Ever since I lost my Mom I have been going through and dreading all the firsts that I still have to go through without her. The first Easter without her was very difficult, the first birthday, the first trip, the first Mother’s Day, every first without her was painful and took deliberate effort to go through it and overcome its depressing effect. But ever since I had the inspiration to actually acquire my dogs I have been blessed by a different kind of firsts. Now I have happy firsts.
Although I started out with just two, Helen and Troy, yet a month later Petra came into our lives to turn the happy couple into the terrible trio. Not only are they babies and are discovering the world and their environment, they are very adventurous, happy dogs who create many of the “firsts” through their behavior, the situations they find themselves in and the ones they create, which keep me entertained no end.
The first time my babies discovered the swimming pool and the fun of splashing in the water was a real joy. They had to be encouraged and I had to be careful that none of them had any scary experience so that they would enjoy swimming to the fullest. Although Helen took to the water like a fish, and Petra being her courageous impulsive self threw herself in, Troy being the one with the superior intellect was cautious and would not venture in till he was sure it was a medium he could deal with. Yet once all three discovered the freedom of swimming, there was no turning back. I really don’t know how I will keep them out in winter. Hopefully they would be mature enough not to venture in when it gets cold.
Another first was when Petra first saw her reflection in the glass. She got so scared of that ferocious looking dog she promptly hid behind me. Poor Petra came to me with quite a few hang-ups. I don’t think she was ever disciplined or given the attention that every puppy needs to realize that it is loved. It took her nearly a month to settle down and feel comfortable that she will be getting her food like the rest, that she will be disciplined if she does something wrong, but would also be petted and loved if she follows the rules. Though Helen and Troy still have this pleasure of discovering their reflections, I enjoyed witnessing Petra’s discovery first hand.
I think all my pets probably suffer from some sort of identity crisis or other. The dogs are not one hundred percent sure that they are not cats, and the same with the cats. So most pets have a mixture of canine/feline behavior. Pixie my deaf intrepid cat that has no sense of balance whatsoever is always following me around which is a canine trait. My dogs who have now grown to rather large proportions and do not fully understand their size have the tendency to try to jump up into my lap. True the best they can do is stand on their hind legs and throw their torsos at me, but when all three do it I am in danger of being suffocated.
The first time the dogs grew big enough to jump up on my bed was a red-letter day. That was the day when I knew I would never again wake up at my leisure. That was the day when they jumped up on me, in the bed and vied as to who was the first to lick my face. The day I learned that the only way for me to get out of bed is by slipping under the covers and crawling to the side of the bed then slithering out to the floor. The day I found out that if I am not quick enough to get up immediately I will have three huge furry friends sitting on me on the floor and never letting me up unless I lured them with promises of a walk in the garden.
The first time Helen and Troy met Petra was again a landmark in their history together. Though the first few minutes were tense yet Petra and Troy started making friendly overtures while Helen reserved judgment. It took something like half an hour before they all discovered that none of them were dangerous, but it took another hour before they saw the advantage of having another playmate. Another happy first accomplished.
The first encounter the terrible trio had with the cats was, thank God, without incident, but they have now settled in a kind of routine where it is a matter of doing their duty to chase the cats, but rather half-heartedly, just as part of their duties as dogs. The cats have also come to understand that the chase lasts for only a few steps, and therefore accommodate them for those few steps, then stop and continue what they have been doing.
It is much easier in a big house to have those water dispensing machines on each floor. I have one upstairs next to my bedroom, which serves the whole floor. It is a simple machine where you push a level and the water, be it cold or room temperature, gushes out. This is very convenient as I am forever drinking water. As my terrible trio is very curious they are forever following me wherever I go, and going to the water machine is one of their favorites. I usually have a thermos flask that I fill and take with me wherever I go. Filling this thermos flask from the water machine was fascinating to them; all three noses are just stuck there trying to fathom what I was doing. I took it as their natural curiosity and did not give it a second thought, until the day I heard water being dispensed out of the machine and looking in found them pushing the lever with their noses and drinking from the machine. There goes another area of my privacy invaded.
Speaking of invasion of privacy, I cannot even go to the bathroom without having a dozen paws following me and three huge, black, wet noses poking at me. But what happens in the bathroom stays in the bathroom. Suffice it to say that now I do my best to sneak in when they are not looking.
The first time they learned to negotiate the stairs was to go up, but they did not know how to go down. It was very funny, they get stuck half way up the stairs going up to the roof and don’t know who to come down again, so I have to get up there and carry them down. But the first time they learned how to negotiate the stairs down was again the first time I learned that I have to hold on to the bannister for dear life to save life and limb. They have absolutely no idea that I need space of my own so most of the time I have three huge dogs weaving between my legs or just plain standing in front of me. The good part is that now I have become very agile and flexible in maneuvering the stairs and anywhere else.
I am looking forward to quite a few new firsts with my terrible trio and am eternally grateful that I had decided to adopt them for they have now given my life a new joyous energy that was badly needed.
15 Sept. 2014