Meet Rhodie. He’s a 12 week old Australian Shepherd. He’s sweet, soft, and silly and he’s the newest member of our pack. I really didn’t want another dog, let alone a puppy – they are just so much work! But Rhodie appeared in my life and, like all pups, he needed a human to step in to provide him a home. “I’ll test drive him for the weekend,” I said, and as this weekend comes to an end it is clear this pup is here to stay.
My years of experience with puppies and their parents have made me alert to the antics and quirks that indicate which puppies will be relatively easy and which will send the frustration index off the charts. Rhodie is everything I could want in a pup. He’s a quick study and is eager to learn. He’s respectful of other dogs, plays gently, and understands dog body language as if he wrote the book. He’s naturally curious, appropriately cautious and is adapting to novelty with ease. His mouthing is soft and his jumping (his only real vice) is rapidly being replaced with sitting as he learns this is the ticket to all good things in life. He hasn’t pottied in the house or chewed a single valued item – yet. Rhodie is a diamond in the rough (or is it “ruff”) and I am pleased that I am his, he is mine, and we are ours.
As I look at Rhodie sleeping at my feet I wonder what adventures are ahead. Will his life be long and healthy? Will his presence be a comfort in Lenny, my soul dog’s, final days? What will my animal family be like when Rhodie, not Lenny, is the senior member of the pack? What will my own life be like? Will he live up to my hopes that he can be my new sidekick, my roadie? What joys, frustrations, sorrows, and celebrations will this new puppy be part of and bring?
And as he sleeps, here at my feet, Rhodie twitches, yips, and yaps, clearly caught in his own dreamstate of images, perhaps anticipations, I can only imagine.
Dreams and life unfolding as our journey together begins.
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