Kathy’s got a new dog—well, a pup actually—and he’s a pip. A pip of a pup. Suddenly everything around here is different, and smiles abound—the whole place is alight with delight.
He’s a little rolled rib-roast of a guy, about 8 weeks, who’s basically interested in anything he can test his new dentures on. Fingers, chew-toy, shoelace, nose—it really doesn’t matter much. He likes to snuffle around in my beard too…looking for something he apparently misses from his mother.
The cats don’t know what to make of him, and are generally afraid of this new monster. They don’t understand that right now his whole world is only two inches in front of his face. I’ve tried to tell them that it might be wise to make his acquaintance before that changes much.
He’s not really dangerous, of course—even if his teeth are sharper than a staple gun. And it’s not just because he’s small either. It’s because he’s not aggressive, by breed or temperament, and Kathy has no intention of making him that way. He’ll protect and alert her just the same, and be the faithful and wonderful companion she’s been wanting.
He is a yipper though, as he’s been proving nightly since we got him. A pipper of a yipper. Just missing mom and all his buds, I’m sure…but gimme a break. Three nights running now with my head ‘neath the pillow—make that ‘neath two pillows—and those plaintive wails cutting the still darkness with an edge like a dry wagon wheel just before it comes off the axle.
We try to calm him as best we can of course, assuage his fears and recreate the companionable environment he’s used to and crying for. But I am telling you, trying to soothe a yelping puppy at 2AM with various objects that tick and talk—trying to soothe him at all—is no small matter. Especially if you don’t want to do anything to encourage the behavior. Which you don’t. Kathy says it’s not really so difficult, provided you’re not sleepy at the time. … Ha, ha. Very funny. As for me, it was during one of those recent loooong nights awake that I came up with that rib-roast analogy.
But retrieve too—did I mention he’s a retriever? A chocolate Lab, they call it. (Guess what color he is?) And retrieve he does. He’s still working on obey and Let’s keep the floor dry, shall we? but he’s got retrieve down. Anything you throw (albeit not too far) that he can see, he’ll go after with a peppy attitude and bring back to lay at your feet. It’s in the breed, you’ll say, and that’s true, but I still find it pretty amazing compared with other dogs I’ve known. I figure by the time he gets much older, all we’ll have to do is just point.
Just picture a kind of Necco-wafer brown all over—combined with the spunk and sass of the breed in general—and you’ve got him. Full of high-spirit, high-appetite, and just general hi-jinx. All scamper and scoot and legs too short after suppertime.
And if they say that cats only like to play one game…you know, hunt…then our little guy here only plays one game too. It’s called tug. It’s really hard to get by him with a loose shoelace or a cuff that’s flappy, and once he’s got a piece of something you could probably hang it up like a tobacco leaf, come back days later and still find him there. He’s such a rascal. I keep waiting for someone to tell me how sweet he is, so I can correct them and say, well…he’s only Semi-Sweet.
Naturally, being the color and type of dog he is leads one in certain directions when thinking up names. Spike and Killer are are definitely out, I would say…as are Spot, Blackie, Moose, Casper and Snowflake. Lady would only confuse him once he grew older…and surely make a public alert more complicated should he ever wander off.
No, it’s got to be something appropriate, said the family, descriptive—a matter they kicked around for several hours before wisely turning to me to provide a swift and sensible solution. They had every confidence in me too…until they heard what I was providing. Which is not to suggest it was anything so lame as Hershey or Nestle. Or Cocoa. …Not even Porky, which sprang to mind immediately, but which I figured might enjoy only a limited shelf-life in terms of descriptive qualities.
No, I gave ‘em first class goods here: I started with Necco…which they all said was yeccho. So I moved on to Jumpy, which made ‘em all grumpy. Jasper was a gasper and Laddie a baddie. Buster couldn’t muster one vote. Willy seemed like a dilly, but the reception was chilly. Jiffy was iffy. And Pongo’s a great name—I pointed that out—for Dalmations and Disney they returned with a shout. Oh well, I was running dry it seemed, but then suddenly I hit one out of the park…
Bosko! I’m a hero again. Sweet and sticky and syrupy kisses. Brown and pudgy and squeezable like the dispenser itself. Runs all over the place where you’re least expecting. Messy. Yep that’s him: Bosko. And Bosko it is.
So here now we’ve got this (temporarily) small creature: underfoot, under-chair and generally dominating the household. He’s a celebrity no doubt; an event, a star. People come from lands afar just to meet him and greet him, to bask in his glow. Tour buses are backing up around the block since our house cracked their list of top ten attractions. And I understand PG&E called yesterday asking could they pencil him as an alternative energy source should the Western Continental power grid ever come under strain.
He laps it all up and calls for more of course, ‘cause he’s a social dog (and a “good dog!” too—unless he’s so deaf he can’t hear the pronouncement that comes his way about every fifteen seconds). …And of course, everybody likes to play tug.
So yessir, ol’ Bosko Bear is a real popular addition around here, even it he’s not really Kathy’s dog yet, in the exact, specific and legal sense. He’s just a weekender so far. Out on spec, so to speak. The breeder says the idea (heh-heh) is to find out if everybody gets along. I’d say it’s rather a better idea that the breeder is a mighty sharp guy.
Because from what I can see…now that we’ve invested in puppy food, dish, assorted chew-toys; a ball, a bell-thing, a tug rope that’s bigger than he is… Now that we’ve whacked the computer box for sleeping quarters, donated various odiferous garments to line it with, put in a radio, a ticking clock, and a tinkle-box to quiet his nightly howls… Now that we’ve named him, framed him, collared him, shown him off and spent the last three days totally rearranging the lowest twelve inches of this two-story house…well, I would doubt very much if this wasn’t at least one Lab test that’s going to be entirely successful.
What do you think?