Dog Days of Summer

I’m so goddam edgy. I’ve got to figure out what to do with my self.

I don’t get my new puppy, Claire, for 12 more days. Yesterday I read dog books all afternoon. Information should be good and calming, but after reading about the terrier temperament and the many health problems they can have, my stomach was in knots and I was pacing around the apartment unable to take the edge off my nerves.

I rant and rave to my husband about all the things that could go wrong:

–The dog will bark every time the elevator rings.

–The building manager will find out we have a dog and tell us we have to get rid of her or pay $100 a day in fines.

–We will be unable to housebreak her, and she will pee all over the apartment, especially on the new rugs.

–Her terrier temperament will make her impossible to train, and she will be a dog out of control.

–She will need constant care with her coat, her teeth, her toenails, her ears and eyes. It will be never-ending, and she will fight me whenever I try to do any of it!

And then there is the image issue. I hate to admit this, but I really care about what she looks like. Ninety percent of all Yorkies seem really ugly to me, with their straight, fine hair. Part of the reason I chose this particular puppy was that her parents are very calm and some of the mother’s other puppies have had her curly black hair. The problem is that you can’t tell what a puppy will look like until it is older. So add to my worry list: What if she’s really ugly?

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted a white cat. After we were married, I finally got one, but she had some medical problems and the vet advised me to return her to the people I bought her from, because she would have to be put to sleep. The pet shop called to say they had a white cat with a slight patch of gray on its head. I got it, and I took my scissors and cut out the gray hair, and, you know, it never came back. She was an all-white cat after that! I am embarrassed to admit this, but it tells me how important it is to me, to have the animal look just the way I imagine it.

I hate those bows that you usually see in Yorkies’ hair! I want her to look like a dog. I imagine her with her shorter hair with a nice full feeling and a natural curl. I imagine her black, not silver, with sparkling eyes and ears perked up ready for an adventure. I imagine her ready to play but happy for a nap when she’s done playing. I imagine her quiet and content in her carrying bag as I take her out on errands with me. I imagine her sitting as I sew or laying on Len’s desk as he writes! She will be a good traveler, happy to ride in the car and to fly on planes. I imagine her liking Len best but happy to see me as well.

When I got my collie puppy nearly twenty years ago, I didn’t really know what to do with him, and I didn’t have the patience to be consistent with the few things that I tried to do. Now I’m older. I wouldn’t call me calmer, but maybe more patient, and I have a better understanding of what I need to do so we can all three live well together. Also, I have found people to help me start the training process.

My stomach is still in a knot, and I’m thinking of all the other things that I forgot to mention that could go wrong. I’m thinking of pulling out my sewing machine and making Claire a small blanket for her kennel.

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