Cutting the Apron Strings

Can there be 4 centers of attention?
Can there be 4 centers of attention?

As the mother of three mostly-grown children, I thought I was long past worrying about separation anxiety. Not that my kids ever gave me much to worry about on that score; all three were socially confident from the get-go, cheerfully waving bye-bye on their first day of preschool and always excited for play-dates and sleepovers at friends’ houses. In this era of helicopter parenting, I’ve always taken a certain pride in my children’s independence and self-assurance.

So it simply never crossed my mind that my puppy would be the one to suffer from separation anxiety. I first realized this Eddie was not cut from the same cloth when he was about four months old, and I dropped him off at the local doggie daycare center while I went on a job interview. I wasn’t overly concerned that he whimpered and tried to follow me out the door; I was sure that as soon as I was out of sight, I’d be out of mind. I figured he’d have a blast playing with new pals and forget all about me. Little did I know! Continue reading “Cutting the Apron Strings”

A Meetup for Little White Fluffy Dogs

Rufus & Eddie meet up
A L(B&)WFD & Eddie meet up

When I moved to Cambridge almost twenty years ago, I made friends through my children. Once the three of them were in school and I went back to work, I made friends at the office. Now, unemployed and with my kids mostly grown, I’m making friends through my puppy. Continue reading “A Meetup for Little White Fluffy Dogs”

Eddie & Riley Forever

“He has to retreat into his fanciful world in order to survive. Otherwise, he leads kind of a dull, miserable life. I don’t envy dogs the lives they have to live.”
Charles M. Schulz on Snoopy in an interview with Gary Groth (The Comics Journal, Dec. 1997, Issue #200)

Eddie (L) & Riley
Eddie (L) & Riley

I don’t know a single dog person who doesn’t anthropormorphize her canine companion, whether because, like Schulz, we discount the rewards of living a non-human life, or because our dogs become our surrogate children – and what parent isn’t guilty of projecting her own hopes and dreams onto her offspring?

So, what if real dogs were like the cartoon Snoopy, longing to go home to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm to be reunited with their siblings? There is plenty of scientific and anecdotal evidence to support the psychic connection human twins develop in utero, so why wouldn’t dogs forge a similar bond with their littermates? I’m pretty sure they do, based on how visibly my five-month-old puppy, Eddie, yearns for his daily visits with his sister, Riley. Continue reading “Eddie & Riley Forever”

One Day at a Time

Sleeping it off
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! Continue reading “One Day at a Time”

“And they called it puppy love…”

Eddie at 5 weeks
Eddie at 5 weeks

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 house-training a puppy poses, I am utterly smitten. Puppy love: I’ve got it bad. Continue reading ““And they called it puppy love…””