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Puppy Days of Summer

Something interesting happened that has consumed my time over the past several days. We have new additions to our household. Three of them. We are fostering some four week old puppies for PAWS Atlanta.

For those of you who may not know, fostering is taking in a homeless animal that is too young, has an illness or otherwise needs special care that can only be provided in a home/family environment. Once the particular issue is resolved and the animal is adoptable, it goes back to the shelter to wait and hope for a forever home.

In the case of these pups, they, four of their siblings and their mom were abandoned at the shelter. They are old enough to leave mom but, due to the special needs of those so young, they need to grow up a little before they can be adopted. Thus myself and my family have volunteered to take care of them.

The arrival of these furry babies has already had quite an impact on the household.

Before their arrival, I tried to caution my fiance and stepdaughter to not get too attached to them. I told them to get used to the idea that they will be going back to the shelter.

Of course the girls  fell in love with them in about two seconds. “Aw, they are so adorable!” You would think they had given birth to them. And  heaven forbid one of the pups let out the slightest squeak. My daughter’s response would make a fireman envious. I can see there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth when the day comes for the puppies to leave. It will definitely be a day to enjoy some Wild Turkey and, perhaps, a few Valium.

The cats are disgruntled.  Jezebel does not like kids, dogs or just about anything or anyone else as a general principle. Bringing three more annoyances into the house, let alone babies that are dogs, has pushed her past her limit.

Cafe Au Lait is usually pretty laid back. She was raised around babies and dogs. She even had a family of her own (she is spayed now, of course). But these noisy stinky demanding…things are also too much for her to tolerate. A cat has her limits, you know.

Both cats are now on strike. They have moved to the master bedroom. They demand that their food and water be placed in there and, if you want to have the superior pleasure of interacting with a cat, you must go into their domain without a canine. They will then decide if they will deign to allow to pet them or simply snub you for your insolence. They are the only ones in the house that will relish the day of the puppies” departure.

Sam was also none to happy when the puppies arrived. They were playing on the floor and one grabbed his tug-o-war rope. This did not sit well with him. He took the rope from the pup, carried it across the room, dropped it and came back. He was clearly stating that the pup was to leave his toys alone.

The puppies used their secret power and have won Sam over. Not only are they allowed to play with the toys, they can play with Sam. His head alone is bigger than the pups but he is ever so gentle. The little black girl loves Sam and is jumping and biting at him anytime she can get to him. She is his shadow.  Sometimes Sam seems to be just tolerating the hi-jinks of the little ones and other times he forgets his dignity and reverts to puppyhood himself.

Of course I love dogs and am very much enjoying caring for the pups. Watching them grow and observing their interactions is better than cable. I have been in animal rescue for some time so I am used to getting attached to an animal and having to let it go when it gets adopted. Not that I am coldhearted and will not even notice when the puppies leave but I will probably handle it more pragmatically. I clearly see and understand what is coming.

I find myself promoted to Director of Puppy Operations. Any questions or problems regarding the canine toddlers come to me. Trust me, puppies require a lot more than putting food in one end and cleaning it up when it comes out the other. Puppies are very demanding and do not take “no” for an answer.

As you see the arrival of these tiny creatures has had a big effect on our  household. It is an object lesson regarding what people need to think about before bringing a pet into their lives. They need to consider what it will take to adapt before they take that plunge. If they did, I might not have three puppies curled up warm and happy in my living room that face an unknown future in a concrete and metal kennel.


2 responses to “Puppy Days of Summer

  1. Cathy Evans July 28, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    David, I love this! You should be a writer if you are not one already. I volunteer at PAWS Atlanta and recently retired. PAWS is my passion now. I wanted to foster some of the pups but my husband said he would wind up doing all the work because I’m always over at PAWS. The real reason he said no is I think he wouldn’t be able to give them up. He’s even more of a softy when it comes to animals than me.

    We’re so lucky to have people like you to foster these little guys. Thank you so much.

  2. Kathleen July 28, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    That last paragraph, especially the last line, really brought this topic home for me. I’ve met a lot of really sweet dogs (and cats) whose people just left them when they moved, or just tossed out into the street when they decided they didn’t want them. (Actually, even one is too many.) Thanks for the work you do with PAWS.

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