PUPPIES JUST WANT
TO HAVE FUN

     For some inexplicable reason, my wife is in a hurry to become a Grandmother. I could easily wait 30 or 40 years, but she is ready right now.
     So when our 20 year old son called from college and asked if he and his girlfriend could adopt a little German Shepherd puppy, I figured having a Granddog might ease the pressure on the other kids to produce.
     So I said yes, as long as it was clear that the puppy was his dog, not ours. Besides, we already had two little pugs, Rocko and Lucy, and Rocko was dying of cancer. We looked forward to having a Granddog that we could love with no responsibility.
     When the Winter Break began a couple of weeks ago, our son bounded through the door, followed by our new Granddog, Obie. We pushed our son out of the way and put our arms out for Obie to meet his new grandparents. Tail wagging furiously, he bounded our way.
     "Donít get him too excited," cried our son. "Heís housebroken, butÖ."
     Too late. Apparently, Obie canít handle too much excitement, at least not yet. As I held him in my arms, he peed all over my shoes.
     "He really is housebroken," explained our son. "He just dribbles when he meets new people."
     Dribble? Spoken like a true Helicopter Parent, which he was quickly becoming. Meanwhile, Obie spotted Lucy and Rocko, who were trying to look inconspicuous.
     Our new Granddog bounded over to both of them, ready to play. They looked at him with pure disgust. Both over 10 years old, and one in very poor health, having a puppy in the house was not what they had in mind.
     Obie didnít care. He was only a few months old but he was already three times their size, and his paws were about the size of their heads. He pounced on both of them, and they werenít happy about it.
     Pugs are very mellow dogs. I had never seen them snap at anyone or anything. Until now. They made noises that sounded like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. They scared me, but Obie was oblivious. He kept pouncing, ready to play.
     "IíVE GOT CANCER, MAN!!!" was what Rocko really wanted to say. "LEAVE ME ALONE!!"
     Obie didnít care. It was non-stop. My son would pull Obie off, and heíd be back at it within minutes. He was insatiable. Lucy and Rockoís Golden Years, and Rockoís last days, were not what they had in mind.
     Sure enough, by the fourth day, Rocko took a serious turn for the worse. He had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer in June and given two months to live. He had held on far longer than anyone expected. But that was before Obie arrived. In Rockoís mind, it was clearly time for one of them to go.
     I tried to explain to Rocko that Obie would be going back to school in a couple of weeks, but he wouldnít listen. Maybe itís because while I was talking Obie had both paws smothering Rockoís ears and he was gnawing at his neck. Whatever the reason, Rocko seemed to have decided if cancer was going to get him, it might as well be now.
     Lucy fared a little better. She found hiding places in the house I didnít even know existed. Obie always found her eventually, but at least she had a few hours of peace.
     Not Rocko. He didnít have the energy to escape the Monster Dog. Thatís the way it goes in the wild---only the strong survive. As the cancer spread throughout his body, and Rocko laid in his bed and watched as Obie bounded his way from across the room for another playdate, I could almost hear Rocko saying, "Please, take me now."
      We waited as long as we could, but the day finally came last week. Needless to say, it wasnít easy. Tears were shed, but I couldnít help thinking that as the gallant and studly Rocko got his final injection, he had one eye on the door, expecting Obie to come bounding through at any moment.
     And then, finally, he had peace.
 

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