I’m Dog Tired

This column first appeared in the Joplin Globe on May 6, 2006.

 If I fall asleep while I’m writing this, then please just go about your business.

I know, I know. Normally if anyone is going to fall asleep it will be you, the reader, and not the writer.

And I, to paraphrase our president, are the writer.

I are also a dog owner.

We have a new dog at our house. Well, to be honest, we don’t have a new dog at our house, we have a new puppy. Anyone who has raised a puppy knows that there is a big difference between a dog and a puppy. One of those differences is bodily functions and the place where those bodily functions need to take place. Properly trained dogs know that bodily functions take place outside the house. Puppies don’t know that. Puppies think bodily functions take place wherever the puppy happens to be at the time of the bodily function.

As far as I can determine, puppies do three things: sleep, whine and do bodily functions.

It was my wife’s idea to get a puppy and, even though I’ve answered this question many times before, I know what you’re thinking and once again — no, my wife does not smoke crack.

My wife thought a puppy would make a nice gift. Our dog, Shadow, died last May and we had been talking for several months about getting a puppy for our 8-year-old daughter, Emma. But our discussions have centered more on the planning and not so much in the doing. My wife wasn’t sure she wanted a new puppy. Emma was sure she did. I was in the middle.

Emma wanted a puppy that would grow to become a horse. My wife wanted a puppy that would actually shrink. Again, I was in the middle. So I was surprised when, last Friday night, my wife and Emma told me that they found a puppy that was part Labrador retriever and part border collie. I was even more surprised when my wife said we could pick it up on Saturday. But I agreed to go. That’s what you do when you’re in the middle.

When we got to the Joplin Humane Society on Saturday, the Lab/border collie puppy was gone. But Emma noticed a black and tan puppy in a cage. The card on the cage said the black and tan puppy was part German shepherd and part Labrador. I’m no dog expert, but I’m thinking a German shepherd/Lab mix is not going to be a small dog. When I looked into the cage, I think I could actually see the puppy growing.

“Let’s get her,” my wife said.

For the last time: NO, MY WIFE DOES NOT SMOKE CRACK!

Emma named the puppy Shiloh after a book series she likes. Of course, in the book I think Shiloh is a male. I suggested we call the puppy J-Lo (it does have a big butt for a pup), but Emma and my wife decided to go with Shiloh.

To help Shiloh buy into the concept of outdoor bodily functions, my wife and I are using the crate method. In the crate method, you take all the puppy’s indoor bodily functions, put then in a crate and mail them to Rush Limbaugh. Ha. That would be redundant.

No, in the crate method you leave the puppy in a crate until it wants to do a bodily function. Then you take the puppy and watch it wander around for 30 minutes. Then you put the puppy back in the crate where it does a bodily function. You do this every couple of hours. Even when you would rather be doing something else — like sleeping.

My wife and I are starting to get tired of the crate method. We are both starting to feel like we will fall asleep at the most inopportune ti-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

WHAT? I’m up. I’m up. Let’s go, Shiloh.