Living With Animals: Learned At The Puppy’s Knee

By Hope Bidegainberry on September 13, 2019

Lola, the world’s most perfect puppy (my column, my rules), is celebrating her first birthday. Well, we’re calling this her first birthday since, as with almost every shelter graduate, the day of her actual birth – along with other early details – is only a guess. But since she came into the shelter at only a few days old, in her case the guess is likely close. Regular readers (thank you!) may recall that she was one of six, a litter born in a carefully selected but unusual setting: a cave formed by a pile of utility poles at an East Palo Alto PG&E substation. PHS/SPCA staff rescued the pups, eyes still closed, hamster-sized, and finally coaxed a frightened Chihuahua mother into their arms a few days later. She gladly took her babies back from the human foster parents, was a wonderful mom, and now all are happy with their own families in their own homes.

While Lola has learned several key lessons in her first year (don’t pee inside the house, the puppy in the full length mirror will not chase you no matter what, wasps are not our friend), she’s also proven to be an excellent teacher. Laugh if you want, but I’m serious. Here, then, are lessons learned at the puppy’s knee.

The world is a joyful place, limited only by your willingness to accept that fact. Leaves and twigs are as much fun as the priciest toy, watching a garden snail munch-creep along a vine as entertaining as the best thing on Netflix, the sound of songbirds is a symphony. You are only bored if you let yourself be bored, and you should always be ready to enjoy. Don’t blindly trust everyone and everything (cats are surprisingly fast and pointed, for example) but be ready to make new best friends who want the same of you. When you find them, hug well and fully and often. Carpets are soft, beds are softer, pillows on top of the bed softer still, and an old tee-shirt on top of the pillow on top of the bed is best of all. Sleep comfortably whenever given the opportunity. To sum it up: sleep soundly, play hard, celebrate frequently, love fully.

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