Column | Big poofball with razor sharp teeth is the newest member of our family | Don’t miss it
We’ve had a poofball wandering around our house for the past three weeks.
Unlike the infamous species of dust bunny – the ones that suddenly emerge from behind the fridge the minute company arrives – this one actually has eyes, legs and a tail that wiggles at the speed of light.
And piranha teeth.
Yeah, let’s not forget those pearly-white, razor-sharp pain scalpels.
I didn’t have a well thought out plan to bring this feisty ball of fur into our house.
But impulsiveness is apparently one of my strengths.
Most long-time readers of this column will know that we are a family of dogs and, more specifically, German Shepherds.
We’ve been lucky enough to share our home with many different breeds and pooches over the years, but I’ve always had a special fondness, preference, and love for Guardian Shepherds.
I was about 2 years old when we got our first German Shepherd, Smokey. Somewhere there is a roll of 8mm film showing me wading through the yard with Smokey faithfully following by my side.
This breed is empathetic to the point of being essentially mind readers, always knowing when a cuddle or cuddle or a walk on the lawn is needed.
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Last summer we lost our boy, Pica. I won’t go into details except to say that it was sudden, tragic and devastating.
We still had our daughter, Cassie, and after that I constantly worried about her. But as for getting another dog – another shepherd – we had no intention of going down that road again.
Life then was all about spoiling Cassie – with toys, treats and as much love as possible.
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The old adage that “time heals old wounds” is so cliché that I’m ashamed to write it.
But, perhaps, its overuse comes from inherent truth.
Personally, I don’t know if it heals old wounds, but it forces you to move on. Face evil and accept it. Remembering the good, and appreciating the love shared with a human… or a dog.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Pica over the past few months. And, amid the cascade of tears, I realized that what Pica valued most was the happiness of his humans and his daughter, Cassie.
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It was an ad in a print magazine at our Beckley hub. I don’t know why I called this number, except that I again felt extreme guilt when I left to work with Cassie, home alone.
They had a litter of German Shepherd puppies. What’s the harm in a phone call?
She told me they had 10 puppies that would be ready the afternoon of December 23rd.
One was a sable male with long hair.
“I’ll see you on Christmas Eve morning,” I replied.
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After getting lost in Beckley – Damn it! How can a small town be so confusing? – I came home with our new little puffball.
The reaction was not what I expected.
Spouse gave me a look – the look – then shook his head and said, “That’s your business.”
Cassie, at first, seemed quite excited as she sniffed the pup from nose to bottom and wagged her tail enthusiastically. But that too suddenly turned.
In the blink of an eye, she went from happy to alpha female and gave him a quick bite on the rear.
He moaned, she glared. But, no worries.
She didn’t hurt him insofar as she delivered a message: My house, my room, my bed, my toys.
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Despite the opening drama, things begin to calm down. Cassie isn’t constantly staring at the pup anymore, and he’s learned to run away when she gives him “the stare” – although he sometimes suddenly falls off and falls into a deep sleep.
After putting me through two days and two nights of non-stop training, the husband finally admitted the adoration of the puppies on Day 3. They are now almost inseparable.
Better yet, we finally have a name – this after going through more than half a dozen in a week and a half.
Among the contenders: Yeager, Agate, Nero, Shep, Neo and Devil. The husband was also (somewhat jokingly) defending Sir Poops-A-Lot, but I vetoed it at first.
The winner, ultimately, was Bear – our fuzzy new baby boy.
The new year should be interesting, chaotic and complicated.
But that’s life. Do we really want it any other way?