"Not My Dog": Tales from Puppy Raising

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

And let the wild ride begin!

I have a full-time job.
I have an old house that we really ought to be working on.
I have two cats that think they should have more lap time.
I have a lively 4-year-old who is running around the house pretending to be a fire truck -- siren and all.
And we're about to toss a 9-week-old Lab puppy named Murphy into the mix.
I'm starting to wonder if I'm nuts, especially when you consider this catch:
If all goes well -- if the midnight housebreaking runs, the training, the socialization all take -- then Murphy would leave us in about a year, off to be a guide dog.
We're embarking on our first stint of puppy raising for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and frankly, I think we're both feeling a little bit like we did right before our son was born. We're past the point of no return, and this little creature is coming, and he's our responsibility. And we're not sure we know what we're doing!
Much as my son made an unexpected early arrival, Guiding Eyes called Monday night to announce that the pup was coming Wednesday morning.
Hasty trip to the store to buy leash, food, toys (and the stuff that promises to take away the smell of puppy accidents. I may be an optimist, but I'm a realist.)
I keep telling myself that the kid has turned out pretty ok. And Nina, our coordinator for the pup, keeps telling us this will work ok, too. Nina, I think, is a retired nurse. Whatever she was, she has that practical yet soothing way about her.
We didn't choose Murphy's name; Guiding Eyes names all its pups, and raisers get no say in who they get. But for years, we'd been talking about Murphy being a good dog's name. I knew several weeks ago that we were assigned to the M litter, and I knew there was a Murphy in it. Of course I daydreamed that we'd get Murphy, but I didn't let myself really think we would. In fact, I had to ask Nina to repeat it when she told me his name.
A sign of good karma? I'll take what I can get. And the other good karma: with two black cats, I was realllly hoping for a black Lab. (I can always wear black when I need to look presentable.)
Welcome to the journey, Murphy. Hope it's going to be fun for all of us.


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