Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

A family of five

Did you know that it is possible to get hate mail just because you got a puppy for Christmas? Did you? Because I thought you’d have to kick a puppy to get hate mail, or maybe even throw one off the roof of your house to see if it would bounce (note: it won’t). I guess that I’m a bad influence, and because I got a puppy someone else may go out and get a puppy from THE MALL where they TORTURE PUPPIES and ROUTINELY KILL THEM FOR THEIR DELICIOUS MEAT. So I will just go ahead and give this public service announcement: please, Internet, if you feel that you must get a puppy, please do not buy one from the store next to Hot Topic.

Now, to answer some pressing questions:

Coco is a ten-week-old miniature Australian Shepherd. I have been begging Jon to agree to adopt another dog for a couple of years, and he has always said no, not now, maybe never, woman you are out of your mind. But he’s had a soft spot in his heart for Australian Shepherds ever since he saw how well Chuck played with one that lives next door to my mother. He noted that dog’s intelligence and loyalty, how well he played with kids, and over the holiday we found out about a litter of miniatures looking for homes. I won’t go into too much detail about how I persuaded my husband to get one of these puppies, just that I might have fallen to the ground, clutched the bottom of his pants, and dried my tears with his shoelaces. And then promised lots of naughty things involving whipped cream.

She is a much different dog than Chuck, a much more mellow puppy probably because she was weaned properly. Chuck acted like he was high on cocaine for most of his puppyhood, but she’s more cautious, more timid, a lot more gentle. I even think she might be house-trained, and if she is this would be the Universe’s way of saying, look, I know what you went through with that first one, those two months of hell, how he used to lift his leg and pee on your friends when they came for tea, so here’s a freebie.

We were really worried about what Chuck might do to Coco because he has this thing about puppies. He gets along well with other dogs unless they are under six months old, and then he goes inexplicably nuts. In the past month I have had to leave the dog park twice because he wouldn’t stop picking on puppies, wouldn’t stop growling or barking or chasing them into a corner. We think he’s trying to establish dominance, but you never know what’s going on in that pea-sized brain and it could just be because he’s an asshole.

But he’s great with Coco, was at first very interested in her and did the ritual indexing of her rear end, but then he was just as immediately indifferent. And that’s fantastic. It’s almost as if he’s relieved that there’s someone else here now that can take the brunt of all the affection. If anything, her presence has meant more walks and more treats and less having to pretend that touching humans isn’t totally disgusting.

Leta, on the other hand. Wow. I mean, sometimes I really think we need to have her DNA tested to determine if the mailman is her mother. I do not understand where she gets her disdain for animals, but in her world they would all speak English and eat with utensils. Yesterday after we picked up Coco we drove to Leta’s preschool to pick her up. I mentioned to her teacher that we had a new puppy out in the car, and she suggested I bring it in to meet all the kids. You can imagine the squeals as every child rushed up to greet her and pet her head, and when the crowd cleared Leta was standing with her back up against the wall, her nose scrunched up as if she had just witnessed something very unpleasant. She stuck out her hand to shield her face from the horror and said, “Eww. I do not like that.”

Today Coco further tortured Leta by looking at her and smelling her foot. The audacity.

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