Friday, April 2, 2010


Here's a little essay about how our new dog Kali arrived.
She's definitely part of the gardening contingent of the family, particularly enjoying loosening the soil (i.e. digging up the beds.)  I'm putting down little circles of barbed wire in strategic places to try to discourage this.

The Latest Decision
Some of the decisions in my life have been deliberate - that is, I can remember the exact second when I decided this, not that - but others come from somewhere unknown, mysterious,, overwhelmingly powerful.  The most recent decision of that sort has been to get another dog.  Is this a good idea at the age of 78, when the pup’s life expectancy is probably longer than ours is?  When we have two short driving vacations planned, which don’t include a puppy?  When we have limited energy, and know that a puppy requires energy, constant supervision, cleaning up of endless piddles, and comfort for loneliness at night?

Still,  for weeks I read the SPCA appeal each Sunday in the paper about this little dog needing a home, that little dog needing a forever family, and I immediately responded with teary-eyed sympathy and yearninng. When a darling picture of a pup labelled ‘leonberger mix named Fluffy’ appeared , I felt a flash of recognition. My dog!  Still, for several days I said nothing out loud, although I did check the SPCA website to see if Fluffly continued to be available for adoption.  She did. After more than a week, when her brother disappeared from the adoptable list, I began to realize that Fluffy probably would soon disappear too.

‘Andy,’ I said, ‘there’s a little dog at the SPCA and she’s calling me.’  He was quiet for a moment, then looked at me somewhat quizzically and said, ‘Calling  you?  Then maybe we’d better go take a look at her.’

I wasn’t really sure that Andy was willing to have another dog, and our schedule was full for several days, so we didn’t go to look.  The weekend arrived, and then Monday.  I looked on the internet. She was still on the adoptable list!  When Andy got home he announced, ‘I went to see the little dog, but the SPCA is closed on Mondays.’  This was a surprise to me, and a reassurance that he really was pretty interested too.  So the next day, after his doctor’s appointment, we did go.

Of course we came home with her.

Life with a puppy has proven to be all that I imagined ahead of time.  It has been exceedingly strenuous.  (I slept three nights on an air mattress on the dining room floor, for example.)  Our new pup has had an ongoing urinary tract infection, which means even more piddles than usual, plus vet’s bills and visits and administration of antibiotics twice daily.  Her new name, Kali, has proven prophetic, since she has demolished one dress shoe, the backs of several books, and a partial bathroom rug. Clearly she has a will of her own, and only comes when she feels like it.  But, also, she is intensely affectionate.  She makes us laugh several times a day.  In the morning, when we get her up and she climbs into our laps to snuggle and nuzzle our cheeks, it feels as though this new baby, even at our advanced age, is worth all the trouble.  If I had made the decision to have her in a rational way, she clearly would never have joined our family.  Her arrival, wiggles and all, has brought new life and energy into the equation.  Maybe at some deep unconscious level I thought we needed that.

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