Now that it is the first of July already, the figurative (and literal) dog days of summer have begun. It is not only the start of some massive summer heat in the city of Richmond, but for me it is the start of a new era in my family’s household. This is because we have a new addition to the family: an Australian cattledog mix puppy named Minnie.
It’s been about two years since my first and most beloved dog had to be put down because of some complications with a tumor. It was the most heartbreaking thing I have ever experienced. Me and Skip were best buds from day one, and thinking of his scruffy, terrier face still brings tears to my eyes. We shared so many memories together. He saw me through my fun-loving, end-of-elementary-school age, awkward middle school years of braces and drama, and emotionally confused high school stage. I know he was just a dog, but he gave me so much love, even when I was inconsistent and fickle. He was goofy and fun and carefree, everything I wished I could have the courage to be. He was my first dog, and I loved him like I’ve loved any person in my life.
I don’t think I will ever be able to get over Skip and I feel myself comparing him to Minnie every second I play with her. She is almost as goofy as Skip was, but she has a personality that is all her own. More like a cat than a dog sometimes, she likes to pounce on toys, bite toes, and bat at tug ropes. Her herding instincts are strong, and running in the yard turns into her trying to keep us in line. Minnie is only a few months old and hasn’t even been spayed yet, but I’m afraid of her.
I’m afraid that if my family and I fall in love with her, we’ll forget Skip and how great of a dog he was. And I don’t want to ever do that.
Along with raising and training such a young puppy, my family is also going to try another new experiment: having two puppies. That’s right, we’re scheduled to get a hound pup named Daisy in about eleven days. I know that Minnie is cute and all, but I have a soft spot for hounds with their big ears, droopy eyes, and laidback disposition. I’m beyond excited for Daisy to join our family, and I’m curious to see how the two babies interact.
I’ve had such conflicting emotions when it comes to these new dogs in our home. On the one hand, it’s really strange that all of a sudden we have a new four-legged friend in the house when we went without one for such a long time. On the other, it feels so familiar that when I close my eyes and think of Skip’s lovable face, my mind puts Minnie’s puppy-dog eyes in the picture as well.
I get frustrated with a puppy. I need a full-grown dog that can be taken for morning runs, to the park to play fetch, and to the river to play. One of the many dogs we saw when we were searching stole my heart almost immediately. Her name is Gracie, and she’s a plott hound mix. If you have never seen a plott hound, then let me tell you: they are large dogs. This one in particular was only eight months old and was already bigger than Skip at his full size. Her brindle coloring, floppy ears, and relaxed nature made me start imagining us running around together and her sleeping at my feet while I read.
Now that I’m almost completely independent (almost!), I’ve been thinking more and more about the pet that I am going to have. Not my family’s pet, but my own. One that knows me as his mommy and best friend. I want to live in my future imaginary apartment with a big dog that I can cuddle with, and a kitten that thinks it’s a dog.
Perché i cani fanno i migliori amici.