Sunday, March 28, 2010

Puppy Therapy

When we decided to breed Spray, I kept the news fairly quiet. I knew my family and some friends would think I had gone around the bend. I didn’t want to hear the criticism and comments I would get about how I didn’t know what I was doing, that my life was busy enough without adding to it.

But I wasn’t prepared for the day a friend laced into me about how irresponsible it was considering how many rescue dogs need homes, so I was surprised one again when she was one of the first people to ask to visit the puppies when they were only a week old.

She still believes in rescuing dogs – she has two - and I agree with her on principal, yet can’t rescue because of family allergies. She now visits regularly. She can’t get enough of them and is almost as sad as I am about them leaving. She appreciates the way we’ve taken care of the puppies. Watching them spend their first weeks in a home where people love them showed her how well adjusted these pups will be.

She’s not the only one who comes over for a puppy fix. There is constant traffic in our house. I didn’t realize when I agreed to breed Spray, that I was opening up a therapy center.

My younger daughter said it best, “Whenever I’m sad, I just pick up a puppy.” I can sit outside and watch the ten pups chase and tackle each other and my worries about classes, unsold puppies, hearing from colleges, go away.

When I took the puppies on the puppy road show – to the vet, my therapist, my daughters’ schools and my husband’s workplace, I was amazed to watch grown men crumble, high school football players lie on the floor begging to have puppies crawl on them, and listen to the squeals. I’ve never heard so many squeals. Squeals are non discriminatory. Adults squeal just as much as children.

I’ve had visitors who just want to play with the puppies and visitors who want to look at them because they might buy one, but in the end, leave with a good puppy fix.

New owners have revisited their pups to bond with them and enjoy our canine circus.

My daughters’ friends have adopted their favorite puppies – one loves Pocahontas, another loves Henry, and another covets Rafiki. They return frequently to visit them and can’t get over how big they grow from visit to visit. I think these friends are going to miss the puppies too.

One of my daughter’s friends sat on the floor with the puppies and said, “This makes me so happy.” Another said being a child or a puppy would be awesome. I think being a puppy is better. Puppies don’t worry about how they’re doing in school, or whether their friends like them. Puppies just play and if raised in a good home, are loved for just being cute and cuddly.

One teen visited and crawled into the puppy playpen with them. A little boy came over with his mother and grandmother and got cornered by the pups as they tried to pull the string of his sweatpants. He raised his hands in the air and sang, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” On a warm day, a 10-year-old arrived in shorts to be attacked by scratching puppies. She just laughed and ran around with them.

I know I’m loved when they greet me in the morning and when I return home from school or errands. They bark and clamber at the gate or pen walls. Their teeth and nails bite and scratch in excitement. They run en masse to the back door when we open it for them to pee and poop on our back porch and they chase their mother as a group.

They can’t help but make me smile and even the most doubting of family and friends are caught off guard when the puppies make them smile and laugh too. For a few minutes all’s right with the world.


  1. OK, so when are you bringing the pups on my show?

  2. Beautiful---the part about being right with the world. Animals and children have a way of doing that --- I guess it's just taking us outside of ourselves.