It has now been three and a half months since I brought my little Shichon, Chloe, home to Worthington. To say it’s been a learning experience for both of us would be completely accurate.
We are learning what makes each other tick — she doesn’t like being kenneled for three hours while I enjoy an evening with friends. I don’t like it when she sneaks off down the hallway and leaves those little brown nuggets on the carpet.
How much different it is to have a city dog versus a farm dog.
When I brought Molly home as a puppy in the spring of 2004, she stayed the first few nights in a tall tote in my rented farmhouse. Then it was outside, where farm dogs — puppies included — have the freedom to roam the yard and bark to their heart’s content when someone rolls into the drive.
My city pup has an entirely different experience with freedom. Now able to jump on the couch, the coffee table, the recliner and the bed, she makes herself at home in the highest perches she can get to. Her favorite bed is nestled between the oversized and super soft back cushions of my couch. Her favorite place to watch activity is from atop the coffee table at the front window, and her favorite place to bask in the sunlight is wherever the streaming warmth hits the carpet from the overhead skylight.
It’s because I continue to work from home that I know all of this. There are days I marvel at just how much of her 24-hour day is spent napping. Oh, to be so lucky!
Did my farm dog sleep that much? I have no idea. She was an outside dog and, when I wasn’t working or playing fetch with her, I was inside. We had our personal freedoms.
Chloe doesn’t know the meaning of personal space.
She wants to be where I am, wherever that may be. If it’s at the computer working, she’s either sleeping near my feet or in the living room keeping an eye — or an ear — on my activity. The slightest noise, say a twisting of a lid from a container of mixed nuts or crackers, brings her running into my home office to see what she might be offered.
And how does one say no to a floppy-eared, six-pound pooch who has found it her mission in life to make me smile, laugh and accept the unconditional love she is all-too-willing to share with her kisses (licks), hugs and cuddles?
Little Chloe hears “no” so often when she’s attempting to chow on my toes, sink her puppy teeth into my pant legs or destroy the training pads that I feel like I’m dealing with a toddler who will one day retaliate against me.
Why don’t I remember these months with Molly? Because Molly was a farm dog, and she never had a chance to bite my toes — they were always covered with shoes. She never tried to hang onto my pant legs, and she certainly didn’t need training pads while living in the great outdoors.
For as much as their lives are different, their roles are quite the same — to love and be loved, to accept and be accepted, to learn and to teach.
Little Chloe has been working hard to improve my patience these last few months. One would think that after 50 years, it should be a skill I’ve honed.
I guess I’ll keep working at it and, in the meantime, continue to focus on the joy she brings to my life.