Here’s a nice thought. Dogs are not only loving companions who crave your affection and give theirs most freely, but they also teach you to release yourself in love as they themselves, set the example.
Dog lovers well know this. And they do no doubt, contribute to your heath and well-being.
However, I have come to realize, puppies are to be considered, quite another matter.
I have three dogs and one of them was pregnant. Now I have seven dogs.
To my delight, the Shelties mated and the female named “Mickey” came through with four puppies. Now, the adage, ‘Be careful what you wish for,’ couldn’t be more true in my case.
OK, so they’re cute as a bug and very endearing, yet they have been nothing but a challenge for me. The first one?
I heard a squeal at 6:30 a.m. and our little Mickey was giving birth.
Then I did what every other red-blooded male would do when witnessing a birthing — I panicked!
Calling the ranch lady down the road was my only option other than midwifery. She came in a flash and having handily helped birth many an animal, was on top of her game. Thank God.
Then I built this skookum puppy pen which I felt was basically foolproof. Guess who ended up being the fool here?
They kept getting out. So far there have been eight breakouts.
I called it “The Great Escape,” in honour of Steve McQueen. (Even he would be impressed.)
I finally won the last round, although I had to resort to bricking them in to Supermax prison standards.
There is only so much a prisoner can do especially when they only weight 3 kilos facing up to a determined male contender of 170 pounds. (You do the math for metric.)
Also I, who have played executive roles in organizations and having had many management responsibilities in my life, was not going to let a pack of pups get the best of me.
Yet I couldn’t for the life of me, get on top of puppy managing.
I am loath to admit, they outsmarted me at every turn. A child at 12 weeks would be helpless, not these little beggars. If I had a combination lock, I am sure they would figure it out.
At first, I was mindful that they had to be fed and taken to the vet for shots and all that and make sure their water dish was full which was far more frequent than one might have considered.
However, it turns out that there is more to it than that. (Don’t we always find out the hard way?) Once they got their legs under them, they trampled over everything in the sheer excitement of just being alive, including their food.
Which by the way, they voraciously cleaned up in a matter of seconds, without leaving a speck. I am thinking of using them to clean the kitchen plates, as they are far more effective than the dishwasher.
Now they have discovered how to howl as a pack in high falsetto voices giving the local coyotes a real run for their money.
As things progressed, cleaning up the messy puppy pen was my directive to me. It finally got to me that something had to be done.
The smell alone would drive away the neighbours, (if I had any, which I don’t, fortunately.)
The large plastic tarp was unraveled and torn little pieces of paper were spread everywhere. I, having mistakenly put newspaper in there thinking they would go on it. Instead they tore it to shreds.
And then the shreds to shreds. Speaking of which, a couple of them found their way into my office on one of their escapades and chewed up some of my papers. I tell you dear readers, I’m usually a cool guy, but that for me, is the penultimate indiscretion.
You can get easily caught as they look at you with innocent little faces, but don’t you dare turn your back.
I ran out of the expensive dry food I bought at the vet for the puppies so got smart and ground up the bigger dogs crunchies into finer pieces using the coffee grinder. My coffee now tastes like puppy chow.
Robert Nichol is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.