A couple of weeks before he married, Jeffrey invited me to go along to help choose the perfect pup for Christina and him. They knew they wanted to start their married life with each other and with a puppy and a kitten (her love of animals is one of a thousand things that makes her a perfect fit in our family). So, off we went to find the right pup. He loves Boston Terriers, and she loves Chihuahuas. Would you believe that he found, in Harlan, a litter of part Boston/part Chihuahua pups? We were excited to see just what such a mix would look like as we drove to the home of Ashley Turner where we found darling children playing with darling pups. The first good sign was that the mother of the pups welcomed us and wagged her tail the whole time we played with them. (I’d never seen that happen before.) The second good sign was that the pups were being perfectly socialized by Ashley and her children. The pups were alert, healthy, curious and so, so cute; they were black and white like the Boston Terriers, and all of them had faces, ears and tails from Mexico; some had Boston bodies and legs, the others had the chubby body and short legs of the Chihuahua. All had long black wagging tails tipped with white, in constant motion, much like windshield wipers. They were a few weeks old, and Jeffrey (on a mission to find the sweetest) knew right away the pup with the look and personality that Christina would love. Our job was done; we played with the pups and now all we had to do was to wait until she got old enough to live away from her mother. In the midst of all those girl puppies was the only boy (Ashley called him “Ox”), obviously a Boston with a Taco Bell face!! I’m not sure who was more shocked (Jeffrey or me) when I said to Ashley, “Save him for me.” I saw in that black and white body the most sparkling personality I had seen in a long time; intelligence oozed out of every cell of his body. I had every intention of bringing him home, getting him civilized, and then giving him away, because we all know I have an 80 plus pound Boxer who is a lap dog, but I simply could not walk away from that pup without getting to know him better and somehow having him in my life. I’m not sure whether it was the challenge of training this “whirling dervish” or what, but I wanted to give training him a try! I had the desire to teach him the best I could, because I knew he was so smart and energetic that he would have to be diligently disciplined to be really cherished as a family member anywhere.
After I brought him home, my neighbor grandchildren named this whirlwind “TobyMac”; he is almost 3 months old now and has the attention span of a gnat. But he understands almost every word that I say, and he is too smart for his own good (and mine)! He is totally house trained, and he sleeps through the night in his bed, in his little room, without a peep, allowing me to have the cuddle time with my Boxer late and early. If it’s naptime, all I have to do is lie down on the couch and put Toby under the cover. But when he is awake, oh my! He is on the run almost every waking hour. He can “sit and wave” and “stay”, will peepee and poopoo when asked to. (I don’t expect you to believe that, but it happens consistently). He’s seems to know that if he is to survive, he better do the basics right.
I honestly hope that some of this energy is a stage; I have been taking note of happenings as I’m trying to write this article. In a 10-minute span, he grabbed my glasses from the chair-side table, and took them to his bed, tried to confiscate my $90 glaucoma drops, stole underwear from the dirty clothes, ate ½ of a dryer sheet, and chewed up a ballpoint pen. One day last week I found 14 quarters and a large paper clip in the lining of his new bed. (Go figure!) His passion is to eat my houseplants, even though I have explained to him that some plants are reportedly poisonous, and one of his favorite outside activities is to pick and devour toadstools and mushrooms.
Even though Toby and Rob, our Boxer, communicate through the fence, my next big job is to acclimate them to each other in an amicable way. What Toby lacks in size he makes up for in spunk; we’ll have to see what happens when size meets spunk!
Why would we invite the hurricane inside the house?
It has a lot to do with fun and laughter...…..with moving these 72 year-old joints instead of sitting……. with our joyfully anticipating the next move from this “Marleyish” pup……. maybe it’s that 3 second 3 yard dash to beat him to the toilet paper roll! It has a lot to do with fun. (You can reach Pat Bryson at firstname.lastname@example.org)