Puppy Love

I remember a rude little ditty, back in the day, while in college. The little song went something like: " When you're flunking out of college and you don't know what to do.....have a baby! It doesn't take much knowledge, and it sure is fun to do.....have a baby!" Well, as we have established, beyond all doubt, that I am no longer a 20 something, and as my "baby" is soon to be 13, and my eldest, soon to be 25, a literal translation is probably not in anybody's best interest. Although, my daughter pointed out that as she is past twelve, and as there is twelve years difference between her and her brother......(sick, twisted child!), why can't she have a little sister or brother? I decided to get a puppy instead! Figure six to nine months of insanity will result in another large fur baby inhabiting my house, following the canine routine which consists of getting up for morning necessaries at 5:30 AM, followed by breakfast, followed by the morning nap until about 10:00 AM. The rest of the day is filled with barking at assorted neighbors going about their business, and relocating to a cool, fresh nap locations. (I have long wanted to change places with the dogs.) Anyway, what better way to insure proper education and socialization of a pooch than to be a full time, stay at home parent?

I was perusing online, waiting for the phone to ring regarding job inquiries....amazing what things you find! I found an advertisement for and Irish Wolfhound puppy. The pictures and videos of the pup were quite nice, so what the heck.....I emailed for more information. Imagine my surprise to get an answer back, in literally just minutes. Now, I have to sell my husband on the idea of spending money that we don't have to bring a load of puppy mischief into our home for the holidays. Decided to enlist my daughter's help in the matter. High drama, tears, and pouting are all stock in trade to the "almost teenager". And operation adoption begins.......

Back and forth the emails went with more pictures and information. A price was agreed upon-a more than fair price. And then, we undertook selling my husband on the idea. Surprisingly, it went quite easily, but I don't think he truly appreciated how imminent the arrival of Molleigh Malone (my daughter decided upon a proper Gaelic spelling). It seems that our little fur baby had already been promised to another home, but dire illness and other circumstances derailed the adoption proceedings. And our new breeder friend was most hopeful to have her placed in a permanent home prior to the holidays, as originally intended. So, by agreement of all parties, Sunday was set to be the day of adoption. Everything is going so easily and smoothly that it is positively scary.

Sunday, I was up bright and early to Google the address and get my driving directions. Based upon our email correspondence, our breeder figured that it would be about a two hour drive, but based upon Google, and verified by Map Quest, it was more like four. Ouch! This was going to make for a long day, but nevertheless, we loaded up the wagons and set out south and westward ho. My daughter got to ride shotgun as chief navigator, and we had simply hours to "bond". While gray and dreary, it refrained from snowing and sleeting upon us, which is pretty darn nice for the month of December and a week off of Christmas. The directions even held up, sort of. We were fine until we got past Carthage, IL, and then the clarity and accuracy of the map seemed to break down. I suddenly felt like Moses in the wilderness, complete with whining Israelites. So, being female, I was more than wiling to stop at the local Casey's gas station to allow my child to visit the restroom while I reconnoiter with the locals. The bathroom break was a stroke of brilliance, based upon the Exodus to follow. The information from the locals turned out to be less than accurate, as I was instructed to turn right from the parking lot and just stay on the highway for a piece, and I couldn't miss running right into my destination.

Oh, I could certainly miss something, including the destination. We seemed to drive forever in a landscape filled with little else but cornfields, unremarkable, unending, as far as the eye can see, cornfields. We had long since lost any semblance of reasonable radio entertainment, and my daughter was losing patience with my selection of holiday favorites on the CD. She retreated to her ear buds and Ipod, which made her less than attentive to her navigating duties. Upon seeing a sign that indicated we were now entering Dallas, Illinois, I became convinced that something was not quite right. Dallas did not appear on either of my printed maps or instructions. Heck, I didn't know that there was a Dallas in Illinois. So, before we go any farther, I decide that another gas station visit for directions is in order. Ironically, the directions were pretty much the same: "Turn right, out of the parking lot and keep going on the highway." I am beginning to feel like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day. But, to the right it is.......

Right about the time that my lane was feeding onto a very large bridge, over a very large expanse of water (we are thinking Mississippi here, and that, definitely, was not on Map Quest), I came to the conclusion that perhaps the directions given were a bit oversimplified. Exiting the bridge, we were welcomed into Iowa. Yep, it was the Mississippi! Did you know that you can leave Illinois for free, but that they charge you to return? I got to pay a toll to come back into Illinois, but decided to make it a worthwhile expenditure by extorting some real directions out of the guy in the toll booth. Guess what? "Go to the first stop sign, after leaving the bridge, turn right and keep going!" Wow, I am in the sequel to Ground Hog Day! But after another endless round of barren corn field, interspersed with the occasional farm property with cows and/or horses, and dusk rapidly approaching, we actually saw signage indicating that we were finally on the right path to our destination. I was relieved, and also desperate to find another gas station as the tank was getting really low. Disturbing how far apart gas stations actually exist out in "God's country. But on the horizon, I espy yet another Casey's, on the main street of the town which I have sought. As the tank was being replenished, I took myself off to the other side of the parking lot to call my breeder and get the last leg directions....and am relieved to be told that I need to go left out of the parking lot before making a right. Now we are getting somewhere! I am not exactly sure where it is though. Fortunately, this last little bit of twisting and turning went without problems, and we finally arrived, trying not to think about reversing the process in the darkness.

