A text then a ringing doorbell did not send me into panic as it normally does. The house and my self were a mess. Technically, I was clean. I did shower and brush my teeth that day, but the absence of makeup and a frizzy topknot contradicted any attempt to impress. This was in contrast to my house. The floor hadn’t been swept in nearly 2 months. Dust accumulated everywhere. Even worse, though, was just the clutter. Remnants of dog toys and shed fur blanketed the carpet. Fur would line my socks if I chose not to wear shoes while walking through the house. When my guests walked in, I saw their eyes widen and jaw slightly drop. “Welcome to Puppygeddon!” I said sarcastically, to set the mood and their expectations for comfort. “You should see the backyard.”
Oh, puppies. This was my second but the first one in my own house. New carpet. Mortgage. Nice furniture. You get the picture. My first beast, A, is 5 & ½ years old, and I raised her from 9 weeks old in a third-floor apartment. Imagine carrying that now 90-lb creature as a 3-month old puppy up and down 3 flights of stairs 5 or 6 times a day, only to have her poop on the carpet despite just having roamed the miniature lawn at the foot of the stairs. This puppy, W, is 6 or 7 months old, and I’ve only had him a month. He’s house-trained for bowel purposes, and he is much smarter than A ever was…but he is still a puppy.
The world is his playground, and he explores it with his mouth. When A was a puppy, she did this too, but the carpet was old, the furniture was to be donated at the next move, and the digs were rented. She taught me a lot about what to expect, but Puppy W is a disrupter. I had to recalibrate and puppy-proof the house. His propensity toward tv remotes and electrical wires was one I had not encountered before, but his fascination with shoes and stinky socks and underthings, I should have anticipated. I had to close doors, place hard plastic things above the level of the coffee table (and his eyes), and be ever aware of new or absent puppy noises. Both signal destruction.
The backyard was another new experience for me. Dog A never had a backyard as a puppy. She is now a more mature, wandering dog. Sure, the yard is a minefield of poop (as the guy who mows my lawn likes to remind me), but I didn’t have to worry about freshly dug holes and plants being ripped out of the earth. Now, Puppy W had a reputation of digging holes when he arrived, but as I expected Puppy W plus Dog A equals endless wrestling and chasing. No time for holes. Sort of. There had been black weed cloth to cover a flower bed I never used. It was well-buried and immovable from my perspective, but W had his way. Now there are little shredded black pieces of cloth as well as double the amount of landmines lining the yard from fence to fence. At least it’ll be well-fertilized.
Puppy W is cute. His personality is that of a charmer. He knows when it’s time to go to his crate for the night, and lies limp on the floor in the corner, daring me and knowing that I will strain my back to pick him up or at least get him started in the right direction. Dog A is cute, beautiful even, but she is definitely not a charmer. She is my protector and much like me. Her personality is so deeply rooted in what she is, what she does, that the social easiness required of a charmer in seemingly unproductive situations eludes her. She’s an introvert. She has a job, she knows what it is, she can do it, but it’s also all or nothing. It’s either turned on or turned off. As for her barking and growling at passersby, it’s mostly turned on. And it’s loud.
The disruption of an extroverted, lovely puppy and all the exuberance that comes with puppyness, has taken its toll on us, A and me. But it’s good. A definitely needs to learn that other animals can share our space without assault. I suppose it’s always good for a singleton to invite more living beings into one’s sphere, but I truly believe A took up enough space that I didn’t need more. Oh well, I’m a sucker. It’s a lesson and a friend for A and a distraction and destruction of expectation and routine for me. So, the other day when another friend came over and gasped at the strings extruded from rope knots, cotton stuffing strewn about, and dismembered toys all over the floor, she immediately began cleaning my puppygeddon. I just laughed at how normal it had become. I also know that puppygeddon will soon end. I can clean my house then.