Fuzzy inspiration: On dogs and kids and companions that woof.

Apologies to everyone who is still reading The Bronze Blade online! I was sidetracked yesterday by a small, fuzzy distraction that kept me off the computer (though not Instagram) all day. The update to Chapter Five: The Warrior is HERE.

I didn’t blog about it, or even really mention it online, but SmallBoy and I lost our elderly beagle a bit before Christmas. Abbie, also known as OldDog, was hard to lose. She was my first baby. The first dog I trained myself. (And I picked a beagle? What was I thinking?) She lay on my swollen feet when I was hugely pregnant with SmallBoy. She stayed up into the wee hours with me (giving me very long-suffering beagle eyes) when I was writing my first book. She was a lively dog who was incredibly gentle with children, particularly those who seemed hesitant around dogs. She was a little dog with a big bark and a  protective streak, particularly when SmallBoy was a baby. She would sit by his cradle when he was an infant, alert and watchful. And she was fantastic about cleaning the floor when he reached those messy toddler years. 🙂 Abbie was a wonderful dog, but she’d been failing for a while. And while losing her wasn’t a surprise, it was still difficult.

One of the last pictures of Abbie with my niece.

One of the last pictures of Abbie with my dad and niece.

It also affected our chocolate lab, Mac, far more than I had expected. He’s been lonely without her. And frankly, it felt a little funny only having one dog in the house. So we’d been talking about getting a dog later this summer after we got back from our trip to China. Then, my mom mentioned that she’d found a great litter of four month old standard poodle puppies. I’ve never owned a poodle before, but my mom had a wonderful standard named Rene who she lost last summer. I loved Rene’s independent temperament, his intelligence, and his mellow disposition. So, when my mom mentioned that the breeder still had puppies available…

I decided to take a look.

Say hello, Charlie.

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“Bonjour.”

Charlie (short for Charlotte) is almost four months, a cream colored standard poodle. When I went to the breeder, she walked right over and laid down at my feet. No jumping. No puppy frenzy. Just laid down at my feet and started wagging her little tail. A mellower dog I don’t think I’ve ever met. She’s a little lady through and through. Poodles are seriously smart dogs; Charlie is already house-trained and she had a pretty good first night, even though it was her first away from her litter mates. She and Mac are  hesitant around each other; she’s fairly timid around this great big brute of a lab who runs all over the place and steals all the toys. But that’s normal. I have faith that they’ll figure things out and become great friends.

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“Look at that labrador. Running around. Drooling. Fetching. How very undignified.”

SmallBoy is, of course, in love. It took all of about… five seconds. He gave her one of his blankets for her bed last night. I doubt he’ll be getting it back.

"I have captured you, small human. You are under my spell now."

“I have captured you, small human. You are under my spell now.”

It’s funny how dogs come into our lives. When I was a 23 year old newlywed, training a beagle (or two) wasn’t a big deal. When I had a toddler at home, it wasn’t easy training a very active lab puppy, but I did it. Toddlers like throwing a chew toy over and over (and over and over…) as much as labradors like fetching over and over.  Mac is a gem of a dog, very close to my son. They’re only a year apart in age! And  now we have Charlie.

At this point in my life, training a puppy is a pretty big sacrifice of time and attention. I don’t know that I could have another lab right now. Or another beagle baby. But Charlie, with her intelligence and independence is perfect for SmallBoy and me. She’s affectionate and playful, but is perfectly happy just sitting by my feet (which she was doing until SB came over and stole her). She’s smart as a whip, and mostly trained already. (Another reason it’s so important to find and support great breeders if you’re looking for a pure bred dog.) Also, I’m not going to lie, it’s fun to have another curly haired girl in the house. We can trade hair secrets. 😉

I cannot imagine life without my dogs. Every one of them, Abbie, Regal, Mac, and now Charlie, has added to my life in countless ways. I hope you have that kind of fuzzy inspiration, too. (And for the record, I do like cats, but I’m allergic to cat dander, so anything more than the occasional friendly pat leaves me pretty sniffly.) Have a wonderful week, everyone! And welcome home, Charlie.

Elizabeth

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7 Comments

  1. Welcome Charlie! 🙂 We’ve had a toy poodle when I was growing up, and she was the feistiest little thing, very smart too. So I have huge love for poodles. Very happy for you, SmallBoy, and Mac to have this lovely, fluffy lady join your family! Congrats!

    • My impression from poodle folks I’ve met is that the smaller the dog, the bigger the attitude. LOL! Most of the standards I’ve met have been pretty laid back, but the smaller poodles have more energy. We’ll have to see! Right now, she seems very mellow.

      • lol! mellow is good in my book. i have two papillons at home now, and one of them is super active. i swear sometimes i think that dog never sleeps! she is just ready to play ball 24/7/365! so i’d take mellow anytime. 😉 and i have to agree on the attitude part. but no matter the size i just adore dogs!

  2. Congrats on your new baby. I have three of the little guys (now that all my two-legged babies are grown and have moved on to their own homes), and years ago I had an apricot poodle named Charlie. Smart as a whip and mischievous too. One time after he had just chewed up a brand new pair of shoes which had never even been worn, I chased him around the house with that shoe hollering, “Look what you did to my shoe!” Didn’t hurt him, but I was pretty p.o.’d. Afterwords, all I had to say was, “Shoe!” and he would make himself disappear.

  3. I have had both labs and poodles, they have different personalities and YES as much I I loved the two Labs we have had I do not think I would ever train another Lab puppy, they are unintentionally very destructive for the first two years. The poodles are an other thing altogether, they are SMART, which means they sometimes get mad at you for leaving them and find creative ways to pay you back (like unrolling the toilet paper off all the rolls). As the years have passed we have downsized our dogs (we have 3) and instead of 80lb Labs we have 40-25-15 LB monsters:) Unfortunately, the Maltese has no idea she is a dog and acts accordingly. I continually find it amusing that the 15 lb Maltese is the alpha of the house 🙂

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