And They Call It Puppy Love

Last week, I was getting dinner ready and feeling very lonely. Meal prep was the one absolutely certain time that Titus would hang out with me, lying by my feet and waiting for me to “drop” a few pieces of whatever I was chopping on the floor. He was very patient about it, and would instinctively move his head out of the way whenever I needed to open the cupboard with the bowls, and we would practice our Harry Potter spell commands while I was working. So on an impulse, I posted in the local Facebook group: “Looking for a dog to borrow while I’m getting dinner ready. Must like bacon and cheese.” It got a few laughs, but then I got a message from a kind friend who knew someone nearby with a litter of puppies. She sent this picture:

Guess which one I immediately wanted? It was obvious that he was a talker, and even more obvious that he was yelling, “Ma! Come get me!” (He admitted later that he was actually belting out that first vocal in Sabotage by the Beastie Boys because the other puppies were “being boring”, which made me love him even more. We arranged to go out the next night to the family’s farm to meet the puppies and choose from the available ones. When we arrived, one little guy came running right to me, and it was him! He hadn’t been taken yet so I decided on the spot that he would belong to us, and also that his name would be Alistair so that he could be my puppy butler. Fortunately for everyone, that name, and the concept of a puppy butler, were both immediately vetoed. We had a week to decide on another name though, because all the puppies were being rehomed after their first vet check and shots this past Thursday. So the hunt for a name began. I was determined that his name should be something like Titus, so we tried out several different options:

Me: I like Fergus.
Kate: No.
Ken: What about Rufus?
Me: Then we’d call him Roofie for short. I don’t want to be out in the yard yelling Roofie, Roofie!  What about Lazarus?
Ken/Kate: Ew, not for a dog.
Me: I like Sirius, but then people would call him Siri and expect him to provide weather reports and whatnot. Like “Siri, play the Beastie Boys.”
Ken: You want words that end in ‘us’? Fungus, mucous, an—
Me: Stop. What about Atlas? He’s going to be pretty big and strong, and also, he’ll help us find a new direction. It’s literal AND figurative.
All: That’s a great name.

So it stuck. It was a very long week, waiting until Friday to pick him up. In the meantime, on Wednesday night, Ken and I were watching TV when the emergency alert on our phones went off, scaring the sh*t out of us. Apparently, there was a tornado bearing down on our town and we were instructed by the Weather Network to take shelter immediately, which meant that Ken immediately went out on the front porch to “watch the sky”. We have a tornado safety plan, despite the fact that tornadoes are few and far between in our area, because I’m the Queen of Worst Case Scenarios, so why WOULDN’T I have a tornado plan? But in the five minutes between the alert and it subsequently being cancelled, my thoughts weren’t about OUR safety:

Me: OMG, do you think the puppies are OK? Should I call the farm?! Do you think they have a tornado plan?!
Ken: It’s fine. The storm is to the west of us.
Me I DON’T KNOW WHERE THAT IS, KEN.

Ken is nothing if not helpful, so on Thursday after work, he called me out to the courtyard where he’s building the new gazebo, which will never be finished, because he’s now decided to put a belvedere on top of the roof. “Look up there,” he pointed, and on top of the belvedere he had placed a small gyre with an arrow. “I fixed it in place so the arrow points North,” he said. “Now you’ll always know which way you’re facing.” And because it was such a sweet gesture, I DIDN’T tell him it only works if I’m IN the backyard when there’s a tornado approaching.

At any rate, Friday finally came and we headed out to pick up Atlas. A lot of the puppies had already been taken home by their new families and there were only a few left. As soon as we got out of the car, one of them came bounding over to me—it was Atlas. It was as though he already knew us and couldn’t wait to go home.

 

And now he’s home. I don’t know if you’ve ever had an 8-week-old puppy—we haven’t had one in years—and I’d forgotten how high maintenance they are for such tiny creatures. He had a great first night, only waking up a couple of times to be taken outside, but I was so worried about him falling off the bed that I could barely sleep. And yes, he’s sleeping on the bed with us, and I don’t want to hear about it. He’s very good-natured, but he gets bored very easily. Luckily, we have a LOT of toys that he mostly likes to chew on because he’s going through that phase where he wants everything in his mouth. Here are some of the games we’ve invented for his and our amusement:

Teddy Attack: This involves one of us bonking him lightly with a large stuffed bear while the other one squeals “Ooh, ooh!!” He enjoys this immensely and the game usually ends with him trying to eat the bear’s face.

Finger-licking Good: This is a game HE invented. It involves him trying to eat my fingers. Apparently, they’re “delicious”.

Pinball Wizard: Ken takes a rubber ball and bounces it off walls and cupboards in the kitchen while Atlas chases it and attempts to pounce on it without falling over sideways. My job is to rescue the ball if it gets stuck under the cupboard, and to upright Atlas if he can’t get up.

The best thing though is that after about ten minutes of vigorous play, he falls asleep for at least half an hour, which is what he’s doing right now by my feet as I write this. It’s a month today since Titus passed away and while Atlas will never replace him, he’s already found his own place in our hearts.

