Friday, August 23, 2013

1 puppy + 2 babies = ?

At the beginning of the summer, Yoni’s battalion underwent a change of command, which basically means that Yoni has a new boss. What does that have to do with puppies and babies? Well, that’s where this story gets interesting.

After the Change of Command ceremony, Yoni and I attended a reception where we had a chance to chat with the new CO and his wife, Laura. She and I quickly bonded over our mutual love of dogs, and when she realized that we had one with us on island, she immediately volunteered to dog-sit. While I make it a firm policy to never turn down someone who offers (I always tell people they shouldn’t offer if they don’t mean it), Laura and her husband have 10-month-old twin girls. Well, at that point I guess they were 7 months old. But you catch my drift.

Any of you who have spent time with Penny know that she can be…shall we say…enthusiastic. She is not a shy or retiring puppy. Rather, she is a tongue (and sometimes teeth) in your face kind of girl, always looking to play, and occasionally scaring people. She’s big on what we call “love chomping” which involves a lot of jaw snapping (but very few actual injuries). It’s an activity she reserves for the people she loves the best or is most excited by. Add all of that to the fact that she has not spent any time around babies, and you can understand my hesitation to accept Laura’s kind offer. I suggested to Laura that perhaps it would be a good idea to have a puppy/baby play date first, to test the waters and see how all the interested parties reacted. She agreed, and we decided to set something up once they were a bit more settled on island.

We finally had our play date on Tuesday. I was pretty nervous - after all, couple Penny’s potential craziness with the fact that the babies in question belong to Yoni’s boss, and you have all the makings of a stressful situation on your hands. But it turns out that my worrying was unnecessary. Penny was a CHAMPION. The babies were asleep when we arrived, and so she had some time to get used to the house and to Laura. By the time the girls woke up, she was completely at home, and when the babies came out of their room she was the most restrained version of herself I have ever seen. Sure, there was still a lot of face licking, but Laura and the girls took it in stride. As long as Penny got to lick the babies once every few minutes, she was happy to stand in front of them (or lie down between them) and let them poke and touch her. At one point, one of the girls crawled underneath Penny to try to get to her sister, and Penny was just like, “Oh, hey, you want to hang out down there? Alright, that’s cool.”

We didn’t re-visit the topic of dog-sitting, but I think Laura and I were both pleasantly surprised with the outcome of our little experiment. She got to acclimate her girls to a dog, and I got to work with Penny on not trying to eat babies – it was really a win-win. Oh, AND we got to get to know one another. That part was nice, too. All in all, a successful play date if ever there was one. 

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