Our current life with dogs

John and I are "dog people."  In fact, we've had dogs in our family for almost our whole marriage.  We currently have Pepper, who is a four year old tri-colored Australian Shepherd, and a new "baby" Mac (also an Australian Shepherd) who is 11 weeks old.

Pepper does this funny (and often annoying) thing we call her "announcement bark."  It is loud and commands attention and when our son, Chase, first moved back in with us it was a major problem when he was working as a bartender and Pepper felt the need to announce him after his shift in the middle of the night.  (We solved this by oiling the hinges of the front door and Chase developing a super-stealth return routine.)  Sometimes Pepper announces John and I, but not always.  And this is what we learned about the announcement bark this week.  For the first time ever, Chase came home when we weren't home...and there was no announcement bark.  As it turns out, Pepper only announces if there is another human here to announce to.

While Pepper will slink away at the word "bath" and will not go near the water features of any dog park, baby Mac loves water.  So much so that he will often put both feet in the water bowl and splash for the fun of it.  And anytime there is water running in the shower or tub he is right there watching to see if he might be invited in. I called his origin family and found out that both of his parents (Sadie and Oreo) love the water.

While puppies are a TON of work (working with housebreaking, chewing on things, etc) they are also a lot of fun.  Mac is very cute. Pepper both plays with him and disciplines him if he plays too rough or tries to get up on the bed--which she considers her domain.  (I wonder what she will do when he is big enough to jump up there too.)  The other fun thing about puppies is the sheer joy they have in their discoveries.  Mac grabbed my shoe the other day, held it up in the air like a prize and danced through the whole house in prancing steps with his trophy.  (I've also seen him do this with a leaf outside and a rawhide that he discovered under the couch.)  He also learned he could use the ottoman to get up on the couch if he crawled up on the "low" side and was very proud of himself.

The other interesting thing about Mac is to watch him process.  Many times he sits very properly and observes with his head cocked.  Especially if Pepper and John are involved in some play ritual he isn't familiar with.

Life with dogs always has a bittersweetness to it.  This is our "second generation" of dogs. Their lifespans aren't nearly as long as ours and we love them so deeply.  But I can't imagine not being open to having that love in our lives simply because we know it isn't forever. There is too much joy and beauty in it.

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall