liked us. That's always a plus.
I snapped a photo and sent it to Spencer on the drive home.
"Looks like Dobby," he wrote. "Just don't give him a sock."
At first I didn't get the reference but in time, it came. Dobby, the house elf from Harry Potter, who won his freedom by a sock.
And so it stuck.
Within a few days, Tom's cat, O.C., had victimized the poor canine. We feared the worst but it turned out OK.
That was Memorial Day weekend.
In the interim, we've learned just how much attention a puppy needs.
I say to Tom daily, it's like having a toddler underfoot. You cannot turn your back for 15 seconds because he will be into something.
Within a week at Ten Broeck Manor, he'd chewed the charging cord for my laptop in two.
One of my ballerina flats is missing a bow.
My wicker baskets have smooth edges. My toilet paper is five feet up. My kitchen floor is spotless because he vaccuums it with his tongue.
And oh, there is the missing grout in the den. Yes, he dug it up and chewed fiercely like it was delicious.
The other night, as I worked in the library, he came in and was unusually quiet. The I heard the chomping. Oh, he has a treat, I thought and peered around my monitor.
No! It was a seashell taken from one of the bookshelves.
Sunday night Tom brought me what he thought was a flash drive.
No, I told him, I keep everything up now. It's not a flash drive.
But what it was, was the cord to my cooling pad for my laptop.
Gone. Just like that.
So now we're puppy-proofing the house better, because we thought it was secure. We're learning the hard way, it wasn't.
At the end of the day, just like new parents, we're exhausted and can't wait to fall into bed.
And unlike a toddler, Dobby is ready too.
By 9:30, the little eyes of our Jackhuahua are closing – our signal he's ready for bed.
After a day of chasing butterflies, digging up ants and eating electrical cords, he's as exhausted as we are.
And best of all, he sleeps through the night – one of the best times of parenthood.