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The Farm Bleat: I'm just a pushover for a pretty puppy

Julie Buntjer 01 31 22 S1.jpg
Julie Buntjer
Tim Middagh / The Globe<br/>

Thirteen months ago, I opened my home and my heart to the cutest little four-legged fur baby, a Shichon my mother decided should be named Chloe.

I wanted to call her Meta, a nod to an animal-loving great-grandmother I’d never met, but Mom was rather adamant that my new puppy not be named after her grandmother. I suppose that’s a good reason — I wouldn’t have considered naming my pooch Elizabeth or Hattie after my grandmothers.

It surprised me how quickly Chloe learned her name. If only she’d learned as quickly the proper location to do her business! It’s still a struggle some days — like pretty much the entire winter when she refused to do No. 2 outside, but, hey, spring is right around the corner, isn’t it?

It felt so good to get out on the trail for four consecutive evenings last week, even though Chloe — at a mighty 11 pounds — pulled me along for more than half of our stroll. In addition to breathing in the fresh air, the best part was, after multiple pitstops for her to go No. 1 and No. 2, I could relax the rest of the evening without visions of carpet cleaning. Chloe seems to favor my home office or around the corner of the hallway to leave those unappreciated droppings.

The thing is, I have a hard time scolding Chloe. Thank goodness I realized early in life that I did not want to be a parent to actual people. If a little dog has so much control over me, imagine how I would have handled raising teenagers!

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Last week, Chloe had actual tears in her eyes — tears that stained her hair — while whining for me to toss her favorite toy. I was too busy typing away at the keyboard to notice what she wanted, and instead I scolded her to “just be quiet while mommy gets some work done.”

Sad puppy eyes are one thing, but actual tears caused this dog momma’s heart to break just a little bit. Oh, did I feel rotten! (Does she have her little paws wrapped around me? Yes, yes she does.)

The difference between disappointing dogs and people, though, is that dogs tend to forget the disappointment oh-so-quickly. All it took was for me to pick Chloe up and let her shower me with kisses to know that all had been forgotten and forgiven.

One of the greatest joys of being a dog mom is the unconditional love of a pet. Chloe’s sheer excitement after I’ve walked into the house is almost indescribable. She bounces like she’s on a trampoline, and when I finally catch her and raise her to my face, she bonks me on the nose, licks my cheeks, gives my ear lobe a friendly bite and tries with all her might to give one of her notorious Wet Willies — the one thing I will not allow! The great-nephews and great-niece, however, have encouraged this behavior because they think it’s funny.

Chloe is my calm. She is all too willing to sit on my lap in the recliner or sprawl across my torso on the couch so that we both can take a nap. It is during these times that the stressors of the day float away and I know what is really important in life.

Chloe would have everyone think it’s her, because that’s just how she is.

I’d put her equal with my needlework projects, but since Chloe gets extremely jealous when I pick up needle and thread — to the point that I get little done in her presence unless she’s taking a nap — I guess she wins.

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Related Topics: WORTHINGTON
Opinion by Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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