Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Lula and Pepper

Part of the reason for the decreased number of posts over the last 6 months has been the addition of 2 puppies to our family. I wanted to chronicle my feelings on dog-rearing while in the throes of it, so here they are. And hopefully you'll see why my blogging has taken a backseat for the moment. So here are some pros and cons to dog ownership, many of which I'm sure carry over to child ownership, but I'll let you draw your own inferences.

Lula Mae
Pepper Dean

-Their infectious, uninhibited joy and zest for life. Dogs can teach you how to be totally in the moment. Lula Mae is always up to run after something and chew on whatever object is at hand. And Pepper practically melts with joy when you open the car door.
-I think canine companions have been demonstrated to lower stress hormones, which makes sense. But don't quote me on that claim because I don't feel like verifying it right now.
-They love to cuddle. Pepper, always. Lula, whenever she feels like it. Now that they're in the 70-pound range, though, the logistics of cuddling have gotten rather tricky. Sigh #1.
-They get you outside moving around more than you would otherwise. There is even some data that dog ownership lengthens your lifespan. Thanks, furry friends!
-They protect you, your house, your garden, and any animals you have from all sorts of intruders. Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherds (both Lula and Pepper are 50/50 mixes of these two breeds) were actually bred to fight off wolves and survive temperatures as low as -30 degrees. They also can tolerate quite a bit of rain before getting cold. Neat!
-They are fun and interesting subjects to study. Lula and Pepper are vastly different in temperament, yet somehow complementary. Lula is always busy with something and has never met a stranger, while Pepper stays chilled out most of the time. They mirror some things about Mindy and me freakishly well. And more of their temperament comes out every day. This morning, Lula started pulling out carrots from the garden bed intact in between chewing on stakes she had pulled up, while Pepper alternated between staring longingly through the sliding glass door at us, keeping watch on the land, and fending off attacks by Lula.

-They take more time than you expect. And they are destructive. Lula, gleefully so. She delights in grabbing that one thing you don't want her to find and immediately prancing off to destroy it. Just this morning, I found Mindy's credit card in the front yard-- riddled with toothmarks. Sigh #2.
-They are expensive. Shock collars, invisible fences, home repairs, food, toys, treats, and last but not least, veterinarian fees. Though we're glad they've gotten the care they need, we've also learned how much of a scam vets can be. I get you're just responding to incentives but no, we don't need cytology on their ear crust, and you know what, I think they'll be perfectly fine without a Lyme disease vaccine, thank you very much.
-They interfere with your sleep. Not as much as a newborn, I'm sure, but some nights it seems like Pepper thinks the zombie apocalypse is descending on Ridge Rd, and despite our best efforts we've been unable to convince him by coldly rational arguments that zombies are, in fact, pure fiction. A bark collar has been more persuasive, but when he really wants to bark, shocks be damned, he's gonna do it.
-When the invisible fence is down, as it was a few weeks ago when some neighbors ran over it with a backhoe, the dogs. run. amuck. The good news is, they only played with the neighbors' chickens and didn't massacre them. But said neighbor was still understandably ticked off by the situation. Sorry! Sigh #3.

All in all, the dogs have been good investment. They've brought us joy, experiences, and lessons we otherwise wouldn't have had, and isn't that what's truly important in life? I'll accept some fitful nights of sleep and a modest hit to my bank account balance for that. And hopefully at some point in your life, if you haven't already, you will too.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I'm gonna go play with my pups now. And the cat. Sorry, Molive. I'll write about you one day too, I promise.

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