Friday, January 04, 2013

Puppy Yin and Yang

While it’s tempting to write about all the crazy antics of puppyhood, it bears mentioning now and again that every puppy has moments where he or she behaves like a perfect little adult. We’ve experienced this a lot with Remy in the last week. He lies down on my feet while I write on my laptop or he stations himself on a nearby rug to nap while my husband is working on art projects at the table. He pads around the house, looks out the windows, plays quietly with his toys and doesn’t chew on anyone’s shoes. These are times of bliss and they all occur when Kirby is upstairs and Remy is downstairs with one or both of us. When he is the only dog among humans, Remy is remarkably mellow. 

I’m also really proud of the little guy for passing a couple of challenging tests over the New Year’s holiday. We had guests over for two days in a row, and each day the coffee table was covered with bowls of sweet and savory goodies to munch on. Needless to say, with a puppy around, either Jamie or I always had one eye on Remy just to make sure he stayed out of trouble. I’m both surprised and exceedingly pleased to say that Remy never once made a grab for anything on the table, all of which was easily within his reach. (We’ve been challenging Remy around food on the coffee table for weeks…at this point I’m pretty certain the little guy thinks his middle name is “NO, OFF!” but he seems to get the picture…knock wood.) 

Remy passed another test during New Year’s dinner when we humans were busy chatting at the table and not paying much attention to what the puppy was doing. Suddenly I heard the little jingle of Remy’s dangling door bells. I turned around and there he was, sitting sweetly and patiently next to the door waiting to go outside. Perfect. I was so proud. He’s been using his door bells pretty consistently, but most of the time we are watching him while he’s out and about the house. This was his first test of freedom while the humans were quite distracted and he passed with flying colors. A perfect little Griff demo puppy for the guests.

I’m not sure what, if any, definitions there are for “yin” or “yang” specific to dog behavior, but the concept does pretty well capture the way of the puppy, the duality of the little angel and the little devil somehow residing inside of the same adorable little creature. He plays with seemingly boundless energy then moments later he’s lying on his back snoring. He does something extraordinary and I’m convinced we are living with a little canine genius, then five minutes later I’m pulling a rock out of his mouth. He behaves like a little adult when he is alone with the humans, then unleashes his inner hyena when Kirby enters the room. (In fact, even the symbol for yin/yang is a pretty good visual representation of what Kirby and Remy look like whenever they are in a room together… a swirling, twirling mass of scruffy hair held together by tooth and claw, with the occasional eyeball peeking out at what’s going on around them. It's happening right now beneath the sofa where I'm sitting, as a matter of fact...) 

It’s all part of that wonderful, yet tiring, period of puppy discovery — the little guy explores his world and we get to explore the limits of our patience as we experience those ups and downs with him. It takes a lot of energy, but it is entirely worth it. We get lots of kisses and snuggles and sweet puppy breath. We take pictures and videos and spend time playing fetch instead of watching TV. We laugh constantly at his clownish antics. And we cherish all of these things because we know that puppyhood is fleeting. At least, with Remy being a Griff, we have the comfort of knowing that the clowning will continue into adulthood. 

As we kick off this new year, I am looking forward to many things, and having the opportunity to raise Remy through his puppyhood is one of the big ones.

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