“Seven times!” Tracey exclaimed all hands on hips and frowny today when I arrived home. Actually, I wasn’t even in my home yet: I was walking up from the car and she’d come out of the house to meet me half way up.
Clearly I’d stuffed something up seven times. Towels in the washing machine with clothes? The number of iTunes debits hitting our account this week?
I just hoped it wasn’t more speeding tickets: not a joke. All these unfamiliar Brisbane roads have meant I’ve had three since she first fell sick. That’s more than the previous ten years for both of us. These days I try to beat Tracey to the letterbox to scout for their all too familiar envelopes.
Fortunately, a distraction arrived at this moment in the shape of a furry little bundle of mischief. Winter is just the cutest little puppy, and for Tracey it’s just like having a new baby. You can’t be mad when a puppy’s around.
“So,” Tracey asked me pointedly the first night Winter joined our household, “is she going to be an inside dog or an outside dog?”
I was surprised by the question because we’d already discussed it before going to pick her up.
“It’s just you were going to let Jazz sleep inside there at the end when she was sick,” cut in Tracey, perhaps sensing where I was heading. Yes, I was happy to trial Jazz sleeping inside because the poor thing was so ill and I wanted to watch over her and make sure she had company. That last few days I’d have considered letting her sleep at the end of my bed.
But this was a puppy and the balcony has lots of shade and nice spots to lie down. Jazz was always perfectly happy out there at night.
I tried again.
“And I think it would be nice to have our little fur ball in with the kids while they’re watching movies.”
I no longer suspected my wife was unsure of where I was heading.
And anyway, I was negotiable on inside access during waking hours. Specifically, on the issue of hair and who has to chase around picking it up.
I tried to blurt out my answer.
“An outside do-”
“So we’re agreed,” said Tracey, walking off to where the kids were simultaneously trying to teach their new best friend to fetch, chase and rollover. “Winter is an inside dog.”
Only now it seems Tracey and I are on the same page about where Winter will be spending her nights.
“Seven times she’s pee’d in the house while you were out. Seven times!” huffed Tracey.
As part of the instructions from the absolutely lovely young lady who passed the care and love of Winter to us was the suggestion we purchase a square of artificial grass which, because that’s what Winter is used to, she’ll always use to pee on.
It is only a very slight exaggeration to say it’s the only remaining dry spot in or around our house. But in any case, our carpet has seen enough human puppies failing at toilet training over the last couple of decades I wear flip flops inside all year round. Let’s just say, even without taking into account the added contributions of Winter, if we ever sell and you buy this place you’re going to want to replace the carpet.
Can I get an EWWWW!?!
Of course, the kids are a little bit panicky now about Winter peeing inside. Not sure why. None of them have ever had to clean up the mess and shampoo the carpet. (Tracey made be specifically put that in because she doesn’t want people thinking we rub it into the carpet with our flip flops).
“She’s peeing!” Master11 pointed and announced last night. “Get her out. Quick.”
This resulted in a flurry of activity and none of it was aimed at quickly carrying Winter outside. Instead, all the kids jumped up on the lounge like they were worried about getting their feet wet.
“She’s not peeing, she’s just lying down,” Master24’s girlfriend, the lovely Charlotte, calmly told them. “That’s not what they look like when they’re going to the toilet. They squat down.” She paused as Winter demonstrated. “Like that. Get the door!”
Hah! Like the kids were going to get down off the lounge at that point.
“Where’s that old pink blanket?” I asked Tracey later that night. “I want to make sure Winter is comfortable.”
She indicated the top cupboard in our bedroom and I fetched the step ladder. Then I placed it on the floor at the end of our bed.
“What are you doing that for?” Tracey asked.
“Making a bed,” I told her. “So she’ll know where to sleep. Otherwise she’s wonder about waking the kids.”
“She’s not sleeping there. Put it in the kennel.”
“But she’s an inside do-” I grinned.
“She’s an OUTside dog,” snapped Tracey. “She can sleep on the balcony.”
Sorry, Winter. I tried.
Still, it’s probably for the best. None of us want to sleep in our water closet.
Winter’s nickname at her birth home was Feral Sheryl because of her tendency to frolic about in her water bowl. Thinking last week might not have been the ideal time to topsoil some of the yard.
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Raising a family on little more than laughs.