When the boys were very small and in car seats, I did all of the driving. The boys tortured me daily with the always something demands of toddlers (Help me! Watch this!), but even when they were pre-verbal they knew I was off limits when I was behind the wheel. Driving a half a day in traffic to visit family over holiday weekends was far easier than sitting in the back seat with them and tending to their oscillating requests, meltdowns, and ill timed poops. Similarly, the puppy has learned to take a rest or find a toy when I’m at the laptop. It’s an easy break from the always something demands of a tiny dog (Take me out! Play with me! Rub my belly. Love me love me love me!), but this morning I woke up with a fever of 102 and the only way I can get a respite from this dog is to feign productivity at the keyboard. So here I am. Writing about the puppy. Again.
After one month with this little guy, I’ve gotten to know the neighborhood much better. We’ve lived in this house for 13 years, but I haven’t taken many walks around the block. Now, it’s a twice a day thing and even if I haven’t made fast friends with new neighbors (this is New England and the stereotypes hold), I’m getting to know the Dogs of Princeton Road. Because Hero is a puppy and also THE BEST DOG IN THE WORLD, he wants to say hello hello hello hi hi hi to everybody. But because he isn’t fully immunized yet, he cannot do this with the dogs. This hasn’t stopped me from inventing nicknames and backstories for all of them, anyway.
Barks-a-Lot spends most of the time fenced in outside and based on Hero’s reaction to this fearsome pooch, his woof woof woof roughly translates as, “If I ever get outta here, I’m coming for you first.” There is Prancing Pooper (whose owner does NOT curb her animal) and that haughty bitch won’t even look at us. Yesterday we met a goldendoodle wearing a Patriot’s t-shirt and a tutu and I swear she told Hero, “I hope we can be friends in spite of this outfit.”
There are a lot of regular walkers in these parts, and now that I have become that person, I take a minor and fleeting offence when they won’t pause to pet Hero when he is straining at the leash and pleading with them to love him for a second. Even if they are allergic (as I am) or terrified of dogs (understandable), many don’t even acknowledge that we are sharing a street. Yesterday’s substitute mailman heard Hero whining and yelled from two doors down, “You talkin’ to me little guy? I’m coming over to meet you!” and then did. He’s my kind of people. So are the 9-year-old twins who now live in the Miller’s old house who told me they would “take care of Hero any time… FOR FREE.” I wonder what time they get home from school.
Hero is now a sleepy foyer lump and if I’m really quiet, he won’t notice me transferring from the laptop to the couch. I was a little panicked about spending an entire day alone with an almost but not entirely trained puppy while wondering if I have the flu. But like the boys in car seats on a road trip, I swear this pup senses I need a bit of a break today. Do dogs do that? Who knows. But this one is getting all of the good treats.