They say a sucker is born every minute – and it seems that westbankmama and pappa have had a very recent birthday.
My youngest son has been begging us to get a puppy for a very long time – and palming him off with a MP3 player didn’t make him forget (that is what we did last December for Chanukah). One of his best friends has a dog, and another friend’s dog had puppies about two months ago, so the begging became more urgent. He also said that he understands that Mama works now and cannot take care of the dog if he gets tired of taking care of it.
Thinking that 11 is old enough to take on this responsibility, we agreed to go look at the puppies (knowing full well that one look at the cuties would put us over the edge). We agreed to take the male one (only boys in this house!). My son decided to call him Muktzeh. I hope I don’t have to pay Uri Orbach or Shai Charka royalties! (Uri Orbach and Shai Charka write and illustrate the new cartoon “Muktzeh” about a brown dog in a religious family – one of his ears is folded over his head and has a clip – resembling a kippa. This cartoon appears in the magazine for kids called “Otiot”. Since the puppy is mostly brown, my son thought this was an appropriate name.)
We built a makeshift fence in our backyard so he would be able to run free, and my two youngest built a doghouse (with Abba’s help, of course) out of discarded pallets. We then took the dog on the first day of Sukkot vacation.
The dog stays outside all of the time (although on the first morning after he came I went in to my son’s room to see a very adorable sight – the puppy was sitting up in my son’s bed as he slept soundly next to him – as if to say, “Are we cute or what?”) He had some human company for the first week as my husband sleeps in the Sukkah (westbankpapa woke up one morning to see the puppy with his head in his Crocs, sound asleep), and this was a good transition. Now he sleeps outside, alone, without a problem.
My youngest son feeds him three times a day and plays with him (in between school, Bnei Akiva (youth group), basketball practice and the occasional bout of homework), and he has already taught him to sit.
We went to the pet store to buy some additional supplies – and I must say, I was very impressed. The last time we had a dog we bought stuff at the local hardware store – and everything seemed rather simple. This time we went to a “professional” pet shop. Not only was there a dizzying array of dog treats, but you had the option of making up your own combinations – sort of like a salad bar. Plastic boxes in two sizes were available that you could fill with the various shapes and colors of dog biscuits (we avoided the green ones and stuck to the bone and meat colors!).
The ultimate surprise for me, though, were the toys. I remember as a kid buying my dog a chewy toy shaped like a bone – it came in two sizes. That and some rubber balls were the extent of the doggy distractions available.
Now they have an amazing selection – and they are marketed like baby toys – complete with labels for which “stage” your puppy is in. Bothered by teething? Get the chewy ones. Need something to calm the puppy – take the ones that you can warm up in the microwave and place in his bed (I’m not kidding). They even have toys with hollow parts to fill in with food, if you are going to be away for a long time and you don’t want the dog to be too bored – the dog books say to fill it with peanut butter!
We decided on one toy for now – but I already know that we’ll be back to that store. After all, we haven’t even looked at the grooming section yet!