Sweet Chocolate

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Charlie

Ever since I fell in love with my friend’s chocolate labrador, Bailey, I’ve been pondering the idea of getting a running partner of my own. But I was too busy with winter training to even think about adding to our family. So when we decided to NOT do the Jerusalem marathon, I began to drown my marathon sorrows by puppy shopping.

I emailed a breeder and waited. Later, I would find out that she deletes a lot of emails, and because of my “weird” German (learned mostly in University), mine almost hit the trash bin. But then her husband suggested that perhaps I wasn’t from Germany at all. She ended up responding to my email, and I gave her a call.

The breeder said she didn’t have any females available, but she had one boy who was smaller than the others and rather “feminine.” Then she sent pictures of him wearing a pink collar. Apparently, he is confident enough in his manhood to wear the color we Americans traditionally associate with preschool Princesses.

We didn’t really care if we had a boy or a girl: the most important things were that the dog have a good temperament and that the breeder was honest and genuinely caring about the animals. We found that at Mustang Valley.

At our first meeting, the pup was mellow, friendly, curious and playful. He would roll on his back and let you rub his belly (something our Havanese NEVER allowed). And he tipped the scales by frolicking around with the family’s Chihuahua.

We knew it was “meant to be” when we realized we could pick up the puppy on the very day of our 19th wedding anniversary.

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The Best Anniversary Present Ever

Even though I was enamored with “Charlie” at first, I knew for certain he was ours while driving home from the breeder. He sat on my lap, whimpered a little, whereupon I gently shook him by the neck, and then fell asleep. Not only did he snooze in my lap while we drove 120 kmph down the autobahn, but he rolled onto his back, nearly upside down, and drooled. Perfect!

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Puppies sleep 18 hours a day–but rarely at night.

Charlie devours his food just like Bailey–with all the gusto of a participant in a hot dog eating contest, and he follows us around the house. He likes to pounce and play, and when he is tired, he flops down on the big dog pillow in the living room. He does not understand why Pepin won’t play with him, but hopefully our spoiled Havanese will relax in time.

And now the real marathon begins. Our first night, Charlie was awake every two hours like clockwork. I would take him out to do his business and then he would settle back down in his crate, as long as he knew I was there. Last night went better. He slept for three hours straight, and I felt refreshed. He’s not had an accident in the house so far, and usually if he has to ‘go’ he will go up to the glass door and whimper. Brilliant!

I have dreams of obedience training and running through the countryside with him, but those dreams are locked in a sort of sleep-deprived haze at the moment. But puppyhood doesn’t last long, and I know that I will look back fondly at these early days.

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My blessings

Charlie is sweet, funny and brings great joy to the house. I want to train him well, so that he can fully enjoy life and also be a blessing to others.

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Charlie isn’t offended by pink toys

Having Charlie here (and discovering a show called “the Dog Whisperer,” which I didn’t know existed), has taught our family about the importance of obedience. A dog who obeys his master will be able to go places and enjoy things that his undisciplined peers can not.

This lesson in joy through obedience is a striking one. Am I like the dog chained up in a courtyard, yapping at every leaf that blows by? or am I hopping eagerly into the car with a smile, trusting that wherever my master leads, it’s going to be good?

Oh, the things we can learn from the animals!

It will be a long time before Charlie can run with me. We both have a lot of work to do in the coming year. But I am sure we both will learn a lot from each other.

I hope this post is coherent. If there are mistakes, I hope you will forgive me–I’ve been intoxicated by puppy breath.

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