How old was the puppy when you got him? asked the young man.
Yaxley was eight weeks old when he arrived from California, answered The Husband. Yes? Next question?
What are you training him to do? asks another audience member.
The Husband fields this one, too. We introduce thirty commands, mostly the basics you’d want to teach any dog. Plus a few that will be used when Yax goes to Advanced Training. And we spend a lot of time socializing him. Any other questions? We have time for one more.
We’re just about to wrap up this presentation to this Bowling Green Chapter of the Delta Chi Fraternity. The members are considering offering a donation to Canine Companions for Independence. With Yaxley, our third puppy with CCI, to impress these fellas we’re working this gig the best we can.
And another hand goes up.
Yes? You in the back, says The Husband.
Is it true, asks this future business leader of the free world. That you replaced your son with a dog?
Ah, there ya go. We got us a smarty pants in our midst.
|The Favorite Kid and Yaxley|
I see where this is going, of course. This was when the Favorite Kid was Chapter President of his fraternity, which made him the target of his fellow brothers. All in good spirited jest, of course. Well, at least while we were there. Who knows what went on while the boys were making their collegiate memories over those four years.
What happens at the Delta Chi House, stays at the house.
As with his previous adventures in the scouts, I insist on only hearing the happy stuff. Like Snow White with a song bird on her index finger, I don’t want to know anything about poison apples or whistling short people with pick axes coming and going from the premises.
So, did we replace the kid with a dog or what?
With a step back and sidelong glance by my other half, I can tell this ball has been slammed into my court.
Ok, I start to say. I will say that it is true that we waited until the Kid started college before we got involved in volunteer puppy raising. And sure, I guess it’s true as well, that we gave the dog his room.
But! I continued, finger raised. Our Favorite Kid is irreplaceable.
Wow, that sounds lame. It did then and even now I struggle to think of a response that doesn’t sound like I’m a little too vigorous in my denial.
I mean it, though. I really do. You can’t replace a kid like mine with a dog, no matter how awesome the canine is.
It’s possible to add things to life. It’s not always a swap of one for another.
As it is with Miss Euka.
We’ve received our next puppy assignment from Canine Companions for Independence. The timing of Euka’s matriculation into Advanced Training is within days of when Puppy Number Five will be showing up to rock our world.
When asked how we can we possibly give these puppies up after raising them for a year and a half, we quip something like … oh, with a lot of pride and large margarita. But then we also take on another puppy which give us a distraction.
And all that is pretty much on the mark. Pride, drinking in moderation and a new, furry responsibility to fill our thoughts.
But replace one puppy with another?
I don’t know where this bit of profundity started. Or who wrote it. But it beats to the tune of a puppy raiser’s heart.
And that’s it, right?
Euka will leave us, but is taking our love with her. We filled her up with it, to the brim and then some. And she’ll carry that with her along her journey to share.
And our next puppy will come into our home carrying the love she received from her breeder caretaker.
We’re not losing anything here. We’re not less.
Oh no, people. We will have so much more. Our lives are enriched with each little puppy life we meet.
And I can’t wait. Stay tuned for the announcement of our newest golden child.
Spoiler alert: Oh for … I have to tell you. Make room in your hearts for Holly of the Eukanuba sponsored Hero Litter. The petite purple-collared beauty should hit Ohio soil somewheres around May 18, give or take.
|Photo courtesy of Chris Kittredge Photography|