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Puppy Love is Good for the Whole Family
Written By: Mark Smith

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My kids had been bugging me for years for a new puppy. They would employ their own sad little puppy dog eyes as they described the terrible emotional damage that I was inflicting upon them by denying them the love and companionship of a pup.

They were getting to me. They got me to imagine just how fun it would be to have a cute little puppy to play with. They finally broke me down last week, so we spent Saturday on a mission to secure the perfect puppy. Our first stop was the Humane Society. They had the cutest little puppy named Lulu. My youngest daughter Jordans eyes lit up when she saw her. Lulu was a Pit Bull though and our neighborhood association had issue with that. Jordan and I grieved and pouted about what might have been. Okay, it was mainly me doing the pouting.

Jordan then got on line and hatched a plan for us to drive an hour to St. Paul to look at a couple of Beagle pups. We arrived at a farm that reminded me of the old TV show Green Acres. I know - I just dated myself. Anyone over 45 knows what I am talking about. There were roosters, miniature horses, cows, cats and now just one little Beagle left. We were presented with a skinny, trembling, cowering little fellow: the puppy that no one else wanted. When my daughter Taylor put him down to play, the scared little guy took off. He did not want any part of us. They found him hiding in the barn 20 minutes later. The little guy was covered with fleas and seemed to be in shock. We took a vote. All 3 kids gave me a some what unenthusiastic yes.

We came up with Paulie as a name since he hails from St. Paul. For the first 48 hours of his time with us I feared that I had made a mistake. All Paulie did was sleep or lay there in a catatonic state. He would actually hide in any corner he could find to avoid us. My girls kept asking me when Paulie was going to start acting like a puppy. We got the fleas off of him, and we loved on him a lot. I called an emergency animal hospital to arrange for an appointment, but the lady there told me that she thought that our little guy was just in shock due to adjusting to his new family. I was despairing and questioning my judgment.

In eight days, however, Paulie has come a long way. He is now a puppy: playful and spunky and naughty. One of the first things he did as he came out of his funk was to chew up one of my books. I was so pleased. My little man has worked his way into my heart in a big way. It feels like he has been a member of the family forever. Several times when my son had the car, I have transported Paulie by placing him in a backpack that I wear backwards like a snuggly while heading down the road on the Harley. With his adorable floppy ears dancing in the wind, we get a lot of double takes. He cries when I put him in his cage at night because he wants to sleep with his daddy. My daughters say that Paulie is obsessed with me. I feel sort of obsessed with him as well.

Puppy love is a good thing for families. Jordan is experiencing a maternal role that she had never been in before. A puppy can be a family mascot to bring laughter and attention to situations that might be difficult at times. I have joined the dog lover club now. Everywhere I bring Paulie I get surrounded by dog lovers who then tell me all about there little bundles of joy. I believe that I got the right puppy. He just needed some extra love and some extra patience. Life sometimes brings special relationships like that to you. When you give that extra love and patience you are rewarded with a deep love and loyalty that can last a lifetime. I highly recommend the whole puppy thing, especially if you have kids. It will enrich your whole family. It is worth an occasional spot on the rug or a chewed up book. Paulie has given back so much more then we have given him. He makes my kids happy, and he makes his daddy happy. That is all for now. See you next week.

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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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