Yesterday’s post launching the blog portion of this site included some cute-kid photos, but of course they’re not the only photogenic mammals in Chateau Steelypips any more. There’s also Charlie the pupper, shown here in a collage helpfully assembled by Google Photos:
(Google Photos has recently added Charlie to the list of “People and Pets” that it automatically recognizes in pictures. I, for one, welcome our new image-recognition-algorithm overlords…)
Charlie is, as he will constantly remind you, a good boy, really sweet and enthusiastic with people and other dogs. He’s been invaluable for schoolday mornings, because when it’s time to get the sillyheads up for school, he goes charging up the stairs and licks their hands and faces (he especially loves to lick The Pip’s face, possibly because the Little Dude derives roughly 25% of his calories from bacon) while they’re in bed. The ambient morning stress level is about 30% lower with Charlie on the job. (That’s 70% of a rather large baseline, alas, because SteelyKid is emphatically Not A Morning Person…)
There are, of course, a number of adjustments that come with getting a new pupper after a couple of dog-less years. Charlie’s energy level is, um, juussssst a bit higher than Emmy’s was during her last few years, which means longer and faster walks than I had become accustomed to. Also a lot more “Jesus, what is he chewing on NOW?” moments when we’re all around the house. We’ve had to become vigilant about keeping the downstairs bathroom door closed, because otherwise when he gets bored (say, because somebody stopped petting him for thirty seconds), Charlie will trot off and come back to present us with a slightly slobbered-on hand towel.
One of the biggest adjustments has been that he’s really good with other dogs– he’s got a lot of puppy enthusiasm for roughhousing, but manages to take the hint from dogs who aren’t into that style of play, too. Emmy was Not Good with other dogs, so we always had a pet-sitter when we left town, and I had a whole set of routines for our walks designed to avoid encountering other dogs. Charlie, on the other hand, loves being taken to the dog park; the more dogs there, the better.
It’s been a lot of fun taking him over there, and getting to experience the social aspects of dog behavior as well as the human-oriented stuff we had with Emmy. We can also leave him with a boarder when we go out of town, and he makes regular visits to the groomer for a bath and a day of playing with their day-care dogs. The only hitch is that he HATES riding in the car, and needs to be physically carried to the minivan and stuffed inside, even when we’re going someplace fun.
Pretty much everyone who meets him exclaims over his coloring, and also what a good boy he is for a nine-month-old puppy. This of course makes me feel proud, which is really weird because we have very little to do with that– he was very well socialized by his foster family before we got him, and naturally has a good temperament. And yet, the immediate reaction is the same as when somebody praises one of the kids, with whom I share actual genes…
Anyway, that’s the current status of Charlie the pupper, who is well settled into Chateau Steelypips and much loved by all, and especially by the kids. Both of them take almost any opportunity to play with him, which he is of course happy to indulge.