A new addition to the household

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

Puppies are a bundle of energy. They are a joy to watch, they are a pain to watch. They are cute, they are monsters. They are angels, they are demons.

All of this is true, as we’ve rediscovered over the past few weeks.

Last winter, Jenny decided it was time to welcome a new family member into our household. She figured if we were going to move into a different house, that would be the perfect time to make the change. So we decided that this spring we would get another dog.

Jenny grew up with Golden Retrievers, and they remain her favorite breed of dogs. When our children were young, our first family dog was a Bichon Frise, much smaller than a Golden, a little high strung, but overall very cute. Snuffy was very good with our two - and later - three kids.

After Snuffy died, we waited awhile, but then Jenny found out that the mother of one of our son’s friends bred Golden Retrievers, she decided it was time, and we got Penny. Unfortunately, we lost Penny when she was about two years old, but within a week, Jenny had found a new dog - Frosty, that we got in the fall of 2004.

Frosty and Jenny were made for each other. Frosty was good with everyone in the house, but there is no doubt whose dog she was. Once, while vacationing in Chicago, we were at Navy Pier. Going back to the parking ramp, Jenny had to run to the bathroom. In the entrance to the ramp, there was an entryway with a large escalator going up to the next level, where the bathrooms are. Jenny handed one of the boys the dog’s leash and she went up the escalator. Frosty watched and followed as Jenny went slowly up the escalator and didn’t move for several minutes, staring at the top of the escalator just waiting for her. If one of the boys hadn’t finally distracted her, I’ve no doubt that she would have stayed perfectly still, just waiting for Jenny to come back down.

Frosty had two litters of puppies, one with 11, another with 10. We sold one of the pups from the second litter to a co-worker, and about six months later that co-worker’s family had to move and couldn’t take the dog with them. We ended up taking the six-month old puppy back and that’s how Jake ended up being part of our household.

When Frosty was put down three years ago, Jake was still relatively young, but he’s aged a lot in the last three years, and Jenny decided now was the time to bring in a new puppy - Pixie.

Jenny sought out the breeder where we got Frosty from last fall, and found out in March that a litter would be available. We reserved one of the pups, and she was born in late April. we picked her up three weeks ago and brought her home. It’s been 14 years since we brought Frosty home and 10 years since we’ve dealt with a puppy, and we’re still getting used to the pitter patter of little feet in the house (not to mention the piddle piddle of something else.).

One problem we had with the puppy - we had no lawn to speak of when we brought her home. After construction and remodeling, both the front and back yard were torn up. We wanted to add a fence and we met with a contractor last fall to put in the back yard fence and add a lawn (sod in the back, seed in the front). What we didn’t count on then was the long winter and wet spring. Work on the yard began a month later than planned, and only a week before we picked up the puppy. Then after a week of work, all the rain meant another delay. Finally, a little more than a week after we got the puppy, the lawn went in. Still, we have to keep the dogs off the grass until the sod takes root and the new grass in the front grows. Jake has been no problem, but Pixie has enjoyed frolicking in the new - soggy - grass, and then digging and pulling up pieces of sod. She also enjoys joining Jenny in the garden and digging in the dirt… just not where Jenny wants to dig.

Add to all of this the fact that we are older than we were when we last had puppies, and it’s been a tiring, interesting, frustrating and fun experience. Perhaps the most frustrated in the house has been poor Jake. The puppy desperately wants to play with him, but gets a bit overzealous, and Jake has to remind her from time to time to get out of his face.

But Jake has adjusted, and so have we. We’re getting used to each other, and she has quickly become part of the family.

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