This new puppy has been really good for my diet. What’s better for changing one’s mindset than walking around yelling, “No Cookie!” about two dozen times a day. It’s true, I’ve lost three pounds since bringing this pooch home.
The boys begged for a year. I really had no intention of getting a dog and in fact, had pulled a “Kendall” on Kendall and a “Nelson” on Nelson. I looked right at them, nodded, and didn’t hear a word they said. The puppy idea was so far from my mind that it crept up on me from the front.
One minute I was free, leaving the parakeet and a mountain of food in his cage and the cats and a mountain of food in a corner and taking off for entire days, weekends even. The biggest mishap was coming home to find the bird missing a few tail feathers. (His fault, never the cats.) But the floor was clean, there was no wrestling match in a crate and most definitely, no one had napped in the water bowl.
The next minute, I was scooping poop with a toy shovel, could leave the house in no more than 4-hour shifts and doing a lot of yelling. I’m not sure what happened in those 60 seconds. Someone told me that every boy needs a dog. Then I realized they were ages 8 and 10 and, if I wasn’t careful, I’d be talked into a dog right about the time they left for college.
Then a whole bunch of people told me not to do it; it was as bad as a newborn. That’s when I knew I had to have one.
So the hunt began. My husband — the dog person — barely looked at the puppy pictures presented for his approval. He said “no” and turned the TV channel.
I was mystified. He was playing this better than I believed possible. Somehow, the cat person was convincing, nay begging, the dog person to get a dog. The more I said I wanted a dog, the less I actually wanted one. I hate to admit it, but I envied his style.
Under duress, he finally agreed to the one with the green ribbon around her neck. I won the argument I wanted to lose. Cookie came home three weeks later to much fanfare and a new dog bed that has yet to be slept on.
Her insatiable urge to bite came within the first hour. She bit the boys, she bit the chair, she bit the air, she bit me. We were only off duty when the cats were in the house, the softest, scratchiest thing of all to bite. I soon learned to wear sweatshirts, my hands cupped in the sleeves, sweaty but safe in the depths of those first hot summer days on my new No, Cookie! diet. The boys took the other route and designated one good shirt for her to put holes in if she could catch them. It’s taken a toll on us all. It’s been two months and my children’s hands look like those of a 60-year-old mechanic.
Carrying off shoes came next. Just one of any given pair. Enough to give me hope that we could leave the house on time, enough to fell me on a daily basis. After that, she inventoried the food bowls on offer and decided only cat food would do. Even if her food bowl was full. Especially if the cats were watching.
Just when I thought we might be in over our heads, the boys started searching for dog tricks on YouTube. The same children who can’t take the time to make their beds had that dog doing three tricks that very day. The biggest crowd pleaser is shouting, “Bang!” and watching her roll over, face up, playing dead.
It’s a good trick, one we played many years ago with my mom’s dog. Cookie looks pretty cute like that, all curled up and helpless-looking. Also, she isn’t biting anyone for a moment. In fact, I can reach down and rub her belly and darn if she doesn’t have the cutest brown eyes. Let’s face it: those boys are good.