My wife and I have been married for 37 years. In those 37 years of marriage, we have raised 2 daughters, 5 dogs and 1 cat. Our last child headed to college 11 years ago and we have been empty nesters ever since.
It has taken a few years, but I am now used to a childless, quiet house. Honestly, I kind of like it. We lost one of our two dogs and the cat two years ago, so we are down to just one massive, 13-year-old hound dog who eats, sleeps and poops and that’s about it.
We have a routine which honestly started to feel like a rut to me last summer. Though we are both active, she is more so than me, riding our bicycles and hiking, at home it is the same old, same old, dinner in front of the television, then more television, then bed. Yes, not very exciting. We take a few trips but we both still work so there is that obligation.
In 37 years of marriage, we have never not had a dog except for the first year and at 13, my old pup, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, has already outperformed his life expectancy by a year. With his advancing age I started thinking about getting a dog, maybe a two- or three-year-old shelter pup to avoid all the drama a puppy brings. But then I decided our boring lives could use a little comedy, a little excitement, so three weeks ago we got a puppy, and she has turned our lives upside down.
I was 49 years old the last time I had to deal with a puppy. We still had a kid at home and one in college 45 minutes away, so I had help raising what has turned out to be the dumbest but sweetest dog I have ever owned, all five feet tall and 100 pounds of him. But this new little girl, well she is a terror.
Hazel’s mom is a Blue Heeler, a thick, compact, herding dog. Her dad is supposed to be a poodle, but I have my doubts. We got her from a co-worker of my wife’s. She claims she saw their Blue Heeler hook-up with their poodle which would make Hazel a Blue Cadoodle. Now, let me back-up here. I am not a fan of all these designer doodle breeds. I didn’t go out searching for a doodle. This one just dropped into our laps so to speak.
My understanding of the Doodle craze has something to do with the animal being hypoallergenic. I know it sounds cool but honestly, I think it is a bunch of bullshit. There’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Allergens are carried in dander (dead skin cells), saliva and urine, so they’re impossible to escape. You might be less allergic to a Doodle but at the end of the day they are still a dog.
So back to Hazel, when I look at her, I see a German Shepherd. Her coloring, her ears, her nose, and thick legs all scream German Shepherd. But the owner said Blue Heeler and poodle so that’s what I went with, and I was okay with it. She is a gorgeous little girl full of personality and herself.
But when we picked her up three weeks ago at the family’s farm a German Shepherd came walking down the gravel road. “Who is that?” I asked. “That’s my mom’s dog Zeus” was the response. I looked at Hazel and I looked at old Zeus and decided that Hazel’s mom might have hooked up with a poodle, but she also had a little afternoon delight with Zeus. Bottom line, I think Hazel’s mom is a hussy.
This little girl has certainly changed the dynamics of our house. She has also changed our sleep patterns. I take her out at 1 am to pee. My wife gets up with her at 5 am and lets me sleep until six. She runs hard for about two hours, naps for two and then gets back at it. She adores my old hound dog, who I think secretly loves the attention although he gets a little grumpy with her from time to time. She is all puppy, full of spit and vinegar when she is awake, and sweet and snuggly when she is napping. Yea, I am in love.