The dog days have just begun

I had a dog who passed away years ago.  I loved him more than anything and his death completely shook my world.  Although they would deny this, people advised me to get another dog as a replacement.  I waited many years until I felt ready to have another pet for a number of reasons.  I simply wasn't emotionally able to care for anything, barely even myself.  Mostly, I knew that whatever new pet could never even come close to the high regard I held Toby in.  Toby was not at all what people would consider perfect.  He had many health problems and odd personality quirks.  Despite all of that, he was exactly all I could ever hope for and irreplaceable.  But people lose dear ones and find new ones often enough.  I told myself that although I may never love anything as much as I loved him, I could still find a pet to love.  My new pet didn't have to be a "Toby replacement".  He didn't have to be anything like Toby at all.

I got a red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy on the 15th of May.  His name is Charles and some people think him to be one of the cutest puppies they've ever seen.  I'll admit he's pretty adorable when he's not being obstinate.  I can't take him out without at least three people raving about how adorable he is.  I'm not sure just how smart he is as of yet but he is very curious.  He has to check everything out.  My floor length mirrored doors to my closet frighten and amuse him.  I think he understands that the puppy staring back at him is actually himself but he doesn't understand that the floor he sees in front of him is just a reflection and runs into it.  When I pulled the mirrored door open and stepped in and out of the closet he looked at me like I was breaking the fourth wall.  He is impervious to pain: running into walls, falling down steps, rolling off the sofa.  He never yelps or indicates that he's hurt.  He's incredibly friendly and seems excited to meet any new person.  He's got pointy teeth and can leap about that high!

I realize that I probably have unfair expectations.  It's not like Toby was automatically well behaved when I got him but he certainly knew how to act more appropriately by Charlie's age (he was 51/2 weeks and Charlie is nearly 12 weeks).  Okay, I'm comparing again.  I'll just say that his bathroom habits defy logic.  I know that the best way to keep a puppy from having accidents in the house is by taking them outside often.  I let him out into the backyard about every thirty minutes.  He's so low to the ground that I can barely tell when he's urinating and when he's just standing there sniffing air.  I know he's going when he lifts his leg but when he squats I'm clueless.  Not even ten minutes after I bring him in, he's pissing on my floor.  I don't get it.  I let him out all the time but he chooses to go inside.  Then I have to discipline him and be the bad guy.

When I take him out for a walk he goes a few paces, bucks like a bronco and- if I try to make him walk more- flops like a fish on the sidewalk.  It's quite embarrassing to see.  It makes me feel like one of those mothers dragging their screaming child out of a store.

I'm writing this paragraph several weeks after starting this post.  He's stopped having accidents and walks on leash quite well.  I have only heard him bark under ten times but he occasionally growls when we are playing.  He taught himself to play fetch and almost always brings back every toy I throw to him.  Jeff says, "I can't imagine anyone not liking Charlie."  That's probably true.  He continues to be friendly and sweet to others.  I have not seen him irritable once.  I guess the only problem is that he gets restless sometimes.  I take him out often but he seems to crave my roughhousing with him.  I enjoy doing it but he can't switch modes when it is time to stop.  He lunges at me and nips at my hands and arms.  He also likes it when I play rough with a rope toy in the backyard.  He holds onto the end with his teeth and I fling him around.  I twirl around and he lifts his little feet off the ground so I can spin him faster.

It's hard having this other being to care for.  With Toby, I had my parents help financially and in their time in walking and caring for him.  I have to plan my activities around Charlie.  I can't just take off as I have been known to do.  I know that this is what I signed on for but it is still a huge life change.

He has his wonderful qualities and his flaws but he's mine.  We're still feeling each other out.  Some days, he drives me so crazy I just want to leave him in the backyard and forget about him.  Other times, he's a lot of fun or very well mannered.  Right now as I look to my left, Charlie is conked out on the sofa, his limbs sprawled and his side rising and falling quickly with each breath.  Seeing him this way, I forget how I could ever be mad at him.


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