Oh, how naive I was the day we brought our precious puppy home. "I've been through two babies (one with colic) , two terrible two-year olds (talk about a tongue twister), and two rounds of potty training. How hard could a puppy be?", I thought. This would be a cake walk. It didn't take long for me to realize that a puppy is very much like a human child, only you can't diaper a puppy. In my beginning, exhaustive state of pregnancy, I was kept awake much of the night by a constant whimper. In the midst of my morning sickness, I was cleaning up little doggy presents left for me by my precious pooch. In the midst of my nesting, I was finding new chew marks on furniture and various other household items every day. "It will get easier", everyone said. "The first year is the hardest." "Take him to puppy kindergarten." So we did. Off we went to Petsmart, where we were taught how to house break, walk, and discipline our doggy, and where we were also talked into buying him more expensive food than we feed ourselves. Puppy school did help. Soon, there were far fewer accidents in the house. Pippin would respond to commands to "sit", "stay" and "come". He was now "kennel trained" and was not whining all night long. We had painted over some of the more obvious bite marks on the window sill, and the rest we decided to think of as "rustic touches" to our quaint abode. During my "if I don't have a nap today I might kill someone" daily resting periods, Pippin would cuddle on my lap. All seemed to be going well. Then came baby. It was all very Lady and the Tramp. Pippin's favored spot on my lap was soon occupied by someone with much less hair. And, alas, poor Pippin had no Lady. My other two children handled the transition of bringing baby home surprisingly well. It was the dog who had issues. He began reverting back to some of his more Tookish ways. At times, he was outright defiant. Once I was downstairs rocking Ryan. Pippin came down, looked right at me, then turned, lifted his leg, and peed all over the space heater. That one definitely elicited a "Fool of a Took!", among other phrases. There have been many more such incidents, and I have cleaned up shredded diapers from the trash can more times than I care to remember. There have been so many days when I have imagined Pippin playing happily on a farm many, many miles from here. On one of my "the baby has been crying all day; the older two are driving me to drink with their fighting; and if Pippin chews up one more diaper, I am going to have myself committed" days, I mentioned the farm idea to Dirk. We obviously weren't capable of giving Pippin the attention and training he needed. Surely he would be happier somewhere else. Dirk promptly agreed. Then came the matter of bringing this plan up with Morgan and Hyrum. Over a nice family dinner, we calmly mentioned our idea. The look on Hyrum's four-year-old face stopped the plan dead in it's tracks. We were stuck.
We learn something from every trying experience we pass through. From the experience of trying to train a demonic hobbit dog, I have learned exactly two things: 1. I am not a dog person (a bad thing to realize after you actually bring a dog home.), and 2. I will do anything to protect my children from heartache. I am still trying to find the balance of being a good mother and a good dog owner. As Ryan and Pippin are both getting a little older, this is becoming a bit easier. But I would certainly never recommend having a puppy and a newborn at the same time. Then again, maybe it's good to get all of the hard things out of the way at once......like the week my son had a tonsillectomy and we remodeled our bathroom......maybe I am just a glutton for punishment. Whatever the case may be, I know one thing for sure.....Pippin is our first and last dog. And, if at some point in the future, my puppy hunger overrides my sanity and we bring home another dog, we are naming it Road Kill.