Normally, after I’ve been working on a blog post for over a week, something mostly coherent and possibly pithy will be produced. After a week with no stretch of sleep lasting more than five hours, this attempt is heavier on the photos than the words. Everyone, meet Bernard (nicknames so far include: Benny, Bernie, BB, Benny Mac, Pupparoni, Baby Shark). He’s a two month old AKC Chocolate Labrador Retriever, from Jem Farms, out of a Merganser’s stud dog Saint Brees SH (related to Becky Bean’s amazing Artemis). In fact, this dog is mostly Becky’s fault, despite us not having seen each other in person for…way, way, way too long. Her descriptions of Artemis and knowing how well she fits their family, coupled with my desire for an adventure dog, led me to a Lab. I loved Cyrus and he was usually pretty good about coming along but I always left him behind for longer rides or hotter days.
So far, Benny has led to a lack of sleep among the household (though we’re all taking shifts). He’s chewed on Tom’s beard, the computer chairs, and the sprinklers. He protests at not being allowed on the couch, has the same manic play just before collapse phase of a toddler, and has pretty much taken to kennel training (at least at night) like a champ. He’s deeply in love with the kiddie pool (Labs are water dogs, who knew?) and the headache inducing rubber chicken.
I’ve already been lectured by strangers on the internet about the horrors of parvo, which leads me to conclude that some folks do know how viruses work. I also acknowledge that despite my readings, consultations with vets and trainers, Pinterest pins and giant bin of toys and chews, that I’m going to mess this dog up in some way. It’s inevitable. I’m not perfect, I have a tendency to snap, especially when tired. I have a ten year old boy who leaves food and wrappers everywhere despite constant nagging, a husband with a demanding job that leaves him drained and needing quiet when he gets home, and oh yeah, a horse I’m still learning the ins and outs of and trying, and mostly failing, to keep in some kind of condition.
I’ve had a very different blog post in drafts for a few weeks, before bringing Benny home. We’ve all been tired, stressed, anxious, leaning towards depression. Benny’s shaken us all out of that, as dogs are wont to do. Laughing at his bounciness, talking to him about his opinions, getting soaked by leaps in and out of the kiddie pool, watching for his requests or needs to go out to potty keeps us on our toes. The sleepless nights won’t last much longer (he made it five hours last night!) and I plan to buy enough chews to fill the back of my truck (that should keep him for awhile!) We’re all going to mess up, he’s gonna destroy things we wish he wouldn’t, but he’s going to be an awesome dog anyway, our dog. Welcome home, Bernard.