Are you nuts?

The Sunday column

As I am out and about running errands, I am often stopped by readers of this column and asked the same question, “How is the puppy doing?”

It seems as if dogs are a favorite subject of many people and the fact that my wife and I are senior citizens who started life over at an advanced age by getting a puppy is morbidly interesting for many.

Those readers who know me personally know I am not a big fan (or even a little fan) of government and government control over our lives. However, in this case, I wonder if there should not be a government test for any senior citizen who decides to get a puppy. The way I see it the test would have just one question, “Are you nuts?”

Recently, someone I ran into in the hardware store asked, “How’s the new puppy?” After a slight thoughtful hesitation, I responded, “At times, Abbey is the most gentle, loving dog you could imagine; nothing could make her better. Then two minutes later, she is like a bullet fired inside of a steel tank, bouncing off of all the walls as you run for cover.”

A lot has changed in my home since my wife decided to get a puppy. I now live in a gated community or should I say a gated home. There are multiple gates in our home, which I originally thought were to keep the puppy confined to certain areas. I was looking forward to removing these gates once the puppy was housebroken, which happened quickly and happily without any real issues. However, although I can now remove those gates, I am reluctant to do so as I now find those gates help protect me from the puppy.

Just as the new puppy arrived, my wife and I were planning a kitchen remodel. Today, if I wanted a kitchen remodel, all I have to do is get new dog toys. If you trip and fall in my kitchen, the chances are good you will never hit the floor as the puppy has decided to make the kitchen her toy chest.

Not only does Abbey have every dog toy known to man, she has a few that won’t be available to the general public until 2021.

I learned a funny thing about dogs and their toys. Regardless of how many toys they own, they would rather play with the toilet paper roll, tear up a magazine or destroy a cardboard box. I have to give Abbey credit for one thing.

When she decides to destroy some paper-related item, she always does it in the family room or living room so she can keep all the mess she makes out of the kitchen where she stores her toys.

In addition to her toys, Abbey also has a collection of socks and handkerchiefs, which she keeps all over the house. When I am getting dressed in the morning, it is all I can do to protect my socks until I put them on.

Normally, I get one on and Abbey runs off with the other one. I am not one to brag about my dog, but Abbey has developed one very unusual talent. Several weeks ago, I found myself constantly looking for my handkerchief, which normally would turn up somewhere I had not been. This kept up for some time until I discovered what was happening.

It seems as if each morning as I started my daily routine, Abbey would closely follow me around, which I thought was some kind of affection or loyalty. That was until the day when I caught her quickly standing up on her hind legs, inserting her slender nose into my pocket and extracting my handkerchief with one quick move and quickly scampering off. I was shocked, even though I saw her do it, I never felt the intrusion.

When my wife learned of what happened, she immediately started thinking of ways to correct this behavior. I, on the other hand, was thinking of training her to pick wallets instead of handkerchiefs. I could make a few extra bucks, and if she was caught and went to jail, I would be in the clear. Sounded like a win-win to me.

While I am sure you will read more about Abbey in future columns, I guess being a senior citizen with a puppy is not a lot different than having a baby. It is a lot of pain, discomfort and trouble, but one day it is all worth it.

I just hope I don’t have to wait until Abbey is 21 for things to calm down a little.

John Kasun writes from his home in Duncansville where he is undergoing puppy training. Abbey hasn’t issued a report card yet on how John is doing.


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