We were greeted by our breeder, and her assortment of fur children, which included one of Molleigh's siblings, Molleigh's parents, and a sort of cousin, along with a beagle and a jack russell and at least two cats that I actually saw. This was the first time that I had ever met anyone with a doggie door and wolfhounds. The darn dogs are so big that we always figured that a doggie door would be like removing the door entirely. But, I guess the rules are different if you live in a more rural area. Although, think about it, as a burglar, would you want to be confronted on the other side by something large enough to need that door? ( But then criminals are not always noted for brilliance and forethought, hence we have the Darwin Awards.) There was quite a commotion as all the furry, four legged children attempted to welcome us. Sorting Molleigh out from the chaos was not as easy as one would think. But she was every bit as pretty as the pictures. We concluded the necessary business of paying for the pup and getting all her paperwork and vet history, and it was time to load up and venture off into the darkening wilderness. Our host suggested that we route through Springfield and take 55 back up. As we were travelling, the though occurred to me that routing through Springfield was going to take me probably 150 miles extra, and I decided that I really didn't want to go to Springfield in the dark. In fact, I just plain wanted to get home before Christmas. So, I undertook a very common sense approach of reading signs that were blowing past my windows in the dark at about 70 mph, and attempting to head north and east (based on the notion that I went south and west to get there).

After at least an hour of north and east progression, and about 75 miles on the odometer, I am confronted by a sign alerting me to the fact that I am only five miles out of the town that I couldn't find earlier in the afternoon with a map. How is this possible? I stop in an empty parking lot to call my husband, as I feel that I have pretty well exhausted the instructions for any gas station in a 100 mile radius. Unfortunately, I haven't any bars out here in BuFu! Back in the car, with my daughter trying to call Dad every few miles and keep a small and somewhat confused puppy quiet and happy. So, I elected to stop at yet one more Casey's, because with our little detour, I am thinking that getting gas was probably a good idea as it may be miles and miles before I see any other signs of civilization. {This trip reminded me of the one ill-considered occasion when I acceded to my children's request for a bathroom break in Indiana. We got off at Chesterton, in the dark, and wound along what seemed like miles of road to get to the advertised gas station. And then trying to find our way back to the interstate. in the dark. and without the requisite bread crumbs,....well, my children got to learn every cuss word that Mom has accumulated in a lifetime from family members who are truck drivers by trade. Another "bonding" experience!} Upon entering the station, I clapped eyes on a guy wearing a Notre Dame Jersey.....and I immediately made his acquaintance! Told him that if he could get me to Indiana, I was good. Turns out, he had a lady friend closer to my home destination than Indiana, and was familiar with the back trails required to get back to civilization. Good news, at last! The bad news....I had to go back where I started from to get on the right path. Basically, in this part of the state, it seems that you play bumper pool with Casey's gas stations being the bumpers.

On the right track, and night has fallen (CRASH!), and the thought of mounting a white cane on the front bumper became appealing. Puppy was restless and hungry. Child was restless and hungry. Bonding with Mom was no longer high on anyone's "to do" list. And long about the time we reach Carthage, I finally have enough bars to reach my husband, but that may have been due to the WiFi available McDonalds we located for dinner. My daughter escaped the car with her Ipod to go inside and "research" our route back home using her apps. I babysat Molleigh while my husband researched the route and talked to me. Of course, we feasted on value menu items having spent all my cash on puppy and bridge tolls. Little Molleigh was fond of double cheeseburgers, but not so much McNuggets. As all puppies do, Molleigh and my daughter settled in for a nap following their repast, and I was left to pick my way through the pitch black. At least, there were no objections to my music choices. We arrived safely somewhere around midnight. And yes, I did remember to say "Hi!" to Gilligan, the Skipper too, the millionaire and his wife........

Well, that journey occurred a little over a week ago, and life at our house is full of "almost made it to the door" events. The kitchen floor has been mopped more in 7 days than probably in the last 7 years, since the last wolfhound puppy came home. I am thinking of buying stock in Lysol cleaner, and mop heads. And the little one has found her voice. Quite chatty for a wolfhound, and I think that annoys the elder wolfhound no end. I know it disrupts the daily routine for both of my older dogs, as Molleigh has no appreciation of morning nap. She wants to play, play, play! At eleven weeks old, she still has the tiny razors instead of teeth, and she employs them to great effect in her efforts to gain the attention of the older dogs. They have been very patient thus far, but I sense that Molleigh will soon be put in her place. Both of them try to avoid her, and rumble every time she passes nearby. Being a goofy baby, she isn't taking the hint. Yesterday, the old man, Baldric, sent her spinning head over teacup with a single swipe of his paw, and she avoided him for all of about ten minutes. Then she was back in his face wanting to play that fun game again. The big dogs are thrilled when it is bed time and Molleigh is confined to her crate. They joyfully take her in the yard for final walkies before bedtime. Then they settle with me in the living room with a great deal of deep and frustrated sighing, which is replaced by snoring in short order. The household has been invaded and has that unique "puppy" smell. There are chewy toys all over, and yet she still assaults shoes, backpacks, and even passing feet. We elected to forego traditional Christmas decorations with an infant wolfhound in the house. We have this tiny tree (think the Charlie Brown Christmas special here, without Linus' blanket) safely atop the dining table. We have puppy proofed the house which translates into everything being totally inconvenient for the human inhabitants as well as the elder dogs. But that is what puppy love is, and truth be told, we are having a blast. And the elder canines have begun their New Year's fitness regimen early. Nap time is truly deserved now.

Filed under: Side Journeys

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