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Life with Charley

Our life with Charley began exactly 2 months ago and all three of our lives will never be the same. My wife decided no jewels or travel was in order for her last birthday. She had always dreamed of having a standard poodle puppy and nothing else would do. Our dear 16 year old border collie, Tucker, had passed to the great doggy boneyard in the sky four months ago so there was a potential vacancy in our hearts. To fill that void with a puppy was an unexpected joyful burden neither of us had fully anticipated.

With dreams of puppies circulating in our brains we headed down to Visalia and returned with an eight pound cream colored ball of fur we happily named Charley. The naming process itself was more involved than one would think. With thanks to Gertrude Stein for her line, “a rose is a rose is a rose,” a Charley is a Charley is a Charley. His name evokes his essence and had to be appropriate. Thanks to the cosmos, I think we did get this right.

The ride back to Reno was instantly transformed by our little companion. Our twosome was now a threesome and we rapidly altered our protocol to include more potty breaks and adjustments to our new “baby”. Since we did not have nine months to adjust to this new arrival it was a more dramatic adaptation than we expected. Since we now are in our retirement years the memories of infant care were somewhat distant but soon to be relived.

Our arrival in Reno meant a frantic effort to puppy proof our home that has continued to evolve as our charge has continued to grow at an amazing rate. From an eight pound furry bowling ball to a twenty eight pound puppy Toddler in two months has been a continual surprise. The journey has not always been easy. Potty training went fairly easy but still required several carpet cleanings when he developed diarrhea which we eventually determined was from some of our backyard plants. A word of warning to potential homeowner puppy parents - make sure the plantings your puppy has access to are not toxic to dogs. It has cost us hours of transplanting work and a few $ to replant flowers that are beautiful to look at but not puppy safe.

Another bit of friendly advise focuses on those sharp little baby teeth these cute little puppies have and love to bite everything and everyone with. Our little bundle of joy inflicted multiple small wounds on our hands until we learned to keep chew toys always at our sides and frequent treats or use of a the kennel when all else fails. I’m told he will loose these sharp little daggers soon, but we are not at this stage as yet.

The most frustrating challenge at his stage is that we can not take him out for walks until he has finished with his shots. Thank the Lord for Bruce! Bruce is another standard poodle who is 8 months old and has had all his shots and is Charley’s play pal. The two really enjoy chasing around our yard and rough- housing. A boy can always use a good friend to explore the great outdoors.

Thankfully my wife and I are still capable of adjusting our lives and schedules to a four legged bundle of joy who demands our energies and attention. We would not have it any other way. Hopefully Charley will be patient with us while we learn his place in the cosmos.

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