Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

Life with Tuffy the scruffy puppy doesn’t allow for very many dull moments these days. He’s far more clever than I gave him credit for. He had me lulled into a false sense of complacency. After all, for most of the seven months since we’ve had him, he has slept a lot during the day—my prime working hours.

My daughter had told me that the smaller breed dogs don’t have the same stamina as larger ones do. I believed her because the evidence was right there before my eyes. That dog slept a good 18 out of 24 hours every day. His behavior was regular as clock-work.

The operative word in that last sentence: was.

Over the last few weeks it’s as if the aliens came down and exchanged my happy to be not-too-energetic puppy for a different dog entirely.

He used to let me sleep in each morning. My beloved gets up at 4 am, and leaves the house by 4:45. When he gets up, he also gets the puppy up, takes him outside, and then has “daddy puppy time” while he makes his lunch and gets ready for work. Then he puts the puppy back in bed with me, and leaves. Puppy used to go right back to sleep until I “awoke naturally” or to the alarm at 7:30 if I had the kids overnight, whichever the case may be.

But for the last few weeks, Tuffy the scruffy puppy believes it is his job to make sure that mommy wakes up and knows that daddy has left the building. Then, of course, since mommy is awake, maybe she would like to play?

I have been saying “no” a lot more lately. And I know he understands me. But rather than complying, he has a doggy grin on his face and I know that really, he is just mocking me.

“No, mommy does not want to play. It’s not time to play. It’s time to sleep.”

Ah, but Tuffy does not want to sleep. And not only is he a cute, cuddly scruffy puppy. No, sir! He is the big, brave, bold guard dog! Daddy is gone, so it is his job to protect mommy by...barking at every leaf, squirrel, or car that passes by the house—which he can see from the bed, by looking out the window.

Another canine being walked by its owner is cause for DEFCON 3!

Usually, after a few minutes of this energetic, vociferous behavior I do get up—long enough to put Tuffy outside the bedroom, and close the door in his little furry face. I wish I could tell you that the door is substantial and blocks the sound of the energetically barking puppy.

You have no idea how very much I wish I could tell you that.

Only once over the last few weeks was I able to get back to sleep by placing my extra pillow over my head, thus covering my ears. It’s a feather pillow and does a passable job of noise cancellation.

Unless, of course, the noise in question is the sharp, shrill yip/bark of Tuffy the scruffy puppy.

Gone, too, are the fondly remembered mornings where the puppy is content with just a few minutes of play time. What happened to my stamina-challenged little mop head? Lately, Tuffy doesn’t seem to know the meaning of quit, or tired, or go rest or stop!

The other day, the groomer mentioned that at 9 months of age, Tuffy the scruffy puppy is a “teenager” puppy. That bit of information explained a lot, and gave me pause.

I had three children who all became “teenagers”—two of them at the same time. It wasn’t that many years ago, and I remember the trauma of that period of time with horror and gratitude that it came to an end.

I love that puppy and I have no choice, I know it. But dealing with a teenager? I really do not want to go there again.





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