I had forgotten how cute puppies are. Or how much work they are. Then my brother-in-law came to visit with his 12-week old Catahoula Leopard Dog, named Houla. She is one of the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen!


Before she came, Tom and I worried about how our two dogs, ages two and eight, would get along with the puppy. At first, our guys didn’t know how to react to this 17-pound ball of energy. Lexi, the eight-year-old, is usually overly aggressive with other dogs. But she played nicely and gently with Houla. Remy, the two-year-old, is usually great with other dogs. But she just barked in the puppy’s face non-stop. Total role reversal.

Then they switched back and started acting true to character. That first day involved snarling and growling and lots of human intervention to avoid a trip to the vet. But there was no bloodshed and the drama was relatively low-keyed.

Then something wonderful happened The three dogs negotiated a working agreement. Or rather, a play agreement. Suddenly the dogs were all playing together 24/7. Happy as clams. They chased each other and rolled around on the floor together. They climbed all over each other. All the time barking, yipping, and yelping with doggie glee.

Of course, the puppy still managed to find time to get into our stuff. There she goes running down the hall with a Time Magazine in her mouth! There goes one of Tom’s shoes! A wine cork is a fun chew toy to throw in the air and catch!

By evening everyone was exhausted, especially the humans. Thank God the dogs were too. After a good post-dinner romp, all three dogs found a comfy place to crash and they all passed out!

One night, Tom and his brother slept on the boat so I was home alone with the dogs. Houla slept on the bed with me and my dogs. Peace reigned until I got up to feed them at 6 AM. After eating, Houla was wired and kept running around the bed. This drove Lexi crazy and she wouldn’t stop barking at Houla. So I was up off and on for hours until Houla finally went back to sleep.

The next night, Houla slept with us till the 6 AM feeding and then I took her back to my brother-in-law’s room. She cuddled with him and slept till it was time to get up.

It’s been funny to see how three adults can barely hold their own in the face of an energetic, happy puppy. Every conversation attempt was punctuated with “Houla NO! NO!” We kept hearing suspicious sounds that had to be investigated. There goes an empty plastic bottle or a plastic bag. (Why do dogs love plastic bags? They can’t taste good). There goes a CD case whizzing by!

These few days have been SO much fun! We have all been smiling and laughing so much our faces hurt! I am SOOO sad to see this puppy depart! The house will be quiet and boring. But I think the puppy is wonderful for my brother-in-law, who lives alone in the middle of nowhere. She gives him companionship and something to do with his days as a retiree.

This visit has confirmed for me my love of all dogs. And my great appreciation for having two in my life who enrich my days and warm my heart.

12 thoughts on “PUPPY LOVE – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

  1. Garry can’t hear “that sound.” It’s one a dog’s teeth make when in contact with plastic. I can hardly wait until HE can hear it too! I play a lot of “What’s that sound?” and it’s always something. I’m not even sure how they find all the stuff they like chomping on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a good thing puppies are so cute. Otherwise noone would want to go through what you have to go through to train a puppy! I wonder how people who’ve never had dogs deal with a puppy. I understand why so many dogs are sent to shelters. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be so difficult and confusing!

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      1. I understand it too. It’s a pity that every new puppy doesn’t come with a training course for new owners but I guess that would not help the ones who don’t really care.


        1. I knew, after Bonnie, that I couldn’t deal with a little baby puppy again. By the time I got Bonnie trained, I was ready for rehab. I hadn’t slept through the night in weeks and my way of puppy training is to keep the puppy on a lead attached to me so I don’t lose track of where he or she had wandered. And of course, Bonnie was a Halloween puppy, so she was housebroken in the middle of one of our really BAD winters. AND terriers are not one of the easier dogs to housebreak. I knew that any dog from then on would be at least 6 months old and hopefully housebroken.

          But I know my way around puppies, so I understood that cute is a few months long, but there are a lot of years after that when you and your puppy will be sharing your home. Cuteness only takes you so far. Some of the processes are pretty much work. It’s not only about housebreaking either. It’s about bonding. All that work you do with your puppy is a major bonding experience.

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