Tuesday, April 15, 2008

puppies are perpetual toddlers

I am desperately in love with my puppy.

He really makes every day better -- even the ones he makes worse by, say, peeing in the corner with no warning and no provocation. (Such days are becoming fewer and farther between, thank heavens, or I might have to buy stock in the carpet cleaning companies.)

Milo had his first vet visit with me today. We went to Dupont Vet, which came recommended and was convenient and, you know, if you don't like your vet you can always change. So we went, and he was very good in the car and everyone thought he was the cutest thing on four legs (because he is) and then, you know, the very nice veterinarian stuck her finger in places that I'm sure Milo would rather not think about and eventually pronounced him in perfect health.

Also she noted his teeth are very sharp. IT IS NOT ME. THE PUPPY TEETH. THEY ARE SO SHARP.

Then in a wonderful twist of fate, Heather Armstrong of Dooce fame posted today and the last paragraph of her post deals directly with what happens when you think your puppy can handle itself on its own for, oh, let's say, thirty-three seconds.

Training a puppy is like training a small human being (read: child), except for the fact that by the time one usually trains a child, the child has started at least to pretend to speak the language, whereas the dog -- not so much. Note that I do not say the dog cannot understand language -- it most certainly can understand tone, and a far greater number of words than I think we'd generally guess if asked in one of those man-on-the-street trivia games. I just say that the dog can't communicate back in the same way, which is frustrating when you try to determine if looking at the leash hanging by the front door means "I have to pee!" or "Hm, I bet that tastes good" or "Q'plah!" (I said dogs understand words. I didn't say those words weren't Klingon.)

So our lives are a blur of picking up puppy/rushing puppy outside/repeating inane phrase over and over until puppy completes business/lavishly praising puppy/hoping puppy associates lavish praise with doing business outside/bringing puppy inside/watching puppy obsessively to make sure business does not magically appear on carpet.


Ad nauseam.

Sometimes literally.

Still, even when he wakes me at 4 a.m. for a bye-bye run, I love the little fluffernutter. And I think he loves us. Which is the best part of all.

Now if he'd just stop chewing on my toes...

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