When our girls were little, I began a campaign to convince my husband that we needed a dog. “They’re not used to dogs,” I told him. “They need to get used to dogs,” He wouldn’t budge. He worried that the job of taking care of a dog would ultimately fall on his shoulders. Since he was busy growing a new business, he felt he couldn’t take on any additional household responsibilities. And furthermore, his argument about his allergies was something I couldn’t ignore.
Arguments aside, I still wanted a dog. After all, I grew up in a family that babysat the friends’ dogs, took in stray dogs, and adopted dogs from the shelter. Not to mention the cute little Labrador puppy and the angry full grown Shih Tzu my Uncle Arthur brought to our house knowing my mom would never say no.
I begged; I cajoled; I even bribed. Until one year, sometime before the holidays rolled around, Cary started to cave. I had chipped away at him until he admitted a cute little puppy might just be the perfect gift for our daughters, then nine and six and still uncomfortably inexperienced around dogs.
We chose a 6 week-old chocolate brown poodle. Actually, I let Cary choose him. To be honest, I think our puppy chose us. He was tiny and perfect and HYPOALLERGENIC! We couldn’t wait to pick him up and surprise the girls. We spent hours discussing the perfect name. Coming up with Norton from our beloved Honeymooners sealed the deal.
Norty was the perfect dog. He was gentle and affectionate and helped our daughters become dog lovers. He was easy going. He’d sit on my lap as I sipped my morning coffee and read the newspapers. He slept in his crate until we were ready to have him sleep in our bedroom. He posed for photos with hats and costumes. He sat still and played fetch. He was part of the fabric of our lives.
We were all heartbroken when he passed on at the young age of eight. Crying, we buried him in the rain in our backyard and planted a dogwood tree in his memory. As sad as we all were, it was Cary who insisted we not wait and get another dog right away. It seemed that Cary bonded with Norton in a way that I never could have predicted. And so, I agreed to another puppy but not without being persuaded, sweet-talked, and bribed.
Ralph was the runt of the litter. Utterly unique, he is not without “issues.” He never once slept in his crate. Often, he wakes up at three a.m. to pee. He tapdances throughout the night on the wooden floor in our bedroom where he has his own bed at the foot of ours. He won’t eat his lunch from the same bowl as his breakfast. His water must always be cold and never served at room temperature.
|Hey there, Ralphie boy!|
Now it is me who does not want to wait to get another puppy; this time a black one. I think we’ll name her Trixie.