October 28, 2011 Dogs Loving those Granddogs! It is true what “they say” about people loving their grands. I don’t have grandchildren yet, and for the longest I though I would never be ready for them. For one, I am not old enough in my mind. Sure, I am chronologically old enough, and I have a few grey hairs, but grannies are supposed to be old. They need to be retired and ready to dote. I still have a teenager at home, so I’m not finished with the raising of kids yet. I know, I know, there are plenty of people who raise both children and grandchildren at the same time. Bless them too! They have my greatest respect and admiration. My grandma-aversed heart started to soften after my oldest daughter married and brought me not one but two granddoggies. Claire, like I, loves dogs. Her husband, Will, also a dog lover from a dog family, just couldn’t wait until they were out of a tiny apartment before bringing home two littermates (We call them twins.) from a litter of Standard Poodles. They named them Arlo (after Guthrie) and Sissy (Will’s favorite character from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn). Like me, they didn’t intend to start with two, but the breeder, overwhelmed with nine puppies, offered for them to take Sissy because her tail had not been docked for a prospective buyer, who later changed his mind. Claire loved the whole idea of adopting an imperfect dog, so along came two. Mamoo holding the new babies, Arlo (black) and Sissy (white) In our dog experience, keeping two littermates at once has been a wonderful option. They have their own language like human twins. They comfort each other when left alone; there is rarely “acting out” with two because there is just too much entertainment to be cranky. Arlo and Sissy playing their favorite game: Running Together With A Stick This past weekend we found ourselves babysitting Arlo and Sissy when their parents went away for a much-needed weekend alone. Needless to say, they love to be at their grandparents’ house! They can run run run on the farm, play with the housedogs, and get lots of lovin’ from their Mamoo and Papoo. They are well behaved, but I daresay that as all grands, they wouldn’t get scolded too much if they weren’t. When I arrived to pick them up, both giant creatures climbed my body all the way to my shoulders, but I was prepared. I knew that they really could knock me over if my feet were not firmly planted before the “glad to see you” exuberance. I convinced them to sit and allow me my favorite indulgence: burying my nose into their powder-puff heads that always smell faintly of baby powder. Arlo Reclining In His Favorite Chair At Mamoo's Snapped by Annelise, Sissy Sniffing Mamoo's Tulip Holding Poodles Arlo and Sissy make life a bit more complicated. There is more vacuuming & sweeping as well as barking. They want affection just like the little dogs, so when ours pile on us on the sofa, we also have to make room for them. They get bed privileges–until we actually must sleep, that is–and they must be fed separately and monitored. But all in all I love having them, even though the dog population swells to seven when they are here. Sissy Cuddling Arlo Cuddling Did I not mention my other grandpooch named Remy? He belongs to our college-age daughter, Catherine, who didn’t, in fact, move out this semester so that her new puppy would only be a part-timer. No, he is here full-time and has scrapped his way into the pack quite nicely if not loudly. The housedogs hated him at first, growling if he as much as entered their line of vision. But, slowly and persistently, he wormed his way into their group. Baby Remy Remy is Atticus Finch and Boo’s granddoggie, so he already had a special place in our hearts when he arrived. We were not prepared for his very different personality, though. Our dogs have been lovers; Remy only loves when he wants to love. To get his point across he shakes his wee head back and forth and growls, biting any hand that dares not to let him go. My sister dubbed him “Teeth of Terror,” and we worried that he would become a biter for real. Our vet suggested we spray his face with water when he does this, and the method seems to be working. So far, he has calmed down and has allowed more of us to cuddle him than his mommy, Catherine. He is quite a rag doll at night. Curious Little Remy at 6 Months Remy With A Very Tired Mamoo If loving the furry creatures of my children are any indication, I now realize I will be a welcoming grandmother. My experience with my granddogs has been a wonderful one. These pooches are getting my feet wet as they do the rest of my house and furniture. They are telling me that I still have the nurturing I will need for real grandchildren. They are showing me that I will be a good grandmother because I do not have any inclination to go against their parents to sneak off-limits food or allow them to do things their parents would cringe at. Of course, I will have to be reminded that I can’t use the kennels when I need a break. Yikes.