Now that I re-read it, the above title sounds a bit provocative, but I’m referring to a specific canine who is, in fact, quite ill-behaved.
Ostensibly, Penny is 25% Labrador retriever, 25% standard poodle and 50% miniature poodle.
Plausibly, she is 90% Fozzie Bear and 10% Junk Yard Dog.
Penny arrived on the rebound after an unfortunate incident involving our geriatric poodle, a sudden blinding rainstorm and the swimming pool in the house we had lived in for three days.
I’ll let you fill in the gaps, but this was a Trauma of the First Order for our kids, and suddenly a new dog seemed like an *amazing* idea.
My dear friend M. tipped me off about a breeder of impossibly cute doodle puppies, which is basically the Frankenstein version of mating anything with a poodle.
This girl caught my eye.
After an exhaustive application process including references, vetting, an essay about our family and submission of photos of our living space (I conveniently omitted the pool), we were (barely) approved to spend the tidy sum of $3k+ for this fur ball.
The breeder sent such detailed instructions (14 pages!) about puppy care, including an agreement that we must feed her specific food (purchased from her), how we were required to spay her within 6 months or pay a $5ooo fine, how we should address her when we picked the dog up (no eye contact, she will get in our car and sit in the passenger seat), how we needed a specific carrier to bring her home, etc, that I feared we would be disqualified at the 11th hour from dog ownership.
Much to my surprise, when I met at the appointed meeting spot (Parking Lot B – not A! – at the Gander Mountain in Rogers, MN, 8 AM SHARP!, near the grassy knoll), I was stunned to discover that it was not the 60-ish age breeder but a 20-something proxy who pulled up in a battered Subaru, popped the rear gate and dumped a 3 pound stuffed-toy-come-to-life in my arms, all within 15 seconds.
I fell in love.
The kids had no idea this was coming, and to burst through the door of Fancy Pants Ranch Deux: Fancy Pants Ranchier and shout, “Who wants a puppy?” was a pinnacle of Doctor Mom Life.
We let the kids name her, and they reasonably determined “Penny” was a good fit. I concur.
We hadn’t had a puppy for 18 years, so the brutal reality of new parenthood struck hard.
I spent the summer of 2018 sleeping on a mattress, constantly touching the dog to see if she moved more than 1 mm, which would prompt complete awakening and a trip outdoors.
I learned quickly what is happening in our neighborhood at all hours of the night. (Spoiler: nothing).
Eventually she became more-or-less continent (my new rugs would say otherwise) and she began sleeping through the night.
But what she never stopped was CHEWING ALL THE STUFF.
To date, Penny has consumed 4 pairs of eyeglasses (including at least one lens, which prompts the question of “How is her colon intact?”, and I am SO MAD because that pair was my absolute favorite), the cushions from two leather chairs, countless shoes, the leg of a coffee table, dozens of eviscerated squeaky toys, 5 leashes, a tube of toothpaste, lip balms, LEGOs, and so many various Barbies and their accessories that she is easily the most prolific Barbie Serial Killer Of All Time.
I am her person.
I see her visually track me as I round the corner of the stairs.
She sleeps curled next to me.
She rests on my foot as I type.
She is so warm and fluffy.
I guess I am a dog person after all.