Meet Finn, my almost six month old English Labrador puppy. He’s been part of our family for nearly four months.
Having an EL puppy has been a real learning curve. He’s not like other puppies I’ve ever had. His energy constantly demands my attention in a world where my attention is already in high demand.
I bought him for my son, my three year old (not the best idea I’ve ever had), but really, I bought him for me. I wanted a big yellow dog to sleep by the fire while I write my novels (did any of you ever see Funny Farm?). To play catch in the yard with my son. To jump in the back of my Volvo (I don’t have a Volvo but if you’d like to donate to my “I’m Just Writer So I’m Not Very Rich But I Really Would Like a Volvo Fund” — please feel free) while I drive to our
summer, vacation, cabin (which I also don’t own — but I can use the leftover Volvo funds for this too). I wanted a family dog.
And this weekend, it finally all clicked. Finn was well mannered and learning commands quickly. I in turn was patient, showed him lots of attention and love. I even learned to tune out the constant squeak of the pink, rubber, piggy toy my son picked out for him. My son played tug-of-war with him, I pet his belly and let him cover me in puppy kisses. I rewarded him when he was good, picked out dead animal parts (really, there’s an aisle for this where you pick out hooves, ears, ribs and hocks) and we were all just perfectly — BALANCED.
It felt like it hadn’t really been a mistake at all.
I could finally look to my husband and say “See, I told you I knew what I was doing.”
But then sometimes, on rainy days, specifically rainy Monday mornings, when my world just doesn’t seem chaotic enough, Finn digs a giant hole in the garden that I worked on for the entire summer (and invested a rather large sum of my salary into as well). On these days, it takes real effort to remind myself that our Finn is a cute and sweet part of our family — that’s he’s still just a baby. That he is — precious and that one day (probably not in the near future) I will look at this photo and LAUGH — but not today.
If this were a teachable moment, then I would say that perhaps I am learning(ed) two things: 1) that I lack patience and really need to work on that — because he really had no idea why I was so upset, and screaming the words “new cashmere sweater” didn’t translate into puppy speak at all, and 2) you can scream “I will murder you, no I will seriously kill you” and my neighbors won’t call the cops.
I don’t know how I feel about the latter, but I really need to work on patience. I need to learn not to overreact even when it’s 7:45 in the morning and
I’m going to be late for work and still need to drop my son to daycare, and the dog is covered up in some form of black mud that I didn’t even know existed in my backyard. Sometimes, I just need to breathe, which is easier said than done.
I signed up for this (okay, well not this exactly). But really, I did sign up for this hectic life: for puppies,toddlers, and gardens — because on the good days it’s all pretty amazing.