“…simple…a check.”

I admit it. I have it bad. I mean really bad. I cruise all the pages, every day. I talk back and forth with others. We share the same fever. And I fantasize. One guy today told me the cure to my fever was simple – a check. LOL. Isn’t a check the cure for many things???

Yep. Puppy fever. Bad. I wrote a blog post about it earlier this year. My patient hubby thinks it will go away. But it has not. Today, another breeder announced a new littler, ready in time for Christmas. Sigh. Music to my ears.

Everyone has a sort of pet they envision; one that fits their personality. Some people have reptiles, others have birds, or cats, gerbils and chinchillas, mice and rats, gold fish or elaborate aquariums, horses and sheep. And then there are dog people. LOL. My kids are in camps. My one son has almost all the animals listed above, minus cats and the larger outdoor animals. My other son has a cat. We have had pretty much all of them, minus a horse. Our boys were 4-H kids. So we had quite the array. And we lived on a dairy farm for most of their youth, so the variety of farm animals was all around us. A cousin came to live with us once and brought her pet rabbit. That was an adventure. Regardless of what type of animal you prefer, they seem to lighten up our lives. At least for those of us who have pets. Some people just prefer plastic plants and stuffed animals. I like the real thing. LOL. Okay, I do admit I have a pretend cactus on my windowsill in my kitchen. Hey, we live in Alaska! It is hard to grow cactus here.

The hard part about loving a living thing is that they eventually die. There are breeds of animals that are very long lived. We had a neighbor who had a tortoise that was literally hundreds of years old. And there are those breeds that are very short lived. Goldfish you win at the school fair usually do not last too long. LOL. Then there is my son’s school fair goldfish. I think he is like 5 or 6 years old!! An exception to every rule. Ha-Ha-Ha. And they just bought him a larger tank! He loves it.

My favorite breed of dog, in case you cannot place it, are English Springer Spaniels. We were introduced to the breed when our boys were small, through bird hunting in California. They are excellent flushing dogs. We used to hunt quail, which requires flushing to find. We were given dogs from hunters we knew who had a lot of Springers and wanted us to enhance our hunting experience. And we realized that this was the breed that perfectly fit the personality and tone of life in our family. They are called velcro dogs. They love their humans! They are boisterous and busy little dogs. They can weigh from the 30-pound range up to 60-pounds. European bred Springers tend to be heartier and beefier than many of the Springers bred in the USA. Me, I am a sucker for those eyes. Those faces are just too cute. They shed. Oh my word, do they shed. But they have the most amazing personalities. I just love them. We have a Springer. Her name is Pocahontas (Poca for short) and she is a rescue Springer. She came to us at 5 years old and she was perfect. She and our youngest son, to use a dog-term, are a bonded pair. She has a pillow on his bed. They are too cute together. Now that she is 13 and he is almost 20, she tends to cling to me or my husband a little more, because her favorite human is gone a lot. She is a bundle of hugs, cuddles, and love. But she is 13. She aches. She sleeps with my mom almost all day on the couch. And we all know her days are very, very numbered.

She smiles at me and my heart cringes a little bit. Because I see our aging mirrored in my dog. She now has gray eyebrows. They crack me up. She is smiling in the photo above, and I mean that dog can smile. Springers are known to smile and tease and talk to you. And I think one of the things that has me craving a puppy is because I don’t want this joy with this incredible dog to end. I know a puppy will not be Poca. I know a puppy will not replace Poca. I saw a meme today that said, “A puppy will not replace the dog you lose; it will make your heart expand with more love.”

My mom was a little girl in the photo above. And I can see my grandchildren in her face. My kids don’t see it, yet, but someday I think they will appreciate the likenesses that happen along family trees. Genetics are just so fun. My middle son and his wife are expecting daughter #4 any day now, and he and I were recently discussing how she may look. Their three daughters all look so different – Red head, brunette, and blondie. And they are such individuals! They look sort of like the UN. It is beautiful. And we pondered the millions of genetic pairings our newest granddaughter may have. We will soon know how the genetic dice were tossed by the end of the month. As for Springers, there are very few genetic deviations. They all pretty much look the same, except for their colorations. They come in liver & white, black & white, tri-color, and roan. My husband says only the liver and whites are real Springers. He is so funny. I don’t much care. I am loving the variety, just like with all our grandkids. Genes are fun. But they are all my grandchildren, and all Springers are English Springers (as long as that is what it is you want – because there are Irish and Welsh Springers, too). So color is not a deal-breaker for me. It’s more of just a puppy thing. (Love you, babe!!)

And I know my yearning for a puppy is a yearning for life, for joy, for something to get this old home excited. Mom sleeps most of the day with the dog, like I said. The hubby is working his tail off every day. The youngest son (almost 20) is working as a volunteer fire fighter, and training in a second career, dating his girlfriend, and pretty much gone all the time. And then there is me. I watch the aging. I watch the slow decline of my mom. Today she woke up and asked me, “Where is Frank? Did he go for a walk? Oh, look, it’s almost 1 o’clock!” and promptly fell back asleep. Frank, my stepdad has been gone for over five years. Mom is so lost. This morning she thanked me for inviting her over. She lives here. Last night she asked me why I was leaving the country…I have no idea where that came from; it was a new one. But I am surrounded with dying. I am dying. We are all dying. And I would love a little puppy to cuddle and giggle with. A dog to keep me company, as I journey down that last road home. I don’t think that is a bad thing. The hubby and I are looking forward to an empty nest and some quality camping/fishing. We long to own a tow behind camper. I picture us having a couple of Springers jump from the truck and rush into the lake as we set up our campsite. Sort of a matched set to keep us company. He is not quite there, yet. He is thinking empty-empty nest. Ha-Ha-Ha. I am not sure I want a puppy now, but I do want one. Maybe holding my new granddaughter later this year will fill me with so much joy, I won’t need a puppy. Instead of a puppy pile, it can be a grandchild pile! My 4-year-old granddaughter, who lives nearby, is the best hugger in the world. She can vanquish my despondency with just one of her super-hugs. I have love all around me. I am so blessed. But, dang it, I want a puppy. LOL. That little buddy to hang out with me and follow me all over the place. Puppy fever is alive and well…now back to peruse all those Springer pages…I mean, how cute are their faces????

On a end note here: Mom has late stage Alzheimer’s. Some days she does not know where she is, when she got here, if she has grandchildren, even who I am. But through all her fogginess of Alzheimer’s, she always knows the name of our dog, Poca. Always. That tells me something – about humanity and about dogs. And how deeply connected we are.




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