Gratitude 13: Puppy Love

I can’t believe it, but our little girl has a boyfriend.

(Don’t worry, I’m not talking about Maggie.  That would warrant counseling, not blogging.)

It’s Tess.  Now that she’s 10 months old, I guess she is practically a teenager in dog years.

For the past week, our neighbor’s dog has been stopping by around 8:30 each night.  He sits on our front porch and gives a few barks to announce his presence.

Let me tell you, it works.  It’s almost like she knows he’s coming!  Her ears perk up, she leaps off the couch, and races down to the front door.  He’s not the most patient of callers, and if she isn’t outside within a few minutes the entire date is a bust.  It’s a challenge, because we still can’t trust her off leash without her training collar (which apparently now doubles as a chastity belt).  But most nights we have been able to get her out in time for a little evening tussle.

Tess’ beau is named Harry.  He has plenty of gray hairs on his muzzle, so he must be an older man.  He lives with the bachelor next door, and roams free in the neighborhood.  Like Tess, he’s a chocolate lab.  I’m pretty sure our neighbors think our puppy is roaming wild all day, when in fact it’s this Casanova:

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Their dates mostly consist of snarls and somersaults, which is apparently great fun in the world of canines:

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It’s fun to watch Tess and Harry play, but I think she still prefers these two:

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The bond between Tess and the kids is incredible.  Sam and Maggie whisper secrets to her all the time.  I can’t hear what they say, but she sits still and listens attentively.  She follows them everywhere, watches them intently, and loves them deeply.  She’s like a third sibling and joins in on their games of hide and seek and soccer.  At night she curls up on the hallway floor between their bedrooms.  She likes Clark and I just fine, but it’s Sam and Maggie that she adores.

Yesterday Tess had the choice to chase Harry down the road, or stay and sled with the kids.  Guess which she picked?

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She’s kind of a pest to sled with, but the kids don’t seem to mind.

I am so grateful that we opened our hearts to another dog.  It wasn’t easy.  At first it felt like we were trying to replace the irreplaceable, but now I see that isn’t the case at all.  Tess is her own dog, and she brings something unique and all her own to our family.  Despite the fact that she shredded a Costco sized pack of paper towels last week (when we opened the garage door it looked like the floor had been carpeted), Tess is growing into a pretty great hound dog.

Harry’s a lucky guy.

 

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