gmhTODAY 15 gmhToday July Aug 2017 - Page 31

tabby,. It wasn’t orange but had a little orange mark on it’s forehead. I took that as a good omen. Then, I looked at my husband who was lovingly looking down at his foot, where this cute little ball of black fur was sitting and looking up at him. My daughter had just given birth to twin girls, so I took that as another good omen and off we went with not one but two kittens. Tigger and Rip Squeak are now nine years old. They are house cats so they have had the run of the place for a long time. But, ten years without a dog when you’re a dog lover is just enough already. Although I think I would have been happy to go about my business without man’s best friend under foot, I also knew that Larry had been overly patient and that it was time. I thought it might be fun to surprise him with a new puppy but I have never had a puppy so I had no clue where to start. Our son, Peter, had a new yellow lab so I asked him to help. As we discussed the prospect, he mentioned that maybe I would enjoy having a golden retriever for a number of reasons, all of which sounded good to me. Together we went on the search for a puppy. We found Charlie, an English Golden Retriever, at a breeder in Grass Valley. I remember how apprehensive I was on the way to pick him up. I had read a couple of books about the breed and the stages of puppyhood by that time, so knew just enough to be sufficiently worried. Mostly I was worried that this huge commitment we were taking on might prove to be a nightmare for me. Remember, I’m a cat person and had never experienced life with a puppy. And, it seemed that every time I would mention that we were getting a puppy, people would give me that “oh, no” or “are you like crazy” look. Some of the stories they shared were not pretty. But on a very rainy day in October, we walked up to the home of the breeder we had selected and we met Charlie. Immediately that movie line “you had me at hello” rang in my head. It was love at first sight. Never, other than seeing my amazing grandchildren for the first time, have I ever been so smitten so fast. The four-hour ride home only cemented the immediate attachment. He was so soft and cuddly and just seemed to bury himself in my lap, trustingly. The days that followed were filled with wonder. I remember thinking, this isn’t so bad, what was all the craziness about? Charlie was really a good little guy. After a couple weeks, we even had him letting us know when he had to go potty — not to say there weren’t a few mishaps. We would have to get up at least once during the night to accommodate his puppy bladder but we managed to arrange our schedule so Larry would cover late nights and I would cover the early mornings. Who needs sleep anyway? I think the hardest part of having a puppy is the chewing. His baby teeth were lethal and he wanted to chew everything. We managed to contain some of this activity and since we work at home, we were able to spend brief spans of time throughout the day super- vising the little guy. Left to his own devices, he would chew up just about anything he could get his teeth on and destroy any plant he could pull out. Oh, and the yellow spots on the grass. I was told by my lovely husband and our son that male dogs didn’t leave yellow spots when they went potty. That is so not true! I really got some great advice, however, from Gregg Bozzo, owner of GB Landscaping Services and a friend, when he replaced half our back lawn. He said he didn’t understand why people think a dog needs the whole backyard for his/her bathroom. What a revelation! So now, Charlie goes potty in the side yard and our backyard grass doesn’t have yellow spots. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY/AUGUST 2017 But I digress. As he grew; so did his energy level. It was time for little Charlie to get some formal training. So Larry signed little Charlie up for training at Operation Freedom Paws in San Martin. Larry is so proud of the way Charlie has taken to commands. I’m waiting for him to get the one where he actually comes when I call him instead of grabbing the nearest thing he can find and running as fast as he can away from me. Also, it would be nice if he would not jump on guests. He just gets so excited — what’s that about? I gotta admit, though, I get a kick out of it when Larry reprimands him and he comes running over to me. Smart puppy! As I write this we are dealing with the dreaded neutering saga. Poor Charlie has to wear the CONE of shame, so he won’t lick himself. He looks so sad and it pains me to see him so unhappy. I’m anxious for the darn thing to heal so he can be his old fun loving, although not as masculine, self. Charlie is now ten months old, 70 pounds and a joy to have under foot. He’s found his voice and uses it when he hears someone coming up the sidewalk or fireworks going off. I kinda like that he’s protective and I’ve come to grips with having hair everywhere and having to vacuum constantly. I figure it’s a small price to pay for the love of Charlie. 31