Thank goodness for dogs. I have a puppy and sometimes she can be a real joy, and sometimes , well… a real challenge.

The joys:

Having a dog lets you see the sunrise each day. Getting up before the first light in the winter can be absolutely stunning. Without a puppy, I would rarely see this time of day.

Having a dog lets you see the stars at night. Sure you go out at night but do you really spend time looking up and remain outside even when the cold winter air is biting your fingers, nose and toes? This is a special time of the day that is under appreciated.

Get outside

Having a dog makes you get outside in all sorts of weather conditions. It has been snowing off and on here since mid November and it has stayed- so each time it snows I need to go out and create a new snowshoe path for Gracie to be able to walk in. As she grows she is better able to romp through the deeper snow, so maybe this pathway that I create is more for me now. In any event, it has made me get outside and walk and walk and walk…I even just got myself some new snowshoes since my 20 year old ones were starting to have some issues. Having a 30 lb puppy walk on the back of them as you try to walk through deep snow may be part of the problem- let’s see what she does with my new ones!

Having a dog makes you “stop and smell the roses”. She stops at every twig down, stump exposed, pine cone dropped from it’s branches- many stops on our way out- less on our way home. But I get to notice the animal tracks, the woodpecker holes, the gorgeous mushrooms growing on the trees so that is a bonus in and of itself.

Animal track
Fox tracks found

Chaga mushroom on birch

Animal evidence
Busy woodpecker hole

Having a dog makes you meet new people with and without dogs. A store clerk talks fondly about his aging dogs and the new puppy welcomed into the family. Would that exchange have happened if I only asked for a replacement for my headlight? He reached for his phone to share a photo. So sweet.

Having a dog makes it easier to talk to strangers. People stop to ask if they can say hello to the puppy- otherwise they may simply walk past. Last evening while walking rather late in my sons neighborhood a large man was approaching out of the darkness. Gracie was worried and I admit, so was I. He stopped, smiled , gave a quick hand to smell , ” good puppy” and was on his way.

Having a dog makes you realize that there is truly unconditional love between two living things.

The challenges:

Having a puppy who chews absolutely EVERYTHING

Black lab puppy
Gracie chewing my LL BEAN shoe

Having a puppy who pulls on the leash. My shoulder is suffering… but maybe a few yoga moves will help with that. I’ll give them a try.

Having a puppy who jumps up on little people. The three year old has long curly hair- I guess it looks like a toy because Gracie really loves to jump up and grab it- Lucy is getting more tolerant, but really?? is that necessary? We are working on that behavior every time Gracie and Lucy are together.

All in all it looks like the pros outweigh the cons.

So it’s snowing again- time to start the process of making the snowshoe paths- time to shovel – to get the snow off the roof- winter, you gotta love it! thank goodness I have a puppy to share it with again!

I’m glad we jumped back in and got another puppy- she is a lot of work but brings a lot of joy.

We start ” puppy training” this week. Look out world- we may have a good dog on our hands before we know it.

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