– Gomer Pyle
It was all my wife’s idea.
Last fall she decided our beloved little white terrier needed a playmate.
“You want to get our pet a pet?” I asked.
No, she said, she was thinking more of a canine colleague, a companion for his remaining years.
“Sometimes he seems lonely,” she added thoughtfully.
Considering the entertainment potential, I suggested we get him a cat.
“I can write about their adventures,” I said, imagining the merry mayhem.
But no, she wanted a dog. Specifically a puppy. And, for the record, a puppy of the same breed and gender as our own West Highland terrier.
That’s what we got.
We also got a puppy crate, a puppy bed, puppy toys, puppy food, a puppy leash, puppy poop pads and puppy books.
In recent months she’s read the puppy books several times and quotes them often, sounding like a passable expert on “pack mentality,” doggie diets and the language of barks.
She has also been recalling our past puppy experience, which provided a surprise. It seems I had forgotten almost everything from eight years ago when the original little white dog entered our lives.
The surprises have kept coming.
I was surprised how much puppies chew – cloth furniture, wooden chair legs, wooden steps, house shoes, work shoes, tennis shoes, running shoes and Sunday-go-to-meeting shoes, which have all now been placed behind closet doors.
I was surprised that our senior house dog did not accept his new companion with open paws.
In fact, he seems somewhat perplexed with the little bundle of fuzzy energy one-fifth his size that now follows him everywhere, yelping and yapping and jumping up to nip his ears or roll under his stomach.
You have to watch out for the latter because, as the puppy book says, sometimes the pups think they can “nurse” from any larger dog, and such attentions not only surprise but irritate older male dogs.
That’s why he’s spent the past week trying to avoid his new protege. He stares up at me with a pleading look, as if to ask why this newcomer nuisance was added to our family fold.
But the biggest surprise came earlier this week, when we took the pup in for his first vet visit. We wanted to tell the doctor of our hopes for the pup growing up and growing old like our current dog.
We wanted to describe how the two of them could play together, the old dog showing the young one new tricks.
We also asked the doctor if he thought there would be a problem with the old male and the young male fighting it out for dominance.
He said he wasn’t sure, adding “Your puppy’s a girl.”
Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.