- Posted August 28, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Our Gifted Grand Puppy
Recently our daughter has become a single parent. She has adopted a Shiba Inu puppy. Naturally he is gifted. Apollo James, at 3 months old is: potty trained, comes when he is called, knows how to sit and give paw and excels at "puppy snuggles" he never barks, doesn't cry or whine and has never dreamed of chewing on anything other than an age appropriate chew toy.
An interesting trait in many 'new parents" is that they are under the delusion that they somehow know everything there is to know when it comes to "proper parenting" techniques. Our daughter is no exception.
After her baby’s well puppy check it was determined that Apollo James would need knee replacement surgery. She called her father, who agreed that the surgery should be done here in Milwaukee after a second opinion from our Vet who happens to be a family friend. Due to her busy career, she would need to drive the puppy up on a weekend and leave him for a week with her us or as she calls refers to us when speaking for her gifted puppy, "Zuzu and Boompahs.”
They arrived on Friday;
Now, I don't want to pass judgment, but I have taken a week-long vacation with two small children and two large golden retrievers with less than was packed for this puppy. My husband unloaded the car while I introduced Apollo to our golden retrievers, trying to assure them that this puppy was just visiting. In all of the chaos I hadn’t noticed my daughter scrutinizing the family room.
"Mom, you have dog fur under the sofa"
I looked and sure enough, I had enough to knit a small throw.
Apollo, who happens to be able to fit under the sofa, immediately went to investigate.
"Apollo James, no no no! Yucky, Icky!"
My dogs looked a tad bit offended.
"Mom, you can't have ANYTHING on the floor, he puts everything in his mouth" She picked him up and looked at me as if I was Miss Glutch trying to get Toto in the basket! My husband moved swiftly to sweep the hardwood floors and make sure there was nothing more that the puppy could find.
When we sat down to dinner and Maxie and Macie tried to teach their new nephew the finer points of begging for table scraps. Maxie has always relied on the long, soulful stare sometimes gently resting his big square head on my lap. Macie, a little bit more obvious in her demeanor, will only wait so long until she just starts barking at us.
Apollo James, a bright little thing tried his paw at begging by letting out a little yap.
"NO table scraps! Mother, I mean it, not one thing. He is on a very strict diet and I don't want him to get fat." She didn't say, like your dogs...she didn't have to.
“Also, Mom… don’t let your dogs bark so much around him, I don't want him to pick that up."
I am no national geographic explorer, but do dogs actually have to "pick up" on barking?
My husband, of 25 years, gave me the "Ooh boy" look that people who have actually raised children and pets give one another when they are in the presence of a first time parent with a prodigy.
After a bed time routine that my daughter had us watch, the puppy was zippered in his soft sided crate and settled into his LL Bean monogramed bed. I thought I caught Maxie roll his eyes, but maybe not.
The next morning after refusing his gluten free kibble and searching out our dogs dishes, Apollo James sneezed.
"Oh no, Now he is sick!" Our daughter whaled.
"Honey, it was just a sneeze, I am sure he is fine" she fanatically scooped the puppy up in her arms.
"Is his nose cold?" I asked innocently enough. My daughter suppressed an eye roll at in response to my ignorance, merely sifting her jaw as she turned to face me, puppy firmly in her safe grasp.
"The common belief that a healthy dog has a cold, wet nose and a sick dog has a hot, dry nose is FALSE.
Here's why: The temperatures of dogs' noses fluctuate day to day, even hour to hour. It's hard to say exactly why (it could be the environment or it could be what they've been up to recently). But a dog can be perfectly healthy and have a warm, dry nose. A dog can be really sick (think heart disease or critically injured) and have a cold, moist nose, so that is hardly a measure MOTHER!"
My husband, after hearing the commotion, came into the kitchen and asked what the matter was.
"Apollo sneezed" The gravity in her voice would have played well on as daytime drama.
Jim reached out and touched the pup’s noes- "He's fine- nice cold nose on him! You're just fine aren't you pup?" My daughter looked at the two of us and shook her head; clearly she had overestimated our nurturing skills. The puppy sneezed a second time.
"Now, what am I going to do? I can't leave him with you two if he's sick!"
"The dog is fine, and if he has a cold, we are seeing the Vet in two days" I offered.
“Well, I certainly hope that you will take him in sooner than two days if he continues sneezing all the time!"
We assured her that we would.
Our daughter then produced the written instructions of his "Care and Schedule" for the week. This included precise times on; feeding, toileting, napping, playing walking and bathing.
And with a good bye to her puppy that rivaled Camille, she left for St. Louis.
My husband was the first to speak. “You realize that if we mess up with the Grand-puppy we will never be able to babysit the Grand kids.”
"What should we do with these?" My husband asked holding up the instructions.
"Let's say that we threw them out by mistake so we just winged it for the week." I offered.
"No, better yet, let's say Maxie and Maxie ate them!" I love how that man thinks.
Our daughter phoned when she was just outside of St. Louis to “check in.”
"How is he doing? Any more sneezing?"
"Um, I haven't heard any, Honey, have you heard any sneezing from the puppy?"
"No, your Mom hasn't heard any either."
"Glad you are home safely... and honey, one quick questions before I let you go.
"If Apollo were to say "hide" someplace for Ooh say four or five hours, where would be a good place to start looking?"
Oh I love that man! When parenting, those with two legs or four paws, you can’t go wrong with humor.