Thursday, February 18, 2010

Zen Puppy

Did the title scare you? Did you think I'd completely lost my mind, and gotten another dog? Relax. The real truth is only slightly less insane.

The puppy I'm referring to is Teddy, another of Bisou's littermates. When my younger daughter and her partner were here at Christmas, they grew fond of the cuddly side of Bisou, and when they met Teddy, to whom Bisou doesn't hold a candle in the cuddliness department, they fell in love. They decided to adopt him, but there was no time to arrange to take him back with them to Montana. Hence Alison's lightning quick trip to pick him up this week.

Teddy is a lovely black-and-tan Cavalier, and, bar none, the cuddliest dog--no, animal--I have ever encountered. You pick him up and he melts in your arms, and stays there, eyes half closed, meditating. He is also a "special needs" puppy. He was born with a rare heart defect (not the typical heart troubles that haunt the breed), and this means that, though he appears perfectly healthy and requires no treatment, he may die suddenly, without any warning. The average life span of dogs with this problem is about five years.

My daughter and her partner, who are soulful people, decided to take on this bundle of joy and possible heartbreak, knowing full well what they were getting into. I think that it was Teddy's Zen qualities that made him so attractive: not just his serene demeanor, but the fact that he is a walking lesson in non-attachment, a living sermon on how to live, namely, for today, since that is all any of us have.

We went to get Teddy yesterday morning, and delivered him and his new mistress in Albany tonight. In the intervening hours, he lived in our house with Lexi, Wolfie and Bisou. Lexi took one sniff and wandered away, except that she did not think that Teddy should be permitted to go from the living room into the kitchen. Wolfie took many sniffs and tried to do some dominance mounting, which was difficult since he outweighs Teddy by 80 pounds. This told us that the retiring Teddy, who has not yet been neutered, was giving off enough testosterone-laden whiffs that Wolfie felt compelled to let him know who was the male in charge of the pack.

I don't think Bisou even stopped to take a sniff before flinging herself upon her brother, growling and rolling him over until we stepped in and took her away. "But it's my brother!" she whined, wriggling out of our grasp, "let me at him!" And the growling and the rolling would begin all over again. And we would take her away again, because it's one thing to watch Bisou fling herself upon Bear, who is bigger than she and who gives as good as he gets. But Teddy, because of his mild demeanor and because of what we know about him, aroused all our protective instincts and made Bisou look like a menace.

There was one moment of peace today, however. This was when we all came back from a walk on our new trail, and the puppies collapsed exhausted (Bisou spreadeagled on top of Teddy) on a sheepskin rug. They looked so charming with their floppy ears fanned out that one of us stood up and got the camera. Unfortunately, that woke Bisou up, and the circus started all over again.

Early tomorrow morning Alison and her little black-and-tan Buddha will get on a plane for the long trip back to Montana. May they be safe, may they be happy, may they live in peace....

5 comments :

  1. Oh my god. And here I thought maybe Alison had a job interview.

    Ah, to fly across a continent to pick up your adorable walking lesson in nonattachment...

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  2. Not a job interview. I'm afraid Alison is well settled in a new house in Montana. I had to work hard on non-attachment there myself....

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  3. This is a beautiful post. And I am so happy that Teddy found a home that appreciates him. I tried to convince my mom that he would love Washington DC; she was unconvinced. But he's a lovely puppy and I'm sure will have a wonderful and happy life in Montana. Bon voyage, Teddy!! Whitney (Alix's daughter)

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  4. Welcome, Whitney! Teddy made it safely home, behaving himself while in the carrier and holding court during the 3-hour layover in Minneapolis. Alison said she didn't have a moment to herself, dealing with all the admirers.

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  5. I read this post aloud to Teddy, who was curled up in my arms. It reminded me so much of those sweet children's books that tell the story of "How we flew to China to adopt you and brought you home to your new family." And I got all choked up as I read the blessing at the end. Thank you.

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