69 thoughts on “And They Call It Puppy Love

  1. I’m so glad you’ve been reminded that they choose you, not the other way around. Atlas has a lot to carry on his little shoulders but I can tell he’s up to the task. Although I do still like the idea of a dog butler. He’s already being very helpful.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hooray on the new puppy! Be sure to teach him to be nice to the squirrels…

    Here in the Midwest where tornadoes are much more a part of life, the tornado siren (Which actually speaks to us) may as well be saying “Run out to your front porch to look at the sky!” rather than “Take cover immediately!” We are weather buffs here since it’s always so interesting… and even my intense fear of lightning won’t keep me from watching a wicked storm rage from the front door…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Atlas is too freaking cute for words!! I mean look at that adorable little face. I’m happy for you and Ken, and of course Atlas. I’d always wanted to name my pet names from the movie The Warriors, like Swan, Cleon, Ajax, Cochise, Rembrandt. Atlas sounds like he could have been from the Warriors, lol.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. barbaramullenix says:

    He’s a love cuddle now, but if you say he’s going to grow LOTS bigger, it may have been a mistake to bring him onto your bed. Now either you go or you buy a bigger bed!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. That high-pitched noise to the south (the other way, Suzanne!) is not another tornado approaching, that’s an incredibly loud squeal from California that resounded when Tom saw Atlas.

    I miss my puppy.

    You might remember I got one about a year ago or so (we named him “Marvel,” despite our concern – now a reality – that it would constantly be shortened to “Marv”) and had him for a couple of weeks. Within a couple of weeks, though, he was replaced by a much bigger dog with the same name and awkward lack of balance that Marvel originally had. Within a couple of months it was like my puppy was swallowed by another puppy who then went about swallowing all puppies in a line until he was the size of 12 puppies. Maybe I should have named him “Zeus.”

    Regardless, I love my ginormous puppy who – incidentally – still sleeps on the bed with me, Mrs C, Ludo, and Moxie. As we say to each other every night, “we need a bigger bed.”

    Welcome to an amazing and loving family, Atlas. You will not have to carry the weight of the world on your back in this house; your life is gonna be pretty damn good. We will, however, need you to comment here and there on mama’s blog, and pose majestically (and sometimes not) for future pics. We’ll all be watching. Me, Missus, Mox, Lou, and Marv.

    Be sure to add them on Dogbook.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I THOUGHT I heard a high-pitched sound of delight in the distance! Thank you for the incredibly warm welcome, Tom. Atlas is already quite the little man, but I hope he stays a puppy for a while longer. You know, he already pees on command and will fetch a ball? If I could only get him to stop chewing random things! Those baby teeth!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes, I remember a particularly well-received FB post I rendered that went something like this: “All I want from life is for this to be the day that my puppy stops trying to eat me.”

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  6. So  black lab or rottweiler?  Labs are the best!  I was just talking to my daughter this week about her dog’s lab puppy litter when years ago I helped her take them all to the first vet visit! They were adorable!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Suzanne,
    Puppy love, indeed! Atlas is the cutest tote dorbs puppy ever! As with all babies, puppy-proofing is key so that he doesn’t end up chewing up precious and expensive possessions. So happy for all of you! Mona

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There is NOTHING better for a soul than a puppy❤️ So glad Atlas found you! I woke up to our 125 pound lab Cooper AND Bella the Chessy, who is mostly a 60 pound bowling ball in bed with us, both grinning all happy like. Grant and I each had about four square inches of bed. Best way ever to wake up. It’s embarrassing actually. 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it would have been fine by me, but he seems to suit Atlas. Picking the right name is always a challenge—we had neighbours once who named their completely brown Pomeranian “Patches”. Weirdest name ever.

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  9. He’s so tiny and gorgeous and perfect. I’m thrilled Atlas won the dog lottery and became yours. I think everyone in this scenario wins, and I couldn’t be happier for you all. Welcome to the party, Atlas. I wish I could pet your sweet head and kiss you right between the ears. xoxo from me and Caleb in Milwaukee.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Bear says:

    This is great to read and see Dangly, standing by for updates and more pics. Gwynnik is only 17 pounds full grown and she’s a bloody pain when she’s on the bed at night… Three a.m. ear licking is not good. Unless it’s not the dog of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. In all my experience as both a dog owner and kitten foster, one constant has proven to be universally true: When you’re ready for a pet, the right pet appears. That unquestionably seems to be the case here. I think it’s also true that pets, for the most part, name themselves, Atlas included.

    The challenge in raising a puppy as opposed to taking in an adult dog is that there’s a lot more work involved, but they do come to you a clean slate: You have a rare opportunity to train them to behave as you want them to, without having to rehabilitate any bad habits they may’ve picked up in their previous life. The period you are in now is exhausting, but it doesn’t come around often, so cherish every moment.

    Congrats, Suzanne and Ken — and welcome home, Atlas!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Karen says:

    I am so thrilled for you all. I tried posting (twice) when you let us know that Titus has passed but the internet said ‘no’. When you told us about the fruit fly debacle I thought ‘clearly Titus ate it’ and nearly cried. Here’s to a new chapter of conversations and a big, bumbling ball of love xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so sorry you had that hassle it glad you were finally able to get through! I still miss Titus terribly but Atlas is a little doll and reminds me in so many ways of Titus that it’s like having a small part of him with us😊

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  13. so glad for you!!!! I’ve heard that we should mourn good & long — but I disagree. to me, getting a new pet is an honoring of our departed loved, & the new one reminds me of the good times with my dear ones… & what a cutie ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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