A week ago, my life was normal. I showered regularly. I ran errands. I cooked and cleaned. I watched TV. I slept in a bed.
And then, my husband and I drove from our base house at Naval Station Newport to a cranberry farm in Massachusetts, and picked up a wriggling ball of fur that has changed everything.
We felt a twinge of guilt taking an eight-week-old Labrador retriever away from his littermates, with whom he had spent his days snuggling and tussling. But ever since the death of our beloved dog Dinghy, who saw us through deployments, PCS moves, and an overseas tour, we knew another dog would enhance our family. So we wrapped the puppy in a blanket and nuzzled him all the way home, happily ignorant of the chaos that was about to ensue.
We named him “Moby”, a tribute to our tour of duty in nautical New England. However, other apt labels have occurred to us this past week, as we have learned the multiple facets of our new puppy’s complex personality.
Puddle Maker has christened every rug in our house, and we’re now considering buying stock in puppy training pads. Kibble Gobbler inhales scoops of puppy food as if he is a starving prisoner, usually with one paw plopping in his water dish. Spawn of Cujo has an active period after meals, involving relentless ankle biting, broom chasing, and upholstery shredding. During this time, we can’t approach Staple Gun for fear that, what might seem like a sweet lick on the nose will turn out to be a needle-teeth lancing of that sensitive area just inside the nostrils.
Sweater Snagger sinks his fishhook nails into us when we carry him down the porch steps for potty time. Although he seems to know what is expected of him, Little Con Artist enjoys delaying the potty process long enough that we are forced to stand out in the cold while he innocently plays in the mud.
After following me around the house biting my shoes, Limp Noodle insists on taking a nap while laying over my feet. I sit motionless so as to not incite further mayhem, while the housework doesn’t get done, food doesn’t get cooked, and I don’t shower. This is generally the time that our base neighbors come by to see the newest member of our family. They all remark at how calm Little Faker is, and ask me why I’m looking so bedraggled these days.
After the fourth night sleeping on the floor beside the dog crate, I needed a break from Puppet Master. Just like the dog training book instructed, I gave him a special treat and put him in the playpen we’d assembled in the kitchen. I praised him, closed the gate, and left to drive the girls to school.
Fifteen minutes later, my base neighbor called. “What are you doing to that poor dog?!” he blurted, explaining that he could hear incessant yelping through the thick walls of our shared duplex.
I rushed home to find that Mr. Passive Aggressive “made a deposit” in his playpen in protest over being left alone. But that’s not the half of it. Canine Picasso also smeared it all over the floor, rug, bed, gate, toys and himself. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the morning scrubbing and disinfecting, and although everything looks clean, we may need to deworm the children just in case.
At first, I thought Moby was the one with the personality disorder, but I realize that it’s me who’s lost a grip on reality. I’ve transformed from Navy Mom to Pin Cushion, Pooper Scooper, Feed Bag and Personal Slave. I’m so delusional that, despite multiple contusions, baggy eyes, and a complete loss of hygiene standards, I’m utterly blinded by love.
Call me crazy, because in my mind, Moby is The Cutest Thing On The Face of This Earth.