Friday, June 4, 2010

Puppy Love

I’ve come to understand why they take pets to visit people in nursing homes, and why people who own pets live longer than those who don’t. Yes, I’ve been struck by Puppy Love.

We’ve always had cats around the house and in general I still prefer cats. They take care of themselves, they are very clean and they don’t slobber. I do hate the litter box, but that’s a small thing. The one thing I could wish is that they were more affectionate. We’ve had the occasional friendly cat, but for the most part ours have been typically aloof. I’ve heard all the suggestions and claims that the earlier a cat is handled, the friendlier it will be and can tell you scientifically and empirically: it ain’t so! We have had some mother cats who had twice or even thrice annual litters, and with four children in the house, you better believe they were handled almost from Day One. But our percentage of affectionate felines is no higher, and perhaps much lower, than anyone else’s. Sigh.

I’m pretty picky about dogs, on the other hand. For me to like a dog, it has to be small to medium sized (no miniatures, please), short-haired, and clean around the mouth so it doesn’t have spittle on its chops all the time! I would prefer a breed which gets along with cats (not a hunter) and is quiet.

We got Chester, a 3y.o. dachshund, from homegoing missionaries about a year and a half ago. He is small, short-haired, and does not drool (check, check, check). But dachshunds are hunting dogs, so he has chased off all our cats. And he does bark a lot.

But I can live with that because he is so affectionate and cuddly and cute! He came into our Empty Nest and filled my mother’s heart with joy. Corny, I know, but besides being away at boarding school, college and work most of the time, my children are at an age when they don’t like to hug much. It’s just not their Love Language… but it’s mine and I miss it terribly! So Chester is filling that hole in my heart. He’s poorly trained and disobedient, and before we had him neutered he ran off all the time, but he has calmed down a lot since then, and will do almost anything for a cookie.

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