I’m a dog lover, and if you ask me, there are few things that can improve the mood in a room more than a puppy. I’ve experienced this first hand over the past few weeks since we’ve added a new canine member to our family.
Louie is an adorable Italian Spinone pup we adopted from a breeder in Michigan. We hadn’t planned on adding a puppy so soon after losing our beloved Golden Retriever, Cooper – who lived to be 11 1/2 and succumbed after several months of declining health. But things tend to happen for a reason and finding Louie was no exception.
I had never heard of the Spinone breed, so when my son suggested getting one, I was a little wary.. after 25 consecutive years of Golden Retriever ownership (otherwise known as the perfect dog with the exception of their voluminous shedding) I wanted to know their size, temperament and yes, what the expected shedding output would be. We weren’t sure what the next step in dog ownership for us should be.
I should add here, that we also have another dog, a hearty Havanese named Dash. Dash has defied breed averages and weighs in at a hefty 21 pounds (and yes, I walk him and stick to weigh control food – he just has a “slow metabolism”). A small dog with a big dog mentality, Dash got along great with Cooper and we adore him despite his occasional lapses in house training and being a bit yappy.
After we lost Cooper, Dash seemed a little lost. Yes, he was still getting spoiled with treats and lots of lap time, but we could tell he was a little lonely when we weren’t home. I thought it would be reasonable to start looking for a puppy with the goal of getting one after the holidays, and ideally in the spring to avoid house training during the colder months. That was not to be, however, as my son was diligent in his quest to find the perfect dog and soon found a reputable Spinone breeder who just happened to have a few pups looking for homes.
Louie was originally promised to a young couple who subsequently found out they were expecting a baby around the same time the pups were born. They decided (wisely) to focus on their human offspring instead of taking on a puppy and a new baby. And so Louie was back on the market!
So, that was that. After a phone call to the breeder, my husband and son took a long drive to a suburb of Detroit and came back with the most lovable, floppy, soulful puppy I’ve ever seen!
And he’s been a dream. I only wish my human babies slept through the night as well as Louie does. And so far he’s had only one accident (which was really operator error). He’s a star performer in puppy kindergarten and he and Dash are fast friends. In fact, Louie is teaching Dash a thing or two about using the facilities outside and maybe he’ll even slim down a bit chasing after Louie!
Louie fits into our family perfectly. With his long limbs, big feet and Italian heritage, he’s a Prichard through and through. He also plays well with Dash and the “opposites attract” dynamic seems to be in full effect. Dash has always thought of himself as a “big dog” and Louie is laid-back and willing to go along with his little dog antics. Dash is an over-stuffed teddy bear with a prima donna attitude and Louie is stoic and wise beyond his age with soulful eyes and a gentle demeanor. I love them both and am so grateful to have wonderful pets in my life.
Which brings me to why I titled this post “Puppy Panacea.”
There was a reason I chose to write about something as relatively cute and benign as puppies at this time – a few weeks post presidential election and all of the fallout, anger and misunderstanding surrounding the results. Louie arrived just in time and he’s been a great distraction from the ugliness swirling around facebook, twitter and all the news programs. When I start to get too engrossed in “meet the press” or need a break from reading the never ending election analysis, I take a time out and play with, feed or walk the pups. It’s a great way to change the mood in the room.
And it’s not just politics that our country needs a break from. It’s so easy for people to get overwhelmed with problems at work, financial stressors, health issues, relationship problems, holiday angst and any other inconvenience. Lets face it, we all need ways to decompress.
We can learn a lot about life and relationships by observing dogs. They tend to resolve differences with a quick snap or growl – just enough to show the other dogs where they stand – and then they move on. They spend a lot of time lying in a spot of sun on the floor, just seeking out light and warmth. They learn to play well with other breeds and they are loyal to a fault.
So, whether it’s watching a puppy play or getting lost in a good book, taking in a movie with a friend or enjoying a well prepared meal… it’s so important to take time out from worry and angst and appreciate the good things and simple joys that surround us.
Here’s to thinking more like a pup and finding some peace in your day!