Friday, October 21, 2011

Challenges of Life with Giant Puppy

Life with giant puppy
I remember the days B.C. – before Catawba, aka "Giant Puppy."
On mornings like Monday when I found only a few crushed egg shells as ghosts of the 14 fresh eggs he ate – yes, more than a dozen! – I look back in my mind at the cute, little blonde teddy bear we adopted.
It was a May afternoon at the Catawba Valley Farmers' Market, and a little boy from New Castle came walking across the grass hugging a fluffy pup of a breed I couldn't identify. Golden doodle? Chow?
By the time the two reached me, I had locked eyes with the puppy and I was a goner.
"He's a Golden Retriever-Great Pyrenees, with maybe a little English shepherd," the young man said. And then the clincher: "Mom says if we don't find homes for them today, we'll have to take them to the SPCA."
"Well, I could do that if he doesn't fit into our family," I told myself.
Of course, I named him Catawba. And you know how it is once you name something. You're bonded, probably forever.
When we arrived home to my unsuspecting husband, Bill, I announced, "I've brought a friend for Skippy," our still-new Shihtzu-Cairn Terrier mix. My husband responded, "Is he here to stay?"
He was.
So far, the score is giant puppy 25, humans 2. In the wee hours of the morning so far, Catawba has snatched-and-chewed a library book, three of my late mother-in-law's clutch bags that were wrapped in plastic and stored (in an open shelf), a couple of magazines, the obligatory tasting of various of (my) leather sandals, my favorite half-cup measuring cup, and more.
Because I've never crate-trained a dog, I never thought how much angst that could have saved us. I also had no idea how rapidly a fluff ball would grow legs and turn into a coffee table, then a dining room table with hair, and now he's working on being a counter.
And because of his rapid height growth, Catawba can easily nose things off the counter for pre-dawn snacks. This week it was the eggs. A few weeks ago it was two sticks of butter, still in their wrappers, I had set out in a mixing bowl to soften so I could make cookies the next morning.
I am so thankful Catawba left the mixing bowl intact.
I'm sure Skippy, who can easily walk underneath his huge friend, gets some of the spoils, too. Catawba usually defers to him when it comes to chew bones, despite the size difference.
We went as far as to locate and borrow an enormous crate a month ago to confine Catawba during the night. It's still sitting empty, except for his cushion. I'm a wimp.
And once I learned to give the two dogs rawhide bones right before we go to bed, life did get more peaceful.
Sunday night I forgot the bones, and hence, the omelet without the pan. At least Catawba cleaned up after himself.

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