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.
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.
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.
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.
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.