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Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Life

After weeks of trying to visit friends who have a new puppy we finally made time yesterday. It is so easy to forget how puppies and their puppy behavior are because they grow up so fast. Their baby teeth that compels them to chew on just about everything. We had some friends one time that had a puppy that loved to chew sheet rock walls.  Looking into their eyes and seeing the wonder they display in looking back at you. Thinking that just a few weeks or months ago that they were born into this world with only one sense - smell. That their eyes did not open for several days and their hearing was not developed until later. They did not come into the world understanding any language. How they have so much energy and want to be doing something all the time. Not to mention the smell of puppy breath.. that is something that is unique and wonderfully distinct. They are a brand new family member and there is a whole world to explore and they have the energy to do just that.

How they believe the world evolves around them until they grow up and learn the requirements of family living. How everything is new to them and they are striving to adapt to their surroundings. While I personally prefer to adopt a rescue dog there are numerous benefits that go with getting a puppy too. You get to shape their life from the start. You get to experience their interest in things that you take for granted like a bug or dust bunny under the bed. You learn new appreciation and  wonder in things that you previously took for granted. (like boot laces) You get to work with them early and literally shape their life because there are no boundaries for them except what you teach them. How they are so dependent on you for affection, food/water, health care, and safety. Raising a puppy is hard work and teaching them what to avoid for their own safety is challenging to say the least. They have no fear of things that could harm or injure them and hence your role is the ever vigilant parent.

Then they are suddenly grown up and their puppy life is just a distant memory and they have bonded so close to you that you don't remember how life was before them and they had become that trusted and loyal family member. They grow out of that puppy stage so quickly into adulthood and then they start to slow down just a little at first and get a little grey around the muzzle and you then seize every minute you can spend with them realizing that their lives are so much shorter than a human's life. Yes it all starts with the puppy and you have helped them to be what they are through endless love, compassion and training. Bringing up a puppy is the same as bringing up a child in many ways and it takes special people to accept the challenge and prevail. Before you know it the cuteness of a puppy is replaced by love you never knew you possessed and the closeness you feel is extraordinary. For me I prefer to adopt a dog that others did not want, but my admiration goes out to those who take on the many challenges of raising a puppy. It is not an easy task but the end reward is well worth the grief, chewed up shoes, table legs and about anything else they can wrap their mouth around. If I were to put a percent on the upside vs downside I would say the upside is about 99.9% and the downside is about .01%, except when you are actually raising and training the puppy and then maybe those figures are reversed. It is love and patience that finally gets you to the 99.9%.

Puppies are a new and wonderful experience and even as puppies they make you a better person.

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