Stanley works his magic in my lap.

Like faery dust, the magic spell of “puppy” covered me on my first visit with Stanley. Our friends and neighbors across the street, Jeff and Bernie, just added a new member to their family. And when they texted “Puppy visitations are open,” I was there in 60 seconds. We’ve resisted the responsibility and restrictions of taking care of our own pet, but I do like to pay them a visit once in a while. Who on earth can resist puppy antics!

My own history of dog ownership is dismal. Pathetic, really. My family dog growing up unpredictably curled up in front of the door and growled when I tried to enter my own house. I was always scared and had to sit outside until my parents came home to let me in. I did not have a phone in my pocket! He was a Dalmatian and his name was Rummy, or Lord Rumpfalord on the pedigree papers. Besides nipping at several of my friends, Rummy once sank his teeth into the mailman’s thigh. After coming to the door and rolling up his pant leg to expose the punctures wounds, Dad agreed to foot the doctor bill. Then there was my teeny little turtle, who managed to crawl out of her dish and fall to the floor, cracking her shell. (Dear old Rummy probably had something to do with that one.) There were countless goldfish found floating in the morning, a parakeet that died passing her first born, and a subsequent parakeet who mysteriously disappeared one day when — it was determined — “someone” left the front door open.

My last pet experiences were when my own children were young. We tried it twice to no avail. Both of these charmers learned early on how to jump a six-foot  fence facing the street and wouldn’t stop. It broke all our hearts, but we had to let them go. I am pet cursed, no doubt.

The sting of pet ownership has faded by now, and there have been bright pet moments. When we first moved to the countryside of Oregon, the previous owner’s cat was still hanging around. She waited patiently until we finally softened up and let her in the house. The very next morning, my giddy 12-year-old daughter Christy woke us up with news of four new kitties in the box. It was our cat awakening and a lengthy love affair.


Sniff sniff! Time to clean the carpet, human.

More recently, there’s Ava, a friend’s sleek and slender greyhound. Her nose pressed to the floor seemed like something that happened inadvertently while she napped next to my chair, but no. Her eyes opened as I stood up, but her nose remained bent onto the carpet. Was she massaging the end with carpet pile? Had she honed in on a scent? I have much to learn!

Frankly, I can never see myself carrying that plastic bag of poop that owners have to hold when they’re walking their dog. Nor can I imagine ever scooping up dog piles in the backyard. After all, shoveling s**t used to be something you did into a fan before all hell broke loose.

I no longer say “never” when the subject of pet ownership comes up because I get it. Dogs don’t wake up grumpy one day and happy the next. They’re always full of love and are faithful companions. Like raising children, the joy you feel when your sweet one looks at you far outweighs any inconvenience along the way. Apparently I’m softening. Maybe by the time I’m 90…

Weeded out this week: Weeding out the crap in my life has been my focus for such a long time that I keep forgetting to add in more of the joys.